Finding the perfect gift is not always easy. And finding a gift during the Winter holiday season? Even worse.
Lucky for you, finding a great gift is one of my nerdy joys in life and not to brag, but over the years I’ve gotten really good at it.
No matter the occasion, if you’re looking for the perfect gift for someone who loves to travel (or ideas to put on your gift wish list), I’ve already done the legwork for you.
From carry-on essentials and practical travel accessories to fun and quirky gifts, here are the 100 best gifts for travel lovers.
Travel packing essentials
For the traveler who loves organization, these 4 travel packing essentials will be a thoughtful and welcome gift idea.
- Waterproof wet bag: It’s inevitable that a traveler will have a wet swimsuit or sweaty clothes to pack at some point along their travels. Keep wet clothes separated from dry, clean clothes in a waterproof wet bag.
- Packing cubes: This small but mighty accessory keeps your suitcase organized and help fit in more clothes by compressing the items inside. I’ve been using this same set for a few years now and often buy them as gifts!
- Makeup case: A lay-flat makeup case or toiletry kit is great for organization and space-saving in a suitcase or carry-on.
- Packing list notepad: A packing list notepad is a fun idea for frequent travelers, so that they don’t forget anything.
- Luggage tags: A brightly colored luggage tag will make luggage easy to spot on the checked baggage carousel. They also make great stocking stuffers!
Airport security essentials
Nobody actually enjoys going through airport security.
You have to take off your shoes, shed practically every layer of clothing, expose yourself in weird body scanners (who knows what they can see), unpack your carry on… and I’m getting annoyed just writing this all out.
These 4 travel gift ideas aim to take out all of the stress from airport security.
Global Entry & TSA PreCheck
International travelers will love you forever if you set them up with Global Entry.
Global Entry is a 5-year pass that allows you to bypass the dreaded customs line in many US airports.
Global Entry also includes TSA PreCheck, which allows you to collect $200 when you pass Go. Just kidding.
TSA PreCheck allows you to bypass the regular security line.
The special PreCheck line includes perks like shorter wait times, no need to take stuff out of your bags, and no need to take your shoes off. It’s a dream.
Global Entry requires an in-person interview, so you won’t be able to gift it in its entirety as a surprise. But, you can at least pony up the $100 fee for it.
Travel-sized reusable toiletry bottles
GoToob travel-sized reusable bottles are a great for carry-on only trips where you have to keep all liquids under 3 oz.
Clear reusable quart-sized bag
So, sure, you could reuse a Ziploc quart bag, but they’ll get grungy after a while.
There are more durable bags out there that are TSA approved, though. Pair with the travel-sized bottles and you have a nice, affordable gift.
Super-organized carry on bag
One of the keys to making it through TSA is staying organized.
If you don’t know where half the crap that you have to take out of your bag is, you’re really the one to blame for a miserable airport security experience.
OK, maybe only half the blame.
If your loved one isn’t blessed enough to have Global Entry or TSA PreCheck or some jerk ruined it all for us and now even the people in the expedited lines have to unpack electronics and such, make sure your loved one has a super organized bag.
Look for something with a separate laptop pocket and a separate pocket for your liquids quart bag.
In-flight snooze accessories
No matter how long or short a flight is, I always manage to doze off.
Even if you’re not like me, chances are you’ll want to snooze a bit on a long flight.
These 4 in-flight snooze accessories will help you rest comfortably despite being stuck thousands of miles up in the sky in a big metal tube.
- Travel neck pillow: A travel neck pillow is essential for sleeping on a plane, train, or long car ride. I recommend springing for a travel pillow made with memory foam and flat back for next level comfort.
- Sleep eye mask: A sleep eye mask with a 3-D dome-like contour around the eyes allows for undisturbed REM cycles, translating to better quality, well-rested sleep.
- Pashmina shawl or blanket scarf: A shawl or blanket scarf can double as a warm layer for cold weather or a cozy blanket for comfort while traveling.
