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We’ve had our sights on Tulum for a while now. Anyone who’s traveled to or heard of the Instagrammable playground knows of the seaweed problem. The overgrowth of this smelly algae is believed to be caused by a combination of climate change and pollution. While we are generally eco-conscious, we were committed to reducing our carbon footprint by going zero waste on this trip. Keep reading to find out which zero waste travel essentials we used for our beach vacation.

Luggage packed for a beach vacation

Capsule wardrobe

Let’s face it! Aside from the elements, the best thing about a beach vacation is the summer outfits. Another great thing about summer duds is they’re lightweight and take up less space. Packing light allows you to ditch a heavy suitcase and lighten your carbon footprint. Next time you travel, create a capsule wardrobe. In other words, limit the number of items, but increase your outfit options. A capsule wardrobe while traveling decreases the need for laundry services, therefore saving water and electricity. Stick to a color scheme and opt for beach attire that you can wear day and night.

capsule wardrobe for a beach vacation

Zero waste travel toiletries

I refuse to buy travel sized toiletries, especially after I’ve spent money on the same full-sized products at home. Transferring product from the full-sized bottles to small jars and containers (hint baby food jars) is not only an excellent waste reduction method, but it also allows me to pour the unused product back into the big bottle when I get home. Here are other zero waste travel essentials to consider when packing for a beach vacation:

Eco-friendly alternatives

You know those little bottles of fancy shampoo and lotion that are in every hotel bathroom? Have you ever stayed in a hotel where housekeeping replaces them every day, regardless of the amount inside? I have, and at one point we had quite the collection of hotel bottles from around the world. Now have you ever wondered how many of those tiny bottles end up in landfills? Billions! While hotels across the globe have committed to eliminating over 3 million waste production, travelers can make an impact as well. By packing eco-friendly alternatives to everyday items, you can help the hospitality industry reach that goal. Whether it’s on a beach or a posh hotel, here is a simple list of waste reducing products to make sure you have on your next getaway:

Zero waste travel necessities.
  • Reusable canvas bag
  • Bamboo utensils.
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Quick drying microfiber towel

Leave only footprints

Enjoying a relaxing beach day shouldn’t come at the expense of harming the local ecosystem or wildlife. Tourists contribute to a lot of avoidable litter to landfills all over the world. When you leave, take all signs of you too, including any trash. A mason jar is a great zero waste travel essential for the beach days. Therefore, having a container to hold food scraps is a simple way to decrease litter. Additionally, consider using a reef-safe sunscreen without harmful ingredients when swimming in lakes, cenotes, and the ocean.

Toddler on beach vacation playing in the sand. Starfish Beach, Bocas del Toro Panama.

Go paperless

Paper tickets, boarding passes, and luggage tags will all wind up in one place, the garbage. Eliminate the amount of paper you’ll add to waste bins entirely by downloading a few apps on your phone. Not sure which ones you’ll need? Don’t worry, all you have to do is click here for a list of travel apps every traveler should have.

Traveling is so good for the soul. By decreasing your environmental impact, future travelers will also be able to enjoy our world’s beaches.

Do you have any zero waste travel tips? Leave them below!

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Zero waste travel essentials for a beach vacation

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