Sustainable Travel Backpacks

Sustainable Travel Backpacks

Best Sustainable travel backpacks every Millenial can feel proud to wear

Disclosure: 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!

All prices are correct at time of publishing. This curated list does not fully take into account all the ethical considerations that are unique to each individual. Before making a purchase, we encourage you to do your own research paying special attention to the supply chain and your own particular set of ethics.

One of THE most essential items for any traveler is a sturdy, high-quality sustainable travel backpack, and if you’re a responsible traveler then you travel light and don’t check your bags.

In fact, a sustainable travel backpack is arguably more important than having a sturdy rolling suitcase. Your backpack carries your most precious items like your laptop and camera gear (… and snacks of course! What can I say, I love good snacks when I travel)

Your travel backpack needs to be versatile for your various travel activities, reliable and rugged for any adventures you may go on (whether planned or accidental).

If you’re searching for a high-quality sustainable travel backpack then you’ve come to the right place.

Below is a comprehensive list of ethically-made and eco-friendly backpacks for you!

Have I missed your favorite sustainable brand? Let me know in the comments & I’ll research the company to add to this list!

What to look for in a high-quality, sustainable backpack

There are FIVE qualities that you should look for when searching for your perfect travel backpack:

1. Functionality & meets your specific needs:

First & foremost you must know what you’ll be using your backpack for. A backpack is meant to be a functional item to safely carry your items from point A to point B and every other place in between.

Will you be using it for work, travel, hiking, the beach?

Will it need to be water-resistant?

Do the aesthetics matter to you?

Are you in need of multiple compartments? If so, for what items?

Will a zipper close work, or is a roll-top better for your needs?

It’s important that you take the time to consider what you’ll be using your backpack for prior to investing in one. You don’t want to dislike it a year from now and waste the resources it took to create it and your own money if it doesn’t align with your needs.

2. Quality & Durability:

No matter where you plan to take your backpack, there is a good chance that you’ll be slinging it around, shoving it into compartments, and just generally submitting it to some rough wear & tear. So, it’s important to prioritize the quality and durability of the backpack over it’s appearance. Otherwise, you may end up with broken straps, zippers that can’t close or items falling out of your bag

3. Sustainably sourced materials:

Of course, I have to touch on the materials your potential new travel backpack is made out of – it’s the purpose of this entire post! There are so many beautiful sustainably made backpacks that are biodegradable, non-toxic and made with renewable fabrics (such as banana fiber, recycled plastics, and organic cotton).

And each one is less taxing on our environment than a traditional backpack you could find anywhere. More often than not, they’re also even higher quality than you would typically find!

4. Classic Aesthetic:

You want to be sure to purchase a backpack that you feel you’ll love the look of for years to come. Not only will this prevent you from over purchasing, but it will save you money. I’ve personally had bags that I’ve used for almost ten years, and I still like the way they look and continue to use them.

5. Price:

For any budget-minded individual price may be your first consideration. You need to weigh the cost in terms of all of the items listed above- quality, durability, and materials. Purchasing a high-quality, sustainably made backpack should be considered an investment.

While some may seem like a lot in cost, it’s because they are made with the highest quality materials, by a sustainably focused company who also pays fair wages and provides a safe working environment for their employees. 

TOP Eco-Friendly & Sustainably made Backpacks for travelers

Please keep in mind that the companies listed below may not be 100% sustainable or ethical at this point in time. However, they are honest about where they stand and are working towards getting to that 100% mark. My rule of thumb is that if you can find this information on their website and they easily answer your questions regarding sustainability then they are reputable. If a company skirts around your questions or doesn’t provide the information online it’s a red flag, and they have something to hide.

Also! If you read a term or phrase that you don’t understand, scroll to the end for definitions, links & stats about producing sustainable products.

Here are my top recommendations for sustainably made backpacks: (in alphabetical order)

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

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1

Beekeeper Parade

Best For: Day Trips & School

Price Range: $129

Company Sustainable Ethics: BeeKeeper Parade focuses on supporting children in Cambodia, as well as creating each item with up-cycled materials. Their website does not list specifics, it only states “Our full environmental policy will be posted here shortly.”

Backpack Perks:

  • Secret top compartment for your sunglasses
  • Separate laptop compartment

Beekeeper Parade Backpack Pros/Cons:

Cons: They don’t have sustainable specifics on their website, so it;s difficult to judge what or if they are doing so

Pros: Each purchase supports a child in need

2

Cotopaxi

Best For: Backpack Travelers

Price Range: $70-$220

Company Sustainable EthicsCotopaxi is on a mission to alleviate global poverty by donating 1% of their profits and provide grants to nonprofits who align with their mission to lowering global poverty.

They’re also a certified B corporation meaning they meet the highest standards of verified social & environmental performance. Cotopaxi ensures that anyone who is apart of the process of making their items has fair, sustainable working conditions. Their materials are also hand selected to meet their high quality standards

Backpack Perks:

  • Separate zipper for laptop
  • Plenty of useful compartments
  • Zipper close with magnetic button
  • Padded back panel & shoulder straps for comfort
  • Weather resistant finish
  • Fits under most airline seats

Cotopaxi Backpack Pros/Cons:

Cons: not all materials used are entirely eco-friendly

Pros: Stellar standards on all aspects, not just materials, customers can customize items, and some are very colorful

3

Est Wst

Best For: artisan inspired travelers

Price Range: $100-$175

Company Sustainable Ethics: Est Wst states they are a collection of partnerships, meaning they focus on where the materials and items are coming from and that every item they purchase has an impact somewhere in the world.

They utilize traditional artisan processes and source natural fibers for their products. They also use recycled packaging!

