Our Editors Share Their Sustainable Holiday Travel Essentials
A Sustainable Holiday Packing List
It’s that time of year—our editors are heading off to all corners of the country to visit family and friends. From weekend getaways to week-long adventures, it all depends on thoughtful packing to run smoothly. So we’re making our lists and checking them twice to make sure we’ve got everything we need to feel at home no matter where we rest our heads.
We’ve each shared five of our favorite travel essentials from sustainable brands. You’ll find lots of comfortable travel clothing (and snuggly layers for those of us traveling into cold weather) and, thanks to the gift that air travel is to our skin, plenty of hydrating and nourishing skin care.
Whether you’re traveling or not, we hope these lists inspire you to add a little more self-care into your routine this season. And of course, wishing you plenty of friends, family, or solo-time—whatever’s highest on your wishlist this season.
Co-Founder & CEO
The holidays!! ✨ This season is so magical and I always look forward to going home to be with family. Although I love the occasional white Christmas in my Midwest hometown, the cold, dry weather gets me every time. When I start my packing list for the holidays, I try to bring things to keep me warm, hydrated, and nourished.
I have mild rosacea and the cold, winter-weather winds are especially drying and irritating for my skin. NOTO’s Deep Serum Face Oil is a balm, and although it doesn’t sit well under makeup, I layer it generously at night for an extra hydration boost. RMS Beauty’s Master Mixer is simply masterful, and another favorite. (I love this product so much that I have three of them—one for my main makeup bag, one that lives in my purse, and another in my office desk drawer 🙈). Everlane’s wool cocoon coat is like a warm, soft hug. Bon Temps chamomile tea is a delightful sleepy-time ritual. Last but not least, a little hand sanitizer goes a long way for a happy, healthy holiday.
Deep Serum by NOTO, $30 | Uses natural & organic ingredients, vegan & cruelty-free
RMS Master Mixer from Thrive Market, $38 | Made with organic ingredients, no harmful chemicals or preservatives
Wool Cocoon Coat by Everlane, $250 | Made responsibly, industry-leading transparency
Chamomile Tea by Bon Temps, $16 | Organic, hand-picked ingredients, empowers women
Grapefruit Hand Sanitizer by Honest, $6 | Made in the USA, plant-based ingredients
Social Media Coordinator
As a Sagittarius (sun and rising), love of travel is one of the defining personality traits of my sign. However, I didn’t actually find myself embracing this Sagittarian pastime until the last few months. When it comes to packing for trips, for me, less is always more—a motto that carries into nearly every area of my life! I always prioritize basics over bold pieces and functionality over flashiness. I also like to bring clothing items and products that make me feel just as comfortable in a new city as I would feel here in Los Angeles. Though the words “basics” and “functionality” often conjure up feelings of boredom and underwhelm, I find that keeping it simple packing-wise helps me feel more grounded on a trip, allowing me to have more fun!
A must-have on any trip is my Kånken backpack. It’s the perfect size to count as a personal item on a flight, and it’s big enough to fit my laptop, toiletry bag, and a few pairs of socks. Which brings me to my next essential…SOCKS! I’m known around the office to be quite the socks evangelist, but I am especially so when it comes to travel. These unisex socks are stylish enough to wear out during the day but thick enough to wear at night while sleeping in a frigid hotel bed. Speaking of sleep, this Goodnight CBD oil is a godsend. I tend to have a hard time falling asleep when I’m in a new place, but this CBD oil always has me out like a light and feeling incredibly well-rested the next day.
For clothing, I usually pack black basics because, let’s be honest, black is the new black! This square neck long sleeve from Kotn is a stylish twist on a classic long sleeve, perfect for a night out at a bar, or to wear while exploring a new city. And last but not least, I always, always, always pack my everyday jumpsuit from Big Bud Press. I’ve worn this jumpsuit to an event while on a work trip, and under a puffer jacket while running around New York City. It meets all my requirements for travel attire: It fits perfectly in a carry-on, it’s versatile, and it’s practical.
