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This list of the best gifts for travelers will help you find the ideal travel presents for the globetrotters in your life.
As nomads for the past 12 years, we know what travelers really need. These travel gift ideas include practical items that your loved one will actually use on the road.
Many of them help travelers pack lighter or even travel carry-on only, like we do.
Whether you are looking for inexpensive, small travel gifts or an extravagant splurge, you’ll find ideas for all budgets.
Click on the links below to skip ahead to your gift budget or scroll down to read the whole article.
Waterproof Phone Pouch
We have this waterproof phone pouch to keep our phone and wallet safe and dry when we are snorkelling, kayaking, and river hiking. It’s also handy if you don’t want to leave your valuables on the beach when you head into the ocean for a dip.
It comes with a lanyard to wear it around your neck.
An inexpensive, useful and small travel gift.
Llama Makeup Bag
These small and inexpensive makeup bags come in a range of cute designs including llamas and sloths. Perfect for storing toiletries and other small items on the road or at home.
We discovered hiking wool in New Zealand and have been amazed by how successfully it prevents blisters when hiking, running, or just when you’re on your feet a lot.
It’s made from super soft New Zealand merino wool and is easy to use—just tear off a chunk and place it under your sock in any area where you begin to feel rubbing.
We haven’t had a blister since using it, even on our five-day Queen Charlotte Track hike. It makes a lightweight gift for active people or anyone struggling with sore feet.
Burt’s Bees Skincare Kit
This gift set features five travel-sized skincare products made from natural ingredients.
This was one of the most useful travel gifts we received before heading off on the road, but it’s just as enjoyable at home.
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 bottles are leak-proof and have wide openings.
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, can be flattened or rolled when empty, has a flip top cap, and can be clipped to a bag.
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.
This one is tiny and comes in five colors.
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.
Travel Coffee Mug
A travel coffee mug is a must for every traveler who is concerned about the millions of disposable coffee cups that end up in landfill every day.
They are also really useful on road trips, especially in remote areas where there might not be places to stop for a drink (Simon used one often in Iceland and Namibia).
The Contigo Autoseal West Loop mug is leak and spill proof (you can shove it in your bag) and keeps drinks hot for 5 hours. It comes in many colors and sizes.
My mum gave me these beeswax wraps and I’ve been surprised how useful they are (and have since bought more).
We often self-cater while traveling and these have been fantastic for wrapping up leftover food, covering bowls, and packing sandwiches for day trips.
They are a sustainable alternative to plastic wrap and make simple but beautiful presents for travelers or anyone who cares about reducing plastic waste.
Another solid toiletry product to get around airline restrictions and avoid leaks. Shampoo bars work as shampoo and soap, last ages, and are vegan and eco-friendly (no plastic bottles or harmful chemicals).
They make fantastic small and inexpensive gifts for people who travel.
I’ve used Lush shampoo bars for years and they are available in Lush shops around the world.
I’ve also tried Ethique solid shampoo bars which are just as good and smell less intense. Their hair sampler with three small shampoos and two conditioners is a perfect travel gift.
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.
Although that’s not us these days, we use ours for the beach, picnics, and sweaty yoga classes. They are light, compact, and quick-drying.
This Youphoria travel towel on Amazon comes in a range of sizes and colors and has excellent reviews.
Alternatively, the Eccosophy travel beach towel is more expensive and a little heavier than the large Youphoria, but it comes in many beautiful patterns.
Solid perfumes are much more practical than liquid fragrances for travelers and make excellent small travel gifts. These scents come in tiny tins that fit easily in your purse.
You can also buy a solid men’s cologne in a travel-friendly tin.
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.
Electronics Organizer Bag
A great present for anyone, like us, who travels with too many electronics. An electronics organizer bag keeps our cables, chargers, hard drives, and accessories organized, accessible, and protected.
Moleskine Pocket Notebook
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).
Classic Moleskine notebooks are the ones we return to again and again for their high quality. The hard covers make it easy to write without a table.
You can choose from many colors and limited edition designs. I have a cherry blossom themed one Simon bought me in Japan.
USB Travel Plug Adapter
A travel plug adapter is essential for every traveler to allow them to use different plugs around the world. A USB version is best—this one from Epicka has four USB ports allowing you to charge multiple devices at once.
Peak Design Phone Case
Peak Design has made the perfect phone case (available for iPhone, Samsung, and Pixel). The Everyday Case is slim, stylish, and protective.
Best of all, its built-in connection system means you can instantly attach it to other Peak Design items like the stand wallet (see below) and car and bike mounts.
Allbirds Merino Beanie
A wool beanie is essential for cold weather travel and this unisex one by Allbirds was perfect on our US road trip in February.
It’s made from superfine merino wool so it keeps you warm without itching and feels so soft and cosy. I have the Pom Beanie but there’s also a regular beanie without a pom-pom.
