Looking for the perfect gift for that traveler in your life? It’s not always easy! Here are my top recommendations for the best travel gifts for those with a case of wanderlust.
Skip the moneybelt this year, and buy something that your favorite intrepid globe-trotter will actually love to use.
These travel gifts can help make any journey more comfortable and convenient. As a professional traveler for the past 6 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! I only pack travel gadgets that have multiple uses, don’t take up to much space, and improve my international travel experience.
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 For Everyone
LifeStraw Filtered Bottle
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, chlorine and leaves zero aftertaste too. I also use mine for hiking and camping in the wilderness! They have a minimalist version, for people who want to use their own container. Filters 1000 liters of water for long life.
Foldable Duffel Bag
Have you ever found yourself in a situation when your bag was too heavy to check on a plane? 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 beach bag, a laundry bag, and a grocery bag too. I also use it when I’m hiking & camping abroad, to store extra gear/clothing at a hotel or hostel until I return from the journey.
SoundMagic E10 Headphones
I listen to a lot of music, and recently discovered incredible headphones that sound like they should cost 3x more. Whether you’re watching movies on flights, listing to podcasts, or relaxing with tropical tunes at the beach, SoundMagic’s E10 Headphones are truly “magic”.
The bass is excellent but not over-the-top, while the mids and highs make it feel like you’re listening to a live show! Plus the cord isn’t too long (I hate long cords) and it comes with a great little carrying case.
We all use our smartphones, cameras, and other portable gadgets a lot. There’s nothing worse then 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 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.
Trtl Travel Pillow
Neck pillows are one of the most popular items to pack for long-haul flights. But not everyone likes the standard, bulky U-shaped travel pillow. The Trtl Travel Pillow is super small, easy to pack, and holds your neck in a comfortable ergonomic position for sleeping.
I never fly without mine! It works like a soft, comfortable neck-brace. However if you’re looking for something more fun & quirky, check out this hilarious giant shrimp neck pillow. Yes, it looks like a giant shrimp. LOL!
Sony Bluetooth Speaker
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! The only downside is it isn’t waterproof, but I don’t physically sit in the ocean when I’m listening to it either…
LifeProof Smartphone Case
I’m sure we’ve all dropped our phone before, or had to replace one. Those expensive smartphones aren’t invincible – they can break if you’re not careful. This is when a protective case comes in handy.
I’ve been using a LifeProof FRE for over 2 years now. These cases are waterproof, dirt-proof, and drop-proof — so your iPhone or Android is protected from anything a wild life of travel might throw at you.
ENO Travel Hammock
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.
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.
Antique Ocean Desk Globe
Maybe not be something you actually bring with you traveling, a fun desk globe is the 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!
Best Travel Gifts For Women
Ok, I admit I don’t personally own these travel gifts for women. However after consulting my traveling girlfriend Anna Everywhere, she assures me these are some of the most popular products for women who travel!
Portable Jewelry Box
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.
The Diva Cup
The Diva Cup is a reusable, bell-shaped menstrual cup that is worn internally to collect menstrual flow, rather than absorb it. Apparently women love this thing for travel.
It’s leak-free, comfortable, and convenient for travelers on their periods. Women don’t have to worry about running out of pads or tampons, or remembering to pack enough on vacation.
TUO Origami Unicorn
TUO stands for Travel Undergarment Organizer. It’s purpose is to store anything travel-related, like socks and panties, electronics and jewelry, or other loose items that women find necessary 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 for full access to your stuff in hotels or bathrooms.
Travel Garment Steamer
Clothes can get mushed & wrinkled in a suitcase. A backpack is even worse! If you want perfectly ironed clothes, without a necessity of carrying a huge iron, a portable travel steamer is a great solution.
The URPOWER Garment Steamer removes unwanted wrinkles from your whole travel wardrobe if necessary. It’s compact and lightweight for easy packing in luggage when you travel.
Security Door Stop Alarm
If you travel alone and worry about safety, get a 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 or guesthouse room during the night, this device blocks the door from opening. It also wakes you (and everyone else) up, scaring off the intruder with a crazy loud 120db alarm!
Best Travel Gifts For Men
Some of my favorite travel gifts that are frequently bought by men. But please don’t assume that these gifts are ONLY for men. I’m sure women would love them too!
O’Douds Solid Cologne
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.
Travel Dominoes Set
Playing cards might be the most popular game for travel, but why not change it up a bit to dominoes? Walnut Studiolo Travel Dominoes are perfect for those travelers who get easily bored or want to make some new friends while abroad.
Dominoes is a popular game around the world, and they’re easy to learn too. Play while waiting at the airport, in a backpacker hostel, or head to a public park and challenge a local. This set is especially small & packable, but made of high-quality wood.
2am Principle: Discover The Science Of Adventure
The 2am Principle: Discover The Science Of Adventure is a an excellent read about how to seize the day, using science to create fun adventures without ending up in the hospital.
Learn how to find deeper experiences as you travel, connect with people, and mitigate risk to produce life-long memories at home or abroad. A handbook for pushing through your comfort zone, backed by behavioral science.
A good set of tools is always useful when you travel, but it’s not realistic to pack a whole tool box. The Leatherman Wave is the next best thing. Perfect for any job, adventure, or everyday task.
It includes 17 common tools, crammed into 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.
Leather Toiletry Kit
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!
Best Travel Photography Gifts
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.
Camera Travel Tripod
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 Focus 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 daypack easily.
Domke Camera Bag
What I love most about Domke Camera Bags is the minimal padding they have. Most companies go overboard with heavy padding, but not Domke. The tough waxed canvas is super durable, protects against light rain, and still has a classic “travel reporter” look.
It’s the perfect size for holding a mirrorless camera, 2nd lens, and a few accessories. There’s a thick belt-loop too, for carrying it fanny-pack style, or even attaching it to a larger backpack’s waist belt when hiking outdoors.
GoPro Hero 5 Session
Adventure travelers love GoPro action cameras for good reasons. They’re small, bomb-proof, and easy to use. The new GoPro Hero 5 Session has a voice controller so you don’t have to mess around with buttons to shoot footage or take selfies.
Just tell it what you want it to do from a distance! Waterproof up to 30 feet, the Hero 5 also includes digital stabilization for smooth shots. Great little camera for biking, hiking, swimming, snorkeling, surfing, snowboarding, and more.
Peak Design Camera Clip
One of my favorite pieces of camera gear, the Peak Design Camera Clip allows you to wear your camera on your belt, keeping your hands free for other tasks when not shooting photos. Fits into most tripod heads too! No need to remove it.
Clipping in and out of the device is incredibly 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 often go hiking with their camera.
Camera Lens Pen
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.
Well, that’s it for the best travel gifts of 2016. I hope you found some unique gift ideas for the traveler in your life.
I actually use most of this stuff regularly on my travels around the world! Well, maybe not the Diva Cup… haha. Happy Christmas shopping, and happy travels!
READ NEXT: My Favorite GoPro Accessories
Have any questions about these travel gifts? What about other suggestions? Drop me a message in the comments below!
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.