- Ear plugs: Ear plugs are great for blocking out surrounding noise for more restful sleep, plus some brands, like EarPlanes, also help reduce pressure in the ear from altitude changes.
In-flight entertainment essentials
If you’re not going to sleep, you’ll need something to keep you busy.
Unfortunately not all planes come with an in-flight entertainment system or sometimes they aren’t free. Best to arm yourself with something to do!
- Tablet or iPad: A tablet or iPad can double as in-flight entertainment, but also a travel-friendly computer when paired with a bluetooth keyboard.
- Gift card: Go for an Amazon, Apple, or Google Play gift card that can be used for new apps, music, books, movies, or games.
- Travel games: Mad Libs, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and other game books are perfect for layovers and long flights. For other travel game ideas, check out my post about travel games for adults.
- Noise-cancelling headphones: For a super swanky and super helpful gift, noise-cancelling headphones or ear buds are perfect because they block out load plane engines and other surrounding noise.
For the traveler interested in photography, why not help them get a basic photography kit together?
- GoPro camera: These tiny cameras are super durable, portable, and easy to use – making them perfect for travel photography.
- Memory card: Extra memory cards are always a good thing to have on hand when taking photos. Make sure you know what type of card to get as not all cards are compatible with every camera.
- Extra battery: An extra battery is always a good idea, so you never miss a picture due to a dead camera ever again.
- Travel tripod: A portable, lightweight tripod that folds up small is key for travel photographers.
If your loved one is already into travel photography, help them step up their travel photography game with some fun travel photography accessories.
- Head strap mount: Get cool point-of-view video and photos with a head strap that you can mount your GoPro to.
- Underwater dome: Capture half-water/half-air photos with a camera dome.
- Camera gimbal stabilizer: Gimbals are perfect for eliminating camera shake while creating travel videos.
- Photography drone: Capture stunning aerial video and photos with this fun camera.
Travel memory keeping tools
If professional-level photography isn’t top of the list, consider other ways to help capture travel memories.
- Travel journal: For long-term travelers, a travel journal or travel journal app to record memories on the go is a sweet, sentimental gift. They’ll appreciate it most years down the road when they want to reminisce or perhaps write a travel memoir!
- Custom photo book: Create a photo book to memorialize an epic vacation or season of long-term traveling. Check out this post for more photo gift ideas.
- Fujifilm Instax Mini instant camera: Fujifilm Instax cameras are this generation’s Polaroid camera. Instax cameras are a fun way to take tiny instant photos to share with friends. Don’t forget to add extra film!
Travel-friendly power ups
Never worry about where your favorite traveler is or whether they are okay by ensuring they can always stay powered up and connected to communication channels.
- Travel adapter and converter: For new travelers, a travel adapter and converter is a thoughtful and practical gift that will help them stay connected while traveling.
- Portable power strip: This might seem like an extraneous item, especially for minimalists. But trust me when I say: this item is a game changer. Stop fighting for plug space and get a portable power strip so that you can keep all your gadgets charged while on the go.
- Power bank: A power bank is a must-have for long days on the go. No more iPhone dying while touring a new city because you’ve been taking too many pictures and Instagram stories. Just plug your phone into the power bank to charge up and off you go.
- Portable WiFi hotspot: If you need a reliable wifi connection while traveling and don’t want to pony up the high fees, get a SkyRoam portable wifi device. SkyRoam works in over 100 countries and about $10 per day (less if you buy access in bulk). I’ve used my SkyRoam in Australia, Bali, France, South Korea, Sri Lanka, and Switzerland so far, and had a great experience each time.
Don’t put all your time, energy, and money into an epic trip and then not take care of yourself.
Here are a few ideas on how to ensure good health while traveling, all of which make practical, yet good, gifts.
