Simple Ways to Live More Sustainably

Simple Ways to Live More Sustainably

Simple Ways to Live More Sustainably

sustainable lifestyle tips for at home, sustainable travel tips for living at home, Blue Eyed Compass

Leading a sustainable lifestyle doesn’t need to only be done while traveling – we can be more environmentally friendly & sustainable while at home. Many travelers know that we should pack our own reusable water bottle & we like to call ourselves ‘sustainable travelers’. That’s a great start, but there are so many more opportunities to protect our environment & our bodies.

With the spread of the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, traveling may very well become more limited, so while we’re spending more time at home, we can utilize these easy to follow tips for creating a sustainable lifestyle at home!

There is an assumption when it comes to sustainable choices that I want to address with two mindset ideas:

  1. Instead of thinking ‘what do I need to buy to be more sustainable?’, ask yourself ‘what can I reduce or adjust what I’m currently doing?’ Transitioning to a more sustainable lifestyle does not mean you have to overdraft your bank account.
  2. While some sustainable items will seem expensive, they’re actually an investment. They will last longer and be a much better quality. Don’t let price alone intimidate you from helping you build a healthier lifestyle.

Let’s get started learning how to practice a sustainable lifestyle at home!

What is waste?

Before we can truly embrace sustainable tactics for your home, it’s important to understand why we should be doing so. Humans create a lot of waste. A lot of waste. So much so that we, as a species, now have nowhere else to put it except into the ocean! But what exactly is waste? Is it just trash? Or, excuse the vulgarity, poop?

Waste is an ‘act or instance of using or expending something CARELESSLY, EXTRAVAGANTLY, or to no purpose’. It’s ‘material that is not wanted’ and ‘the unusable remains or byproducts of something’… yes, I took these phrases from the dictionary, because they perfectly & succinctly describe what waste is.

It’s when we are careless that waste builds up, and when we create items or services that leave behind unusable remains.

Did you know that you can waste:

  • food
  • water
  • time and
  • energy

And that you can create waste through pollution & garbage.

We are wasteful when we travel, and when we are home we are just as much, if not more wasteful.

So, how can we actively reduce our waste impact & practice sustainable travel tactics while we’re home?

Sustainable Lifestyle Practices for your Home

This in depth list of sustainable lifestyle practices vary from easy to more in depth, and will continue to grow as I too continue to learn & improve my own sustainable lifestyle. I hope you share what you look forward to doing & any additional ideas with everyone in the comments below!


– Voice your concerns –

Sending an email or completing a survey takes only a few minutes of your time. Voice your concerns with the businesses that you wish would do better.

  • Did your airline use plastic cups? Did they offer reusable cutlery?
  • Was the day trip tour company partnering with small local businesses? Do they help share the local culture?
  • Did the restaurant offer plant based meals?
  • Is the company inclusive & supportive of all races?

These are questions you can ask yourself & use to evaluate whether a business is practicing sustainability. Many businesses will ask their customers for reviews or to complete a survey about their experience. Take the time to complete them. This is your chance to voice your ideas for better environmentally friendly policies.

For example, I recently emailed Lufthansa applauding their use of metal cutlery on my latest flight, and asked if they were planning to replace plastic cups with a more sustainable option. Your customer feedback is a powerful (and free!) tool.

– Share your POSITIVE experiences with sustainable businesses with friends & families, and leave them reviews –

Leaving a great review for a sustainably focused business helps them be noticed more by their local community, and therefore helps them continue to do their great work. And hopefully it will drown out the lesser quality businesses or motivate them to become more sustainable friendly.

– Use LESS Plastic –

if you haven’t heard, plastic is horrific for the environment. In fact, we’ve created so much plastic waste that we’re ingesting a credit card worth of plastic every week through our water.

How can we use less plastic while at home? Here are a few simple fixes:

  • Bring your own reusable bags when you shop – especially when shopping at your local grocery store. You can also purchase reusable cloth produce bags, or no bags at all for your produce. Concerned about your produce touching your cart or the checkout belt? Think about the journey your produce took to get to the store -do you really think they have each item lined with clean plastic, protecting it the entire way? Just wash your produce at home & save the world from another tossed out plastic produce bag and thick grocery bag.

Here are a few different ways you can safely wash your produce with items you most likely already have in your pantry.

  • Use silicone bags & glass Pyrex containers for food storage – this will eliminate the need for plastic Ziploc bags, aluminum foil & plastic wrap.
  • Buy in bulk or frequent refill stores – more on this below!

– Enjoy more vegetarian meals –

Budget travelers will typically agree that eating a plant based diet tends to be much cheaper while traveling. Which means the sames hold true while you’re at home!

The meat production industry creates one-fifth of all man made greenhouse gases. That’s more than the impact of EVERY one of California’s 26+ million registered cars on the road. The meat industry is a leader in carbon dioxide emissions. From what? Cow farts. Yes, I just wrote cow farts & manure. The number of cows being bred for meat consumption is so large that their excess gas has a one-fifth impact on our environment. One-fifth!!

Now, if you’re a die-hard meat eater & you find yourself rolling your eyes to this information, then aim to support locally raised meat. The supply pollution from locally sourced meats is significantly lower compared to generic grocery store meat due to its proximity to your home.

You don’t have to staunchly label yourself as a vegan, vegetarian or pescatarian, but instead just be more mindful about eating a whole food & nutritious diet.

– Cook at home –

while we’re on the subject of what we eat, you can become a stellar sustainable individual just by cooking your meals at home. Not only will you be saving money from ordering take out or eating out, but your body will LOVE what you put into it because you will know exactly what ingredients you’re ingesting. Plus you end up saving a ton of money from cooking at home as well.



– Make your coffee at home OR bring a reusable mug with you to the cafe –

Limit the number of plastic lined paper cups you consume by brewing your coffee at home. One of the most sustainable ways to enjoy coffee is with a Pour Over Coffee Maker. Similar to cooking at home you will be saving money.

You could also bring a reusable mug with you to your favorite coffee shop for your morning pick-me-up. Just ask your barista to please use your mug for your order.

– Go paperless with your bills –

rather than waiting for the monthly snail mail of bills to enter your mailbox, select a paperless option. You’ll get your bill notifications much quicker & be saving the environment from more paper waste.


– Limit your water use –

As much as I would love to roast in a steamy shower, it’s important to limit the amount of water usage in your household. Our water has to be filtered through a local county service before it enters our plumbing systems. By limiting your water usage, you are lightening the strain on the local systems and allowing the environment to maintain more of its natural water resources.

Simple ways we’ve found to reduce our water usage:

  • turn the faucet off when scrubbing your hands with soap
  • only run the dishwasher when it is full
  • take showers back to back – this limits the amount of time you need to let your shower water heat up, as it’s already warm from the person who showered right before you!