Backpack Perks:

  • Waterproof liners made from recycled plastics
  • Organic cotton & vegetable tanned leather
  • Each item is handmade in the USA
  • Laptop pocket

Est Wst Backpack Pros/Cons:

Cons: they use leather

Pros: Est Wst is dedicated to supporting artisan designs and traditions

4

Everlane

Best For: affordability & modern style

Price Range: $35-100

Company Sustainable Ethics: Everlane uses what they call ‘radical transparency’ with their consumers. They focus their efforts to find and work with the best factories around the world, and ensure employees receive fair wages, work in safe environments and have reasonable working hours

Backpack Perks:

  • Exterior laptop pocket

  • Roll through strap to attach to rolling luggage

  • Many backpacks are made with recycled polyester

Everlane Backpacks Pros/Cons:

Cons: not all items are made of 100% sustainable materials, BUT they’re working on it

Pros: classic, minimalist looks that will look good for years & transparent about their costs & retail pricing

5

Fjallraven Hiking Backpacks

Best Forcomfy unisex backpacks

Price Range: $55-$225

Company Sustainable EthicsFjallraven practices sustainability throughout its entire manufacturing process. They use nontoxic, natural and recycled materials, enforce fair production practices, and their code of conduct supports animal welfare, environmental protection and anti-corruption.

Fjallraven also belongs to the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and the Fair Labor Association.

Backpack Perks:

  • Water resistant bags
  • Very durable
  • Recycled nylon & polyester and organic cotton to withstand extreme weather conditions and everyday use.

Fjallraven Backpacks Pros/Cons:

Cons: some reviews on Amazon say the bag is not too durable & there aren’t many compartments

Pros: tons of options for style and color & superior standards on all fronts of sustainability

6

grünBAG

Best For: day pack or work

Price Range: $120-$200

Company Sustainable Ethics: grünBAG is a Denmark company that only uses industrial materials that would otherwise go to waste, such as tarpaulin (material used for truck covers & party tents). Their straps are made of recycled plastic, and interiors made from mesh banners that were used as advertising banners in Denmark. Even their shipping material is recycled cardboard. Some of their bags are vegan, while a few are made with real leather. You can read more about their materials here.

Backpack Perks:

  • Roll over close so can squeeze in more items
  • Waterproof
  • Many bags are made-to-order

grünBAG Backpacks Pros/Cons:

Cons: not many compartments to organize your items

Pros: excellent company moral for sustainability & customizable & made to order

 

7

Haiku Trailblazer Backpack

Best Forairplane carry on backpack

Price Range: $140

Company Sustainable Ethics: Haiku backpacks are made entirely of CyclePET, a durable polyester fabric made from post-consumer beverage bottles.

Backpack Perks:

  • Separate zippered compartment for your laptop makes for ease of access, fits most 15” laptops

  • Hidden zip pocket on back panel for your passport or cell phone

  • Great dimensions for most airline carry-ons. Measures 18” H x 11” W x 7” D

Haiku Backpacks Pros/Cons:

Cons: a bit small in size for the price

Pros: backpacks are partly made from recycled plastics & are a super convenient carry on item

8

Johnny Urban

Best For: carry on backpacks & day packs

Price Range: $50-$100

Company Sustainable Ethics: Bags are made from 100% recycled plastic, cotton canvases and a PFC-free agent to prevent pollutants from entering the environment

Backpack Perks:

  • Roll top close

  • Classic designs

  • Fits 18L

  • Very lightweight

Johnyy Urban Backpacks Pros/Cons:

Cons: not all of their products are 100% sustainably made

Pros: classic design that you’ll like for years

 

9

Kathmandu Outdoor Adventure Backpacks

Best For: outdoor adventurers & frequent fliers

Price Range: $60-$500

Company Sustainable Ethics: Kathmandu has done a terrific job on multiple fronts for a sustainable impact. They focus on workers rights and have created 5-star green buildings. And they use sustainable materials such as recycled cotton, recycled polyester, and sustainable wool.

Backpack Perks:

  • Rolltop to easily compress bag size
  • Laptop case removes with ease
  • Sustainable materials including Ripstop nylon; a woven fabric known for reducing tearing in your pack
  • My choice, the Federate Adapt backpack, can be used for travel, work or hiking

Kathmandu Backpacks Pros/Cons:

Pros: large range of unisex, men & womens backpacks in a range of adventure types

10

Lo & Sons

Best For: minimalist styles with expert functionality

Price Range: $100-$450

Company Sustainable Ethics: A happily evolving company, Lo & Sons has set specific goals to transition their products to be made more sustainably. Currently 15% of their products are done so by using recycled poly, a polyester-like fabric made from recycled water bottles.

They also have an organic cotton collection. This cotton is created without pesticides & chemicals, which means there will be ZERO excess nitrogen leaking into our bodies of water (nitrogen threatens sea & plant life)

Backpack Perks:

  • Timeless pieces that will last for a long time
  • Made for suitcases with a luggage sleeve to slide your bag onto easily
  • Each piece is made with frequent travelers in mind, meaning each has compartments, adjustable sleeves and high durability

Lo & Sons Backpacks Pros/Cons:

Cons: majority of their items are not sustainably made, neither is their packaging

Pros: they are actively working on rectifying those packaging issues & their sustainable goals are specific, which means they are holding themselves accountable

 

Discover more about Sustainable Travel & how easy it can be for anyone to help the planet

11

Looptworks Upcycled Backpacks

Best For: modern style

Price Range: $60-$600

Company Sustainable Ethics: Looptworks is working on creating closed-loop solutions to manufacturing new items. They upcycle materials that would otherwise end up in landfills or be incinerated and create beautiful, modern backpacks. They produce their items in factories that follow fair labor laws.

