“What are the best gifts for travellers?” is the question I get from my friends all the time.
They are either trying to figure out what to get me for Christmas, my birthday, or other holidays we celebrate throughout the year, or they want to get presents for someone else who travels a lot.
Honestly, I am extremely picky about my gifts, and I will not settle for just anything. I know that most of you will say, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”
And you’re right.
But if you’re looking to get the absolute best present ideas for travellers, there’s nobody else you should ask but a globetrotter. So here I am to help you with my extensive globetrotting background and finally expose what are actually good presents for a traveller.
And just to give you some background here. I am the person who, more than a decade ago, said that the carry-on I received for my birthday wasn’t what I wanted! That’s not because the carry-on was ugly or bad in any way; it was just that I like practical and nice things to travel with, which are in no way easy to come by.
So without further ado, here is my list of presents which hopefully will help you find the best gift for a travel lover. I know we’re hard to shop for, so that’s why I’m doing this.
Essential Gifts for All Travelers
To kick things off, let’s cover the basics.
If you’re shopping for a budget traveller, then this section might be what you’re looking for. You see, you need to understand the person you’re shopping for to get them their perfect gift.
So, if we’re talking about gifts for people who love to travel on a budget, then they probably won’t mind getting some of their essential replacements.
Hopefully, with better and more expensive ones. Because we all love fancy things, but as a budget traveller, you choose to spend your money on the actual trip and not the things you use.
So here is my list of travel-related gifts, travel accessories, and practical tools that can be a perfect travel-lover gift.
Durable and lightweight suitcases or backpacks with smart compartments. My go-to is my carry-on (beware to fit for all airlines’ carry-on dimensions), a small laptop backpack, which I usually use to carry my other devices (camera, hard drive, chargers, etc.).
Sometimes, I switch my carry-on for a bigger 40L backpack. It really depends on the trip and the itinerary. As I said in the beginning, it’s important to know your friend and adjust the gift based on what you know about your friend.
Portable Power Bank
Essential for keeping devices charged on the go.
For documenting experiences and memories. I love journals. I had one with me for my first 3-week trip to the US. Sure, I would probably never buy one for myself, but I love it as a gift. If your friend loves all things pen and paper, this is such a thoughtful gift for your friends who love to travel.
Travel Pillow and Eye Mask Set
For comfort during flights or long rides. I literally can’t sleep without my eye mask.
Waterproof Phone Case
To protect devices during water-related activities. This is such a nice and thoughtful gift for someone who likes adventure travel in tropical areas, where lots of water activities are involved. Places like Bali or any other destination that involved boats or snorkelling.
For organized and efficient packing. I personally just use plastic bags, but it would be nice to have these. Seems fancy and organized.
Travel-Sized Toiletry Kit
Including essential items in travel-friendly sizes. Absolutely a must-have. The thing is that we all have some preferred toiletries, so I would only choose this if you know what brand the person uses. So if you’re BFFs, then you should know.
If you need any suggestions, here are my go-to travel skincare items.
Lightweight Rain Jacket or Poncho
Compact and easy to carry for unexpected weather. I never leave without this for my one-month+ trips. Yes, I know, it sounds stupid, but I swear by it. I told you I will give me unique ideas for the best gifts for travellers.
Kindle Unlimited or Audible Subscription
For access to a vast library of books and audiobooks. This is the alternative to the e-reader. I am more of an Audible person, so this is perfect for longer flights, airport transit time, long bus rides etc.
Travel Insurance Voucher
Offering peace of mind for unforeseen travel issues. I use a credit card that has this included, but you absolutely need this. Or get a yearly subscription for your travel friend. Make sure they don’t have one already, so you’re not wasting money that can be used for another essential travel gift.
Check out VisitorsCoverage for travel insurance deals.
Collapsible / Reusable Water Bottle
Space-saving and environmentally friendly. I never leave for a trip without my bottle. Although I would like a more fancy one.
Multi-tool or Swiss Army Knife
Check airline regulations. Handy for small fixes and tasks. This cannot be taken in your carry-on luggage, only in checked luggage. If your travel-lover friend only travels with a carry-on, this is out of the question.
Travel Guidebooks or Maps
For destination-specific information and inspiration. I’m more of an internet girl, but I find that more mature travellers also enjoy these printed guidebooks (but not only! I know someone younger than me who buys these as souvenirs).
Lightweight and portable for relaxation anywhere. I’d choose this for my adventure or road trip kind of friends who also spend nights in campings.
Language Learning Subscription
Like Duolingo, Babbel or Rosetta Stone, for learning new languages. I’ve used this to improve my German and Spanish, and they’re worth it.
Travel-Themed Home Decor
Such as world maps, globes, or destination art. There’s nothing a traveller loves more than to see the world map and have stories about all those places.
Travel Photography Course or Workshop
To improve photography skills. This is more for content creators and friends who love to learn new things and also document their journeys.
Gift Cards for Travel Agencies or Airlines
For flexibility in planning future trips.
This is like gifting a plane ticket but with the flexibility of choosing the time and destination left for your travel-lover friend. If you are not ready to commit such an expensive gift, think about tickets to certain activities or places, which can be found on Tiquets.
Or you can get us a voucher for accommodation. I always use Booking.com for that, and I love it.
For an airfare gift card, check out Kiwi.com, my absolute favourite platform for booking flights. Some other travellers may use something else, but the plane tickets are the same in the end.
And tools specifically catered to the tech-savvy traveller.
