I love gadgets. Anything that makes my life easier is worth its weight in gold. I’ve been traveling since 2011 (we lived in Germany for 6 years and I traveled a lot!) but it wasn’t until the last few years that I started to purchase travel specific gear.
My first travel purchase (other than headphones and the basic stuff) was a set of compression cubes. While not totally necessary, these things changed my life. Packing became a breeze and I was actually able to organize my bag.
And after owning them, I think they’re quite necessary for travel!
After discovering the magic of packing cubes, it made me wonder what else I was missing out on. Surely there were more products to make my life easier.
There are tons!
However, not all products are created equal. I generally try to avoid cheap plastic products (not all plastic is evil, just the pointless cheaply made products) and am always checking the labels on everything from food to the ingredients in my skincare.
I haven’t bought ziploc or disposable plastic bags since 2017, and it’s so easy to get by without them (more on that below!).
If you’re shopping for the best eco friendly travel products of 2022, look no further. I’m compiled a list of my favorites along with some of the coolest gadgets on the market.
Best Eco Friendly Travel Products
Travel Size Laundry Detergent
Have you ever tried detergent sheets? They’re small sheets about the size of half a sheet of paper.
With the sheets, you avoid wasting the bulky plastic containers that most other detergents come in (and take over 1,000 years to decompose). They’re biodegradable, plastic free, and work for he and all other washing machines.
If you are staying at an apartment or home stay these are perfect. They take up virtually zero room in your suitcase, and you won’t have to worry about buying detergent on vacation.
I use and prefer the Earth Breeze brand. The price is better than other brands and I love the scent.
Reusable ‘Cotton Swab’ For Ear Cleaning
Every time I go on vacation I realize how much I need my cotton swabs (I tend to always forget them)! This company came up with a clever reusable alternative that’s equivalent to 1000 common cotton swabs, although I bet you could hold onto it for much longer.
With just one cotton swab, you also save precious room in your suitcase as well.
If using one cotton swab has you freaked out, a good eco friendly alternative are these bamboo swabs.
Reusable Grocery Bags
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve traveled somewhere and needed a bag. Whether it’s for grocery items, clothes, snacks for a long drive, or other things, a travel bag always comes in handy.
The BEST reusable travel bags are these ones that come in a small pouch. They’re always in my purse, and I just throw them in my suitcase when I travel. They’re compact but large enough to hold a bunch of stuff.
Preserve is a B-Corp that uses recycled ocean plastic to make their ergonomic razors (the razor blades themselves are made of new material). They come in four different colors and donate 25% of their proceeds to cleaning up the oceans and beaches around the world, support marine conservation, and research plastic pollution.
If you want to take it a step further, this razor is the last one you’ll ever need to purchase. Made in Germany, this razor is light and doesn’t cause irritation. Pair it with these blades and you will be set for years!
For something a bit more feminine, I love these razors from Bambaw.
Reusable Makeup Remover Pads
While it’s tempting to just use the towels at your accommodations, many places are starting to charge guests if their towels are full of black makeup (i.e. mascara).
To avoid this situation (and avoid towels being possibly trashed), bring a few reusable makeup remover pads instead.
Reusable Water Bottle
I cringe whenever I think about how many plastic water bottles I’ve purchased in my lifetime.
So, I ended up developing a rule that has served me well – always, ALWAYS, bring a water bottle with you. You always need water, or someone you’re flying with needs water.
And most airports have water stations to fill your bottle for free
I recommend developing the habit of bringing a water bottle with you whenever you travel (just be sure to empty it before security).
I can’t stand drinking out of a plastic bottle, so I usually bring my metal Bambaw travel bottle. I purposely use a bottle that isn’t super wide but can keep drinks cold for 24 hours. Bambaw offers zero waste alternatives and supports research to cut down on plastic pollution.
If you prefer filtered water, or are traveling to a place that doesn’t have clean tap water, I recommend the Grayl Water bottle. For regular travel, I think the more affordable Bambaw works perfectly.
Mineral Based Sunscreen
Ever since I learned how unsafe traditional sunscreen is, I’ve completely avoided them.
Oxybenzone is the biggest offender (although there are others), and has shown to be an endocrine and hormone disruptor, negatively affect pregnant and unborn children, and children’s hormones. It also destroys reefs and is actually illegal at many beaches around the world. Here’s a great article about sunscreen by EWG and also another from Sustainable Travel.
I particularly love having a sunscreen stick for my face and keep it in my purse at all times. And if you prefer a spray, they have a sunscreen mist that is perfect for little ones.
