Stocking stuffer ideas for travel enthusiasts

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The first snowfall happened in Minnesota, which means I’m in a full holiday planning mode! My apartment is fully decked out in cranberries and pinecones for the winter months. I’m also racking my brain on what to purchase family and friends. And, as always, I keep stumbling across amazing holiday gifts and travel stocking stuffers for me and my non-existent twin.
Since my gift guide for travel enthusiasts was so successful, I’ve decided to make a travel gift guide devoted specifically to travel stocking stuffers! Opening stockings on Christmas day is one of my favorite traditions, so I’ve rounded up a list of gifts that can fit into the stockings and be a wonderful surprise for your travel-obsessed friends.
In the same fashion as my gift guide, I’ve broken down these travel stocking stuffers into categories for different types of travelers.

Backpack traveler

Backpack travelers are aficionados of the outdoors. Camping in the middle of the wilderness is home and adventure is always calling. These travelers don’t always have to have a backpack strapped to their back. They are the travelers that live and breathe for adventures in the outdoors.

1. Literature for their next destination

Two small gifts that are essential for backpackers is inspiration and information for their upcoming trips. I love gifting a waterproof map of their next destination and a guidebook to them. Both of these gifts are thoughtful and useful to them.
Another piece of literature that I love to give is The Wilderness Survival Guide. I gave this to my brother a couple of Christmases ago and I’ve jammed packed with useful information. I also love that the cover was water-resistant and made of a rubber material so it would withstand the wear and tear in the wild.

2. Waterproof phone pouch

I love to go snorkeling, but I’m unable to capture all my memories because I haven’t purchased a GoPro, yet. A cheaper alternative would be to purchase your special someone a waterproof phone pouch. The description of this pouch says it’s able to go underwater up to 20 meters. Next time I go snorkeling, I would love to have one of these. Even a dry bag for kayakers and canoers would be a great gift.

3. Small camping gear

Other great stocking stuffers are useful, compact camping equipment. This can be small flashlights, an abundance of spare batteries, fire starting kit, a compass… the list can go on and go.
Gifting some unexpected camping utilities is great as well. As a camp guru, there are some unique camping items I scored. For your upbeat bud, gift them a camping flask. To that funny girlfriend who always complains about popping a squat in the woods, give her a female travel urinal. The ideas for this category are endless and can be very entertaining.

4. Foldable travel pillow

As a backpacker, space is highly-coveted real estate. So anything that collapsible or foldable is ideal. A travel pillow is also a necessity so one that’s also compact would be ideal. This foldable travel pillow is comfortable and durable.

5. Travel towel

Another gift that’s often overlooked is a travel towel. This microfiber towel set is great because it dries quickly and rolls up tightly in your suitcase. I never vacation without my microfiber, travel towel because it’s so handy!

Luxury traveler

These travelers find high end experiences the most enjoyable. Whether that’s dining at a five-star restaurant or staying at a world-renowned villa, luxury travelers venture in style.

1. Lipsense – or other makeup

Anything that’s travel-sized makes me go gaga and want to spend my money! I also love products that are fuss-free like Lipsense. Lipsense is a lip color that lasts up to 18 hours without smudging or fading.

2. Jewelry organizer

I love to keep my outfits simple while vacationing, so jewelry is essential to dress them up and make them look different. Keeping this jewelry safe and organized is key while traveling. There are a few DIY ways to organize your jewelry while traveling, but I prefer traditional jewelry cases. Perfect for the luxury traveler in your life.

3. Umbrella

This seems kinda silly, but it’s one of the most overlooked items when packing for a vacation. It’s always important to pack one because you’ll never know when you’ll need it. To make it fun get the umbrella in a fun print that they would enjoy.

4. In-flight essentials kit

Putting together an in-flight essentials kit for your loved one would be a great way to show that you care. Some simple and thoughtful items that immediately come to mind are an eye mask, some of their favorite chocolate or snacks, earplugs, a good pair noise-canceling headphones and some sleepytime tea.

5. iPhone tripod

Most travelers often want to document the beautiful places that they see. That’s been even more enhanced by us living in the digital age. A thoughtful gift for a luxury traveler would be a tripod for their mobile device so they can easily take selfies and great landscape shots of their travels.

Bonus: If they are only using a mobile device to document their travels, a fisheye lens or wide angle lens might be another unique gift for them.

Quirky traveler

A quirky traveler lives in the moment and doesn’t worry about the material things. They are a combination of a budget traveler and an adventure seeker. Travel stocking stuffers for this traveler should sentimental and unique.

1. A vacation experience

If you know the country they’re visiting is well known for their wine or beer, gift them a tasting session. Otherwise, other experience vouchers that would be a crowd-pleaser would be a restaurant voucher, exclusive tour, adventurous activity or set up a one-on-one guide through the region with a local. You can find unique experiences like this through Airbnb or even Tripadvisor has great reviews about tours.
Otherwise, these travelers are also infatuated with exploring their own homes and neighborhoods, so offering a local tour would also be great. (Side note: this also works as a great gift for budget travelers!)

