Living a sustainable and environmentally conscious lifestyle is something that I am personally very passionate about. I make a daily concerted effort to minimize the waste I produce, and I am constantly on the lookout for wholesome, ethical companies that make quality products. I try to incorporate eco-friendly habits into my daily life, but I often struggle to maintain this aspect of my normal routine while traveling. Thankfully, I have come across a number of travel products that have helped me maintain my “earth-conscious”, responsible consumer habits while on the road. Here are some of my favorites:
I’ve heard of solid shampoo bars before, but it wasn’t until recently that I decided to try one out. I bought the Seanik Shampoo Bar from LUSH and was instantly hooked. I worried if solid shampoo would create the same luscious lather of other shampoo but rest assured, it does. Furthermore, solid shampoo is a waste-free, more efficient alternative to bottled shampoo. If you’re low maintenance like me, you might even consider using these bars as body wash as well. However, if you’re not keen on altering your entire shower regimen just yet, LUSH also makes traditional shampoo and conditioner, plus a wide variety of lovely bar soaps which you might like to try as alternatives to your current brand.
Note: Be sure to pick up a travel tin for lightweight, easy transport.
I try to minimize my exposure to plastic as much as humanly possible, and while I’m not convinced that silicone is the best alternative to plastic, it is certainly better as it is BPA, PC and Phthalate-free. These little bottles by humangear are a good alternative to the plastic version because they create less environmental impact, they’ll last longer, and their “loop-lock” design is supposed to make spillage nearly impossible. I have not tried to take, for instance, my Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap (which already comes in a travel size) in these bottles but the website does encourage you to test most oil-based products before you travel to make sure you don’t have any problems. Read more on their website.
I came across this razor in the grocery store one day and was intrigued by the bamboo handle and plastic-free packaging. After giving it a try I will say that this is simply your average everyday razor but it is one of most eco-friendly I have ever found. It doesn’t give me the same impossibly smooth legs like I’ve found with some other brands, but with a little organic coconut oil, a similar effect can be achieved.
I have searched long and hard for the best organic, reef-friendly, non-comedogenic (non-pore clogging) sunscreen available, and I must say that this is not an easy task. The closest I have come to finding the ideal sunscreen brand is Badger. I love that their products are made with 98% organic ingredients, are reef-friendly and have never caused any breakouts on my sensitive skin. I have purchased their SPF 30 Lavender Sunscreen before, and have had good results.
The only downside is it leaves a noticeable white-tint on my skin - a common complaint about most sunscreens that use zinc-oxide as the main UVA/UVB blocker. (A small price to pay for keeping harmful chemicals out of our oceans which can lead to bleaching of coral reefs.) But using less product, warming it up in my hands before application, and rubbing it in very well, have helped minimized the whitish look.
A few other brands worth considering are Goddess Garden, thinksport, and Manda.
I try to shop locally whenever I travel. It’s a great opportunity to practice responsible tourism and direct your money back into the local community as much as possible. Besides, who doesn’t love strolling through farmers markets, flea markets, art markets, and local bazaars? One thing I noticed, however, was that individual vendors at these markets almost always wrap your purchase in a plastic bag. By bringing a reusable bag to carry your shopping haul, you can save the vendor the trouble and practice environmental consciousness at the same time. A reusable tote is also more stylish in my opinion and makes you look less like a tourist. This one by Baggu is cool, but you can use any bag you probably already have at home!
You might think that glass water bottles are a hassle to travel with, and they can be, but bkr water bottles have been proven to withstand drops and crashes. The soft silicone sleeve has always seemed to provide enough protection in my experience. Glass water bottles are better for the environment, and they decrease your risk of exposure to the harmful chemicals often found in plastic and metal bottles. Glass also does not affect the taste of your water as some other materials do.
Even though I have a reusable coffee mug, I often forget to bring it with me to the coffee shop. However, I’m constantly trying to improve and I encourage you to do the same! Everyone has to start somewhere, and I firmly believe that every action, no matter how small, helps. That being said, if you intend to be consuming coffee on the go while traveling, consider investing in a reusable coffee cup. Most paper coffee cups are actually not recyclable because the insides are coated with a plastic polyethylene coating. This means that billions of coffee cups go into landfills every year. Combat this problem by trying a reusable cup, and try to remember it! I like this ceramic one by Porter.
8. “Bra For Your Eyes” Sleeping Mask
This sleeping mask, made by the company Bucky, is called the “40 Blinks Sleep Mask” because its convex shape leaves room between the mask and your eye - meaning there is no pressure on your eye and room to blink. When I first came across this mask, I couldn’t help but laugh at its description as a “bra for your eyes” which is exactly how it looks. However, this lightweight mask ensures that you won’t smudge your mascara. It eliminates ambient light, making it perfect for both short naps and deep sleep.
9. Nimble Eco-friendly Portable Charger
I hadn’t even considered trying to find eco-friendly tech products because I didn’t think there would be very many out there, but when I came across this eco-friendly portable charger, I was pleasantly surprised. A portable charger is key while traveling- especially solo. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ended up crouched on an airport floor next to an outlet because there were no other outlets to be found in the seating area. Your phone is your most valuable safety resource while traveling solo, but it is useless if it’s dead.
A travel wallet is an incredibly handy travel item. My daily wallet is only big enough for a few credit cards and my license, which is all I need. But while traveling, I need to have my credit cards, license, passport, boarding pass, train ticket, etc. someplace together, organized, and easily accessible. That’s why a travel wallet is my saving grace. I don’t actually own this travel wallet, but I’m a huge fan of the company Everlane. I respect that this company is 100% transparent about where all their products come from. For instance, if you visit the company website, you can read the story about how the designers at Everlane wanted to find out which factory a particular luxury designer brand uses to make their leather goods. After months of digging, they were “tipped off” by someone who knew someone else named Pepe in a small town in Italy. Pepe happened to lead one of the best leather factories in the world, and subsequently, a relationship was formed. This story makes me feel as if this company truly cares about the products they make, and the people who make them - something I highly value. Bottomline: I think Everlane is a company you can feel good supporting.
Astrid Solo Travel Advisor is constantly improving, and one thing we are currently working on is the promotion of responsible and sustainable travel. We have a long way to go, but we are always hunting for high-quality products for solo travelers. We’ve just updated our AstridTravel Marketplace (both the Essentials and Favorites) with many of the products listed here along with a few other favorites like travel candles and suitcase-friendly yoga mats. We intend to keep the Marketplace full of fresh, fun brands, so if you know of any sustainable, eco-friendly, responsible, or feel-good companies we should support, please let us know in the comments below!
Author: Madeline Freret
Madeline joined the Astrid Solo Travel Advisor team as a Content and Digital Marketing Manager in 2018. She believes that traveling is an essential aspect of life that allows you to see yourself, other people, places and things in a new light. She is passionate about trying new things, having a curious mind and seeking joy wherever she goes. To read more about her and each one of our Solo Travel Advisors, head over to the About page!