Backpack Perks:

  • 100% upcycled material backpacks
  • More than just backpacks! They also have smaller handbags & apparel
  • Many items are limited supply, so there’s opportunity to own something unique

Looptworks Backpacks Pros/Cons:

Cons: they use real leather

Pros: upcycling materials & only produce items in factories with fair labor laws, plus they have a lifetime warranty

12

Mafia Bags

Best For: water sport athletes for wetsuit storage

Price Range: $70-$200

Company Sustainable Ethics: Mafia Bags creates their backpacks using sails (windsurfing, kitesurfing & sailboat sails). They partner with athletes and sailors from around the world to donate their used sails. Mafia Bags is also a Certified B Corporation!

Backpack Perks:

  • Each bag is created by hand, so each is unique

  • Made from used sail material

  • Lifetime guarantee

Mafia Bag Backpacks Pros/Cons:

Cons: not 100% made from sustainable material. They source locally in the US which is great, but their buckles and webbings don’t seem to be sustainably made

Pros: each piece is totally unique, shipping material is recyclable & if you donate a sail you get a bag for free!

 

13

Matt & Nat

Best For: stylish bags for day trips or flights

Price Range: $110-$300

Company Sustainable Ethics: Matt & Nat are a 100% vegan products company. Every item lining is made out of recycled plastic bottles. Cork and rubber are used for other items, and their vegan leather is made with PU (polyurethane) and PVC (polyvinyl chloride).

Matt & Nat frequently visit their factories to ensure that fair labor practices are being used and for the integrity of their products. And they promote upcycling of bags once a customer no longer wants to use their Matt & Nat purchase.

Backpack Perks:

  • 100% sustainably made
  • Beautifully crafted pieces
  • Each item has unique features

Matt & Nat Backpacks Pros/Cons:

Cons: backpacks aren’t made for carry on suitcase travelers, meaning they are more stylish, less functional for long term travel

Pros: 100% sustainably made & stellar company standards for customers and their employees

14

Millican

Best For: adventure travelers

Price Range: $115-$200

Company Sustainable Ethics:

This English based company uses natural organic cotton, organic wool and vegetable-tanned leather. Recycled polyester and PET are also staples in their product development

Backpack Perks:

  • Heavy duty & waterproof canvases

  • Items are available in varying sizes depending on your needs

  • Their newer Maverick collection is created with Bionic® Canvas, which contains recycled plastics recovered from waterways & shorelines.

  • Classic neutral colors

  • Lifetime warranty

Millican Backpacks Pros/Cons:

Cons: they use leather

Pros: they are testing the use of vegan leathers & they are transparent with which textile specialists they partner with

 

15

Patagonia

Best For: multi-use versatility for outdoor types, school, work, or travel

Price Range: $50-$300

Company Sustainable Ethics: Patagonia has been a leader in sustainabile practices for decades. Not only are they leaders for promoting fair labor practices & safe working conditions throughout their entire supply chain, they use so many sustainable materials for every one of their items (backpacks and more!) Check them out here.

Backpack Perks:

  • Every item is multi-purpose & versatile
  • Their ironclad guarantee

Patagonia Backpacks Pros/Cons:

Pros: they’re a leader in sustainability, so many options to choose from & great for those who love the outdoors

16

Pinqponq

Best For: travelers who love versatility

Price Range: $175-$300

Company Sustainable EthicsEach Pinqpong backpack is made out of 43 recycled PET-bottles and treated with a PFC-free (an innovative, nature-inspired approach to achieving water repellency without requiring the use of perfluorocarbons) water & stain repellents to prevent toxic chemicals from being used in their supply chain.

They are totally transparent about their manufacturing production, and work with audited factories in Vietnam.

Pinqponq is also Bluesign® certified and a member of the Fair Wear Foundation

Backpack Perks:

  • PinqPonq Bags can transition into duffels
  • Laptop compartment
  • Removable & adjustable straps
  • Water & stain repellent
  • Made with vegan materials

Pinqpong Backpacks Pros/Cons:

Cons: the images of the bags make them look bulky (but I can’t speak from experience)

Pros: very transparent & continuing to improve their environmental footprint

 

17

Pixie Mood

Best For: stylish travelers with feminine flare, school

Price Range: $80-$100

Company Sustainable EthicsPixie Mood creates 100% cruelty free, vegan backpacks and also focuses on fair trade practices

Backpack Perks:

  • They have a wide range of sizes & styles

  • Bags are made with vegan leathers & suedes

Pixie Mood Backpacks Pros/Cons:

Cons: uses polyurethane; which is manufactured out of crude oil

Pros: vegan leather & vegan suede

18

Qwstion

Best For: work, daypacks

Price Range: $200-$350

Company Sustainable Ethics: Qwstion makes their bags using organically grown fibers such as high-density cotton canvas and Bananatex®, a fiber they make out of bananas, and vegetable-tanned leather among other high quality & sustainable materials. They also source directly and work in conjunction with their suppliers to ensure quality.

Backpack Perks:

  • Stylish design

  • Padded laptop compartment

  • Detachable handles, so can be worn as a backpack or a tote bag

  • Water resistant

Qwstion Backpacks Pros/Cons:

Cons: very expensive, use leather for their straps and lack of compartments in some bags.

 Pros: they use unique, sustainable materials for their bags & have excellent partnership with their suppliers to ensure quality

19

Rewilder

Best Fortravel, work & school

Price Range: $50-$120

Company Sustainable Ethics: Rewilder is comprised of a pair of women who use 100% salvaged, high-performance materials from various industries like the auto or beverage industries. Everything is collected & created in California so they’re not using fossil fuels on transportation.

Backpack Perks:

  • Every item is made with strong, durable material such as airbags & beer fiber cloths
  • PETA approved vegan
  • Laptop compartment

Rewilder Backpacks Pros/Cons:

All pros here!

Did you know that sustainable travel is more than carrying a reusable water bottle?

