The Best Sustainable Travel Products of 2019
It’s a new year, and that means new and fun travel gadgets and supplies! There are plenty of “must have” lists out there, but only a few of them fully focus on sustainability. Don’t worry if you haven’t been keeping up on the latest trends, because here at Postcard Press, we’ve gone through all of the best products and checked to make sure they’re as sustainable as possible so you can skip the research and get right to planning your next trip while reducing your carbon footprint and becoming a green traveler!
The best kind of energy is sustainable energy! If you can harness the power of the sun to charge your portable devices while on the go (or at home) then the obvious answer is, yes, do it! New and incredible advances in solar power have made it possible for travelers to get their hands on this technology for charging their devices, and we should all consider reducing our carbon footprint whenever possible. Think about it: even a portable charger needs its own charge, so why not cut out the electricity at your hotel or home and use the sun instead; it’s a free resource! It’s also much more convenient when you’re out of the hotel for the entire day or backpacking away from everyday luxuries and running low on juice. Just take it out and let the sun work its magic.
Reusable Travel Bottles
I owned very cheap reusable travel bottles that came in a 3-pack from a drug store, and I used them for one trip before I ended up throwing them away (recycled, of course!). They just weren’t what I was looking for, but then I was introduced to the GoToob travel bottles, and they seem awesome. These squeezable tubes are made from BPA-free silicone, TSA approved, and food-safe, so you can use them for practically anything. My biggest issue with the plastic, drug-store bottles was cleaning them. GoToob’s bottles have larger openings so cleaning is made easier. There is also a “LoopLock” system that makes it very difficult for one of the tubes to accidentally open during travel. While my drug-store travel tubes never accidentally opened, it would be a disaster if they ever did. GoToob’s system will give the on-the-go traveler some peace of mind, so they don’t have to worry about their tubes of soap and shampoo exploding before they arrive at their destination.
This may not be at the top of your list but it should be, especially if you plan on traveling to the ocean and going for a swim. Recently, sunscreen users were made aware that some types of sunscreen are harming the coral reefs, contributing to sun bleaching and coral death. One way to avoid harming natural marine life is to choose an organic and mostly plant-based lotion that is also water-resistant. COOLA is a great cruelty-free option! COOLA cares about keeping your skin safe from sun damage, and also cares about the planet, which means they’ve created organic products that will not only protect you from the sun but are also gentle and cruelty-free, enriched with antioxidants and sustainably sourced–making their sunscreen perfect for daily use, no matter where you’re swimming.
Reusable utensils can be metal, and therefore washed and reused and eventually recycled. Bamboo utensils are another option, and these can also be washed and eventually thrown away because they are biodegradable. It is all based on personal preference, although metal utensils will last longer, as the wood may split after so many uses and washes–it’s just natural! There are so many to-go utensil kits online; all you’d need to do is a Google search to find one that fits your needs. My favorite is this really cute bamboo spork set from Bambu. To finish off your kit, always–and I cannot stress this enough–always carry a reusable straw! Consider checking out FinalStraw, the collapsible, reusable straw that fits on your keychain. It will always be with you, so there will be absolutely no need to use a plastic straw.
Travel Water Bottle
Refillable plastic water bottles are a good step in the right direction to reducing single-use plastic water bottle waste, but I highly recommend buying a metal one. If you’ve used a metal water bottle before and it left your water tasting, well, metallic, then you just didn’t use the right one! I swear by Hydro Flask (I have three!) and they come in many sizes, shapes, and fun colors. They even have different lid attachments, so you can use a sports cap or a straw. I’m partial to my straw cap because taking off the entire lid is not as convenient for me. Also, if you’re like me and worried about keeping the internal straw clean, they have a cleaning kit for that.
Pro-tip: If you plan to travel on a plane with this bottle–which is a fabulous idea–be sure that the standard cap or sports cap is on. I opened my bottle on the plane with the straw lid attached, and the pressure caused water to spill into my bag as I opened it!