– Adjust your thermostat –

Fresh air is good for the soul, so limit the use of your thermostat when you can and open those windows. If you’re concerned about a hot summer, open your doors & windows in the cool morning and then draw your shades closed in the afternoon to prevent excess heat into your home. And if you hate cold winters, instead of blasting your heat, layer up with fuzzy socks & enjoy warm meals. I’m not suggesting you don’t use your AC and heater, but instead lower or raise the temperature so that it’s manageable rather than drastic.


– Unplug unused devices –

Even if your laptop or lamp is turned off, if it’s plugged into an outlet, it is still pulling electricity to it. The simple act of unplugging unused devices is a great way to be more sustainable at home, and it will save you some money on your electricity bill. *This is a great tip for travelers to do before they leave home. Why use electricity when you aren’t even there?


– Stop supporting fast fashion –

fast fashion plays a major role in why our environment is suffering. You can learn more about what it is and how to embrace a beautifully cultivated slow fashion wardrobe in this post all about Sustainable Fashion.

– Lump errands into one trip starting with the place that is furthest away from your home –

Say you have three errands to run this week. You could run one of those errands individually each day, and start your car at home, drive to your destination and back home again. Or you could leave the house once and complete them in one trip. When you do this start at the furthest location & work your way back home. Doing so will decrease your greenhouse gas emissions from your vehicle.

Why you should group your errands into one trip

– Research the products that you eat, clean with & put on your skin –

We mentioned how great it is to cook your meals at home, but not all grocery stores items are equal in health or in their environmental impact. The same goes for the products that you use in everyday life. Let’s walk through how you can best tackle the food you eat, what you clean with, and your skincare products:

  • EATing sustainably: organic produce does tend to be more expensive, so purchase organic items when you can, and enjoy more whole food products and less doritos (as much as I love the taste of doritos, and other snack items, they are horrible for your body).

You can also start your own vegetable garden at home and create a compost of your current food waste to feed your garden. This will decrease your weekly waste. If you live in an apartment here is an apartment composting guide you can follow.

  • CLEANing your home: The products you use to clean your dishes, countertops and floors can all be absorbed into your skin and your pets skin. Scary stuff, since we, as consumers, know so little about the ingredients & chemicals used in those products. Instead purchase from high quality, clean product brands such as Blueland or find your local refill store. They will most likely have environmentally friendly products. I love going to our San Diego local refill store for hand soap, sunscreen & laundry detergent. Speaking of laundry detergent, start using better quality detergents & dryer sheets. Dropps is a great option for detergent, and instead of wasteful dryer sheets use dryer balls (or nothing at all!). Another sustainable laundry tip – line dry what you can to limit the use of dryer time, and only run your washer when it’s completely full.

  • Sustainable SKINCARE: The skin is the largest organ on your body and it soaks up molecules like tofu soaks up oil (in case you aren’t aware, tofu is very absorbent). So be sure that the skincare line you are spending your money on is focused on your health, as well as your beauty. One of my absolute favorite brands happens to be a San Diego local business, ClearStem. Their products are quality tested, all natural and contain ZERO acne triggering ingredients.

The point of all of this is to reduce the use & ingestion of toxic products in your home and body. It’s important that you do your research. Not every business that labels itself as ‘green’ or ‘all-natural’ is actually good for you. Businesses have taken advantage of our perception of ‘green’ as clean & healthy. There are almost no strict guidelines to what can be put on a label – this is known as ‘greenwashing’. My suggestion – research who owns the company, read the ingredients and ask them questions.

– Research who is in charge & VOTE –

Find out who your local politicians are supported by. If their donors are companies who don’t care about the environment, then that politician will most likely be unable to support environmentally friendly policies. Over 70% of all emissions come from large corporations, and those large corporations run on a tight ROI budget. It costs them more money to run their business sustainably for the environment, and they won’t want to lose any revenue due to environmental restrictions.

We have to be the ones who demand sustainable business practices & products that are environmentally-conscious. Enough demand will create a supply. Individual action & research can spread a chain reaction on a larger scale if we’re even slightly aware of it. Voting for those who have our communities in mind gives us the ability to use our voices & exercise our rights.

Many of these sustainable practices for your home will cost you no money – in fact they’ll most likely end up saving you money, and potentially save you thousands on healthcare costs – and are essential to facilitating that positive change that we all crave to see in the world.

Hi! I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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sustainable lifestyle tips for at home, sustainable travel tips for living at home, Blue Eyed Compass
sustainable lifestyle tips for at home, sustainable travel tips for living at home, Blue Eyed Compass
sustainable lifestyle tips for at home, sustainable travel tips for living at home, Blue Eyed Compass
sustainable lifestyle tips for at home, sustainable travel tips for living at home, Blue Eyed Compass

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How to plan a Sustainable & Ethical Vacation

How to plan a Sustainable & Ethical Vacation

How to plan a Sustainable & Ethical Vacation

How to plan a sustainable vacation, Blue Eyed Compass

Travel is one of our generation’s greatest gifts, and with gifts we cherish, we tend to carefully protect and map out how we can best utilize it. What better way to cherish and protect our gift of travel than by planning your next trip (and hopefully future trips too!) so that it is sustainable and ethical.

We’re diving into the best ways to plan a sustainable vacation, and providing all of the tools you need to do so, making the process easy and exciting for you!

This planning process follows an order that is most typically used when it comes to travel planning, and incorporates how to plan for sustainability & eco-friendly purposes. Lets begin!

Sustainable Travel PLANNING:

The planning phase of a trip is the most broad part of vacation planning, and can be the most exciting as the opportunities for your sustainable travels feel endless. One of the best sustainable travel tips is to be flexible in your destination and travel dates. This allows you to research for better prices and support destinations that you may not have considered before. Here is how you can best plan for your sustainable & ethical vacation:


– Research locations –

While this is a bit broad and can encompass many aspects, researching destinations can be fairly simple. We want to consider a few different aspects of a destination before we choose to travel there. Here are a few examples of what you may want to keep in mind:

-Is the destination struggling with overcrowding?

If it is, it may not be a good idea for you to go there

-How can I get there (transportation – more on this below)

-Is this destination expensive and/or within my budget?

-Are they having any shortage issues? I.e. clean water shortages.

Did you know that you can do the following?…


– Plant trees while you research! –

Use for your web searches when planning your next trip. Ecosia uses the ad revenue from your web searches to plant trees in areas that need the support. Simple & safe to use, Ecosia is a perfect way to start becoming a more sustainable traveler – you can literally help plant trees before you even begin your trip!


– Book nonstop flights –

Did you know that a plane’s carbon emissions are emitted most during its take off & landing? If you want to travel to a destination that requires air travel, aim for direct, nonstop flights. While nonstop flights tend to be more expensive, you are saving precious vacation time and being more sustainable.