Add a matching Allbirds scarf for an even better winter travel gift.
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 or on REI
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 at Clever Travel Companion
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 range of colors, and the pocket is big enough for an iPhone and passport.
Bluffworks also make a non-infinity scarf with two large hidden pockets. The Threshold Utility Scarf is super soft and large enough to double as a blanket.
Bluffworks Threshold T-shirt
The Bluffworks Threshold t-shirt is our favourite shirt. It feels as soft as cotton but has the performance of a technical shirt—moisture-wicking, quick-drying, and wrinkle-resistant.
It also has impressive odour-resistance and can be worn for multiple days without smelling. Even after two years of constant wear, our t-shirts still look great and have maintained their shape and color.
The Threshold t-shirt is available for men and women in a range of colors in crew, v-neck and long sleeve styles.
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 a dozen 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.
AeroPress Go Travel Coffee Press
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.
This new travel version is even more compact than the original, comes with its own mug, and is great for camping. A unique travel gift.
Buy on Amazon or on REI
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 or on REI
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.
I love the ultralight Eagle Creek Specter compression packing cubes.
Simon uses Peak Design packing cubes, which are a little heavier, but he appreciates the stylish design and separate compartments for clean and dirty clothes.
Highly recommended for anyone who travels!
Buy on Amazon or at Peak Design
Peak Design Mobile Stand Wallet
Simon’s favorite purchase of the year was this superb wallet from Peak Design. It’s slim and elegant and makes it easy to access your cards.
Even better, it features a built-in stand that connects easily via a strong magnet to the Peak Design phone case. We often use this for selfies.
It’s also handy for keeping your phone and wallet connected so you only have one thing to worry about.
Matador 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’ve tried a variety of backpacks and our top pick is the Matador Freefly16.
It’s lightweight yet extremely durable, weatherproof, and more comfortable than most packable bags.
Simon bought me these Olympus 8 x 21 RCII binoculars for my birthday so we could get a closer look at wildlife on our travels.
They are amazingly small and light so you can throw them in your bag or pocket. We’ve admired sea lions, turtles, birds and more.
RipSkirt Hawaii Travel Skirt
I love this comfortable wrap skirt by Ripskirt Hawaii. It comes in lots of beautiful patterns and is lightweight and very quick-drying.
It’s ideal for throwing on after a swim as the water-resistant fabric means you don’t get wet bum marks—it’s remarkable how well it works!
Porlex Mini Coffee Grinder
Simon adores this wonderful little coffee grinder. Pre-ground coffee just doesn’t taste the same anymore.
This manual stainless steel grinder is surprisingly compact (our friend even takes it hiking), high-quality (it’s made in Japan), and easy to use and clean.
It’s the ideal gift for any coffee lover for camping, road trips, travel, or even just to use at home.
Bluffworks Travel Dress Shirt
Typically dress shirts wrinkle easily, but Bluffworks has designed the perfect travel shirt. Simon has the Meridian shirt which 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.
Allbirds Wool Runners
I’m obsessed with my Allbirds Wool Runners. They are the softest, cosiest shoes I’ve ever worn and are light enough to pack easily.
They feel as comfy as slippers as they are made from superfine merino wool that’s ultra soft, temperature-regulating, and moisture-wicking.
All the materials used are eco-friendly and sustainable.
I also love the waterproof Allbirds Mizzles, which are better for rainy weather and hiking, and the Allbirds Tree Dashers for running.
Simon has the Allbirds Tree Runners, a summer version made from eucalyptus, which he wears all year.
Allbirds shoes are available for men and women in a range of colors. Free shipping and returns are available in many countries including the US, UK, and Canada.
They have a brilliant return policy where you can return them within 30 days (or until January 22nd for gifts) if you don’t like them, even if you’ve worn them outside! This makes for a risk-free gift. My Allbirds review has more details.
Allbirds Tree Breezer Flats
The Allbirds Tree Breezers are my new favourite flats.
My shoe collection is now dominated by Allbirds, so it’s no surprise that their flats are just as comfy as their other shoes. They feel amazing on my feet!
Breezers are made of a knit fabric from eucalyptus trees with a cosy wool insole, come in lots of colors, and are machine washable. As with all Allbirds, they are eco-friendly and have a 30-day free trial.
Marmot Precip Eco Rain Jacket
The Marmot Precip Eco Rain Jacket is the best compact, lightweight waterproof we’ve found.
These Marmot jackets pack down into their own pockets so they are easy to throw into your backpack for a hike, but they come with more features than most packable rain jackets.
They have hoods, pit zips for breathability, and a good degree of waterproofing. They also look fairly stylish and come in lots of fun colors (as well as neutrals).
Bluffworks Shirt Jacket
Simon’s latest addition to his wardrobe (which is mostly made up of Bluffworks gear!) is the Gramercy Shirt Jacket.
It’s perfect for layering and manages to be both stylish and cosy with a wool-like exterior and fleece lining.
