Gifts ideas for someone who loves to travel
Every year my parents ask me what I want for Christmas and every year I tell them the same thing “I don’t need anything!”. Somehow, after I say that, I can magically think of dozens of things I actually would love to have, and no surprise, most of them are travel related (duh!) – I can always use gifts for travel. So if you’re shopping for the wanderluster in your life, look no further than this list of practical Christmas gifts (and maybe some fun travel gift ideas) for the travel enthusiast in your life.
In this post you’ll find the best travel gift ideas to put your holiday shopping at ease, and best of all, nearly all of them have been tried and tested by me, so you can be sure that I’m not just producing a shopping listicle out of nowhere. To make it even more convenient for you, nearly everything on this list is available at Amazon, so you can do some one stop shopping. And by the way, some of the links on this page are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
So, let’s get down to it: useful travel gifts for your favorite traveler
- PacSafe: If you aren’t familiar with PacSafe, educate yourself! Ok, maybe that was a bit dramatic, but PacSafe has great gear for anyone who wants to keep their belongings safe on their trip – and isn’t that everyone? I personally bought my PacSafe bag before solo backpacking through Thailand last summer. PacSafe bags are lined with wire and closed with a TSA lock so it makes it nearly impossible for thieves to slice open your bag with a knife. I loved using my PacSafe bag while traveling alone because I could conveniently lock my bag to a chair or palm tree while taking a swim in the ocean, and not have to worry about who was watching my bag #solotravel problems. I also used it in my hotel rooms that didn’t come with a safe or where the safe looked dodgy. This is one of the best gifts for travel because it gives the gift of security!
- GoPro + accessories: How ever could we chronicle our travel experiences without a handy GoPro? Full disclosure, I have a first generation GoPro that is in serious need of an upgrade (anyone want to buy me one for the holidays?!), but my GoPro and GoPro accessories come with me on every trip – especially any trip where I know I’ll be doing a lot of water based activities – which for me is nearly every trip! I love have a GoPro because it allows me to get action shots (duh!) AND it allows me to easily take selfies when I’m by myself. Yes, I really did just say that. As far as gifts for travel go, a GoPro is a necessity. If you guy a GoPro, you’re gonna need the accessories – I always use my kit to attach the floating accessory so I don’t have to stress about my GoPro sinking to the bottom of the ocean when I go snorkeling.
- A Kindle: I love real books. I love filling my house with books. I think real books are one of the best gifts you can give people and one of the best conversation starters. But, books are heavy. And if you’re traveling, you don’t want to lug books around. Do I need to really say anything more about the Kindle? I think not.
- Bar shampoo: When I went backpacking, I decided to try out bar shampoo. This decision was driven by both my need to pack light, and my desire to reduce my reliance on single use plastics. Now I use bar shampoo all the time, not just when I travel. After using liquid shampoo and conditioner my whole life, I can honestly say my hair feels just as soft and healthy after using bar shampoo for the past 6 months as it did after my old normal routine. These bar shampoos are my favorites, and last about 30 washes (maybe even more!).
- Airline miles: This would be my ideal gift to receive – and what traveler wouldn’t want this? Santa, bring me an airline gift card! There is no better gift than the gift of travel (in my mind), so hightail it to a store and pick up a SouthWest gift card for a loved one, or order one online. I’d suggest other airlines too, but let’s face it, I’m not the biggest fan of most other US airlines (snooty pants over here prefers British Airways and Qatar Airways).
- A new suitcase: I guess you might need to be pretty generous to give someone a new suitcase, but it sure makes a good gift! I have two favorite bags which are my go-to’s:
- EastPak: I don’t know how people travel with hardshell suitcases. In the soft v hardshell suitcase battle, I’m a soft suitcase person all the way. I can’t tell you the amount of stuff I have crammed into my EastPak suitcase – and best of all it seems pretty indestructible.
- Travelpro: I use my TravelPro suitcase as my carry-on bag, and one of my favorite features of it are the four rotating wheels. It makes running through the airport to catch a flight just that much easier when your suitcase can roll at the same speed that you are running. A TravelPro suitcase is a great gift for business travelers.
- A fun passport cover: Ok, so maybe this isn’t really a necessity, but it is a super cute present, and that is half of the fun of giving, right? Plus you might just like it enough you want to buy one for yourself. And who doesn’t love giving gifts for travel to themselves?
- A power bank: This is a no brainer for as a useful travel gift. Actually, anyone who ever leaves their house needs one of these. A power bank definitely won’t end up in a white elephant gift swap or be re-gifted. I have an Anker power bank just like this one, and it is my go to whenever I travel.
- An eye mask: Maybe its just me, but I always wear an eye mask when I fly long distance – its the only way I can sleep when the people around me are opening up their window shades just a little too early. I love mine with a cooling gel in it, it helps you relax just that much faster.
- A neck pillow: This is one of the best gifts for someone going traveling, especially those going on long haul flights. A good neck pillow can really make or break your trip. I personally prefer inflatable neck pillows since you can adjust them to your needs, and you can deflate them and stuff them in your bag later so they don’t take up too much space!
- A TSA lock for luggage: I think a TSA luggage lock is one of the most useful travel gifts you can gift. I started to always lock my luggage after traveling in South East Asia (that’s the only place I’ve wrapped my luggage, too). It goes without saying why a TSA luggage lock makes the list of great gifts for travelers.
- A luggage tag: Yeah, I’m one of those people that has a cute luggage tag – cause it isn’t enough to just tie a ribbon on my suitcase, I need something on my suitcase that speaks for my identity…because… ya know that’s just what I need!
- A universal power adapter: this is a great gift for anyone traveling internationally, especially as a gift for business travelers. A universal power converter means that there is no worrying that you have the right converter when you jump on a plane, since it fits all outlets. This is one of the best gifts for travel because it ensures the recipient will always be able to phone home 😉 !
That wraps up my list of gifts for travel – what items did I miss that are your favorites? Let me know in the comments below!
Gabby is a native (Northern) Californian who spent the majority of her 20’s living the expat life in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, exploring Europe and beyond. 27 countries later, she’s relocated back to her home base in California where she explores her passions for the travel and the outdoors.