– Consider your mode of transportations carbon footprint –

Can you take a greener mode of transportation to get to your destination and while you are there? Is it possible to take a train or a bus to your vacation spot? Both train and bus options are undoubtedly more kind to the environment than an airplane. But if air travel is the only way, research how you could utilize local transportation once you’ve arrived.

Many destinations have public transportation from their airports to the city center. There are also small businesses that also offer carpooling from the airport to your hotel. They will wait for a set number of people to land and then select a route that is most convenient for dropping off at multiple locations. It’s much more environmentally friendly than taking a taxi on your own. These options only take a small bit of online research to discover, and most often will save you money that you can instead spend while in your destination!

Speaking of budgets, you can also easily…



– Add in carbon offsetting to your travel budget! –

This simple sustainable travel planning tip is perfect for those destinations that require you to fly to reach. For only a few extra dollars, you can offset your carbon footprint.

You can find a list of vetted carbon offsetting companies here. Scroll to the bottom of the linked page to find the list.

– Honestly though, consider your budget –

While most of us want to travel without the high cost, we can plan a budget friendly & epically fun trip while incorporating the costs of supporting local businesses. It can look cheaper to save a few dollars by purchasing your souvenirs as the shop next to the main tourist site, or eat at the international chain because you know their menu better. However, your money is stretched so much farther when spent at a local vendors shop and a family owned restaurant. If you map out a budget then you won’t be stuck haggling with someone for souvenirs or at farmers markets. There are plenty of better budget tricks you can use for your vacations, so think ahead in terms of what you can spend your money on and the cost of goods in your destination.

– Opt for e-tickets –

Stop wasting expensive ink and paper, and save all of your itineraries to your cell phone. Doing this is also more convenient when you can have your documents all in one place as opposed to flipping through papers.

– Travel in the off season –

There is a reason the off season is cheaper. The majority of travelers tend to go in the summer months, when children are on summer vacation/out of school. However if you go a few weeks before or after those hot summer months, you will be saving money and be supporting sustainable travel. Off season travel lessens the load of visitors in hotels, restaurants, main tourist sites and will overall be much cheaper for you.

*You’ll be rewarded with fewer crowds for a more serene experience

*It will be cheaper for you to get there & stay there

*Off season travel evens out the strain of visitors to a destination (aka flattens the overtourism curve)

– Visit less traveled to destinations! –

There are so many incredibly beautiful and exciting destinations to visit. Consider traveling to less frequented places instead of just Paris, Barcelona or Bali. There are SO many reasons why those less visited places are ideal for travelers. You can find them in detail in this post about what overtourism is and how to help with overtourism.

– Research & choose a centralized location in your destination –

Doing so will typically make it easier for you to get around to other places and there will be better, more convenient forms of public transportation. For example, you could choose to stay in the outskirts of Rome, Italy as the hotel prices are cheaper, however, you will spend 5x as much time traveling into the city each day, and won’t be able to easily go back if you forget something.

– Carpool! –

I often wonder how we all managed to get around before the convenience of Uber and Lyft ride sharing apps. What makes using these apps different from taking a taxi? While rideshare apps and taxi’s typically support a local’s income, you can choose the option to carpool with others. Carpooling saves gas and saves you money.

– Learn a few phrases in your destination’s language –

In movies we often see this portrayed- an American scoffing at a foreigner not speaking English when in the United States. Well, imagine how overly popular destinations feel when thousands of Americans refuse to greet them in their local language. Learning a few common phrases in your destination’s language is a sign of respect, both for your destination and for yourself. Plus you’ll feel very accomplished if you can have a pleasant conversation with your barista.

Packing for a Sustainable Trip

Packing for your sustainable vacation means that your adventure is coming up soon! It’s an exciting part of the travel process, and if done with sustainable tactics in mind can feel very rewarding when you’re strutting your stuff through the airport like a sustainable travel boss.


-Don’t overpack –

Aim for carry-on luggage. This will save you money from paying to check your bag, and is sustainable for the airline. The lighter the plane, the less fuel they will need to use. While five pounds extra on your luggage may not sound like a lot, imagine if a plane with 100+ people went five pounds lighter on their luggage! And that number greatly increases when you consider those larger international flights where there are hundreds of passengers.


– Ask yourself ‘are my outfits culturally appropriate for the destination?’ –

Those who are frequent international travelers have most likely experienced a wardrobe issue while traveling, and for less frequent travelers you can save yourself the embarrassment and frustration if you do a bit of ethical travel planning beforehand. How can you do this? Does your destination have churches or religious sites that you want to visit? If yes, then you’ll need to have your knees and shoulders covered. Is the place known for having pickpockets? If yes, try not to dress like a cowboy out of Texas. That’s like putting an ‘X marks the spot’ signal over your head for smart pickpockets. A simple online search can help you pack perfectly for a safe trip.


– Pack items that will easily reduce your plastic footprint –

Having reusable items with you can make your travels feel seamless. You can find a list of the best sustainable travel essentials here.

Sustiainable Lodging Research

Where you stay during your vacation can make or break your entire experience. Here are ways to plan for sustainable travel when it comes to your lodging.


– Look for locally owned boutique hotels, not an international chain –

Oftentimes these locally owned hotels have extra amenities and can provide incredible suggestions for what to do and where to eat.


– See if the local lodging is also eco-conscious –

Eco-conscious hotels will proudly showcase it on their website and be happy to send you details if you ask for them. Simply sending an email prior to booking can allow you to decipher if they align with your sustainable preferences (think no plastic mini-shampoo bottles, or down feather pillows, etc), and you’ll get your first glimpse into how hospitable they really are.


– If you’re comfortable with it you can also choose to stay at homestays, couchsurf, or hostels –

While I personally haven’t stayed in a hostel since college, I have many female solo travel friends who do so for all of their trips. Be sure to research what eco-conscious tactics they utilize and that they are highly rated – your safety comes first! These local lodging options can save you money and provide you with a more authentic experience.

Ways to EXPLORE your travel destination sustainably

Once you are in your destination and are comfortably set up at your hotel, your sustainable travel self will be eager to get out & explore! Below are tips to help you explore your destination in an ethical and responsible way, without taking away any of the fun.


– Know your tour guide –

If you enjoy booking a day tour with a company do your research on them. Is it a local company? Are they transparent on their environmental & community support for the places they bring their customers? An important issue to be aware of is greenwashing. Tour groups can present themselves as responsible public organizations, but in reality are providing disinformation and tricking paying customers into doing things that are negative to the destination. (For example, there are volunteer groups who ask participants to pay to volunteer and paint schools in third world areas, only to have those guests leave, paint the buildings white again, and bring in a new group of paying volunteers). You can learn more about how to find an ethical tour company here.


– Research the local culture of your destination –

Just like you researched how to appropriately and respectfully dress, make sure that what you plan to do on your trip is respectful to the local culture. For example…

-Is the hike you want to do sanctioned by the local authorities? Or is it a protected path that happens to have a great view?

