If you think about traveling in general, it’s not very sustainable. Every time we board a flight we are increasing our carbon footprint. But don’t worry! There are plenty of ways we can travel in an eco-friendly way. How you ask? By using eco-friendly travel products.
Using eco-friendly travel products is one of the best things we as travelers can do to increase sustainability. By swapping out things like single-use plastics and switching to sustainable products you can change your life and help the planet in the process.
Here are my favorite Eco-friendly products that you should think about adding to your list of travel essentials.
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Eco-Friendly Travel Gear
Eco-Friendly Packing Cubes
I never travel without packing cubes. They help me stay organized and sane while traveling. There are great options for eco-friendly packing cubes.
Here are some of our favorites that are made out of plastic bottles!
These bags are awesome. Instead of getting items, you purchase while traveling or the plastic bags you get when you are getting take-out, you can use these! They are made from recycled plastic bottles so that makes them that much better!
They are light and can be packed down super small too which makes them great for bringing along on all your travels.
I recently found out about an amazing luggage brand called Solgaard. They created a backpack entirely out of recycled ocean plastic! They have removed all single-use plastics from their products and each suitcase lining is made from ocean-bound plastics.
If that’s not enough, for each item sold they remove 229 ocean-bound plastic bottles. They partnered with the plastic bank and work with teams in the Philippines creating jobs and pulling plastic out of the ocean to upcycle it into useful goods!
Not only does bringing a reusable water bottle save plastic but it also saves money. Bottled water is expensive and bad for the environment. I bring a reusable water bottle everywhere I go even when I’m not traveling. It’s also a great reminder for me to drink water.
The simply modern water bottles, well all their products, are my favorite. They keep your water cold for like two days, are affordably priced, and are super durable.
This is the latest change I have made. I almost always drink with a straw. Seeing the number of straws that end up in the ocean every year makes me sick. (About 50 million straws are used per day in the U.S. PER DAY!)
I have started carrying a reusable straw with me everywhere.
I purchased this pack that has a little carrying case so the straw doesn’t get dirty in your bag.
Reusable Utensils are great to bring especially when traveling. You can use them on airplanes instead of using the plastic utensils that they provide.
As long as the knife is a butter knife it is allowed in your carry-on baggage. Want to know what else to bring in your carry-on check out our post here.
Tip: Even if you aren’t traveling you can be conscious of using plastic utensils. For example, if you are ordering delivery put in the notes section of your order that you do not want any plastic ware.
These bags are great for everything. I use these for snacks on the airplane, to keep my medicine and things organized, and even for my toiletries.
These are great replacements for Ziploc bags.
One of my favorite ways to reduce plastic and Styrofoam is to use reusable takeaway containers. I just carry one in my bag when we go out to eat and since I almost never finish my whole meal, I pack it up in my own container!
I drink a lot of coffee and tea when I’m traveling. Bringing my own coffee mug is great so I can grab coffee at my hotel to take on the road or when stopping at a coffee shop.
Keep in mind that some coffee shops have paused taking personal cups during the pandemic but that will hopefully change soon.
Microfiber towels are my favorite. They work better than regular towels and dry faster. I always bring my own towel with me so that I don’t need to grab any from our accommodations.
The one I have is from a brand called Tesalate and I really like it. But there are tons of options including some that are made from recycled plastic bottles.
Eco-Friendly Travel Toiletries
This eco-friendly toothpaste is so cool! Bite toothpaste bits are a plastic-free option and so convenient to travel with! They are small bite-sized bits that come in a glass bottle.
They even send refills in compostable packaging!
The Bite, company makes mouthwash bits as well making it a one-stop-shop. Their products are small and convenient to travel with and don’t take up any of your liquid space.
Just like the toothpaste all you have to do is bite down and then add some water to your mouth and swish!
I don’t wear makeup very often, but when I do, I use a reusable makeup wipe to take it off. These wipes are really effective. They even save space in your luggage since you don’t need to pack a whole pack of wipes.
Disposable razors can definitely be convenient but they are terrible for the environment. Even the razors that have replaceable heads aren’t great, but they are a better option for sure.
Try investing in a quality metal razor. With these razors, you only have to replace the blade. Keep in mind that shaving with these can present a learning curve.
