Travel and the holiday season go hand-in-hand. Whether you’re journeying to celebrate with your loved ones or just getting away from it all.
It’s an inconvenient fact that air travel is the most harmful to the environment.
If you’re trying to live a sustainable lifestyle you may be feeling a bit of flight shame as you step on and off the plane. However, sometimes, travelling by plane cannot be avoided.
There are things we can all do to combat a bit of that flight shame. In the hopes of making your holiday shopping a little less stressful, we’ve put together a guide to eco friendly gifts for travellers.
You’ll find must have sustainable and eco friendly gift items for all those travel bugs in your life – including yourself!
Toiletry Gifts for Eco Travel
When it comes to travel you can’t get any more essential than toiletries. (Aside from your passport perhaps.)
Assembling a kit for a frequent flyer or new traveller would make a thoughtful and useful eco friendly gift. Here are some of our favourites.
The Hydrophil Sustainable Toothbrush is a truly eco friendly option. The handle is made from Moso bamboo and the bristles are 100% plant based. Making this entire brush biodegradable!
Georganics Natural Tooth Soap is a great alternative to toothpaste in a tube. Made from natural ingredients it’s packaged in recyclable and compostable cardboard.
It contains sustainably sourced palm oil and is easy to pack. Plus, since it’s solid, it won’t contribute towards your liquid allowance.
Georganics Natural Silk Dental Floss comes in a small glass tube that is travel ready. The floss itself is made of biodegradable, sustainably sourced, cruelty free silk.
You can even purchase a refill which consists of two spools of floss packaged in a biodegradable box.
Friendly Soap Hair & Body Travel Soap Bar is vegan and palm oil free. It’s a handy bar that works as shampoo, body wash and shaving soap.
While it won’t contribute to your liquids when travelling it can be annoying to wait for it to dry before packing it up.
We recommend keeping it in a container after use to making packing and carrying it around easier.
Ben & Anna and We Love the Planet solid deodorants are ideal for travelling.
They come packaged in plastic free recyclable cardboard tubes. This makes them lightweight as well as great sustainable alternatives to traditional deodorants.
Sunscreen is a travel essential. Suntribe (SPF 30) and Shade (SPF 25) are perfect eco friendly sunscreens.
They’re packaged in a compact, plastic free, recyclable tin container.
If you’re not sold on solid toiletries then try GoToob travel containers from humangear. They’re easy to refill and the silicone body makes the contents easy to squeeze out.
They come in a range of sizes and colours and are available individually or in packs of three.
Lastly, every traveller needs a handy toiletry bag to keep everything in. Elvis & Kresse make toiletry bags from decommissioned fire hoses.
They’re available in small, medium and large. Not only are they an upcycled, sustainable option, they’re also a unique piece full of history!
Eco Friendly Gifts for Eating and Drinking on the Go
A reusable water bottle is an everyday staple and definitely a travel essential. Carrying one will help you use less plastic and save money on buying water.
For travel, a stainless steel insulated bottle is a good option. They’re durable and keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot.
S’well bottles easily fit into backpack pockets and come in many different designs and colours.
Another option are Hydroflask bottles. These are also durable and are available in many different sizes and shapes.
They have a choice of a narrow or wide mouth and the cap has a handy silicone strap that makes the larger ones easy to hold.
Reusable silicone straws are another travel essential that are also eco friendly. They’re easy to pack, lightweight, flexible, and won’t scratch the inside of your water bottle or cup.
These straws include a cleaning brush and an organic cotton carry pouch and come in recycled and recyclable packaging.
The Bambu sustainable cork utensil travel set is a great eco friendly gift for travellers.
Having utensils when you travel (that include a handy pouch!) means not having to use your fingers!
Stasher silicone bags are also helpful when travelling. They’re made from 100% silicone and make it easy to pack snacks or any of the loose bits and bobs in your luggage.
Travel Gear That Makes Fantastic Eco Friendly Gifts
The Nomadix Travel Towel makes a brilliant gift for travellers. It’s made from 100% recycled materials, comes in many prints, is quick drying and antimicrobial.
Great for trips to the beach, to dry off after the rain or any other planned (and unplanned) encounters with water.
If you’ve ever been on a backpacking trek, you’ll know the balance between having enough clean clothes and packing too many. The Scrubba washing bag eliminates that stress, while being compact and easy to pack.
It’s great for backpackers but also extremely useful on any holiday where you want to travel light. Use it to scrub clothes clean on the go!
eco friendly backpacks
Patagonia make a range of amazing travel bags. The Black Hole Duffel is made from 100% recycled polyester fabric and nylon webbing. It comes in four sizes, many different colours and is also available with wheels.
It’s also weather resistant, with a padded bottom to protect contents and comes with padded straps so that it can be worn like a backpack.
The MLC (Maximum Legal Carry On) is also water resistant and made from 100% recycled materials. It has a capacity of 45L and has a classic square luggage shape.
The Ultralight Black Hole Duffel is a great lighter alternative to the Black Hole Duffel. It is, of course, made from 100% recycled materials yet weighs in at 230g when it’s empty. (Compare this to the Black Hole Duffel at over 1kg.)
It’s also worth noting that Patagonia products are covered by their Ironclad Guarantee. Should you be dissatisfied, you can return it for a repair, replacement or refund.
The Rift Pack by United by Blue is a great eco friendly gift for someone looking for a travel backpack. It has a capacity of 25L and is made from recycled polyester with vegetable tanned leather details.
It’s water repellent, has a padded internal laptop sleeve, inner zippered and non-zippered pockets and a water bottle sleeve.
If 25L is still too large then the Bluff Utility Backpack, which has a capacity of 10L, might be a better option. It’s made from the same materials and has the same internal features with a tablet sleeve.
United by Blue items are also protected by a Lifetime Guarantee. For every product purchased United by Blue removes 1lb of rubbish from oceans and waterways. The company is also working to remove all plastic from its own supply chain by Spring 2020.
eco friendly Lanterns
LuminAid PackLite Nova solar powered lanterns are very useful for travelling. This inflatable lantern folds down to a thickness that is less than an inch, is waterproof and floats.
How many hours of light there are on a single charge depends on which brightness setting you choose. The brightest will use the charge in 3-5 hours, the lowest in 18-24 hours, and flashing/SOS in 36-48 hours.
It should be noted that it takes about 10 hours of direct sunlight to fully charge the battery. But each lantern can be charged by USB too.
LuminAid also make a series of lanterns such as the Firefly that double up as a charger. The Firefly emits a warm white light, can be fully charged in two hours via USB or in 16-20 hours via sunlight.
The full charge translates to 3-5 hours of light on the brightest setting, 44-50 hours on the lowest setting and 60-72 hours in SOS mode. It can charge a phone – depending on phone type – to 75-100% in 2-4 hours.
LuminAid’s more powerful lantern in this series is the Hero. It takes four hours via USB or 20-30 hours via sunlight to reach a full charge.
This will then feed the brightest light setting for 3-5 hours, the lowest light setting for 72-100 hours and SOS for more than 100 hours. Depending on the phone, it can provide a full charge in 2-4 hours.
Sustainable, Zero Waste and Eco Friendly Gifts for Travellers
Giving sustainable, eco friendly gifts to someone always on the go can be tricky. So an awesome option is to donate to a cause on their behalf.
You could donate to an organisation that provides aid to the citizens of their favourite travel destination. Or their favourite museum, national park or landmark, or to a restoration project.
Another option is to donate to environmental cleanup groups or organisations protecting wildlife. The possibilities are endless.
Should you be looking for more eco friendly gift ideas, we have these other gift guides to help you: