It’s holiday time again – Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa are right around the corner. In our family we exchange names for big gifts, and try to fulfill people’s wish lists. Sometimes this feels impersonal and not quite in the spirit of gift giving. But by filling stockings we get to be creative and show we really care! It’s fun to put together little treasures for family and friends, putting thought into what they might enjoy based on their interests.
If you’re buying for a traveler, you’re in luck. “Travel sized” is the perfect size for stocking stuffers! Gift ideas for travelers can be as simple as a travel lock or as luxurious as high end moisturizing lotions. This is where you get to show your insight into their travel style, and thus show your thoughtfulness. Does your friend’s trips take them to theme parks, or on luxury cruises? Road trips or European tours? Consider their style as you fill their stocking.
Not celebrating a holiday yourself? You can still have the fun of December gift giving by surprising guests or neighbors with a filled stocking or treasure bag. Begin with some holiday treats – cookies or candies – and add a few small, inexpensive gifts. You will brighten their day!
We’ve gathered some of our favorite compact travel gifts and accessories and hope you’ll find something that’ll work for you! If you run out of time or ideas, don’t worry – gift cards are always welcome.
Stocking stuffer gift ideas based on the traveler’s interests
Stocking stuffers for all travelers
Some items are basic to all travel types. These useful travel gifts are great to add to any traveler’s stocking.
||There are a lot of well designed bags with security features, but we find a simple solution, like attaching an s-biner to the bag, is enough to deter most thieves. They can, of course, unclip the s-biner, but it requires more time than most thieves have.
S-biner – attach a size one s-biner, a mini carabiner, to your backpack or handbag to add a level of security to your travels. These inexpensive clips will thwart most thieves. ($2-3) and are easier for you to manage than a combination lock when you want quick access to your gear.
|SD cards – traveling photographers will always appreciate extra SD cards. Prices vary according to quality and storage capacity.|
|Cables for electronics are the bane of most travelers. They take up a lot of space and tangle no matter what you do. We like using shorter cables to avoid some of these issues.4 inch lightning cable or a keychain carabiner charger like Skiva Cord2Go ($10-12)|
|I don’t go anywhere without hand lotion. Many hotels still provide a small bottle but I prefer to bring lotion I know I can rely on. Especially useful when camping or swimming!
A tin of solid lotion is a much appreciated gift for any traveler. Doesn’t need to be in the 3-1-1 liquid bag, environmentally responsible, and works well.Likewise, solid shampoo bars are a great stocking stuffer!
|Though there are more and more opportunities to charge your devices (don’t forget the USB outlet on most TVs…) we carry a backup charger just in case…
Backup charger – always a good idea to have a extra power source. I use the Ankar Powercore portable charger (on sale for $9.99)
|Luggage tags – the more unusual the easier luggage is to find on the arrivals carousel ($6-20)|
|As more and more hotels are eliminating those little toiletry bottles, it’s even more important to bring your own products from home. Silicone travel bottles make this easy.
Gotoobs – travel (and gym!) friendly containers for shampoos, and lotions. ($17-20)
|Kindle ereaders– my all-time favorite travel tech. Gift this to your favorite reader so they can take their library with them. ($99-129)
Note: remind them to download books from the library ahead of their trip to save money! Or try one of the Kindle free books.
Stocking Stuffers for Campers, Hikers, and Adventure Travelers
|My favorite flashlight/lantern. I keep this by my bed for power outages and took it camping and on safari.
Flashlight – for finding their way in unfamiliar places. This UCO Claris flashlight opens into a mini lantern. ($13-16)A newer version, the UCO Arka, doubles as a charger for USB devices. ($47-59)
|Quick dry travel towel and face cloth – these are compact and quick dry for everyday use.|
|Lifestraw – a filtration straw for taking most of the impurities out of questionable water sources. (~$17)|
|Solar Charger – for those going way off the grid. These devices can charge up with sunlight and power up your devices for the day ahead. ($20-30)|
Stocking Stuffers for Luxury Travelers
|Luggage tags – personalized luggage tags are a wonderful idea for the luxury traveler. Find a couple of their vacation pictures and have them put onto a tag on Shutterfly, or choose a tag with a map of their home base.|
|Travel wallet/document case. It’s lovely to have a bright, colorful wallet to keep your papers together. Bonus points for an RFID blocking sleeve for your passport.
