Oh, the weather outside is…delightful! If you know me, you know I chose to live in an endless summer. This holiday season I’m headed to a new country for me, Cambodia. But, before I head back to Southeast Asia I wanted to share my curated selection of sustainable holiday gifts for travelers.
Rather than your regular old boring advent calendar, here’s my curated gift list based on the types of travelers in your life. These are great holiday gifts for your pals that give a damn, whether they’re your true love or not.
FOR THE TRAVELER WHO LIKES TO CELEBRATE
‘Tis the season…to spike your punch, cider, hot cocoa, or eggnog. I don’t drink often these days, but when I do, it’s a bourbon straight up. As you can imagine, my pickings are sometimes limited to find a good bourbon in Southeast Asia. Getting to test the all-American handcrafted Trail’s End Bourbon as research for this article was a dizzy delight. It’s smooth, slightly sweet, and I woke up magically without any trace of a hangover after giving myself a few pours of the whiskey. Trail’s End Bourbon supports the National Forest Foundation with a percentage of sales going towards the sponsorship of reforesting in areas devastated by fire. This last year they’ve planted 5,000 trees, and will do the same in 2019! Saving the planet with a side of bourbon is my kind of win-win.
If you’re traveling drinking buddy likes vodka you’ll certainly win best secret Santa if you buy them a bottle of American Harvest Organic Vodka. This boozy gift is certified USDA organic with no preservatives and made in the US. It’s also environmentally-conscious as it’s produced using wind power and their project of giving mash back to farmers to repurpose as feed for their livestock. While I’m not a big vodka drinker, my mom graciously offered to taste test this vodka and gives it her official stamp of approval for martinis, vodka tonics, or whatever sort of concoction may be needed to get you through the holidays. It’s extra special as it’s blended with organic agave!
FOR THE TRAVELER YOU WANT TO SMOOCH
Instead of 5 golden rings give your could-be true love Moroccan Magic lip balm made with organic ingredients. I know exactly whose lips I’d like to be kissing this holiday season, should I send him a batch of these as a hint? These balms are infused with 100% argan and essential oils such as rose, lavender, peppermint eucalyptus, lemon thyme, and coconut almond. The gift set has all five and is a great stocking stuffer. If the guy I want to meet under the mistletoe is reading this, just tell me which aroma you’d prefer, and where in the world we can meet for our smooch!
These balms leave my lips silky smooth without any icky oily residue or weird build up. I’m currently using the rose lip balm which smells amazing and leaves me feeling energetic as rose causes natural vibrations within our bodies. Powerful stuff, that flower!
The lip balms are colorless and perfect for all genders. Moroccan Magic is minority-owned, entirely cruelty-free, and certified USDA organic. The packaging manufacturing is also cruelty-free as certified by leaping bunny and 100% recyclable. They’re good for all sorts of moisture, beyond just your kissable pout–Moroccan Magic lip balm can soothe dry cuticles, elbows, eczema, and just about anything else. These sustainable balms can be purchased in drugstores such as CVS or Walgreens or online at Amazon.
Discover more of my favorite ethical beauty products.
FOR THE MENSTRUATING TRAVELER
I’ve been using and loving, the Diva Cup for 2 years now. It’s seriously changed my life, and saved me so much money and made a positive impact on the environment. However, there are some days when the cup just doesn’t cut it. I manage to always have long travel days on buses or trains with awful or no bathrooms whenever I have my moon cycle which has led to countless horror-movie style sagas. In comes my period hero, and hero to many women-in-need, Modibodi!
These reusable period panties are both environmentally and socially sustainable. They’re super comfy and quite flattering with high-waist cuts. They’re made from natural fibers such as bamboo and microfibre nylon. The absorbent patented technology bit is 3mm thick and is barely noticeable, they feel just like any other pair of panties. They can replace your other period products or be used in tandem with a menstrual cup on heavy flow days. Sustainable travelers will have long stopped using wasteful single-use tampons, pads, and panty liners, right?
There are a few absorbency options to select from based on your flow, most of which can manage the quantities that would typically require 2 tampons, so around 15ml. Modibodi panties wick moisture away, absorb odor, and securely lock away fluids.
The innovative brand operates the excellent Give a Pair Program that provides women-in-need at women’s shelters across Australia with free pairs of Modibodi period panties. For just US $18, this is such a meaningful add on to this gift. I can already hear your travel gal pal squealing with joy as she gives you a massive hug for making such a generous gift in her honor, and easing her own period woes.
FOR THE TRAVELER WHO LOVES THE OCEAN
It’s no secret that here at Miss Filatelista we deeply despise plastic. Limiting use is fantastic, but all that plastic is still going to exist in the world. 1 million plastic bottles are produced every minute.
I’m loving brands that are repurposing and upcycling plastic waste to create beautiful products. 4ocean makes bracelets made of recycled plastic and glass. They remove a pound of trash from the ocean and coastlines with each bracelet purchase with a global team working 24/7 on cleanup efforts. Your travel buddy who loves aquatic life will be so touched when you give them a holiday gift that has a beautiful look and cause. For each of these bracelets that you give you’re taking one pound of waste out of the ocean
These bracelets are great for everyday wear and are handmade in Bali. Each of the above colors is associated with a different marine creature and supports NGOs working to conserve their natural habitat as they remove waste from the sea. These aquatic animals get tangled in plastic waste, and often eat it, both of which may kill them. 4ocean supports the Whale and Dolphin Conservation, SaveTheManatee Club, Sharks Project AWARE, and organize trash cleanups in mangrove forests with Conservation International.