Learn what sustainable travel is here

20

Rust & Fray

Best For: stylish day packs

Price Range: $35-$300

Company Sustainable Ethics: Rust & Fray make their backpacks entirely out of upcycled materials that they source from manufacturing factories. They hunt for high quality pieces that would otherwise have been discarded and make them into one of a kind bags. They also partner with underprivileged individuals to help create the bags.

Backpack Perks:

  • Made entirely out of upcycled materials
  • Each bag is one of a kind piece

Rust & Fray Backpacks Pros/Cons:

Cons: their backpacks are not for long travels, but more for day time explorations

Pros: 100% upcycled materials

 

 

21

Sandqvist

Best For: frequent flyers & hikers

Price Range: $130-$400

Company Sustainable Ethics: From materials to factory conditions, Sandqvist has great sustainable ethics in their backpack production. They use organic cotton, which uses ZERO chemicals, farmed by small-scale farmers. And any synthetic materials are recycled from post-consumer waste. They ensure that farmers are paid good wages with good working conditions.

Sandqvist also proudly boasts their repair shop where you can send in any old item for repair or return for a secondhand sale & receive a 20% discount off of a new item!

Sandqvist is also a member of the Fair Wear Foundation.

Backpack Perks:

  • Rolltop & zip closures
  • Laptop compartment
  • Rugged & stylish

Sandqvist Backpacks Pros/Cons:

Cons: leather is used for some trimmings on a few items & some bags are quite expensive if you are a budget traveler

Pros: repair shop to ensure your item lasts for a long time, no chemical use on their natural materials & support workers conditions & fair wages

22

Solgaard

Best For: frequent travelers as a carry on backpack

Price Range: $115-$180

Company Sustainable Ethics: Solgaard has upped their sustainability efforts with a pledge to pull 1 million pounds of plastic waste from our oceans by the end of 2020 – for each item sold they pull 5lbs of plastic, and do so by partnering with The Plastic Bank.

Plus each backpack is made from upcycled plastic!

Backpack Perks:

  • Solar powered charger for your phone
  • Anti-theft lock
  • Secret compartments for important items (passport, money)
  • Drop-proof laptop sleeve

Solgaard Backpacks Pros/Cons:

Honestly, all I can find are pro’s with Solgaard

 

 

23

Tentree (Mobius Backpack)

Best For: carry on backpack, hikers & adventure travelers

Price Range: $118

Company Sustainable Ethics: The name says it all, Tentree plants ten trees for every item purchased! The Mobius backpack is made almost entirely out of recycled materials such as recycled polyester, algae, and plastic bottles

Backpack Perks:

  • Made with 31 recycled plastic bottles

  • Can be configured into 3 different size capacities

  • 4 way zipper allows for easy access to any pocket

  • Padded front pocket for electronics

  • Additional smaller compartments

Tentree Backpacks Pros/Cons:

Cons: non-recyclable packaging & no basic colors for this backpack

Pros:  very versatile, bag durability & great for the environment since they help to plant so many trees

24

Timbuk2

Best For: work, travelers or weekend getaways

Price Range: $99-$250

Company Sustainable Ethics: Timbuk2 is another brand known for durability in their backpacks. This San Francisco local company uses only Bluesign® certified mills to source their materials.

They also support their own repair shop where customers can send their damaged (from use) items to, or DIYers can purchase spare parts to fix it themselves.

Timbuk2 has also partnered with The Renewal Workshop for unusable bags to be donated to

Backpack Perks:

  • Lots of styles of backpack to choose from
  • Many backpacks are versatile in use
  • Multiple compartments
  • Padded laptop sleeves
  • Lifetime warranty

Timbuk2 Backpacks Pros/Cons:

all Pros here!

25

United by Blue

Best For: adventure travelers

Price Range: $32-$180

Company Sustainable EthicsBased in my hometown city of Philadelphia (although kind of, not really, because I was raised in the suburbs outside of Philly), United by Blue is working diligently to clean up our oceans & waterways. They host cleanups throughout the country and educate their customers on the negatives of single use plastics.

For each item purchased they remove one pound of trash from waterways. Each backpack is made sustainably using recycled polyester, organic cotton and bison (*I’m guessing the Bison is the hide from the animal. The company states that “Repurposes the ranching industry’s unused – and often discarded- materials”). United by Blue is also a Certified B Corporation.

Backpack Perks:

  • Laptop sleeve
  • Multiple pockets for organized storage
  • Many backpacks convert to totes
  • Water repellent
  • Lifetime guarantee

United by Blue Backpacks Pros/Cons:

Cons: they use leather for their straps

Pros: strong effort to help the environment

26

WAYKS

Best For: frequent travelers looking for a stellar carry on backpack

Price Range: $200-$285

Company Sustainable Ethics: WAYKS has the most thought out travel backpack that I have seen. Combine that with their sustainability efforts & you have a top contender for best sustainable travel backpack. They partner with a manufacturing company that utilizes Bluesign® and they are a member of the Fair Wear Foundation. Their backpacks are made out of recycled PET and are PFC free!

Backpack Perks:

  • Versatile bags, thoughtfully designed

  • Removable back padding

  • Roll top closures

  • Internal organizers

  • Side zipper for easier access to your laptop

  • Multiple compartments

WAYKS Backpacks Pros/Cons:

Cons: price is a bit high for many budget travelers, with no lifetime guarantee

Pros:  they focus on creating durable AND versatile products so that they don’t have to over produce anything & are a member of Fair Wear Foundation

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES & FACTS & DEFINITIONS

If you saw a term or phrase that you didn’t understand, read below for definitions, links & stats about producing sustainable products.

*Using recycled polyester, instead of virgin polyester, cuts energy by 50%, saves 20% on water & reduces air pollution by 60%. Recyled Polyester is typically made out of plastic bottles.

