The Best Gift Ideas For Travellers
It may be that time of year, but whatever the season, it is always a pleasure to give your loved ones a little gift. Picked with thought and care. Or sometimes it is just nice to treat yourself! My favourite kind of presents are those that are eco-friendly and sustainable, preferably zero waste but all changes in the right direction are fantastic. When it comes to the best gift ideas for travellers I find that it is often tricky to find that perfect gift. Such a large amount of travel products come in cheap disposable plastic, designed for single use. With a few simple swaps it is easy to make a massive change! I have put together a list of all my favourite products which I use myself and absolutely love. These will all make wonderful environmentally friendly xmas gifts and stocking fillers for you or your loved ones and are sustainable gifts that are good for the planet. Here are some of the best gift ideas for travellers.
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I am going to begin this list with the toiletries bag as this is usually the worst culprit on the plastic front and the easiest to change. No more travel sized shampoos and deodorants. Let’s dive into some eco friendly gifts for her! And him, there are all male equivalent options available.
Zero Waste Shampoo Bar – I absolutely love a shampoo bar, especially when travelling! I always travel with carry on luggage only, so not only is it a brilliant swap in the zero waste department but it also means it is something else I don’t have to add to the liquids bag, win win for me! Shampoo bars are not only better for the environment but they last a lot longer too. I always get mine from The Clovelly Soap Company which is a small family run business who make all their products by hand on their estate in Clovelly, North Devon. Their products are vegan and made with biodegradable ingredients and no harmful pollutants. I can’t physically go down to Clovelly every time I want to stock up on their products – as much as I’d love to, Clovelly is STUNNING! – but thankfully they sell a large range on Amazon so you and I can indulge in their amazing goods whilst still supporting small business.
Eco-Friendly Deodorant – Traditional deodorant is full of chemicals which are not only bad for the environment but also bad for us. Not to mention the containers they come in which need to be thrown away. Now, I know you can get super involved and go completely zero waste in the deodorant department using bars or even baking soda! But I prefer to go down the green path as far as deodorant is concerned. I use another of the Clovelly Soap Co’s products, their handmade natural deodorant balm in a beautiful lavender scent. It not only smells amazing, it moisturises the skin and is made from all natural vegan ingredients. This is a brilliant product and comes in five wonderful scents.
Eco-friendly Moisturiser – While I’m raving about the Clovelly Soap Co. I must mention one last product of theirs that I think is just marvellous. Their skin balm. Filled with some excellent natural vegan ingredients like cocoa butter and beeswax, this balm is my go to over the winter months as it really helps prevent me getting dry hands. You can use it all over but dry hands is something that I’m prone to over the colder months when I’ve always got my hands out on my camera taking photos. This balm works wonders and I even reuse the jar it comes in.
Eco-friendly Soap Bar – One of my favourite swaps from this year is the Maison Meunier natural charcoal cleansing soap bar! Made with natural, nourishing oils and packed with minerals and antioxidants which leave my skin feeling extra soft. It comes with an unbleached cotton bag too which you can put the bar inside and use it as an exfoliant.
Zero Waste Makeup Pads – As someone who uses makeup every day, I used to go through a lot of face wipes and cotton wool pads. Such an unnecessary waste! Last year I purchased reusable makeup remover pads and I’ve never looked back or used disposable pads again. The strain the cotton industry is putting on our planet is immense. Most of this is due to the fast-fashion industry but a good portion is also down to the skincare industry. Reusable makeup pads are such a simple swap to make a difference. Mine are still in good condition and last hundreds of washes. They are super soft, chemical free, made from organic bamboo and of course, washable and reusable. No more cotton in my toiletries bag!
Facial Cleansing Oil – On it’s own not a zero waste product but I use it together with the reusable makeup remover wipes to cut out extra waste. And it lasts FOREVER!! I started using the Super Facialist vitamin C skin renew cleansing oil back in September when I decided to test out a new skincare regime and my skin has honestly never looked better. I have combination/oily skin which would regularly breakout. As an oil based product I was a little dubious about putting it on my face, it was already oily enough, I didn’t need to be adding more! But this product really surprised me and I have been using it twice daily ever since I bought it. I use it as part of a three step cleanse and it leaves my skin feeling amazingly fresh. You only need the smallest amount and your makeup runs right off. The vitamin C in it has helped brighten my complexion too. This oil has been a life changer for me, it works better than anything I’ve ever tried before and is a product that definitely won’t be leaving my cleansing regime.
