10 Ethical Gifts for Travelers
The hardest part of traveling is missing the places you have visited or waiting for the next trip. Help the travel lover in your life happily reminisce or inspire their next trip through these ethical and unique travel gift ideas.
Each is handmade, Fair Trade, sustainable, and supports the artisans who craft them. These travel gifts embody the traditions and cultures of the artisans who love and respect their homeland, and each is ethically produced and eco-friendly. By purchasing these gifts through Fair Trade you help contribute to the development of rural communities.
Listed below are our choice for a few of the best gifts for travel lovers!
The rural female artisans of Tecalpulco Mexico, Artisana, have mastered the traditional craft of jewelry making. These women specialize in silver and abalone jewelry and create unique pieces like these handcrafted Silver Blue Inlaid Earth Earrings. If you’ve got a special world travel loving woman in your life, she will love these unique globe earrings that give back to Fair Trade artisans.
The Fair Trade artisans of Artisana are constantly upscaling their methods and designs, which has allowed them to not just survive but thrive in the competitive jewelry market. These women are keeping the tradition of fine Mexican jewelry alive and each purchase ensures an ethical contribution towards preserving their craft.
This stunning decorative turtle vase is a masterpiece created by the Fair Trade artisans of Esperanza en Accion, in San Juan de Oriente, Nicaragua. Their detailed pots and vases, sculpted using a manual kick wheel, are world-renowned for their cultural beauty.
The paints used are made from natural mineral oxides found in the Nicaraguan soil, ensuring that their entire process is sustainable and not detrimental to the environment. If you know someone who loves the culture and craftsmanship of Central America, these Fair Trade pottery pieces will surely be an appreciated addition to their collection.
Lucia’s Imports is a Fair Trade organization that hopes to share the beauty of Guatemalan culture, art, and handicrafts with the rest of the world. They are a part of the Fair Trade Federation and the artisans produce jewelry that is traditional and sustainable. Their goal to spread Guatemalan handicrafts throughout the world, in order to help uplift the rural communities and make a difference to the lives of all the Mayan artisans.
Nearly all their travel gifts are made using recycled Mayan products, promoting not just a sustainable business, but one that aims to get rid of waste as well. The Mayan artisans utilize traditional weaving methods to produce unique jewelry that resembles the natural surroundings in which they live. This blue-green bead necklace is a stunning example of the mastery of Guatemalan beading and weaving.
This Sea Life Batik is made by gifted artisans employed by the Fair Trade organization Tonga Textiles, located in Zimbabwe. This piece of Batik art illustrates the style of craftsmanship unique to the artisans of a select few countries in Africa.
Tonga Textiles uses its revenue made through Fair Trade to set up training programs for the artisans of Zimbabwe. They learn to work for themselves and set up their own businesses, thus alleviating them from poverty. Their products showcase the true essence of the African art and culture and every piece is made using sustainable practices to keep the craft going for generations to come. A fantastic ethical gift for travel lovers, while promoting sustainability in Africa.
In Eldoret Kenya, Fair Trade organization Imani Workshops was set up in 2005 under a social enterprise wing of AMPATH. The main aim of AMPATH was to provide aid to victims of the HIV pandemic that swept through the country. Imani Workshops is a Fair Trade organization, under AMPATH, that aims to provide rural artisans in Kenya a sustainable and fair source of income, improving community health overall.
Under Imani Workshops artisans are able to create and sell good gifts for travelers, like this Block Print Travel Journal, and use the profits to support their families, build their businesses, and improve their communities.
This GlobeTrotter Fisheye Bag is handmade from hand dyed fabric Ghana, West Africa. Global Mamas, the rural-artisan organization responsible for this function and fun piece, put their love into every craft they make including great travel gifts for women. Their handmade ethical crafts include accessories, apparel, and home goods are made using traditional techniques.
Their products embody the heart of the people of Ghana and are a conscious effort to spread love to consumers all over the world. Thanks to their unique handicrafts, they have been able to support their families and provide their children with the education that every child is entitled to.
With colors as deep and vibrant as the ocean, this Mother of Pearl Bracelet is definitely an eye catcher that pairs well with any outfit. This unique and beautiful traveler’s gift is brought to you by the Starfish Project, an organization that provides shelter and refuge to exploited women. They help these unfortunate women deal with their past by providing counseling, training, and giving them a platform to reclaim their lives and follow their dreams to a better future.
Every product you purchase goes into rehabilitation of the exploited women being assisted by the Starfish Project. Through your ethical travel gift purchase, you are helping transform the lives of these women and give them hope and the means for a better future.
Silk Road Bazaar is a Fair Trade organization that acts as the wholesale representative of marginalized rural artisans throughout Kyrgyzstan and parts of Central Asia. They believe that to understand the lives of others, you need to live like them. The members of Silk Road Bazaar live with the local artist groups for months during which time they help them set up a sustainable business, teach them managerial skills, and educate them on the tools and technology needed such as computers.
The artisans located far from the capital have become highly skilled at making gifts for world travelers out of felt. A classic example of their master craftsmanship is this ethical Lavender Handmade Felted Soap, which the perfect size to pack while traveling.
Thailand & Nepal
These serene and peaceful countries should be on the bucket list of every passionate traveler and it is here that the social enterprise Global Groove operates. This Fair Trade handmade sarong is not only ethically made and beautiful, it can be used for many different purposes, and makes one of the best travel gifts for her.
Global Groove is dedicated to developing and nurturing the skills and businesses of Thai and Nepali artisans. All products are made keeping in mind sustainability and social impacts. They design, develop, and handcraft gifts and lifestyle products for people who travel and feel their products inhale the lands people, landscapes, colors, flavors, and in turn exhale to create inspirational products symbolic of their culture. They encourage travel because of the knowledge, acceptance, and understanding of different ways, people, and ideas are the very road to a more ethical, safer, kinder world.
Fair Trade organization Matr Boomie has empowered more than 20,000 Indian artisan women and inspired them to pursue their creative and economic goals. This travel chess game is an excellent gift for someone traveling as it acts like a pocket-sized board game. The product is a marriage between contemporary design styles and classic India wood carving.
Not only is a fun gift for travelers, it’s also a contribution towards preserving traditional techniques of craftsmanship, and supporting rural artisans who previously found it difficult to support themselves.
Ethical and Mindful Gift Purchasing
These gifts for travelers make great birthday and holiday presents and you can even gift them to yourself! Each supports ethical Fair Trade groups and sustainable production processes. Mindful, conscious, purchasing involves being aware of where your products come from and understanding the impact of your purchases.
By selecting ethical travel gifts, you help improve the lives of rural artisans, increase their global opportunities, while continuing the legacy of their traditional crafts. Purchasing these ethically crafted products ensures the development of a community, which in turn leads to the development of the country, and on a much larger scale, the entire world.