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I always love packing my suitcase, but packing it for a sustainable summer of traveling means an extra bit of joy when making my packing list!
But as we start to think about traveling again, we must also think about doing it with sustainability in mind. So here are some of my favorite items for a sustainable summer packing list.
Let’s dive in!
Sustainable Summer Shoes
Let’s start with planet-conscious shoes to get our sustainable summer packing list kicking!
Made to last
Committed to creating a comfortable, durable shoe that will reduce the need for any other shoe in your closet due to durability and versatility, the folks at Allbirds are trailblazers in the sustainable shoe category.
Made from sustainable materials
Made from wool and TENCEL™ Lyocell or eucalyptus trees with laces made of recycled plastic bottles and insoles made of castor bean oil, these shoes are sustainable through and through.
On a mission
You may be familiar with the TOMS’ mission to provide shoes to people in need around the globe. Today TOMS donates one-third of its profits to organizations supporting grassroots change in local communities. So you can feel good shopping here!
On a mission
Rothy’s is working to create a recycling program to keep their shoes out of landfills; they are working toward zero-waste production at their factory; they are making the entire fashion industry better by leading the charge in using twice-recycled materials in their products; they are moving toward carbon neutral status. Amazing.
Shoes made from plastic
These slip-on shoes are knit from thread spun from plastic water bottles! The comfortable shoes are perfect for travel, easily dressed up and dressed down, machine washable, and durable. Ships plastic-free with recyclable packaging.
I have a pair of classic point shoes in black, but I think I’ll jazz it up for the summer with a lighter color like the one pictured here. The classic point sells for $145 from Rothy. For men, the driving loafer will be a good sustainable shoe selection for the summer. It sells for $185 (pictured above).
Perfect for travelers!
Each shoe is inspired by a destination. Choose your favorite color or choose a shoe designed to represent a place you love (or will soon love when you travel there!) I own the Savannah Bootie (pictured here), and I love the shoes for their comfort and their colorful look.
My favorite sustainable summer shoes
I am loving the Kali Slide sandal inspired by Bali. Perfect for the beach or walking about town. These summer slip-ons will jazz up any outfit! They sell for $30 from Inkkas.
Sustainable Weekender Bags
Bags perfect for a sustainable summer weekend away
The sustainable weekender from Banda Bag is cruelty-free and handmade by female artisans around the globe who want to learn a trade. Committed to fair trade, fair pay, and female empowerment, the handmade bags are also made from recycled nylon and stitched with thread made from plastic waste. The bags run for $365 for a full-sized weekender and $245 for a mini weekender.
Pre-loved designer bags for a fashionable sustainable summer at Vestiaire
Keep gently used bags out of the landfill (and maybe even snag a designer bag on the cheap!) Keep your eye on Vestiaire’s collection of pre-loved travel bags. The inventory changes all of the time, so check back often. Shop all pre-loved designer products here.
Sustainable Summer Swimsuits
Swimwear that is good for the ocean
Londre has a recycling program so that suits are made into new materials at the end of their season. There is also a repair program so that the suits are guaranteed to last longer than one season. I love that all shipping materials are compostable too. The suits are adorable, made for all bodies, and super affordable. You can also buy just the top or just the bottom or mix and match. I own the multi-way one-piece and it is sexy and sassy. Regular price $168 (but watch for sales).
Paper sustainable swimwear is made from recycled plastic water bottles! Plus for every purchase made, Paper pays for the planting of five trees. You can track your reforestation efforts after your purchase, and you can sleep well knowing you are planting, recycling, and providing employment (in Madagascar, Mozambique, or Kenya). Swimwear ranges from around $100-$250.
Beautiful sustainable swimwear (and more!) at Bohemian Mama
Bohemian Mama’s collection of curated sustainable brands makes shopping easy. All the brands with a fashionable bohemian look AND a love for the planet in one place. Yes, please! And…no, you don’t have to be a mama to enjoy these brands like the collection of beautiful swimsuits for a sustainable summer.
