The very best eco-friendly travel products will not only reduce your carbon footprint, but also improve the way you travel, and even your day to day life. As travel fanatics it makes sense that we love the world we live in.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to see as much as possible of this incredible planet, and hand in hand with that, we want to look after it. Sadly for those of us who are passionate about it, travel is pretty unsustainable. However there are steps we can go to that ensure we are doing everything possible to enjoy our passion and reduce our carbon footprint. These eco-friendly travel products will help you on your way to becoming a more eco-friendly traveller.
Why Start Using Eco-Friendly Travel Products?
Since we moved onto a sailboat we have started to notice more and more how the way we live and used to live affects our environment. The environment was a big factor in our decision making about how we wanted to travel the world, so it would be silly not to make other small changes too.
We have found that one of the easiest ways to start living a more eco-friendly life is by making the simple switch from using unsustainable products to sustainable products. So here you have our top run down of the most eco-friendly travel products that will change the way you travel for good (and the good of the world!)
As a side note, remember that the best way to stay eco-friendly is to use products you already have until you can use them no longer! So get sewing, taping and gluing before you buy new!
#1 Reusable Water Bottle
An obvious one, but one that is so easily forgotten. We have struggled a lot with this since moving onto a sailboat, and continue to when we go ashore and see way more than we’d like just floating in the sea or washed up on beaches.
A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute. Every minute! We can really help to reduce this number by using refillable water bottles, and drinking tap water when we travel.
There are several options depending on where you’re travelling to. A standard water bottle will be great for travel where the tap water is safe to drink, try this collapsable one for the ultimate in packing light (don’t forget to keep it in your hand luggage, as you can fill up water bottles at most airports. Some airport restaurants even offer ice and lemon! Now that’s just saved you £2 every time you fly!)
If you’re planning on going to places where you’re unsure about the water quality, water to go make water bottles with an inbuilt filter that gets rid of 99.9% of bacteria. It filters out a lot of the nasties, and you can use it to fill up from streams if you’re trekking.
I’ve saved my favourite for last.
The Caretta Stainless Steel Water Bottle donates 25% of their profits to ocean plastic removal, with plans to donate even more in the future. These water bottles keep drinks hot or cold (perfect for taking a hotel coffee top up with you on a sight seeing trip!) Now that’s an eco-friendly travel product that will make you feel good in more ways that one!
#2 Solid Toiletries: One Of The Best Eco-Friendly Travel Products
I’d never even heard of solid toiletries until I moved onto a boat, but less plastic is more in our opinion so this invention is a great eco-friendly travel product and one that we think will really catch on over the coming months-not just because it’s good for the environment but because it’s so damn handy for travel!
It’s exactly what the name suggests-solid toiletries. With no need for plastic bottles, you can get all sorts of different cosmetic products in solid form. These shampoo bars You can get them in your hand luggage, they’re super light and take up a lot less space. They also don’t get stuck at the bottom of a bottle! Eco-friendly travel products with added travel benefits!
#3 Reef Friendly Sun Cream
Living on the sea has made us ultra aware of just how important it is to protect our oceans and all the amazing animals that call it home. 14,000 tons of sunscreen wash into the oceans every year, which means all the toxic chemicals found within them are washing into our seas every time we go swimming.
Not to worry though, it is increasingly easy to stay safe in the sun and protect the ocean. You’ll need to be willing to do a little label reading. as unfortunately not all ‘reef friendly’ sun creams are regulated. The only truly reef-friendly active ingredients are non-nano zinc oxide and non-nano titanium dioxide, so it’s important to give the ingredients label a quick scan before you buy to make sure you’re really buying an eco-friendly travel product. Bonus points if it comes in a recyclable bottle like this one!
Another great reason to buy reef-friendly sun cream is it could well benefit your health too. Research is beginning to show that the same chemicals harming our coral reefs can also harm us, so picking a reef friendly sun cream is a good eco-friendly travel product choice all round!
#4 Odourless Clothing
I feel pretty smug at how much we’re helping the environment by never washing our clothes. Did you know that two-thirds of the environmental impact of a piece of clothing is created by laundry. Ok, so we don’t really have a choice in this matter, we have no washing machine and hardly any water. Smelling really bad doesn’t matter so much on a boat in the middle of the sea, but what about when we have to make a public appearance?
