2019 Gifts For Travelers
It can be tough to come up with gifts for people who like to travel, because those people usually don’t want much.
Our family travels extensively and we have a lot of travel gift ideas. We know what we love and use and can recommend them to you. I have a lot of gift ideas for people who travel, because I am one of them.
Frequent travelers don’t want a lot of “stuff.” At least we don’t. We only wanted to carry things that were really useful. Other than travel ideas (we could always use those!) we were looking for things that made travel easier or more meaningful. The beautiful thing about travel is that the experience is the gift, but there are certainly some items that make travel easier and better.
These aren’t just the best gifts for world travelers, they work for weekend getaways, as well as longer adventures.
Here are some of the best travel gifts that we came up with for the holiday season, a birthday, or just because. In this guide to top gifts for travel, you’ll find unusual, unique, practical, and eco-friendly accessories and gifts for the traveler in your life.
I’ve add a few ideas at the end of my favorite travel gifts to enjoy at home.
Gifts For People Who Travel
If you want to breeze through the travel gift ideas scroll to the end of the article for a table with photos, the name of the gift item, and the relative price.
Whether your traveler is into adventure travel or something a little more restrained, a travel backpack makes it easy to get on and off planes, trains, and automobiles easily. We love the Osprey Porter travel backpack, which comes in several sizes, including a carry-on size. Read my travel backpack reviews for more information on this and other travel packs. If you really want to impress someone with the gift of travel gear, this is the way to go. I think this is the best gift for world traveler, but it’s pricey. Keep reading for a more affordable version of the perfect gift for travelers.
You can also purchase the Osprey Porter at REI and build up your dividend check.
Henry and I both use these and love them. I got them for my mom one year when I was looking for a gift for traveler woman since she is even more of a world traveler than I am. They make packing and organization a breeze. And you can fit more in your suitcase or backpack when you compress your clothes into one of the cubes. We each have different colors, which makes it easy to quickly identify whose is whose. Double zipper pulls make opening/closing simple and fast and the mesh top panel means we can see the contents without opening. If you are looking for a travel gift for mom, travel gifts for her, or the best travel gifts for men, look no further.
You can also purchase packing cubes at REI and build up your dividend check.
You know when you are listening to something on your headphones while making dinner and the cord catches on a drawer and yanks them out of your ears? Or is that just me? With wireless earbuds, you don’t have to worry about that. This is one of the best business travel gifts, as well as a great accessory for any kind of travel, because it makes things more convenient. And when people think you are listening to something, they are less likely to talk to you on the plane. These bluetooth earbuds are waterproof and come in a charging case. They are compatible with a wireless charger, but you can plug them into a USB cord, too.
You might also check out Echo Earbuds if you want something that is hands-free compatible with Amazon’s Alexa. This could be the best gift for travelers who are techy and like to use Alexa at home. They also support access to Siri or Google Assistant.
We don’t usually talk about underwear here, but we do wear it (usually). The Ex Officio underwear is one of the best gifts for travelers because it’s easy to wash in a sink, roll dry in a towel, and wear again the next day. They are extremely quick drying and the antimicrobial treatment reduces odor in the fabric. These undies are made of durable fabric and the comfortable waistband won’t stretch out. They claim you only need two pair for any trip – one to wear, one to wash. Less to pack, less trips to the Laundromat. Henry has several pairs and loves them. But these aren’t just travel gifts for men; I got a few pairs for myself and wore them every day in Europe. If nothing else, these underwear make for unique travel gifts. Buy men’s Ex Officio or women’s Ex Officio undies on Amazon.
You can get quick dry underwear at REI.