I also featured Bohemian Mama in my roundup of badass ethical brands owned by women.
I love PrAna for its commitment to creating clothing for positive change. From the materials and chemicals used in the creation of clothes to the packaging used to ship them, PrAna is thinking about the impact on the Earth.
We’re always in the market for new sunglasses in the summer, right? Well…that’s because we lose the darn things all of the time, making it all that much more important to buy a sustainable pair of sunglasses so that if (OK, when) you do misplace them, you can rest easy knowing they won’t be clogging the landfill of whatever sunny location you are visiting.
My very favorite pair of sustainable sunglasses are by WearPanda. They are made from 100-percent, FSC-certified bamboo. They are also super lightweight and they float! So if you drop them while doing your SUP yoga, all good.
Plus they look great. I get a ton of compliments when I wear them. Oh, these guys give back, too. They are a 1% for the Planet company, so they give one percent of profits back to organizations helping Mama Earth.
Sustainable Summer Dresses
Who doesn’t love a flowy summer dress when it’s hot outside? Even better when that dress is sustainable, right?!
These brands are doing beautiful things with sustainable summer dresses!
TAMGA Designs fits that description perfectly. Perfect for those Instagram posts, these beautiful, affordable dresses by TAMGA are “field to fashion” perfection, using safe dyes, and employing workers who make a living wage in an ethical factory in Bali. My favorite part? Garments are packaged in a biodegradable bag made from vegetable starch – no plastic! The pictured Arabelle Maxi Dress sells for $156.
prAna makes another appearance in this post because they are just seriously awesome when it comes to both travel and sustainability. Their sustainable travel collection contains clothing meant for rolling into your suitcase without wrinkling, including this Railay High Low Dress that sells for $99.
Sustainable Toiletries for Your Summer Carry-On
I’m a member of the hand sanitizer and tooth tablet subscription program by Humankind, meaning you sign up and they automatically send you refills in sustainable packaging. Easy!
In this sustainable kit, you’ll get the toothpaste tablets (ditch hard-to-recycle toothpaste tubes for good, you’ll get plastic-free floss (most floss is made of nylon/plastic, and you’ll get natural deodorant. It all comes in a compostable, refillable container.
All shipments, including those automatic ones with your refills, are carbon offset by Humankind. They invest in forest preservation projects as an offset.
Folding Utensils and Cups for Sustainable Summer Picnics
I think these items make it into just about every post I write about sustainability because I think they are the single most important thing you can do to consistently avoid plastic every single day of your life, whether you’re on the road or not.
Tuck these items into your bag for a sustainable summer!
Each item folds completely flat and easily slides into a bag. The cup will even fit into a pocket. Great for festivals. The set sells for $55. You can buy each piece separately. You can also buy a set with a lid for leftover or takeout food.
Sustainable Hip Bags for a Traveling Summer
Am I saving the best for last? Maybe?!
Because it isn’t a traveling summer without a hip bag, bum bag, or – as they call them in the states – fanny packs. Now take that image of a dad bod at Disneyland out of your mind. These things are so dang fashionable now (for both men and women) that it was hard to find sustainable fanny packs for less than $200!
Eco hip bags are a must for a sustainable summer!
I love Parker Clay. This is a company committed to employing at-risk women in Ethiopia, providing fair wages and vocational training. This is a big deal considering that 26 percent of women are unemployed in Addis Ababa.
The Desta Belt Bag made from goat leather is stylish, and it doubles as both a hip bag and a crossbody. Your purchase provides ten hours of employment to women in Ethiopia. Sells for $188.
About the Author
Hi! I’m Jen!
I’m a freelance writer and travel blogger who quit my nine-to-five after my fiancé, Jeff, died of cancer at the age of 40. When he died, I realized that life is just too short to delay our dreams. Since my dream was to travel and write, I now travel and write full-time. Today I wear hiking boots instead of heels and collect experiences instead of things.