Polygiene permanent odour control stops the growth of odour-causing bacteria on fabrics, so you can wear more and wash less. Give some of their clothes a try, you’ll be pleasantly surprised! And for those times when you do eventually need to wash them, check out the incredible eco-friendly travel product below that washes your clothes-in a bag!
#5 Eco-Friendly Travel Deodorant
Chemicals found in lots of deodorants can be harmful to ocean life, especially if you go swimming a lot while you’re on holiday. Just swap your usual deodorant to an eco-friendly version, like the sun cream it will do the world and you good, so you win all round! To go the extra mile pick an eco-friendly deodorant that comes in biodegradable packaging, there are plenty out there to choose from.
We’ve found this natural deodorant block to work great (squeeze it into an old deodorant container for easy use, and make sure you apply it after showers when your skin is still slightly damp), but you might want to try a few different ones before you find the right one for you! It took us a few goes to get it right, so don’t give up if the first one you pick doesn’t work as well as your chemical filled one, we promise there’s a good alternative suited to you out there!
#6 Sustainable Sunglasses For Eco-Friendly Travel
I only started researching this when I realised just how many sunglasses you drop in the sea when living on a sailboat. All that plastic going straight to the bottom of the ocean, so not only are you gutted to have lost your favourite pair of sunnies, you also have the guilt of contributing to one of the biggest ecological problems we face today.
Luckily, I found you can pick up a pair of bamboo or reclaimed wood sunglasses from Amazon for super reasonable prices, so we’ve bought several pairs just in case! If you’re looking for a new pair for your travels then look no further, these are polarised, stylish and great for the environment.
#7 Solar Charger-One Of The Best Eco-Friendly Travel Products
These solar chargers are awesome! They’re small enough to barely notice you’ve packed something extra, they’re rugged and waterproof so you don’t have to worry about them too much while you’re on the move and they charge faster than most other solar chargers on the market. This solar charger is compatible with most tablets and phones, nut double check before you buy.
#8 Sustainable Bamboo Toothbrush
This one is such an easy swap out, I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner. Just grab a pack of bamboo toothbrushes instead of the usual plastic ones.
Unfortunately, at the time of writing, all bamboo toothbrushes on the market have some sort of nylon in their bristles. These are made from nylon-6 which is recommended and safe to use. Some companies will claim their bristles are ‘eco-nylon’ or ‘nylon-4’ and will 100% biodegrade, which apparently is not true.
Other bristles to watch out for (due to the harmful chemicals involved) are ‘bamboo viscose’ bristles. The ‘viscose process’ used by most businesses involves highly toxic chemicals that are extremely damaging to the environment.
As with most things in life, buying eco-friendly travel products isn’t black and white. We do what research we can and try our best to make the ‘right’ decisions. Doing something is better than doing nothing right?
These ones are brilliant if you travel with someone, as the different coloured heads make it easy for you to tell whose is whose.
#9 Read A Kindle As An Eco-Friendly Alternative
Another eco-friendly travel product that will transform your travel life and not just your conscious. I was actually really against Kindles for years. I loved the feel of books, and I loved collecting a library of books I’d read.
However, there is no room for books on a boat, so I was forced to embrace the Kindle and found I actually love it. It’s so easy to use, the batteries last forever and you can take it anywhere. This one’s even waterproof, perfect for beach days! It takes up literally no room at all. All those years I backpacked around countries lugging along several heavy books, and for no reason at all. I could have had a whole library with me and it not weighed a thing.
#10 Eco-Friendly Insect Repellent
I’ll be honest, this is one area that I fall down terribly. I react really badly to insect bites, and have found that natural insect repellents just don’t work for me. If I can’t cover up and I’m out and about in places where the mozzies are really bad, I’m afraid I use the deet. I’m really sorry!
If you’re like Adam, and you don’t react too badly to those awful, horrible creatures, then these natural products seem to work great. Go for a Deet free insect repellent to make sure you’re not anywhere those nasty chemicals-it’s way better for you too!
#11 Eco-Friendly Travel Wash Bag
If you’re in the market for a new wash bag then look no further than these eco-friendly travel wash bags (this one’s made from leaves!?), perfect for storing your solid toiletries and bamboo toothbrush! Some are made from sustainable materials, others are recyclable themselves and others are made from recycled plastic. Take your pic! If you already have a wash bag, then use until you can use it no longer (obviously using what we have and not adding to landfill is the very best thing we can do for the environment!)