Facial Toners – Following on from facial cleansing, the next step in my skincare routine is to use an essence and toner. I use the Neogen real ferment micro essence followed by Whamisa organic flowers deep rich essence toner. Both of these products are naturally fermented to preserve the ingredients which then lock in moisture and keep your skin feeling supple and healthy. I will do a post on my full skincare regime but I wanted to include these two products here as they fit in so well as an organic gift and they both come in glass bottles which means the are recyclable and sustainable. And did I mention how incredible the Whamisa toner smells? Oh my goodness it’s gorgeous!
Eco-friendly Bamboo Toothbrush – There is no way of getting around the fact that your toothbrush is one thing that you will always have to replace. So why not swap the plastic nasties for an eco-friendly bamboo alternative? Bamboo grows in abundance and is a sustainable material. A bamboo toothbrush also looks so much nicer! I get mine from the Danish sustainable lifestyle brand Brou. All their products are completely plastic free, vegan, sustainable and biodegradable. Best bit, they even plant one tree for every purchase made! So what you waiting for? This is one of the best gift ideas for travellers.
Eco-friendly Safety Razor – Aside from cotton wool makeup remover wipes, cheap disposable razors are one of the worst. The don’t last long, they are super expensive for what they are and they are a completely unnecessary use of plastic. Invest in a safety razor. They are a little bit more expensive but they will last you years and think of the amount of plastic you won’t be throwing out! All you need to do is replace the blades as required but they’re really cheap and last ages. Mine is a stainless steel and bamboo one from Jungle Culture, so pretty!
Organic Suncreen – Suncream is a big nasty! Plastic bottles full of horrible chemicals which destroy coral reefs. We need to preserve our reefs but we also definitely need to keep our skin protected. Make a swap to an organic sunscreen like the one below made in the fantastic city of Bath. I’m always up for supporting local!
Eco-friendly Eating & Drinking
Reusable Glass Water Bottle – We all know that plastic bottles are one of the WORST polluters on the planet. Over 60 million end up in landfills or incinerators every day. Every day. I know it is incredibly hard whilst travelling not to just grab a bottle of water on the go, but if you can even halve the amount of plastic bottles you are using then that is a great start. I find the easiest way is to get into the habit of always carrying a small glass water bottle around with me. Use this with a water filter or lifestraw and you can drink water no matter where you are in the world. This really is one of the best gift ideas for travellers going abroad.
Shop Similar To Mine In US Here
Reusable Insulated Water Bottle – If I know I’m going to be out all day and I really want to keep my water cold, I will take my insulated bottle out with me. I also tend to use this a lot for soup too! Perfect for keeping it hot for up to 12 hours. Ideal for a cold winter walk when you want to stop for a light spot of lunch.
Reusable Food Containers – Whenever possible I try to prepare lunch at home in order to cut costs when travelling and to make sure I know what has gone into the food. I’m also a massive fan of a picnic so food usually comes with us on our excursions! In order to cut out plastic containers and bags I use stainless steel lunchboxes and glass containers. The best bit for me is how much easier these are to clean! Plastic containers are a nightmare with certain foods, like a tomato pasta bake for instance. Glass and steel, no problem – a quick rinse in warm water and you’re good to go! Plus, you don’t have any plastic baddies getting into your food. A big consideration for me when we first had Heidi, I didn’t want her consuming plastic particles so made the swap for all my food containers.
Bamboo Straw – Travelling with a three year old, she always gets excited about using a straw. To eliminate the completely unnecessary use of plastic straws yet keep her entertained I invested in some reusable bamboo straws. Happy child and happy planet. And seeing as straws are up there with plastic bottles on the level of toxic waste, this felt an important swap for me. The ideal eco friendly travel gift.
Reusable Cutlery – As someone who stops for a picnic lunch regularly I have found reusable cutlery invaluable. I purchased a bamboo set as they are lightweight (I don’t want to be carrying heavy metal ones around with me from home) and are made from a sustainable material, eliminating the use of cheap plastic cutlery. Bamboo is also extremely durable which means they’ll last you years!
Keepcup – The last thing quick easy swap I’m going to mention on this eating and drinking section is a Keepcup. Perfect for all those coffee lovers out there! You’ll never need to get another disposable cup of coffee again. And most places will even give you a little bit of discount for bringing your own cup in with you as it means less waste for them too. Win win. There are lots of reusable coffee cups on the market but my favourites are the Keepcups. I love the simple design of glass and cork.
