Eco Friendly Travel Products: 36 Handy and Helpful Items
Interested in travelling more sustainably? One thing you can do is look to invest in eco friendly travel products, which are long-lasting and good for the environment. Read on to find out more about how you too can green up your travels.
It’s pretty easy to rack up the rubbish when travelling, which is why we should always take eco friendly travel products with us when we go abroad.
Plastic bottles. Plastic bags. Plastic cutlery. Styrofoam containers. Coffee cups. They all add up.
However, with a few slight adjustments to your travel kit, you’ll be able to drastically reduced the amount of rubbish you accumulate when travelling.
I’ve been trying to tread much more lightly in my travels ever since I gave up plastic for a year in 2016. Along the way, I’ve looked to replace broken travel items with products that are more long lasting. Or if I’ve needed a new travel item, I’ve researched to see what green options are available.
This post should help you too find the perfect eco friendly travel products to pack the next time you go off on an adventure.
What are the Best Eco Friendly Travel Products to Use?
I’ve broken this post into two sections.
In the first, you’ll learn which items you should always take travelling, if you want to commit to being a more sustainable traveller.
The second contains some products which are ideal for long term travel, for an extended trip or a green nomad.
And of course, the lighter you pack, the better. Here’s are some tips for packing light.
Things to Consider Before Purchasing Eco Friendly Travel Products
I’ve spent years now researching plastic-free and eco friendly travel products. These are some things I keep in mind, whenever I need to make a new investment.
There are many facets to sustainable travel and this is just one way you can take charge and try to do your part to tread a bit more lightly across our beautiful planet.
Eco Friendly Travel Products for Short Term Travel
Here are a few eco friendly travel products which you should never travel without, whether you’re going on a day trip, weekend trip, short break, or travelling with carry-on only.
Reusable Water bottle
Of all the items on this list, I’d say a reusable bottle is the best eco friendly travel product to take with you and one that certainly everyone needs – we all drink water! Or should, at least.
Bottled water really has to be the biggest con of the last few decades – particularly when you’re encouraged to buy it in places where the tap water is drinkable.
I never travel without my own bottle. Lately, I’ve been using a Yuhme bottle, which is lightweight and made of sugarcane, of all things! Pretty, sustainable and practical, all at once.
Don’t forget to empty your bottle when going through airport security – you can always fill it up on the other end.
If you can’t find filtered water (shame on airports that don’t offer this service), then ask a staff member at a restaurant or bar to fill it up for you.
At worst, I get them filled up on the plane itself. Although this is still coming from bottled water, I figure I’m at least saving several plastic cups in the process.
Here are some other good options of reusable water bottles for travel.
Shop for a reusable water bottle here
Purifying Water Bottle + Filtration Device
Of course, in some countries, the tap water is utterly undrinkable. This is where I bring my GRAYL bottle with me.
Like the Yuhme bottle, it’s lightweight, but with a built-in filter, so that I can sip on clean water wherever I go.
I’ve written a standalone review about the Grayl, which you can read here.
I also have a Steripen which is handy for backpacking or camping, if you don’t want to bring a filtered bottle.
Hankies and Napkins
A hanky is so versatile. You can use it for its intended purpose – bringing relief to your poor nose – but also as a napkin in a pinch.
As a chronic sufferer of hayfever, I always have one on hand. It’s negated the need for both paper napkins and disposable tissues.
Shop for organic cotton hankies
It’s always handy to have a towel on hand – better yet, you can use one in lieu of wet wipes.
Look for one that is absent of microfibres and made from more eco friendly materials, such as bamboo or linen.
Shop for travel towels here
Spork or Reusable Cutlery
How handy are sporks?! Rhetorical question, as the answer is very.
They are a street-food lover’s dream implement, as they can be used to eat ice cream, as well as fork noodles into your gob. I also like to use mine when travelling long-haul, to avoid plastic cutlery.
