Gift-giving is hard. Buying gifts for sustainable travelers is even harder. But it just got a little easier with this list of perfect gifts for sustainable travelers. These are all things I’ve either bought for myself (and use and love on all my travels) or are on my wish-list this year!
Stasher Reusable Bags
Things with multiple uses and endless reusability is key to living a zero waste lifestyle. In general, these are important characteristics for travelers due to the limited luggage space. Stasher bags perfectly combine practicality and sustainability, making this the perfect gift for sustainable travelers.
Stasher bags are reusable silicone bags and, as the small business advertises, these bags are “radically functional.” Their Instagram showcases all the creative ways people use their Stasher bags. Initially, I bought mine to store snacks and sandwiches for lunches, but I quickly adapted them for other uses…
- Carrying my package-free toiletries, such as my shampoo bar
- Storing/organizing cords
- Keeping dirty underwear separate from clean underwear
- Storing leftovers
- Putting homemade solution and reusable make-up wipes in for zero waste make-up removal
- Floating water-proof phone case
- Gift wrap (two gifts in one!)
- Organizer for my passport and other important travel documents
- Store trash picked up at the beach
- Store one-pot trail meals for zero waste backpacking
Seriously, there are limitless uses for Stasher bags!
They’re safe, too, because silicone is made of natural resources. This means the bags are non-toxic, odorless, and 100% BPA-free. They’re even dishwasher, stove-top, and microwave-safe.
Stasher bags are 100% recyclable at the end of its life, but these bags are so durable you will likely never see the end of its life! Stasher will recycle your bag at the end of its life and turn it into soft and safe playground pebbles.
A sandwich bag starts at $11.99. Buy one here.
Zero waste is more than cutting out plastic. The movement seeks to reduce our need for all natural resources, including paper products. Scientists say we should plant more trees to save the planet (this video explains why we shouldn’t only rely on planting trees, though). We need to simultaneously reduce our need for paper products, including toilet paper.
Toilet paper is sh*t for the environment.
Americans collectively use 34 million rolls of toilet paper annually. This demand requires cutting down 54 million trees and using an enormous amount of water, chemicals, and carbon.
One roll of toilet paper uses approximately 37 gallons of water and 1.5 pounds of wood. TP also adds stress to city sewage and water treatment plants.
Thankfully, the bidet company Tushy sells a portable bidet that makes a perfect gifts for sustainable travelers.
It’s called the Tushy Travel and costs only $29 (but you can get $5 off by clicking here). It’s compact and doesn’t require batteries or chargers. All you need is water!
For the last five months I’ve used my Tushy Travel. It’s small enough to fit in my already-full purse, is super easy to use, and is a simple way to be more eco-friendly. Plus, bidets are more sanitary and healthy to use than wiping…but you can read about that on Tushy’s website.
This is one of the best gifts for sustainable travelers you can buy! Get the traveler in your life one here.
Novice and experienced travelers alike can benefit from travel consulting. I wrote an entire post here about what travel consulting is and isn’t, but what I didn’t tell you is that you can gift a travel consulting session!
Gift the novice traveler in your life a travel consulting session so they can learn more about budget and sustainable travel, the zero waste movement, opportunities to travel free, and more.
Simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve or gift an hour-long session. If you’re not sure if it’s the right gift for you or someone else, feel free to email me and I’ll let you know if we’re the right match.
Usually sessions cost $30, but to make sustainable travel more accessible for you, you can get $10 off your first session by putting the code “SUSTAINABLEGIFT2020” in the subject line of your email. This code never expires!
Eco-Friendly Travel Journal
One would think my photographs and blog posts from the road would be enough to remember my international adventures, but nope. I regularly journal on the road, especially when I live abroad.
Photos help me remember moments. Blog posts help me remember itineraries, accommodations, activities, history and other important information. Journals help me remember feelings.
My last several journals haven’t been environmentally-friendly, but that’s about to change as my current one reaches its last pages.
Greenie Guide lists several options for beautiful and environmentally-friendly journals here. There’s a journal layout and design for everyone!
I look forward to making my own in the upcoming year and giving them out as presents. I’d also like to try out one of the Karst Stone paper journals because they look gorgeous!
Be sure to check out the guide to eco-friendly journals here.
Kindle & Book Subscription
Back when I was a “traditionalist” reader (meaning I only read physical books), I would lug several pounds of books with me on my travels. Not ideal. There was less room for clothes, zero waste supplies, and souvenirs.
Eventually, I stopped reading while traveling. It was too much effort to carry books across oceans or explore cities with a couple of extra pounds on my back.
Now that I have a Kindle, I find myself reading frequently again. Kindles are lightweight and small, so hundreds of books easily fit inside my purse. Whether I’m waiting in line, relaxing at a cafe, or on a bus stuck in traffic, I can keep myself entertained and well-read.
Buy a Kindle for $60 here. There are more expensive styles of Kindle, but the cheapest option works well for me.
One of my goals for 2020 is to rotate between reading books in English, German, and Russian.
I can do this without going broke, either. Many libraries, including mine, have extensive eBook collections. When they don’t have the book I’m looking for, I have Scribd.
Scribd is an online library subscription service. It has eBooks, sheet music, audiobooks, magazines, and more for only $8.99/month. The top five publishing services (Penguin Random House, Macmillan, HarperCollins, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster) are on Scribd, meaning you’ll likely find the book you’re looking for.
Sign up for two free months of Scribd here.