A friend gave me one of these travel scarves and I liked it so much I got one for my mom. It keeps you cozy on the plane and looks good as you walk around your favorite city. Since there is a hidden pocket for credit cards, cash, a passport, and phone, you don’t have to worry about bringing a purse or bag. Those of us who use our phone for travel photography don’t need to bring anything else. Your gift recipient will look less like a tourist and more like a local. This is one of my top travel gifts and what I consider the best travel gift for mom. After reading this guide to great gifts for travelers last year, a friend bought this scarf and lives in it — another endorsement for the hidden pocket scarf.
Normally people aren’t too excited to receive socks for Christmas, but travel compression socks are different. One of the travel tips I give people is to wear these on travel days. When you are sitting on an airplane for hours, your circulation slows down and you are at risk of developing blood clots. Wearing compression socks on a plane can increase circulation and reduce the risk of swelling or worse. I’ve been wearing compression socks on long flights and long drives and think it does make a difference in how I feel afterwards. This is one of the best gifts for frequent travelers.
I’ve had one of these Eagle Creek travel toiletry bags since 1997 and it is still going strong after heavy use. There have been years at a time when I have used this perfect travel gift daily. There are plenty of compartments to keep your toiletries organized and the swivel hook means you can hang it in almost any bathroom. The new ones have a removable quart-sized clear 3-1-1 for TSA checkpoints.
The amount of plastic in the world puts me right over the edge of sanity. Watch the Story of Bottled Water and you’ll see why. I refuse to buy water in a plastic bottle. Fortunately, I don’t have to and neither do you. SteriPENs make great travel presents and gifts for the earth. The SteriPEN is magic. Well, it’s science, but you get the gist.
You stick the pen in your reusable water bottle for less than a minute and the ultra violet destroys over 99.9% of harmful bacteria, viruses and protozoa, like Giardia and Cryptosporidium. It’s chemical free and doesn’t alter the taste of the water like iodine does. I used one of these in Peru in the most suspicious looking water (from a trough, I tell you!) and never got sick. We all used it in Guatemala, Hondurus, and Mexico and nary a one of us suffered from water-related illness. I only wish we had these when we visited China in 1995. This is the traveler’s gift that is most likely to save a life. Or at least save someone from days in the bathroom.
Next on my list of gifts for someone traveling is a reusable water bottle. Since you no longer need to buy disposable water bottles (since you use that SteriPen now), you can invest in a metal, double walled reusable bottle. I love this one from EcoVessel for several reasons:
- the incredible insulation keeps drinks cold for 40 hours and hot for 12 hours
- Your drink never touches plastic – not even on the inside of the lid
- It comes with a strainer that keeps tea leaves, fruit, and ice out of your mouth
- A silicone bumper on the base protects from dents
- A silicone lip makes it nicer to drink from
- EcoVessel gives 5% of all online purchases to a nonprofit, that you choose, at checkout.
This is another of our favorite gifts for people who travel a lot because it’s compact and super useful. If the travelers on your list are anything like us, they have a lot to plug in. Between laptops, iPads, Kindles, and phones, we need to juice up and we need to fit a lot into our power bank. The MOGICS Donut Travel Power Strip is the best charger and adaptor we’ve seen. It fits five U.S. plugs and two USB cables and it has a universal adapter to plug in just about anywhere in the world. The MOGICS Bagel Travel Power Strip has four universal sockets, a U.S. socket, and two USB ports. This is one of those really useful gifts for people who love to travel. These are great ideas for work travelers, as you would expect, but everybody travels with electronics these days, even family travelers.
We travel with a lot of cords, so last year I gave my husband a travel cord roll. There are mesh pockets and elastics so you can keep all your tablet, phone, and computer cords organized and easy to access. You can even fit your wireless headphones and a few other accessories inside. This is one of the best gift ideas for travel and possibly the best gift for business travel.
I know you love the feel of “real books,” but for travelers, the Kindle makes so much sense. This is one of those great gifts for business travelers as well as leisure travelers. Each of the four of us has one and we use them all the time. We can carry hundreds of books for a fraction of a pound’s weight. There is no glare, so you can read in the full sun and since they have an adjustable light, you can read in the dark, too. This is especially nice when you are all in the same space and don’t want to have a light on. And they are now waterproof!
