50 Best Gifts for Travelers: Ideas for Every Budget

This page may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more info.

It’s that time of year again when we update our popular list of the best gifts for travelers to help you find the ideal travel presents for the globetrotters in your life.

We’re already getting excited about the festive season as next week we’re going to the after-hours Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Disney World! Despite the Florida sun we’ll be enjoying snow on Main Street, singing carols, and munching holiday treats. We’ll then have our first US Christmas in Austin, Texas! 

All these travel gift ideas help travelers pack lighter. Maybe you’re buying for someone who packs carry-on only like we do, or perhaps you’d like to encourage your loved one to take a little less on their next trip.

These great gifts for travelers are things we use and love ourselves or have been recommended to us by experienced nomads.

Click on the links below to skip ahead to your gift budget or scroll down to read the whole article.

Contents

$0–10

Combination Luggage Lock

A tiny, practical, and inexpensive gift. We use combination locks to secure our backpack zips and keep the contents safe. A must for every traveler.

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Travel-Size Toiletry Bottles

Every carry-on traveler needs toiletry bottles under 100ml/3oz that meet with airline regulations and can be taken on planes. They allow you to pack your favorite product without having to carry a large container. These Kitdine bottles look great with wide openings and anti-leak caps.

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Field Notes Notebooks


We usually avoid traveling with heavy paper, but sometimes you want a real notebook rather than using your phone (like I did on safari in Africa or when hiking the Dales Way).

Field Notes are my favorite notebooks for travel as they are slim, light and well-constructed. 

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

SD Card


You can never have enough storage space for travel photos, so SD cards are ideal for photography fans as they are useful and tiny. Just make sure you find out what type of card their camera takes.

I’m a fan of SanDisk Extreme cards, which are fast and reliable but not too expensive.

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

$10–25

Solid Lotion


There are only so many toiletry bottles you can fit in your airline-compliant ziplock bag, so if your loved one is a beauty product junky, the answer is solid toiletries.

You can take as many of these on the plane as you like, and they usually save space and weight and last longer than liquid versions. This Honey House Naturals Bee Bar gets excellent reviews and leaves your skin silky smooth.

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Lush Shampoo Bar

Lush shampoo bars - great gifts for travellers.

Another solid toiletry product to get around airline restrictions and avoid leaks. I love Lush Shampoo Bars, which work as shampoo and soap, last ages, are vegan and eco-friendly, and smell lovely.

They make fantastic small and inexpensive gifts for people who travel.

Buy at Lush.

Travel Towel


A normal towel is bulky and heavy, so a travel towel is a must for budget travelers staying in accommodation where towels aren’t provided. We also use ours for the beach and sweaty yoga classes. They are light, compact, and quick-drying.

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Foldable Water Bottle


Normal water bottles take up too much space when they’re empty, so foldable water bottles are a better option. We love the Vapur Element Bottle as it’s lightweight, durable, can be flattened or rolled when empty, has a flip top cap, and can be clipped to a bag.

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Solid Perfume


Solid perfume is much more practical than liquid scents for travelers and makes a great gift. Pacifica solid perfumes are popular and come in a range of scents like Tahitian Gardenia—perfect for a tropical holiday.

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

The Carry-On Traveller: The Ultimate Guide to Packing Light Book


My book, The Carry-On Traveller (available in paperback and Kindle formats), is ideal for anyone who overpacks. The book will teach them not only how to lighten their load, but how to pack everything they need into a single carry-on-size bag.

The strategies can be applied to any trip, whether they are traveling for a week or a year, to hot or cold climates, alone or with kids.

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Packable Daypack


Packable daypacks are useful if you want to travel with just one bag but don’t want to use your main luggage when you are out exploring.

We tried a variety of backpacks and the best value is the inexpensive Gonex Ultralight Travel Backpack. It’s compact, light, durable, and surprisingly roomy. 

If you have a larger budget, the packable daypack we now travel with is the Tortuga Setout Daypack, which is a little bulkier but more comfortable to carry. 