If you need book ideas to load up on the Kindle you’re gifting, here are a few I’m looking forward to reading in 2020:
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson–Buy it on Amazon here. Available on Scribd.
- What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman–Buy it on Amazon here. Only the prologue is available on Scribd.
- Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge–Buy it on Amazon here. Available on Scribd.
Language-Learning Service Subscription
Give the gift of education. The traveler in your life likely wants to learn a language (or several), so this is another practical gift.
Duolingo is great for language-learners on the go. Although the app is free to download and use, I recommend the premium subscription. Premium removes ads from the learning experience, allows the app-user to download lessons for offline use (perfect for those long bus and train rides with no WiFi!), and has a ‘health shield,’ meaning the user can learn and make mistakes an unlimited number of times in the day.
A premium subscription costs $9.99 per month, or you can buy an annual subscription for $65.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to buy a gift card for Duolingo at this time. Instead, you can gift them an Apple iTunes gift card (or the Android equivalent) since you pay for the subscription through iTunes.
Portable Charger Made From Recycled Materials
Every traveler needs a portable charger. I only use my Nimble portable charger, the most eco-friendly one on the market.
Remember: The most sustainable item is the one you already own! If the traveler in your life already has a portable charger, there’s no need to buy them a new one. Try one of the other ten gifts on this list instead. If their portable charger is broken, offer to pay for it to be repaired.
Nimble purposefully designed their products with less and better materials, such as fully recyclable aluminum and plant-based plastics, to reduce the environmental impact of their products.
Nimble’s packaging doesn’t include plastic packaging, either. The shipping box is made of 100% recycled materials and doesn’t have a special finish, which often make boxes harder to recycle. The boxes are fully reusable or compostable. Even the box that protects your Nimble product during shipping is compostable!
Plus, every Nimble purchase includes a pre-paid bag that you can fill with old e-waste and send back to Nimble for them to properly recycle.
Simply, Nimble is one of the most transparent and environmentally-conscious tech companies on the market!
I own the 3-day portable charger, which costs $79.95. You can get $10 off your first Nimble purchase by clicking here.
Nimble also sells phone cases, wireless chargers, and wall chargers.
Tinggly Travel Gift
One of the easiest and most effective things anyone can do for the environment is to buy less (read why here). Most sustainable travelers appreciate experiences and memories over stuff anyway, which is why Tinggly’s motto “give memories, not stuff” makes their gift boxes one of the best gifts for sustainable travelers.
When you buy a gift box, hundreds of travel experiences are included. Your traveler can pick the one they prefer, ensuring it’s exactly what they want and fits in their travel plans.
Every Tinggly gift box removes 33 pounds of plastic and offsets 200% of the Carbon produced during the experience.
Imagine giving the gift of a skydive, hot air balloon ride, or whale watching excursion…now, that’s a gift of a lifetime!
Gift boxes start at $89 and the price increases depending on the experience type. Click here to check out the experiences you can give to the sustainable traveler in your life!
Do Something Together
I love spending time with the people I love, but unfortunately, as I grow older, it’s becoming harder for us to make time for each other.
So this holiday season, give the gift of your time. It’s one of the most thoughtful gifts for sustainable travelers.
Book a cooking class together, or host a special girls’ night dinner featuring a home-cooked meal.
Buy a day pass to go rock climbing together, or a lesson to learn together.
Run or walk a 5K together, especially if it’s a fun one such as the color run or rock n’ roll run!
Get a massage or your nails painted together.
Whatever it is, do something together with lots of time to talk and catch up.
You can spend as much or as little as you want on this present, giving you complete control over the experience and your time together.
If you’re looking for activity ideas, click here to check out Groupon deals on things to do in your local area.
Most of the time, I ask for gift cards or money for Christmas. My friends and family know I don’t like buying things, especially things I already own. Many of them find it easier to give me gift cards because then I can buy exactly what I need.
Is there a thrift store that you know they love shopping at? Give a gift card.
Do they have a favorite gym or workout app? Give a gift card to continue their membership.
Are they saving up for a big trip? Gift airline miles to their favorite airline or a gas card.
Do they never take a taxi to save a buck, even though they should? Gift Uber credit.
Is Spotify always playing in the background? Gift them a Spotify gift card for a premium membership so they can listen to their favorite music around the world.
When you can, opt for an electronic gift card instead of a plastic card. If you really want something physical to gift, grab a sheet of recycled paper and mimic a gift card on the reused paper!
Perhaps the best gift for sustainable travelers is the gift of personalization and originality. Why would we decorate our home with Ikea paintings when we can buy artwork from around the world, each piece reminding us of a past adventure?
Similarly, personal gifts remind us of our friends around the world.
If you usually cook with your traveling friend, make them a cook book of your favorite dishes. You can make it a book with 5 or 100 recipes You can design each page, print it out, and bind it…or simply keep it as a Google document so both of you can add to it as time passes and access it anywhere in the world. No matter how big or small, beautifully-designed or simple, your friend will think of you every single time they use the cookbook.
Maybe your friend is going through a new and/or difficult phase of their life. You can make their life easier as a gift. Cook a weeks’ worth of freezer meals for them. Hire a house cleaner or a babysitter for a day. Book them a photography session so they have the opportunity to dress up and remember how beautiful they are.
Which of these gifts for sustainable travelers is your favorite? Comment below your favorite and other sustainable gift-giving ideas you have. If you’re a traveler, share this post with someone who needs help finding you a gift this year! Pin the image below if you liked this article!