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Searching for the ideal holiday gift for the avid traveler in your life? It can be a challenge, but fear not! Here, I’ve compiled a list of the finest travel gift ideas for wanderlust enthusiasts, catering to various budgets.
Gift-giving is one of my fortés as it is one of my primary love languages. I find such joy in picking out the perfect gifts for my loved ones, not only during Christmas but all year round.
And so with this list, I hope you’ll find the perfect present for that wanderluster in your life! Or maybe even pick up something special for yourself, because let’s be honest, you’re totally gonna get some for yourself. I promise I won’t tell 😉
I’ve compiled this list of gifts I would love to receive as a traveler myself, so if you’re a close friend or family member reading this, cough cough, consider this cheat sheet generously compiled by moi! Thank you and you’re welcome! 😉 Okay, with that aside, let’s get down to the best gifts for travelers!
Psst! If you're prepping early for Black Friday (way to go, you!), here are some early Black Friday deals you can chuck into your shopping cart, so you can simply head to checkout once Black Friday rolls around ;)
But… If you’re doing your shopping a little last minute, or are just a little impatient like me, then you’re gonna wanna sign up for a FREE trial of Amazon Prime and get your gifts delivered as quick as in 2 hours! The trial lasts for 30 days so you can have all your items delivered in a jiffy and see how you like it. Though, trust me, you’re gonna love it so much. If on the off-chance you don’t, you can always cancel for free before your trial ends. No questions asked. Cause Amazon’s awesome like that 🙂
For the Hybrid Nomad (like me!)
If your favorite globetrotter is like me and spends a considerable amount of time back home in between travels, then they’re gonna love these gifts that remind them of their travels even when they’re home sweet home!
1. Scratch Maps
I’ve received a couple of these as gifts (because they make such awesome gifts for a traveler) and I absolutely love them! There’s nothing more satisfying than coming home from a trip and scratching these bad boys and seeing just how much of the globe you’ve covered! They even have a push pin version that I’m eyeing. Hint hint 😉
How freakin’ cool is this?! I know most of us do our best thinking in the shower, so why not kill two birds with one stone and plan that next getaway while getting all squeaky clean?
3. Cork Globe
More globe stuff! A perfect addition to any desk, whether to reminisce over at home or to make your colleagues jealous at work.
For the Techie Traveler
There’s a high chance your favorite globetrotter is quite a techie or at least needs some tech products in his or her arsenal to make their journey smoother. Here are some awesome gifts for these traveling techies:
I never leave home without my portable charger aka. power bank because I’m such a heavy phone user. I always have Maps open to get directions, always Googling for places to eat and see, and snapping endless pictures and videos! I don’t think I’d get by without a portable charger so this is an absolute must-have. This one by Anker comes highly recommended and features fast charging, which is essential considering how big our phone battery capacities are getting nowadays!
I cannot stress how much these have saved my life on numerous occasions. I simply will not board a flight if I forget my trusty earphones! Good to remedy screaming babies on a plane, snoring roomies, and well, when you’re in the mood for a good ol’ jam session.
If you like total noise isolation, getting a pair of over-ear noise-canceling headphones like these Bose ones are a good option. If you’d prefer something lighter and less bulky, the Airpods Pro (2nd Gen) can’t be beaten!
Pair with: a subscription to Amazon Music and get access to 100 million songs, so they can listen to their favorite jams offline while on the plane or anywhere in the world without data. Click here for a free 30-day trial. Cancel anytime.
I love a good paperback, but I can be quite fickle and sometimes alternate between books (which is a bad habit but I digress). So instead of lugging multiple books on my trip, the Kindle comes to the rescue! I can have as many books as I want in there so I can choose what to read based on my mood at the time. It’s incredibly lightweight, glare-free, and waterproof so it’s perfect for reading in all conditions; in bed, under the sun, or even by the beach!
What’s a trip if you can’t make memories? And even better if you can capture them to last a lifetime. Buying a camera is very subjective to personal preference, but I personally swear by Sony cameras, and they have a model that’s suited for every level. I started out with the Sony RX100, which is a point-and-shoot camera that’s perfect for beginners or just anyone looking to take photos on their trip. It’s lightweight, takes amazing photos, and is wallet-friendly.
I’m currently using the Sony A6000, which is a great beginner-level mirrorless camera, so if your favorite traveler is looking to dabble into the world of mirrorless cameras and lenses, and wants a step up from a point-and-shoot camera, this is the one to get. It’s lightweight and portable enough to just throw into a handbag. Also, they’ll get the flexibility of interchanging lenses so they can shoot multiple types of scenes.
