Here in the United States, it happens 2 minutes after the last Halloween trick or treater has knocked on the door. It happens suddenly when you least expect it. Perhaps you hear the distinct shake of sleigh bells on a TV commercial while you’re grabbing a snack in the kitchen. Or maybe you walk past your favorite coffee shop on an otherwise unassuming November day and spy a poster announcing the return of a holiday-flavored latte.
There’s just no denying when another holiday season has arrived.
The air has a fresh chill to it and the places around you sparkle with bright lights and decorations. Along with all of the festivities comes the joy of holiday shopping.
Admittedly, I’m a horrible shopper. I’ve been known to analyze an item’s price and quality to death. I’m especially practical and like to shop for useful travel gifts or unique travel gifts that’ll capture something special about the person. I fully understand the spirit behind true gift-giving, but I won’t just give “stuff.” If a person loves to ski, I look for the right ski gear. Looking for a creative, artsy travel gift? Search on Etsy instead of Amazon.
So, I’ve put this list together in the spirit of knowing all travel-lovers will find specific items super practical, regardless of their age, budget, or travel style.
12 Useful Travel Gifts Every Traveler Needs
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 TSA-approved size for your carry-on.
Share podcasts, audiobooks, movies, and music with up to 5 people. This handy, lightweight gadget lets others plug in their headphones to listen and watch together. It’s compact and easy to store in your bag. It’s perfect for the kids on a family road trip, friends or couples traveling together, and solo travelers looking to make new friends.
Never worry about having the right plug adapter again! I haven’t been to a country yet 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 it with the Monster To Go Power Strip to charge more than one device at a time. Unfortunately, that power strip is currently unavailable from Amazon. However, this Belkin Power Strip looks to be a great replacement.
These tiny locks are durable and secure. They loop through backpack zippers and keep all of your belongings safe inside of your bag. You can lock your bags even if they’re checked because these locks are TSA-approved.
The ultimate in versatility, an Amazon gift card puts over 200 million products at your fingertips. Whether you’re heading to the Caribbean and need a fresh batch of e-books for your Kindle or you’re planning a trek through the rainforest and need new hiking boots, Amazon has got you covered.
This is one of my top travel purchases ever. The straps are comfortable across the shoulders and along your lower back. It’s super light-weight and the full “U” zipper that opens the pack up, as well as the top loading flap, help keep your belongings organized and in reach, without unpacking everything. It fits in the overhead bin on an airplane, which means you don’t have to risk losing your bag by checking it. All travelers are sure to love this backpack.
If you’re like most travelers, you take 100s, if not 1000s, of photos when you travel. Free up space on your camera’s memory card by unloading photos onto an external hard drive. If something should happen to your camera or memory card, your external hard drive safely stores your precious memories.
I’m a total packing cube convert! Packing cubes stop your belongings from being jumbled and keep everything in your bag organized. You can roll your clothes and compress the packing cubes to allow for even more space in your bag. You can quickly find what you’re looking for by only taking the cube you need out of your bag while keeping everything else neatly stored.
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. 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!
There are many recommended cameras for travelers and I don’t consider myself an expert on the topic. But, after borrowing cameras from friends for my trips to Patagonia and Southeast Asia, I finally settled on the Sony A6000 Mirrorless Camera. It takes incredible photos and was so much easier to travel around Romania and Sweden this summer compared to carrying a standard DSLR. If you’re looking for 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.
Who wants to lug around a bag full of books while they travel? 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.
No trip is fun when you’re not getting enough sleep. An eye mask is an absolute must for every traveler. Block out light and 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. I always have my eye mask in an easy-to-reach spot in my bag no matter where I’m heading.
So, which item will be the most useful travel gift for the traveler in your life?
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