There are many great ones available on Amazon, but for the real luxury traveler, spring for a full grain leather travel document wallet from Leatherology
|A step up from the basic travel wallet is the This is Ground Mod customizable portfolio. Your friend can add inserts to suit his needs. And it’s absolutely gorgeous!
If you’re not quite up to that price tag, how about the This Is Ground Lifestyle Roll? It’ll harness a lot of gear in a beautiful leather wrap.
|Headphones for flights – Luxury travelers will appreciate a gift of Bose headphones – whether noise-cancelling earphones or over-the-ear headphones.
(note: we are more than happy with our Beats over-the-ear headphones. Bluetooth when needed but with a cord to attach to in-flight entertainment. Reasonable luxury!)
Stocking Stuffers for Cruisers
|Luggage tag holders for cruise lines. An elegant solution to those sometimes ungainly baggage tags issued before the cruise!|
|Waterproof phone case – essential for beach days. It’s not smart to leave your valuables on the beach in some areas.|
|Beach towel clips are a fun way to hold a towel (and cover-up) in place on those windy decks. Also great in setting your lounge apart when you’ve lost your way after a nice swim.Lots of fun designs available! Choose one that you think your friend might like!|
|Portable speaker – this Waterproof speaker from JBL lets them play their own music in their cruise cabin.
(Also great at home for listening to audiobooks while cooking)
|Waterproof Camera – the technology is amazing today. We use our Nikon Coolpix camera for underwater pictures, but also for any photography we do while kayaking, sailing, etc. Great quality images!
Don’t forget to buy them a camera float. It has saved our camera on more than one occasion!
Stocking Stuffers for Overseas Travelers
The overseas traveler packs light, and usually faces a long flight to his destination. Here are suggestions for stocking gifts for someone traveling abroad.
|We have a box with a voltage converter and multiple plugs. This has worked great for our trips so far, but it’s bulky and noisy. We’d love one of these new compact Universal Travel Adapter. (hint, hint)
These universal travel adapters have plugs that come out of the unit for all overseas electrical outlets. USB ports on the side allow charging multiple devices at a time. ($10-15)
|Notebook for journaling – There are lots of travel journals available, but we like creating our own before the trip. Add important information, reservations, etc., a few pages for notes on locations, and leave the rest unstructured for journaling and doodling.|
|Socks! Always a holiday favorite 😉
Choose cozy slipper socks for airplanes and hotels or compression socks for preventing DVT during flights. These Sockwell compression socks are now available in fun patterns. ($15-30)
|Every world traveler needs a place to hide their valuables. You can get a simple money belt, but we find a scarf or a running belt more comfortable.
Scarf with pocket, or a fitness belt with pocket give your traveler some unusual places to hide valuables.Sholdit offers an affordable scarf in many colors and patterns. ($39-69)FlipBelt and SpiBelt make simple exercise belts with pockets for keys and phones.
|Headphones are essential on a long overseas flight. Most airlines will sell or distribute earphones, but we prefer to use our own for quality and cleanliness.
Noise-cancelling headphones are great for blocking out ambient noise. ($39 +) As we are usually traveling light, we go for a compact set – Bluetooth headphones are compact and work well with your technology (won’t connect to in-flight entertainment) – These SoundPEATs Bluetooth Earphones are small and magnetic – no more tangles! ($25)
|Packable backpack or tote – this Sea to Summit Travelling Light Ultra-Sil backpack can be pulled out for a day hike or shopping trip. ($33-40)|
Gift Cards for Travelers
|America the Beautiful, the U.S National Parks and Federal Recreations Lands annual pass – One year of entry into any of the U.S. National Parks!|
|Airbnb – redeemable online only|
|Tinggly gift certificate – “turn dreams into memories by gifting curated global experience gifts.”|
|Flytographer gift certificate – redeemable for a location photoshoot at any of their 150+ worldwide locations.|
|Amazon gift cards – because what won’t they find they need on Amazon??|
For more travel gift ideas read Travel Gifts They’ll Actually Use
Let us know if you have any other great travel gift ideas for inexpensive stocking stuffers. I might just have a stocking or two to fill!