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Packable Tote Bag


Packable tote bags make good gifts for travelers as they are tiny and always comes in handy for shopping and beach trips. ChicoBag has a range of beautiful designs and their bags hold up to 40 pounds (18kg) of shopping.

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Sarong


A sarong is one of the most recommended items by experienced travelers. It’s lightweight but multi-purpose and can be used as a beach cover-up, towel, skirt, scarf, picnic blanket, makeshift curtain and more.

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

SmartWool Socks


SmartWool makes our favorite travel socks. They are made from merino wool, which is naturally odor-resistant and quick-drying.

Their medium crew socks keep our feet cozy and warm in cold weather and the liner socks work well for warm weather. They come in a range of colors and designs.

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

USB Travel Power Adapter


A travel power adapter is essential for every traveler to allow them to use different plugs around the world. A USB version is best as you can charge three or more devices at once.

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Headlamp


A headlamp or torch comes in useful for many travel situations—in dorm rooms when you don’t want to wake your neighbors, in countries with frequent power cuts, when camping, in places with limited street lighting, and even when visiting caves. Our Petzl headlamps have lasted us over eight years and are still going strong. Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Portable Charger


Portable battery chargers are incredibly useful travel gifts for anyone who travels with a phone. They fit in your pocket and take the stress out of long travel days as you don’t end up without access to Google Maps when trying to find your hotel. 

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

$25–50

Buff


Merino wool Buffs are lightweight, tiny, and multi-purpose and make ideal gifts for travel lovers. They are super soft and work as a scarf, hat, headband, bandana, or to protect your face from dust in the desert.

I regretted not bringing one to Iceland where strong winds make other scarves impractical.

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Clever Travel Companion Tank Top


A Clever Travel Companion tank top is a great alternative to money belts for storing passports, cards and cash. It has two zipped pockets for storing valuables (one under each arm), and I find it more comfortable than a money belt. The pockets aren’t entirely hidden so it’s best to wear it under another shirt.

They also make t-shirts, leggings, and underwear with hidden pockets. A really handy gift for any travel lover.

Buy from Clever Travel Companion or on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Travel Scarf with Hidden Pocket


This infinity travel scarf with hidden pocket is another excellent way of concealing your valuables or being able to go out without a purse. It’s made from a soft fabric, comes in a wide range of colors, and the pocket is big enough for an iPhone and passport. It’s on my wishlist for this year. 

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Yoga Paws


Even the lightest yoga mat weighs 1kg, so Yoga Paws, which are little yoga mats for your hands and feet, are the perfect solution for travel. I’ve practiced yoga in over 10 countries with them.

They prevent slippage when doing yoga on any surface and provide support for the wrists. They are so small and light that it’s easy to take them anywhere. I recommend the lighter SkinThin version. 

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

AeroPress Coffee Maker


Perfect for coffee lovers, the AeroPress is the best travel coffee maker and makes incredibly smooth and flavorful coffee. It’s compact, lightweight, durable, and easy to use and clean.

Simon won’t travel without it—it has saved him from awful instant on many occasions. A unique travel gift.

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Toiletry Bag


The best toiletry bags are light yet durable, have a few pockets for organization, and a hanger for when there’s nowhere to put it. The Sea to Summit TravellingLight Hanging Toiletry Bag meets all these criteria, and we manage to fit a surprising amount in the small sized bag.

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Eagle Creek Etools Organizer Pro


A great present for anyone, like us, who travels with too many electronics. The Etools Organizer Pro keeps our cables, chargers, and accessories organized, accessible, and protected.

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Manduka EKO Superlite Travel Yoga Mat


This is the top yoga mat recommended by travel yogis as it’s relatively light, grippy, and folds up to fit in any bag.

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Packing Cubes

Every experienced traveler we know adores packing cubes. They are the secret to traveling carry-on only as they allow you to fit more clothes into your luggage by squeezing them into a smaller package. They also keep things organized and easy to find in your bag.

We love Eagle Creek’s compression packing cubes—Simon uses the regular large compression cube, and I have the ultralight Specter compression cubes. Highly recommended for anyone who travels!