-Is it ‘tradition’ to carve your initials into a tree? Or is that actually frowned upon & damaging to the local flora and fauna?

-Are you gearing up to jetski in your tropical destination? Or will that damage fragile coral reefs and potentially endanger wildlife?

These are important things to keep in mind when you’re planning your explorations, and while it sounds like it’s taking the fun out of your trip, I guarantee you can find even better things to do that aren’t hurting others.


What are ways that you plan your trips to be sustainable?

Hi! I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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How to plan a sustainable vacation, Blue Eyed Compass
How to plan a sustainable vacation, Blue Eyed Compass
How to plan a sustainable vacation, Blue Eyed Compass
How to plan a sustainable vacation, Blue Eyed Compass

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Sustainable Travel Essentials

Sustainable Travel Essentials

Sustainable Travel Essentials

13 Sustainable Essentials for Responsible Travelers, Blue Eyed Compass

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue. THANK YOU! You can view our disclosure page for additional details

One of the easiest ways to become a sustainable traveler is to reduce your waste when traveling. So instead of using items for a single use, swapping them with permanent pieces that are easy to bring with you – or what I call your sustainable essentials for responsible travelers!

This is not a list of additional items that you need to take up precious space in your luggage, but instead a set of wonderfully convenient swaps that will help you be a more responsible traveler while simultaneously helping the planet!

Getting to your destination:

1.) Travel pillow- avoid the plastic covered options that are far too often supplied on airlines and trains. Bringing your own travel pillow makes for a much more comfortable trip for you in addition to limiting the plastic use.

2.) Travel Sweater- for those long, overnight flights, pair your travel pillow with a deliciously comfortable & large sweater. I have one large sweater that I bring with me on overnight flights that eliminates the need for me to use the airline’s plastic wrapped (and extremely thin) blankets. I cozy up by wrapping my large sweater around me (all while resting my head against my travel pillow).

3.) Sturdy Carry-on Luggage- one of the best sustainable essentials any responsible traveler will have is a sturdy carry-on luggage piece. It is much more sustainable to pack in only a carry-on as opposed to a large and heavy suitcase that you have to pay to check onto your flight. To avoid having to buy multiple pieces of carry on luggage, purchase an incredibly well made one that will last you for years and will withstand the tolls that travel can have on a bag.

Collapsible Travel Pillow

click here to shop

Comfy Sweater

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Sturdy Carry On Luggage

click here to shop

Sustainable Travel Toiletries:

4.) Shampoo & soap bar- shampoo bars and soap bars are perfect for those ‘terrified of leaks in my luggage’ travelers and for long term travelers. They last much longer than traditional single use shampoo bottles you buy at a store, and they remove the need for single use plastics!


5.) Stainless steel razor- Did you know that razors are made entirely out of unrecyclable materials? Step up your razor game with a stainless steel razor where all you have to change are the blades. Plus, a stainless steel razor is much more sturdy than a plastic one, so you won’t have to worry about it breaking in your luggage. This can be a great swap for your at home life as well.


6.) Menstrual cup- ladies, if you can, PLEASE swap to a menstrual cup. Our menstrual products are some of the main cloggers in our plumbing systems (as in people have to literally go into sewers and pull them out, kind of clogs). They are extremely wasteful and 100% not needed for the average woman. In fact, menstrual cups are amazing for travelers! You can keep a menstrual cup in for up to 12 hours. Imagine not having to worry about needing to find a clean restroom on a trip for the entire day. You can wait to deal with your period in the mornings and evenings in the comfort of your hotel room. Menstrual cups are great for travel and for use at home!


7.) Bamboo toothbrush– similar to razors, plastic toothbrushes are found washed up on beaches every single day. Instead of continuing to contribute to plastic waste, swap to a bamboo toothbrush. When you’re ready for a new toothbrush you can recycle the handle and toss out the small bristles (the bristles are not recyclable).


8.) Silicone containers- Silicone containers are great for shampoo, conditioner, make up remover and anything else you may need to bring that’s a liquid. They are a great alternative to the shampoo bars if your locks require a stronger shampoo and conditioner (i.e. colored hair, curly hair). You can easily fill them up before every trip with your current home stock of supplies without having to use new plastic bottles for each trip.

Shampoo Bars

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Menstrual Cup

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Silicone containers (2.8oz)

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Sustainable Travel Tips for Eating Out:

9.) Water bottle- a reusable water bottle is a game changer for any sustainable traveler. Many airports now have water refilling stations and restaurants are typically happy to fill up your water bottle if you dine there. I’ve found that reusable water bottles are also great for long haul flights. When your flight attendants walk down the aisle filling up small plastic cups of water, you can ask to have your entire bottle filled → you’ll save the plastic cup AND you’ll be sure to stay hydrated on your flight.


10.) Travel coffee mug- for coffee lovers, you don’t need to use the flimsy plastic covered to-go mugs anymore! We use these collapsible coffee mugs that come with clips so that when you aren’t using them, they can easily clip to your backpack or purse.


11.) Bamboo utensil set- swap the use of dreaded plastic cutlery with your own beautiful bamboo utensil set! Imagine if you ate out for three meals a day for seven days, and used your own cutlery set for each meal – you would save 21 sets of cutlery from going into a landfill!

Reusable Water Bottle

click here to shop

Travel Coffee Mub

click here to shop

Bamboo Utensil Set

click here to shop

Sustainable Shopping while traveling:

12.) Cloth bags- any traveler loves to shop. Whether it be souvenirs, groceries or drinks, an easy way to avoid single use plastic bags is to bring your own cloth bags. Cloth bags can easily fold and fit into most purses making them an easy item to bring with you during the day, because you never know when you’ll find a shop you’ll want to purchase goodies.


13.) Cash in the country’s currency- responsible travelers are well versed in knowing they should bring their destination’s currency with them on a trip. Oftentimes the most authentic experiences (restaurants, souvenirs, etc) will only accept cash, and you never want to be in a situation where you can’t purchase an item that you’ll regret not buying when you get home. *Interesting tip- depending on your destination, the American dollar may be good to have with you as well. In some countries the value of the dollar is much higher than their currency and they will give you a discount if you pay in USD as they would rather have dollars.

These are a few of the best swaps you can make to build your sustainable travel essentials. If you could only pick three of these to start, which would you choose? I would choose the reusable water bottle, cloth bags and travel sweater.

Hi! I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

Follow Along!

Start your own blog today!

Set up your blog today by using my discount code for Bluehost – Click the image to get started.