Best of all, as they don’t have a serrated edge, you can take them in your carry on. Security staff may question them, but they’ll let you through once they see you’re holding an amalgamation of a fork and spoon, not a knife.
If a spork isn’t your thing, then you can always buy a bamboo cutlery kit – just be wary of the knife when flying.
Sunscreen is something I always travel with in the warmer months. However, some creams are incredibly toxic and pollute the water your swimming in. Not to mention the damage they’re doing to your body.
Shop for non-toxic sunscreen here
Likewise, bugs are not something I want to contend with when travelling, but I want to use a spray that’s not harmful to my own body – particularly one that doesn’t contain DEET.
Luckily, there are eco-friendly options out there such as this palm-oil free, Australian made spray.
I like Meow, Meow Tweet’s products a lot, too.
Shop for insect repellant here
Reusable Shopping Bags
I’m so glad totes are totes in fashion. I have a few that I rotate through for shopping and in lieu of a handbag.
Shop for reusable shopping bags here
Along with a tote, I have a collection of cloth bags, which I use for food shopping (particularly at farmer’s markets) and small cloth bags for snacks when travelling.
I’ve had some people in certain countries (here’s looking at you, Switzerland) refuse to put food I’ve wanted to purchase in the bag, because it is considered “unhygienic”. In those cases, I’ve usually just opted to go without. I didn’t need that chocolate, anyway.
Shop for cloth bags here
A bamboo toothbrush is another item that’s a really easy swap – you’ll be wondering why you didn’t do it sooner.
Shop for Bamboo Toothbrushes | Bamboo Travel Case
If you have thick, unruly hair like I do, you probably don’t dare to go travelling without a brush.
I have a cute, little bamboo hair brush that I pack with me. I enjoy the feeling of the wooden bristles on my scalp and feel they do good things with spreading natural oils through my hair, keeping it shiny and happy.
I’ve looked high and low for a green deodorant that actually works and found it in the form of Meow Meow Tweet’s cream deodorant.
Shop for cream deodorant
Menstrual Cup and Reusable Cloth Pads
I hated packing stacks of pads and tampons into my bag when travelling (or trying to find some on the road). What a pain.
Having a menstrual cup has eliminated all these old worries. I’ve been using a Lunette Menstrual Cup for four years now and estimate that it’s saved me around $720 AUD in the process. Not bad at all.
I like the cup because I pop it in and pretty much forget my period, only having to empty it morning and night.
Of course, not everyone can use a cup as our bodies are all different. I don’t always use mine as I tend to suffer from horrific cramps at least one day of my cycle.
It’s then that I turn to reusable cloth pads, specifically Gladrags.
Between these two products, I’m covered. I haven’t had to use a sanitary napkin or tampon for years now. Plus they take up little to no space in my bag.
You can read more about using a menstrual cup or using cloth pads here.
If you need something to clean your cup or pads with, consider packing a reusable tin filled with soap.
This oil is a magical substance that you can use as a face serum, as well as to remove make-up and grease.
I never leave home without it.
One must-have eco friendly travel product is a reusable coffee cup.
I really, truly love my KeepCup and not only because it’s Australian-made. It’s become one of my go to items for travelling, or even just taking a cup of tea with me on my commute to work.
If you’re an avid coffee drinker, think about how many cups you can go through in a year… a week… even a day. You can drastically reduce your waste output with this one, single and simple swap to a reusable coffee cup.
I’ve used mine on planes as well, for juice, water and even red wine! I always get positive comments on it from members of airline staff, which is nice.
A refillable pen is something I always like to have on hand. You never know when you’re going to need one – filling out tourist cards on planes, writing postcards, jotting down notes or ideas.
Disposable pens add up, so best to invest in one you can use again and again, so long as it can be refilled. Bonus points if the pen itself is made out of a biodegradable substance.
Shop for a pen on Amazon | Biome Fountain Pen | Biome Refillable Bamboo Pen
Eco Friendly Travel Products for Long Term Travel
If you’re travelling further afield, or for a longer time, then here are some green travel accessories that you’ll find handy.
