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12 Useful Travel Gifts Every Traveler Needs

Useful travel gifts might not sound terribly exciting. But if you’ve got a traveler on your holiday shopping list, you can bet they’ll put these gifts to good use no matter where they’re traveling.

I’ve personally tested these travel gifts, as have many frequent travelers and readers of this blog. Whether you’re buying for him or for her, young, old, solo, or families, useful gifts for travelers are always en vogue.

12 Useful Travel Gifts Every Traveler Needs
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12 Useful Travel Gifts Every Traveler Needs

There’s just no denying when another holiday season has arrived.

Here in the United States, it happens 2 minutes after the last Halloween trick-or-treater has knocked on the door.

You’ll hear the distinct shake of sleigh bells on a TV commercial or you’ll walk past your favorite coffee shop and spy a poster announcing the return of a holiday-flavored latte.

And whether you love or hate the shopping that comes with the season, the fresh chill in the air, the bright lights, and the decorations bring about a contagious holiday cheer.

If you’re like me, not wanting to just give “stuff” or always looking for unique travel gifts that’ll capture something special about the person, shopping can feel impossible!

So, I’ve put together this list of useful travel items in the spirit of knowing all travel-lovers will not only love these gifts but also use them all the time!

1. Humangear GoToob Travel Bottle (3.4 Oz)

You know those small refillable plastic bottles you use when you travel to pack small amounts of shampoo and face soap? 

Have you ever been able to get that last bit at the bottom of the bottle out? Don’t worry. Neither has anyone else!

But, GoToob lets you squeeze out every last drop with ease and they’re the perfect 3.4-ounce TSA-approved size for your carry-on. Better yet, the locking cap means never having to worry about finding shampoo all over the inside of your suitcase!

2. Waterproof Phone Pouch

Nowadays, who doesn’t store everything on their phones?!? From contacts to photos to travel confirmation emails and documents, it would be a real nightmare to damage your phone while traveling.

This useful travel item fits a wide array of cell phone sizes. It has a clear front and back and touchscreen capabilities so you can take photos and videos while keeping your phone safe and dry.

This is something every traveler needs for trips to the beach, adventurous activities like kayaking and snorkeling, and even winter trips to the mountains to ski, snowboard, and snowshoe.

3. Ceptics GP-5PK Internation Travel Worldwide Plug Adapter Set

Never worry about having the right plug adapter again! I haven’t been to a country from Italy to Botswana where one of these adapters doesn’t work.

The pouch is compact enough to take the whole set with you or simply choose which adapter(s) you need for a particular trip. I pair the right plug adapter with the Anker PowerPort Cube to charge more than one device at a time. 

4. TSA Luggage Locks

These tiny locks are durable and secure. They loop through backpack zippers and keep all of your belongings safe inside your bag.

You can lock your bags even if they’re checked because these locks are TSA-approved. And, they’re perfect to keep a bag locked and safe from pickpockets while out exploring.

5. Luggage

This is one of the most important travel items on this list! The right luggage is a must and certainly one of the most useful travel gifts you can buy.

One of the most durable pieces of luggage I’ve ever owned has been the Delsey Paris Chatelet Air Hardside luggage. I use the checked 24″ medium-sized suitcase. The lined sides include straps to keep everything secure. I can easily fit 3-4 compression packing cubes, depending on their size, to fit more than 2-weeks worth of clothes.

The suitcase is lightweight with spinner wheels making it extremely easy to manage. It also comes with a 3-dial TSA-Approved lock and a lock on the handle to stop it from moving if you’re on a train or bus.

It also fits in the overhead bin on an airplane, so you don’t have to risk losing your bag by checking it or pay hefty checked bag fees.

6. Seagate Portable 2TB External Hard Drive

If the traveler on your list is like most travelers, they probably take 100s, if not 1000s, of photos. Whether in Barcelona or Iceland, this handy external hard drive has a ton of space to free up space on your camera’s memory cards.