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13 Sustainable Essentials for Responsible Travelers, Blue Eyed Compass
13 Sustainable Essentials for Responsible Travelers, Blue Eyed Compass
13 Sustainable Essentials for Responsible Travelers, Blue Eyed Compass
13 Sustainable Essentials for Responsible Travelers, Blue Eyed Compass

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Six Sustainable Travel Tips you can IGNORE

Six Sustainable Travel Tips you can IGNORE

Six Sustainable Travel Tips you can IGNORE

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue. THANK YOU! You can view our disclosure page for additional details

Sustainable travel is becoming a major focal point in the travel industry. Even if you’re not part of the travel industry, I can guarantee you’ve seen people post online about saying NO to plastic straws & bring your own reusable bags to the store with you. The ideas are becoming more & more prevalent in mainstream society – yay!

But what I often find is that people who preach the sustainable travel lifestyle end up listing out what reads like a catalog of R-U-L-E-S. And let’s be honest, we all left school & many of ridiculous rules behind us now that we’re “adults”.

Let’s start by adjusting our mindsets about sustainable travel to one of abundance! Because it’s damn near impossible for any one of us to expect millions of people to suddenly 180 their entire travel lifestyle.

We gotta take those baby steps, because the little baby steps DO add up. And instead of seeing them as ‘rules’, lets see sustainable travel tactics as swaps or replacements. Like when you swap out sour cream for plain greek yogurt – tastes the same, but much healthier for you (*side note- vegan sour cream is so yummy, go try it out!).

Now, I’ve traveled quite a bit and I’ve done the ‘preach sustainable travel’ bit too, and here’s the conclusion I’ve come to… it IS possible to make a change (in fact multiple changes!) and no, you don’t have to go as far as taking a sailboat across the Atlantic to get to London.

So, here is a list of six ‘sustainable tactics’ that you can ignore if you want to.

The moral of this post is that you don’t need to become a 100% sustainable traveler or lifestylist overnight. You decide the lifestyle that you want to lead based on all of the information that you can research.

Sustainable ‘Tips’ or ‘Hacks’ that you can ignore

Sustainable ‘Tip’ #1 – DON’T FLY FIRST CLASS

The idea that flying first class is horrible for the environment is neither here, nor there. Because guess what? First class in a plane isn’t going anywhere, and that plane is taking off with the same amount of fuel & plastic waste regardless if you’re sitting in economy or a roomy first class seat.

And oftentime those who pay for the expensive first class are actually offsetting the economy class seats, which is what makes those seats cheaper.

I’ve flown first class and have LOVED IT. Loved it. It’s incredible. Now, do I fly first every time I travel somewhere? No. Frankly, it’s expensive and unnecessary for short haul flights under eight hours.

Should you avoid it all together? No. If you want to treat yourself to a relaxing travel experience or have earned up airline miles and want to use them for a first class trip – go for it!


*What you can do instead : avoid waste & plastic use on your flight. Do this by packing your own foods, bringing a small bag to hold your recyclables (if the airline doesn’t recycle & dispose of them at your arrival.


We have to understand the idea that these planes are going to take off regardless of which ones we choose to fly with. And while we may be drawn to cheaper flight options, you saving some money may actually be worse for the environment.

Budget airlines work on much tighter budgets (duh Laura). Meaning, I can leave a review or email their customer support and they most likely won’t or can’t do anything about my constructive feedback-

  • please use less plastic → plastic is cheaper for us
  • please fly less or use sustainable fuel→ how else we are going to pay the bills?
  • …And so and so forth.


*What you can do instead : when you fly a larger name brand airline, like United or JetBlue, email them after your flight and ask what they’re doing to be more sustainable? I’ve received responses from a few that will send me links to what they’re focusing on because enough customers reached out to them about it! And you can select an airline that is dedicated to lowering their carbon footprint, like United & Alaska Airlines

Check out these sustainably made travel backpacks! – Sustainably Made Travel Backpacks


Unless you’re traveling on a budget, you do not need to stay in a multi-person dorm room in order to be a sustainable traveler.

If your travels are your escape from the 9-5 and you really want to enjoy your vacation, then treat yourself to your own hotel room. Wanting your own space to sleep, shower & use the restroom does not make you a selfish or non-sustainable traveler. It means you value your own self care.

Plus many hostels will cut corners in sustainable tactics to be able to charge for cheaper rooms.


*What to do instead– research & stay at lodgings that focus on sustainable matters. They avoid plastic, have a food waste program in place, were built out of sustainable materials, etc.


If you’ve always dreamt of visiting the beaches of Barcelona, Spain or tossing a coin into the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy then girl (or guy!) go do it!

Yes, overtourism is very real. And yes, you will experience it like ‘woah’ at those popular destinations, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go.

While visiting less popular destinations helps to distribute the wealth of tourism, it shouldn’t mean you sacrificing the dream trip you’ve envisioned for yourself.


*What to do instead of avoiding these dreamy destinations : proactively be a better traveler when you are there. Wake up early for smaller crowds, be mindful of how you treat people, your trash and respecting the places you visit. And set an example for those around you.

Interested in sustainable travel? Learn about how you can help prevent Overtourism

Sustainable ‘Tip’ #5 – VOLUNTEER ON YOUR TRAVELS

Volunteering can be a wonderful thing to do on a trip. However, sacrificing your time for the greater good may not be all that it seems.

Unfortunately, impoverished areas can now take advantage of your goodwill. There is information coming out of ‘volunteer’ organizations that are complete hoaxes; often times involving kidnapping, false community work and abuse.

For example, a volunteer organization where travelers paint a neighborhood to cover up the graffiti. When after they leave, those same volunteer leaders go back to vandalize for the next tour group to come in & paint over. OR! Volunteering with orphanages. These orphanages will be children who were kidnapped from their home to fill up the space so that unsuspecting tourists will pay to help the organization. Sad but true.

You can still & should volunteer on your travels, but doing so while not automatically make you a sustainable traveler.


*What to do instead : really research the organization that you want to volunteer for. Ask them questions & if they have nothing to hide then they will be open & honest with you. You could even go a step further by asking them if the materials they use are sustainably made and recyclable.


I honestly shake my head when I see this advice given online. Where sustainable travelers suggest that you don’t travel at all (what?!) We only have one life to live, and part of living a full life will often include experiencing other cultures and destinations.

Not traveling somewhere isn’t the solution to our environmental problems. So many destinations rely on tourism, and not visiting only hurts them.


*What to do instead : Be a slow traveler, meaning spend more than one day at any destination. You should also travel smarter, travel sustainably, and most importantly travel with respect. And keep in mind that there may be places you can travel to that are more local to your hometown.

The goal with these sustainable tips that you can ignore is to show you that being a sustainable traveler doesn’t require a 180 flip in your travel choices. You can be a sustainable traveler and still enjoy everything you did before. In fact, I bet you’ll enjoy your travels even more when you stop to focus on your impact and how you view the world.

Let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments – I’m always up for educated discussions and to learn more.

Don't Forget to Pack:

click image to find out more!