 

*Less than 5% of plastics produced are recycled, which is why it’s important to support brands that utilize recycled materials

 

*Textile dyeing & treatment contributes up to 20% of industrial water pollution (much of which happens in third world countries

 

*8 million tons of plastic enter our oceans each year. With plastic bottles making up 1.5 million of those tons annually

 

*Negatives of Crude Oil (for polyurethane) is that it has been known to have harmfully toxic effects on the body

 

Bluesign® defines the standard for environmentally friendly and sustainable materials.

Fair Wear Foundation is an independent multi stakeholder organisation that works with garment brands, garment workers and industry influencers to improve labour conditions in garment factories

GOTS certified  is a textile production certification that limits the use of toxic bleaches, dyes and other chemical inputs during the production process of textiles. It is internationally recognized as the toughest organic textile standard because it goes far beyond verifying the organic farming process to include every step of manufacturing.

Recycled PET– PET is polyethylene terephthalate (gotta love a long, scientific word… and it’s acronym), and is used in almost every ‘recyclable’ item. It’s easily recycled, so it can be used again & again to make new products.

PFC free– PFC stands for Perfluorocarbons, and is often what is used to create water repellent materials. It’s been linked to major health issues. So a product that is PFC free is a good thing.

 

Made Trade

Made Trade curates the most exceptionally designed, ethically-sourced goods from artisans and makers around the world. They hand select only the best fair trade, sustainable, USA made, vegan and heritage products. They carry backpacks from brands like Nisolo, Svala, and Alchemy Goods.

You can find more easy to do sustainable travel tips and travel guides here OR subscribe below to receive a monthly newsletter with travel updates!

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Things to skip in Vienna

Things to skip in Vienna

Six things to SKIP in Vienna, Austria

and Six things to do INSTEAD!

Avoid the typical to find the hidden gems

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!

With any destination that you visit, you should always research with caution as to which things you must see and which you can pass over. Because let’s be honest, not all museums are created equal, five plus churches in one day begins to lose its lust, and we can’t all go into the same ‘famous’ restaurant.

Before any trip I take, I do a lot of research. I see which blogger recommends what, what’s the best area to stay in and what I should be packing with me. And quite frankly, a lot of what I found online was the same places listed out over and over again.

So, after visiting these places I realized what wasn’t worth our time and what was a much better use of travel time. Read on for the Six things you can skip while in Vienna, and six things you should do instead:

Things you should skip in Vienna, & six things to do instead!

(1) Don’t pay to go into ALL of the Hofburg Palace museums/areas

INSTEAD choose one part to pay for and enjoy your time outside marveling at the Hofburg Empire architecture. I would suggest either the Sisi Museum or the National Library. Vienna is full of exciting and exquisite history, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend your entire time inside of museums. Choose one in the Hofburg Palace to immerse yourself in and then be sure to have time to explore other areas of the city.

(2) Don’t pay to go to the top of St. Stephen’s Cathedral

INSTEAD enjoy a view of the cathedral and all of Stephansplatz (St. Stephen’s square) from Do&Co Hotels Onyx bar. Their interior and cocktails are almost as stunning as the views! You can still, and should, go into St. Stephen’s Cathedral, as it’s beautiful and is the city’s most important and standout church since it’s construction in 1160. But don’t pay to go up to the top of the tower. It’s like paying to be inside of the view, when the view should be the cathedral itself.

(3) Don’t visit every palace in Vienna

INSTEAD head further outside of the city to explore the Schönbrunn Palace. This palace is one of the main attractions in Vienna, but it is massive so you won’t feel like you’re walking through a crowded space (although I would still suggest you arrive early in the day to avoid some crowds).

With over 1400 rooms, gardens that are comparable to those of Versaille and it’s own zoo, you will have plenty to explore here all while getting an incredible sense of history of Austria.

Since you’re a smart sustainable traveler, you’ll be purchasing your tickets to the Schönbrunn Palace in advance. I love these ‘skip-the-line’ options!

*Please note- I often will not promote the visitation of zoo’s, as many around the world are not animal friendly and are often seen as abuse to the animals. I personally did not visit this zoo, but have read that the ‘animal enclosure areas’ are quite large and mimic their wildlife habitats. I’m unaware of their conservation efforts at this time (however, I have reached out to them for details) besides careful breeding of endangered species. Visiting and contributing funds to this zoo would be a personal consideration that you will need to make.

(4) Don’t go to Hotel Sacher for the famous Viennese Sachertorte (cake)

INSTEAD go to Kleines Cafe or Cafe Sperl for Sachertorte. Both are smaller and more authentic cafes, with a traditional Viennese cafe vibe. Kleines Cafe is located in Franziskanerplatz, and Cafe Sperl is near the Naschmarkt. Plus both of these cafes are not nearly as crowded as typically tourist frequented Hotel Sacher or Cafe Demel will be.

(5) Don’t eat schnitzel or sausage

I mean for one thing, true traditional schnitzel is to be made with veal, aka baby cow so no thank you 🙁

INSTEAD Enjoy the city’s best bakery, Joseph’s Bakery & Cafe. This is where the locals are enjoying their weekend brunches or lunches. Josephs has a few locations throughout Vienna, and some of the best bread you could enjoy. They also have a handful of vegan and vegetarian options, which pair amazingly well with their delicious coffees, juices and teas.

(6) Don’t visit every museum in Vienna

INSTEAD- visit the Kunsthistorisches museum. Known as the city’s fine art history museum, the Kunsthistorisches museum is incredibly beautiful inside and houses works of art from many famous and well known artists. Such as Caravaggio and Bernini – what can I say, I’m impartial to Italian artists

Click here to get discounted tickets to visit the Kunsthistorisches Museum!

Don’t forget to pack these items:

With Vienna being the most livable city in the world, and home to the center of European history it is chock full of beautiful places to discover, foods to sample and history to learn about. I hope this list provides you with some insight into what you can skip over during your visit to have an even more authentic visit of Vienna.

