Get inspired with these eco friendly gifts for travelers.
This collection is stuffed with useful ideas that are functional as well.
Why eco friendly?
When we travel we try to be as ecological as possible.
It's not always easy to travel sustainable and we are definitely still not 100% green.
Because let's just faced it, traveling itself isn't eco-friendly.
Flying by plane is anything but good for the environment but without it, we can't get from A to B.
Yet, we can choose to be more conscious about our environment by making choices that minimize waste for example.
YOU can assist your family and friends in their quest around the world by giving them thoughtful gifts this Christmas season.
Often while we don't know that certain things can be harmful to the environment or that you can get alternative items that are so much more useful and better for you and the earth.
I'm not some freaky hippie, I'm a realist but I also understand that things are not always black and white.
But I also know that it's a step forward and it's the only path we will be able to take in the future.
You can be the change today.
The most eco-friendly travel environment we have ever experienced was in Goa, India.
Sustainable gifts and or so-called zero waste gifts are common in places such as Goa (India) and over the years we were privileged to meet amazing forward-thinking people from around the world in Goa.
I have combined all that I learned over the years and came up with a useful collection of sustainable gifts for travelers from around the world.
Further below you can choose between earth and eco-friendly, organic or natural, green, zero waste, sustainable, fair trade, and even biodegradable gifts.
These are the things that I kept in mind when compiling this gift guide:
- Only essentials and useful things that are needed on a short or long trip
- Only ecologically viable things - Less plastic but not necessarily more wood and paper
- Light and easy, to pack things in a smart manner
- Things that solve a problem when traveling
- gifts mainly for adventure, city and casual travel
One of the most earth damaging things in this world are one-way plastic bottles.
It's actually ridiculous if you think how many bottles of water we end up buying when traveling across the world. In fact, it's a shame.
Sometimes, we are forced to buy water bottles because clean water isn't available otherwise.
I totally get it and I know the world isn't built yet with the earth's well-fare in mind.
Once I bought a bottle of water in North India and I didn't check the seal properly.
I had been contaminated so that the hotel owners could send me to the doctor and cash in on my sickness.
This is when I decided that I had to do something, so I switched to a bottle that I can carry around.
We love our klean kanteen insulated bottle which we use with hot and cold drinks alike.
It keeps hot beverages hot for over 8 hours and cooled drinks cold for up to 14 hours.
We even used it on some of the toughest roads in the Indian Himalayas.
To purify water on the go, I recommend you get a handy water purification device with a carbon filter or similar.
Those portable water filters have been around for a while and are definitely worth the extra buck!
A water bottle and a filter device make great Eco Friendly Gifts!
Reusable Food Wraps
Reusable food wraps come super handy when you travel.
You end up throwing out less packaging and they also prevent food waste.
Reusable food wraps are made of beeswax.
That means you can wash them and use them again or when you need to throw them out you can do that with a good conscious because they are a 100% natural and biodegradable.
Reusable food wraps by themselves are a boring gift (I admit) but I love this Terra Nature Love kit which includes not only green wraps but also reusable straws and odor neutralizers.
On the go waste reduction will soon be easier than we thought.
Sustainable Fair Trade Sleeping Bags
We shouldn't forget sustainable sleeping bags!
I use my sleeping bag all the time because I'm suspicious of hotel rooms (I worked in the hotel industry).
So, this gift might not just be for adventure travelers after all.
Cotopaxi is a great choice for sustainable sleeping bags.
They have a waste saving system in place where they turn remnant materials into limited-run products.
They also work on sustainable poverty relief and each employee has some creative controls over some of their product lines.
I think that's just brilliant and they deserve a mention here.
Bamboo Cutlery Set for on the go
Bamboo is an amazing material!
Bamboo grows fast, it doesn't require irrigation, it grows without pesticides, it produces a lot of oxygen, it's strong, easy to clean and a light material.
I love to use bamboo chopsticks and my bamboo cutting boards at home.
When we travel to less accessible places, we like to use a bamboo cutlery set.
They don't take up much space and you can easily wash them off easily.
Besides the material dries faster and it's more water-resistant than any other wood.