Bamboo Cutlery Set

Insulated Water Bottle

Reusable Cloth Bags

Hi! I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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The ‘what’, ‘why’ & ‘how’ of Sustainable Fashion

The ‘what’, ‘why’ & ‘how’ of Sustainable Fashion

The ‘what’, ‘why’ & ‘how’ of Sustainable Fashion

We are given extremely mixed signals on what we should do in regards to sustainable fashion

  • Do we purchase local only?
  • Should we rent our clothes?
  • Does the fabric need to be 100% organic?
  • Should items be made from recycled materials?

All of these questions and ideas start to feel overwhelming, and even more so confusing.

However the notion behind all of this is that people are taking closer looks into the clothing they purchase – a sustainable lifestyle starts with an exploration or an interest in the topic. So you’re on an awesome path!

Unfortunately, fashion cannot be 100% sustainable or compostable; just the act of washing your clothes is unsustainable (and we’ll get to that in more detail below). However we can make massive improvements to what we currently purchase and our consumer choices.

While impossible to reach 100% sustainability, the point of sustainable fashion is to have a wardrobe that you are proud to wear, and that helps to maintain our environment and the textile workers. From the boardroom to happy hour, or loungewear to formal wedding, there are sustainable solutions for all of your clothing choices.

What will make the biggest difference, is up to us making smarter consumer choices

DID YOU KNOW- a clothing label that states ‘sustainable’ means next to nothing? The use of the term has little academic or authority backing to it – just like how many foods are labeled ‘All-Natural’ vs ones labeled ‘Organic’. One label (organic) needs quality checks and minimum standards, the other can be freely used. The solution to this? Become a smarter consumer.

Fashion is a consumer-forward industry, and we, as individuals, are the driving forces for it. Which means we are the ones with the power. When we are vocal and when we are selective for which brands to support with our hard earned money, we are making a change.

Read on to learn more about what sustainable fashion means and why it’s important (so that you can be that bad ass powerful consumer that makes a difference!)

What exactly is ‘sustainable fashion’?

Let’s break the phrase ‘sustainable fashion’ down:

The idea behind the word ‘sustainable’ means the process can be done indefinitely with no impact on the environment..

And fashion includes your clothing (of course), as well as shoes and accessories (jewelry, belts, hats, scarves, etc)


So, sustainable fashion, if done correctly, is the entire process of creating, selling & owning a fashion item, and one that can be created and used forever so that the planet would feel no negative impact from it.

What’s important to understand is that sustainable fashion is not just about the fabrics that are used in an item, but the entire system that’s in plan when an item is produced.

✔ From the beginning design,

✔ To sourcing the materials,

✔ The manufacturing process,

✔ The people involved in manufacturing,

✔ How the items are transported and what kind of carbon footprint that leaves,

✔ To the consumers intended use of the item, how they care for it,

✔ And when & how they discard it.

Are you beginning to understand how in depth this topic can be? Let’s clear up some confusion with a list of the types of sustainable fashion labels and terms you may see:

Interested in sustainable travel? Learn about how you can help prevent Overtourism

Types of sustainable fashion labels & terms

  • Artisan Made: crafted by a skilled craftsperson who makes a small quantity of an item
  • B-Corp: aka Benefit Corporation, a B-Corp label means the item has been certified by a third party known as B-Lab. B Corp Certification is “the only certification that measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance”. You can learn more about their process here.
  • Biodegradable material: fabrics that can be broken down and decomposed quickly

STAT- any one fashion item can take up to 200 years to fully decompose!

  • Bluesign Certified: the bluesign label guarantees that the items used in a product were sustainable and clean, resulting in a safely manufactured end product. You can learn more about them here.
  • Fair & ethical: this is for the manufacturing warehouse employees. If a company is fair and ethical, then they are paying living wages to their employees.

DID YOU KNOW- mill workers are notoriously underpaid by the majority of fashion brands? For example, women working in Delhi textile mills are paid $80/month, when the standard cost of living is around $350/month

  • Fair Labor: thanks to the Fair Labor Standards Act in the United States, it enforces a right to a minimum wage and overtime pay. For companies that are international look for a Fair Labor Association Certification here.
  • Fair Trade Certified: this organization certifies fair trade companies by ensuring the artisans and producers being employed in developing countries are paid fairly & work under healthy working conditions
  • Green & Clean: a phrase used for an item that was made with the environment in mind. It’s a turn of phrase and not a set standard.
  • Green America Certified: this 501(c)3 non-profit certifies companies looking to use their business as positive social change and want to be environmentally responsible. Read more about them here.
  • Locally Produced/Made: the item(s) was made locally to where you are purchasing it. A locally produced item has a lower carbon footprint as it did not need to be transported very far.
  • Minimalism: the act of owning a few staples in your wardrobe, rather than a large and seasonal wardrobe.
  • Natural dyes: use of natural, plant-based dyes to color fabrics and materials
  • Natural fibers: also known as fabrics, all natural, plant-based materials are used to form threads. These can come from plants, animals or minerals.
  • On Demand/Custom: instead of creating 10,000 of one item, an on demand item is created once a purchase is made or a need-by basis. Therefore, eliminating excess waste of items that may just sit in inventory only to be thrown away.
  • Organic Fabrics: Fabrics whose threads are made with no pesticides. *Many organic fabrics require large water usage.
  • Recycled Fabrics: fabrics that are stripped down to threads and reused in another item. They reduce waste, and are much less reliant on fossil fuels.
  • Upcycle: the process of taking an unwanted, older item, and updating it for re-purpose. For example, taking an old t-shirt and using it as a dust cloth, or cutting a long bridesmaid gown into a shorter, less formal dress.
  • Vegan: an item that does not use any animal product in the fabric. *No animal fabric is technically humane.
  • 100% material items: think of 100% cotton tops or 100% linen pants. There is no process that can separate different types of fibers, so items that are 100% one fabric are easier to recycle.

Make an impact on the world by making your voice heard –

here are 10 Simple Steps to starting a successful blog

Why is sustainable fashion important & why should I care?

There is a buzzword term, similar to overtourism, known as ‘fast fashion’, and it essentially stands for the majority of items you can purchase at a mall or online. It’s a term that describes fashion retailers whose items are inexpensive and the styles change frequently to keep up with new trends (think Zara, Forever 21, H&M, etc). And it’s this fast fashion that is contributing to so many negative impacts on the planet and individuals.

DID YOU KNOW- the fashion industry contributes to 8% of the greenhouse gas emissions, if things don’t change it most likely will increase to 25%!

You should care about sustainable fashion for two main reasons:

  1. The environment
  2. The people


The fashion industry burdens a heavy toll on the environment. The main problems being…

  • Greenhouse gas emissions in mills
  • Greenhouse gas emission from transportation of goods
  • Deforestation of land for materials
  • Water contamination and water shortages from the mills with microplastics and poisonous chemicals


As for the people it affects, there are hundreds of thousands of individuals who are employed in mills in varying developing countries. Their working conditions are barely acceptable at best (often without basic needs being met, such as no bathroom privileges), and more often than not they are extremely underpaid. In fact, the US Department of Labor has listed employment in the textile industry and manufacturing in multiple countries as ‘modern day slave labor’.