Happy travels,

Laura

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing web designer & photographer. 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 use the CAT in Vienna

How to use the CAT in Vienna

travel tips

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 reading this post means you are already an excellent sustainable traveler (and a smart one too!). Researching how to travel from the airport to the city centre using public transportation is imperative when it comes to fast-tracking your vacation enjoyment.

Vienna has an awesomely convenient transportation system called CAT, or City Airport Train, which transports riders from the Vienna airport to Wien Mitte, a central location within historic Vienna.

It is easy to use, cost-saving, efficient, and something I would definitely recommend to anyone trying to get from the Vienna airport to City Centre.

Read on for an easy How-To guide for Vienna’s City Airport Train (aka CAT).

Included in this post:

  • The perks of taking the CAT
  • How much the CAT costs
  • How to buy tickets for CAT &
  • An additional way to get to the center of Vienna from the airport

How to get to Vienna from the airport

What is the CAT?

The CAT is short for City Airport Train and is Vienna’s streamlined train service to and from the Vienna airport to its city centre. The CAT stops at Wien Mitte in Vienna. Which is the main transportation hub in the city of Vienna.

Benefits of using the CAT in Vienna:

  • You can safely and easily check in your luggage so that you don’t have to lug it onto and off of the train
  • CAT passengers can print their boarding passes at the CAT terminal in Wien Mitte
  • Certain airlines have partnered with CAT, so that passengers can check-in their luggage at the CAT terminal in Wien Mitte straight to their departing plane!

Find the airlines HERE : Austrian, Lufthansa, Eurowings, Swiss & Brussel Airlines

  • The CAT is direct to/from the airport and Wien Mitte. There are no additional stops to worry about.
  • It only takes 16 minutes to get to or from the airport- you can beat so much city traffic!
  • If the CAT is delayed more than 30 minutes & you miss your flight, they will cover your flight costs. And if your missed flight requires an overnight stay, they’ll cover those costs as well. CAT calls it their CAT Travel Guarantee
  • They offer storage lockers for your luggage FREE of charge!
  • Their train cabins are spacious & very comfortable
  • There are newspapers & magazines supplied on the trains
  • There are WLAN and power outlets at each seating area

How do I get from Vienna airport to City Centre?

The CAT-platform is a short five minute walk from the Vienna airport entrance, from both the Check-In area and baggage claim areas.

Once you’ve landed in Vienna you’ll want to go to Terminal 3 at the Vienna Airport. Once at Terminal 3 exit to go outside and walk to your RIGHT. There will be signs pointing you in the correct direction. You will then take an elevator down to the CAT station.

You can purchase your ticket(s) at the baggage claim hall from their kiosks or their counter.

Trains depart from the airport to the Wien Mitte station every 30 minutes until 11:07pm.

*Timetable of CAT train in Vienna

Where does the CAT stop in Vienna?

The CAT goes to and from the Vienna Airport to Wien Mitte. Wien Mitte is one of the main stations for all public transportation in Vienna.

How do I get to Wien Mitte from Vienna’s city centre?

Visitors can easily get to Wien Mette and the CAT station by using Vienna’s public subway system. called U-Bahn. The public transportation stations are in another part of the Wien Mitte, so travelers need to walk from the CAT terminal through the mall. It’s an easy walk, and all indoors.

See the map below for Vienna’s metro system.

How much is the train from Vienna airport to City Centre?

The CAT costs between 12-21 euros. See their pricing here

Taking Vienna’s CAT to the airport

Inside of Wien Mitte is the CAT station. It operates like a mini airport terminal where you can check into your flight on their kiosks, purchase your train tickets and potentially even check in your luggage. There is a comfortable waiting room and storage lockers as well.

Once you have your tickets you can hop onto the train. It departs every 30 minutes from 5:37 am-11:07 pm, with only a 16-minute train ride to the airport.

*Timetable of CAT train in Vienna

How to buy tickets for CAT Vienna?

You can purchase tickets for the CAT in Vienna a few ways:

  • At the counter of the Wien Mitte CAT station
  • From a CAT vending machine at the CAT station
  • At the airport: in the baggage claim hall from their sales staff or their vending machines

If you’d prefer to pre-purchase your ticket in advance, you can do so HERE. However, you will pay an extra bit in change. So consider your time of arrival and departure.

How to get to Vienna’s City Centre by train?

In addition to the direct CAT, there is also a public train called the Schnellbahn S7. A regular ticket costs only 3.90 euros, with an average travel time of 25 minutes as it makes multiple stops.

Passengers can find the Schnellbahn by following signs at the baggage claim hall and Check-In hall

Tips for taking the CAT in Vienna to & from the Vienna Airport:

  • Keep in mind once you arrive at the CAT station in Wien Mitte you need to transfer to the Vienna metro. This is a 5-10 minute walk inside of the Wien Mitte mall.

  • CAT is not a part of Vienna’s public transportation system, so you will need to purchase different tickets to use their metro system

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing web designer & photographer. 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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Start your own blog today!

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

Get $15 OFF your AirBnb!

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Best Camera Gear for Travel Photography

Best Camera Gear for Travel Photography

travel tips

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!

Choosing the perfect camera and lens for yourself can be challenging. There is so much information online on professional photography gear, and so many opinions from varying sources, it all becomes contradicting and confusing quickly.

But once you have your perfect photography gear kit you will be able to capture moments of your travels that you can look back on forever.

My love for photography started when I captured one window image on my first trip to Europe, in Rome, Italy. I ended up printing the alleyway image in black and white and still have it sitting prettily on my nightstand next to where I sleep. It’s a momento of the instant that I fell in love with exploring the world and with photography.