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Ably T-shirt


These magic t-shirts are perfect for travel. Ably t-shirts are made from 100% cotton, so they are soft and breathable, but they repel odors and liquids and can be worn multiple times without washing.

While we were testing them on a trip across Europe, Simon wore his for nine days without washing it, and I still didn’t think it smelled! Available for men and women in a range of styles.

Buy on Amazon US.

$50–100

Billabong Submersibles Shorts


Simon’s new favorite shorts are Billabong Submersibles, which can be worn as regular shorts or for swimming. They look smart and are lightweight and quick-drying. Multi-purpose items are brilliant for packing light!

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK

External Hard Drive


Backing up your data is essential if you travel with a laptop. We love the Seagate Backup Plus Slim external hard drive, which is small, light, and sturdy.

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Ride-On Suitcase for Kids


Kids can travel carry-on only too, and the Trunki ride-on suitcase makes it easy and fun. Kids can pull it themselves or ride on it and be pulled. It works as a toy to keep kids entertained as well as storage for their stuff.

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Icebreaker Long-Sleeve Top


Icebreaker makes clothes from merino wool, which is non-itchy, warm, and odor-resistant. We love their long-sleeve tops for cold weather—they kept us toasty in Iceland this year. They add warmth without taking up too much space in our bags and can be worn multiple times without washing.

Buy for men on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Buy for women on Amazon US or Amazon UK

Bluffworks Travel Pants

Bluffs review- best travel trousers

The perfect travel trousers, Bluffworks pants combine the performance of technical travel clothing with a smart look. They are lightweight, wrinkle-resistant, quick-drying, and have hidden zippered pockets for security.

They are very versatile—Simon has worn his hiking (including every day of our six-day Dales Way hike), horse riding, and to weddings. Simon likes the Originals, but they also come in Chino and Gramercy (suit pant) styles. Read our Bluffworks review for more details. 

Buy at Bluffworks with 20% off until the end of 2018.

Bluffworks Travel Dress Shirt

Bluffworks meridian shirt - an ideal travel gift

This year Simon started traveling with a Bluffworks Meridian travel shirt and can’t believe it took him so long to get rid of his old wrinkly long sleeve shirt. The Meridian is so much more practical for travel and can be dressed up or down.

It’s wrinkle-free, soft, comfortable, and anti-microbial so you can wear it for multiple days without it smelling.

Buy at Bluffworks with 20% off until the end of 2018.

$100–200

Kindle Paperwhite


An e-reader is indispensable for traveling bookworms as you can travel with thousands of books on a device smaller than one paperback.

I couldn’t live without my Kindle Paperwhite and I have my eye on the new version which is waterproof (yay, pool reading!). 

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

 

AirPods

Apple Airpods a great gift for travelers

Our favorite purchase of the year was our AirPods. These wireless headphones are brilliant—it’s liberating being free of the tangle of wires. I love them for running and yoga videos, they are super comfortable (I forget I’m wearing them), and the battery lasts for ages. I can even steal Simon’s phone to wander off and take photos while he continues to listen to podcasts.

Buy from Apple.

Ultralight Waterproof Jacket

Ultralight waterproofs are perfect for travel—they are incredibly light and pack up into a tiny package. The Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket is one of the smallest on the market but will still keep you dry.

Buy for men on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Buy for women on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Tieks Ballet Flats

Lilac Tieks and box

My absolute favorite ballet flats for travel! They are comfortable, durable, pack up small, and come in many gorgeous designs (I love my Silver Lake Vegan Tieks).

They are pricey so are ideal for gifts—treat someone you love! Tieks has a free exchange policy if they don’t fit. Read my honest Tieks review for more information. 

Buy from Tieks.

Packable Down Jacket


Packable down (or synthetic down) jackets are the best way to keep warm and still pack light. They pack down small so don’t take up much space in your luggage.

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Osprey Farpoint 40 Backpack

I have traveled with the Osprey Farpoint 40 backpack for years. It fits the carry-on requirements for almost every airline, so I can take it on the plane and avoid checked baggage fees. It’s durable but light and comfortable to carry.

