Gallery: 6 Easy-to-Carry Essentials That Will Keep Your Travels Green

This may not seem like an obvious eco-choice, but the sarong is one of the best investments a green traveler can make. Ours doubles as a towel, which requires more water to wash and more "air-time" to dry, and a wet wipe. A wet wipe? That's right: instead of carrying around wet wipes to freshen up on a long bus or train journey, for example, the corner of a fast-drying sarong can work wonders and then you don't leave behind a trail of wasted paper. Plus, if you buy a sarong that was made locally, somebody earns money from your purchase, and you have a nice souvenir to take home!

1. Water Bottle

Many tourists are so afraid of the water in foreign countries that they end up buying bottle after plastic bottle that then lands either on the ground or in the local dump. Even when recycled, plastic exacts a terrible toll on the environment and never biodegrades. But in developing countries using plastic bottles is even worse because they frequently lack recycling facilities. A good, durable water bottle that was made without Bisphenol A (BPA), an organic compound that is considered by some to be toxic to humans, will last forever and leave you with a clear conscience.

2. Water Filter

But maybe the water isn’t safe to drink, you say? In some countries this is a valid concern. This author usually drinks the local water because it’s safer than most people think, and bottled water, since it is less regulated than municipal supply centers, often contains harmful chemicals. Recently in Saudi Arabia, for example, it was found that one company was selling water laced with Bromate – a chemical that causes tumors in rats and mice, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). Still, it’s not safe to drink water in some places, in which case a water filter is a great solution. We picked this one from REI but there are dozens of them on the market. Check out camping stores for one that suits you.

3. Travel Coffee Cup

We’re addicted to the bean, there’s no way around it. While it’s not always easy to find fair trade coffee on our travels, the least we can do is carry this coffee cup so that we’re not throwing away paper or styrofoam cups every time we go to a cafe for a caffeine fix. Even if you prefer tea, this is still a handy thing to keep, it packs pretty easily, and it has the added benefit of keeping your warm beverage warm.


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1 Comment

  1. travelwitheric February 29, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Nice ideas, however, remember to pack any water bottles and any liquids over 3 oz. in your checked luggage. Even an empty water bottle will get confiscated by the TSA if you try and take it through security in your carry-on luggage.

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