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Useful travel gifts and gadgets. There are a million around. It’s always fun to wonder about that one thing that might have made a journey go a bit smoother, especially with today’s technology. And what about being more eco-friendly? A few of the 27 items below, slipped in your luggage, might enhance the journey next time.
Tip: Click on the text link or the picture to find more information about each item!
Useful Travel Gifts: Eco-Friendly
Lifestraw Personal Water Filter
I have wanted to carry some sort of water filter since I started travelling to reduce the number of plastic water bottles I use. Hopefully to zero. It bothered me A LOT in SE Asia that I was not equipped with an eco-friendly gadget. This next leg of the journey to South America, my LifeStraw Personal Filter and I will be contributing to the sustainable travel movement. I’m challenging myself… how many plastic bottles can I refuse?
While this was a great try, I personally did not like the Lifestraw. My next adventure, I will be purchasing a Steri-Pen which I have heard rave reviews about.
If you have any other suggestions, please let me know!
Stainless Steel Water Bottle
I love my stainless steel water bottle. It keeps drinks cold for 24 hours (such a treat on a hot day) and keeps drinks hot for 12 hours. It is amazing how many places there are to fill up water bottles. Stay on the lookout and don’t be shy to ask at restaurants or cafés. I do not have this exact water bottle but the one I carry is similar and I don’t go anywhere without it.
Cotton Bags with Drawstring
In Vancouver, I purchased two cotton bags with drawstrings similar to these ones. I have already used them to hold a sandwich and snacks on the plane. My goal is to refuse the airplane meal when it is offered (single-use plastic) and pull out my cotton bags (instead of Ziploc) that will be filled with nutritious food.
Solid Shampoo and Conditioner
Travelling with carry-on luggage only, solid bars of shampoo and conditioner are a life-saver. There are fewer liquids to cram in that one-litre plastic bag and the added bonus? Another reduction in plastic use.
The above shampoo bar is from Amazon while I purchased my solid shampoo bar from The Soap Dispensary in Vancouver, Canada.
I purchased my Jungle conditioner bar from Lush.
If you are switching over to a solid shampoo bar, it might take a few tries to find the one that is just right for your hair. I am in love with the idea but haven’t found one that doesn’t make my hair feel extra greasy…
Yup, these toothy tabs (solid toothpaste) are a big winner. I like the peppermint ones purchased from the Lush store but these dark ones contain charcoal. Chomp and swirl and voilà – there’s a toothpaste party in your mouth! Although in a plastic container, I am assured each time I purchase these, that it is made was recycled plastic. I weighed up the waste factor. Tiny tubes of toothpaste that barely last a week were the big loser.
If you are going to use the toothpaste tabs, they are a great match with a bamboo toothbrush. Using bamboo which is biodegradable will save on more plastic toothbrushes in the landfill.
Reusable Tote Bag
I love having my reusable tote bag tucked away in my daypack. It’ so useful when picking up a few groceries and it also doubles as a beach bag. Most people I know have one of these. But do you travel with yours?!
Stainless Steel or Bamboo Cutlery
I used to travel with a plastic Spork but when it snapped in half, I had to opt for plastic cutlery. I love my stainless steel set in its handy neoprene bag. It’s so useful in food markets, on picnics or while travelling from one place to another (love those train and bus picnics on your lap)! But quite frankly, airport security didn’t like it and although I left my knife at home, the fork was confiscated also. I wonder what I could get up to with a fork?
I now travel with a bamboo cutlery set. Airport security is much happier with me.
If you are curious about travelling in a more eco-friendly way, check out my detailed list of Eco-Friendly Travel Products.
Useful Travel Gifts: Techie Gadgets
USB Travel Power Adaptor
A travel power adapter is essential for every traveller to allow them to use different plugs around the world. A USB version is best as you can charge three or more devices at once. I have had one before that kept falling out of the wall. This one is sturdier and does the trick!
Wise Tiger Wifi Adapter
This makes me so excited. I have checked into so many different types of accommodation that promise wifi only to find that the promise equals one faint wifi bar. I know, I know…it really shouldn’t matter – go down the street to a café or read a book instead. If you have a traveller in your life that is on the go (or maybe on the run 😉 this wifi adapter will be a welcome addition to their luggage.
Getihu 10000 mAh Portable Power Bank
Having a portable power bank takes the worry out of losing power on long travel days. Want to listen to music or read your Kindle App or iBooks? Editing photos on the run? With this portable power bank, there is no stress about running out of power! And what about that handy light beam?!
