Small and useful travel gifts – 2018 gift guide

When it’s that time of year to think of gifts for friends who are going traveling, the business traveler in your life, or even for the jet-setting family member, sometimes it’s so overwhelming because it seems like everything is so expensive. You don’t need to go big or go home because the small and useful travel gifts are typically the most used when flying around the world.

None of these are sponsored products and they are all items we use or are on our own wishlist. These links are affiliate links and they earn us commission when you use them to do your shopping.


Earbud holders (potentially the most useful travel gift on here!)

Earbuds are kind of personal. I know I’ve had a hard time finding a replacement for my Samsung ones that came with my phone years ago. So, let your giftee (is that a word?) find their favorite buds while still helping them out by getting them this small earbud holder. It’s perfect for tossing in a bag or a pocket. It’s one of the things I’ve been dying to get is something to hold my earbuds because they are always getting tangled up. And that’s a perfect little gift to give!

This is a simple and easy to use earbud holder. Just wrap it around the middle and snap it closed. Easy peasy. Think about how much time was lost to untangling these things. Best not to dwell on the past…but still…kind of sad.


Sim card case

If you are looking for gifts for friends traveling abroad often, then this might be the perfect small gift. Yes, these things have been on my wishlist, too! The sim card case is great for a couple reasons. Whenever you have to get a new sim card in a new country, you worry about losing your old one or even how to open up your phone to get the sim cards in and out. With this card, it’s all safe and secure AND you get the pin to open the card tray with adapters just in case.

Not even kidding, coming back from Morocco, Sean couldn’t remember where he had his Dutch SIM card. That wouldn’t have happened if we just bought this. Christmas present to ourselves? Probably!

sim card case

Looking for more gift ideas? Check out our practical gift guide for travelers.


Proper neck pillow

Why do I say proper? We’ve been through our share of neck pillows and we’ve found that the most comfortable is a memory foam with a connection at the front so it really keeps your head propped up. We got our favorite in the airport in Hong Kong, but the closest one I found for you to easily buy on Amazon is this neck pillow. It has exactly what we just mentioned. If I don’t have room in my bag (and who does?) I just wear it on the plane or hook it around a strap on my carry on bag. This is a super thoughtful and handy gift for anyone who travels long distances.



Gadget organizer

This little Bagsmart organizer changed how I pack for the plane. It basically weighs nothing but helps with my sanity. I pack all my cables (charging and adapting cables), external hard drive, thumb drives, memory cards, earbuds, pen, stylus, mouse, and other little bits. I know where everything is! There’s a novel idea for ya. Organization can make any trip easier and even for the non-blogger, the traveler you love probably travels with gadgets and this is an awesome little addition they didn’t know they would need and love.



Converter and adapter in one

This is my favorite adapter and converter, it’s a Milool converter and you’ve never heard of it before. I like to have an all-in-one just in case research doesn’t get done ahead of time and the voltage and/or sockets are different. We’re all busy, it’s okay. It has 2 USB plugs so you can still charge your phone, watch, camera, etc., but at the same time have something else plugged in. So, I also just use it when traveling in Europe to charge 3 things at once! I like it because it is easy to use and doesn’t have pieces to lose. I’ve had adapters with pieces — they inevitability get lost. Such is life.



Power bank for travel

This is a perfect gift for anyone with gadgets to charge. I keep bring up gadgets! Everyone does take cameras, phones, tablets, etc, right? Anyway, a power bank is a must because we use our phones for email, social media, browsing online, buying more gadgets, weather updates, texting, GPS, travel tickets, and oh so much more. The batteries just aren’t up for it.

We use an ultra-high capacity power bank with is a bit more costly than I wanted to include in this post, but if you are curious, it’s this Anker one with 20100mAh. But to stay within a reasonable budget, we’ll also suggest the Anker 10000mAh one because it’s super light and compact which makes it ideal for traveling. Bonus: it has fast charging which I love because I hate waiting. Who doesn’t?



These GoToobs have been a staple in my toiletry bag for years now. I only use the 2 oz. and the 1.25 oz. because they fit best in my liquids bag and we tend to fly carry-on only. Besides, it’s all you typically need. With the material, wide openings, and quality design, they are just so much easier to use than any other travel container.

No matter what you need to put in them, they are fine to use. The design is made so it can handle a variety of liquid consistencies so you can get the most product out when squeezing. And when it’s so little you can’t squeeze anymore, just screw off the top and use a finger!

Packing Cubes

These are small items that people just love because it changes the way they pack. Packing cubes are great because of how customizable they are to the type of bag you are using. It helps any traveler stay organized and just keep track of everything. Not to mention, it makes it easier to pack and get more in your bag! When you only get one bag, that can mean a lot.

I recommend the eBags brand for everything. We love every product we have had from them because they really just “get” travelers. You know? There are a bunch of types of packing cubes, from various sizes, weights, colors, etc. Pick what’s right for who is getting your gift. They have some helpful suggestions on the website as well.

ebags packing cubes - useful travel gift


Anything and everything on this list would make any kind of traveler happy. Sometimes the smallest things make the biggest impact in our travels, and since many people don’t carry too much with them when they travel, it’s good to keep things small.

Did I miss any favorites you think I should try for myself or keep in mind for next year’s gift guide? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments.

Wishing you love and travels!

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Small and useful travel gifts | practical gifts that are small and affordable for those who love to travel

Jessica Cutrufello wearing a green floral dress, glasses and pink lipstick

Hi! I’m Jessica, an American who made Amsterdam her home in 2014. I share European gems through food and memorable experiences. Want to know more? Head to my about page or check out my YouTube channel.

Travel with us - Tuscany October 2022