Traveling is an activity that tends to leave a significant carbon footprint. Thankfully, traveling in a way that causes less environmental harm is gaining momentum as we seek experiences better for the planet.
If you’re a traveler or know someone who is, it’s no news that travel always requires some packing. Apart from clean clothes, you’ll also need a variety of other products. For loved ones off on a new adventure, whether they’re new to sustainable living or a zero-waste aficionado, our best picks of eco-friendly travel gifts will help them on their way.
Before they head off on their adventure, you can also share with them our list of 15 eco-friendly travel tips. Here we share tips that point out the benefits of supporting local businesses when traveling through ideas to reduce long-haul flights in support of sustainable tourism.
Our list of the best eco-friendly travel gifts is ideal for the eco-conscious traveler or newbie. From ideas for toiletries to gadgets and everything in-between, here are some of the top sustainable gifts for travel lovers to choose from.
Quick links to our ideas for the best eco-friendly travel gift ideas:
Toiletries and personal care items are of utmost importance during travels. Whether embarking on a road trip or traveling by air, every travel lover understands the importance of these.
You’ll need personal care items to wash your hair, wipe off makeup, brush your teeth, and keep yourself feeling fresh for the days exploring. As much as hotels usually have these items, many of them are single-use and wrapped in plastic, which means they’re certainly not the best eco-friendly choice.
We believe it’s a good idea to take your toiletries along to reduce waste and practice eco-consciousness.
After combing through the web to source the best picks, we found some of the best eco-friendly products suitable for personal care needs while traveling. So, if you know someone who’s about to embark on a journey, consider giving them your top choice from these eco-friendly travel gifts.
Bamboo toothbrushes are made from sustainable bamboo materials and serve as a thoughtful gift to anyone who’s traveling. As we know, single-use plastics pose threats to the environment. As a result, any eco-conscious traveler will appreciate eco-friendly bamboo toothbrushes.
Some of our favorite picks are the Daletu Bamboo Toothbrush and Greenzla Bamboo Toothbrush.
The Daletu toothbrush is a unique gift choice that helps eco-conscious travelers reduce plastic waste. Unlike many other bamboo toothbrushes, this one comes with uniquely designed eco-friendly and biodegradable bristles.
The best part? The bristles are super soft. This makes them ideal for anyone with sensitive teeth and gums. This way, you’re sure your receiver will appreciate this eco-friendly gift. We particularly like that the toothbrush’s packaging also comes in an eco-friendly material. Each pack comes with four toothbrushes, each individually packed in a cardboard box. It’s also a good addition that the bristles come in two colors of black and white.
The Greenzla toothbrush also comes in bamboo material. However, what we like most about this is that it comes in a kit. So, rather than getting just toothbrushes like with Daletu, you also get a travel toothbrush case and charcoal dental floss. The eco-friendly dental floss comes in a glass jar, so you’re certain there’s no waste there as well.
Just like the Daletu set, this set also comes with four toothbrushes. Each brush is quite light to hold and comes in a cute design that some might equate to looking child-like. It’s also great to know that the brushes are BPA-free.
Like with most bamboo toothbrushes, you should know that it’s essential to pluck out the nylon bristles before leaving them to biodegrade. If your traveling gift receiver is new to the sustainable lifestyle, you could add a note stating this.
These not quite right? Check out our complete list of the 14 Best Bamboo Toothbrushes.
What goes perfectly well with toothbrushes? That’s right, toothpaste. For the eco-friendly traveler, this isn’t just any kind of toothpaste. This is why we’ve included sustainable travel toothpaste tabs in this eco-friendly travel gifts list. These tabs are the perfect gift idea for travels.
One of the most important eco-friendly travel products one can have is toothpaste tablets. Why? Because they’re easier to pack and carry than regular toothpaste tubes and these Hello tablets are even more ideal for gift-giving because of their travel size. Compared with conventional toothpaste tubes, these come in recyclable, eco-friendly metal tins. This way, you’re supporting the zero-waste practice and movement.
In our opinion, this is one of the best gift items to pop in a travel bag. Also, the blue container is aesthetically pleasing. These tablets present a new way to achieve clean teeth while staying eco-friendly. This pack of two tins, with a total of 120 tablets, will last some time. The tablets contain no dyes, parabens, and artificial flavors. A tip that we’re currently loving is how the user can reuse the toothpaste tins for all those little items collected during travel. The tabs have minty flavors, so if your gift receiver isn’t the biggest fan of mints, you might have to reconsider.
Unlike Hello’s long rectangular tin, the SuperBee tablets come in a round tin. What also sets them apart is the unique hexagon shape of the SuperBee tablets. These tablets are fluoride-free, palm-oil free and they make great eco-friendly travel gifts. Each tin contains 100 tablets, compared with Hello’s 120 tablets split into two tins.