- Travel insurance plan: Your health insurance likely doesn’t cover care outside of the US. And while some credit cards offer insurance on items purchased with the card, like plane tickets, that doesn’t help in all situations. Better to be safe than sorry with a comprehensive travel insurance plan.
- Compression socks: Help prevent swelling and blood clots in your legs while flying with compression socks.
- Reusable water bottle: Hydration is important for your health, but it’s especially important when traveling because dehydration can be a player in developing blood clots.
- Mini first aid kit: A first aid kit is often the last thing people think to pack when traveling.
It doesn’t have to be a big box full of supplies.
A small, portable kit should be fine for most travelers, though hikers and outdoors travelers might want something more specialized.
Travel safety accessories
Next to getting ill or injured, getting robbed while traveling will definitely put a damper on your trip.
Thankfully there are ways to help prevent theft while traveling.
Here are a few ideas that make great gifts for travel lovers.
- Scarf with hidden pockets: Travel scarves are another dual-purpose item that I love. They can serve as a light layer for Fall and Spring days, an accessory to brighten up an otherwise boring outfit, and hide your passport and other important items.
- Travel safe: Along with the travel lock, a travel safe is another handy item that will help keep valuables safe. If there isn’t a safe in your hotel room, keep your valuables in here and chain it to something that can’t move, like a locked down table leg.
- Luggage lock: Help prevent your loved one from being pickpocketed by gifting a travel lock for their zippered bags.
- Travel wallet: Keep essential travel documents and items, like your passport, all in a single wallet. For a better buy, look for a travel wallet with built-in RFID protection that can help protect you against identity theft.
Gifts for business travelers
Business travel always seems so glamorous, but I can tell you first hand, it isn’t always.
As someone who has traveled for an employer, sometimes the corporate travel policies aren’t in your favor – like flights at undesirable times to save a buck or not allowing upgrades even at your own expense.
Help your favorite business traveler stay sane during their work trips with one of these 4 gifts.
- Priority pass lounge access: Access to an airline lounge can make a hectic trip or long layover so much better. Priority Pass provides access to over 1000 lounges with 3 pass types available (the more you pay per year, the more free access you have!).
- Rolling garment bag: Keep suits in tip-top shape with a rolling garment bag. No need to iron or steam!
- Travel-friendly workout equipment: Gift a subscription to an online workout program or portable exercise equipment, like resistance tubes.
- Laptop bag: Ever get one of those standard issue laptop bags with your corporate laptop? Yeah. Me too. They suck. They’re heavy and the strap always digs into my shoulder. Investing in a laptop case out of pocket was money well spent.
Gifts for digital nomads
Digital nomads, if you’ve never heard the term, are workers with online business or jobs that don’t stay put in a single place.
It’s a great way to hold down a full-time job and see the world.
Here are a few gift ideas for digital nomads.
- Co-working office membership: Co-working offices are great for start-ups and digital nomads who need the amenities an office provides, but can’t afford an office space of their own. A gift card to put toward the cost of a monthly membership is sure to be greatly appreciated.
- Bluetooth keyboard: Turn an iPad into a laptop with the simple addition of a bluetooth keyboard. This is how I keep up with my blog while traveling!
- Portable backup drive: A portable, durable hard drive is essential for any digital nomad so that they can back up their laptop. If space is a concern, a subscription to a cloud drive would be a great idea too.
- Adobe Creative Cloud subscription: If your digital nomad has a creative or web-based business, chances are high that they use Adobe Creative Cloud. Help with their expenses by purchasing a few months or even a year subscription to their favorite program or suite.
Tech gifts for travel lovers
I’m a tech nerd, yet somehow always amazed at the travel tech released each year.
Even if your loved one isn’t into technology and gadgets like me, I bet many would still appreciate one of these 4 fun travel tech gifts.
- Luggage scale: I nearly panicked when I couldn’t find my luggage scale before I went to France last year. I rely on that sucker more than I realized! In order to keep my luggage in check, I always weigh it before leaving the house. Not only does this make me less anxious about getting checked in, but it also tells me about how much room I have weight-wise for souvenirs. I pack it with me to check my luggage again before I head to the airport on my way home.
