Coming up with an eco friendly travel gift idea for the traveler in your life can be really difficult, especially if they’re primarily nomadic like I am. Living on a boat, in a van, or out of a backpack means you have to limit the amount that your own, or if you’re shopping for an avid traveler, they may want more meaningful or more useful gifts. That’s why I’ve created this gift guide full of eco friendly gift ideas for the traveler in your life!
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A reusable water bottle may be one of the first things you thought of when you were trying to think of eco friendly gifts for travelers. They’re a great staple to have, it cuts back on the amount of plastic water bottles being used, and they’re infinitely reusable!
There are TONS of different kinds of reusable water bottles to use, from stainless insulated ones like I have been using for years, to silicone covered glass, big canteen types, and even filtering water bottles that are safe to drink from when you can’t find a good water fountain.
My personal favorites are the stainless insulated bottles. They’re durable (as you can see mine has taken a few tumbles from the dents), easily washed, and come in a variety of sizes. I have both a 20 oz (0.5 L) and a 32 oz (1 L). The smaller one is perfect to throw in my day bag when I’ll have access to a water fountain, while the larger is better for more active days or days out in nature.
2. Ocean Friendly Swim – The Perfect Eco Friendly Gift for Tropical Travel Lovers
Bikinis and swimwear tend to be a “fast fashion” item that everyone wants to keep up with. Especially for a tropical vacation, you want to have cute swimwear, which is why an ocean-friendly bikini or swimsuit is the perfect eco friendly gift idea for tropical travel lovers!
My personal favorites are from SaltyLuxe Swim, I’ve got 4 timeless suits from the site, and they’re all by far my favorites out of all the suits I own.
Not only are the bikinis SUPER cute and timeless, but they are actually created from recycled ocean plastics and post-consumer materials, ships with a reusable cotton bag, and all the packaging materials are compostable!
With each purchase, a donation is made towards worldwide marine conservation, so you can feel good about wearing sustainably created swim, while protecting our oceans!
3. Eco Friendly, Travel Size Toiletry Kit
Now traveling with toiletries can be a pain, especially having to abide by the very specific measurements that you can’t exceed on airlines. Throw in the extra bulk of bringing your full size products or the excess plastic that comes with travel sized items, and you’ve got a headache and a half for eco travel!
Coming up with a little gift set of a sustainable toiletry kit could be the perfect little segway into introducing new eco friendly products to your traveler. Plus, they are often easier to travel with, since many of the products come in solid form!
Find a travel toiletry bag that they’ll like to use as the “gift wrapping” and fill it with things like:
- A sampler kit of shampoo, conditioner, face cleaner, and solid moisturizer
- A bamboo toothbrush & silk floss
- Plastic free deodorant
- Reusable makeup pads
4. Book an Experience Together
Nothing is a better gift than creating memories with one another, and if your traveler is eco-conscious, they may not want or need extra “things.” That’s why booking an experience is a great gift for the eco traveler in your life.
Whether it be planning a trip to take together, a day experience, or a surprise visit, experiences are great gifts! Find out some of their favorite things, and come up with experience ideas. Are they an adrenaline junkie? Book a trip to skydive or to a theme park. Are they a huge lover of the ocean? Find a boat trip or get dive certified together. Do they like luxury and the finer things? Book a vineyard wine tasting or a luxury dinner together! There are really endless options, from skydiving to arts classes, there is an experience that you and your traveler will love together (just remember to take pictures!)
A solar powered charger is a gift that someone might not realize they need until they have one! This is GREAT for your travel buddies that are beachgoers, hikers, backpackers, or even just for those that are always on the go!
This one is particularly great because it has two charging ports, a flashlight, a compass, and a wrist strap. Perfect for the outdoors or whatever adventure you take it on!
Even if you (or they’re) not into Yoga, a yoga mat is a great gift for travelers, especially those that are a little more nomadic than people that are just taking a vacation. Not only does the yoga act as a great workout mat, but it can also add comfort for camping, sitting on hikes, add something soft to lay on a boat, or act as a rug liner in a van! There are so many practical uses for a yoga mat for those of us that are living a little more of an alternative lifestyle.
The problem with a lot of yoga mats though, is that they can be made of plastics that contain many harmful chemicals. Luckily, there are options out there that are made of natural rubber, eco-polymers (not containing any of those nasty chemicals), cork, or even jute! I personally love my jute mat from Ajna, you can find it here!
Reef safe sunscreen is such a great eco-friendly gift for travelers because even if you’re not going to be swimming in the ocean, most sunscreens contain harsh chemicals that can affect any and all life in the water, and your skin!
Opt for a mineral based sunscreen that uses Non-nano zinc oxide to be reef friendly, like Raw Elements! Not only is it reef friendly, but it also comes in an aluminum tin that can be infinitely recycled like other aluminum products!
Raw Elements is one of the only truly all around great sunscreens that I’ve found, with a gentle formula that is non-irritating, natural ingredients, and a conscious brand with 10 certifications backing their mission and their products.
They also have a tinted SPF that comes in a tin as well, along with various other skincare products for those perfect beach days!
Another sustainable gift idea staple is a reusable utensil and straw set! While traveling, it’s easy to eat out for the majority of your meals, and by bringing your own utensil or straws, you can help cut down on the amount of plastic cutlery that gets used for a few minutes and then tossed. This set is great and comes with a carrying case, bamboo straw and straw cleaner, bamboo chopsticks, spoon, fork, and knife! It even has a handy little clip on the case so you can clip it to your bag and won’t lose it as you’re traveling!
9. Teva Sandals
Tevas may not be the ultimate in fashion for travelers, but they are a definite must have for any eco traveler in my opinion! These sandals are a perfect day shoe, light hiking shoe, or even a pair you could dress up with a casual dress!
I bought my first pair in 2019, and they’re still just as good as new after tons of miles of hiking, working, walking, and adventures. For my birthday, I was given my second pair, and I hardly wear another shoe when I’m out on adventures!
While at first glance they may not seem eco friendly, Teva has an awesome sustainability program called TevaForever, where you can send your old pair in to be recycled! Not only that, but many pairs are created with post-consumer materials, my new ones were 100% recycled!
Last but not least, and in my opinion the MOST exciting gift you could share with an eco traveler is to sponsor a sea turtle! By donating to a sea turtle hospital, you can help to support their care and release back into the ocean.
There are many sea turtle hospitals around the world, each offering different sponsorship or levels of involvement.
Sponsoring (or “adopting” as some facilities call it) are a donation based involvement where your contribution helps to aid in the veterinary care and daily diets, medicines, enrichment, and more for each animal. **Note that even if it is called an “adoption,” it in no way means that you get to own the turtle.** Once you sponsor the turtle, you are often sent a certificate that has your chosen turtle’s name, information about them, and can possibly receive updates about their progress!
I actually volunteer at a sea turtle hospital here in North Florida, and we currently have 3 sea turtles that can be sponsored here! Another facility that I know of offering “adoptions” is the Marathon sea turtle hospital, you can check out their resident turtles that are up for “adoption” here! They have 5 sea turtles currently up for sponsorship!
If you’re heading down to the Keys to visit the Marathon Sea Turtle Hospital, check out this Guide if you want to learn more about things to do in the Keys!
Even if sea turtles isn’t your thing (or the person you’re buying the gift for), many animal rescues offer sponsorships for their animals! Contact the facility you’re interested in helping and see if they offer any king of sponsorships of individual animals!