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Best Travel Gifts for Eco-Warriors (Valentine’s Day 2020)

Many inspiring journeys have been taken by eco-warriors with sustainability top of mind, like bicycle rides through Europe, train– and bus-hopping voyages, and tours with agencies that focus on sustainability and conservation. If you’re looking for a travel gift for an eco-warrior, you’ll want to give them things that will help make their travels as eco-friendly as possible.

As travellers and people of this planet, the environment is something we have to reckon with. With the climate crisis growing more severe, trying to balance our desire to experience the world while minimizing damage to our planet is important.  

The good news is that seeing more of the world means we know what’s at stake, and that’s why travellers make the best eco-warriors. They know better than anyone, the beauty of the world demands preservation, and are prepared to take action to stop damage to the environment. 

Eco-warriors know how to travel better | © Daniel Frank/Unsplash

When it comes to travel, eco-warriors can take matters into their own hands by choosing the most sustainable ways to travel. They make mindful day-to-day choices along the way that minimizes their carbon footprint and leave each place they visit better than it was when they arrived by boosting local economies through responsible economic choices.  

Gifting them sustainable items is always a good idea, especially since they sometimes carry higher price points that can deter people from buying those items for themselves. When considering what to buy for the eco-warrior in your life, remember that less is more. Buy good quality items that are built to last, buy local, and only things you know they’ll be able to put to good use. Here are some of our favourite gift ideas for travelling eco-warriors.

See Also: Bicycle Tours

1. Reusable products

We all know how important it is to reduce the use of single-use plastics, but it can be all too easy to slip into old habits when you’re out of your element during your travels. That’s why reusable products make great gifts for the avid eco-minded traveller. 

From eating utensils and toiletry bottles to tote bags and snack pouches, there are so many reusable products out there that make fantastic travel gift options. Above all, make sure your eco-warrior has a reusable water bottle. It’s essential at home and abroad, and there are a ton of varieties, from collapsible and foldable ones to insulated ones and even ones with water filtration capabilities. Take this opportunity to help your eco-warrior ditch single-use plastics during their travels once and for all.

2. Ocean-safe sun protection

It might be surprising to learn that sunscreen has become a huge threat to marine ecosystems around the world. Chemicals found in sunscreen, like oxybenzone, contribute to coral bleaching when washed off in the ocean, and have been hugely detrimental to marine life in tourist-frequented areas.

If your eco-warrior is heading somewhere beachy, gift them an alternative to chemical sunscreen. Physical sunscreens contain minerals like non-nano zinc oxide and titanium oxide that physically block the sun instead of relying on active chemical ingredients to absorb harmful UV rays. UPF swimwear and clothing are also having a moment, which means there are more wearable and chic eco-friendly items that do double-duty.  

two women walking towards the ocean carrying surfboards during day
Keep our oceans and your eco-warrior’s skin safe with physical sunblock | © Elizeu Dias/Unsplash

3. Accessories made of recycled or sustainable materials

The minimalistic lifestyle of an eco-warrior shouldn’t mean you can’t accessorize. Finding alternative uses for discarded plastics is one of the ways we can reduce the need to produce new plastic. 

Companies like 4Ocean, Rareform, Jelt Belts, and Planet Flops make their functional accessories with the environment in mind, whether it’s repurposing plastic that was heading to the landfill or using non-synthetic alternatives. What’s more, a portion of the proceeds from sales is donated to worthwhile, environmentally-minded charities so you can pay it forward, too.

4. Eco-friendly luggage

Luggage is essential for every traveller, and if your eco-warrior is looking for a replacement set, then it’s the perfect time to make an eco-friendly choice. Luggage companies like Heys, Samsonite and Timbuk2 have eco-friendly lines of products that are made from recycled plastics. 

Luggage can be a bit more of an investment, so you might want to skip this one if your eco-warrior already has a set they depend on, but this could make a thoughtful gift if they need a replacement.

Reusable bottles, sustainable clothes and eco-friendly backpacks are perfect gifts for eco-warriors | © Josiah Weiss/Unsplash

5. Clothes from sustainable retailers

One way to reduce carbon footprints while travelling is by packing light. Remember, less weight requires less fuel to transport. A great gift for an eco-warrior would be a lightweight, weatherproof, warm packable jacket that can be folded down to a tiny size and easily transported. 

Retailers like Patagonia, Tentree and Cotopaxi carry versatile items like these that are made with sustainable or recycled material, like hemp and organic cotton or recycled polyester and fleece, and contribute to environmental efforts in some way, whether it’s by cleaning up the oceans or planting trees. 

6. Eco-friendly notebooks

For the eco-warrior who likes to document every part of their journey, a sustainably-made notebook is a perfect gift. Notebooks from companies like Decomposition Books, CIAK and Ecojot manufacture their products using eco-friendly methods and materials in all kinds of designs and sizes. Couple it with an inkless or eco-friendly pen or pencil, and you’ve got yourself a winning gift combination.

7. Solar power banks

For the intrepid eco-warrior who loves gadgets, solar power banks are the perfect option. Solar power banks are an eco-conscious way to give the gift of power, as they convert the sun’s rays into solar energy, which can then be used to charge any device – no electricity needed. The pros don’t stop there: because they don’t use electricity, it’s perfect for camping and hiking trips where power isn’t readily available.

8. Donations and experiences

Consider giving a gift that is entirely carbon neutral and zero-waste. Help your eco-conscious friend make the world a better place by gifting a donation to a cause they care about, like wildlife protection or conservation, or book them a travel experience through an eco-conscious tour operator. Great experiences make the best gifts, and the best ones can teach valuable lessons about how our actions impact the world. 

Experiences make for the best gifts | © Pixabay/Pexels

When presenting your gift, don’t forget to ditch the shiny foil and plastic! Use your imagination to wrap your gift with recycled or reusable materials – or even not at all. It’s entirely possible to see all the wonders of the world in a way that doesn’t hurt it, and these gifts can help make travelling a more sustainable endeavour for the eco-warrior in your life.

Melanie is a Toronto-based writer and editor who loves experiencing new things in new places. In between adventures, you can find her with her nose in a book, re-watching episodes of Friends, or on the lookout for her next favourite brunch spot.

brown airplane during daytime
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