Solar Power Bank
It can get pretty frustrating to be out on the road (or camping) and have your phone run out of batteries (unless you’re keen for a digital detox, then it can actually be quite nice!).
A solar power bank will fix your issues, in this instance. Power your electric devices through the greatest energy source we have – the sun!
Shop for a Solar Power Charger
I like to keep a journal when travelling, for sanity’s sake more than anything.
Ideally, I want my journals to be earth-friendly, made out recycled paper, so I’m not adding to the billions of trees which get cut down each year, in order to meet stationary demands.
Shop for a recycled notebook here
Stainless steel or bamboo straw
Straws are personally something I’ve done away with as much as possible, asking not to have them with drinks and even learning how to do so in different languages.
However, I understand that some people still enjoy using them and luckily there are plenty of options made out of bamboo, stainless steel and even glass.
Eco-Friendly packing cubes
Packing cubes are great for organising your luggage and keeping similar items together – no more digging into your suitcase or bag, scrambling to find lost items.
These are also great for separating dirty, smelly clothes from clean!
If you’re doing your laundry on the road, but can’t find a laundromat (or are camping, so no laundromats to speak of), then the Scrubba Bag will come in handy.
It’s easy to use and packs away tight. You’ll save a heck ton of money on your laundry.
Shop for a Scrubba here
Of course, you’re going to need something to clean your clothes with, as well.
Soap berries are ideal, as each berry can be used for five washes and they’re compostable too.
Shop for soap berries here
Refillable Toiletry Bottles
I’ve been caught out at airports before for reusing bottles that don’t have the size written on them, despite clearly being 100mls or less. Sigh.
Luckily, GoToob bottles are made out of silicon and are leak free.
An umbrella is something I always think about having on hand when it’s too late (i.e. – I’m already soaked).
Be prepared by packing your own. Here are some eco-friendly umbrella options.
I’ve had a reusable safety razor for four years now and I haven’t looked back since buying it.
I find they’re a lot easier to use – I never cut myself, unlike regularly doing so with flimsy plastic razors. I’ve also not had to replace a blade for a year. I make sure I dry the razor off thoroughly after every use and it keeps it sharp.
Eco-friendly toiletries bag
The bag that you use to store your toiletries is as important as what you keep in it!
Shop for toiletries bags with nice prints or made out of recycled inner tubes
Here are a few items I keep in my own eco-friendly toiletries bag.
I find shampoo bars to be revolutionary, however unlike many travellers I don’t use Lush bars, as they contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, which I don’t consider to be a very eco-friendly product. I also can’t stand the smell of their stores, but I suppose that’s a more personal thing.
I buy my shampoo bars at my local bulk food store, however there are plenty of options available online.
Um, okay it’s a bit of an awkward looking thing, but they come in handy when you’re travelling rough – I SWEAR!
Shop for a She-Wee here.
Sometimes if I can’t find an eco friendly travel product that’s made of the right materials, I go for one that is practical and long-lasting. Helps if it’s the dream child (pun fully intended) of a small company. Sustainability is multi-tiered!
As such, my only travel pillow of the last four years has been this Ostrich Pillow Light. Having always has trouble sleeping, particularly on places, it’s been a game changer for me.
It doubles up as a pillow and a eye-mask and enables you to sleep almost anywhere. I’ve taken it on stacks of flights, bus and train rides and although I do get odd looks, I don’t care, because I know I’m the most comfortable person onboard!
I find this pillow is easier to pack away than traditional neck pillows – it packs up nicely in a backpack or you can easily slip it around the retractable handle of your suitcase.
Shop for a Ostrich Pillow Light here
So that’s it. The eco friendly travel products that any green traveller should take with them. Investing in these items helps save money in the long run and limits the amount of plastic you use on a day-to-day basis.
What are your favourite eco friendly travel products?
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