Now, for the most advanced photographers who still want a reasonably lightweight camera, the Sony A7 series is a dream. And currently my dream camera. It’s a wonder how these cameras pack full-frame sensors on such a slim body, so you’ll get top-notch images without the bulk of a DSLR.
8. GoPro Hero
Whether you’re shopping for someone who’s an all-out adventurer, an adrenaline junkie, or just a city dweller, a GoPro Hero is one of the handiest cameras out there. It fits in your palm and takes amazing 4K videos. Take slow-mo videos while you’re surfing, capture the timelapse of the Northern Lights, or take a selfie while jumping out of a plane — the options are endless with this one.
Sometimes you just need to see things from a bird’s-eye view, and since we’re short on a pair of wings, a drone is the next best thing. And these babies produce some pretty amazing shots. It’s also great for taking those selfies when you’re traveling solo that aren’t restricted to your arm’s length. No more awkward angles when you get friendly passersby to help take your pictures (if you know what I mean)! I like this DJI Mavic Air as it’s really lightweight and compact — perfect for traveling.
Digital memories are great, but it’s also nice to have tangible ones you can look back on. The Fujifilm Instax Instant Camera works just like a Polaroid, and prints pocket-sized pictures you can keep in your wallet, or stick on your walls or scrapbooks. I also like Fujifilm’s Instax Printer which prints off photos you have on your phone so you can edit them before you print them!
11. Camera bag
A camera bag is essential for photographers who carry more than one lens to protect those precious lenses and that very expensive camera body. This one is functional as well as stylish, and can even fit other things like your phone, passport, and other essentials.
12. Camera strap
Since we’re on cameras, a camera strap is super practical so that you’re hands-free when you don’t need your camera, yet have it within easy reach to capture those priceless moments. I think these leather ones are super stylish.
Great for taking night shots, or for those solo shots, a good tripod is a great asset in a photographer’s toolkit. This one from Amazon is really popular as it’s sturdy but really lightweight enough (only 3lb!) to carry around which makes it perfect for traveling.
Now isn’t this every girl’s (secret) dream hairdryer? It’s probably one of the most advanced hairdryers on the market that’ll save so much time on hair drying. Especially for travelers who can’t travel without a hairdryer, this sexy thing weighs in at only 2 lbs so you can take it anywhere! The fast drying ensures you’ll be out the door in no time so you’ll have more time to actually see the sights!
While we’re traveling, it’s not a surprise that we’ll be constantly on the move. And to have a device that tracks our daily activity is super nifty. It’s great to understand how many calories we burnt while hiking up that mountain, or what our heart rate’s at while we’re at the peak! There are also super fun challenges you can join with your friends to see who can get the most steps in a day! A super fun way to get fit if you ask me!
Essentials for Every Traveler
Although there are so many types of travelers, there is still one thing that binds us all: our love for travel. These gifts are sure to delight any traveler!
16. Passport Cover
Passport covers are such an easy gift to buy for a traveler as all of us will either need one to replace a currently tattered one, or actually need one right now! They’re a great way to show off personality, and also identify them when traveling in a group. There are so many designs to choose from, but I especially like this minimalistic marble one!
17. Travel Wallet
A passport cover on steroids, a travel wallet not only holds your passport, but everything essential for travels including boarding passes, IDs, credit cards and cash. It’s an OCD dream. It’s great so everything is in one place so your traveler can stay organized.
18. Money Belt
The first day I was in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, I bumped into a lady that was relaying her story about getting robbed in broad daylight by 3 men on motorbikes while she was walking with a group of friends. She wasn’t alone, and it happened right smack in the middle of the afternoon! Immediately I regretted not getting one of these money belts. They’re basically a super slim fanny pack that goes under your clothes, so they’re really discrete and draw no attention. It’s great if your traveler is extra cautious or planning to travel somewhere with a relatively higher crime rate.
BONUS: Now, while we're on the subject of safety, it's important to keep our favorite travelers safe on their travels. In the midst of all that travel planning, sometimes we travelers miss out on that all-important travel insurance, simply because it’s the least exciting part of the trip. But it is essential in the event that things go awry. To keep your traveler safe (and your worries at bay), purchase travel insurance on their behalf so they’re always protected no matter what happens. Since 2002, World Nomads have been protecting, connecting and inspiring independent travelers. They offer simple and flexible travel insurance and safety advice to help you travel. Because they believe in giving back to the places we travel to, World Nomads also enables you to make a difference with a micro-donation when you buy a policy. And they’ll help you plan your trip with free downloadable guides, travel tips, responsible travel insights and recommendations from their global community. World Nomads provides travel insurance for travelers in over 100 countries. As an affiliate, we receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. We do not represent World Nomads. This is information only and not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.