My journey to find my best camera gear had a bit of trial and error, and yours will too. Great quality gear is an investment, and like any investment it should be made with careful thought, research and practice.

Here are my tips for how to choose the right gear for your travel photos, and what to keep in mind when looking to purchase camera gear for travel photography.

Included in this post:

  • The basics to look for in professional camera gear for travel photography
  • My tried & true camera gear for my own travels
  • Importance & distinction between the camera body and camera lenses
  • Discussion of New vs Used camera gear

What to look for in a professional camera for travel photography

        When you begin your search for camera equipment for your travels you need to consider what you want to use it for and the types of photos you’ll be taking.

        For example, do you want to shoot large, lush landscapes or up close portrait shots, or a simple point & shoot image for your own scrapbooks?

For this post, I’ll be covering DSLR and Mirrorless cameras. These are high quality, expensive pieces of equipment rather than a more popular point & shoot camera you may have used in the past.

New to travel photography?

Check out this Superstar Photography course that I studied when I wanted to take photography more seriously.

       Just purchasing any camera based on an expensive price does not mean you’ll be getting the best camera. You need to understand what quality is in a camera body and a camera lens.

        These are two separate pieces for your camera gear. And any knowledgeable photographer will tell you that the lens is a much more important piece and much bigger investment.

You need to consider three main components of your camera body and lens pairing:

Lens quality

Shutter capability

Sensor quality

Camera & Lens Terms you’ll want to know when reading this:

LENS: your lenses are detachable from the camera body on any DSLR or mirrorless camera. A lens catches the light and feeds it through the shutter to the sensor.

SHUTTER: a shutter is an object that opens and closes on your camera, it’s the barrier between the lens and the sensor. On a DSLR or mirrorless camera, a shutter is one of two ways to control how much light is let into the camera lens through to the sensor.

SENSOR: a camera sensor is inside of the camera body, and impacts your camera’s image quality. The larger the sensor, the more sensitive to light it is, which typically means you’ll end up with better quality images. It also provides better depth of field and color quality.

Aperture: also called an F stop; seen in a lens description as f/#. The LOWER the number, the wider the lens opening can go, which means MORE light can be let it. Aperture is the second of two ways to control how much light is let into the camera sensor.

Focal Length: focal length is the zooms on the lens. Lenses are either fixed or can zoom, and will be seen in a lens description in mm

What to look for in a professional camera for travel photography

Here are all of the items that I bring with me on EVERY trip that I take:

Camera Body:

Sony aR 7 – the Sony Alpha series is a wonderful travel photography camera. It’s a mirrorless camera meaning that is uses only a sensor when shooting versus a DSLR’s mirror to sensor technique. This makes the Sony Alpha series so much lighter than a DSLR camera (however, you must be extremely careful changing lenses, and do NOT clean the mirror or sensor of a mirrorless camera on your own).

I’m in love with the way this camera shoots, the quality of the images it produces, the full-frame sensor and that it connects to wifi so you can easily transfer files. Plus it’s come in handy with video, which we’ve been testing the waters with.

Lenses:

Sony 24-70mm F/2.8 – a favorite among many professionals, this zoom lens is a great go-to travel lens due to its wide range of focal length and lower aperture capabilities.

Sony 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 FE OSS Interchangeable Standard Zoom Lens  – This kit zoom lens has been great for travel photos. It’s focal length has proven great for cityscape photos, and has an average aperture that is flexible with daylight images

Sony 16-35mm F/2.8 – another zoom lens, the 16-35mm lens is great for wide angle shots

*this lens is similar to the Sony 24-70mm F/2.8 lens, in both quality and price. I would suggest only purchasing one of these if you are budgeting- purchase based on the zoom depth; if you want to shoot images of further away objects, then you may want the 28-70mm lens.

Sony 85mm F1.8 Telephoto Fixed Prime Lens – By far one of my favorite camera toys to use, I love this telephoto lens. With a wonderfully low aperture of f/1.8, this lens shoots incredible portrait shots. It’s ability to focus and showcase soft bokeh in an image makes it a must use lens for my travels.

Go Pro Hero Action Camera – GoPro has become a household name and for good reason. Their compact action cameras are great for adventure travelers. We love using ours for underwater and hiking adventures.

Find all the best sustainable carry on essentials including the ones you find in this post HERE

Camera Accessories

Tripod this tripod is sturdy yet still lightweight, so it’s been easy to carry around during a day of walking

 Sony Remote – if you’re using a tripod and don’t want to have to run back and forth on a 10 second timer, then this remote will be your lifesaver.

 Portable Hard Drive – I always back up my images onto a hard drive after a day of traveling. That way I don’t have to worry about running out of space on my HD card for the following day.

 

Mophie Charger – some carry extra batteries, I carry an extra charger. When I see my battery is half used and I’ll be walking for a bit, I’ll plug in an extra charger to boost my battery up while I’m not shooting. Plus I can also use it for my cell phone- one item for two things!

 

Cushioned Camera Case – Unless you’re traveling with multiple lenses and cameras you won’t need to dedicate an entire bag to your gear. I use a cushioned case in my carry on backpack for my camera body and three lenses. This case is the best. It protects my camera gear and can easily be pulled out of your bag if you need to do so through airport security.

Go Pro Accessories – there is no shortage of the type of accessories a GoPro owner can utilize. We purchased an accessory pack, like the one linked here and have used almost all of the items during our travels.

 

All Day Camera Purse – this Lo & Sons bag, Siena, is one of the most used items I have. It easily fits my camera, two lenses and any other item I may need during a day of walking around.