Think about that – that cute dress you purchased for $15 at the mall was potentially stitched together by someone who works in an environment listed as MODERN DAY SLAVE LABOR.

Both the environment and the working conditions for employees are main reasons why you should care about sustainable fashion. Remember, the goal is to have a wardrobe that you are proud to own and wear, and to help eliminate our carbon footprint through our fashion selections.

With these goals in mind let’s move on to the benefits of supporting companies who produce sustainable fashion items.

The PRO’s to ethical & sustainable fashion

The people making your clothing are being treated well and paid fairly: Ethical fashion brands ensure their manufacturing process enforces a safe environment, with reasonable hours and proper pay.


Elimination of waste: Some fashion brands have found ways to take the waste from other companies and utilize it into brand new items. For example, Patagonia creates recycled polyester from soda bottles.


Protect the environment: Many sustainable fashion brands focus their efforts on protecting the environment; for example by recycling water & avoiding harsh chemicals.


Better quality clothing: Sustainable fashion includes making items that last for a long period of time. You are essentially paying a slightly higher price for an item that will last you for years. As opposed to fast fashion stores whose clothing easily tears or deforms in the wash.

DID YOU KNOW- When you wash your clothing micro plastic fibers are lifted from the clothes and cycle into our water?

✔ Personal pride: By making a methodical choice to purchase from a sustainable fashion brand, you are (1) essentially voting for what you want to support, and (2) you’ll feel great about supporting a company that values human rights and the planet, and of course your style!

Travel in style with these Sustainably made travel backpacks

Why is sustainable fashion so expensive?

Let’s think back to our basic economics classes, where someone instructed us on the cost analysis of an item – the cost of the designers, the people who create the product, the cost of the materials, transporting it to stores, etc. All of those things are taken into consideration when deciding on the cost of an item.


If a fashion company is able to create a product that is cheap for them to produce, especially in bulk, then they can charge that product for a lower cost. Sounds great, right? It may be for our wallets, but definitely not for the longevity of the planet.


A fashion brand focused on sustainable & ethical practices typically sell products at a higher than average cost because…

✔ they are paying more than their competitors in design,

✔ paying their mill workers higher wages,

✔ take into consideration the cost of water usage at the mills and the carbon footprint of their transportation

All of these things increase the overall cost of an item, leading it to be a higher price.


What does all of this mean for you, the consumer?

It means that when you spend a little bit more on items that are sustainably produced then you are helping to support companies who are doing what is right for the environment (rather than what is right for their self-interest).

Solutions for sustainable fashion :

There are two segments when it comes to solutions for the fashion industry to be more sustainable:

Brands & Consumers

I bet that was pretty obvious, but let’s go deeper into what the solutions actually are…

BRANDS – brands need to have higher standards for quality & outputs

– Brands can focus on lowering their carbon footprint of the items they develop. Including the materials used, to the carbon footprint of the mills they use, to transportation. All of which can easily be done by bringing in green consultants to help evaluate where changes can be made.

DID YOU KNOW- 75% of a fashion items entire carbon footprint takes place at the mill that its created in?


– Fashion companies can increase their wages to garment workers to at least standard living wages. This change would only cost brands less than 1% of the price of the garment according to a report from Oxfam.


– Consider how your purchase affects the environment; the entire life cycle of each item you purchase, and how investing in items that will last longer will help you as well.

– Educate yourself: research what the brand is doing to be more sustainable. If a company is doing so they will share it on their website and be transparent about it. If they aren’t proving it to their consumers then it most likely means they’re hiding something.

– Repair, reuse & recycle: instead of tossing every item that becomes slightly damaged, see if you can repair it. Or find another use for it, or recycle it.

– Need specialty gear for a trip? See if you can BORROW it! Previously, I’ve borrowed dresses for weddings, snorkel gear, and camping equipment.

– Use a filtered washing bag for synthetic clothing to prevent microplastics from entering your water system – try out Guppyfriend Washing bags!

– Purchase high quality items, rather than having high quantity.

*When you purchase a new garment of any kind be sure to look for the following from the brand:

High quality materials

Environmentally friendly production process

Do they consider & take action on ethical manufacturing processes?

Are they promoting that you donate or hand down your used items when you no longer want it/them?

& when you no longer have use of it will you be able to recycle it into another garment or textile item?

-Try doing a clothing swap: once a year aim to clean out your closet. Find items that you haven’t worn for a while and do a swap with your friends. Your clothes will have a second life, and if you end up changing your mind about wanting to keep it you can always ask for it back.

-Shop at second hand fashion stores or go thrifting: many second hand fashion stores carefully check the quality of their items, so you’ll be getting gently worn pieces for a fraction of the cost. And thrifting is even cheaper! I have found a few staple pieces in my pieces from thrift stores on my travels. *Tip- second hand fashion stores aren’t much cheaper in California where I live, but in other countries, where the USD goes farther, you can find stellar pieces for next to nothing!

-check if the brand is Slow Fashion: slow fashion means they aren’t putting out new items every 3-6 weeks. Instead they carefully curate seasonal pieces that are meant to last. They have a slower turnover rate of styles, and the items are made artfully & with the environment in mind.

Is thrifting considered sustainable fashion?

Some believe that thrifting isn’t a part of the sustainable fashion movement, as it doesn’t support the use of environmentally friendly fabrics and development, or safe working environments for workers. So this will be a personal decision on your part. In my opinion, thrifting is sustainable fashion. I don’t think it’s the best answer, but for those of us who aren’t in a position to afford higher priced, sustainably made clothing and don’t want to give more money to cheaper made products, thrifting is a great option.

You’re able to give an unwanted item another use, that would otherwise be in the garbage.

Sustainable Clothing Materials

Which fabrics are most sustainable? Here is a list of eco-friendly fabrics that you should keep an eye out for:

  • organic linen
  • hemp
  • organic cotton *however, this has a high water usage when being made
  • ethical wool *there are some who believe any wool is animal cruelty, and others who feel the animals naturally produce wool & need to be sheared. I stand with the middle ground, when a company openly shares their wool shearing process and shows that they are doing so humanely and with compassion.
  • tencel marked with the FSC label


Worst fabrics for the environment (aka avoid these):

  • acrylic
  • lycra/spandex
  • nylon
  • polyester *you’ll see polyester in almost every piece of fast fashion clothing, and unfortunately it’s one of the worst fabrics for the environment
  • bamboo *bet you’re surprised by this one! While bamboo grows quickly, the process of transforming it into fibers is intensive & requires a lot of chemicals

Learn more about fashion fabrics here

Sustainable Fashion Brands

You’ve scrolled down this far & might be wondering ‘where the hell am I going to be able to buy my clothes from now on?!’, and I totally feel you. The brands listed below are in no way a conclusive list. They are a few that I’ve researched and found through a stellar app, Good on You.

