37 best eco-friendly travel products for 2023
Keen to tread lighter on your travels? A quick and easy way is to switch out disposable items for long-lasting eco-friendly travel products. We’re going to look at plastic-free toiletries, water bottles and other essential travel items. Read on to find out more about how you too can green up your travels.
Plastic bottles. Bags. Cutlery. Styrofoam containers. Coffee cups. We often opt for them on our travels. And they all add up, into a great steaming pile of rubbishy mess.
Unlike what many conglomerates would like you to believe, the individual isn’t solely responsible for rising sea levels and the environmental disasters that have started to plague the world.
That being said, we can each do our bit to reduce the amount of waste we produce. Remember that waste isn’t waste until we waste it, after all.
And while travel in itself isn’t the most sustainable pursuit, there are ways you can reduce your impact on your adventures.
One of these is to use eco-friendly travel products!
I’ve been trying to tread much more lightly in my travels ever since I gave up plastic for a year in 2016. I’ve been writing about it online ever since, here on one of Australia’s first sustainable travel blogs.
Since then, I’ve looked to replace broken travel items with products that are more long lasting. Or if I’ve needed a new travel product, I’ve researched to see what green options are available.
If you want to travel in a more responsible way, then this is the post for you. These are the eco-friendly travel products to pack, for 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. Read up on tips for packing light while you travel.
Things to Consider Before Purchasing Eco-friendly Travel Products
I’ve spent years now researching plastic-free and eco-friendly travel items. 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 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 items you should never travel without, whether you’re going on a day trip, weekend trip, short break, or travelling with carry-on only.
1. 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 travelling and one that certainly everyone needs. We all drink water, after all!
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 Frank Green water bottle, because I like big bottles and I cannot lie. I also have a Kappi bottle, which is lighter, despite being double-walled stainless steel.
S’well is another brand I used for years. Okay, a bit of an investment up front, but I got a lot of use out of it.
Don’t forget to empty your bottle when going through airport security – you can always fill it up on the other end. And clean it regularly, so you don’t have nasty bacteria form.
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, which some attendants also can be iffy about, especially on budget airlines. 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.
2. 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.
I’ve tried a few filtered bottles out over the years and this one is my fave.
It’s lightweight, but with a built-in filter, so you can sip on clean water wherever you go. Read a standalone review.
Steripens are handy for backpacking or camping, if you don’t want to bring a filtered bottle.
3. Hankies & napkins
A hanky (handkerchief) 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.
4. Travel towel
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 (they shed microbeads when washed).
5. 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 (ostensibly!). Security staff may question them, but they’ll (hopefully) 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, probably best stored in checked in luggage.
Sunscreen is something I always travel with in the warmer months. However, some creams are incredibly toxic and pollute the water your swimming in, causing damage in particular to already flailing ocean reefs.
I use this suncream on my face (as a brown person, I appreciate the tint) and this is the go to for my body.
7. Mosquito repellent
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.
I like Meow, Meow Tweet’s products a lot.
8. 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.
9. Cloth bags
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.
10. Bamboo toothbrush & toothpaste
A bamboo toothbrush is another item that’s a really easy swap – you’ll be wondering why you didn’t do it sooner.
As for toothpaste, Canadian company Crush & Brush make mint toothpaste tablets that are perfect for travelling. Chuck ’em in your mouth, crush and brush away.
Plus some companies like Colgate are finally making their toothpaste tubes recyclable. It’s… something.
11. Bamboo hairbrush
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 have found a few that work.
Meow Meow Tweet’s cream deodorant is great, if you’re US-based.
They come in biodegradable packaging, or in glass containers, in an array of scents (lavender is my go-to). Ethique also have a unisex solid deodorant bar.
Here in Australia, I use Good + Clean, which is vegan. They have a few gentle, scented versions and a non-scented version. I’ve had friends with skin allergies use it and rave about it.
13. Menstrual cup, reusable cloth pads & period pants
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 years now and estimate that it’s saved me over $1000 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.
You can also bring a cleanser to use to sanitise the cup when your period is over. Squirt some into a container and use as needed.
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 or period pants.
Between these three 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.
Read more about using a menstrual cup or using cloth pads.
If you need something extra to clean your pads or pants, consider packing a reusable tin with soap.
14. Face oils
Jojoba 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.
I also really like Rosehip oil and use it at night time, in lieu of a cream.
The KeepCup has long been my favourite eco-friendly travel mug.
Not only because it’s Australian-made, but yay for homegrown companies. 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.
