Nov 19, 2023

10 Awesomely Sustainable Things To Include In An Eco

Traveling sustainably is easier when you're prepared. That's why putting together an eco-friendly travel kit is the first step towards eco-travel.

Sustainable travel starts at home and there are many things to be aware of when attempting to travel in an eco-friendly way. Travelers can reduce their environmental impact by preparing for their adventures with an eco-friendly travel kit. This selection of items helps create minimal waste throughout the trip and ensures that any traces left behind (like soap residue) aren’t harmful to the water supply or local ecosystems.

Being conscious of what products travelers purchase and use on their trips is a great step towards supporting ecotourism and going green. Here are ten awesome sustainable things to invest in for eco-friendly travel.

A reusable water bottle is a great starting item to invest in for sustainable travel. Billions of plastic water bottles are used around the world each day, with only a small percentage ever making their way into the recycling bin.

Traveling with a reusable water bottle and saying no to single-use plastics help ensure that visitors to a foreign country are not adding to overflowing landfills or plastic being dumped in the ocean with their presence.

This is important everywhere in the world, including destinations that support ecotourism already.

Look for stainless steel or BPA-free reusable plastic water bottles. If packing the water bottle for flights is a concern, travelers can look into soft-bodied bottles that roll up small for travel and expand when filled with drinking water.

Invest in a water bottle with a high-quality filter so that it can be used to safely drink water from anywhere in the world.

Speaking of unnecessary plastic waste, travelers who want to be more eco-friendly on the road can ditch the travel-sized toiletries and shampoos that are sold in carry-on size 100 ml bottles. These create waste for every trip whereas traveling with a bar of soap creates zero waste.

Purchase body wash and shampoo in bar soap form and opt for a biodegradable option that can be used safely in lakes and waterways. This helps ensure that if the water at a hostel or hotel is being fed back into the public water, the soap won’t harm wildlife.

Related: What Is Eco-Travel? Here's Every Type Of Eco-Tourism You Should Know About

According to research from Foreo, over a billion toothbrushes are thrown away annually in the United States, creating 50 million pounds of plastic waste.

Opting for a bamboo toothbrush, which is biodegradable, is a better long-term investment for the planet than buying a travel-sized plastic toothbrush before a trip.

Bamboo toothbrushes are just as effective for brushing as plastic ones, but they’re a more sustainable material. Opt for a 100% biodegradable product with no plastic components.

Plastic straws are becoming a thing of the past in North America, but in many countries around the world, it’s still common to receive a plastic straw at restaurants or fast food joints.

Carrying a stainless steel straw as part of their eco-friendly travel kit allows travelers to politely decline single-use plastic straws and minimize the amount of waste they produce while exploring abroad.

There are a lot of brands and options on the market for reusable straws but choosing a stainless steel material is usually the safest. Stainless steel is durable and won’t splinter, plus it harbors fewer bacteria than some other materials.

Related: These Unique Destinations Are Earth-Day Approved For The Sustainable, Eco-Minded Traveler

Considering the type of sunscreen travelers are buying is an important part of being an eco-friendly globetrotter. It’s especially important to purchase reef-safe sunscreen products when travelers are visiting coastal destinations and will be swimming.

For a reef-safe sunscreen, shop for non-nano, mineral-based products. These sunscreens are often advertised as mineral sunscreen and contain zinc oxide and titanium oxide which are less likely to harm coral reefs.

All travelers can add a reusable tote bag to their eco-friendly travel kit to reduce the number of plastic bags they use each year. The best part of adding a reusable bag to the kit is that it has many uses, including serving as an extra piece of luggage when something won’t fit in a suitcase.

It’s easy to use it as a personal item on the plane and then as a shopping bag upon arrival at the destination.

Look for a fabric bag that is sturdy and durable yet rolls up small, so it can be packed inside other luggage if necessary.

Related: Take An Eco-Cruise & Dolphin Tour Around Panama City

Energy conservation is a huge component of ecotourism, so investing in a solar-powered charger is a good move for the eco-conscious traveler. Travelers who go on hiking trips and will be off-grid for days at a time will also find this doubles as a useful way to keep cameras charged during these periods.

Look for solo chargers with multiple USB ports to charge a few devices at a time. Also, consider how much of a charge the device is capable of holding to determine whether it’s powerful enough to keep all necessary electronics charged.

A packable travel tower may not seem like an eco-travel item, but it actually helps travelers cut down on their water consumption. How? Because using a pack towel that air dries quickly while at hostels or hotels means not using the hotel towels.

As a result, the hotel doesn’t have to wash as many towels and therefore, uses less water to accommodate your stay.

Look for a microfibre or terry cloth towel because these materials typically dry more quickly. A quick-dry towel specifically designed for travel often comes in a zip pouch, so it packs down small and fits easily in a carry-on.

Backpackers who are making meals and snacks at their hostels to take with them throughout the day (saving them money) can add reusable silicone kitchen bags to their eco-friendly travel kit. This sustainable product replaces the need for plastic zipper bags.

Purchase food-grade silicone bags that are microwave-safe, freezer-safe, and dishwasher-safe.

Related: Sustainable Tourism In Chile: Eco-Friendly Travel Tips & Ideas

Anyone who has found themselves on a long layover at an airport knows that plastic cutlery often finds its way into a travel day. Rather than using disposable plastic cutlery every time they dine out for fast food, travelers can help the environment by adding a reusable cutlery set to their travel kit.

Bamboo or BPA-free (reusable) plastic utensils are the way to go. These are safe to eat from and are durable. A multi-purpose utensil (like a spork) or a kit containing a fork, knife, and spoon, is a sustainable item that's useful while traveling or camping.

Robynne Trueman is a Canadian writer and traveller. She is always searching for her next destination and loves sharing travel information with others. When she's not writing, you can find her hiking with her dog, practicing yoga, or jet setting somewhere on her bucket list. To view some of her original works, check out her personal blog at