10 Sustainable gift ideas for travellers

Published 07/12/2022

10 Sustainable gift ideas for travellers

Published 07/12/2022

Are you still looking for a last-minute Christmas gift for travelling friends or family members? I know from experience that it’s challenging to find good gifts for someone who is always travelling and therefore doesn’t really value materialistic things much. Yet, there are definitely some items that make most travellers incredibly happy. I have collected my favourite items for you to give you an idea. Happy shopping!

1. Foldable coffee-cup 

My absolute best travel purchase is this collapsible coffee cup from Stojo. I am a big coffee lover, but don’t want to walk around with disposable cups all the time at stations, airports and “on the go”. The cups end up on the rubbish heap because they are not recyclable and, of course, the plastic caps are nothing better. But the coffee cup I always carried around with me took up too much space. So, I opted for this foldable coffee mug. It is so small that I now regularly lose it in my bag. Ideal! Unless you are in a long queue, but that is mainly the fault of my eternally messy bag… You can buy a whole range of different foldable coffee cups here.

2. Foldable coffee filter

Just to stay in the coffee sphere, a collapsible coffee filter is also a real life-saver for coffee lovers like me. If you travel for longer periods at once you often end up in places without a coffee machine. For someone who really loves coffee, this is extremely frustrating! But also those travellers that do hiking trails or go camping could always use a small coffee filter that hardly takes up space. A coffee filter that you easily fold up and put in your bag is the ideal solution.

3. Foldable waterbottle

Have I convinced you of the convenience of foldable things for travellers? If not, this might be what wins you over – a foldable water bottle. Ideal for travellers who like to go on day trips or hikes. That’s when you want to carry plenty of water. The folded bottles take up little space, in the suitcase/backpack, and can then be filled for such a day trip.  In many countries, the water may not be drinkable, but often you can then buy large 5-litre bottles of water. This is easier, cheaper, and better for the environment than buying a big load of small bottles. Then, if you want to take water with you, you can pour some into a collapsible bottle.

4. Packing cubes for organized lugguage

Packing cubes have really made my travel life better. I also have a super impractical backpack where I really have to take out everything at once to find something. But packing cubes really are a solution for both organising your luggage and preventing you from bringing way too much stuff. Doesn’t fit in the packing cubes? Then something really has to go.

My first packing cubes were from Wish, super cheap things to try out. Then I bought a cheap set from Decathlon, but they were incredibly thick and took up a lot of space on their own. And then I came across Reismonkey’s compress-it packing cubes on Instagram, and they are a gamechanger! Because of the compression it takes up even less space in your bag. Ideal and highly recommended for everyone! 

Unfortunately, Reismonkey only ships to The Netherlands and Belgium. But you can find some alternatives here

5. Travel diary

In this age of social media and always being online, we register most things online. We write a blog about our travels and post on socials on a daily basis. But how much fun is it to keep an old-fashioned travel journal to look back on later? Journaling is totally hip these days, so really no reason not to gift a fun travel diary. Go for a basic travel-themed diary, a beautiful leather-bound & refillable version or choose this eco travel diary

6. Bamboe cutlery set

Before you think “why should I give anyone cutlery?”, hear me out. The number of times I went to get something quick to eat in the supermarket, at the train station or the airport, and then had no cutlery, can’t be counted on two hands anymore. You would expect cutlery to be standard with meals at stations and airports. And, to be honest, I also always miss it with, say, a salad from the supermarket. But it really is less common than you think. If you’re a bit of a chaotic traveller, you often forget to check if there’s cutlery somewhere on a table and so you get on a train or plane with food without cutlery. Besides, bamboo cutlery is obviously much more sustainable than grabbing disposable plastic all the time. I always carry my set in my bag and use it regularly. So, a bamboo cutlery set is definitely a good gift for a traveller!

7. Color-in world map bag

There are endless ways to keep track of your travels. Again, many options are online, but also, for example, by buying a scratch map on which you can scratch open the countries you have visited. Great fun for at home, but you don’t take those with you when travelling. An alternative is this incredibly fun totebag on which you can colour in all the countries you have visited. Moreover, you can use the bag for shopping and don’t have to buy plastic bags when travelling. Fun, practical and sustainable. Ánd they donate 10% to nature and historical sides preservation.

8. Re-usable cotton pads and swaps

Again in the category of saving space and sustainability; washable cotton pads and swabs. If you travel for some time and use cotton pads or swabs on a daily basis, you will need to carry quite a few with you or find new ones while travelling. They’re available everywhere, but these are purchases you don’t really want to have to make while travelling. The ideal solution is to bring washable cotton pads and swabs. That way you only need a few, and you wash them after use. The cotton buds can be washed with soap every time. You can wash the pads by hand or just throw them in with the laundry you’re doing anyway. Ideal and it saves a lot of waste.

8. Travelmini’s

It’s increasingly common these days to travel with hand luggage only. This has two disadvantages, namely the maximum amount of liquids you can carry and the amount of space you have. Hand luggage is simply smaller than a large suitcase or backpack that you have to check-in. The solution to both is to buy reusable travel minis, like silicone travel bottles for shampoo, body lotion or face tonic for example. Or small travel containers for creams or even for pills, so you don’t have to bring the bottle.

8. Soap bars

Another top product to both save a trip to the local drugstore and save space; soap bars. These days, you can find shampoo, conditioner, face wash and shower gel in soap bars. These will last for a few months, while they are about the same size as a travel mini, which might last you for a week. If you only travel with hand luggage, you can’t bring a big bottle of everything and you’ll have to buy new ones while travelling. The shampoo bars aren’t liquid, so you can easily carry multiple of each. That still takes up less space than a whole shampoo bottle and is guaranteed to be enough for your entire trip.

Unfortunately, my favourites are only available in The Netherlands and Belgium. But a close second favourite brand is Foamie, which sells all over Europe.

Optionally, you can make it into a nice gift pack with items to actually take the soaps with you. Like soap pouches or this super handy soap holder that you can easily hang from the hotel shower. (NL/BE again, sorry)