Guest blogger Erin Steiner gives us her checklist of eco-friendly travel bag essentials
1. Water Bottle with Filter
Carry a reusable water bottle that has a filter in it. You won’t be able to fill it up until after you get through security, but that’s okay—pack it empty. This bottle keeps you from having to buy a bottle of water while you wait for your flight. It also makes it easy for you to get (free) drinkable water pretty much anywhere you go, saving you money and keeping quite a few beverage containers out of landfills. (One of our personal favourites is the Bobble, but even with a filter, please be aware that tap water may not be safe to drink in the country you’re travelling in – Editor)
2. Travel Blanket and Pillow
Make sure these are constructed from organic materials like bamboo. They’ll keep you warm on your flight, and you won’t have to worry about using a pillow that hundreds of other people have coughed on!
3. Solar Charger
Solar chargers are smaller now and incredibly useful while travelling, especially internationally. With a solar charger, you don’t have to worry about whether or not your chargers will fit into the outlets wherever you are, and you can use it even if you don’t have access to A/C power. (Nigel’s Eco Store sells a good range of solar chargers for travel -Ed)
Airplane food is notoriously expensive and sometimes just bad. You can make your own snack packs at home for a fraction of the price and can even use herbs and salads you’ve grown yourself. Save the plastic bags to use for snack packs to make before you fly home (and to keep them out of landfills).
5. Water Alarm Clock
You want to have a reliable alarm clock with you. Sure, there’s an alarm on your phone, but what if you don’t hear it or if your phone dies? The water alarm clock is exactly what it sounds like: an alarm clock that runs on water. One fill keeps the clock running for six months (which is way better for the environment than a clock that requires batteries), but make sure it’s empty before you go through security!
6. Sanitising Wipes
Germs are bad. You don’t want to get sick on your trip (or as soon as you get back)! Look for wipes created by green companies like Seventh Generation.
7. Change of Clothes
A company called Revolution Apparel makes clothing that is travel-ready and has almost no carbon footprint (organic and sustainable materials, fair labour manufacturing). Just a few items can be combined and turned into a bunch of different looks. This way, even if the rest of your luggage gets lost, you’ll have enough variety in your hand luggage to last for your entire vacation. If you’ve got room you may want to also take some compression socks, a sleep aid… but when space is limited, though, stick with what you absolutely need. Remember, you still need to be able to carry the bag you’re packing.
8. Eco-Friendly Personal Care Products
Tom’s toothpaste (travel-sized of course) and Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps (the kind of bars that double as body soap and shampoo) are a must-have in any travel bag. This will keep you from having to buy the products when you get there and can give you a quick “freshen up” in the airport (or even plane) bathroom. They’re environmentally friendly, so you won’t have to worry about using products provided by hotels or hosts who aren’t as green as you are.
About the author: Erin Steiner is a freelance writer and blogger from Portland, Oregon, who writes about a variety of topics including business, being environmentally-friendly, and the price of gold and silver.