Christmas gifts for the traveller in your life

It’s that time of year where we’re all desperately trying to think of things to buy for each other. I’m all for buying each other goats (especially when they’re half price), but it’s nice to have a little something to wrap and put under the tree. Here are some small gifts that the traveller in your life might appreciate. Tried and tested by us, satisfaction pretty much guaranteed.

All you need to do is choose some wrapping paper…

1. Universal sink plug

This is genuinely the best photo I have of our sink plug, and I’ve lent it to somebody, so no more photo opportunities at present!

This bendy bit of plastic (pictured bottom right) will get you a hot bath, or a viable clothes washing vessel, when the sink or bath has no plug (which is surprisingly common). It’s a godsend when you get low on undies and hand-washing becomes a necessity, or when the only thing you want is a nice hot bath, but some fool has nicked the plug. I’ve had mine for years, I think it might have been a gift, and we use it all the time on the road.

Where to buy: Lifeventure

2. Dry bags

Dry bags are great for organising your backpack, and keeping everything safe from unexpected downpours, floods, water fights, other people’s leaky luggage, etc. I keep my clothes in one bag, electronics in another, charging cables in a third one, and passport and other paperwork in a fourth. And they come in bright colours, so you can easily spot what you’re looking for in your pack. I’ve got one really nice Ortlieb one, and a few cheaper ones that came in a multipack of smaller sizes and do the job just fine for backpacking.

Where to buy: Cotswold Outdoor, Sports Direct, or your local outdoor shop.

3. Hammam towel

I love my hammam towel so much, I don’t think I’ll ever buy any other type of towel again. They’re as light and compact as a technical travel towel, and dry just as quick. But unlike a travel towel they actually feel nice on your skin, and they look pretty too.

And, as well as the obvious towel function, these also double as a blanket to ward off bus aircon, a sarong, a headscarf, an actual scarf, a curtain for your bunkbed, a sheet to sleep under…

Where to buy: Hammamas

4. Spork

The spork is really the only cutlery the world needs. And if you’re feeling fancy, you can get a spork titanium.

And on the 8th day, God decided that Adam and Eve needed a multipurpose silverware item. Thus, the spork, a combination of the pronged wrath of the fork and the carrying capacity of the spoon. Sporks are thought to be the most holiest of silverware.

Urban Dictionary

Where to buy: Blacks, or your local outdoor shop.

5. Cable organiser

Image from

Save your loved-one hours of frustration, give the gift of organised cables. This is the only item on the list I don’t own, but I really wish I did. If you’re craftily minded this would be a nice homemade gift project, but otherwise there are plenty of pre-made options out there.

Where to buy: Make your own, or this vegan leather one from uncommon goods is cute.

6. Solid shampoo bar

A solid shampoo bar is much lighter and smaller than a bottle of shampoo, so ideal for travel. And as long as you don’t leave it in the shower to get all wet and gooey, solid shampoo removes the risk of a catastrophic shampoo leak over everything in your backpack. Win. Plus, no packaging = planet friendly.

Where to buy: Lush (and Ethique in NZ and Australia).

7. Trusty paperback

Sometimes all you need is a good book. Ideally a nice battered, secondhand paperback you can carry about easily and leave at a bookswap when you find your next read. E-readers are great for really long journeys, but most of the time a paperback will do the job just as well, if not better, and for a fraction of the cost.

Where to buy: all good bookshops.

Happy Christmas shopping!


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