Sustainable travel is a lot easier with a little help from eco friendly travel products! Seriously… it’s all very well to talk about avoiding single use plastic and using responsible products. But what happens when you can’t find options when you’re travelling? In our opinion – good preparation is your best bet. Our Ultimate packing list will help you stay ahead of the game!
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Best Eco Friendly Travel Products
This packing list is full of the best eco friendly travel products to help minimise the impact of your trip as much as possible. We’ve put in all of the products we use, love and recommend from our trips, as well as new ideas we’ve received from friends and fellow conscious travellers along the way.
When it comes to travelling with minimal impact (we know that travel can never be 100% sustainable), we find that fore-warned is fore-armed. Many of our go to places on our travels (street food, public transport anyone) are ironically the situations where you might get most stuck. Longing for some fresh coconut water but the vendor only has plastic straws? On a long train journey and running out of water? We know from personal experience, the plastic water bottles for sale start to look tempting. A few simple “accessories” can go a long way to avoid the need of ever having to buy single-use plastic products.
If it seems like an investment to buy so many products ahead of travel, it’s worth remembering how much many of these products save in the long run – both environmentally and economically. An investment into a water filter bottle will quickly pay itself back with money saved on buying bottled water.
Last but not least, we want to spell out that it’s not about being “perfect”. We know we’ve certainly had moments where we’ve had to resort to buying something in plastic because we were really hungry, forgot our metal straws, etc. Those moments are bound to happen. The point is that with a little preparation, we will be able to avoid 90%+ waste that can often be incurred with travel – which is a huge! 🙂
Ultimate Packing List for Sustainable Travel
To help make this packing list as easy to use as possible we’ve divided it into several categories. Happy packing!
- The Essentials
- Eating and Drinking
- Travel Accessories
- Luggage & Travel Bags
- Should you offset your carbon?
In a hurry or only want to take a couple of things? In our humble opinions, the following eco friendly travel products are game changers and should be part of anyone’s sustainable travel kit!
- Water to Go water filter bottle (if travelling to a country where tap water is not safe to drink) plus extra filters
- Refillable Klean Kanteen bottle (if travelling to a country where tap water is safe to drink)
- Bamboo or Stainless Steel drinking straws
- Bamboo cutlery
- Your pick from our toiletries recommendations below
- Reef-safe and natural Sunscreen
Eco Friendly Travel Products for Eating & Drinking
Much of the single use plastic we use on our travels comes in the form of plastic straws, shopping bags, and take-out drinks containers / plastic cutlery. By taking re-usable products with us (and keeping them in our day bag) we cut out the need to consume these completely!
Eco Friendly Toiletries
There are so many wonderful eco-friendly cosmetic and toiletry brands to choose from these days, it can be a little overwhelming! Our suggestion for travel in general is to opt for solid products vs liquid ones where possible (e.g. shampoo bars, soaps instead of body wash, stick deodorant, etc). Choosing these means a lighter load, you won’t be carrying around 90% water, and you can take more with you – great if you’re going on a longer trip! We suggest sharing products between couples / family members if you can!
We specifically don’t recommend LUSH products here. We’ve seen them recommended on many an eco-friendly travel blog (and we’ve even used them ourselves too) but we have found that far from being eco-friendly, they are actually full of harsh chemicals. The shampoo bar made our scalps dry and itchy, and LUSH has recently got into a lot of hot water with advertising standards for their products not being as natural as they may seem…
- An eco friendly toiletry bag – like this one!
- Organic Shampoo bar like this one
- Body soap bar like this one + this soap case to keep it nice.
- If you’re travelling longer term and prefer liquid soap we recommend Dr Bronners which comes in concentrated form and can be used for hair, body and even clothes washing!
- Bamboo Toothbrush(es)
- Reef-safe and Natural Sun Screen/Block
- Natural Insect Repellant
- Plastic-free cotton buds
- Feminine Products: I recommend either the Organicup menstrual cup, or organic cotton period underwear like this set.
- Non-Toxic Stick Deodorant
- Raw Coconut Oil (we use this instead of taking after-sun and different moisturisers as Coconut Oil does the job perfectly!). Make sure to buy raw rather than the processed stuff!
- Essential Oils – if you’re prone to dry skin, mould in humid climates or other skin conditions, find the best essential oil for you and take with you. Tea Tree & Lavender are both great for skin irritation and fungal skin infections – make sure to buy organic ones!
- Linen turkish towels / facecloths. Lightweight, absorbent, natural and easily washable – we like this one or check out House of Jude if you’re in Canada.
Depending on where you live, we have a few different favourite eco-friendly brands for toiletries. If you live in the UK, we love Guiltless Skin for their face oils and serums which have kept our skin hydrated on the road. In Canada, we love the Great Canadian Hemp Company.
Here are some of our favourite accessories from our travels:
Travel Bags & Luggage
Perhaps the most important part – what we put all of our favourite products in! Luckily there are some great eco friendly bags on the market.
We love our Osprey backpacks – we’ve been using our Osprey Farpoint 40 for many a trip and it’s still going strong. For those who prefer their luggage with wheels, we are fans of Samsonite’s new Eco Nu range – an entire range of suitcases that are made out of recycled plastic bottles!
Eco-Friendly Clothing for Travel
Sustainable fashion is a topic in its own right, but here are a few of our favourite ethical / sustainable accessories we like to take with us:
- Basic bamboo vests & organic cotton t-shirts (great for keeping cool!)
- Leggings & Yoga wear made from recycled plastic by Teeki
- Sustainable Swimwear – some of our favourite companies are Vitamin A Swim, Londre, and Summersalt
Should you Offset your Carbon?
We don’t believe that carbon offsetting is a solution to making travel more sustainable – rather the change in behaviour and creating less impact when we travel has to come from the tourism industry, travel providers, and us as travellers.
Paying someone else to offset our carbon is not enough. That said, we do encourage people to look into the option of offsetting in addition to travelling more consciously. Read more about Carbon Offsetting here.
What are your favourite eco friendly travel products? What should we add to our packing lists? Let us know in the comments below!
Read more about travelling mindfully on Soul Travel:
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