Reusable Bee’s Wraps – I absolutely love these plastic free alternatives to clingfilm and aluminium foil. Handmade, using organic cotton, sustainably harvested bees wax and organic jojoba oil. Not only are they reusable (they should last for one year if using regularly each week) they are also completely biodegradable. Ideal for covering bowls, wrapping cheese as it lets it breath, or what I use them for most – wrapping sandwiches for picnics 🙂
Shop Reusable Bee’s Wraps Here In UK or Here In US
Reusable Produce Bags – One thing I used to be really bad for was using plastic bags in the kitchen for food storage. I have since swapped to little muslin bags and have never looked back. They don’t work for all things of course, such as meat, but then I have my glass containers for that! Another thing I used to be bad for was putting all my fruit and veg into plastic bags at the shops. Naughty naughty I know. But now I keep a cotton mesh bag in my handbag at all times and have completely cut out the grocery plastic! Packaging is another matter but one step at a time.
Reusable Canvas Bags – A canvas bag is something that I will always have on me, some times even more than one! I always keep one tucked away in my handbag and it has meant that I haven’t been caught out needing to buy a plastic bag in years. If there is one thing on this list that is invaluable to me, it would be my canvas bags. They really do come everywhere with me! All of mine are from local stores so I can’t link to them on here, but I really suggest investing in a few of these.
Zero Waste Cast Iron Pans – I am calling these zero waste as once purchased, they will last a lifetime. In fact, they become family heirlooms and get passed down the generations. I have over a dozen cast iron pans in various shapes and sizes and they are the perfect for both indoor kitchen use and for using over a fire whilst camping! They are so incredibly versatile. And they are almost impossible to ruin. If you forget about something and accidentally burn the bottom, just re-season your pan and it’s good to go again. My pan collection is one of my most valuable collections and much loved. I honestly wouldn’t be without them! And it goes without saying, I won’t ever have to buy another cheap frying pan that will only last a year or two again in my life. Less waste.
Falcon Enamelware – Along with cast iron, I have a lot of enamelware in my cupboards. It is incredibly lightweight, ideal for camping/backpacking and lasts forever! Virtually unbreakable, goodness knows mine have had some knocks over the years. I have a load of different enamelware, from saucepans to baking dishes, but what I use most are my mugs and tumblers.
Eco-friendly Clothing and Accessories
Linen Dresses – One of my favourite clothing companies in the world is Son De Flor who make the most incredible linen dresses and clothing. All hand made using natural materials, with a focus on creating high quality, lasting garments that you will be wearing for years to come. We should all be trying to steer away from the world of fast-fashion which is having a detrimental affect on the planet. Instead, invest in quality pieces of clothing that you will cherish and help create a more intentional wardrobe that you love and value. I have a number of dresses in my wardrobe from this fabulous company and I cannot recommend them highly enough!
Travel Light – As with many people, I used to be incredibly guilty of bringing along a massive suitcase with me every time I travelled. Full of things that wouldn’t even make it out of the case! These days I travel light. Unless I am going on a long haul flight then I travel with carry on only. In fact, most of my bag is dedicated to my photography equipment with just a small compartment for clothing which will last me a few days. My bag is by a company called BagSmart and is a little bigger than your average camera bag but this is perfect for me as it means I can use it as a carry on due to its perfect size and ability to fit in a couple days worth of clothes. That means, no extra unnecessary luggage being dragged along. Only items that are completely of use.
I’ve had my bag for just under a year and it is still in excellent condition. To say that I’ve done 11 press trips in the past four months plus numerous other weekends away and hotel stays, the quality has really impressed me. I shall do a full review in another blog post but if you can invest in a similar bag suitable for your travels then you really will be better off for carrying less luggage around with you!
The Best Gifts Of All – Those That Give Experiences and Memories
The National Trust and English Heritage – As any of you who have been following me on Instagram for a while will know, I would not be without my National Trust or English Heritage membership. I used them on a monthly basis, in the summer months sometimes weekly! They provide a fantastic collection of properties to explore across the country and getting a glimpse inside these estates is phenomenal. So full of history, they make for fantastic family days out too. Heidi absolutely loves when we take her out on a NT or EH excursion! We have created so many memories just in her three short years and if there is one gift I’d recommend giving, it would be making new memories with your loved ones.
One last gift that all travellers are sure to love – 1000 Places To See Before You Die. Perhaps not completely one for a green gift guide, but this book is full to the brim with inspirational places to add to your list of places to visit and fill you with wanderlust. The perfect addition to any travellers collection.
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So there you have it. My eco friendly Christmas gifts uk guide! What do you think? Are there any products you would highly recommend or things you think I have missed out? Let me know in the comments below!