Gift Guide for the Responsible Traveler – The Traveling Island Girl


It is time to be better humans. If you agree wth this statement, please read on.

With the holidays just around the corner and everyone’s mind focusing on family and the art of gift giving, everyone is publishing gift guides, yours truly included. But this year, I’ve decided to focus on a more responsible way of traveling.

We’ve all seen pictures of the poor turtles, trapped in nets with straws stuck into their noses, plastic bags wrapped around their throats and flippers. We were all shocked to learn that reefs and corals are dying off bit by bit. We watched in horror how small islands are formed out of plastic and debris, drifting in the middle of oceans. Endangered sharks are being dragged out of oceans to be slaughtered just for their fins. All these disasters have one thing in common and that is us humans. 

It seems like these days our mere existence on this planet is harmful to the environment , our climate, the animals we share this world with. We are the world’s most dangerous predators, leaving  destruction, filth and blood in our wake everywhere we go. But there is hope. A new kind of traveler arises. Enter scene: the responsible traveler.

I will be the first one to say that yes, traveling on its own is harmful (the travel sector accounts for 8% of global carbon emissions) and that I am in no way near being the perfect traveler or human being (yet), but I am trying and you too can do something to help reduce your environmental footprint.

The following are some of my favorite items in my Responsible Travel Products list in my Amazon Store. These items are easy to travel with and can help reduce our waste while on a trip or at home.

Gift guide for the responsible traveler

Reusable Water Bottles

I purchased a water bottle after reading a post by another blogger who used hers to limit her use of plastic water bottles while traveling. I bought a few of my own and use them in my travels but have started using them in my everyday life as well. I always carry a reusable water bottle with me in my back pack or purse.

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The Klean Kanteen Insulated Wide bottle is my favorite

Get your own here.

Bamboo Toothbrush

On a recent trip I realized after arriving to my destination that I had forgotten my toothbrush. I dashed into a supermarket and found myself in the eco-friendly aisle, where I discovered tooth brushes made out of bamboo. They are biodegradable, eco friendly, vegan and super light. Perfect to travel with.

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Get your 8-pack here.

Canvas bags for grocery shopping

I have been traveling with a canvas bag for a while now, just because it is light and takes up little space in my carry-on. It is much easier to pack than a purse. Once I started staying more in Airbnb’s than hotels, I realized how they can double as grocery shopping bags and I made the canvas bag one of my must-pack items.

Reusable  straw

Like a lot of people, I too was shocked to see that first image of the turtle with a straw stuck in its nose. The poor creature’s suffering prompted tears in my eyes and I vowed then and there that I will never ever use straws again. I started to say No to straws and banned single use plastic straws at my own bar and replaced them with biodegradable straws made from wheat. Then, during my travels to the Pacific Northwest (where things like this are readily available) I bought my first reusable metal straw, which I proudly take with me everywhere I go.

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Drinking from a coconut with my reusable metal straw

Get yours here.

Collapsable tupperware and reusable cutlery

In my quest of becoming a better human being and responsible traveler, I have done some research and discovered that I can do much more than just reusable water bottles and straws. There are so many products available out there today that will soon make the need for single use plastic obsolete.

In my Amazon shopping cart today are the collapsable containers, coffee mug and travel utensils. These silicone containers come in handy when ordering takeout, for leftovers at a restaurant or for food on the go, while the collapsible silicone coffee mug  can easily be stored in your purse and filled with caffeine deliciousness whenever you are ready for a “cuppa” and the travel utensils make plastic cutlery a thing of the past.

Reef safe sunscreen

I don’t know about you but I was completely flabbergasted when I first learned that reefs were dying, mainly because of Oxybenzone and Octinoxate in the sunscreen we use. WTF?, I thought. We are now killing the world’s reefs too? So, I started searching for reef -safe sunscreen. (And yes, to answer your unasked question: black people tan too). I was delighted to find Sun Bum (no, I don’t have an affiliate program with this brand and they do no sponsored me in any way).

While quite a few sunscreen products call themselves reef-friendly these days, you still have to do your due diligence and check the labels to make sure they don’t contain Oxybenzone and Octinoxate.

WARNING: the next part of my list are for the ladies and may be a bit off-putting for the responsible traveling gents amongst us. Proceed with caution. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Menstrual cups + menstrual panties

I suffer from endometriosis and because of this I tend to get irregular and prolonged periods and spotting. I got tired of emergency stops at pharmacies and supermarkets during my travels, just to stock up on tampons and pads, because Aunty Flow decided to pay me an unwanted and unscheduled visit.

Then a friend told me about the Diva Cup. I will be completely honest and say that although I successfully used menstrual cups a few times and it definitely has its advantages (they are easy to travel with, create no waste and are totally reusable), I quickly found myself back to my old faithful tampons and pads, because I could not find the right size Diva cup for me. At least not here on island.

Then I started reading up on the harmful side effects of my loyal Tampax/Always sidekicks. Tampons and pads are bleached, which is why they always look so nice and clean pre-use.  Bleach is “no bueno” for our lady parts. So, I started looking into other, healthier ways of staying stain -free and found the Organicup which is the Diva Cup’s greener and eco friendly sister. It is not tested on animals, is vegan and comes in a package made from recycled materials.

Another menstrual product currently in my Amazon cart is is the popular period proof underwear. These babies feel no different than regular underwear and are completely leak and smell proof, even when worn for long hours. Imagine traveling while expecting your period but not having to worry about checking every half an hour or so, because you are wearing your protective gear a.k.a. period proof panties.

Read also my gift guide for solo female travelers here and for Caribbean products here.

Signature The Traveling Island Girl



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