If you’re looking for some fabulous, functional and unique travel gifts to buy that special someone, then look no further! I’ve brought together my favourite travel gift ideas for you to choose from. From stocking stuffers and useful gadgets to full-on tech wizardry, I’ll help you find the best gifts for travel lovers to fit any budget, so you know exactly what to buy for travel lovers in your life!
Choosing What to Buy for Travel Lovers
What you buy will depend on how much you want to spend, how well you know the person you’re buying for, and if they are an experienced traveller or more of a stay at home travel lover (as we have all been this year!). No matter what kind of travel lover you are buying for, I’ve found some fun, useful and unique travel gifts that are bound to satisfy even the most discerning traveller!
Essential Travel Gear
If you’re looking to buy a travel gift for a newbie traveller, then there are several essential items they are going to need for their trip. When I first started travelling I had a huge list of travel gear I wanted to get, and I certainly appreciated some help buying everything. Before making a purchase, make sure they haven’t bought these gift ideas already!
Yep, travellers need luggage! What kind of luggage you buy will depend on exactly what kind of activities your traveller will be doing. Do they travel light with hand luggage only? Are they travelling long term with a backpack instead of a suitcase? Will they love a matching set of different sizes? Luggage is quite a personal thing so have a chat with your gift recipient before you buy anything!
Filter Water Bottle
When travelling or hiking anywhere, there is one accessory I never leave home without. My Water-to-Go bottle with a built-in filter is absolutely essential as it allows me to drink from any freshwater source by filtering out any potential nasties.
I’ve used it in all sorts of places where you’re not supposed to drink the water, from airport bathroom sinks to tap water in Mexico. It is also very useful for hiking and I take it everywhere with me. Their website has more information about how it works.
I have partnered with Water-to-Go to offer all This Travel Lover readers a 15% discount on the purchase of a Water-to-Go bottle. If you are based in the US or Canada, click here to order your bottle now, or if you are in Europe or Australia, click here. Simply choose the water bottle you want to buy, and add in the code BYORB for a 15% discount on your purchase.
Buying specific travel clothes could be a great gift idea for travellers, but it depends on where they will be travelling too. If they prefer beach holidays, then buying thermal underwear won’t be very useful for them! However, there are some staples that are useful no matter where they are going.
A waterproof jacket for example can be used in a variety of destinations. I prefer to have a relatively thin waterproof jacket that I layer with a wind-proof jacket underneath if needed, but for colder destinations, a thicker waterproof jacket could be better. It’s probably best to chat to your gift recipient before buying any clothing as you’ll need to know the type and size they prefer.
Adventure travellers, hiking lovers and backpackers will certainly appreciate a good pair of walking boots. Keeping feet warm, dry and blister-free on hikes will save them so much pain and discomfort! Before my big backpacking trip to South America, I knew I would be hiking to Machu Picchu so I definitely needed a good pair of boots. My mum & dad bought me some Salomon hiking boots for my birthday and I am very glad they did!
These Salomon walking boots aren’t cheap, but they are super comfy, lightweight and will protect your feet from anything the terrain might throw at them. They are also quite bulky, which I loved – I felt invincible wearing them!
Money-Saving Gifts for Travel Lovers
Access to Work Exchange Programs
Backpackers or people who are travelling for a while are often looking for ways to save money while travelling. Work exchange programs allow them to trade their time and skills in exchange for accommodation, so they can basically travel for free! Work exchange websites like Worldpackers and Workaway list thousands of available work exchanges which travellers can apply for, once they have paid the membership fees.
Membership fees start from $29 for 18 months (with this discount voucher) for Worldpackers, and $45 USD for 15 months for Workaway. These memberships can be used in any country in the world (including their own) so no matter where they plan to go they can find something to suit them.
Membership to Trusted Housesitters
Another great way to save money while travelling long term is to become a house sitter. Websites such as Trusted Housesitters list hundreds of homeowners who are looking for people to look after their homes and pets while they are away. Placements vary from weekend stays to several months, so can save a lot of money for long-term travellers! Membership costs $129 for the year.
National Trust or National Parks Membership
When I was spending the summer in England I bought my own National Trust membership, but if I could have waited until my birthday I would have done! Buying a membership for the National Trust, or similar organisation such as English Heritage or the RSPB is a great gift idea for travellers who will be spending a lot of time in the UK.