I will continue to add to this list as I learn more, but as I’m following through on a no spend promise, I would recommend that you do your own research to find sustainable fashion brands that you can support. – I made a promise to myself at the start of 2019 that I would not spend any money on new clothes for one year, so I’ve avoided looking at any fashion brands for over a year (and I may continue this promise through to 2020- hell, maybe I write about why sometime soon!)

Remember, you, the consumer, hold a HUGE part to play in voicing your opinions and utilizing your spending intelligently in order to make a difference in the world. The more who speak up and spend elsewhere, the sooner these pollutant companies will start to change and adapt.

Happy shopping!

-Vitamin A Swim




Sustainable Fashion Resources

  • The River Blue documentary – documentary about how polluted rivers are, thanks to our blue jeans
  • New Standard Institute – follow them on IG here, an organization started by the founder of fashion company, Zady, they work with scientists to provide actual evidence about the fashion industry for environmental & social objectives
  • Sign the NSI petition for brands to align their goals to the environmental ones we need them to
  • US Department of Labor List of Goods – this may shock you how many countries are using forced or child labor to produce many of the things we take for granted
  • The Global Organic Textile Standard Certification (GOTS)

Hi! I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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Zero Waste Packing List

Zero Waste Packing List

Zero Waste Packing List

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!

Packing for a trip is like the eagerly awaiting appetizer before a four course meal, it’s the pre-show before the long anticipated trip. What we pack with us for a trip can determine how big of an impact we leave on the planet. So, it’s important to keep in mind your sustainable choices when choosing what to purchase and bring with you on your travels.

It’s surprisingly easy to pack sustainably, and I’ve put together an easy to follow guide for doing so.

Included in this post:

  • Packing tips
  • What ingredients/phrases to look for
  • Sustainable Packing list essentials
  • Favorite sustainable brands

Sustainable & Zero-Waste Packing List

These items are essentials that every traveler utilizes. Whether you are an adventure traveler, a luxury guru or a hostel lover, I guarantee you’ll end up needing these items.

Sustainable Packing Tip: Pack lightly, by using only a carry on suitcase. Not only will you save yourself money from having to pay to check your bug, but it…
-Lightens the load on your flights (which is good for plane fuel usage)
-Makes it easier for you to travel (less heavy loads to haul around)
-and you won’t have to worry about the plane misplacing your luggage or not making it onto your flight

Things to look for BEFORE making a purchase

Keep an eye out for these terms or phrases when looking to make a purchase for a travel related item:

  • Vegan
  • Cruelty Free
  • Palm Oil free
  • Organic & Natural Ingredients
  • Plastic free & zero waste packaging
  • Ethically Sourced


Why should you look for these terms?

So many products are made to be cheap for the manufacturer and company, not for the quality & impact on the environment. Which means you’re paying for items that aren’t made with you in mind. They’re made with dollar signs in mind.

Are all eco-friendly products ethical?

Unfortunately no, which is why it’s important to do your research before spending your hard earned money on any product.

However, purchasing from an eco-friendly company that isn’t 100% ethical is a better choice than purchasing from a non-eco friendly company all together.

Advantages to Purchasing & Using Eco-Friendly Products

There are so many wonderful advantages to purchasing & using eco-friendly products, here are just a few:

  • They are healthier for your body long term
  • They are better & safer for the environment
  • They will help you reduce your plastic waste & carbon footprint
  • Over time, they save you money

Disadvantages to Purchasing & Using Eco-Friendly Products

  • There is typically a higher upfront cost
  • Not every item will be as effective as chemically created products

Sustainable Packing List

Eco Friendly Toiletries:

Toiletries are essential to packing properly for travelers, and are also one of the most wasteful things we can pack. Here are items that you can easily find and pack that are sustainably made & eco-friendly:

1.) Reef Safe Sunscreen:

Sunscreens are often filled with chemicals that are harmful to ocean reefs and to our skin. Better yet if you find a cruelty free & vegan reef safe sunscreen like this one: MyChelle Dermaceuticals

2.) Shampoo bar:

Not only do these bars last much longer than traditional bottles of shampoo, but you’re also avoiding the plastic bottle. Plus you’ll never have to worry about your shampoo bottle leaking in your bag!

3.) Natural Deodorant:

Unfortunately, many deodorants have been linked to breast cancer in women, since we have lymph nodes there that link to our breasts. So it’s important to our health to use an all natural deodorant. I’m still testing out different brands, but have far fallen in love with Lavanila & Ursa Major deodorants.

If you want an option that doesn’t use any plastic, then try this one: Little Seed Farm

4.) Bamboo toothbrush:

Our toothbrushes are made with plastic that is almost impossible to breakdown or recycle, so next time you need a new one try out a sustainably made bamboo one

*the bristles on bamboo toothbrushes aren’t recyclable but the handle is, so when you recycle it cut off or pull out the bristles first

5.) Tooth powder:

Just like our toothbrushes, the plastic tubes of toothpaste we purchase are not recyclable. Try out a tooth powder, which lasts longer than a tube of toothpaste.

6.) Razor:

Most modern razors are made entirely out of plastic except for the small razor blades. Save yourself money over the years & avoid the plastic use by getting a reusable razor from Leaf Shave.

7.) Menstrual Cup:

Probably my favorite item to have been invented, the menstrual cup not only prevents waste from other menstrual products but it makes your life SO much easier during that time of the month

8.) Deet free bug repellent:

If you’re traveling to a destination with lots of mosquitos you’ll want an all natural bug repellent. I’m a magnet for bug bites & have done very well with this all natural brand

Eco-Friendly Beauty & Skincare Products:

Keep in mind the list of phrases above for what to look for when purchasing beauty & skincare products, as these items are used daily directly on your skin. You can easily do this by checking labels. Companies will happily showcase if their products are vegan & cruelty free, as well as paraben free.

Sustainable Tip: beware, many companies will falsely label their products as ‘all-natural’ or ‘clean ingredients’, as there aren’t as strict regulations for labeling products yet. Be sure to dive into the ingredients or do a quick Google search before you purchase. Read more about what to look out for from this article.

Here are eco-friendly beauty & skincare brands that I love:

Drunk Elephant

Mad Hippie


Tarte Cosmetics




Alpyn Beauty

Check out Follain & Credo Beauty too! Both of these skincare & beauty companies only sell highly ethical brands that are vegan & cruelty free.

Sustainable Carry On Items::

Any experienced traveler will tell you how important a well thought out carry on bag is necessary for a comfortable travel experience. Here are my TOP items that I always have on me during a flight and that are eco-friendly:

The bottom line is small choices build up to make a greater impact, so start small and transition your travel items as needed.

I hope this zero-waste packing list inspires you to improve your travel packing for future adventures!

Hi! I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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