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Pack with Purpose: 8 Reusable Travel Items to Pack on Your Next Trip

It’s no secret that traveling requires quite a few resources. From the fuel to power your plane, to the water the hotel uses to wash your towels each day, to the money you spend on the trip, vacations put a strain on the earth and on your wallet.

A great way to settle both your conscience and your budget is to think ahead and see what you can pack and reuse throughout your trip. Reusable travel items can save resources and money: you won’t have to constantly buy cold beverages or restock forgotten supplies like shampoo and conditioner.

Look at what reusable items you can bring with you on your next trip so you can have some peace of mind while packing. It’ll help you feel more relaxed once you get to where you’re going, and you’ll be able to breathe easy about your finances once you get back. The earth will thank you too.

Buy A Reusable Water Bottle

The phrase “reusable water bottle” seems like it’s a joke, because aren’t all water bottles reusable? They can be, but not all of them have re-usable filters in them. To save the impact that your trash has on the earth, and to save some money, get yourself a water bottle with a filter in it. They come in all shapes, sizes and designs, so you’ll find one that fits your personality and your budget.

Bring A Cooler

Packing a cooler is a great option when you’re traveling by car. Load up on drinks, snacks and sandwich supplies at a local grocery store. You can then make sure your meals and snacks are ethically sourced and packaged. You’ll also save time and gas by not stopping off every few hours for food. As for your budget, you can also learn ways to make your own vacation meals and pack ingredients to prepare those as well.

Use Travel Bottles

Drug stores and supermarkets sell miniature versions of the shampoos, conditioners, face washes and shower gels that you use regularly. This is certainly a convenient option when it comes to packing, but it creates more waste: you’ll throw away those mini bottles and the regular-sized bottles you use when those are empty. Instead, use some of the popular reusable travel bottles to save some plastic from the landfill — and to save yourself money in the future, since they’re easy to refill and reuse. Label them with provided stickers or even a permanent marker, and you’ll save by using what you already have.

Tote It All Together

Vacation activities like hiking or swimming usually means bringing extra supplies, and carrying multiple bags can be a hassle. Instead, get a large, reliable tote bag that’ll double as a carrying case and a purse, so you can put all your things together in one place. Reusable materials like canvas are always better than throwaway plastic bags.

Pack Eco-Friendly Towels

One of the most popular places to visit during the summer is the beach, and if you find yourself heading to the coast soon, packing eco-friendly towels will be a great way to help yourself and the environment. Eco-friendly towels are made with natural fibers that allow you to reuse them multiple times without ruining the quality of your towel. They’re also heavy duty, so they’ll last through whatever vacation adventures you get up to this summer.

Stock Up on Re-Freezable Ice Sheets

It happens to everyone: the inevitable sunburn. Or you bring drinks to the pool but they get warm before you can enjoy them. Get some re-freezable ice sheets that fold up for easy storage. You can press them on your skin when you’re burned or put them in your cooler to keep drinks crisp and cold. Plus, you won’t waste any water by making ice that’ll just melt down as soon as you’re in the sun.

Get Some Solar Chargers

In a past that doesn’t seem so long ago, you had to pack extra batteries for your electronic devices before you left on a trip. Now, there’s a new way to save on your energy consumption in between uses. Solar chargers generate no by-products or emissions, meaning that you can restore the life of your phone while reducing your carbon footprint, ensuring many vacations in the years to come. You’ll also save money on one-time-use batteries.

Bring Along Some Baggies

Taking reusable bags with you to hold things like snacks, makeup, or even your toothbrush can save you space in your suitcase and serve as a multipurpose item. Investing in a few reusable snack bags, alongside a few reusable bags for cosmetics, means you won’t have to pay for and throw away one-time-use bags each time you travel.

Saving money on vacations may seem like an impossible feat, but it isn’t if you focus on re-using what you can. Even better, your thoughtful purchasing and packaging can help maintain the earth’s resources. Before your next trip, see what reusable travel items you can get a hold of and watch how much they help you make the most out of this vacation and those to come.

Read Ethical Traveler's Reprint Policy.