Are you struggling to find the perfect gift for a friend or loved one about to embark on their travels? Why not buy a sustainable or eco-friendly present that will not only make life easier on the road but will help them stay green whilst on the road. From plastic-free toiletries to solar power chargers, MyBaggage.com outline their favourite 13 sustainable/eco-friendly gift ideas for travellers below.
How hard is it packing all of your travel miniatures into a toiletries bag? You also have to contend with the 200ml maximum on liquids if you decide to carry a hand on. Ditch the plastic minis, it’s time to look at reusable toiletries. Anything from solid shampoos and conditioners to a good old-fashioned soap bar is perfect for taking on the go. Lush UK offers a wide variety of Naked toiletries including shower gel, body lotion & makeup. You can also pick up metal tins for your solid shampoos and soaps just to make sure your toiletries arrive in one piece.
Reusable face wipes
Did you know that your face wipes attribute up to 93% of waste discovered in sewage blockages? It’s time to ditch the waste and invest in a good reusable face wipe. There are a variety of different types of reusable face wipes, from muslin clothes to organic cotton and bamboo alternatives. Removing makeup or refreshing your face with reusable wipes is easy peasy. Simply wash your face with a soap bar or solid cleanser and use your wipe to wash away the impurities. Set it aside or hang it up to dry and hey presto you can use it again and again.
Reusable period products
Getting your period on holiday is no picnic. It can be uncomfortable; you won’t always know when you have access to bathrooms and you might not be able to find the sanitary products you normally use at home. By investing in reusable period products you are giving yourself an eco-friendly alternative that will not only cut down on waste but will allow you to work with your flow. Some travel favourites include menstrual cups, reuseable period pants and reusable cotton pads. Remember that for reusable pants and pads you will need to access to water and a sink to wash the items after use. For menstrual cups, all you need to do is tip the contents in the toilet and give it a quick rinse with clean water, so if you are backpacking this option is more user-friendly.
Sun cream that doesn’t impact the reefs
Did you know that your sun cream has an impact on the sea? Harmful chemicals found in sun cream like oxybenzone become absorbed by the sea when you swim. This has an impact on coral life and leads to corals being bleached. Some countries are so concerned by the problem that they are banning certain sun creams in an attempt to protect coral reefs. If coral reefs die, the world will lose an important ecosystem. By gifting a sun cream that is coral reef friendly you are making a stand against the impact of pollution on our oceans.
When picking a sun cream make sure it does not include the chemicals oxybenzone or octinoxate. Check to see if it mentions whether the product is reef safe or is anti-pollution. Some popular brands in Sun Bum, Babo Botanicals, Hello Bello and Beautycounter.
Essentials for eating & drinking
Filtered water bottles
When travelling one of the most common costs is for bottled water. Not only is this an extra expense but it is incredibly wasteful, just think of all of those plastic bottles going into landfill. The best way to combat this is to give the gift of a filtered water bottle. These bottles have built in filters than can purify water, leaving it safe enough to drink. There are a variety of brands that offer filtered water bottles with some of the favourites being SurviMate, LifeStraw & Brita.
Reusable food containers
Want to enjoy street food but hesitant due to the unnecessary waste from throw away containers? Well why not invest in reusable food containers. Not only will they be able to enjoy as much street food they can handle, they will also be able to cook and store food in their hostels to enjoy throughout the day. This gift will help save money, offer an alternative to throw away waste and will ensure that they can keep enjoying tasty cuisine. Not only that, but it is a handy way of storing fruit and other snacks on a long journey. Everyone will appreciate the friend with a snackbox at hand.
Ditch the plastic spoons and forks and invest in a reusable alternative. Not only will this mean that you are always ready to tuck into a tasty meal, but it will be a handy alternative to wasteful disposable cutlery. There are many varieties to choose from, from bamboo to metal, and many come in their own handy storage pack.
Did you know that in April the UK government unveiled a plan to ban single use plastic straws to cut down on waste? Plastic straws often can’t be recycled and find themselves ending up in our oceans or landfills, causing irreversible damage and taking centuries to break down. This is where the reusable straw comes in! Available in a variety of materials from silicone, metal to bamboo, most also come with a carry case. Remember that you will have to wash your reusable straw, most sets include a handy cleaning brush.
If they already have a favourite reusable water bottle, then instead of buying a new one with an inbuilt filter, why not invest in a water purifier? A popular choice is the LifeStraw filter. This straw filters out harmful bacteria and waterborne illnesses. It can be used to drink water from the tap that otherwise would be unclean. It’s also handy for hikers, as you can also use it to drink water straight from a river or stream. There are other purifying gadgets out there, but LifeStraw gives back, for every purchase you make a donation is made to LifeStraws’ give back programme, which works to provide safe drinking water to people around the world.
Solar power chargers
Need to charge your phone but don’t have access to electricity? Invest in a solar power charger and not only will you be using a renewable energy source but you won’t have to worry about finding a plug to top up your phone battery. This is an ideal present for any backpacker, their only excuse for not checking in with the parents will be their hangover. There are a variety on the market, some offer up to 3 USB charging ports so you can also charge your camera on the go. Others have features such as lightweight, waterproof or foldable. Not going to a hot country? Don’t worry. All you need is daylight, it doesn’t have to be a scorcher.
Solar power lights
If you are camping or trekking, solar power lighting is incredibly handy. This can be in the form of a head lamp, torch or even just a night light for your campsite. Not having to worry about batteries will also give you extra space in your bag and one less thing to worry about. Just remember to follow the charging instructions and to make sure the item gets plenty of daylight during the day so it will remain charged at night.
Wind up torch
It may seem pretty basic but this item can be a lifesaver when you are out in the wilderness. A wind up torch ensures you will never be without a light, no matter what the situation. It also doesn’t use batteries, all you need to do is use your wind up torch and your campsite now has a light source.
Why not give them the gift of a cruelty free bag? There are plenty of brands that are now making vegan backpacks and travel accessories. Treat them to a whole range or just a practical bag that will make their journey hassle free. There are a variety of brands now offering vegan bags from Patagonia, to Ecogrear and stylish favourite Corkor.
Bags that give back
But it’s not just vegan! You can also give them the gift of a backpack that helps a worthy cause. Northern Irish brand Madlug make stylish backpacks that not only function and look great but also have a purpose. For every bag purchased Madlug will donate a bag to a child in the care sector, this bag will also have an accompanying message, reminding them how much value and importance they have. This touching gift is available in a variety of colours and makes the perfect backpack for travelling.
Author: Sarah McCann at MyBaggage.com, when she's not blogging she loves nothing more than setting off on a camping trip in a new location.