Shampoo Bar and other Solid Toiletries
Solid toiletries are the perfect travel items. Since they are solid, they don’t need to be placed in your quart-sized liquid bag. This also means you have fewer things to worry about exploding in your bags.
1 billion plastic toothbrushes are disposed of worldwide each year! That’s insane. Since we are supposed to change our toothbrushes every three months, switching to a bamboo toothbrush can make a big impact.
I changed to a bamboo toothbrush a year or so ago. I like it more than a regular toothbrush and knowing that it better for the environment makes me not want to go back.
Be sure to remove the bristles before composting your bamboo toothbrush because they aren’t biodegradable.
Biodegradable Q-tips are made from bamboo instead of plastic sticks making them biodegradable. They are even shipped in a recycled boxes.
Biodegradable wipes are great for hiking and camping! If you don’t have access to a shower just use one of these compostable wipes to freshen up.
Did you know that there is REEF SAFE sunscreen? I had no idea until a few months ago.
These environmentally safe sunscreens use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. They are free of things like octinoxate and oxybenzone.
Some places like Hawaii and Micronesia now require visitors to use reef-safe sunscreen. That makes me so happy. Since being in the water is one of Kyle’s favorite things wearing reef-safe sunscreen is a must so we make sure we aren’t hurting the Reef while exploring.
We are outdoors a lot so insect repellant is always in our bags. Getting natural insect repellant limits the number of chemicals being put into the atmosphere.
Our favorite insect repellant is Wondercide. Their products are all-natural and have no harsh chemicals. They are safe for pets and children as well. They also have products for your home.
Other Eco-Friendly Travel Products
Solar battery packs come in handy while hiking or out exploring and you don’t have access to electricity.
This charge is portable and saves electricity.
If you liked the idea of a solar-powered charger then you will love the solar-powered speaker. Again, it’s great for when you don’t have access to electricity, but can be used anywhere.
It has a built-in solar panel and is Bluetooth-enabled.
While I love the feel of having a book in my hands and turning the pages, I always travel with my kindle. Especially on really long flights or layovers, I can read more than one book. Having my Kindle is great because I can download multiple books before I leave and read as many as I want while relaxing by the pool.
Water purification systems are super helpful when traveling to places where it isn’t suggested to drink the water or when on a long hike.
If the water isn’t safe to drink then that kind of forces you to drink bottled water which in return wastes a lot of plastic. Instead, get a purification system like this LifeStraw or you can get an all-in-one bottle and purifier to reduce the number of things you need to pack.
This system removes any bad taste, odor, and even bacteria and parasites from the water.
If you don’t like shampoo bars or other solid toiletries you can always get reusable travel bottles to put your shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc. in instead of buying travel-sized items.
Tip: If you are using reusable bottles to put your toiletries in be sure to put saran wrap on the top before you put the lid on to help prevent any spillage.
Want more packing hacks? Check out our blog post here.
I have heard so many amazing things about Allbirds. I haven’t personally tried them yet but people rave about them!
Allbirds are made from wool, sugarcane, and recycled plastic bottles. They even have a water-repelling pair as well.
Check out our post on the best comfortable travel shoes here!
Tips and Tricks when picking Eco-Friendly Travel Products
Use things you already have
You don’t need to spend a ton of money buying all new products. Check and see if you already have some of these items in your home that you can bring along on your next trip.
Take Care of Your Items
Take care of your belongings. Make sure all the things that you have and will be using are being taken care of so you don’t need to keep buying replacements.
Check out the Brands
This one can be a little more difficult. Sometimes it’s not easy to find out what a brand’s values and practices are. There are a lot of great companies in this article but try keeping a list to make it easier when you do need to purchase a new eco-friendly item.
Make this a Habit
If you have a list of travel essentials, make sure that all the eco-friendly items are on it. Don’t stop there. Use these items at home, at work, and traveling. Using a plastic straw everywhere except when traveling won’t make much of a difference. Keep the reusable straw in your purse so you always have it.
Tip: I keep all my travel essentials together (normally in my carry-on) and keep the eco-friendly products you use only when traveling or extras (I have like 20 reusable straws) with your travel gear so you never forget them.
Since we are lucky enough to be able to travel, we have to take responsibility and make sure the impact we make on the world is positive. What eco-friendly travel products do you use? Let me know in the comments!