For trave lovers in the USA, a National Parks pass grants access to over 2000 Federal recreation sites in the USA. One pass covers the pass-holder and the accompanying car passengers, or the pass-holder and up to 3 adults (kids under 16 go free) at sites where there is a per-person entry fee. It’s great value and is a gift that keeps on giving throughout the year, as every time they use it they will think of you!
Wanderful Membership for Female Travellers
Give the gift of sisterhood. For a woman who travels, there’s nothing better than meeting like-minded soul sisters who understand your need to explore the world around you. Check out some of the benefits of Wanderful membership, like:
- 24/7 access to an online platform where you can meet other travelling women and make travel buddies
- Multiple weekly virtual events like workshops, happy hours, and more
- Free access to chapter events in 50+ cities
- VIP perks at global events
- Access to our soon-to-launch global hosting network where you can find other women to meet and stay with on your next trip
- Special deals and discounts
I joined Wanderful when I attended the Women In Travel Summit (WITS) in Riga in 2019, and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know this amazing community of female travellers.
Depending on where your travel lover is planning to travel, buying some foreign currency for them is a thoughtful and very useful gift! Try to get a mix of notes with different values so they don’t have trouble changing huge notes.
Travel insurance is one of the biggest expenses for long-term travellers, yet it can cost them a lot more if they don’t have it! Offering to pay for their travel insurance is sure to get you lots of brownie points, and you can feel good about helping them to travel safely too.
Travel insurance from WorldNomads is available to people from 140 countries, and you can buy and claim online, even after you’ve left home. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
Unique Travel Gifts for Travel Lovers
Here are some gift ideas for travel lovers that you might not have thought of before. Not your typical run of the mill travel gifts, these make unusual and thoughtful gifts.
Book A Trip for Them
What better to give a travel lover than the gift of travel?? Airline vouchers, hotel vouchers or currency to spend in a destination of their choice can work really well but that doesn’t necessarily count as an ‘experience’. If you are planning to travel together, you can book the whole thing yourself, from transport tickets to hotels and tours while you’re there. It is a lot of work, but you know that special someone is going to be over the moon with it.
A Surprise Trip
If you have some cash to spend but don’t want the hassle of booking a whole trip yourself, there are several ‘surprise’ travel agencies who will book a surprise trip for you and take care of everything. You just supply them with a budget and answer some questions about the kind of things you (or the person you’re buying it for) like to do, and the agency will come up with a fabulous trip itinerary just for them! Take a look at Pack Up & Go and Jubel if you’re in the US, or Srprs.me, and Wow Trip in Europe for an idea of what to expect.
Travel Gift Experiences
Gift experiences can be much more fun and rewarding than buying physical gifts for someone, so if the person you’re buying for loves to try new things when they’re on the road, a GetYourGuide gift card would be a fabulous present for them. You can choose the amount you want to give them, then they choose their activity (which range from cooking classes, food tours, and hundreds of other options. Vouchers are valid for 3 years so they have plenty of time to use them.
Airbnb Experiences can make great gifts as well, although you may need to choose the specific experience (as Airbnb gift cards are only available in the USA). I thoroughly enjoyed my pasta-making class in Milan which I found on Airbnb, and wouldn’t hesitate to choose something from their platform again.
Online Travel Experiences
GetYourGuide has a range of online activities too, so a gift card would work nicely for those if your travel lover isn’t going anywhere for a while! Airbnb Experiences also has lots of online activities to choose from and you could purchase a specific experience for them such as an online cooking class, a virtual tour or even a sangria making class taught by drag queens!
Travel Gift Box
I have recently discovered travel gift boxes, which are a wonderful way to travel from home while we can’t go anywhere else! Cratejoy has a wide selection of gift boxes, some of which require a subscription and some which you can order as a one-off gift. There are boxes to suit every taste and some fabulous gift boxes for travel lovers.
I particularly like the look of this International Blessings box which contains beautiful, unique products handmade by families around the world to break the cycle of poverty. The Explore Local box “visits” a different US city each month, including premium, locally made, artisan products and food so is a fab way to explore the USA from the comfort of your sofa! The Wordy Traveler Box is a quarterly luxury book club subscription box for travellers who want to give back, making an excellent travel gift for book lovers.
Personalised Travel Jewellery
I love jewellery that reminds me of my travels. From necklaces to earrings, bracelets, anklets and cufflinks you can choose a beautiful personalised travel gift. Etsy has some fab designs, like this personalised world map necklace or this heart-shaped map necklace where you can choose which destination should appear in the heart. These map cufflinks work in a similar way too.