2. Journal to write in for their next vacation

Documenting our travels is so immensely important. In the digital age, it’s often documented on our Instagram or Facebook feeds, but having a tangible representation of our travels is also important.

If your loved one has a way with words or is even a chronic doodler gift them a journal to jot down their thoughts in while on the road. This is a gift they’ll look back on years later and be able to relive those special moments.

3. Traveling board games

There’s one thing that’s evident about quirky travelers, they love to have fun! For the sake of having fun, give them a few items that can help ease boredom at the airport or on a long road trip. I especially love this travel game, which is a road trip scavenger hunt. Miniature or digital versions of their favorite games would also be a thoughtful gift. As kids, my brother and I had mini game board sets that we always used on road trips.

4. Buy their favorite hobby travel-sized

Piggybacking off the miniature board games gift, try to find your loved one’s passion travel-sized. For instance, if they are an avid painter buy them a travel-sized painting kit that they can bring with them on their travels. Gift this with some travel-friendly canvases or sketchbooks and it’s a wonderful bundle.

5. Help them trace their roots

Quirky travelers are amazed at how the world works and how they are part of the bigger picture. Their endless curiosity is constantly fueling their travel whims.
This suggestion is actually based off of a gift that I received from my grandmother many years ago. My grandmother loved history, which eventually evolved into her love of genealogy. She spent years compiling my family’s history into a book and even venturing to countries where my family had roots to document the little villages and countryside they lived.
I’m not saying you have to write a book, but offer your loved one a glimpse into the live’s of their ancestors. A great starter gift would be a DNA testing kit so they can learn what roots they have. Or, if you’re fairly familiar with the loved one’s family history, purchasing them a family tree painting would be heartfelt.

Techy traveler

The world revolves around technology for these travelers. They love to be constantly connected and up-to-date on the newest gadgets on the market. Anything that has lots of bells and whistles and isn’t ordinary is a great gift for a techy traveler.

1. Automatic translator

This is a gift that I drool over and it’s so handy! If your loved one isn’t fluent in multiple languages, it might be a good idea to purchase them a voice translator. The translator analyzes what individuals are saying real-time and can help travelers and locals communicate with each other. This would make their travelers a little less stressful, especially if they struggle with learning new languages.

Other the other hand, if your special someone loves languages and learning them buy them a subscription or lessons to learn another dialect. There are some free apps they can download to learn languages, but personally, I find lessons and speaking with someone a better way to perfect my language skills. A popular brand is Rosetta Stone, which is a computer program. There are numerous languages that they can learn, which is an advantage it has over free apps that only offer a few select languages.

2. Travel adapters

This is the most logical gift, but it comes in so handy! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten to a country and realized that I brought the wrong charger and/or adapter. I especially love this travel adapter, which has all the different variety all in one. That way they don’t need to remember which specific charger they need, they just take the all-in-one cube. Also, this is great if they’re traveling to numerous countries, which might have different outlets.

3. A travel cord organizer

When it comes to organizing, I strive to be Monica Geller.


So believe me when I say this travel cord organizer is to die for. There’s nothing worse than fumbling around for a charging cable or adapter in your backpack and not being able to find it. But, you can find the other five cords that you’ll only use once or twice on the trip. This keeps all the cords compact and in their specific spots. This is something that’s definitely on my Christmas list!

4. Camera accessories

I previously mentioned for luxury travelers that phone camera accessories are a perfect gift. This is also true for techy travelers. Techy travelers are drawn to anything that’s complex by nature, so give them a new toy to mess around with.

One of my favorite camera accessories to give people is a camera remote. This will completely change their photography game and it’s a fun accessory to play with while on vacation. 

5. Luggage scale

Again, this is a very logical and useful gift for travelers. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to the airport and worried whether my bag was going to be overweight. I’d love a small scale that I can bring with me to reassure me I’m always under the limit and to avoid those pesky, overpriced baggage fees.

(Side note: If you’re struggling to get everything to fit into your bag, read my tips on how to pack more efficiently). 

Great stocking stuffers for any kind of traveler

1. Travel mugs or travel-themed mugs

I’m obsessed with caffeine. Coffee and tea are my muses, and I would be head over heels if I received a travel mug and travel-themed mug in my stocking. I particularly love this travel mug, which would be great for camping. Depending on your special someone, pick a coffee mug that would fit their needs. If they’re constantly on the go, think about getting a thermos style coffee mug. If they work from home, give them a mug with a clever travel quote, or better yet, a heat sensitive mug that’s travel related.

2. Travel-themed stockings

This is a handcrafted gift that anyone would appreciate. I scoured the internet looking for a website that sold travel Christmas stockings and came up empty-handed. So, this is the ideal opportunity for you to embrace your creativity and make them a one-of-a-kind Christmas stocking.

I also scoured Pinterest for design inspiration for this DIY project and also came up with zilch results. So here are a few ideas I conjured up: Santa on a beach or with an airplane flying overhead, a map of the globe with Christmas landmarks pinned onto it, airmail style, stitched passport stamps, or find some travel fabric and embroider their initials on the front.