16. Refillable pen
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.
Eco-friendly travel products for long-term Ttavel
If you’re travelling further afield, or for a longer time, then here are some earth-friendly travel products you’ll find handy.
1. Solar Power Panel
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 panel will fix your issues, in this instance. Power your electric devices through the greatest energy source we have – the sun!
2. Travel journal
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 of recycled paper, so I’m not adding to the billions of trees which get cut down each year, in order to meet stationary demands.
3. 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 and stainless steel.
4. 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!
This set is made from organic cotton, rather than crappy polyester or nylon.
5. Scrubba laundry bag
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.
6. Refillable toiletry bottles
While I stockpile old containers, 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. You could easily fill one with laundry liquid, to keep your stuff clean.
7. Recycled umbrella
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.
8. Reusable razor
I’ve had a reusable safety razor for many 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 up to a year.
I make sure I dry the razor off thoroughly after every use and it keeps it sharp.
9. Toiletries bag
The bag that you use to store your toiletries is as important as what you keep in it! A lot of mine have been hand-me-downs, gifted by friends and relatives who have happened upon them (usually as an extra gift when buying cosmetics) and don’t know what to do with them.
Here are a few items I keep in my own eco-friendly toiletries bag.
10. Shampoo bar
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.
While I refill bottles of shampoo at my hairdresser’s for day-to-day use, Ethique shampoo bars are great to take travelling.
11. Trusty travel pillow
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 many years now 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.
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 some of your favourite earth-friendly travel products? While you’re here, check out our top sustainable travel tips.
Related posts on Sustainable Travel
Here’s a more extensive eco-friendly packing list (it’s illustrated, too!)
Tips on coping with eco-anxiety.
20 ways you can travel responsibly and save money and Go plastic free with a zero waste travel kit
Read up about responsible travel blogging here
Here are some ways you can use less plastic when you travel
Browse my sustainable travel archives
I totally agree with you on the use of hanky rather tissues, can really save a lot on that. Your Keepcup looks lovely and pretty handy. Knowing that you can also use it for wine is just the deal!
Haha yeah just wash it out and off you go again… and again… and again!
It’s amazing when you stop and think about how much waste we generate in everyday life, and how much that increases when we travel and everything becomes disposable. Excellent ideas in this post! I don’t know if you are a straw user, but you can buy stainless steel straws to replace plastic too.
I hate straws more than anything else in the world, haha so I just request not to have one. It works.. sometimes. Thanks for the comment, John.
I’m so impressed on which items you travel with. I personally like the water sterilization, but I don’t know where to buy it in the Philippines!
Yes, very good question. These things should be made more readily available.
I think you’ve inspired me a bit, when I read about your post about living without plastic, I’ve started to unconsciously find stuff for my apartment that are not made of plastic. I am also thinking of getting the menstrual cup. My friends think it’s hard to use but I am willing to give it a try.
You should! I love mine. It’s a bit tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it it’s super easy to use. I barely even notice it now and all I have to do is empty it morning and evening. Plus all the money saved is a good incentive.
I hated the menstrual cup, I found it pressed on the side wall nerves and gave me a headache, I actually felt kind of sick using it but that is my experience and everyone is different down there. I actually use 100% cotton wash cloths folded into 3rds and gravity keeps them there, though if I were backpacking I would go with sea sponge reusable tampons and keep washing them out and sanitize them with boiling water or peroxide or something. Using wash clothes ($4.00/ doz) instead of tampons saves me at least $50.00/ yr times however many years I have left not to mention at least one small garbage bag of bio-hazard landfill waste per month. Instead it gets washed down the drains and sent through the sewers to be cleaned.
It is pretty amazing how different our bodies all are. I’m glad there are so many cheap alternatives out there that prevent waste from getting sent to landfill!
Wonderful. You are doing a great job there with the eco friendly travel items. If all travelers opt for some of these items the world will have so less waste produced on a daily basis. Thanks for sharing. Hope it inspires others
Thanks Neha, me too.
Amazing! I have started doing this actually. I started investing in eco-friendly travel items. Some are quite pricey but I know they’ll save me some money as the years go by hehe.
They do! It’s with paying for quality.
You’ve got some good ideas here. It’s second nature for me to carry a water bottle and a handkerchief, although I can’t imagine spend $34 dollars on one. I’m not a fan of sporks, and I’ve had regular forks taken away from me by the TSA. I love that you are committed to not using plastic. We try really hard at home, but it’s so much harder when we travel.