Tech Gifts for Travel Lovers
Kindle and/or Kindle Unlimited Subscription
If your favourite traveller loves to read, they will find that packing several books in an already stuffed suitcase just isn’t practical. A Kindle (or any kind of e-reader) makes a great travel gift. Travellers will certainly make use of it on planes and buses, at the beach, or in the evening chilling out under the stars. Storing hundreds of books in one tiny space means they will never be without their favourite book, no matter where they go.
The standard Kindle is a good choice, but the more advanced Kindle Paperwhite is waterproof so is super useful for backpackers and travellers who might get caught out in the rain. If they already have a Kindle, then a Kindle Unlimited subscription could be really useful for them, as it includes unlimited access to over 1 million eBooks. They can also use the subscription on any device with the free Kindle app, they don’t even need to own a Kindle.
If your gift recipient prefers to listen to books, an Audible gift subscription to listen to audio-books would be better for them. They can also use the Audible subscription on the Kindle with Bluetooth headphones. I love listening to my audiobooks when I’m on a plane or bus ride, as I suffer from motion sickness and can’t read while I’m moving. On long journeys, it’s very comforting to have your favourite author reading to you! At the moment I’m listening to David Attenborough’s A Life on Our Planet which is essential listening.
I love listening to music when I’m working, cooking, chilling or hanging out around a campfire, and although I’m conscious not to have it loud enough to disturb my neighbours, I use a portable speaker to play my favourite tunes. This mini speaker is also waterproof and comes with a carry case. They’re also really easy to charge up with a power bank off-grid if needed.
A power bank portable charger is also on my travel essentials list as I could not do without it when I am off-grid! I have a relatively large Anker power bank that will charge up my phone three or four times, which makes a huge difference. There are smaller, cheaper portable chargers available but I definitely recommend the Anker brand as I’ve used this one for several years without any issues. This smaller Anker power bank charges phones at least twice so could be a great option for keeping tech charged on a long journey.
Go-Pro Action Camera
If you are buying a gift for someone adventurous then a Go-Pro action camera is a great choice. They can record their adventures as photos or videos to share with friends back home or even use them to create content for blogs and vlogs to earn money while they’re travelling.
If they already have a go-pro camera, there are hundreds of Go-Pro accessories which make for great stocking fillers, either from the official Go-Pro store, or unofficial ones which do the job just fine – such as this 50 piece accessories pack. Just make sure that whatever you buy is compatible with the right model of camera.
Tripod and Microphone
As with the GoPro, budding videographers and vloggers will be very grateful for this gift – a tripod and external microphone for use with a mobile phone or action camera. I recently got a GripTight PRO TelePod and Wavo Mobile microphone from JOBY and I love it! The tripod is great for a selfie stick or for setting up for photos of me as a solo traveller, and the microphone makes such a difference to the sound it is incredible.
There is no better way to take epic travel photos than with a drone. These little flying machines can take pictures and videos from angles we can only dream of from the ground. DJI drones are some of the best on the market (with a price tag to match) and are great gifts for people who might use the footage professionally. Most travellers will want something compact, such as the DJI Mini 2, which can fit easily into a hang luggage case or backpack.
For the enthusiastic amateur, there are plenty of cheaper options on the market, like this one, which gets excellent reviews for the price. Make sure you also pass on the information needed to fly a drone safely and responsibly and tell your gift recipient to check the rules carefully for each country they plan to visit. Most drones will need to be registered and they may need a license to fly it.
External Hard Drive
Travelling often means not having access to your favourite TV shows and movies, but sometimes there is nothing better than curling up to watch something that reminds you of home. Having a bunch of films on an external hard drive means I can watch to my heart’s content without worrying about downloading on sketchy wifi or using all my phone data, especially with expensive roaming costs abroad.
Hard drives are also very useful for backing up photos, videos and work from my laptop, so it is another very useful gift for travellers or digital nomads who are working while travelling. However, if they are very tight on space, then a couple of memory sticks could be more useful. These mini memory sticks are compact yet some can store over 500 GB of data.
Useful Travel Gifts
Here are some travel gift ideas that are useful, fun and thoughtful!
