It’s so hard to find the right gift, especially for travelers who generally value plane tickets more than any trinket. However, for those of us that travel a lot, there are gifts that can bring as much excitement as the trip itself.
This list is made up of gifts that are designed to make the most of the journey and the memories of the journey. Travel, after all, isn’t just about the trip. It’s the anticipation of the journey and the exhilarating memories that last long after it’s over.
For those of us who travel, carrying a book along is a thing of the past. An Audible subscription provides audiobooks every month. I have spent more long-haul flights listening to great stories than anything else. They make a long flight, bus, or train ride feel like no time at all.
I personally own one of these. I like to be able to see where I have been in the world. Also, there is always that sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that comes with scratching off the borders of a new country when you get home that makes you feel as though you’ve accomplished a life goal.
Even for skilled photographers, many of us end up using our cell phones for photos as much as our DSLR’s. A cell phone is just so much more compact and convenient! These little lenses give you the added ability to take better shots close up and wide-angle with a cell phone. They clip on easily to multiple models and take up next to no space in your bag.
Also, with 2,200 + reviews on Amazon and a 4.5-star rating, you can be sure they will add to your photography arsenal.
E-Bags is one of the great travel brands. This backpack is designed to be international carry-on compliant. It’s organized and compact enough to bring on a weekend trip and spacious enough for the light traveler to take on their 3-week Euro tour.
There is nothing that gives me inspiration and wanderlust more than a great travel photo book; not even episodes of Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain. I bought a good friend of mine one a few years ago and we would sit down and dream about the places we hadn’t visited.
Any serious traveler has a love of National Geographic and this beautiful book is completely enchanting.
This is a clever and insanely useful gift. The tripod will adjust to almost any surface to hold your phone while the remote cooperates with iPhones and androids to remotely take the photo. It’s a great idea and is easily packable, whether you are traveling alone or in a group. I know for me and Karl, it’s one of the only ways we’ve got photos of the two of us that aren’t taken from the awkward selfie angle.
Give the gift of travel. The Southwest Airlines Gift Card allows you to contribute to a travel fund without needing to purchase the ticket.
One of the big problems with toiletry bags is that they tend to be bulky and difficult to fit in a small suitcase. This one from E-Bags solves that problem. It organizes all the essentials and zips up flat so you can easily throw it on top and still have your bag zip up easily.
The ultimate gift for anyone who flies a lot is a set of noise-canceling head phones. They block out the noise and stress of busy airports and crowded flights. It’s like providing a traveler with their own little garden of peace in the chaos.
For most frequent travelers, AirBnB’s are eclipsing hotels, guest houses, and hostels. The benefit is truly having a home away from home where you can cook, relax, and live in a way that hotels have never allowed. I have personally spent more time in AirBnB’s in the past year than I have at home. This gift card allows you to buy a night or more for someone to use on their next adventure.
A gimbal is used to hold your phone and stabilize it while you make videos. It can even track to follow you as you narrate. This is an awesome gift for any traveler who likes to make videos. It will create a professional-level of camera movement and packs up nicely.
I love a little accessory that makes travel feel luxurious. A passport is one of the few items that really opens the world to a traveler. A nice passport cover, makes the whole thing seem more official.
There are a few, fundamental problems with travel pillows; they’re bulky, you can’t wash them, and usually, they actually aren’t that comfortable. This one takes care of all those problems and makes a neck pillow that you could actually travel with and sleep during the flight.
This is the book that made it possible for me to travel the world. Without reading this book, it all would have been a dream. Matt Kepnes is a well-known travel blogger who has used all the principals in this book. They work.
Giving this book is giving someone the ability to travel. The real-world advice and encouragements make travel a reality, even on a tiny budget.
An international traveler can never have too many adaptors. I travel with two usually and I always try to make sure I buy good-quality ones so that I’m never buying the awful ones that are offered in airport shops.
I like this one because it also has two USB ports, which makes it possible to charge your laptop, phone, and noise-canceling headphones at the same time.
I think of a good travel blanket as the more beneficial partner to the travel pillow. I went years without traveling with a blanket until I saw one of my friends use one like this on a plane. She also had it in cold riads in Morocco and while camping in Tanzania.
One of the worst things about travel is spending every night in a bed that’s not your own. Since I got one of these, it gives me a feeling of home in hotels, AirBnB’s, hostels, and long-haul flights. I went with a down version because it packs up nicely while also being extremely cozy.
I love a good shampoo bar, they are a great way to get around stringent TSA liquids rules. The Ethique line of shampoo bars has one for every hair type but the Pinkalicious is a cult favorite.
A portable Bluetooth speaker is so nice to have. Whether it’s beach parties with the rest of the hostel, watching movies on a laptop, or practicing the salsa dance moves you learned the night before, a compact speaker brings everything to life.
I really miss my music on the road and this is one of my favorite things to have.
When we travel, we gain a new perspective. New possibilities seem to appear in our lives that were never there before. It’s hard to hold on to these thoughts and memories when we go back home and return to our routines. A travel journal can help to capture the memories and feelings of travel so you can enjoy them all over again after you are home.
For most of us travelers, buying new bottles of bottled water every day gets expensive and it’s also bad for the environment. On the other hand, packing a water bottle that will just take up space doesn’t make any sense either. These ones offer a nice alternative. They pack up very small, can be used and packed again.
A locket is a thoughtful way to let someone know that as they travel, there is someone back home who cares about them. I like this version because it is modern and minimal.
Budget travelers know that the key to cheap flights is packing light and not checking a bag. The problem is, most budget airlines have very strict luggage weight rules. That’s where a good luggage scale can really make all the difference.
I like this one because I can pack it with me. If I think my backpack might be too heavy, I can weigh it and change my bag to checked luggage online the night before the flight. This means that I save about $30 each time.
Fragrances are one of the top, traditional Christmas gifts, but for many travelers, smelling nice is something is an afterthought to TSA regulations. Solid colognes and perfumes offer a great alternative that will never leak or spill in your suitcase or cause an overload of TSA-approved liquids.
Diptyque is known for amazing scents and now that translates to a travel-friendly perfume that is beautifully packaged and packable, no matter how light you travel.
Pretty much any journey you go on, you will be glad you had a portable charger. I’ve used mine in airports where I couldn’t find a charging station, long-haul flights where my audiobook was about to crash from the lack of power, brutally long bus rides, and hostels without convenient plug-ins.
A portable charger is a must for any traveler.
With all the stress and craze of travel, it is so nice to have something that smells natural and calming. I used to travel with basil and lemon essential oils because I could use them to make any musty old room smell like home. This kit from doTerra offers aroma roll-ons to help keep you balanced in even the busiest airports and most crowded cities.
I have recommended the BaByliss Pro so many times I sound like a broken record. At this point, I’ve had mine for 4.5 years, used it on six continents, and it has never failed me. It is reliable, easy on my hair, and very compact.
If you know a traveler who doesn’t have packing cubes in their life, get them a set and they will be forever grateful. Packing cubes keep you organized while compressing everything in your bag. These ones also come with a laundry bag which is a must.
Although I loved the BaByliss travel flat-iron, this one won me over with its ability to curl. It’s a little bit trickier to do flat iron curls with a travel-size version and having the option of using a curling iron is a life-saver when you need to make sure your hair looks good.
Digital frames can store multiple journeys worth of photos. Rather than just choosing one highlight, display photos from multiple adventures. This is a great gift to send to your favorite travel companion.