#12 Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat
We’re not massively into yoga or anything, but a yoga mat when travelling is one of our essentials. They always seem to come in handy, whether it’s to sit on a dirty train floor or as something super comfy to lie on on the beach. We also use them as an exercise mat for times when we’re not getting out and about much.
Until recently we didn’t even think about the waste they create, but luckily we’ve found a solution. These eco-friendly yoga mats are bio-degradable and free of yucky stuff, so you can buy them guilt free. They’re also pretty cheap, but don’t feel that way. Plus, you can choose a colour you love (oh so important!)
#13 Plastic Free Periods
If periods aren’t a thing for you then feel free skip to number 14!
Unfortunately, periods are a bloody nightmare for the environment. Not to worry though, luckily the makers of these sanitary products are on it, creating ways to help us stay comfortable and eco-friendly while we travel. And while we don’t! Grab an organicup menstrual cup or some organic cotton reusable sanitary pads to make your period better for the environment.
#14 Bamboo Travel Towel
These travel towels are made from sustainable bamboo to make sure they are staying eco-friendly, and providing customers with a great travel product. These towels fold up super small and are so lovely and soft that we use them for more than just travel. They are perfect for the gym, and for lying around by the pool!
#15 Solar Powered Torch For The Ultra Eco-Friendly
These solar powered torches are just a genius invention, as an eco-friendly travel product and just as a product in general. You give them an hour of sunlight and they work for over an hour, and if you need more than that there’s a handle for you to create power for them manually.
These torches used to be a little dim, and I was always disappointed by the light quality out of them. But technology has moved on and they’re so much better now, so if you travel with a torch then go for one of these instead of a battery powered one and feel all light inside!
#16 Reusable Eco-Friendly Wipes
I’ve been guilty of taking a pack of disposable make-up with me when I travel, they are super convenient for people in a rush! But what I didn’t know was that they are made from a nasty combination of non-biodegradable polyesters, rayon fibres, polypropylene and wood pulp, meaning they take years and years to break down in landfill.
Finding these eco-friendly make-up wipes has not only helped me on my quest for finding more eco-friendly travel products, it’s also helped my bank account! They’re cheap, last forever, and are really lovely to use. I bought this pack of 21, which is perfect for ‘normal’ holidays. If I’m travelling for longer I just put them in with my laundry, or I give them a good soak in hot water and make sure I wash them properly when I get home. Easy!
#17 Solar Powered Lantern
Following on from the saving energy theme, these solar powered lanterns are an absolute must for camping, sailing or camper van travel. In fact, they’re a great eco-friendly travel product for almost any kind of travel because they’re inflatable, so they fold down super small, and they give off great light. Think of all the parties on the beach and the late night deep and meaningfuls in the hostel gardens that these will come in handy for.
#18 Reusable Coffee Cup
Give me tea any day. But seriously, if you like hot drinks then you need one of these for travel. Not only are these ones made from recycled coffee cups (how cool is that!?) but they will also last forever. And, if you aren’t a fan of making your own hotel coffee to take with you on your days out, a lot of coffee shops will now serve your coffee to go in your own cup, so you can say goodbye to disposable coffee cups and hello to eco-friendly travel!
#19 Eco-Friendly Solar Powered Radio
A what? A solar powered radio, you heard me right. These things are powered by the sun and will literally make you dance with joy when you reduce your carbon footprint. We can’t think of anything better to have with you for those beach BBQs or poolside gatherings. You could even take it up the mountain skiing with you on a sunny day. And as long as the sun’s out, the parties on.
You can get a few different radios in different price ranges, but from personal experience you’ll be better off paying a little more from the start to get good quality audio and lasting battery life. These Roberts radios can be charged in a range of different ways, so you be music-less on cloudy days.
#20 Reusable Food Storage Bags
This is one eco-friendly travel product we can’t live without. Since starting our desperate quest to save money we always take picnics on our adventures. To start with we weren’t really sure what to use, other than those little clear plastic bags or plastic containers that were hard to keep reusing.
Then we found these babies and couldn’t live without them. They’re wipe clean (and some even go in the dishwasher), they come in several different sizes depending on what foods you want to put in them (try snacks like chopped fruit and nuts as well as sandwiches) and they look so super cute too! The perfect eco-friendly travel product that you have to get your hands on.