Travelers can also use this hard drive to store a copy of their photos. If something should happen to their camera or memory card, the external hard drive safely stores all precious memories. It’s absolutely one of the most useful gifts for travelers and their photos.

7. Gonex Compression Packing Cubes

I’m a total packing cube convert! Packing cubes keep everything in your bag organized.

I’ve moved on from regular packing cubes and now use compression packing cubes. You simply roll your clothes and compress the packing cubes to allow for even more space in your bag. I couldn’t pack my bag without them.

It’s easy to quickly find what you’re looking for by only taking the cube you need out of your bag while keeping everything else neatly stored.

Even when packing for a road trip, these compression cubes are great when you only need a few things for an overnight hotel stop and don’t want to bring in your entire bag.

Of all the useful travel gifts on this list, these are in my top 3 necessities for every trip!

8. Osprey Daylite Backpack

I love my Gregory backpack for carrying all of my things when I travel, but a smaller daypack comes in handy for shorter, daily outings, like hiking in Zion or Shenandoah National Park.

Osprey’s Daylite backpack is sleek and compact, with compartments and pockets to organize and keep all of your belongings secure.

I’ve dragged this bag across 4 continents, in all kinds of weather and I’m consistently wowed by its functionality and durability while being incredibly compact!

9. Sony A6000 Mirrorless Camera

There are many recommended cameras for travelers. I loved and used the Sony A6000 Mirrorless Camera as my go-to travel camera for many years before upgrading to the Sony a7 iii.

This compact camera takes incredible photos and was so much easier for travel compared to carrying a big DSLR camera.

If you want to give a fantastic, lightweight travel camera, the Sony A6000 deserves your attention. It’s sold on its own or as a bundle with several handy accessories.

10. Waterproof Kindle Paperwhite

The traveler in your life will thank you many times over for giving them access to thousands of e-books on a device that weighs less than a single paperback and lasts for weeks on a single battery charge!

The built-in light feature is perfect for reading day or night whether from a tent, the road, or an airplane cabin.

11. Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask

No trip is fun when you’re not getting enough sleep. An eye mask is an absolute must for every traveler.

Block out light so you can sleep no matter where you are. Whether you’re on a long-haul flight or a family road trip, you’ll fall asleep easier and feel refreshed when you arrive at your destination.  

It’s compact and lightweight and something I always have in an easy-to-reach spot in my bag no matter where I’m heading.

12. Anker Portable Charger

The travel-lover on your list can’t travel without a portable charger! I take mine on every trip.

This handy device can recharge devices for days without needing to be recharged. Whether the traveler on your list needs to charge a phone, camera, laptop, or e-reader, this powerhouse can handle it.

I’ve used this to charge my devices on everything from European trips to wilderness camping in the Okavango Delta with no electricity for a few days.

Useful gifts for travelers go a long way! They’re guaranteed to get used again and again no matter the destination!

Looking for more travel gift ideas? Check out these travel gift guides.

So, which of these useful travel gifts will you give the traveler in your life? 

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34 thoughts on “12 Useful Travel Gifts Every Traveler Needs”

  1. Lots of stuff on that list that I can’t travel without anymore, like my packing cubes and my eye shade. Plus, my husband and I watch movies on our tablet together on the plane and we need that splitter!

  2. What a great list Jackie! I want to try that Canon our and the packing cubes look interesting. I’m a folder not a roller but I could be converted if I had the cubes I think.

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Thanks, Miranda! The Canon G16 gets overlooked a lot, but I really like it. It’s loaded with features and functions. Rolling your clothes, whether in a packing cube or Ziploc baggie, will completely change the way you pack.

  3. Packing cube is a new thing for me and i need them badly as it will address a lot issues i phase. And yes external hard drive is a must for me . Thanks for this enriching list which will organize our travel more. 🙂

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Packing cubes were new this year for me too, Himanshu. I have to say at first I wasn’t convinced, but after using them for all kinds of trips, I’m totally sold! Glad the list is helpful.