An Anti-Theft Day Pack
As well as my check-in luggage I also have a day pack which I carry as my hand-luggage and use to explore once I’ve arrived. However, the downside of having a backpack is that everything you put in it is out of sight once it’s on your back! An anti-theft backpack with slash-proof material and securable zippers will help keep everything safe. Pacsafe are a well known and reliable brand, and their 25 litre anti-theft backpack is a great choice.
A scarf is a very useful gift for travellers. They can keep you warm in cold weather, a damp scarf will keep you cool when it’s hot, and these travel scarves from Waypoint Goods have a hidden pocket for storing phones, wallets and passports to keep your belongings nice and safe.
Currently, they only ship to the USA but I managed to get my hands on one of these Orchid purple scarves and I love it!
There are other ways to keep belongings secure, including money belts which fit under clothes, actual belts with hidden compartments to fit cash in, hidden bra pockets and more. Anything that helps a traveller to keep their cash safe will be appreciated I’m sure!
While we’re talking about thefts, let’s also talk about potential attackers. It is an unfortunate reality that there may be times in every person’s life when they are attacked on the street. Whether that happens a block from their own home or on the other side of the world, a personal alarm could deter their attacker and give them enough time to escape. I have recently bought a set of personal alarms like this, and although I haven’t had to use it yet they do give off a very loud noise!
Particularly useful for solo female travellers who want peace of mind at night, these doorstop alarms fit under most hotel, hostel and Airbnb room doors, and have two functions – to stop the door from being opened from the outside, and to let off a loud alarm should someone try. I haven’t used one myself, but after reading the reviews I think it’ll be going on my Christmas list! You could also go the whole hog and get a set of portable door locks too.
A Guide Book
Although travellers often don’t have a lot of space for books, I still love to take a real guide book with me for inspiration on routes and things to see and do on my travels. For my South America trip, the Lonely Planet Guide to South America was essential, and I carried that thing with me everywhere! You can also find equivalent books for destinations all over the world.
For days when the wifi isn’t working or to have a break from a phone screen, journal writing is a great way to relax and to clear your head, as well as to keep track of any travel adventures! There are hundreds of different journal designs so you can find something for everyone, this is one of my personal faves.
Of all the travel gifts you could think of, packing cubes are one of the most useful but also most underrated. I travelled without them for years and thought I was doing the right thing by rolling up clothes, rummaging around and having to re-pack every time I moved on. However, I have recently seen the error of my ways and bought a set to use in my campervan, and they are definitely coming with me on my next trip!
They keep everything tidy and relatively flat so I don’t spend ages trying to find something which is scrunched up at the bottom of my rucksack. Different colours and different sizes are useful for identifying which cube has what in it, so travellers can keep everything tidy and organised.
I wouldn’t recommend a full-size picnic blanket for most travellers, and to be honest I wouldn’t usually suggest any picnic blanket until my brother bought me a mini picnic-blanket which I take hiking with me.
It folds up really small but is big enough to seat two people and keep them clean and dry, wherever they want to sit down.
There is nothing more uncomfortable than trying to sleep on a plane or bus journey and waking up with a sore neck. I took an inflatable travel pillow with me to South America which literally saved my neck on every long journey and folded up small when I wasn’t using it.. I’ve also tried out the TRTL travel pillow which is much more comfortable for journeys, but it is quite bulky.
Cheap Travel Gifts for Stocking Fillers
I love my trek towel, and although it’s not the same as wrapping yourself in a big fluffy bath towel, microfibre travel towels take up a fraction of the space and dry so much quicker than normal towels do. There is a range of colours and sizes to choose from, and most include a carry-bag too.
Padlocks are essential for backpackers staying in hostel dorms. They’re also super useful for locking luggage and backpack zips together to stop thieves sneaking a hand in. Cheap and functional, a padlock is a great stocking stuffer for backpackers! I prefer ones with a long or flexible lock like these which fit any lock I’ve come across.
A great gift for travel lovers who are going to several different countries, a travel plug means they can charge up their gear everywhere they go. Get one with a couple of different outlets and USB ports for charging multiple devices at once.
Waterproof Phone Pouch
Last but not least, these waterproof phone pouches are great for taking to the beach or for a swim in the pool. As well as being able to keep their phone closeby to avoid sneaky thieves taking advantages, the mobile phone is safe inside the waterproof pouch and it still allows you to take photos.
I hope this travel gift guide has given you some great ideas for gifts for travel lovers to choose from – no matter what you buy I’m sure that it will make that special someone very happy!
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