Stocking stuffers! My favorite kind of Christmas gift.
If you have a world traveler in your family or circle of friends and you’re struggling to think of a great gift for them, here are some ideas that will help. I’ve compiled a list of every small-sized gift I could think of that will make a great (and useful) stocking stuffer gifts.
It’s nice to recieve big items like luggage, but small gifts are important, too!
Stocking Stuffers World Travelers Will Love
Small gifts can be the most practical, which is really the only type of gift I truly like to receive. All of the following items will fit perfectly inside a Christmas stocking or a gift basket, as well as your sibling’s carry on luggage!
Most of them are well under $25, and many are only a few dollars! I included a couple items that sell for about $100, but they are GOOD gifts.
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Useful Travel Gear
Quick Dry Towel – Light, super absorbent, and compact. Every traveler should have at least one of these.
Wool Socks – A nice pair of thick wool socks can replace slippers in a backpacker’s limited luggage space.
Compression Socks – These socks will help keep the blood flowing on those 13+ hour long flights.
Travel Sewing Kit – This one has just the essentials (no scissors since they are potentially not permitted in carry-on luggage) perfect for small repairs.
Bottle Opener/Cork Screw Keychain – Helpful when sharing a six-pack or bottle of wine at the beach with new travel friends.
Carabiner Clips – These multi-purpose tools are just handy to have around. I use them as a keychain, to wrangle loose hair elastics, and to clip my water bottle to my daypack.
Safety Pins – Another practical and multi-purpose tool for travelers. “Lock” your zippers
Glasses Repair Kit – You never think you’ll need a repair kit until you NEED it.
Toiletry Stocking Stuffers
I think it’s weird when I don’t get toiletries as stocking stuffers.
Colgate Wisps – For fresh breath on the plane or upon arrival to your new destination.
Travel Size Toiletries – If they have an affinity for a particular brand, why not help them build a little stockpile for their travels. For instance, I will only use Aquafresh Extreme Clean toothpaste, but it’s not widely available in travel size. So, I stock up whenever I find it.
Travel Size Toiletries Containers – Alternatively, gift them some reusable containers that can be filled with their favorite toiletries. It’s less wasteful and they’ll be able to bring exactly what they want.
Toothbrush Covers – Protects toothbrushes from germs, dirt, spilled sunscreen.
Pill Container – Just large enough to hold enough pills for a weekend away or to carry in a purse or daypack. Believe it or not, I have used the same pill container since high school. It’s small and round with three compartments inside and has a flip-top (like this one).
Sheet Masks – Great for the first night in a new destination after a long travel day. According to TSA, they are not considered a liquid, so they can be packed in carry-on luggage! I’m partial to the TonyMoly I’m Real series (I’m Real Red Wine Pore Care is the best!) and Yes To Grapefruit.
Hand Sanitizer – Is this not equally a stocking stuffer and travel staple? There’s a variety of brands out there, but I’m partial to the scented ones at Bath & Body Works. They are less than $2 each, plus there is always great deals around the holidays.
Diva Cup – Takes up a fraction of the space that a pile of tampons will, and so much better for women’s bodies and the environment.
Aquaphor – Perfect multi-use item. Link to 3 Things I Always Carry.
Solid Perfume or Cologne – Solid scents won’t take up much room or contribute to liquid limits. I have one that I received as a gift from a friend’s trip to France (it smells like Clinique Happy), but there are so many brands to choose from! Pacifica is a brand well known for carrying delicious-smelling solid perfume. Then, there’s O’Doud’s, Walton Wood Farm, and The Beer Soap Company among many others for scents men might like.
Electronic Stocking Stuffers
Universal Travel Adapter – Adapt typical US electronics to use standard UK, EU, and AU outlets in one interchangeable unit. *Not for use with hair dryers, curling or straightening irons.
Cordless Power Strip with USB Ports – Increases the number of available outlets at airports, coffee shops, etc. Plus, it has two USB ports to charge additional USB powered devices like cell phones and e-readers.
USB Hub – Increases the number of USB ports on laptops, which is especially great for people with MacBook Air models with only two ports.
Wireless Mouse – Wireless should just be the new normal. Down with cords that just take up space, create clutter, and get in the way!
Portable Charger – Charges phones while on the go several times over and fits in purses and pockets!
Mini Power Cord – No more need to carry around a long cord to use while charging your phone or tablet on the go. This mini power cord lives right on your keychain or clipped right to your daypack.