And as it’s Bluffworks, it’s wrinkle-free and features six pockets.
It’s a versatile top that Simon has worn on hikes, bike rides and out to dinner. He’s even worn it on a snowy walk! I kind of want one myself.
Kindle Paperwhite Signature
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 love that it’s waterproof for reading in the pool and bath!
Last Christmas I treated myself to the new Signature edition and the faster page turn speed and improved screen with adjustable light make it well worth it.
These are brilliant gifts for people who like to travel or any book lover.
Tieks Ballet Flats
These ballet flats 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.
Away Everywhere Bag
I love my Away Everywhere Bag. It’s a personal item that fits under an airplane seat but is ultra roomy with lots of pockets including one for a laptop.
Best of all, it slides over suitcase handles so you don’t need to carry it. It works perfectly with the Away Bigger Carry-On—the combination is the maximum you can get away with taking on a plane.
It’s also ideal as a small overnight bag—I’ve used it for a few weekend side trips.
I have the nylon bag in Asphalt (grey), but there are a variety of colors.
Away Carry-On Suitcase
I originally thought Away luggage was a social media fad (their suitcases are all over Instagram), but after doing a lot of research, it was the best carry-on-sized suitcase I found.
I have the Bigger Carry-On which is the maximum size you can take on a plane (for stricter airlines you might want the smaller Carry-On but I’ve been fine on 10 airlines so far). I can fit a huge amount in with the two-sided design and compression pad.
The four spinner wheels make it so easy to push alongside you. Other features are a laundry bag and optional built-in phone charger.
It looks stylish and comes in an array of colors—I have the limited edition Plum and Simon has Coast (light blue).
Away luggage makes an ideal travel gift because Away offers an exceptional returns policy—you can try any of their items for up to 100 days and if you don’t like it, return it for a refund.
There’s also a lifetime guarantee for defects and free delivery to many countries including the US and UK.
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.
The Pro version is definitely worth it for the impressive noise cancellation—perfect for plane trips.
Bluffworks Travel Blazer
Simon upgraded his look a few years ago 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 (and especially useful on travel days).
It looks fantastic and can be worn with everything—it was ideal for spring in Italy and Paris.
Buy on the Bluffworks website.
Packable Puffer Jacket
Packable puffer 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.
They are essential for us as we regularly travel between hot and cold climates and a bulky jacket is impractical.
I love the Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody made from synthetic down with a durable water repellent finish so it even works in light rain.
Buy on Patagonia for men and women
Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard
Ok, so this isn’t a small travel gift or packable without a car, but it is a fun one! When the events of the last few years meant we spent longer than planned in New Zealand, we picked up an inflatable stand up paddleboard.
It was a fantastic way to experience the sea, lakes, and rivers of this outdoorsy country. I’m now hooked!
It makes a wonderful gift for anyone who loves the water as it’s easy to learn. Unlike regular paddleboards, the inflatable kind packs down into a large bag and is easy to transport in the trunk of a car (perfect for road trips).
We were surprised by how firm the board is once inflated—you’d never know it was full of air. It comes with everything you need including a pump, repair kit, paddle, and leash. The only additional item needed by maritime law in many places is a life jacket.
Travel books are inspiring for both experienced and armchair travelers.
For more gift ideas for travelers, see these posts about my favorite books:
I’ve also written about the best novels and non-fiction books to read before (or after) a visit to the following destinations:
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:
- Find What Feels Good Yoga with Adriene – My absolute favorite online yoga classes which have enabled me to practice anywhere in the world. You could gift a month or year’s membership.
- REI – The best travel store in the US with everything you need for a backpacking trip or outdoor adventure.
- Airbnb – Rooms and apartments around the world. We use it all the time.
- Netflix – Stream TV and films.
- Backblaze – Unlimited cloud backup to keep data secure.
Do you have any other gift ideas for travelers? Leave a comment and let us know.
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I love that you included digital gifts—that is something most people never think of!
Yes and they are ideal for those of us trying to reduce our clutter or pack light (we’re impossible to buy for!)!
I’ve been looking for a complete ‘gifts for traveller’s’ post and your post is very detailed, I’m loving it!
I always have my travel scarf with hidden pockets on my bag.
I’m glad you found it useful Katie!
Kindles are the absolute best! :) Another awesome gift idea for travellers is the Avalok Airplane Mode Sleep Mask, also from Amazon!
A perfect list of gifts. I own a kindle and that has become an indispensable part of my life.
I know, I don’t know how I’d live without my Kindle!
Very cool list. I love my Buffs, they are so useful in all kinds of conditions. I carry a Tortuga backpack and love it! I use the ultrasound packing cubes and they are a life saver for keeping my pack organized.
Sounds like we have similar tastes!
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
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!
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.
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.
Thanks Jack – we appreciate your kind words!
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!
They are really useful aren’t they?