Travel Gift Ideas [Updated: November 2018]
Looking for the perfect present for that traveler in your life? It’s not always easy! These are best travel gift ideas for anyone with a case of wanderlust, no matter what your budget.
Skip the moneybelt this year, and buy a birthday or holiday travel gift that your favorite intrepid globe-trotter will actually use on their next international vacation.
These popular gifts for travelers can help make any journey more comfortable and convenient.
Working as a professional traveler for the past 8 years, I’ve become especially careful about what I pack on my trips around the world.
After all, there’s only so much room in your bag! Most travelers prefer to pack light.
I’m the same way and choose to pack travel gadgets that have multiple uses, don’t take up to much space, and will improve my travel experience abroad.
So here are some of my best gift ideas for travelers that are guaranteed to put a smile on the recipient’s face!
Best Travel Gifts Under $100
A must-have for international travel to keep yourself safe from sickness. The LifeStraw Filtered Water Bottle cleans up 99.9% of waterborne parasites & bacteria from water sources in countries where water quality can be an issue.
The 2nd stage activated carbon filter reduces odor and chlorine aftertastes too. I also use mine for day-hiking trips. They have a minimalist straw version, for people who prefer their own container. Long-lasting filter – handles 1000 liters.
We all use our smartphones, cameras, and other portable gadgets a lot. There’s nothing worse than running low on power when you need it the most. For travelers, this can be an extra headache if your ticket confirmations, directions, or translation app lives on your phone.
The Anker PowerCore 10,000 is about the size of a credit card (just thicker) and can fully charge your smartphone up to 3 times! It has a smart quick-charge technology and is the smallest & most powerful power bank in its class. I also use mine to recharge cameras, my Kindle, and more.
Travel neck pillows are one of the most popular items to pack for long-haul flights. But many of them don’t live up to the job of supporting your neck comfortably. The Cabeau Evolution Travel Pillow is crazy comfortable, packs down small, and holds your neck in an ergonomic position for sleeping.
I never fly without mine! I’ve tried every travel pillow there is, and this is the best. However if you’re looking for something that packs down even smaller, the TRTL Travel Pillow is pretty good too. It’s just not quite as comfortable as the Cabeau.
I love this thing! The Sony Bluetooth Speaker makes it easy to watch movies with other people on your laptop when traveling, throw an impromptu hostel party, or play your favorite songs on the beach.
There are a lot of Bluetooth speakers on the market, and I’ve tried many of them. The Sony simply has the best sound quality for its size, and the battery lasts up to 12 hours!
Maybe not be something you actually bring with you traveling, a fun desk globe is a perfect accessory to show off inside the home of a travel addict. The Antique Ocean Desk Globe is a quirky conversation piece and wanderlust-inspiring planning tool for your next travel adventure.
Your favorite traveler can day-dream about exploring Africa, South America, Central Asia, or any other destination from the comfort of their desk at work or at home. I’m planning new adventures looking at this thing right now!
Packing cubes! The best way to keep your luggage organized. My personal favorites are these from Eagle Creek. They weigh almost nothing and can hold a lot of clothing.
The garment folder, in particular, is a wonderful way to keep your shirts and/or pants wrinkle-free. I use the medium sized cube for my collection of t-shirts and sweatshirts, and the smaller cube for underwear & socks.
Gifts For Travelers Under $25
Have you ever found yourself in a situation when your suitcase was too heavy to check on a plane? Or you bought too many souvenirs and ran out of space? I have. That’s why these days I carry a packable duffel bag as a backup.
But that’s not its only use! You can use it as a makeshift beach bag, laundry bag, or grocery bag too. I also use it when I’m hiking & camping abroad, to help store extra gear/clothing in a hotel’s storage room, so I don’t have to bring everything into the mountains.
If you travel internationally quite a bit, your passport is going to get pretty beat-up. That’s why I love my simple, lightweight passport wallet from SimpacX. It gives just enough protection, without being bulky.
You can also use it to hold credit cards, airline boarding passes, and extra cash. Keep your passport looking like new, so you don’t have any trouble at customs & immigration due to worn-out travel documents!
In order to use your electronics in foreign countries, you’re going to need a great international travel adapter plug for different sockets. I’ve tried them all, and this one from BONAZZA is hands-down the best!
