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Whether it’s long haul, short haul, weekender, digital nomad, domestic, international, budget or luxury, travel is back in business — albeit with a few increased safety precautions. And while the best type of travel we can do for the planet is, well, walking, sometimes we need to get on a bus, a plane or even a ship to get us to our destination. We know flying is problematic, but it’s often unavoidable. So, make the decision to go eco-friendly in all other facets of your travel journey and you’ll be doing your bit to help out.
One of the easiest and most impactful things you can do when getting ready for a trip is to trade plastics for solids — like bars of shampoo, conditioner, soap and even moisturizer. Plus, using solid cleansers for travel gets you past that pesky liquid restriction at the airport’s security checkpoint.
Read on for our top eco-friendly travel products that include toiletries, bags, packing solutions, budget travel items and even phone apps to help reduce your carbon footprint while still enjoying our amazing planet.
$9.99 at Amazon
Mosquitos are never a fun part of the travel experience, and even with the best bug repellant on the market, a bite is often unavoidable. Scratching that nasty itch is a short-lived relief and also causes swelling and potential damage to the skin. The Bug Bite Thing is a small suction device that extracts the saliva or venom left behind by mosquitoes — or bees, biting flies, no-see-ums and more — to help alleviate itching, stinging and swelling caused by bug bites. In our testing, we loved the Bug Bite Thing for its effectiveness on new bites. At less than $10, we recommend it if you’re heading on an outdoors trip and tend to be a mosquito magnet.
$30 at Nordstrom
Inspired by the nopal cactus for its Mexican cultural symbolism, resiliency and sustainability, this solid moisturizing bar provides deep hydration to skin when you're on the move. Its bar form eliminates the need for single-use plastic bottles of lotion and comes in a reusable and recyclable tin. It’s vegan, cruelty- and palm oil-free with no synthetic fragrance. One reviewer says, “This bar is so moisturizing it’s unreal. […} I really can’t believe how soft my skin is after using this. The smell is light, subtle and very pleasant.”
$70 at Paravel
Made from recycled plastic bottles, the Paravel Fold-Up is the perfect bag for any trip. It weighs almost nothing and folds up into a neat little zipped cube when not in use. Pack your gym clothes for a trip down the block, pack an entire weekend’s worth of outfits for a getaway, bring it along on a longer trip as an extra bag to fill with treasures or, alternatively, fill it with your dirty clothes on your way home.
$30 at Vida Bars
Vida shampoo and conditioner bars are the perfect on-the-go tool for curly hair. The Vida Bars come in six different sets, depending on your type of curls. This Balance Set is perfect for those with oily scalps and dry hair. They're free from sulfates, phthalates, silicones, parabens and artificial fragrances. Plus, they're cruelty-free, they're handcrafted in the US and the company is owned by a woman of color, and 5% of the company's profits go to an education fund for survivors of domestic abuse.
$12 each at Green Ablutions
The Green Ablutions shampoo and conditioner bars are great eco-friendly travel products for all types of hair. You can travel super light with a pair of solid bars too, because the shampoo doubles as a body wash and the conditioner as a shaving lather or in-shower moisturizing bar. The zero-waste company is a woman-owned business out of Pennsylvania, and all products are vegan, palm oil- and cruelty-free and made in the US. Plus, 10% of all sales go to the conservation of sea turtles.
$20.95 at REI
If you don't want to use a bar of shampoo and instead want to use your liquid shampoo and conditioner from home, these travel bottles are the perfect reusable option. They've got an opening to loop a carabiner for easy transport or have the ability to lock, providing 20 times more resistance against accidental opening. The bottles are made from FDA food-safe materials, and both the tube and cap are 100% BPA-free. Best of all, each of the tubes can fit 1.6 ounces of your favorite shampoo, meaning they fit within the TSA's liquid rules for your carry-on bag.
$59.95 at REI
The Kelty Catena 30 Sleeping Bag is great for the casual camper. Down-insulated bedding and jackets have been the norm when it comes to warmth in outdoor gear for many years, but down feathers come from birds that are often plucked and kept in horrible conditions. Vegan insulation technology offers a similar warmth for travel during the colder months. Synthetic fillings might not be as lightweight or compact as down, but they’re generally cheaper, they dry faster and they're nonallergenic.
$49 at Avocado Green Mattress
How many times have you been in a hotel room, on a plane or in a cabin and the pillow is just terrible? The Avocado Green Mattress Organic Mini Pillow rectifies this problem with a packable, nontoxic, breathable pillow you’ll probably want to use even when you’re at home. The pillow is stuffed with 100% organic certified and renewable kapok fiberfill and 100% organic certified latex. Plus, it's all stitched together with 100% organic certified cotton.
$68 $51 at Sora
The Sora Towel is a great all-in-one option for traveling because it works on the sand (it's sand-repellenta) or in the yoga studio. It’s thin but robust and also dries quickly. The towels are made from recycled material and tick the responsible social, environmental and chemical practice boxes at every step of production. The brand also partners with artists around the world to create bespoke designs that are ever-rotating.
$48 at Amazon
Turkish towels have been around for decades, but their popularity has grown recently both in home decor and for travel. It makes sense too because they’re super lightweight, fast-drying and totally stylish. The Sand Cloud Turkish Towel is our pick because Sand Cloud not only sends 10% of its sales to ocean conservation, but its towels are hand-loomed in ethical factories in Turkey with organic cotton and with a clever sand-resistant weave.