FOR THE TRAVELER WITH A BRIGHT FUTURE
I won’t even get mad at you if you wear these do-good sunglasses at night. Pala makes some of the most fashionable shades out there. They’re also ethically made and a social good business helping to give the priceless gift of sight. I absolutely love my two pairs, the Asha in champagne and Zola in sunflower. They’re dark enough to really keep my eyes safe with 100% UVA protection, super durable, and incredibly chic.
These stellar shades are made out of natural plastic, cellulose acetate. They’re stored in cases created by artisans in Ghana who hand-weave the beautiful and sturdy cases with strands of recycled plastic. Not only do they keep your glasses safe, but they also provide steady-year round work, and prevent plastic pollution. Each case has a tag tied to it with the name of the woman who wove your case, thank you Azuah Ophilia for mine!
Pala changes lives through spectacles by partnering with Vision Aid Overseas to give a pair of vision glasses for every pair of Pala sunglasses sold. Prescription glasses are one of the most cost-effective poverty alleviating tools as they’re needed for reading, learning, working, and so on. The project works with many communities across the continent of Africa and recently they’ve also refurbished a vision center in Zambia.
FOR THE FASHIONISTA TRAVELER
31 Bits is about to celebrate a decade of business but I’ve just recently learned about the social enterprise that creates beautiful home goods and accessories with an impact through design. They provide artisans around the globe with dignified job opportunities to handcraft their unique products and earn a fair wage. Most of the pieces are artisan-made in Uganda and Indonesia. They’re also helping to preserve cultural customs by using traditional techniques to create modern items.
The Collector is a statement bracelet that is super lightweight as the beads are made of recycled paper. I love to toss it on to add a bit of delicate color to my usually otherwise dark ensembles. I have the mint version but it also comes in black, cream, and gold. There are similarly designed necklaces–purchase both to give your fashionable traveling friend a matching set for the holidays. It’d be such a heartfelt gift.
The sustainable style retailer will be having some upcoming mega sales for the holidays. Fill your cart up now with gifts then head back on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday for savings of 20% off and more.
Wooden handbags are having a moment. It seems like every travel influencer is walking around with a sturdy bag made of wicker, rattan, straw, or bamboo. This is absolutely fantastic, as these bags are usually quite sustainable. They’re extremely popular in Southeast Asia so I was thrilled I learned that a Thai designer was capitalizing on the trend and doing so in an ethical way.
Sommy funded Above Studio to create jobs and employ female artisans in rural areas of northern Thailand to create sustainable handicrafts. The ethical handbag collection is made up of several styles, all created with natural materials. The circle basket bag is my favorite thing ever. It’s just big enough to fit all my necessities and my Sony A6000 mirrorless camera. The straw clutch is also generous in size and a great addition to a bohemian look for an event. Your travel gal pal has likely been coveting a bag like these, so why not give her one that’s beautiful and impactful?
FOR THE SPORTY TRAVELER
These aren’t your regular work out clothes! These are for your friend who’s always making time for a hike, run, bike ride, or exercise class on vacation. Sundried upcycles coffee grounds by using the waste product in their fabrics. The patented technology is eco-friendly, sustainable, and bio-degradable.
So, how does Sundried turn coffee into clothes? Rather than sending coffee waste to the dump, they treat the grounds with hydrochloric acid which creates a powder that can be transformed into yarn. That’s really neat, right? It gets better. This fabric is full of anti-bacterial antioxidants made naturally of plant chemicals which are resistant to certain energy such as heat and light. So, basically, the handmade recycled workout wear creates a natural UV shield which is great for hiking!
It also dries 200% faster than cotton so can literally be sundried. These stylish exercise clothes are responsible to the environment and incredibly comfortable. I’ve worn them several times and they stay snug and support me in all the right places.
Sundried has been vetted and verified by The Low Carbon Innovation Fund. They partner with several charities to give back to their communities with every purchase including Water for Kids to provide safe drinking water to children in areas where potable water isn’t easily accessible.
Go the extra mile and get your favorite fit traveler in your life a pair of vegan sneaker too. Not all of the OluKai collection is vegan-friendly but the Eleu Trainer is and they’re honestly my favorite pair of tennis shoes I’ve ever owned. These all-around sports shoes are so awesome because they’re super light-weight, durable, breathable, easy to clean, and I never trip over untied shoelaces! OluKai supports the Ama OluKai Foundation which works towards cultural preservation in Hawai’i.
FOR THE TRAVELER ON THE GO
There are the travelers who have the time to sit in a beautiful coffee shop aimlessly all morning enjoying the ambiance and people watching, and then there are the travelers that take their coffee on the run as they head out to see as many sights as possible in their destination. I know, as I can be both of these travelers! It’s a superpower, really.
Your eco-conscious traveling friend probably already has reusable straws. I bet what they could really use is a reusable coffee cup. I’d been trying to find one in Asia for a year and had no luck so I picked this one up while I was home from Amazon. It even came with a mini utensil, which is great to have on hand for foods that are hard to eat with my chopsticks. I also use this cup to get juice to go from smoothie stalls and cut back on my single-use plastic waste.
FOR THE HOLISTIC TRAVELER
Essential oils are my go-to for absolutely everything, soothing stress, deepening my yoga practice, perfume, and treating acne (with the tea tree oil seen here). They usually come in tiny containers so they’re super travel-friendly and versatile. Grab your friend a few different scents that you think match their personality, they’ll be super grateful for the personalized gift.
FOR THE TRAVELER WHO’S ALWAYS SNACKING
Another reusable product I had trouble finding overseas were waxed cloths. These things are incredible! They can be used to hold street food instead of plastic or styrofoam containers. They’ll barely take up any space in your loved one’s bag and will cut back on so much plastic waste.
There you have it! My 12 days of sustainable holiday gifts for travelers, which are all products I use and love. What else is on your eco-friendly wish list this holiday season? Tell me in the comments!
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