Not only does it accept 2 or 3 pronged plugs for use in over 150 different countries, but it also includes 4 (!) USB inputs for charging your mobile devices. Plus the design is super slick, one of the smallest adapters on the market.
Airline baggage fees are starting to get out of control. They want to charge you for EVERYTHING these days! To ensure you don’t get hit with paying extra, I always weigh my luggage with a portable luggage scale before checking in.
This way, you can pack your bags to the maximum weight limit every time without going over. This backlit scale from Tarriss is lightweight and portable, with the ability to weigh luggage in both kilos or pounds.
Unique Luxury Travel Gift Ideas
The Amazon Kindle probably doesn’t need an introduction. It’s the ideal gift for a bookworm or even those who like to read occasionally. Travelers like me love it due to its small size and long battery life.
The “Paperwhite” version allows you to easily read in the dark, plus there’s no glare from the sun when reading on a beach (unlike trying to read on your phone). You can fit thousands of books on it — a library in your hands. Excellent for flights and long bus rides.
The Sony WH1000XM3 Headphones are a frequent traveler’s best friend. Their advanced noise-canceling technology makes it feel like you’re all alone, even if you’re stuck on a packed airplane with crying babies!
Listen to your favorite music or podcasts wirelessly via Bluetooth, with deep bass and crystal clear highs. Control volume, ask Siri questions or take phone calls with the touch of a finger. Now that I own these, I’m not sure how I traveled previously without them!
Fun Travel Gifts For Men
Some of my favorite travel gifts for men, based on my own personal experience as a traveling man. Like most of this list, I personally own all these items because they rock!
While I started traveling as a budget backpacker 8 years ago, these days I’m older and a bit more fashion conscious. Especially in major international cities, or Europe. Packing a suit when you travel light is difficult, but not with the Bluffworks Gramercy Blazer.
This fashionable jacket is wrinkle-free and can be rolled up and packed away easily. But it also looks and fits great, featuring a bunch of hidden pockets that help with traveling! It’s perfect for flying, or when you need to dress-up on the road.
O’Douds Solid Cologne is an excellent product for men who want to smell nice while they’re traveling. Because it’s not a liquid, you can easily pack it carry-on too. Liquid cologne is packaged in large glass bottles, not exactly travel-friendly. Not this one!
The scent is crisp, musky, and masculine. Very strong stuff, a little dab will go a long way. Easily lasts all day. Smells better on you than in the tin — you need to give it a try.
Every man needs a good toiletry bag for their adventures around the world. This Veneto Leather Toiletry Kit is made with rich antique bridle leather. It’s durable and waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about wet surfaces in hostel/hotel bathrooms.
The leather bag gives you plenty of room to pack everything the traveling man would need, plus gives you a little style bonus over a cheaper plastic toiletry kit. This is how I pack enough shaving cream to keep my head so shiny and clean!
Fun Travel Gifts For Women
Ok, I admit I’m not a woman. However, after consulting my professional traveler wife Anna Everywhere, she has recommended the following travel gifts for women — based on her own expertise and advice from her traveling friends.
Storing a few jewelry items when you travel can be a pain. Especially when it comes to earrings, many women complain about them breaking in their luggage. This pretty little Travel Jewelry Box from Vlando is perfect for your next journey.
Keep delicate and expensive jewelry items safe and secure in one place. It has room for earrings, rings, necklaces, and even bracelets. A super simple and compact design.
TUO stands for Travel Undergarment Organizer. Its purpose is to store anything travel-related, like socks, underwear, electronics, jewelry, or other loose items that some women tend to pack when they travel.
Staying organized when you’re off galavanting around the world is so much easier using this fun little bag. You can hang it from towel racks or doors and unfold it for full access to your stuff in hotels or bathrooms.
The BabylissPro Travel Dryer is the perfect hair dryer to pack in your bags for a vacation. It’s both powerful and small, a rare combination.
If you aren’t staying in fancy hotels all the time, you may not have easy access to a good hairdryer. This one folds up nice and small, so it won’t take up too much room in your bag.
If you travel alone and worry about safety, check out this travel-friendly security door stop. The GE Security Door Stop Alarm requires no wires or complicated installation, powered by a single nine-volt battery.
Place the door-stop under your door before going to bed, and if someone tries to enter your hotel room during the night, this device blocks the door from opening. Plus its powerful 120db alarm wakes you up (along with everyone else nearby), scaring off any intruders!
