20 Best Sustainable Travel Gifts For 2020: Ultimate Gift Guide That Will Inspire Wanderlust Now

20 Best Sustainable Travel Gifts For 2020: Ultimate Gift Guide That Will Satisfy Wanderlust Now

Find all the best travel gifts to inspire wanderlust in 2020. A gift guide for essential bags, gadgets, gear and subscriptions.

*This post contains affiliate links, and I will earn a small commission if you shop through the links on my page. To read more, please see my affiliate disclosure.

Many of us may be traveling less these days, but that doesn’t mean the travel bug has left us alone! If you have any avid travelers in your life, odds are they’re itching to get back on the road.

When it comes to shopping for them this holiday season, you’re gonna need some solid ideas for travel gifts they’ll love – even if they may not get to use them right away.

Now that you’ve made it here, you’re in luck!

I’ve pulled together some amazing travel gifts, all from non-Amazon corners of the internet, just for you.

Yep, that’s right. 20 perfect ideas for travel gifts your traveling loved one will appreciate – ALL of which you can feel great about gifting because you’ll be supporting small businesses, ethical marketplaces, and makers.

Plus, most of these items either specifically reduce waste or are produced sustainably, making them eco friendly too.

I can’t wait to share – let’s get going!

20 Essential Travel Gifts

Pack In Style

First things first: packing.

You can’t travel if you don’t pack, but it’s 2020 and it’s time we made sure we’re packing in style. These travel gifts will keep them looking cool and feeling organized on the road.

1. Away Carry-On

Travel gifts: away carry-on
Image: Away

Away luggage has been around for a while now, but there’s a reason it’s as popular as ever.

The Away Carry-On is my ride or die on the road.

Away suitcases are made from the same parts as luxury luggage brands, but their direct-to-consumer business model cuts out the middle man and passes the savings to you.

And you can feel the luxury!

They way they roll is just… *chef’s kiss* plus they fit sooooo much stuff. There’s even a model that includes a built in phone charger, which has come in handy for me too many times to count while on the road.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that Away is committed to sustainability in a well-rounded way. Not only do they use recyclable polycarbonate and sustainable fabrics in their products, but they also ensure that factories practice fair and ethical labor practices.

Oh, and they partner with Peace Direct, a nonprofit peacebuilding organization.

What’s not to love?

If your travel lover doesn’t already have an Away suitcase (or several), they should! (And they’re probably wanting them, whether they’ve told you or not!)

2. Away Insider Packing Cubes

Travel gifts: insider packing cubes
Image: Away

These packing cubes are the natural add-on to Away’s luggage lineup.

Have you ever used packing cubes? Have your realized yet that they literally revolutionize a suitcase?!

If so, you know that packing cubes make the absolute perfect travel gifts.

The Away Insider Packing Cubes match the wide array of Away color options, and are made to fit nice and snug inside their suitcases.

3. Cotopaxi Bataan Hip Pack

Travel gifts: cotopaxi bataan hip pack
Image: EarthHero

Cotopaxi is a Certified B Corporation, making its colorful array of backpacks, bags, packs, and face masks from upcycled nylon scraps that would otherwise have headed for landfill!

Their Bataan Hip Pack is a fanny pack like no other – spacious (at 3L), comfortable to wear, and of course colorful.

This fanny pack would be perfect for the outdoor lover or the urban backpacker who just likes to let their personality show.

Because Cotopaxi’s products are made from nylon scraps, each one is unique. You choose the general color scheme (red/orange, blue, green, etc.) and the lid/hems show up in whatever complementary color the factory had at the time.

These bags are whimsical and sustainable… and they’re made using ethical labor practices – meaning they’re basically perfect!

4. Cotopaxi Del Día Dopp Kit

Travel gifts: cotopaxi del dia Dopp kit
Image: EarthHero

To complement their Cotopaxi hip pack, why not also get them a similarly colorful Del Día Dopp Kit?

This toiletry bag is a similar concept, but features a spacious main pocket with two internal side pockets and a carrier look on the outside.

A good toiletry bag is a must for literally every single traveler… so if they’re still using one they got at Walgreen’s the night before their first ever backpacking trip, this would be a very welcome upgrade.

5. Carry Courage Adventurer Cork Cosmetics Bag

Travel gifts: cork cosmetics bag
Image: Made Trade

Who said travel gifts had to be purely functional?

Yes – the Adventurer Cork Cosmetics Bag from Carry Courage is functional and another great option for toiletries. (I mean, it has 3 vinyl and 4 mesh pockets inside, to keep bottles upright and sealed in transit!!)

But for me the real draw of Carry Courage’s products is the extreme attention to detail around sustainability.

The cork these bags comes from is renewable, recyclable and biodegradable resource… but it’s also sustainably harvested and certified vegan by PETA. Then, each bag is made to order by the brand’s owner, ensuring quality and ethical practices throughout the product’s journey to you.

I’m sold, and already dreaming about packing up all my skincare in here on my next trip.

