Traveling offers new perspectives and insights about yourself and the world around you. Choosing experience over buying expensive stuff has helped me become a more environmentally conscious citizen of planet Earth. The items I choose do not collect dust, and each has a memory or purpose.As an avid traveler, I’ve come to realize the gadgets and resources that many people view as “necessary” are taken for granted, where many others must live without these privileges. There are some helpful gadgets you can’t do without while on the go, but it’s important to also choose travel accessories that give back. Here are my personal favorite socially responsible travel accessories:The WakaWaka Keeps People Powered Around the WorldThe WakaWaka Power + is part solar charger, emergency light and battery pack. It may be used in remote or urban areas to power small to medium size devices and works as a portable light source. You can charge an iPhone with an eBook reader, all at once, or help return life to your tablet that cuts off right before you’ve finished a great travel blog entry (yeah, that happened).With two larger LED lights, the WakaWaka attaches to a water bottle with a folding stand or may be hung. Its power button is easy to reach, too. You don’t have to reach far to shut off the light after reading a good book to end a long day.Nifty tech features aside, when someone buys a WakaWaka, another WakaWaka is donated to an area in a developing country or a disaster area to provide relief.Daypack that Gives Back to OrphansWhen preparing for a long hike, you need the right daypack with enough room for gear and assurance your back won’t break. The Inca backpack by Cotopaxi was perfect to hold everything I needed the last time I visited the Colorado Rockies, stowing camera gear, snacks, water, a warm sweater and more.The pack comes in dark shadow and classic blue, beautifully blending in with misty blue-gray mountains. For its generous capacity, the manufacturer contributes a portion of every daypack purchase to the María Imaculada Orphanage, close to Tupiza, Bolivia.Accessible and Affordable Vision for AllSpecialized, multipurpose travel accessories get expensive. Even when they promise and deliver quality, such purchases still eat up your budget. When you need a simple pair of eyeglasses or sunglasses, what do you do?When I heard about these eyeglasses, I knew I needed a pair. Not only do I love all of the trendy styles, the company’s mission is to make better vision accessible and affordable to all, and they also donate their products and time to other non-profits. I was all in, and my sunglasses haven’t failed me on sunny summer days of solo traveling.Trashy Bags Laptop Cover Cleans up LitterHow many times have you dinged your laptop? For all the innovative tech humanity has created, it has problems not spilling coffee on it (oops!) or dropping it. Laptop covers never made it on my travel needs list, until one too many dings added up.On my search, I found the eco-conscious Trashy Bags laptop cover, which sounds like covering your laptop with a trash bag, but it’s not. Trashy Bags transforms old trash into a protective product with an impressive style factor. The company hires residents in Ghana, collecting water sachets as litter from the streets to be transformed into laptop covers, gym bags, purses and wallets. The company cleans up litter and provides jobs for locals. What’s not to like?Whether hiking the Appalachian trail or taking photos of temples around the world, your budget will be eaten up by quality and mostly expensive items. If you’re spending money, my two cents is that it’s best to choose socially responsible and eco-conscious travel accessories.Give back to the areas that provide you with unforgettable experiences, and travel with a light heart and eyes opened to the beauty and kindness the world has to offer.
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