Kånken Backpack by Fjällräven, $80 | Nontoxic, recycled materials, sustainable & fair production
Everyday Jumpsuit by Big Bud Press, $180 | Ethically-made in Los Angeles
Square Neck Top by Kotn, $35 | B Corp, gives back, fair labor standards
Goodnight CBD Oil by Prismatic Plants, $70 | Certified organic ingredients
Unisex socks by Los Angeles Apparel, $8 | Made in the USA
Because the first stop on my holiday travel list is my honeymoon, I am packing lingerie that not only makes me feel feminine/sexy but also comfortable for days on planes and long trips in the car. Brooke There’s organic underoos are my go-to for the most comfortable undergarments; they’re perfect for travel and everyday life. I especially love the bralettes.
When I start packing to go anywhere, toiletries are the first thing that I add to my bag (the thought of forgetting my facewash and toothbrush gives me actual anxiety). Deodorant is obviously a must-have, and I am excited to bring my refillable deodorant from the brand by Humankind. It is my favorite zero-waste bathroom staple and great for travel!
This cropped sweater from Reformation is incredibly comfortable, and I plan to live in it on planes and for any of the adventures that travel brings. These heel sandals from Nisolo are my go-to for year-round travel, as they’re super light-weight and look great dressed up/down and with so many different outfits. Finally, I always take a bathing suit with me wherever I travel—you never know when the opportunity might come up to get in some water. Cleonie makes comfortable silhouettes, and I love their dedication to using sustainable fabrics. Their Cosi Fruit Collection is a really cool collaboration they did with artist Bonnie Gray; each design is different and unique.
Courtney Jay’s Picks
Wheat Alchemy Bra by Brooke There, $88 | Organic cotton, made in the USA
Hunter Sweater by Reformation, $58 | Made in LA, organic cotton, low carbon footprint
Lucia Block Heel Sandal by Nisolo, $148 | Handmade in Peru, ethical, circular fashion model
Refillable Deodorant by By Humankind, $15 | Zero-waste, natural ingredients
Isola One Shoulder Bikini by Cleonie, $99 | Sustainable fabrics, made locally in Australia
While I’m not planning any extended travel this winter, I may find myself in the Midwest for a quick weekend with my family.
First, this coat from Whimsy + Row is an actual miracle; lightweight enough to wear on my person to LAX (so I don’t have to pack it), and cozy enough to protect me from the midwestern chill. I’m also always sure to pack some snuggly socks for everyday wear, but mostly for wearing while I get ready for bed. Sleeping in a bed that’s not my own can throw me off, and socks that keep my toes warm as I slip into chilly winter sheets are a comfort.
While getting through airport security spikes my stress levels, I actually love hanging out in airports. There’s something so luxurious about not having to do anything but be at a gate at a certain time, and I usually take this time to read, journal, or people watch. I try to continue my writing habits even when I’m out of town, so I always pack a travel-friendly notebook. (I don’t bring my real nightly journal with me, because what if I lose it? What will happen to all my secrets?)
Perhaps most importantly, I like to keep my beauty routine mildly in-tact (because there’s so much to be said for feeling put-together when you’re in the midst of the travel whirlwind). You’ll find me putting serums into tiny travel droppers, googling “is lipstick a liquid?” and carefully placing all my liquids into my carry-on quart-sized bag like I’m playing a game of Tetris. This lip whip is perfect for airport and plane dryness, and it helps me feel a bit more like a human person when I deboard after a long day of travel. I’m not a person to get my nails done, but I always bring some Little Ondine nail polish with me, too: it peels off, so I don’t have to worry if it chips right before family gatherings. Just peel it, repaint, and voila! You’re a put-together person.
Liz Jacket by Whimsy + Row, $198 | Made in Los Angeles from recycled, deadstock rayon
Crew Socks by Silver Spun Goods, $36 | Sourced & made in the USA, all-natural dyes
Jumbo Journal by Ecojot, $15 | Made in Canada from recycled paper, vegetable-based ink
Peppermint Lip Whip from Verishop, $20 | All-natural & organic, cruelty-free, paraben-free
Emerald Nailpolish by Little Ondine, $15 | Nontoxic, cruelty-free, 13-free
If there is one thing I’m passionate about, it’s travel—so much so that I would rather invest my money in travel-friendly items and experiences than everyday items like flats or makeup. So when it came to pick five items, I knew exactly what I’d go with: products that put comfort and ease first.
