Tips to Reduce Food Waste When Traveling

Traveling is a great way to see new places, visit family and friends, and experience new things! However, when you are out of your routine it can be difficult to plan, and you may often end up wasting food. Here are some easy tips to reduce food waste on your next adventure, whether it be by car, plane, train or your own two feet!

  • Eat or give away all leftovers and food that may spoil before you leave on your trip.
  • Pack your own snacks in reusable containers.
  • Bring a small resealable bag to store any food scraps to compost or bring home.
  • Look for diversion opportunities
    • Programs like WRR’s public drop-off
    • Restaurants that redirect food waste from the landfill
  • Pack long lasting foods that will not spoil quickly
    • Canned/jarred foods
    • Dehydrated foods
    • Dried fruit vs. fresh
    • High protein snacks such as protein bars or nus
  • Make a meal or two ahead of time to avoid having lots of leftovers and nowhere to store them.
  • Bring a small cooler to keep food from spoiling.
  • If staying at a hotel or AirBnB, try to book a place with a kitchen. This makes it easier to buy only as much food as you will need, and you can prepare your own meals (this saves money too!).
  • Keep extra packets of condiments from takeout to use while traveling.
  • Oftentimes restaurants serve portions too large for one person to eat. If you do not have a way to store leftovers, consider sharing an entrée or ordering a half portion so none goes to waste!
  • Avoid staying at restaurants with buffets. Buffets are often extremely wasteful as the food that is uneaten is simply throw away.
    • If there is no other option, ask to take some food with you to eat later


Remember, none of us are perfect. There will inevitably be a bit of food wasted during a trip but using some of these strategies can help! If you have any ideas we did not share here, let us know.