- Bluetooth luggage tracker: Delayed luggage is the pits. I always pack an extra outfit in my carry on just in case this happens, but sometimes it takes more than a day to get your luggage back. Why? Because airport employees have to track down your luggage in a sea of luggage that all looks the same. Add a tracker to your luggage and you’ll know where it is at all times via an app or website.
- Smart suitcase: Luggage is getting cooler and cooler these days. Aside from the fun colors and prints on the market, manufacturers are also adding fun technology like portable chargers, built-in luggage tracking, and more.
- Amazon Echo or Echo Dot: This personal assistant gadget is more than just a gimmick. Use the Amazon Echo to order items for your upcoming trip, track a flight, check the weather, and more.
If these travel tech gift ideas strike a chord, check out my post about tech gifts for travel lovers for more ideas.
Optimize mobile phones for travel with these 4 gift ideas.
- Phone case: A durable phone case is a must in order to keep phones, aka lifelines, in good shape.
- Charging cord: A short charging cord attached to a key ring (as seen below) is perfect for every day use and travel.
- iPhone camera lens: Up your photo game with a set of clip-on photo lenses.
- iPhone tripod: Gorillapods are mini tripods with bendable legs. The bendy legs can wrap onto almost anything, which can help with selfies and cool shots at fun angles.
Gifts for budget travelers
You can go two ways with a gift for a budget traveler: chip in to help defray the cost or teach them how to maximize their budget.
Whichever way you go, a budget traveler will be thankful for one of these gifts.
- Gift cards: Sometimes flights are the biggest expense when traveling. Help make a dent in the cost with a gift card to their preferred airline. Same goes for accommodations.
- Budget travel book: Nomadic Matt wrote the best guide out there on budget travel. If someone has a love for travel, but doesn’t know where to start when it comes to traveling on a dime, this is one of the best gifts you can get them.
- Personal finance book: The other half of the battle when it comes to traveling on a budget is to actually set up and maintain a proper budget. A book on personal finance and budgeting is a gift that will last a lifetime. I got a lot out of Rich Bitch by Nicole Lapin – it read like a convo with a close friend, except she’s an actual finance expert.
Gift ideas for backpackers
Backpacking is a popular way to travel on a budget. It can be hella fun, but it’s not always glamorous.
Here are a few gift ideas for the favorite backpacker in your life.
- Dry shampoo: This holy grail beauty item is great for backpacking and camping or hiking trips when your shower time is limited or non-existent. Depending on your hair and the brand, dry shampoo can extend your style 1-2 extra days.
- Microfiber bath towel: Backpackers often stay in hostels, where you have to pay for a towel or provide your own. Microfiber bath towels are compact and dry quick, making them a top choice as a backpacker’s towel.
- Portable washing machine: Wash clothes on the go with a Scrubba portable washing bag. This is a super easy way to get a few pieces of clothing clean until you can get to a laundromat.
- Waterproof backpack cover: Keep packs safe and dry with a waterproof cover. This compact cover folds down to a tiny size and can be pulled out when needed.
Gifts for outdoor lovers
For travelers that love to explore the great outdoors, pretty much any gift that supports this part of their life will go over well.
Here are my top 4 gifts for outdoor lovers and adventure travelers.
- US National Park pass: For travelers looking to visit the US National Parks, an annual pass for entrance into any park could be the start of an epic bucket list journey. While there are ways to get a National Park pass for free, many people don’t qualify for a free pass.
- Travel mug: A durable travel mug can be used to keep drinks hot or cold. They can also double as a canister to keep soup warm. I use the Yeti brand and have it in several sizes. Mine has never leaked, no matter what position it has been in my work tote, backpack, backseat, etc.
- Solar powered charger: Keep the essentials charged while away from electricity with a solar-powered portable charger.