19. Travel Journal
Journaling is a great way to look back on your travels, and this travel journal by Erin Condren is super fun because it’s filled with worksheets to inspire your journaling. It’s also got illustrative and functional stickers to spruce up those pages!
20. Travel Pillow
Hotel/hostel pillows aren’t always the comfiest, unless you’re blessed with access to 5-star hotels. And let’s not even start with those pesky airline seats that definitely aren’t designed for a passenger’s comfort. So this travel pillow by Dot&Dot is perfect for sleeping on planes, trains, cars, basically anywhere! Just twist it the way you want and you’re off to Lala-Land. The snap closure also makes it easy to attach onto luggage or backpacks so it’s super easy to carry around.
21. Pocket Knife
For the avid camper or the everyday adventurer, it’s both a mini toolbox and a manicure set in your pocket. It’s the perfect travel companion so they’ll never be caught in a twist.
22. Trolley Suitcase
Every traveler needs a luggage bag, and if your traveler prefers to have the weight off their shoulders and on wheels, this trolley suitcase is great and not to mention stylish!
23. Travel Backpack
If your traveler prefers to be on the go, then a backpack is super easy to get around with. And after doing extensive research, I’ve found Osprey backpacks to be one of the best in the market. It fits just about everything!
Good news for females, there’s a women-specific version, the Osprey Fairview that’s specially designed to fit the female physique. I’ve taken it with me on trips and even when I think it’s filled to the brim, I still manage to find space in there to chuck a little bit more. It’s like I used the Undetectable Extension Charm on it just like Hermione! Any Harry Potter fans out there? I got the 40L and it’s perfect even for week-long trips. Even as a self-declared overpacker here. There’s also a laptop compartment to store your laptop or iPad.
I can’t say enough good things about this backpack. It is my absolute favorite and fits everything I would need for the day. It’s light enough for exploring the city in the day and roomy enough to pop in all that shopping they’re gonna do (because we’re avoid plastic bags to save the environment, right?). There’s also a laptop compartment to store away that precious piece of tech. I love that it’s also available in so many funky colors. I dare you to tell me there’s not a single color you like!
Travel-themed jewelry is a great conversation starter, and a great way to wear their passion of travel around.
I love the designs by Pura Vida and their values of responsibly made products that inspire positivity and give back. Their current charity drive is in support for the fight against hunger, so each piece in their Rise for Hunger collection equals one meal for a family in need. Their designs are inspired by the mountains and seas, so there’s something for them no matter if they’re a beach vs. mountain type of person.
Folding and unfolding maps can be a pain. Enter: Crumpled city maps! These are a Godsend especially when you’re in a rush, as you ball them up and put them in your pocket, and pull them out once you need them. You can get these for most major cities.
27. Luggage Scale
Excess baggage fees are such a pain, and arriving at the airport with our fingers crossed that our bags aren’t overweight are often cause for some much-unneeded anxiety. Enter: The Luggage Scale!
I always travel with one, and they’re super small and light so they can be thrown into any bag.
28. Travel Kit
With so many restrictions on liquids on planes these days, a travel kit is so essential. Because who knows what kinds of shower gels and shampoos await us as at our hostels? Unless you’re staying in some swanky 5-star hotel, it’s usually a shared communal bottle of soap. Ummmm.. no thanks.
And let’s stop the waste on plastic when buying all those travel-sized toiletries like toothpaste, shaving cream, or shampoo. Why not fill up these reusable Gemise Travel Bottles from your own stash at home!
You can refill them as needed, they don’t take up much space in your bag and are super lightweight too. They’re also TSA approved!
Figuring out how to charge your appliances when traveling across the globe can get quite confusing. I remember back in the day when I had to google about the power points in each country I was visiting and pack the appropriate travel plug for it. Until I discovered interntional power adapters! Now I literally just have this one and pop it into my bag whenever I travel – no more headaches.
This one packs a punch–it works in over 150 countries and even has 4 USB points and a USB-C port for fast charging! So you can have 6 devices charging all at the same time!
For the Traveling Book Lover
If your traveler is anything like me, then they’re gonna wanna know all the how’s, the why’s and the in’s and out’s of everything, especially when they’re traveling. Guides on how to greet an alien if you ever chance upon one, how to crack open a coconut for those island vacations, and how to behave if say, you meet the Queen of England? This makes for an awesome coffee table book and is high on my list! Lonely Planet is one of the most reliable travel resources out there, and you can check out their extensive list of books as well as in-depth city guides here.