$20 at By Human Kind
Designed for a weekend getaway, the By Human Kind Plastic-Free Travel Bundle has all the essentials minus all the single-use plastics. The bundle includes a travel-size shampoo, conditioner and body bar, toothpaste and mouthwash tablets and cotton swabs. For an extra charge, you can purchase the recycled plastic travel bag and top up the bundle when needed. All sets are vegan, cruelty-free, ethically made and 100% carbon neutral. As a bonus, all purchases come with free shipping.
$29.99 annual subscription at App in the Air
App in the Air (AITA) is a personal travel assistant that’s already helping 6 million people worldwide manage their air travel while prioritizing eco-friendliness. The app’s founder and CEO, Bayram Annakov, wanted to create a service to encourage carbon-neutral traveling. AITA filters flights by estimated carbon emissions, times and price so users can choose the least polluting option. The service also plants a tree for every flight booked and tracks personal carbon footprints to help offset emissions in an easy and genuinely impactful way.
$4.25 at REI
Campsuds works on your hair, body and dirty dishes! The concentrated soap works in hot, cold or salt water to wash just about anything, really. It’s made out of vegetable-based biodegradable anionic and nonionic cleaning agents, natural fragrance, oils and germaben. But remember, even biodegradable soaps need to be used away from natural water sources.
$29 at Tushy
When it comes to being more environmentally conscious on the road, it's easy to overlook the bathroom. While single-use wipes can damage plumbing systems, the Tushy Travel Bidet will help you to reduce your carbon footprint by using less toilet paper. It's discreet and collapsible with no batteries or charging required. As one reviewer says, "This product changes everything you know about butt hygiene, in a good way."
$44.90 at Amazon
As one of the first compact travel flatware sets, Outlery raised millions on Kickstarter before becoming one of the go-to companies for sustainable outdoor eating and drinking tools. The company has chopsticks, straws and sporks, and all of its products are meant to cut down on single-use cutlery whether you’re eating at a rest stop on a road trip, camping for 10 days straight or tucking into that tasty airplane meal.
$9.95 at Amazon
The GIR multipack straws are the perfect travel option to replace the many disposable straws you’ll come across on your trips. The multipack includes five colorful straws, one travel case and a cleaning squeegee, making it easy to clean on the go. The straws break down to fit into the travel case, they're made from 100% silicone and they're BPA- and BPS-free. One reviewer says, “They are much nicer than the long steel ones I already had. The silicon ones are more comfortable and more versatile. And I love that they fold into the little carrier cases that take up very little room in my purse or pocket.”
$7.95 at Booda Organics
A family-run business, Booda Organics is committed to using only ingredients you can find in nature to make its all-organic products. The Booda Butter Cream Deodorant is great for traveling, thanks to its compact jar, and the formula works to prevent smelly pits by creating an alkaline-positive environment that naturally reduces odor-causing bacteria. It's non-GMO and non-NANO, it contains no aluminum, alcohol, soy, wax or fragrance and it's gluten-free and cruelty-free.
$33 at Lani & Kai
Always choose mineral-based sunscreen and not chemical sunscreen — your body and the planet will thank you. Lani & Kai is made with 98% organic materials and is 100% mineral. Even though the packs are limited use, they’re actually designed to cut down on used sunscreen bottles ending up in landfills. The three-packs of SPF 30 Broad Spectrum sunscreen will last for five to seven uses, making it the perfect weekend carry-on. Bigger bundles are available for longer trips.
$11.04 $10.99 at Amazon
Badger Anti-Bug Shake & Spray repels bugs naturally with its rosemary, citronella and lemongrass essential oils. It’s one of the few bug sprays out there with 100% organic ingredients, meaning no synthetic chemicals at all — especially not DEET. It comes in two sizes, including one measuring 2.7 fluid ounces, perfect for carry-on trips. One reviewer says, “I normally attract mosquitoes more than the average person and this bug spray worked better than anything I’ve ever used.”
$139 at YouSwim
This might feel expensive for a bathing suit, but what if you never had to buy another one again? YouSwim is on a mission to help destigmatize our ever-changing body sizes and eliminate unnecessary waste. There are four styles that come in bikini-style or full one-piece suit and fit sizes 2 to 14. The suits are made in England and out of EU-sourced nylon and have express worldwide shipping available.
$14.95 at Amazon
The Valourgo Collapsible Water Bottle is an eco-friendly travel product that helps to cut back on single-use plastic bottles — and it also cuts back on space use. Because it folds up into one-third of its full size, you can slip it into just about any small space. Its BPA-free silicone keeps it lightweight, and there’s a leakproof valve and key ring for attaching to the outsides of bags. Plus, because it’s so malleable, filling it up in tricky sinks is a breeze.
$19.99 $14.99 at Stasher Bag
Reducing the number of single-use plastics on your travels can be difficult, especially when it comes to using Ziploc bags to store your toiletries and other goods, but Stasher bags can be a huge addition to your travel arsenal. That's because they're endlessly reusable and made without BPA, lead, latex or phthalates. Plus, they're dishwasher- and microwave-safe, so you can easily clean them between uses. We love this quart-size bag for travel, as it can fit many of your favorite travel-size accessories.
In our testing, we loved the variety of Stasher bags available and how easy they are to use. They also kept our leftovers fresh, and we haven’t experienced any spillage or leakage from the bags.
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