#21 Eco-Friendly Travel Product-The Reusable Razor
It seems like an obvious one but for years I didn’t think twice about chucking my disposable plastic razors in the bin every few weeks. What a crazy think to do. All that plastic and for no good reason. These reusable razors have bamboo handles, making them sustainable and far better for the environment than the plastic ones you get in Tescos. They look a whole lot nicer at the side of the bath too!
#22 Solar Powered Speaker
To go with your super duper solar powered radio, this speaker works with bluetooth and non-bluetooth devices, is rugged and waterproof and is also solar powered, so on sunny days you have no worries about this speaker dying on you. It’s the perfect eco-friendly travel product for anyone that loves listening to music or audio books while they travel. We use ours in the cockpit while we’re sailing to listen to audio books-it blocks out the sound of the engine on windless days!
#23 Eco-Friendly Laptop Case
I never travel without my laptop, and Adam gets really cross with me because I don’t have a protective case for it. So I started to look into buying an eco-friendly laptop case and found there really is such a thing! It’s made out of cork material, which is sustainable and excellent as a protective covering. Grab yourself one of these if you plan on taking your laptop on your travels!
Don’t forget to take a shopping bag with you on your travels. Turning down a plastic bag at the shops is one of the easiest things you can do to help save the planet, which makes these organic shopping bags one of the best eco-friendly travel products out there. Cheap, simple and cute, this bag will mean less plastic and more chocolate cake. Perfect!
I know what you’re thinking, you can’t take a washing machine on your travels. Well, apparently you can with the scrubba portable laundry system!
I NEED one of these bags in my life. We very rarely have access to a washing machine on board our sailboat, so I spent literally hours washing things by hand whenever we can find a supply of water. Not only does this waste a load of water (washing machines are one of the biggest uses of water for every day folk like us), but it also leaves my hands red raw.
This bag claims to be the worlds smallest washing machine. It looks so perfect for travel. You just shove in your clothes, water and eco-friendly detergent, mash it about a bit for a few minutes and dispose of your grey water somewhere safe. It folds down to a tiny size, and doubles up as a dry bag. I just can’t believe this bag exists and I don’t have one yet!
#26 Reusable Straws
I don’t actually use straws, but I have friends who just can’t be without them. If you love to sip your cocktail through a straw then don’t go holiday without a reusable one. And don’t forget to explain to the bar staff that you don’t need a plastic straw, I am always amazed by how many times I’m given a straw for no reason.
#27 Silicon Travel Products
If you don’t already have these silicone reusable travel bottles, then do yourself a favour and get some now. These bottles are so handy, I take them everywhere. They are travel sized for flights and 100% plastic free. You can reuse them to your hearts content, and they have handy little labels at the bottom so you don’t get them mixed up! They are one of my favourite ever eco-friendly travel products.
#28 Water Purification
Most people these days have a reusable water bottle, and that’s brilliant for countries where the drinking water is safe straight out of the tap. Unfortunately, many of the places we want to travel to do not have safe drinking water, and our only option (seemingly) is to buy bottled water, at great expense to us and the environment (bottled water isn’t even better for us, so what are we paying for? Check out this article if you’re interested!)
This water bottle, designed by NASA, has a filtration system that is second to none and comes in a handy water bottle. So you can take it trekking and filter out stream water, or use it in cities and drink the water straight from the bottle. It also makes water taste great, what’s not to love!
#29 Eco-Friendly Travel Day Bag
If you need a new day bag for your travels then why not go for one of these options, made from all sorts of recycled products. They look pretty nice too, don’t you think?
#30 Eco-Friendly Travel Journals
Maybe I’m alone here, but I absolutely love to keep a little diary of my travels. I tuck in all my tickets, detail what I did from day to day and at the end of my travels I have the perfect little reminder of everything I did, places I loved and all the funny things that happened along the way. There’s something so nice about having a book about your travels at the end of it all.
If you’re the same, then consider buying an eco-friendly book to keep your travel notes in. There are so many different types out there that you won’t have to sacrifice prettiness to still be left with an eco-friendly travel product.
Hopefully this has helped inspire you to get using eco-friendly travel products when you’re off on your holidays. Anything we’ve missed off? Let us know in the comments below!