Luckily sunscreen safety is becoming more of a concern, and access to safer sunscreens is becoming better and better.
Eco Friendly Hiking Bag
I get so excited when companies use recycled materials to make products.
I have an Osprey backpack that’s used for almost every trip. It’s the Osprey Porter 46 and is made from recycled materials using their bluesign-approved materials.
The Porter 46 has a front pocket with many holders for all your accessories, a top pocket that’s perfect for your phone and wallet, a dedicated laptop pocket that fits a 15″ laptop, and a main bag that can fit a lot of stuff (including all your compression cubes! ).
It’s the largest pack that can be carried on a plane in the Porter series (you don’t want to overstuff it or it could be a little too big). If that’s too large, they also make a smaller pack called the Fairview 40.
A good backpack will last you for years, or possibly for the rest of your life, ultimately saving on not only cost but environmental impact as well.
Travel Toiletry Bottles
There are a million toiletry travel bottles on the market but not all are created equal.
Here’s my Amazon travel tip if you are experiencing product overwhelm – go to the product company page and find out more about them.
If it’s not owned by individuals or I can’t find information, that’s a telltale sign that it’s probably being mass produced and sold straight from some manufacturer in who knows where.
I like these travel bottles by TravelSnugs. This company was founded by a couple with a love for travel. They’re made of silicone and they have a leakproof guarantee.
Reusable Sanitary Pads
When traveling, I prefer to have disposable pads for ease of travel. These are my favorite.
If you want to take it a step further, I recommend reusable pads. Knix creates a host of products specifically designed for women including these reusable pads. I have been buying from Knix for years and their quality is superior to most other brands on the market.
Snacking & Food
If you have a long day of travel ahead of you, or if you’re traveling with kids, snacks are necessary.
I haven’t purchased plastic bags since 2017. While I can usually get away with glass options, sometimes I need other options.
A few years ago I discovered Stasher bags, which are incredibly sturdy silicone bags. They’re leakproof and we’ve used them for all sorts of things including marinades, soup, and various snacks.
I have found that they can be difficult to clean, so I recommend keeping them labeled by use. For example, marinades are used for one stasher bag while chips/snacks are used for another.
I also really like these metal containers for easy snacks (not recommended for liquids).
It’s hard to find a confortable eco-friendly travel pillow, so I recommend finding the one you love that will last for years.
Best Travel Gadgets
Airplane Phone Mount
This isn’t necessarily boasted as an eco friendly product, but it’s seriously cool. This little phone holder attaches to the back of the seat in front of you. It’s versatile and can be adjusted to mount any phone. It’s also incredibly compact and doesn’t take up space in your carry-on.
Practically, it comes in handy a lot – you don’t need to use the cumbersome tray or share the tray with your phone if you have food, you don’t need to hold your phone, and if you need to run to the restroom you can simply leave it in the holder. At under $15, it’s definitely worth it for any plane ride.
If you haven’t jumped into the world of wireless (and noise cancelling) headphones, here’s your nudge to finally purchase some! The leaders in the industry are Bose and Sony. I personally have Bose headphones and love them.
Wireless headphones get rid of annoying cords. While this doesn’t seem like a huge deal, I’ve flown enough that this simple change has made ALL the difference.
I don’t have to wrangle my cords every time I need to get up. I can simply keep my headphones on or set them on my seat without first disconnecting them from my laptop or phone.
If you don’t love hearing airplane noises (or people noise for that matter), then you’ll definitely want to add noise cancelling to your headphones. This is the pair I love and use. Sony also make a comparable option and they both range around the same price (but I’d check both to see if one is having a sale).
Battery Pack / Power Station
This rechargeable battery pack is compact and approved for flying. There are some solar powered options out there but I recommend them for camping and not flying as you don’t know if you can use the solar charge.
If you know you’ll be in sunny places and don’t mind the larger size, this solar powered pack is the best one I’ve found. I love that the cords are built into the power bank so you don’t need to bring additional ones with you. Like other solar powered battery packs, they recommend charging it using an electrical outlet and using the solar option as backup.
I recently upgraded to the Kindle Paperwhite and went with the previous generation. Based on the reviews, it wasn’t worth the cost to upgrade and I’ve been completely happy with it. The battery life is AMAZING, the wifi works great, and I love that the newer Kindle’s have an adjustable backlight so I no longer need to carry an additional light.
If you have an older Kindle and have been thinking about an upgrade, this is your sign to just do it. It is leaps and bounds ahead of the older models.
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