Stocking stuffers for the frequent traveller, as recommended by Canadian travel writers

Thoughtful gifts that fit in a carry on — of course.

Thoughtful gifts that fit in a carry on — of course.

(Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

Frequent flyers, flashpackers and road-trippers adore practical gifts to make travelling easier and more comfortable — as long as they fit snugly in a carry-on bag. This season, we surveyed some of Canada's top travel writers to ask their recommendations for perfect stocking stuffers. Here are some thoughtful gifts that travel well.

For the adventure traveller

Adventurer Brandy Yanchyk is the host, director and producer of the travel series "Seeing Canada" and "Seeing the USA." The travel item she can't live without? The Buff multi-use headband. "I used the buff to hold my hair back from the wind and dust when I was on an ATV filming in the Deschutes National Forest in Oregon. I used my buff to cover my face in Nunavut from the freezing cold air. In Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta, I've used the buff to pull my hair off my face and soak up sweat. I also cover my eyes with them when I am sleeping on the plane." Made from recycled plastic bottles, the classic Buff has four-way stretch, and an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 50.

Headband, $20, Buff

For the traveller who needs to stay connected

An expert in family travel, writer Heather Greenwood-Davis is a Contributing Editor for National Geographic Traveler, a columnist with The Globe and Mail, and a resident travel expert on daytime television. For Greenwood-Davis, the Travelon tech accessory organizer is the perfect stocking stuffer. "I take it everywhere," says Greenwood-Davis, "It holds all my extra cords and headphones so I'm not searching through my bag for things. My next plan is to get one in a different colour for every member of my family."

Travelon Tech Accessory Organizer, $13, Amazon

For the frequent frequent flyer

Freelance writer Jennifer Bain has 18 years' experience at The Toronto Star as travel editor, food editor, columnist and cookbook writer. When she's not on assignment, Bain can be found at home in Toronto, or on her husband's Bison ranch in Alberta, or at her writing retreat on Fogo Island, Newfoundland. "I love airport lounges," says Bain, who recommends a Plaza Premium Lounge gift card as the perfect stocking stuffer. Plaza Premium Lounge, a world-leader in independent lounges, has luxurious pay-per-go lounges in Vancouver, Toronto, Winnipeg and Edmonton in Canada, as well as in major airports all over the world. In Spring 2020, Plaza Premium Lounge will open the largest independent lounge in Canada at Toronto's Pearson airport.

Plaza Premium Lounge Gift Card, from $98.00, Plaza Premium Lounge

For the international shopper

Travel writer, cookbook author and cinnamon bun-maker, Amy Rosen is an authority on food, travel and international shopping. Her favourite place to buy souvenirs? The grocery store, of course! "A Baggu bag tucks away into nothing, and is great if you find yourself grocery shopping in Germany or elsewhere where they don't supply bags," says Rosen. Baggu's best-selling reusable bag, which folds into a 5" x 5" pouch, is made from 40% recycled nylon sourced from pre-consumer waste. Easily carried in hand, or over-the-shoulder, a Baggu is about twice the size of a grocery store bag and holds up to 50 lbs worth of goodies.

Baggu Shopping Bag, $12.99,

For the traveller who must take note

And me? As a frequent traveller, and insatiable list-maker, I love a pocket-sized Leuchtturm 1917 notebook. I love this notebook more than others, because the pages are numbered, with a table of contents — perfect for cataloguing and retrieving travel memories. There's also a handy pocket in the back for holding business cards and receipts. Finally, Leuchtturm notebooks come in a variety of cheerful colours, which means a different colour for each trip! And if you're wondering how to pronounce the company name, think "loosh-term". 

Leuchtturm 1917 Pocket-Sized Notebook, $22, Indigo

Helen Earley is a Halifax-based travel writer. You can find her at


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?