Haha yeah, I like them but they’re not for everyone. That’s pretty irritating about the TSA! I had the Australian equivalent put my bag through again, then laugh at me when they realised what it was. but travelling domestically around Oz is nothing like travelling domestically around the States…
What a great list! I always have a foldable bag in my purse and a water bottle when we travel. Love the spark idea and the beautiful napkins. Will have to fret some of these for our next trip.
A foldable bag and water bottle is a great addition. Glad that there are some additions that you like.
I admire your enthusiasm in advocating a life without plastics and I wish I have the will to avoid it completely or at least lessen my use… So far, I can only try utilizing eco-friendly bags when shopping and coffee tumbler for to go drinks… I’ll try to do what you do but I’m not sure if I’d be able to use a menstrual cup… thanks for setting an example! Keep sharing posts like this!
Hey, that’s something! Imagine how many disposable coffee cups that’s saving… not to mention plastic bags, which are THE WORST.
We do have all those items when traveling, and we absolutely love them. I for one also use the menstrual cup, and I can’t think of the trash I have saved by using it. We are also environmental advocates, and we want to leave lesser trash on our travels. Cheers to you for this great list! I am sharing this on our FB page and Twitter.
Thank you so much! I adore my menstrual cup, it’s definitely been my favourite addition to the kit.
Switching to a steel water bottle has drastically reduced the amount of plastic I go through! These are some great items for eco friendly travel – I also avoid using plastic straws and drink straight from the cup when I’m in a restaurant these days!
Thanks! Me too – straws are SO POINTLESS.
There are some really great ideas here. The bottled water thing is my bugbear! I travel with my own water bottle but still seem to end up with countless plastic bottles from tours, hotels etc They would be better off having somewhere to refill bottles more readily available.
Hehe bugbear, love it. Yeah, bottled water is such a con! There’s some places that offer it to you and just think “really? can’t you lead with a better example?”
Aww, these tips look so useful. I like bringing a little bag (tote bag) for bus and train rides, I usually buy water bottles locally. Happy travelling in 17!
xx finja | http://www.effcaa.com
Thanks, same to you!
After reading this I really want to buy a filtered water bottle lol. Thanks for awesome suggestions.
Do iiiiiit. 🙂
You take eco friendly to a new level. I have tried or put into practice everything until I got to the menstrual cup. I honestly had never heard of this until now, so thank you for teaching me something new. Don’t know if I’d ever use it, but at least I know about it now.
Knowledge is power, as “they” say. Thanks, can only try.
You often hear about ecotourism and activities, but it should include the items you carry while traveling, like you have mentioned here!!! This is brilliant and so helpful to the environment! I love the idea of carrying a handkerchief. SO useful! Also, great idea on filling your own water bottle on the plane. So much plastic can be saved on the plane if more travelers did this! Love your suggestions here.
Exactly. I think it’s easy for people to become overwhelmed – even the most dedicated have issues vetting the places they visit and accommodation they stay in. Eco-friendly is also becoming synonymous with luxury and therefore expensive. I just want to show that being environmentally friendly is not out of reach for the everyday traveller and that you can make a difference – even as a budget traveller and PARTICULARLY where some of these items end up saving you money, long term.
I love your post! I’m all about being a green traveler, and there are several pointers here that I don’t do (such as I can’t use hanky – but I will use my napkins for several use).
Will also bring some food containers for leftovers.
Thanks Halef! Glad it was helpful. 🙂
Nice list. I have to start using some of them for my traveling too 🙂
Wow such practical tips! I don’t think I have any of these in my life LOL. Tote bags I do, they definitely come in handy for shopping!
Haha yeah, I always have some lying around in my bag or car.
I love your list! I’m with you on bottled water too. My kids always want me to buy it but I carry a bottle to refill too!
Hehe maybe they should pay for it with their pocket money? Might change their minds. 😉
These are some great suggestions! I have to admit that I’m guilty of using too many plastic items will traveling in the name of convenience. I have recently started to switch over to re-usable, though, so I’ll definitely keep this list in mind!
It can be difficult, but I reckon every bit counts.
Stumbled over here, good post. I don’t get to travel much but I use a keep cup everyday, I love it. Just so everyone knows if you prefer glass in your everyday life they offer a glass option/s. Macpac make a super small titanium spork that I also keep in my handbag. Great options are available once you start looking for alternatives. Little things make big differences.