Biggest pieces of advice when purchasing camera gear for travel photography:

  • Lenses are more important than the camera body
  • High-quality lenses will long outlive a camera body
  • Make sure the lens you purchase matches the mount style of the camera body
  • Focus on both your budget and your long term goals; cheaper isn’t better, and neither is spending a ton of money just for the sake of your Instagram account.
  • New vs Used Camera Gear: purchasing new vs used camera gear is a personal preference. I prefer new because I like to be the first person to capture something on a camera. But if you’re budget is lower than go used. Just be sure to check for a warranty, and if buying used on Amazon check who the seller is and look for ‘Certified Refurbished’
  • Unsure which lens to get? Try renting a few and practicing on them!
  • Do NOT attempt to clean your mirrorless camera’s sensor on your own. You can permanently damage your camera. In fact, you should be cautious when changing lenses that no sand, dust or anything else falls into the sensor area.
  • Camera brands will provide a ton of information about the equipment. Don’t equate more bullet points of ‘perks’ as a better camera. You can ignore the built-in flash capabilities and focal range of a camera body.

Do you have a camera questions or need someone to bounce ideas off of? Post your comments below and I’ll get back to you!

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing web designer & photographer. 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.

Get $15 OFF your AirBnb!

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Easiest Sustainable Travel Tips

Easiest Sustainable Travel Tips

travel tips

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!

Ready for the top 12 EASIEST sustainable travel tips?

        We’ve all heard the term of sustainability, and we’ve all seen the images of the burning Amazon rainforests, plastic-filled oceans and abuse towards animal videos.

        The turning point in all of this comes from your acknowledgment that it exists to actively doing something about it.

        There is a sliding scale for sustainable travel, and I don’t expect anyone to ‘cold turkey’ change their lifestyle. So to start I’ve put together my easiest and most useful tips and tricks for you. These will help you on your path to making a difference in the world.

Top 12 EASIEST Sustainable Travel Tips & Tricks

(1) Research!

This is so so simple to do. You don’t need to research every small detail about the destination, but you can easily research:

  • Which hotels have sustainable policies
  • How to get from the airport to your lodging using public transportation
  • The best local eateries
  • If the destination isn’t vegetarian-friendly or readily acceptable of your preferred diet needs (so you know you need to pack some healthy snacks)

By doing research, you are ensuring that when you arrive you are prepared and not resorting to less sustainable methods. Because if you’re jetlagged, you’ll be more likely to go the lazier route, which trust me, is rarely a fun, or affordable option.

(2) Don’t Litter

I don’t think this needs a further explanation, other than don’t be that a**hole who lazily let’s go of their garbage when walking around. Feel free to go one step further and pick up garbage if you see it to bring to a waste bin.

(3) Be Prepared

Always carry with you a reusable water bottle & cloth bags with you. This way you won’t need to purchase plastic water bottles or use the plastic bags so many vendors use worldwide.

(4) Avoid purchasing or eating unique species of animals

For example: crocodile handbags, kangaroo steaks.

While it may sound cool, most of the time these ‘local delicacies’ are born out of tourism and aren’t actually foods that locals are eating. And you never know (1) what conditions the animals are raised in for consumption and/or (2) if the hunting of these creatures is leading to extinction.

(5) Eat Locally

While Subways and McDonald’s can be quite convenient for travelers, they are also major polluters. By eating locally, you’ll be enjoying food that is much fresher and have an authentic travel experience, all while helping the environment and the local economy.

Did you know that sustainable travel is more than carrying a reusable water bottle? Learn what sustainable travel is here]

(6) Purchase Locally

This can mean purchasing local groceries at farmers markets or souvenirs that are handmade by locals. By doing this you’re supporting the local economy and avoiding mass-produced, poorly managed exports that are bad for the environment.

(7) Take Public Transportation

Public transportation is great because as a traveler you can learn about the destination even more. It’s also a challenge that every traveler should experience. You can learn a lot about a place by its public transportation system. Bonus is that it saves you a ton of money. 

You can also WALK! Not only is this a stellar way to keep in shape while traveling, walking helps eliminate transportation carbon emissions. Plus you’ll see so much more of your destination than you would from a car.

(8) Ask Questions

A wonderful aspect of traveling is learning something new. Whether it be about the destinations history or a local custom, like how to order at a coffee shop. Being inquisitive shows that you are respecting the place you are visiting.

*Another great way you can ask questions is asking your hotel staff what their plastic use, water, and food waste policies are. Being a curious traveler at the very least plants the seeds of these issues, which can provoke change. I’ll often leave these questions in my end of stay review or surveys.

(9) Offest your Flights Carbon Emissions

For every plane, you board there are carbon emissions that coincide with your flight. You can cheaply and proactively offset your carbon emissions to reputable groups that use the funds to help the environment in other ways. You can check my favorite places to do this here.

(10) Lose the Weight

I don’t mean your body weight, you’re beautiful just the way you are 🙂 What I mean is pack less. Packing less lightens the load on airplanes and energy in taxis (if you take one) which leads to lower fuel usage. Plus you’ll save money on luggage fees and won’t need to strain yourself lugging around heavy suitcases.

 

(11) Connect with Locals through Experiences & Excursions

There are so many fun excursions you can do and what better way to do them than with a local who knows the hidden gems of your destination and can answer any of your questions. You’re also most likely helping support them by giving the money directly back to them. You find great ideas with Walks and AirBnb Experiences.

 

(12) Raise the Bar

Hold yourself to a higher standard and be the most respectable version of yourself when you travel. I say this as an American, but multiple times I have had people from other countries quietly ask me if all Americans are the same; using not-so-great words like pompous and arrogant… and if we all wear cowboy hats and eat cheeseburgers every day.

Our international image is not the best, unfortunately, but you can be the person who changes someone’s negative preformed ideas to positive remembrances based on the way you carry yourself and how you respect the place and people you are visiting.

 

You can find more easy to do sustainable travel tips and travel guides here OR subscribe below to receive a monthly newsletter with travel updates!

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing web designer & photographer. 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.

Get $15 OFF your AirBnb!

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