- Bubble tent: Regular tents are so last year. Buy your outdoorsy friend a bubble tent, aka the coolest tent I’ve ever seen. While this clear tent is not at all good for privacy, it is 100% amazing for stargazing. Totally worth it.
Luxury gift ideas for travel lovers
Everyone deserves a little luxury every now and then. Here are a few luxurious gift ideas for travelers.
Luxury travel guide
Louis Vuitton luxury travel guides are available for a variety of cities in English and French.
They also have a series that focuses on fashion travel. What a great gift for the fashionista in your life!
Travel jewelry box
Keep your jewels safe while traveling with a portable jewelry box that has a lock.
Here’s to hoping it’s enough to keep sticky fingers away from your precious, shiny objects.
For busy New York, Southern Florida, and LA-based luxury travelers, Blade is a dream come true.
Blade is helicopter service to and from select hotspots around these 3 hubs. You can even use it to skip traffic and get to the airport.
If your friend or loved one is a luxury traveler, I assume they have enough money to buy what they want, when they want.
But, that doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy a surprise.
Spring for an extra excursion or day trip as a surprise for an upcoming trip.
Unique gifts for travel lovers
Quirky or bizarre doesn’t need to be impractical!
Sometimes the best gifts are something you’d never think of unless you saw it.
Here are a few gift ideas I’m convinced travelers will enjoy!
Wine bottle protector bags
Wine Angel bags will protect all that wine you’re planning to bring home for me in your suitcase, right?
I always bring a few with me when traveling somewhere that I know I’ll want to bring home a bottle or 2!
In-flight cocktail kits
Fancy a drink? Make it a good one with a portable cocktail kit.
These adorable kits include special ingredients for classic cocktails.
If you’re going to have a drink while up in the air, you better make it a good one!
Anywhere travel guide
Looking to connect in a new way while traveling?
Use the Anywhere Travel Guide Cards for prompts and ideas on how to explore a new destination.
Yes, friends – the viral luggage scooter all over the interwebz is REALT!
Whoever buys one of these amazing contraptions for me this Christmas will officially be my best friend.
Shoot, I might even propose marriage.
Everyone loves a good Netflix and chill night.
But sometimes Netflix doesn’t have exactly what you’re looking for.
Here are 4 travel-themed movies for friends who love a good night in with popcorn and a movie.
I don’t go to the movies often, but after seeing the trailer, I made it a point to see Snatched with my mom and sister.
It did not disappoint! We all laughed so hard that we cried.
The movie follows Emily (Amy Schumer) and her mom, Linda (Goldie Hawn), on a vacation filled with (mis)adventures in Ecuador.
Snatched would make a fun gift for a travel-loving mom or daughter!
Girls Trip is another fun travel-themed movie that came out in 2017.
This movie follows 4 long-time friends as they travel to New Orleans for the Essence Festival.
Girls Trip would be a fun gift for a travel loving BFF.
Rough Night follows a group of women who travel to Miami for an epic fun-filled bachelorette party weekend.
Except, it doesn’t exactly go as planned…
This would be another fun gift for a travel-loving BFF, a soon-to-be bride, or bridal party.
Back to the Future
I had to put at least 1 throwback in here, so I went with one of my favorites from childhood: the Back to the Future trilogy.
OK, so maybe it’s not realistic, but it’s certainly nostalgic – and who doesn’t love a good nostalgic gift!?
Books are great for in-flight entertainment or even a quiet night at home.
Here are my top picks for this year:
- Slanguage series: I love the hilarious Slanguage book series that teaches foreign language slang for English speakers with super simple drawings and pronunciations. I have the Japanese one!
- Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel List 2: I love Lonely Planet’s humorous, cheeky tone. Their Ultimate Travel List 2 book would be great for your coffee table. Imagine the discussions it could start when you tell tales of your time in Petra, Tulum, Cambodia, and more.