Filled with eco-friendly buckwheat and millet hulls, the Bucky compact neck pillow is an environmentally-friendly wonder. Founded in 1992, Bucky has spent more than two decades developing its travel pillow and other travel products to help travelers get to their destination well-rested and ready to explore. If you’ve gone on any long-haul or overnight flights, then you know how uncomfortable those seats can get; having a comfortable and sustainable travel pillow may help you rest easier. The Bucky website has many natural and sustainable travel products, including sleep masks, travel blankets, scarves, luggage tags, and travel bags to help prepare you for your next trip.
To be as sustainable as possible, the safest bet for any kind of wallet, handbag, or backpack is going vegan. Matt + Nat has a wide selection of men and women’s wallets that will hold everything including your passport, plane tickets, cards, cash, change, and everything in between. From the start, this brand has been experimenting with recycled materials such as nylon, cardboard, and even plastic bottles. They keep their focus on maintaining sustainable and eco-friendly products by following the motto “Live Beautifully” and appreciating the natural world around us. With that being said, these items are on the pricier side but should be considered an investment, taking the place of your daily wallet and accompanying you for years of travel.
During a long flight, there comes a time when you just want to zone out and make the trip go by faster. Reading your favorite novel is one way, but if you can’t focus on a book anymore, putting in earbuds and listening to music, or watching your favorite movie or tv series on your tablet, is another great option to help minutes or hours fly by. After some research, I found some really great sustainable earbuds made by Earth Bass. Earth Bass headphones are made from 100% real bamboo which makes the sound quality fantastic, as bamboo has high-quality sound conduction, particularly bass. And you won’t have to worry about how the bamboo is farmed, as it grows without the help of any fertilizers or pesticides. All of the bioplastics used in the creation of these headphones are plant-based too!
If you’re a big spender when it comes to your luggage, Samsonite has an eco-friendly line of suitcases for any green traveler. (Because of the cost, these make great gifts!) The Eco-Nu line of luggage has sustainably-produced fabrics, made from 100% consumer-recycled plastics. They are also expandable, with 360-degree swiveling wheels for easy mobility. If you’re looking for something a little more budget-friendly, then check out Eagle Creek and their sustainably-made luggage, available on their website and Amazon. These products are manufactured with as little impact to the planet as possible and come with lifetime warranties, so they’re recycled instead of being wasted in a landfill.
Eagle Creek is once again coming to the rescue with their sustainably-made packing cubes. I recently went on a trip and I thought I could be as organized as possible without packing cubes. I was wrong. Once again, it is personal preference, but I am an organization freak and will definitely invest in some great packing cubes for my next trip, long or short. If I buy any, I want them to be as sustainable and eco-friendly as possible! Eagle Creek checks every box by providing sustainable, waterproof materials while also having different style options based on how lightweight or sturdy your packing needs are. They also come in tons of bright colors, so they’re easy to identify and hard to misplace.
This one is entirely up to female travelers. Yes, it is a pain to change pads and tampons regularly, especially if you’re on a long flight. There’s no need to feel ashamed of holding your feminine hygiene products in the open and having to visit the restroom, but some women feel uncomfortable and want their time of the month to be private. It’s fine either way! If you are looking for another way to reduce waste and not have to visit the restroom as frequently, look into menstrual cups. I’m not saying make the switch outright; you must do some research first, or even talk to your GYN to get their opinion on the matter. If you do go for it, be sure you clean it often and with a proper, non-toxic cleaner. Most distributors of the cup, like Diva Cup, also sell a cleaner for it, which is pH balanced and plant-based with no harsh chemicals.
If you aren’t sure where to start when it comes to travel products, first make a list of necessities you absolutely cannot travel without, and then go through the list to see if you can swap it out with something a bit more environmentally friendly! You’ll be up-to-date on new travel products, and you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint at the same time!
Do you have any sustainable travel products you just can’t live without? Let us know about them so we can give them a try, too! Also, don’t forget to pin!