The tablets are super easy to use. Simply pop them in between your teeth, chew, and watch it start to foam. Heads up, though, the tins might be just a bit tough to open at first. However, these still make good sustainable gifts.
You can combine toothpaste tablets and bamboo toothbrushes for a complete dental set for the ultimate gift inspiration. If you don’t think they’re into tabs, check out our full list of the best zero waste toothpaste, including pastes in eco-friendly jars, powders, and a few more tab choices.
A traveler is going to have to wash their hair at some point, right? Unlike regular shampoo containers, solid shampoo presents an eco-friendly way to wash your hair. Shampoo bars make another eco-friendly gift idea. They are low waste and make excellent eco-friendly travel products.
A great point for them is that they’ll make it past airport security due to their solid and lightweight nature. Many of them also come in minimal packaging that is plastic-free. If you have sensitive skin, these shampoo bars are also mostly free of harsh chemicals. How’s that for environmentally-friendly? Thinking of getting these for someone? Here are some picks:
This set was an easy choice to include in this travel gift guide. With this brand, you can get both shampoo and conditioner bars for an affordable price.
Trees & Seas provides a variety of scents to choose from, so be sure to find out what your gift receiver likes. There’s lemon and sea salt, coconut, rhubarb, lavender and rosemary, fresh and clean, and finally, juniper berry. These scents also target specific hair types like oil, dry, grey, and damaged hair. Each round conditioner or shampoo bar is ideal as an eco-friendly gift for travel. Plus, if you love handmade goods and brands that give back, you’ll have a soft spot for these.
This shampoo bar and conditioner set is also an ideal choice for traveling. However, unlike the Trees & Seas brand, this one comes as a set, including both the shampoo and conditioner. This brand too offers a variety of scent options. Some of these are Thai coconut, vanilla sandalwood, French lavender essential oil, and rosemary mint. The owner beautifully wraps these eco-friendly products in a box that allows the receiver to enjoy the unboxing experience while making them perfect to stash in travel luggage.
More choices over here in our list of the 12 best zero waste shampoo bars
For the makeup lover on the go, it’s always necessary to have something to wipe off makeup easily. Of course, there are options such as wet wipes. However, these are not the best eco-friendly gifts for travelers. To support sustainable travel, it’s also important to pay attention to the carbon footprint of one’s products. This is why reusable cotton pads make great gifts for smooth eco-friendly travel and excellent alternatives to wet wipes.
For more ethical gift inspiration for her, specifically for reusable pads, see this piece we shared. You also get an insight into the problems surrounding regular cotton pads and wipes. The reusable versions serve as an eco-friendly alternative to regular pads.
On the subject of makeup, many aspiring or well-versed travelers may ditch the makeup for the natural look while exploring the world. Still, there may be occasions when travel is for work, family, or just requires your recipient to look their best. Or perhaps that’s just how they roll wherever in the world they might find themselves on their travels. For female travelers, browse through our choices of some of the best sustainable and low waste makeup brands, many of which would make excellent accompaniments to some of the travel-friendly toiletries listed here.
Elsewhere in the toiletries line, if the traveler you’re buying for is off somewhere sunny, make sure they protect themselves from the sun’s harmful rays. Sunscreen is essential for outdoor pursuits, and you’ll do the eco-friendly traveler well by having a browse of our top choices of the best zero waste sunscreens.
Similar to some of the other essential skincare and hygiene products listed above, the eco-friendly type’s come in reusable tins and are packaged in recycled materials.
Food and drink can provide some of the most memorable occasions on any travel adventure. This is why we’ve curated food and drink-related gift guides for eco-conscious travel lovers. This selection of eco-friendly travel products makes ideal gifts for travelers who might be camping, hiking, or eating out under the stars. Unlike items like plastic bottles, plastic cutlery, and plastic straws, these are kinder to the environment. Here, you’ll get inspiration for items like reusable cutlery, water bottles, and reusable cups.
Reusable cutlery is a must-have while traveling should the recipient not intend to only dine at restaurants or hotels. If you know a friend or family member who’s about to travel, this will make a great eco-friendly gift that will last. Rather than using plastic cutlery when buying street food, these cutlery sets are eco-friendly. We’ve chosen two options which are great for eco-friendly travel.
Instead of the regular bamboo reusable sets, we’ve chosen this wooden set. Each set contains a knife, spoon, fork, straw, fiber cleaning brush, and storage bag. The owner uses upcycled wood to make the spoon, knife, and fork in each set. On the other hand, the straw is made from bamboo.
The dark wooden tones of the items give them a rustic feel. Anyone traveling with these will be sure they’re not contributing to the waste in the world’s oceans.
This brand created this set to serve as gifts for travelers. Each hemp-cotton pouch contains a knife, spoon, fork, a set of chopsticks, straw, and a straw cleaner.