Who doesn’t love the good ol’ trusty National Geographic? Now with their best-selling book, this guide reveals 500 of the most celebrated yet off-the-beaten path destinations around the globe.
Both a bucket list and a travel guide, this book will see your traveler through the 1,000 must-see places on our globe. Perfect for even the most seasoned travelers, they’ll find there’s still so much of our amazing Earth to cover.
If you know where your traveler’s next destination is, you could save their life and pick up one of Rick Steve’s destination guides. His travel tips are some of the best and most comprehensive, so your traveler will be guaranteed the best time ever.
For the Experiential Traveler
Some travelers, in fact most of us, value experiences over material possessions which is what makes shopping for a traveler pretty tough. So why not chip in on their travel expenditures? They’ll love you so much for it!
34. Gift cards
What better way to support your favorite traveler’s love for travel than to chip in on a part of their expenses? I can’t explain how happy I am when I get discounts on my stays, so to get a $50 gift card on my stay – priceless. You can get Airbnb gift cards, like the one pictured here, or you can even get them emailed ASAP for those last-minute purchases!
Seeing all the top attractions in a city can quickly add up. That’s why with CityPASS, your traveler can save up to 50% off on admissions at top attractions in a given city. It’s a unique and thoughtful gift that’ll take the hassle out of buying admission tickets to each individual attraction and save tons of money. Your traveler will totally love you for it!
And there you have it! I hope this list of gifts has helped you find the perfect present for your favorite globetrotter! Let me know how they liked their gifts, or if you’ve found anything else I could add to this list!
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MY TOP TRAVEL TIPS & RESOURCES
Here are my top travel tips and resources to help you save money and plan your trips effectively! If you're looking for more tips, head over to my travel tips resource page or my comprehensive guide on trip planning.
- Booking Flights: When it comes to finding great flight deals, I always start my search on Google Flights or Skyscanner. To save some cash, consider flying mid-week or on the weekends, opt for carry-on only with budget airlines, and be open to red-eye or early morning flights. Check out my in-depth guide on how I find the cheapest flights.
- Accommodations: I'm a stickler for finding the absolute best deals on my stays, so I will obsessively oscillate between a few booking sites: Booking.com (in general) and Agoda (for Asian destinations). When it comes to vacation rentals, there's Airbnb or VRBO.
- Travel Insurance: It's always a wise decision to purchase travel insurance for international trips. I can't stress this enough - it's highly recommended! For international travel insurance, I suggest considering World Nomads or SafetyWing. SafetyWing, in particular, stands out as one of the few policies that cover Covid-19. They also offer excellent monthly policies that are perfect for digital nomads and long-term travelers!
- Travel Credit Card: My go-to travel credit card for booking trips is the Wise travel card. I love that there are no foreign transaction fees, so I can pay like a local and never get any surprises at the end of my trip. You can also withdraw cash from the ATMs wherever you are. With Wise, you are always guaranteed the best exchange rate, and I have saved sooo much money just by using this card. Most of the time, I get charged the exchange rate I see on Google, plus or minus a few cents.
- Tours: Most times, I prefer traveling independently but sometimes, getting a guide and a local's perspective makes the experience all the more enriching. When it comes to tour bookings, I trust Viator and GetYourGuide to provide me with excellent options. In Asia, I choose Klook as they are the biggest provider in the region. Plus, you can often get entrance tickets and discounted prices!
- Transportation: To navigate through public transit options and plan my journeys from one place to another, I rely on Rome2Rio. When it comes to rental cars, I compare rental companies and find the best deals through DiscoverCars.
- Connection: It's essential to me to have seamless connectivity wherever I go. I need it to navigate to new places, Google what's around me, and keep in touch with my loved ones. But fumbling around with multiple SIMs has always been a nightmare, which is why I choose Airalo when I travel. No more switching SIMs, just purchase a plan on your phone, on the go, anywhere, and stay connected.
- Luggage Storage: Whenever I need to check out early or take advantage of a long layover, I securely store my luggage with LuggageHero. It's a reliable service that allows me to roam around freely. As a bonus, you can use this link to enjoy your first hour of FREE luggage storage on me!
- What to Pack: I always have packing anxiety once I've left home—you know the phantom feeling that you've forgotten something even though you've checked 372836 times. So I made my own packing list and use it religiously before every trip, and by religious I mean I tick off that list at least 7 times before I zip up my bag. Check out my in-depth packing list here.