Another bennie is that the whole family can be reading the same book at the same time. Do yourself a favor and splurge for the one without “special offers.” (Those are ads you see every time you use the Kindle.) Then you can read books set in Croatia, books set in Italy, books set in Scotland, or the best books to read while traveling.
If you are looking for a coffee table book as a gift for travelers to Europe, I recommend National Geographic’s Around the World in 125 Years: Europe. This gorgeous book is full of stories and photographs from National Geographic’s last 125 years, in this case, from Europe. And there are 40 new photos, not in the original magazine articles.
One of the best gift cards for travelers is an Amazon gift card. It’s not as personal as some of the other gifts, especially the undies!, but we have so appreciated the Amazon gift cards people have sent. We can’t carry much on our travels, but we read a ton on our Kindles. Gift cards let us all pick the books we like while keeping our packs light. Or they could be used to buy anything else on this list. You choose the amount.This may be the best gift for someone traveling in a place that’s expensive to mail things to.
More Christmas gifts for travelers: If you have enabled 1-Click payment on your Amazon account, you can buy a Kindle book as a gift. Find the book you want to give on Kindle, select “buy for others,” and enter the gift recipients email address. (Or email it to yourself and forward the email to the gift recipient.)
Henry and I both got RFID blocking wallets for our trips, but we should have gotten wallets that hang around your neck or money belts. We discovered that when Henry was pickpocketed in the Paris Metro. The RFID blocking technology safeguards your passport, credit cards, and personal information against identity theft. Apparently people have scanners and can read your credit card information with their machines when walking past you. Whatever they put into the fabric blocks these machines, making this one of the best gifts for people that travel. And keeping your valuables under your clothes and attached to your body, makes them harder to steal.
I love using a travel pillow on airplanes, trains, buses, and cars (though not when I am driving). I’ve even used a travel pillow in airports or other terminals when I have a long layover. It saves you from that weird neck jerk that happens right when you start to doze off sitting up. The inflatable ones are nice because they pack up small so you don’t have to worry about carrying it around for the rest of your trip. This is another one of the gifts for frequent flyers that make flights so much more comfortable.
If you are looking for funny travel gifts, I recommend a funny luggage tag. These travel accessories make a perfect stocking stuffer. Anne Taintor luggage tags probably fall into travel gift ideas for her. I can pick out several I like! For the best travel gifts for him, a pizza luggage tag might fit the bill. Or maybe something a little more refined like a leather luggage tag. Whatever you choose, a luggage tag not only helps identify lost luggage, it individualizes your bag so you can find it in baggage claim. Bonus: you can use these as gift tags for a bigger present.
Sometimes travel related gifts are for people who like to travel but aren’t doing enough of it. Books provide both inspiration and (hopefully) a kick in the butt to get going. Books are also nice gifts for someone traveling abroad to keep them entertained on an airplane. I always appreciate this gift for travelers, especially when it’s an e-book I can read on my Kindle.
If you have enabled 1-Click payment on your Amazon account, you can buy a Kindle book as a gift. Find the book you want to give on Kindle, select “buy for others,” and enter the gift recipients email address. (Or email it to yourself and forward the email to the gift recipient.)
A trip gift I really like is Vagabonding. Rolf Potts shares stories of his travels and tells you how you can enjoy extended world travel. I read Turn Right at Machu Picchu before going to Peru. It was funny and informational. It’s always cool to read about places you are going. Another travelers gift I enjoyed was Tuscany and Umbria: The Collected Traveler. I read it while in Florence, Italy and its articles, interviews, recipes, book recommendations, and quotes from writers, visitors, residents, and experts on the region gave us ideas of things to do and ways to experience Italy. There are Collected Traveler books for Paris and Istanbul as well.