Travel Smarter

Even the best traveler would benefit from one or two of these travel gifts.

There are endless ways to de-stress and better organize travel, and these items are great places to start.

6. Personalized Leather Passport Holder & Travel Wallet

Travel gifts: personalized leather passport holder
Image: SoGoodSoWood on Etsy

Outfitting their passport with a combo Passport Holder & Travel Wallet is a great way to keep it safe, keep them organized, and help them travel in style.

This holder has spaces for cash, cards, and even to store a little notebook.

Plus, it can be monogrammed with their initials – making this one of the most thoughtful travel gifts on my list!

I truly underestimated the value of a passport holder until I started using one… but they really do help make your passport so much easier to keep track of.

7. Travel Cord Roll

Travel gifts: travel cord roll
Image: Uncommon Goods

Ok, so this is something I don’t actually have but have decided I really need.

A Travel Cord Roll is probably the simplest organisational solution that most of us avid travelers have been doing without forever.

I don’t know about you, but I literally cannot fly or take a train anywhere without arriving at my destination with a gigantic ball of tangled cords.

This stupidly simple item can change all that, and bring so much more calm to the inside of a carry-on.

Do them a favor and add this as a stocking stuff!!

8. Portable Solar Charging Panel

Travel gifts: portable solar charging panel
Image: Uncommon Goods

I feel like this Portable Solar Charging Panel is the highly geeky gadget I need to add to my travel arsenal.

It may not be the cutest travel accessory, but I think having an insurance policy against a completely dead phone would make this one of my favorite travel gifts ever if someone gave it to me.

This is perfect for anyone who loves adventure travel, avid back backpackers, or just a really forgetful traveler whose phone is somehow always dying, this charging panel could be a literal lifesaver.

9. Hydro Flask Standard Mouth 24oz. Water Bottle

Travel gifts: hydro flask
Image: EarthHero

I have been gifted a Hydro Flask twice the past few years, and let me say that I love both of my Hydro Flasks equally.

These bottles are lightweight, comfortable to drink from, and keep water almost alarmingly cold. Like, sometimes water is colder after spending two hours in a Hydro Flask than when it came out of the tap.

I really like the model pictured (and linked!) because it has a smaller opening to mimic a regular bottle mouth.

I certainly wouldn’t say no to a third Hydro Flask…

10. KeepCup Brew Glass Travel Cup

Travel gifts: keep cup
Image: Prima Coffee

KeepCup is a favorite brand of mine. Minimal leakage, maximum style… perfect for coffee on the road.

Having a travel coffee cup is such a great way to cut down on waste, and I’ve never encountered a cafe anywhere that was unwilling to fill my reusable cup instead of using a disposable one!

Embrace On-The-Go Wellness

Just because they’re constantly traveling doesn’t mean they should neglect their mental and physical health!

If you know your favorite traveler struggles to make time for themselves, then perhaps looking for travel gifts that help them prioritize their personal wellness could be helpful.

Take a look at some of my favorite options here.

11. The Essential Traveler Wellness Kit

Travel gifts: essential traveler wellness kit
Image: Uncommon Goods

As someone who is usually overly concerned with my health and wellness while on the road (even long before the pandemic), this kit is calling to me.

The Essential Traveler Wellness Kit has a little of everything you need to keep you going strong.

The kit includes 10 hangover capsules, 10 tablets to aid digestion, an essential oil and extract spray to help you sleep, and two echinacea immunity shots.

All plant based, and all adorably packaged.

I would never buy this for myself, but would loveeeee someone to buy this for me.

12. Face Mask Refreshing Spray

Travel gifts: face mask refreshing spray
Image: Uncommon Goods

Let’s get real here for a second, people.

Face masks are here to stay for the foreseeable future. It’s not a fun reality, but here we are.

Face masks have also become a standard part of a traveler’s outfit and the more those things get reused, the more disgusting they become.

Which… makes this Face Mask Refreshing Spray the queen of travel gifts for 2020.

All they have to do is give their mask a few spritzes of this stuff when they get inside and it’ll stay as fresh as if it were newly washed.

13. Anywhere Travel Guide

Travel gifts: anywhere travel guide
Image: Uncommon Goods

This Anywhere Travel Guide strikes me as one of the most innovative travel gifts around.

I think it’s crucial for any traveler, experienced or not, to go beyond the standard tourist track of museums and overpriced restaurants near landmarks.

Related: Slow Travel: 6 Strategies for Planning Your Next Trip

This guide is really more of a deck of cards… when they want to shake things up in a new city, all they have to do is draw one and do the action on the card. Tasks range from finding the city’s highest point and walking to it to admire the view to buying coffee for a local and seeing where that leads…

Is this not the cutest idea?! I think it’s sure to brighten any trip.

14. United By Blue Recycled Paper Journal

Travel gifts: recycled paper journal
Image: EarthHero

Making sure to make time for mindfulness is a really important part of long term traveling.

I love keeping a travel journal to make sure I preserve my memories: what I saw, what I ate, who I met.

