5 Product Choices for More Sustainable Travels

by Morgan Pettersson

Eco and on the move. Image from salon.com.

There are so many things to worry about packing for your next big trip.

Do you take a pair of high heels?

Or your hair straightener?

Or that mosquito net?

As an eco-conscious gal, I also find myself mulling over the environmental-friendliness of the products that I choose to take with me.

I sometimes find it hard to balance my green life at home with what seems like my unsustainable life on the road.

Between frequent air travel, plastic water bottles, take-away containers from restaurants, and the convenience of throwaway plastic bags, travel can make you feel as though you’re morphing into an anti-sustainability machine!

I’ve found a balance by incorporate as many green items into my backpack or suitcase as possible.

It’s tough to make sure every single item in your pack is eco-friendly, but there are a few key items that you can easily add or exchange for greener options. These items are not only environmentally friendly, but they have been specifically designed with travel in mind.

Here are the top five travel products that will help make your time on the road (or in the sky or on the water) more sustainable:

Save on paper with an e-reader.

I love reading; in fact, I can get through a book in just one day. This becomes a problem when travelling, as I tend to fly through books too quickly, and no one wants to carry 20 books with them on the road.

Enter the e-reader! For all of you bookworms out there, this is not only a great, eco-friendly option but a way to save on space and weight.

There are a bunch of e-readers on the market currently, ranging from black-and-white readers to those with Internet capabilities and colour functions. Many tablets now act as e-readers as well, so it can seem as though the options are endless.

If the idea of choosing from so many e-readers is confusing, this comparison table should help. My personal favourite is the Kindle e-reader because it’s lightweight, affordable, and it can download a selection of free classic books from Amazon!

You might find that changing your reading habit on the road turns into a life change. Soon enough you’ll be saving trees every day! (And you’ll get to carry your favourite 20 books with you wherever you go!)

Charge your electronics using the sun.

This option is perfect for those travelling off the beaten track, where there isn’t a readily available way to charge electronics. Using the natural energy of the sun saves on electricity and money, it’s convenient, and it’s environmentally friendly!

Charge your belongings anywhere with the sun. Image by Flickr user fredsharples.
Charge your belongings anywhere with the sun. Image by Flickr user fredsharples.

Portable solar chargers are easily found at most outdoor camping stores and come in a range of sizes and prices based on what types of electronics you’ll want to charge.

Prices can range from around $50 for a small solar charger to over $300 for bigger ones. Check out this website for more info about what kinds of solar chargers are available and which type suits your travel needs.

Use a reusable water bottle.

I have written about the values of taking a reusable water bottle with you on the road to save on purchasing plastic bottles.

Plastic waste is clogging up our world’s waterways. By taking your own, re-fillable metal bottle, you are not only saving the environment by not buying plastic, you’re saving your dollars as well.

Make your hiking boots eco.

Exploring new places and hiking into the wilderness is one of the best things about travelling. Did you know that you can make an eco choice when it comes to purchasing your hiking boots?

Choose a boot that is made from ethically sourced or recycled materials, like recycled rubber (used on the outer sole) and recycled nylon.

I found a great pair of hiking boots made from recycled materials at my local hiking store, but if yours doesn’t stock any, have a look online at larger outdoor stores or, alternatively, on a site such as Amazon.

Purchasing eco hiking boots won’t break the bank, as they’re about the same price as any other hiking boot ($100-$300), depending, of course, on the type of boot you’re after.

Switch to eco-friendly toiletries.

What you rinse down the drain can be good for you and the Earth. Image from Wikimedia.
What you rinse down the drain can be good for you and the Earth. Image from Wikimedia.

Many hygiene, beauty, and cleaning products contain harmful additives that our bodies just don’t need. The main ingredient to avoid  is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). It’s what causes products to foam up.

Not only are non-natural soaps and shampoos chock full of chemicals that are not good for you, they’re not good for the environment either.

Consider taking products on your trip that are made from natural ingredients. Here’s a review of beauty products heralded for their eco-friendliness.

Many natural beauty products now have travel sizes too, so you don’t have to feel limited in your options. Not only will you be making an eco choice, but by ditching the chemicals, your body will feel better too.

Integrating environmentally friendly options into your backpack is easy and doesn’t need to be a hassle. With a few simple changes to your packing list, you can find an easy balance between comfort and integrating eco-friendly options into your life on the road.

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