While we mostly travel as a family or solo, I imagine it’s nice to travel with your spouse or significant other. One of my favorite gifts for couples who travel is inspiration. Books like Ultimate Journeys for Two: Extraordinary Destinations on Every Continentand Places for Passion: The 75 Most Romantic Destinations in the World have lots of romantic, sexy, adventurous travel ideas. It’s perfect for people who like to travel.
It’s great to read about other people’s travels, but I bet the travelers on your gift list have some great stories of their own to tell. Travel journals are perfect gifts for people who travel a lot to record their adventures and memories. Both Henry and I kept a journal on our year abroad and I already like looking back on it. I only wish I had been a little more faithful about keeping it up to date. It might not appear as such at first glance, but this is one of the more useful gifts for travelers since we rarely remember all the details and places we swear we will never forget.
Travel Themed Gifts
There are gift ideas for someone going travelling and there are travel things for after the trip (or between trips). These are for the latter.
This is such a cool travel gift one of my favorite gifts for travel lovers. Once we land somewhere somewhat permanently, I want to get one for myself. I know this is the perfect gift for our geography-loving son. The Scrape Off Map is just that. It’s a world map where you can scratch off the gold color like a lottery ticket, to reveal the colorful country you visited underneath. U.S. states and Canadian provinces can be scraped off individually. The map is such a beautiful and fun gift for frequent travelers because it reminds them of places they’ve been and might inspire them to want to “scratch off” more countries.
I think this is one of those perfect gifts for travelers. We saw these pillows at a hotel in Salt Lake City. I thought they were cute then and I’d love to get a few as unique travel gifts for her (or me!). The message and design on these pillow cases make you want to explore the world…or at least curl up with a good book about exploring the world. These make my list of top gifts for travelers.
As an avid puzzler, I can attest that a puzzle is one of the best gifts for world travelers. When we are staying somewhere for a month, I often buy a puzzle and leave it set out for everyone to work. The same goes for when we are home. I used to like the 500-piece best, but now that my crazy-good son want to get in on the puzzle action, we have to get 1000-piece puzzles or they are finished too quickly. I recommend getting a puzzle based on the gift recipients interest: a world map puzzle or somewhere specific. This one features Paris, this Dowdle puzzle (one of my favorite brands) pictures Barcelona, and this beauty shows a temple in Bali.
Good Gifts For Travelers
You’ve read the information and reviews of the gifts for people who travel, now here’s the nitty gritty details to help you find the best gift for travelers.
- ($) less the $50
- ($$) $50-$100
- ($$$) $100 +
Best Gifts For Travelers
Hopefully this gives your some great ideas for travel gifts that you can use when you make your list and when you check it twice.
What else would you add to a list of great gifts for travelers? How about birthday gifts for travelers?
Here are some of my favorite gift guides for the season from past years.
- The Best Gifts For Skiers – Brave Ski Mom
- The Best Outdoor Gifts of 2018 | Editor’s Choice – Outdoor Families Magazine
- Holiday Gift Guide for Active Kids (with giveaways) – Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies
- The Best Adventure-Inspired Gifts for Outdoorsy People – Hiking in my Flip Flops
- Outdoor Family Gift Guide – 2018 – Tales of a Mountain Mama
- Ethical Gifts for the Outdoor Family (+ Giveaway) – Born to be Adventurous
- Gift Guide for Ski Families – Mountain Mom and Tots
- Meaningful Gifts You Actually Want to Give Your Children – Wike Baby
- Holiday Gift Guide for Lovers of the Outdoors – Play Outside Guide
- Gift Guide for Adventure Travelers and Outdoor Lovers – Nomads With a Purpose
- 2018 Ultimate DIY, Handmade Guide for Your Wild Child! – Wilder Child
- The Gift Guide For Everyone On Your List 2018 – Bring the Kids
- Your Guide to Cool Camping Gifts and Gadgets for Families – Little Family Adventure