  4. Good items if your buying a power strip make use it has usb ports. also make sure it fits all different kings of plugs. The one shown only takes USA plugs…… if your traveling around the world that would not work well.

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Thanks for the tip, David. I’ve actually been able to use this power strip internationally by plugging it into a plug adaptor first. But, a power strip with the ability to fit different kinds of plugs would eliminate the need for a plug adaptor!

  5. I would add a handheld digital luggage scale. With airlines getting stricter about the weight of luggage- save your self an airport hassle and weigh it in advance. They are very accurate.

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Thanks, Elizabeth! Such a great tip! I’ve been able to get away without a digital luggage scale, but I’ve also shown up at the airport nervous about whether or not my bag is within the weight limit.

  6. I am also a packing cube convert!! I only got some this summer and now can’t travel anywhere without them! Thanks for the Belkin tip and the camera recommendation, both things that I have been looking for….for myself 🙂

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Glad the post is helpful, Katja! I don’t even know how I traveled without my packing cubes before! ?

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      The packing cubes are so practical, Fiona. Definitely give them a try. Love my Osprey daypack!

  7. Great list! We use our splitter and packing cubes all the time. And of course our tablet and camera. I’ve been looking for a new backpack, so I’ll have to check out the Osprey. I like having pockets to keep everything organized.

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Thanks, Dana! The Osprey backpacks are so well organized and efficient on space. I’ve put mine through so much and it still looks great.

  8. I haven’t tried packing cubes yet, but have heard great things about their practicality. I don’t go anywhere without my sleep mask – I’m in need of a new one, so thanks for the tip for the Nidra brand!

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      My eye mask is one of the first things I pack, Claudia. It’s a must! I was a bit skeptical about packing cubes, too, but I’m a total convert now once I see how well they work.

  9. Thanks Jackie I will be printing this list off and sending it to the family! Great timing, it gives them a whole month to decide which ones on the list they’re going to get me haha! 😉 You’ve reminded me actually, I really need that hard drive I’m always scared of losing my photos and footage when I’m away travelling, I should probably get that one for myself before Christmas!

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Haha, Mel! Sounds perfect! I get so nervous about my external hard drive, I’ve asked for a 2nd one…just in case! 🙂

  10. I may just have to forward this post to my husband 😉 The power strip and headphone splitter are both really cool and so practical, I would use them all the time while traveling! I need to invest in the passport as well, I always take a lot of pictures and they are stored between my PC and laptop. If they ever quit working I would be screwed.

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Shopping made easy for him, Valerie! Photo storage is always nervewracking! I’m considering replacing my passport since it’s older and I’m afraid of what could happen if it dies!

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Yes, Erica! Too few outlets in hotels. I love being able to charge multiple devices at once.

  11. I definitely agree about the Kindle. I had resisted buying an ereader for a long time but when we moved overseas I finally succumbed. As happy as I was not having to tote books with me (weight, bulk), it was when I went in search of more reading material that I really came to appreciate it. I hadn’t realized that it can be hard to find books in English when you’re living overseas. God bless Amazon.
    Thanks for linking up to #TheWeeklyPostcard.

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      I resisted the Kindle too, Linda. I just was a purist when it came to books, but there is no way to travel and keep reading! Glad I’m not the only late convert!

  12. Yes indeed. The HumanGear bottles are amazing. We have sets for each of us! And packing cubes have 100% upped our travel organization game. It’s so so great to be able to stuff each person’s clothes into a cube and not have to dig through the suitcase every morning. Basically, I know this is a great list because we already travel with most of it! 😀

    Haven’t tried the headphone splitter yet, but it would be SO GREAT for the kids to be able to share a tablet on the plane!

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      You’re a savvy traveler for sure, Theresa! 😉 My nephews loved the headphone splitter for exactly that reason.

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