I think the glass options looks so pretty – but they’re not for me, I’d smash them in a matter of hours. Agreed Dana – it is the small steps forward that make the most difference. Thanks for commenting. 🙂
Such nifty and convenient finds. I need to get several of these for my mom who’s all about going green!
Hope she finds them helpful!
Such great tips. Already implementing some on my effort to get greener , but find the post very helpful and inspiring to continue to do better.
That’s great to hear, Maria. Good luck!
The amount of waste people generate is mind blowing!What you presented here is the best list of alternative Eco friendly equipment one could travel with.Carrying my own plastic bottle and re using it, is something I always try to do.Brilliant article!
I like the spork (i find the name very funny), and all what you wrote is very useful and decent . All of us should use this travel items. Keep up your good job!
I know, it makes me giggle too. Thank you!
Wow! Great list. I also prefer using my own water bottle and cloth or tote bag. These items are so handy and useful.
I loved the idea of using a spork.
They’re so great!
We travel with a spork, so you aren’t alone. It bothers me everytime I go to 7 eleven here in Thailand they give me plastic bags, a straw, and a fork! It’s sickening.
That would make me cry and is why I am yet to go to Thailand!
I’m not always the most eco-friendly person, but luckily my travel partner is, so these tips are great! She always separates our recyclables and then we go on a journey to find a recycle bin to deposit it! Also, love S’well water bottles. They are so pretty!
Good on your travel partner! Agreed re S’well – I’m glad they’re not form over function, either.
I love this list, it’s so fun & helpful! I haven’t heard of S’well but my absolute favourite travel item is Lifestraw – it’s a filtered water bottle that you can drink from immediately, I’ve used it all through Asia & Central America with no issues!
S’well is great for local travels where you can drink the water – I use it a lot at work, as it’s insulated. But for travelling, a filtered bottle is a must. ?
I love travelling with friends. I make sure everything I need are enlisted properly. I never forget to have bottles of water in my bag. Whenever I feel thirsty, it’ll be my life saver.
Yeah, support the eco-traveler and green traveler.
Love your post and thanks for posted this.
You’re really cool and keep support green earth.
Seriously, this is SO inspiring. I try to lower my plastic use too and always refuse plastic bag in the supermarket – here in Turkey, they sometimes don´t respect it and force me the bag anyway which I think is very sad! People don´t realize how much damage all this stuff causes.
I would love to have a Lifestraw bottle, unfortunately I didn´t purchase it before leaving and I forgot my regular hiking bottel too, such a shame! I have to get one at some point. I do have a water filter apart, but I only use it scarcely. Still, one day it can come handy!
I have managed to travel to places without the proper bottle before, so I feel you! Yeah, the concept of not using plastic is very foreign in some countries… which can be really upsetting.
Doing most of the things but it is great how easy it is to do “good” without actual work.
I have a tote at home for my groceries but never thought of taking one with me when I travel – such a good idea though!
It comes in handy quite often! I just shove it in my day pack.
I love these tips! I usually carry around a day bag with a water bladder so I can have up to 2L of water on my at all times. Do you really use a spork? I find that the prongs of the fork part aren’t long enough for me.
I do use the spork, but I’m thinking of adding chopstick to my arsenal to combat that issue!
Such a great list! I love my reusable cutlery kit, tote bags and swell bottle. But I also love that coffee cup!
Me too! It’s my favourite.
This is such a useful list! I always get confused about whether I should drink the water… and have definitely gotten sick a few times, so this list will come in handy!
It’s happened to me too! When in doubt, filtered bottle from now on, haha.
I feel that eco-friendly travel items should actually be on everyone’s radar. They are so important to keep our environment simply better, cleaner and healthier. Thank you for sharing this.
The coffee cup – I have one with all of the time! Saves so much waste.
Agreed, I love mine!
I LOVE this post! I try so hard to minimize my plastic use as well. I am going to use some of your tips – love the spork idea, I need to try these Thinkx everyone is talking about!
Great post! I recently learned about menstrual cups and bought one for myself. It’s the best thing ever! I’m going to save this post for future reference. Thanks LC!
Thanks Katie! They are wonderful, I’ve not looked back since I got mine.
That KeepCup is so cute! I might get that as it is handy to have water while hiking/travelling/exploring!
They’re great! I use mine all the time, have had it for four years, too.
Okay, I really gotta jump on this menstral cup wave (no pun intended). That’s so much money -and products- saved!
Yes, definitely! You’ll never look back.
So many practical and good suggestions! A few I had never even thought of!