Unlike many other reusable sets in the market, this one comes in rust-resistant stainless steel material. Bamboo cutlery is often prone to breaking, so stainless steel is a durable option. With this set, travelers can politely refuse plastics when out and about and embrace the stainless steel set. Also, this is one of those portable, eco-friendly travel products you can easily fit inside a purse or carry-on. This stainless steel set is dishwasher safe and easy to clean.
A water bottle is possibly one of the most important travel items. While embarking on a travel adventure, people often take on activities like hiking or bungee jumping. As a result, it’s always important to stay hydrated. Unlike a plastic bottle, a reusable water bottle is durable.
They also prevent waste that plastic bottles cause, and, of course, even recycled plastic bottles require energy to turn into new ones you can reuse. One of our favorite water bottle picks is the S’well water bottle, which you can shop on Amazon.
In this article, we shared a breakdown of why we love this brand’s stainless steel water bottles. You can also have a read-up on which is better, stainless steel vs. plastic water bottles (you probably guessed the answer already!)
Instead of single-use cups, these reusable cups are great sustainable gifts. If you know a coffee lover who’s traveling, a reusable coffee cup with a leak-proof lid is a good idea. You can also check out our zero waste coffee filters, strainers, and pots for brewing tips waste-free. In this sustainable gift guide, we also want to add a recent favorite:
What’s more exciting to a coffee lover than a reusable cup? A collapsible one! This product had to make it to our list of sustainable gifts because of its unique features. After enjoying your beverage, simply collapse the cup.
Anyone can easily fit it into a carry-on or even a pocket. Stojo makes these cups using recyclable materials and food-grade silicone. The product is BPA-free, glue-free, and lead-free. Each cup comes with a collapsible straw that you can remove and reuse—looking for a specific color? The brand offers a variety, including sage green, black, dove grey, steel blue, pink, denim, and coral.
This subsection houses luggage and bag options for eco-friendly gifts, from items like travel bags to tote bags.
It’s no news that travel bags are a necessity for travel. Here, we’re giving you some eco-friendly gift ideas for luggage options.
Now, we know this says ‘gym bag,’ but what’s sustainability without creative ideas for other uses? This dark blue bag comes in a long cylindrical shape that’s ideal for carrying essentials. The brand uses organic cotton to make each bag, which is an eco-friendly alternative to regular cotton. You can also give this to a gym lover as a gift during a festive season.
Tote bags are an easy carry-on to keep essentials. A traveler can keep this handy on the plane. Also, tote bags make it easy to shop sustainably. They are pretty versatile as they serve other functions such as holding beach essentials and serving as handbags.
This makes the EcoRight tote ideal as part of our eco-friendly gift ideas for travel. The canvas bag is spacious, easily washable, and comes with a zipper for safety. Include this as part of your eco-friendly gifts to a traveler, and they’ll love it. Although the bag description states “for women,” we believe anyone can rock these canvas totes.
Elsewhere, to pack in a larger suitcase or use as a carry-on and for day trips, hemp backpacks are another great choice.
For the more adventurous traveler keen on the outdoors, sustainable clothing items might just make for the perfect eco-friendly gift. What’s more, many sustainable materials are not only good for the planet but also naturally help wick moisture away, perfect for hot days seeking amazing views in faraway lands.
Click here for our carefully crafted take on 12 Best Sustainable Activewear Brands, where you’ll find kit which packs lightly in travel luggage and is perfect for outdoor wear when traveling. Through to outwear made from materials such as recycled polyester and other recycled material options.
If you’re looking for a unique gift to give to someone going on a camping or hiking trip, then this is it. This charger harnesses the clean energy source of the sun to power gadgets. It is compact and lightweight, making it easy to carry.
This charger comes complete with a flashlight, battery pack, and compass! Furthermore, it is waterproof and shockproof. Any gadget lover will appreciate this. Apart from contributing to eco-friendly gifts, this can also be a part of a disaster kit.
If you’re looking for simple eco-friendly gift ideas, then you might like a sustainable kit. These make perfect eco-friendly gifts, even for travelers. They take the stress out of deciding on what to purchase for someone. Below, we’ve shared two kits that you can choose from:
This kit features seventeen pieces. This includes a solid shampoo, bamboo utensils, toothbrushes, a mesh net bag, and reusable straws. This set is something anyone can enjoy even beyond travel use. You have to be careful with the bamboo cutlery, though; they are prone to breakage.
The EcoBox kit contains various items that make good eco-friendly gifts. It features similar products to the No Landfill Guilt set. However, this one also includes beeswax food wraps. Anyone who’s traveling can use these wraps to keep food and produce fresher for longer.
Have you been looking for good and unique eco-friendly gifts for someone who’s traveling? Then, you’re sure to find something on the list. From toiletry items to food-related products and sustainable kits, travel just got more environmentally friendly.
Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.
Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.