3. Travel book

Books are often overlooked as travel stocking stuffers. People think they sometimes come off as impersonal or boring. I find that the contrary is true! This could be a new bestseller for them to enjoy on their upcoming beach vacay or even a book that will inspire their travel whims. My personal favorite is Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck, but there are hundreds of others you can choose from.

4. Wool socks

As a kid, we all dreaded getting socks and clothes for Christmas. Now, as an adult, I rejoice whenever I open anything made out of material! This is also very practical for all travelers.

5. Ornaments

One of the souvenirs that I always purchase is a Christmas ornament. But I also equally enjoy DIY Christmas ornaments. If you collect sand, you can turn them into sand apothecary jar ornaments. Otherwise, you can always decoupage maps onto ornament orbs to decorate your tree. This is a great way to incorporate your travels into your holiday celebrations.

Hopefully, this stocking stuffers gift guide gave you some inspiration for the special someones in your life. If you have any additional gift suggestions leave them in the comments below.

Happy holidays!

About the Author

Quirky Globetrotter

Hi! I'm Martha! The mastermind behind Quirky Globetrotter a feminist travel blog. Quirky Globetrotter is devoted to telling narratives devoted to female solo travel and hidden gems worldwide with an emphasis on intersectional feminism and how that impacts travel on a global and local level.

20 thoughts on “Stocking stuffer ideas for travel enthusiasts

  1. I’m amazed by the variety of gift ideas you have come up with. Many are completely different to the countless ‘gift guide posts’ you can find on the internet. You obviously have put some thought into this and listed some from experience, where people were really pleased for receiving such things.

  2. I love this! I think the travel towel and pillow are great ideas that I need to get my friend that travels a lot (I already have them). I also like the idea of getting a travel diary and literature for upcoming trips!

  3. I love the idea of making stockings for people….now if only I were crafty in any way!
    Also, it’s great to give travelling gifts to kids…make them in to the people you want/need them to be by plying them with useful travel gifts!

  4. I haven’t heard of lipsense, but I think I may just buy it for myself. I’m a lipstick girl, but who wants to keep reapplying lipstick in the middle of the woods? Who even brings lipstick on hikes, so a lip tint makes sense lol. I also like the water proof phone pouch idea, which comes in handy in the rain/snow and the travel adaptor is my holy grail of travel items, since my phone has kept me alive and not lost on hikes. These are great gift ideas!

    1. Lipsense is a life saver! Literally wore it all day today and only had to reapply the gloss three times, which was after I ate. It’s absolutely great and is better than a tint because it’s a wide variety of bold colors. I love it! Yes, handy phone accessories are also a brilliant present to give. Thanks for reading!

  5. You’ve given so many great gift options here, I’ll send this to my partner for inspiration! I like the lipsense, never heard of that before but it sounds useful, as does the iphone tripod, I need that in my life! However, my favourite is the translator; I’m sure that would come in very handy when travelling the globe!

    1. I’m dying to get the translator too! And honestly, I was never a makeup girl because it’s time-consuming but Lipsense has changed that for me. I love applying that to my lips and looking daring! It’s definitely out of my comfort zone but it’s fun to experiment.

  6. I really love this list! I specifically love the camera accessories and travel books. Travel mugs seem nice too, since I’m in love with hot chocolate and these mugs are the best in the winter!

  7. There are so many awesome travel stocking stuffers on this list that’s hard to pick my favourite! I can’t say I know what gift guide I’d fall under, but I would definitely love some travel-related books, a cute journal and a travel towel in my stocking this year! Thanks for the great gift ideas!

    1. That’s OK! You don’t have to fall under just one category, I simply did that to try to make the gift guide a little easier to navigate. You can potentially fall into all the categories. 😉

  8. The two things I need most from your lists are waterproof bags, and decent board games! It rains so much here that dry bags are a necessity, and they are actually hard to obtain. I like AquaPac. Could you send me one? I also miss board games like Risk, and card games here are just not popular. Luckily, since I converted to Islam, I don’t have to celebrate Christmas any more, so it’s saved me a fortune in gifts, although I do now give significantly more to charity!

    1. I’m a huge fan of board games, so I try to convert everyone to being a board game lover, so there’s more people to play with.. 😉 Haha, and I’m surprised that dry bags aren’t more readily available. I’m sure we can work something out. 😉 Happy holiday season to you! Hope you enjoy some relaxation!

      1. Ahh you can get dry bags, but they are made from industrial grade rubberised plastic, although it’s a special kind which only lasts 5 minutes and cost $35! As for underwater bags, I am still looking. Sometimes the rain here is literally like standing under someone emptying a bucket.

  9. I love the way you have categorized the various gifts. It also, made me realize that I am a bit of everything – backpacker, luxury traveler, techy etc. I want something from each list 😉 Maybe I will use your list to make my own. Or is that being too greedy ? 😉

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