Updated: September 27, 2022
As much as I and many of us love travel, we have to find ways to help our planet as best we can. Opting to use sustainable travel products is a step in the right direction.
Every time we step on a plane or take a road trip we are increasing our carbon footprint. And even though it may be difficult to fully offset it, we should try our best. Because I don’t know about you, but it would be very hard for me to stop traveling. So what can we do?
Even with the negative impact travel can have on the places we visit, we can do our part to limit that. This list has sustainable travel products you can use when you’re off on an adventure or at home. One of the easiest ways to start living a more sustainable life is to trade in unsustainable one for eco-friendly ones. By no means is this list exhaustive, so if you know others I should add let me know in the comments!
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Uff, this is one of the biggest and easiest changes we can make. The average person uses 156 plastic water bottles a year which totals about 500 billion plastic bottles used a year. That’s a lot. And if each person could cut their own number by half or more it would make a great impact on our planet.
I understand there are places in the world where the local water is not potable, so people rely on bottled water. If financially possible, I recommend buying the large water bottles of a gallon or more to refill the reusable one. An even better alternative would be purchasing a water filter and refilling the reusable water bottle when needed. Of course this depends on a person’s financial ability to purchase these alternative products, as not every person everywhere can afford to do so.
I think I’ve bought travel sized toiletries once or twice and have been reusing them ever since. So if the label says it’s a certain brand, it most definitely is not. I’m not particularly picky on them matching as long as they get the job done. But if you like yours being more color coordinated then don’t worry, I got you! Check out all the different kinds of reusable toiletry containers here.
Did you know regular sunscreen isn’t good for the ocean and isn’t really good for you? Many ingredients found in regular sunscreen are toxic to the environment, especially the coral reef when we get in the water. A perfect alternative is coral reef organic sunscreen.
If you weren’t aware, coral reefs are the ecosystem of the ocean. Without it, all other sea creatures can die off over time. Here are two ingredients to completely avoid when buying/using sunscreen: Oxybenzone and Octinoxate. There are also derivatives of these two with slightly similar names which are also recommended to avoid. Hawaii has even banned sunscreens that include these ingredients.
In addition to the ocean’s reefs, these ingredients are detrimental to your skin as well. These chemicals are absorbed into your skin, bloodstream and breast milk which can alter hormone balance. The ingredients you do want in your sunscreen are Titanium dioxide and Zinc oxide.
I’m no scientist, but I’m guessing many companies may use these ingredients as they could be easy to come by or cheaper to use instead of safer alternatives. If you can, avoid using spray sunscreens as many times they float in the air and land elsewhere apart from just your skin.
Black Girl Sunscreen is a great sunscreen for people of color as it is reef safe, vegan, and doubles as a moisturizing lotion. Honestly, you get everything in one with this. At the same time you are supporting a women owned business. Overall, it’s a win-win for everyone.
You’re planning a trip and you’re looking at all the outfits you want to buy for your pictures. I get it because I’ve definitely done it also. But we don’t always need to buy brand new pieces. Sometimes we need some things that are new to us. I have no shame in shopping vintage or second hand because I’ve found complete STEALS for a fraction of the price. There’s actually an oversized button up I bought to use over jeans or as a beach cover up that I bought for ONE EURO. If you follow me on Instagram then you’ve definitely seen it cause I love it.
An alternative to physically going to the store, there are online thrift stores if that’s your thing. There’s a great thrift and consignment store I’ve seen called ThredUp. I haven’t had the chance to use it but do plan to get rid of certain things I no longer use.
The sun is a great source of energy so why not use it for our own benefit? A solar charger is a must have tool that is eco-friendly and can help you out without needing to use electricity. Most charge within a few hours and will allow you to power your devices several times before running out of juice.
Lots of places worldwide are changing to paper straws over plastic which is a great improvement. I’ve noticed that I drink kind of slowly which leads to the straw disintegrating before I even finish my drink. I end up with a soggy straw and wet paper with every sip. Bamboo or stainless straws are great alternatives that won’t easily dissolve that you can clean and take anywhere.
If make up pads are your go-to for makeup removal or to apply products, then you need to look into getting these removal make up pads. They’re light and don’t take up much space which is perfect for travelers. Most of these packs come with at least 10 pads or more. Just use, wash, and reuse as long as the pads material seems durable. They should last you months, if not longer as long as you’re taking good care of them.
I have been using a menstrual cup for years and I love it. Before getting one I used to spend about $20 a month on feminine products, between tampons and pads. That’s over $200 a year that could go towards something else! There are a variety of sizes, colors, and prices for your needs. But buying one will cost you between $10 and $40 and can easily last you a couple years before you should replace it. I recommend odorless and colorless just because you don’t want to alter your pH balance and add unnecessary toxins into your body.
If menstrual cups aren’t your thing and you prefer pads, then check out Thinx! They have varying undies for different flows. Based on where I’m traveling to, especially places without direct access to a cleaner facility, I sometimes still opt for pads or tampons. This is a rare and unusual occurrence though. It is good to have a few just in case you need them and aren’t able to access them.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, you should be replacing your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. Imagine every person throwing out a plastic toothbrush three to four times a year?! That’s a lot of plastic. Swap out the plastic toothbrush with a bamboo one instead. Bamboo is a fast growing crop that uses no fertilizer and self generates making it highly sustainable. If the bristles are charcoal infused, such as this toothbrush here, they’ll also whiten your teeth.
Similar to finding ways to minimize your plastic water bottle use, the LifeStraw is another option. It can best assist in places with no access to potable water to put in your reusable water bottle. You can place it directly in a body of water and drink. It’s the cheapest way to have clean, safe water anywhere you go.
Laundry can have a huge negative impact on the environment as it uses lots of water and chemicals to keep our clothes clean. Scrubba is a great alternative to using washing machines. You can take it on the go, do laundry when you’d like, and use a much smaller amount of water compared to machines.
If you’ll be using an eco-friendly wash bag, then you gotta go do it right by using eco-friendly detergent. This kind of detergent is free of artificial fragrances, chlorine bleach, and dyes. Some brands to consider include:
Disposable food containers are far too common worldwide and make up a large part of one use plastics. If you like saving a few bucks when traveling, I suggest taking reusable non plastic food containers with you. This way on busy days you can easily transport your food without carrying something that can damage the environment. If you’re getting takeout during travels, or at home, let them know you have your own container. This way you’re using less plastic and helping a business save costs by needing less containers to purchase.
I used to never think that my hair ties could be sustainable, but they can. Terra Ties is a small business who created plastic free, compostable, and eco-friendly hair ties. I’ve been using them for a month and can let you know that these ties are strong and can really hold my hair up. Unlike other hair ties that start to stretch out after a few weeks or months, Terra Ties look exactly like when I got them. They’re a bit thick which is great for fuller hair. Definitely recommend using them as you won’t need to carry as many with you, unless you tend to lose them.
What sustainable travel products would you add?
I hope this list has inspired you to start seeing how you can include more sustainable travel products during your adventures as well as when you’re home. This list is by no means exhaustive as there are endless products to live a more sustainable life. I’d love to know what other sustainable products you have known of or have incorporated into your life, so please leave a comment!
If you have found this helpful then I urge you to check out my post about How to Travel More Sustainably. This post gives you sustainable and actionable steps that don’t include buying new travel products.
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