When I travel, I’m almost always cold and dehydrated, so layers and moisturizers are two must-haves for me. The Square Edge cape in Camel from Cuyana is an upscale, chic layer I can throw on whether I’m on a flight, in a cold hotel room, or out on a brisk evening tour. And paired with Pact’s Pocket Leggings, I’m all set. These leggings are super cozy, fair trade, and come with pockets (!!), so ideal for when I’m on the go.
I am notorious for making sure I bring lotion and lipstick on trips as well, and One Love Organic’s Skin Savior is a product consumers swear by. It’s a multi-tasking cream that I can use for my hands, elbows, and my ashy ankles! Plus, Live Tinted’s newest Found Huestick keeps my lips, cheeks, and eyes moisturized without feeling too over-the-top; I can wear it while en route and once I arrive. (If I can consolidate my makeup and skincare routine into just a few travel-friendly products, all the better!)
Throw all of this into my Tumi duffel, and I’m good to go. I am literally obsessed with this bag. It’s both a weekender and a carry-on, and I can pack nearly everything I need in there. Ethically-made and eco-friendly, Tumi’s customer service is unbeatable, the bag quality is excellent, and the sleek, modern design makes me feel even fancier.
Super Soft Organic Pocket Leggings by Pact, $35 | Organic, Fair Trade, sustainable
Skin Savior Balm by One Love Organics, $49 | Natural & organic, cruelty-free, eco-friendly
Huestick in Found by Live Tinted, $24 | Cruelty-free, vegan, clean beauty
Dorsten Duffel from Tumi Luggage, $495 | Ethically-made, some eco-friendly materials
Square Edge Cape by Cuyana, $215 | Sustainable, artisan-made in small batches
Before moving to Los Angeles, I was living in London. While time and money didn’t always allow for it, I tried to travel around England or to mainland Europe at least once a month. And if I learned anything during those years, it’s that having my travel essentials is, well, essential.
I’m looking for durability when adding a new piece to my travel collection. Is this product going to last? Will it meet various needs and serve multiple purposes? My Patagonia bag, for example, works in any travel situation. I’ve taken it camping, and I’ve used it as a carry-on for weekend trips. It meets size regulations for all the budget airlines, and the removable shoulder straps make for easy transport. I’m usually traveling backpacker-style (roller suitcases don’t get along with crowded public transportation or cobblestone alleyways), so this bag works perfectly.
Once I’m settled into my accommodation, I switch over to the Parker Clay Desta Belt Bag for exploring. I love that it’s multifunctional—it can be used as a belt bag, a crossbody, and a clutch. My Alem Passport Wallet, which I use to hold my passport while traveling and as a wallet during my day-to-day, fits nicely inside. And I never go anywhere without a denim jacket or scarf—even when traveling somewhere tropical (a rarity—this Colorado girl prefers the cold). A denim jacket is timeless and necessary for chilly evenings and travel days. If I don’t wear my scarf during a trip, it doubles as a blanket for bus rides, grimy hostel beds, and delayed flights. I wouldn’t be caught traveling without it.
The Denim Jacket by Everlane, $88 | Fair trade, transparent pricing
55 L Black Hole Duffel Bag by Patagonia, $139 | Fair trade, made from recycled materials
Desta Belt Bag by Parker Clay, $188 | Fair trade, vegetable-tanned leather, artisan-made, B Corp
Alem Passport Wallet by ABLE, $35 | Fair trade, responsibly sourced leather
Wool Tencel Striped Scarf by Eileen Fisher, $118 | Fair trade, made from sustainable fibers
Emily Torres is the Managing Editor at The Good Trade. She’s a Los Angeles transplant who was born and raised in Indiana, where she studied Creative Writing and Business at Indiana University. You can usually find her reading or writing, caring for her rabbits, or practicing at the yoga studio.