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Are you looking for the best sustainable travel products to make packing your suitcase easy AND green? You found the right place!
The first step toward eco-conscious traveling is to pack sustainable travel products so that you won’t leave behind plastic packaging that’s difficult or impossible to recycle.
Packing with sustainable travel products also helps you avoid using those travel-sized, single-use plastic shampoos and soaps that are provided in many hotels or homestays.
Let’s dive in for my top 10 sustainable travel products!
1. My favorite sustainable travel product
Perhaps the single biggest (and easiest!) sustainable travel tip I have up my sleeve is this water bottle that rolls up and tucks into your bag (or literally up your sleeve)!
This water bottle goes with me everywhere. Whether I tuck it into a pocket, wrap it around my wrist, slip it into my carry-on bag, or slide it into my over-the-shoulder holster (see below).
This water bottle has helped me stay completely free of single-use plastic water bottles for nearly three years – even while traveling full time! The Nomader is a crucial addition to your green packing list.
2. A collapsible coffee cup makes every morning sustainable
There is no doubt that the pandemic has changed so many things about the way that we travel. One of the things that makes me endlessly sad is the increased use of single-use plastic. It’s everywhere.
One of the best ways to avoid single-use plastic is to carry your own cups.
On a recent month-long road trip in a camper van, I used this collapsible coffee cup by Stojo every single day. OK. You got me. I used it multiple times a day. The Stojo cup also doubles as an excellent beer or wine cup.
Stojo products are BPA-free, lead-free, phthalate-free, adhesive-free, and chemical-free. Stojo has also achieved LFGB certification for food-safe silicone products (which is more difficult to earn than FDA certification).
I love my Stojo cup, but it’s not the only cup I carry. In fact, I have two other cups that are often in my bag or in a pocket…
3. Perhaps my most used sustainable travel products…
- Wine glasses bend to fit in pocket
- Bowl and cup collapse flat to fit into bags or back pockets
- Saves countless plastic cups at festivals or on planes
- Bring a set of bendalbe wine glasses for group trips
I carry a bendable wine glass that folds easily into the front pocket of my carry-on bag. I use it all of the time, but especially on flights.
I try to use trains as much as possible, but as a full-time traveler, I am on enough planes in any given year to seriously challenge my individual effort at carbon neutrality.
It may seem like a small thing, but can you imagine if we all refused to use the single-use plastic cups that hold our wine, beer, or soda on a plane? Airlines would be forced to make a change.
Flight attendants are usually very surprised when I ask them to fill up my reusable glass, but they often thank me and confide that it’s really hard to throw away so many plastic cups after every single flight.
Because plastic recycling differs in every locality, most of the time it’s only paper products that get recycled after a flight. More often than not the cups that we use for our drink service are going straight into the trash.
This is the set of travel wine glasses that my friends and I have started to bring on every girls’ trip. We pass the cups out to anyone who doesn’t already have one.
I’ve watched this sustainable travel tip save countless single-use plastic cups. Especially on trips to New Orleans and Las Vegas where plastic cocktail glasses are everywhere.
Tip: The best way to reduce your onboard waste is to carry your trash off the plane and recycle it yourself. If you are drinking soda or beer, ask to drink it straight out of the can. Then save the can and recycle it when you leave. If the wine is in one of those individual bottles, ask for the bottle and recycle it yourself.
A small cup (and bowl) that folds completley flat keeps you plastic free on the road
The third cup is for the food that I plan to consume at the festival or at the food truck. This cup folds completely flat and will substitute as a plate or bowl.
When I am carrying a purse or a backpack, I bring along both a cup and a bowl like the foldable set sold from Sea to Summit.
In a circumstance (like a festival) when I can’t carry a bag, this small cup is the perfect sustainable travel solution for plastic-free eating on the go. It takes a little extra work, yes, but I always find a vendor who will fill my cup with food rather than handing me a single-use box or plastic container.
4. Bamboo utensils are a go-to sustainable travel product
Along with the foldable cup and bowl that I carry, I always have my bamboo utensil set so that I never need to use plastic forks and knives. This durable set comes with chopsticks and a straw, and it has a convenient carabiner so you can hang it on your backpack, purse, or over-the-shoulder water bottle holster.
5. A reusuable, collapsible box for leftovers helps reduce waste
Speaking of taking things to-go, the following sustainable travel tip is one of my favorites. Whether I’m at home or on the road, the Stojo Grab-and-Gox box almost always comes with me if I eat at a restaurant so that I can carry out my leftovers without using a single-use container.
All of the same eco-conscious and safety-conscious qualities of the Stojo collapsible coffee cup are true of the grab-and-go box. But did I mention that Stojo products are also dishwasher safe?! The grab-and-go box is just $16 from Stojo.
6. Traveling with your own towels is a savvy sustainable travel move
I learned this valuable lesson while walking a 500-mile pilgrimage across Spain. Bringing your own towels will always ensure you can quickly get clean on the road or take an impromptu dip on a hike. The following towels and wipes are now crucial items both for my Camino de Santiago packing list and for my standard packing list.
There are three types of towels to travel with:
- Clean surfaces (or your body) sustainably
- Compost after using
- Wipe down planes or trains before settling in
- Great for an improvised shower while backpacking
- Perfect for in-between shower days in the van
- Ideal for early morning flights when you can’t shower
Note: Though Wildnerness Wipes are compostable, they should not be left on the ground while hiking. Practice Leave No Trace principles. It’s best to actually compost the wipes rather than throw them away, so I carry my used wipes in a repurposed plastic bag or tin until I find a composting facility or farm. I’ve even carried them all the way home before. Unfortunately, the package is not compostable.