This Recycled Paper Journal by United By Blue (another B Corp!) is great because, well, obviously the paper is recycled.

The variety of options for the cotton canvas cover of the journal are colorful and fun too!

Keep In Touch

Who said travel gifts needed to be physical items to unwrap?

Whether you live far away from a travel lover you won’t see in person this holiday season (and would rather save on shipping) or you just think they would really appreciate either of the next two ideas… I think it’s seriously worth considering a digital gift this year.

15. NordVPN

NordVPN screenshot
Image: NordVPN

NordVPN is my lifesaver as an American living abroad.

To put it simply, a VPN is a (completely legal!!!) way to disguise your server to be able to access websites and services from your home country when you’re physically somewhere else where they’re restricted.

For instance, the main way I’m able to keep up on American TV from London is through my handy NordVPN subscription.

VPNs can also be massively useful for people living in places where standard social media apps are restricted, helping them stay safely connected to you.

If you’re curious to know more about NordVPN, check out my article on 7 Essential Apps for Expats and find out more about why NordVPN is one of my top travel gifts.

16. Keepgo

Travel gifts: Keepgo

Keepgo is a data-only SIM and/or mobile WiFi hotspot to keep people connected no matter where they are in the world.

I’ve been a loyal Keepgo user for years, using it whenever I travel somewhere that my phone’s international plan would cost way too much. (Which, as an American, is most places!)

Keepgo is one of those travel gifts that might seem overly functional, but will be endless appreciated by whomever you give it to.

Keepgo SIMs and hotspots are also for life. I’ve had my SIM since 2013, and it still lives in my wallet – ready to be used whenever I arrive in a country my phone isn’t covered.

Oh and the best part?!

I’ve partnered with Keepgo to give you 10% any order on their site with the code RACHELIRL at checkout.

Click here to claim your discount on some great travel gifts for staying connected.

Wander From Home

If you’d rather be realistic than hopeful this holiday season – which, let’s be clear, is where I’m at currently – it doesn’t mean you have to give up on gifting some great travel gifts to your favorite traveler.

Here are my top picks for travel gifts to help them explore from home!

17. Wanderlust Cross Stitch Map

Travel gifts: wanderlust cross stitch map
Image: Uncommon Goods

There are all kinds of maps out there to help them visualize the memories of all their best travels, but this one is super new and exciting for me this year!

Forget about scratch-offs… the Wanderlust Cross Stitch Map is nostalgia and crafting all rolled into one!

This map comes with lots of embroidery floss and even a few font patterns to help them design the perfect keepsake for themselves.

I just love how endless the possibilities for this map seem!

18. Homesick City Candles

Travel gifts: homesick city candles
Image: Uncommon Goods

This might be one of the more thoughtful travel gifts you could give… especially if your loved one recently left their favorite city and wishes they could go back!

The Homesick City Candles are curated to evoke nostalgia. And the designers have taken the task seriously – locals in each city were consulted to ensure that each scent really did mimic the best of each city’s smells!

I’m imagining running a bath, lighting the NYC one of these, and taking a sense memory trip back to Brooklyn on a summer afternoon.

19. Trove Box

Travel gifts: trove box
Image: Cratejoy

I’ll come right out and say I’m asking for the Trove box myself this Christmas.

If you’ve ever heard of or participated in an Airbnb experience, you’ll be familiar with the idea behind this box. (Except, this is so much better because, again, it’s independent!)

Every month, the recipient receives a box of goodies sourced from a different city around the world. But… it’s so much more than that.

The subscription also comes with a LIVE virtual cooking lesson with an experienced chef AS WELL AS a live cultural experience you can participate in from home.

I mean…!!!!!

20. Cats Meow Village Box

Travel gifts: cats meow village box
Image: Cratejoy

If you’re looking for ideas of travel gifts for an avid road tripper, the Cats Meow Village box will certainly do the trick.

Each month’s box is themed around a different US National Park, with a vintage style park postcard or ticket, stickers, park-inspired recipes and tiny gifts from makers in and around the region.

Plus, 10% of every purchase goes directly to benefit US National Parks!

With all these travel gifts on your radar now, which ones will your loved ones appreciate most?

Curating these ideas for travel gifts have made me miss traveling even more than I already was – so I hope you’re happy I went through this for you!

Just kidding… kinda.

There’s something for every kind of traveler in this gift guide, so you should be able to find something they’ll really love.

And if you need more gift recommendations, check out my other holiday gift guides here.

Happy holidays from my home to yours!!

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  1. wow, so many amazing gift ideas! I was not expecting to find something for every traveller, you definitely covered a large array from wellness travellers to tech travellers to the keepsake travellers and much more. Great research and gift guide!

    1. I know! Those brands have such great products – and it feels great to know you’re supporting an ethical company at the same time!

  2. Love these! The cord roll is so clever 🤩 I definitely don’t go anywhere without my reusable bottle and coffee cup. These are great gift ideas for Christmas, Thanks!

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