Belkin 3 Outlet Mini Travel Swivel Charger
Fighting for outlets in your hotel room or hostel lounge? And… who travels with more than one adapter? I have sat in an Air BnB with countless outlets but only one adapter to get everything charged. One at a time the laptop charges, then the camera batteries… Useful travel gift? I say, “Yes” to this useful travel gift!
Backing up your data is essential if you travel with a laptop. I back up my photographs daily. I travel with two of these slim, sturdy hard drives. One is always with me and one I leave hidden somewhere in my luggage or room. When I was robbed in Austin, I was so thankful that I had 2 hard drives as one was taken. Even for a short trip, it is a good idea to back up your photos on an external drive.
Useful Travel Gifts: Clothing
Icebreaker Women’s Tech Long Sleeve Crewe Top
I love my Icebreaker Long Sleeve. I wanted a piece of clothing that could act as a warm base layer and also look nice on its own. It doesn’t take up much space in my luggage.
ExOfficio Women’s Give-N-Go Bikini Mesh Brief
Yup. Actually ordered and tried these undies out. They are comfy and dry really quickly after a swish in the sink!
On a long flight, I find compression socks super useful and good for my circulation. These socks can be used for running, cycling, skiing and long treks also.
Litom LED Headlamp
I know we have flashlights on our phones, but somehow I love bringing a headlamp. I find it useful in many travel situations and the bonus is my hands are free!
Eagle Creek Silk Undercover Bra Stash
I never go anywhere without it. When travelling, that is! Tuck your back up credit card and some cash in it and you’re covered!
Useful Travel Gifts: Packing
Eagle Creek Pack-It Cube Set
Eagle Creek Packing Cubes help keep items in your backpack or suitcase organized. I love pulling out a packing cube and knowing what’s inside. Packing cubes save rummaging around in your luggage looking for that missing bathing suit bottom. I have not yet used compression cubes, but as I make the switch to being a “carry-on only” traveller I might have to try them out.
Currently, I use the small one for my tech cables, chargers and accessories.
Having a luggage scale is a lifesaver. No surprises when you get to the airport!
TSA Approved Luggage Locks
These locks are handy as the cable will fit through the zippers on any bags. No keys needed. Just remember the combination!
Useful Travel Gifts: Photos + Video
Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera
A lot of travellers these days use their phones exclusively for photographs and video. And the results are amazing. I love my new iPhone 7. To this day, my Sony A 6000 is my preferred piece of equipment and still accompanies me on my trips. Who knows? Maybe one day I will be a “phone-camera only” gal but not yet!
Sony 18-135mm F3.5-5.6
This lens, the 18- 135 mm, has become my everyday lens and I love its sharpness, zoom and versatility.
Cleaning Kit for DLSR/Mirrorless Camera
There is nothing worse than going to edit your fabulous photographs and finding dust spots…everywhere. Although fixable in photo editing programs. I am slowly learning that this kind of kit is indispensable – especially if you use it regularly.
Useful Travel Gifts: Luggage
I have been known to use a backpack, a large suitcase and now I try my darndest to use a carry-on size suitcase. Of course, it takes a lot of careful research to figure out the carry-on restrictions for different airlines. And… it takes some careful thought as to what to pack and what to leave behind. Wondering how to Pack Light is a useful post.
PacSafe Anti-Theft Portable Safe
I have considered purchasing this several times as a solo traveller. I recently was asked by a reader what to do with valuables when swimming. I would never leave things unattended at the beach. If you are a solo traveller, your choices are these: make friends and go to the beach with them, find accommodation near to the beach so that you can leave your things in your room or lock them up at the beach. This is one situation where the PacSafe portable safe would be super useful.
Useful Travel Gifts: Joyful Reminder
These pillow covers are bound to keep the travel spirit running high. The next plane ticket is bound to get booked!
Scratch the World
What traveller doesn’t grin just a little recalling their adventures? Give the gift of a scratch map. Scratch the country visited and tell the associated tales. You better put the kettle on!
Useful Travel Gifts: A Place to Stay
Bonus: House Sitting Link
Trying to think of a useful digital gift for that traveller on your list? What about a membership to Trusted Housesitters? If you like pets, it is a wonderful way to embrace slow travel and see what living in another country is really like! This code is a 20% discount. And this guide will answer all the questions about How to Become a House Sitter.
The traveller you surprise is going to be so happy! What would you add to the list?
“There is freedom waiting for you, on the breezes of the sky. And you ask, “What if I fall?” Oh but my darling, what if you fly?”