- All Over the Place by Geraldine DeRuiter: I’ve been a fan of Geraldine’s blog for years. She is hilarious and doesn’t hold back on anything. All Over the Place chronicles the time when she got laid off so she tagged along with her husband on his frequent business trips. It’s also the story of how she started her blog!
- What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman: Some people in their 20s and 30s are busy getting married, having babies, and buying houses with white picket fences. Others travel the world, live on the edge, and make people laugh for a living. If your loved one fits in the later group this book would be a great gift.
If you need more ideas for travel themed books, check out my favorite travel memoirs by women.
Travel themed coloring books for adults
Adult coloring books have exploded over the past 2 years.
The trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.
Coloring is a great activity to help ease stress and anxiety, like about-to-get-on-a-plane-for-12-hours anxiety.
Here are a few travel-themed coloring books for a fun, stress-free gift.
- Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel coloring book: Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel book has been transformed into one amazing coloring book.
- The US National Parks coloring book: For your friend that loves the great outdoors, how about a coloring book with scenes from US National Parks?
- Street Style coloring books: For the fashionista that loves to travel, a fashion-themed coloring book would be a fun gift. Pictured below is the Paris Street Style coloring book. The Street Style series from Zoe de las Cases also has Tokyo and New York editions.
- Colored pencils: I highly recommend springing for Prismacolor colored pencils if you’re giving them as a gift. Prismacolor colored pencils color well, don’t break easily, and have excellent pigment.
Jewelry gifts for travel lovers
What girl doesn’t like jewelry??
Here are a few ideas for travel-themed jewelry and accessories, all perfect for the loved one who loves to travel and accessorize.
- Apple Watch: Keep track of time, activity, text messages, and more with an Apple Watch. This awesome piece of travel tech would be a great travel accessory for the tech geek in your life.
- Charm bracelet: A charm bracelet or collection of bangles are a great way to wear travel memories on the daily. If your loved one already has a collection started, find out what their preferred brand is and buy a charm or bracelet to add to it.
- Compass or map jewelry: Celebrate wanderlust with a piece of jewelry that includes a compass, working or non. Pretty much any traveler will appreciate a necklace, ring or bracelet with a compass on it.
Travel themed decor gifts
Deck the halls with fun travel-themed artwork.
Here are a few travel artwork and decor suggestions that make excellent gifts for travel lovers.
Cross stitch world map
Forget the overdone scratch-off maps!
A cross stitch map is the cool way for a travel lover to show off where they’ve been.
I love the idea of the cross stitch map over the scratch-off versions because you can fill in the map with a variety of colors and stitches.
For example, you can use a color palette that matches your home decor or use each country’s flag colors.
A framed photo
One of my mom’s favorite Christmas gifts in recent years was a giant framed photo of a lighthouse in Bar Harbor.
Bar Harbor is near and dear to my family’s heart and earlier that year, my sister’s long time boyfriend joined us for his first trip there.
Yep, you guessed it – he captured my mom’s heart by gifting her a photo he took while there!
If you don’t have a spectacular photo that you want to get reprinted, order a print from a travel photographer, such as my friend Tabitha Bear.
Not only will you get a fabulous gift for a traveler, but you’ll be supporting an artist and small business, too!
Another fun way to show off where your loved one has been or is planning to go is with a cork globe.
Add a set of fun plane or globe shaped pins and you’ve got the perfect gift.
Vintage travel ad poster
Decorate their home with a vintage travel ad or 2 featuring their favorite destination(s).
If the above 100 gifts for travel lovers weren’t enough, here are a few more
First things first, if you’re gifting for Christmas, did you do up a stocking?
In my family, this is one of the best parts – a stocking full of small gifts, sometimes practical, sometimes silly, and sometimes big ticket items.
Lastly, check out my post about travel themed Christmas tree ideas, which includes tips on making the most of a fake tree!
This post was originally published on November 15, 2016. It was lasted updated on November 16, 2022.