Best Gifts For Outdoor Adventurers
A hammock is a great gift for travelers and backpackers. String it up in the woods or on the beach to relax and enjoy the view. I’ve even used my hammock on boats, between palm trees for beach naps, or as a comfortable swinging seat after a long hike.
The ENO DoubleNest Hammock is extremely strong, lightweight, and easy to pack, perfect for people who don’t want to waste space in their travel bag. Designed to hold up to 400 lbs, you’ll always have a place to sleep.
A good set of tools is always useful when you travel, but it’s not realistic to pack a whole toolbox. The Leatherman Wave is the next best thing. Perfect for any job, adventure, or everyday task.
It includes 17 common tools, crammed into a simple compact package that can be opened and operated easily. Never be without a sharp knife, pliers, bottle opener, screwdriver, or scissors again! There’s also a smaller version called the Leatherman Squirt.
In my opinion, a headlamp is an absolutely essential piece of travel gear for adventure travelers. My favorite is the water-resistant Black Diamond Storm.
Headlamps give you hands-free access for reading a book in the dark, exploring a cave, returning from a hike after dark, or searching through your luggage in the middle of the night. It always comes in handy when I travel!
Every adventure traveler needs a packable microfiber towel because it has a million different uses. It folds up super small and dries very quickly. Perfect for camping, or even staying in hostels.
The Sea to Summit DryLite Towel comes in a few different colors and sizes. I’ve used it swimming in natural hot springs, to wipe down camera gear after a storm, and even as sun & dust protection in the desert.
Gifts For Travel Photographers
Do you know a traveling photographer? Check out some of these great travel photography gifts that will help them craft the perfect postcard photo during their next trip.
Whether you want to take photos of yourself when traveling solo or capture the magic of the northern lights, a tripod is a necessary tool. The Joby GorillaPod is small enough to take anywhere and strong enough to hold larger cameras too.
It’s easily attached to different objects, so you can shoot photos from the side of a balcony or hanging off a tree. I’ll sometimes sneak it into “tripod restricted” areas like some cathedrals, monuments, or other attractions. It fits into a day pack easily.
One of my favorite pieces of camera gear, the Peak Design Camera Clip allows you to wear your camera on your belt, or on your backpack straps, keeping your hands free for other tasks. The camera adapter fits into most tripod heads too!
Clipping in and out of the device is very quick and easy. You can even run with your camera strapped to your belt wearing this thing. Never miss another shot due to messing around with a camera bag. It’s a fantastic accessory for those who go hiking with their camera.
Nothing is more annoying than a dirty lens when you’re trying to capture beautiful photos. A Camera Lens Pen is a dedicated cleaning solution for your camera lens, keeping travel shots crisp and in focus.
Smudges on a lens can distort light sources, create glare, and ruin shots. This is one of those products you can never have enough of. Small and easy to carry, it’s always good to have a few lying around.
Essential Books About Travel
The book Vagabonding is an excellent read about how to travel more, no matter what your budget or background. This book inspired me to take my first international trip!
Learn how to take a break from your normal life and travel for a few weeks, or even a few years, while experiencing the world on your own terms. Get ideas for how to make traveling long-term possible, from others who’ve done the same.
They’ve picked out their top 75 favorite destinations, travel tips, and inspirational stories shared in a coffee-table style book full of incredible photography.
Ready to be inspired by other people’s travel stories? You can’t go wrong with a collection of The Best American Travel Writing Of 2018. Each year, the best of those stories are collected in this great series.
You’ll find stories about what it’s like to be an American on vacation in France, being black on the Appalachian trail, modern technology in Korea, and the food scene in Moscow. Stories were curated by Cheryl Strayed, author of “Wild”.
Happy Holidays This Season!
Well, that’s it for the best travel gifts for 2018. I hope you found some unique gift ideas for the traveler in your life who likes to pack light.
Whether you’re travel shopping for a birthday, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwansa, or even Festivus — you can’t go wrong with these fun gifts for travelers!
I actually own and use most of these products regularly during my travels.
Happy shopping this holiday season, and remember to get out there and explore the world yourself a bit too! Think of it as a little present to yourself.
Because we all know that travel is the gift that keeps on giving! ★
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Have any questions about these travel gifts? What about other suggestions for travelers? Drop me a message in the comments below!
This is a post from The Expert Vagabond adventure blog.