We budget travellers love getting gifts that support our wanderlust addiction. Everything imaginable from luggage and clothing options to gadgets and doo-dads are marketed for and much appreciated by the traveller. We need those big items like suitcases and camera equipment but it's often the little things that make a big difference to a traveller. It's easy to get distracted by the latest shiny object but what a true traveller wants is something that is small, lightweight, and above all, useful. Here are some of the things the traveller in your life wants and can be put inside a Christmas Stocking.
1. Silicone Travel Bottles
I really like the refillable soft-sided silicone travel bottles for my shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. They are available in a variety of sizes and colours. I use the 100ml (3 ounce) size packed into my checked bag.
Mine have a suction cup on the back that I can stick to the shower wall. After several leaks from clear hard plastic containers, I prefer these. I have not had any issues with leaking.
2. Zippered Passport Pouch
A zippered passport pouch with a wrist strap is perfect for getting through the airport. With pockets for a passport, boarding passes, visas, money and a pen, everything is at hand and readily available as the traveller moves through security.
There are many different versions and materials available. You'll have to stuff this into the stocking fairly early as it is pretty big. Gift cards can be tucked inside... jus' sayin'
3. Luggage Tags
Luggage tags are constantly being lost. They get pulled and ripped; they get stretched and impossible to read. It's a good bet that your loved one needs a new one. If they don't need one right now, they will very soon. Try and find one that "fits" your traveller.
4. Electrolyte Powder
Electrolytes are chemicals that conduct electricity when dissolved in water. They regulate nerve and muscle function, hydrate the body, balance blood acidity and pressure, and help rebuild damaged tissue.
Athletes have known the restorative value of electrolyte drinks for a very long time. Travellers to hot climates will discover adding electrolytes to a morning water bottle improves energy and results in a noticeable lessening of muscle fatigue. There are many flavours available. I like the Nuun brand for the flavours and the small tubes which are perfect for packing. It took way too many years for me to discover this tip.
5. Compression Socks
Legs and feet that become swollen after a long flight are uncomfortable, but not uncommon. Spending a lot of time in a confined space, unable to move around much, the leg veins have to work harder to circulate blood back up to the heart. This can cause pressure and swelling in the lower legs. Compression socks are a popular method of preventing this.
6. Luggage Locks
Every traveller needs locks for the zippers on their bags. Yes, they are small and are definitely not going to stop anyone determined to get past them but locks will slow a thief or cause a thief to look for easier targets.
TSA (Travel Sentry) approved locks have a mechanism that can be opened by one of 7 key types. I can't keep all the little keys straight, and my key chain of little keys gets lost in the corners of my bags, so I like the ones that also include an option to use with a combination or key.
7. Kindle Gift Certificate
Many travellers are readers. Conversations with other travellers suggest that many were inspired to travel from the stories they read as children. The freedom to carry a whole library within a device is an amazing gift to the travelling reader... even those that adore the smell and feel of "real books".
Book-loving travellers will be thrilled to get a kindle gift certificate. The kindle app is likely already loaded on their devices. If it isn't, then you've just given another gift by introducing them to the ease of reading on the road.
8. Power Adapters
Power outlets are different all over the world. When in a different country, adapters are needed to charge up our electronic devices, like phones, laptops, cameras, and tablets.
Travellers always need to charge up devices. Most travellers have forgotten and left multiple adapters in outlets all over the world. More will always be welcomed.
9. LifeStraw Portable Water Filter
The Lifestraw filters water to ensure potability. Water is suitable for consumption in most areas of the world, but there are destinations where this isn't known or the traveller is in the wilderness. This little device is easy to tuck into a day bag (or stocking!) and provides peace of mind in those dodgy situations.
10. Eye Mask
All travellers will appreciate an eye mask for plane and train travel, but a good quality eye mask becomes essential for sleeping in rooms with a lot of light bleed or in a shared group-travel situation.
Look for a design with soft, light-blocking fabric with a comfortable strap. Thousands of sleep masks have been left in the seat pockets of trains and plains. Your traveller has likely left one of them.
Plus a bonus..... Laundry Supplies
Last but not least is a traveller's clothesline. It's simple and small and can attach to almost anything safely. The length is adjustable and takes up very little room. A length of cord is often useful when travelling, so a clothesline such as this one is multi-functional. If your loved one is travelling for longer than a week or so, they will need to do laundry. A clothesline is much more efficient than trying to f