I chose to add cutlery to the travel gift guide because one doesn't always get cutlery in some places such as in Asia and in Africa.
Reusable Grocery Bags
Everyone ends up buying some food in a local market or grocery store when they are on the move.
For example when you want to try out tropical fruits in a market in the Caribbean.
Some places in the world do not hand out plastic bags anymore and it is often while expected that you bring along your own bag.
Sometimes you can even buy grocery bags made of cloth at the cash counter.
Yet, I think the smartest thing that one can do, is to always bring along a reusable grocery bag.
Those can be washed and they come in all kinds of colors and shapes.
Besides one bag won't take up that much space in a backpack or suitcase and they make great stocking stuffers.
Eco Backpacks and Suitcase options
Eco backpacks have become more common in the last years.
Sustainable Clothing Brands
I personally use clothes from patagonia, prAna, super.natural, armedangels when I travel.
In my opinion, sportswear from super.natural (short known as [SN]) and patagonia are usually more suitable for adventure travel because of the materials used.
All those clothing brands have a fair trade and sustainability label and make great eco friendly gifts.
The materials are of high quality, the design and cuts are lovely, the clothes will be great to master the cold and a hot environment in most cases.
I personally don't keep a lot of clothes but I invest in a few of those sustainable clothes whenever possible.
I think it's a great idea too, to get your family and friends a gift voucher for any of those sustainable clothing brands.
Reusable Green Make Up Pads
One of my biggest pet peeves are those cotton make-up remover pads.
I'm a girl and I need one at least every day and that's at least 365 cotton pads in a year. It's mind-blowing!
So when I learned that eco washable make-up pads are a thing I got super excited!
I know it's not the most glorious gift but it's definitely a great step forward and you can add it to some of the other environmentally friendly gifts on this list.
Just think how many of those throwout pad packs you end up buying.
Reusable pads are also great for a girl's pocket in the long run.
A shampoo that won't harm the environment.
Yep, soap can harm the environment and to find a shampoo that is biodegradable, phosphate-free and paraben-free isn't that easy, trust me!
I came across this concentrated shampoo/conditioner from sea to summit and Paul has been enjoying it so far.
He has thick hair so it works great on his hair.
I haven't been so lucky so far with my thin hair as it tends to turn my hair frizzy.
I still think this biodegradable shampoo would make a great gift in combination with some other items on this list.
Eco friendly Razor
I came across this eco-friendly bamboo razor from Bambow and I'm definitely getting it for Paul this Christmas.
It looks like a useful travel razor that promises to last a lifetime.
Enviroment friendly Sun Screen
Sunscreen isn't that great for the sea when you go swimming.
I discovered this sunscreen from reef repair and it pretty much does what it promises.
It not only protects you from the sun but also helps nature.
It's completely chemical-free and therefore completely reef safe.
This is a great sunscreen when at the beach in Goa and it's also a must use when one intends to go diving near coral reefs in the Caribbean, Maldives or Australia.
Eco Green Yoga Mat
So while yoga mats might not really count as a necessity, I still decided to add it here.
I personally don't do yoga but I do follow a daily bodyweight training routine and for that, I use a yoga mat.
Staying fit when traveling is crucial!
If you have a traveling buddy who can need a good quality, easy to clean, lightweight, and sustainably produced yoga/ exercise mat then look no further.
The mats from Yogo are a great buy and make excellent eco friendly gifts!
More cool (but not so necessary) eco gifts for travelers
- Eco Travel Pillow - Paul's favorite
- Eco Lip Balm - I can't live without that
- Eco Cork Wallet - a gift for him with RFID protection
- Organic Cotton Handkerchief - not a new thing but way better than throwing out a paper handkerchief.
- Plantbased Mosquito repellent - No chemicals, all natural.
How to gift wrap the green way?
I came across gift wrap that grows, back in India (no kidding!).
The used gift wrap contains tiny seeds and when "planted" decompose and the seeds grow into plants.
I was super excited when I tried it for the first time and it was actually fun too.
Another idea is to place gifts into reusable bags, which is another great timeless option!
So, let's wrap it up here.
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What eco friendly gifts are you going to gift?
Feel free to share with us your thoughts in the comment section further below.