Tip: Even when I do opt to use the towels provided by a hotel or hostel, I always opt-out of room service to conserve water.
Bonus Tip: To reduce plastic consumption when staying in a hotel, remove the plastic bag from one garbage bin and collect all of your trash in that bin. Take out your own trash and replace the unused plastic bag in the bin before you leave.
7. The foundation to green packing:
Eco-conscious packing cubes!
- Durable to last for many trips
- Organize your suitcase
- Made from sustainable materials
See options below for pricing
I’m seriously jealous of anyone who has eco-conscious packing cubes, which may just be the foundation of all sustainable travel products packed into your suitcase.
Long before I realized the importance of traveling sustainably, I purchased my packing cubes and, while not made sustainably, they have changed the way I pack. Now my bag is beautifully organized.
If that’s the case, try the Patagonia clamshell cubes.
While these are a little more expensive at $29-$49 (depending on size) per cube, they are seriously durable and made from 100 percent recyclable material.
I’m telling you, packing cubes will change the way you pack forever!
8. Solid shampoo, conditioner & lotion bars
Replace your liquids with solids
- Reduce plastic consumption
- Reduce packaging
- Just add water to products that are already 90% water!
See below for solid sustainable travel products
Solid lotion bars bars
Let’s start with solid lotion bars because this is one of my favorite sustainable toiletry solutions.
I’ve tried a lot of lotion bars, and back when I was testing them all out, my favorite solution was the Moon Valley Organics Herbal lotion bar. It sells for $15.99 on Amazon or $11.99 from the sustainable online marketplace EarthHero.
But I mostly make my own lotion bars now! It’s so easy, and you can play with the formula that works best for your skin. Here’s my YouTube video detailing this seriously easy sustainable solution:
Solid shampoo and conditioner bars
Going solid with your shampoo and conditioner bars just makes a ton of sense. Shampoos and conditioners are made of more than 90 percent water anyway.
Why not use a chemical-free bar that isn’t contained in a hard-to-recycle plastic container – and then mix it with the water from your shower?
That’s exactly the sentiment that inspired Brianne West to start making shampoo and conditioner bars in her kitchen when she was a college student. Now her business, ethique, is a go-to for sustainable toiletry solutions! She makes my favorite shampoo and conditioner bars, which can be found on Amazon for $22.30 for the hair-care set.
9. Sustainable travel products for dental care
Sustainable dental products:
- Use toothpaste tablets instead of hard-to-recycle-tubes
- Opt for plastic-free dental floss
- Use plastic-free lip balm
See below for prices on these sustainable travel products
I’m using toothpaste tablets from by Humankind because they make my life a little easier with a subscription program. Every month, I get new toothpaste tablets in the mail in a recyclable envelope. by Humankind offsets the carbon footprint from shipping by investing in forest preservation projects.
The toothpaste is $15 for a two-pack and a mini glass container or you can subscribe for $12 (the container is free with a subscription), and two refill packets will come to you every month.
Tip: I travel a lot so I tend to avoid subscriptions because I don’t have an address to send the products. But it’s seriously easy to manage your deliveries through the by Humankind online portal. Plus, I love it when they email me to say that my toothpaste is on the way because they also tell me how much plastic I kept out of the ocean by shopping for their sustainable travel products.
Plastic-free dental floss
Most dental floss is made out of nylon, which is, you guessed it plastic. Often floss is coated in a synthetic wax coating that is made from petroleum. And all of that comes packaged in a tiny little plastic container this is nearly impossible to recycle. GAH!
My favorite dental floss is the organic floss made by Radius that comes in a paper holder. Pros: It’s really cost-effective at $12 for a sustainable floss pack of three from Amazon and it is the best floss I’ve ever used in terms of comfort.
Cons: On my most recent order, the floss came wrapped in plastic. You can try to tell the folks at Amazon to stop wrapping your plastic-free items in plastic, but that doesn’t always work.
Tip: Remove your sustainable floss from the paper packaging when traveling. This makes it super tiny for packing in your toiletry bag or toothbrush container.
For my next floss purchase, I’m going to add this sustainable travel product to my subscription at by Humankind:
The floss is the same deal as by Humankind’s sustainable toothpaste tablets. The biodegradable, ethically-made floss coated in vegan wax is $12 and the plastic-free container is $3. Or you can get the container for free with a $12 per-order subscription. In this case, the delivery options are every six, eight, or 10 weeks.
Sustainable, plastic-free lip balm
We go through SO MUCH chapstick, right? And we tend to lose the darn plastic containers all over the place, right? So why not purchase chapstick that comes in paper containers?
Not so fun fact: More than 200 million plastic chapstick tubes are tossed into the garbage every year.
10. Your sustainable sunscreen solution
This is a crucial sustainable travel product. I use the tinted sunscreen on my face every day, and I carry the larger tin in my carry-on when traveling.
Bonus Tip: Sustainable clothing
Sustainable Outfit Pictured
Shirt and Pants
Both the pants and the top pictured are from one of my favorite companies. Sozy donates 10% of profits to survivors of sexual violence and another 10% to charitable and environmental initiatives. This female-founded company is climate-neutral certified, a certified B Corporation, and a member of the 1% for the Planet club.
Rothy’s shoes are amazing. The thread for the shoes is made from plastic water bottles. Algae-based material is used for under the insole. Outsoles are made with 35% natural and renewable materials. Insoles contain 30% plant-based oil and recycled rubber. Rothy’s plans to “close the loop” by making every pair of shoes recyclable!
Thank you for your interest in living and traveling sustainably. For more tips like these, please remember to subscribe to my newsletter.
If you liked this post, you will love this comprehensive list of all the sustainable travel products that I use!
Wander with love!
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.