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

 

 

Tortuga Setout Backpack

Tortuga Setout backpack, the ideal gift for travelers

The Tortuga Setout is Simon’s new favorite travel backpack. It’s the maximum size allowed on most planes and has plenty of space for all his stuff.

It’s comfortable to carry, looks stylish and is made from high-quality materials. See our Tortuga Setout review for more details.

Buy on the Tortuga website.

$200+

Bluffworks Travel Blazer

Bluffworks Gramercy Blazer - one of the best gifts for travelers

This year Simon upgraded his look with the Bluffworks Gramercy Travel Blazer. It’s made from a soft lightweight fabric that’s wrinkle-free, so you can pack it inside your luggage without messing it up.

It’s also machine washable, quick-drying, and has tons of pockets that are perfect for carrying your valuables. It looks fantastic and can be worn with everything—it was ideal for spring in Italy and Paris. 

Buy on the Bluffworks website with 20% off until the end of 2018.

iPad Pro


For traveling artists, we recommend the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. The touch-sensitive screen replicates drawing on paper, without having to carry around notepads and pencils. It has revolutionized Simon’s illustrations and using apps like the powerful Procreate, he has done some of his best work ever.

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Mirrorless Camera


For photography enthusiasts, mirrorless cameras are the perfect compromise between size and quality. They are much smaller than DSLR cameras but still take excellent shots. I love my Olympus OM-D E-M5.

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Travel Books

The best female travel memoirs about long-term travel to inspire your next trip

You could also gift an Amazon Kindle book or paperback (if they still prefer paper). For ideas for travel lovers, see these posts about my favorite books: 

Back to Contents

Digital Gifts for Travelers

The best gifts for travelers won’t take up any space in their luggage. Buy them a gift card for one of these:

  • Yoga with Adriene – My absolute favorite online yoga classes which have enabled me to practice anywhere in the world.  
  • Trusted Housesitters membership – To find housesitting opportunities around the world.
  • Backblaze – Unlimited cloud backup to keep data secure.
  • Airbnb – Rooms and apartments around the world. Our favorite way to travel.
  • Netflix – Stream TV and films.
  • Amazon – Books, clothes, travel gear, music, films, and more.
  • Uber – Taxi rides around the world. 

Do you have any other travel gift ideas? Leave a comment and let us know. 

Like this post? Pin it!

Wondering what to get the traveller in your life? Here are 50 practical ideas! #travelgiftguide #giftguide

This post was originally published in November 2016 and was last updated in November 2018. 
Pattern image Designed by Freepik

 

Back to Contents

  • Share:

Enter your email to sign up for our monthly newsletter and free ebook South America Highlights.

16 Comments

  1. Kindles are the absolute best! 🙂 Another awesome gift idea for travellers is the Avalok Airplane Mode Sleep Mask, also from Amazon!

    Reply

  2. The Trunki is neat but not a great choice as your one carry on item for kids. It’s bulky, heavy and awkward to carry so kids small enough to ride it can’t manage it themselves. The inside is an unusual shape which makes packing anything but clothes in it a pain. Overall, I’d not bother although we have been given one and use it occasionally. A final downer is that the age range it works for seems to be pretty limited and it only rolls well in really flat surfaces. I think it’s lovely, but only if you’ve got a suitcase and a he car! Oh, and some of them have stickers instead of printed features and they come off after a trip or 2

    Reply

    • That’s good to know Betts. It was recommended to us by a travelling family but it sounds like it might only work in certain situations. They are cute though!

      Reply

  3. Hello Erin,

    Great list of essential products you have mentioned above!
    As a technology Geek, i never forget to keep SD card, hard drive and my Camera with me. BTW, I am using Canon EOS 700D.

    Reply

  4. Thank you Erin for the great post!

    Your content is always insightful and your site is so very nicely done.
    Love the negative space utilization, attention to detail and consistently good formatting.

    Happiest of holidays to you and Simon.

    Jack

    Reply

  5. Thanks simon and erin for the suggested items. I bought the family the headlamps and we use them all the time. Kids love them (7 & 5) it came in handy when we got stuck biking and it got dark fast in NC. Keep it coming!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.