Stocking Stuffers for Hostel Living
Luggage Locks – Use to secure stuff in lockers or lock the zippers on your bags together if no lockers are available. I like these locks with a flexible shackle (fits all locker sizes) and an easy to remember three-digit combination code.
Headlamp – I’ve seen Black Diamond headlamps get run over by a car and still work, so that brand is my go-to. Choose any brand you like, but make sure it has dim and red-light settings to be most useful in a hostel setting.
Sleep Mask – Sleep soundly, even with roommates who turn the lights on and off in the middle of the night.
Ear Plugs – Same as above, but for snorers, bachelorette parties down the hall, or if your room happens to be on the same floor as the hostel bar.
White Noise Machine – I use a fan for white noise even through the winter, but a fan isn’t exactly travel-friendly. This machine is a good alternative, but it’s polite to ask roommates if it’s ok with them.
Sink Stopper – Not all sinks around the world automatically come with plugs.
Laundry Detergent Sheets – One dissolvable sheet per sink load of laundry on the go.
Camera + Accessories Stocking Stuffers
Memory Cards – Extra storage for all the photos travelers take. Memory ranges from 16GB to 256GB.
Portable External Hard Drive – I use this exact 2T model on a daily basis. I brought it to New Zealand, too. I backed up all the photos I took during the trip, backed up my laptop in case anything ever happened to it, and stored 5-6 digital movie files on it. That last one came in handy because the internet was horrible for streaming movies! Don’t forget a case for this one, too!
Cell Phone Accessory Stocking Stuffers
Pop Socket – I always get funny looks from people who don’t yet know the utter brilliance of Pop Sockets. My phone has been saved from many accidental drops over the years since I began using these.
Cell Phone Dry Bag – Necessary for anyone who does water sports or tours Hobbiton in the rain. Larger dry bags can hold more, but at the very least protect your phone!
Cell Phone Case – This will totally depend on the type of phone and clutz-level of the individual. I don’t like bulky cases and there’s a reason why my last two iPhones have been gold and rose gold – I like to LOOK at the color! So, I have this slim clear cover and a good screen protector.
Attachable Camera Lenses – Forego a camera altogether with a great set of attachable lenses for cell phones.
Stocking Stuffers to Stay Organized
Coin Purse – Losing coins overseas is just like flushing money down the toilet. A handful of coins in Europe or New Zealand could be worth twenty dollars or more!
Small Zip Wallet – A zip wallet helps identification and credit cards stay put, preventing them from accidentally spilling out getting lost.
Packable Reusable Bag – These fit in the palm of your hand when packed up, but can fit tons of groceries or all the extra souvenirs being lugged home after a trip abroad. I have one from Eddie Bauer like this one, which I love because it fits crossbody comfortably and I use it almost daily. I prefer this style, but there are many different styles and brands to choose from. Chico Bags come with their own carabiner to clip it to a purse or daypack.
Portable Scale – Helps save travelers from paying unexpected fees at the airport.
Luggage Tags – In case your luggage doesn’t make it to the same destination as you, luggage tags (as long as you actually put your contact information in them) help airline employees identify it and get it to you, hopefully quickly. They also help add an identifying feature to all the similar-looking luggage passing by on the conveyor belt.
Cord Organizers – These gear ties can wrangle all types of cords to stay organized. They are also good for a variety of other uses like securing a loaf of bread closed. I have a set of 3-inch ties, but the 6-inch ties have been the most useful.
Read more: Stop Losing Your Stuff While Traveling
Entertainment Stocking Stuffers
Travel Games – A simple deck of cards or set of dice will take up little space in a traveler’s luggage. Then they can pass time waiting at airports or make friends at the hostel. No need for packaged games, the rules for Yahtzee, Farkle, and other games that use dice can be found online.
Gift Cards – It may not be a creative gift, but gift cards let travelers choose exactly what they want or need from their favorite stores. I suggest giving a gift card to iTunes so they can purchase music or movies while they travel. Amazon gift cards are great for any kind of gear they need or to stock up on e-books.
Pocket Phrase Books – Help them learn the language of their next destination. I like DK Eyewitness Travel Phrase Books.
Other travel gear and packing list posts (more gift ideas for travelers!)
- Ultimate Healthy Travel Kit
- Brittany’s Wishlist: A Gift Guide for People Who Love Travel
- Must Have Travel Items
- Three Things I Always Travel With
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