Universal Travel Adapter
A must-have for international travel. I travel within Europe most of the time, so I don’t need this. But if you are into Europe – US trips or Europe – UK – US travels, then this is a must-have!
Compact Camera or GoPro
For capturing high-quality photos and videos. I think the GoPro is just the perfect camera to get started as a YouTuber or vlogger in general. It’s smaller and easy to use.
Prepaid SIM cards offer data and calling options across European countries or wherever in the world your travel friend is going. My go-to option is Airalo, which I have tried and tested many times.
For seamless connectivity and high-performance photography. I used a Samsung for many years, and in 2022, I finally switched over to an iPhone. I don’t need a lot to travel, but having a device in the palm of your hand that can do everything you need it to do is such a practical and useful travel tool.
Smartwatch with Travel Features
GPS, language translation, and fitness tracking capabilities. This is such a great gift for outdoorsy travellers who love to hike, run or bike. I had a Garmin that I absolutely loved when I first started running.
Travel Drone for Aerial Photography
Compact and easy to carry for capturing stunning landscapes. If your friend is a travel content creator, blogger or anyone who loves to take cool photographs, trust me on this – they would love to have a drone. I wasn’t sure about getting one, but trust me, it’s so so cool, and I try to make room for it when I travel to cool places with amazing landscapes.
Digital Luggage Scale
To avoid excess baggage fees. I thought about getting one, but then I just got really good at determining the weight of my stuff by myself. I must have some special power. But not everyone has this, so this is super helpful, especially if you know you’re friend tends to overpack (this is more of an issue for those who have started travelling recently).
For virtual travel experiences or entertainment during downtime. I find this a super cool tech gadget to gift to anyone passionate about technology. But for a traveller to have room for it, they must travel with checked luggage and be one of those people who always buy the latest gadgets.
Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Waterproof and compact for music on the go. If your friend loves music and can’t sit in silence, then they would love this.
Smart Luggage Tracker (Airtag)
To keep track of luggage location via smartphone. I’m not even sure if this is a whim anymore or a simple necessity for checked luggage. Since 2021, there has been a huge amount of checked luggage lost, and most of them have been sitting stranded in airports.
If you or your friend are travelling with checked luggage and there’s stuff you can’t afford to lose, then definitely get some airtags (for Apple users) or some other smart luggage tracker.
Travel-Friendly Laptop or Ultrabook
Lightweight and powerful for work and entertainment. Obviously, it is the ultimate gift for anyone, but a traveller will always need one reliable, fast and ultra-lightweight laptop to allow them to work while travelling.
This is the most important item I own, and I would choose it over anything else on this list. It’s not even a debate. So yes, this is not cheap. It’s actually the most expensive item on the list.
But this is what we travellers want – a cool new laptop! BTW, I love my Macbook Pro and will never leave without it.
I wrote an extensive review about my laptop after switching from Windows to Mac, if you’re interested.
Compact Camera with Wi-Fi Capability
For easy photo sharing. This is a tricky one, and I would suggest something like Sony or Canon, which is perfect for budget travellers and also light travellers who want to start creating content during their trips.
Compact and perfect for reading during long journeys. If you’re friend is a reader, this is perfect! It can be carried along everywhere you go.
Eco-friendly way to charge devices using sunlight. This is more of a fancy gift, suitable for someone who spends more time at a desk because those charges take a longer time to charge your stuff.
Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot
To stay connected anywhere without relying on public Wi-Fi. Travel content creators and digital nomads are crazy about connectivity. Can someone give me this and have it topped up with unlimited internet worldwide, please? Thank you!
Ideal for flights and noisy environments. As someone who’s constantly on the road and needs to get work done no matter what, I need these as much as I need sleep in my life.
Christmas and Birthday Gifts
And now that I’ve cover the basics of ideal gifts for travellers, I’ll just share a few ideas for those looking for a special present.
You might want special occasion gifts for travel lovers, focusing on unique and fun ideas. You want a travel-lover gift idea that hasn’t been mentioned in the common list of gifts.
So, let’s get into some Christmas gifts for travel lovers.
These could also be fun and special gifts for your travel friend’s birthday.
I see these gifts as cool and fun, but not an absolute necessity and therefore not something I would purchase for myself, but would love to receive it, especially if my travel essential list is already covered.
Personalized World Map Corkboard
For pinning past and future travels. If your friend has a permanent home base, this makes sense.
Travel-Themed Christmas Ornaments
Shaped like famous landmarks or travel icons. Of course, I want special travel ornaments for my tree, like who doesn’t want that?
Destination Cooking Classes
Online or in-person classes to learn cooking from different cultures. I am not a great cook, but a class where you have eve3rything ready for you and someone telling you what to so sounds like a special mission and i’m ready to say “Yes!”.
Puzzles featuring world maps or famous travel destinations. I tend to be detail-oriented and could spend hours perfecting a task or doing something I really enjoy, such as completing a puzzle.
I am well aware not everyone is like this, but I would love this. Just don’t get a 5000-piece puzzle because I don’t want to waste too much time on that instead of planning a new adventure.
Customized Passport Cover and Luggage Tags
Personalized with their name or initials. I’ve always wanted one of those fancy passport covers but always thought to myself I could have an extra meal with that money. So remember that gifts are objects that are useful and nice, but the traveller doesn’t deem them necessary (especially a budget traveller).
Travel Experience Gift Cards
Oh yes, going on experiences when arriving in a new place makes all the difference.
And since everyone knows that some of these tours and special extras can cost a lot (again, speaking from the experience of a budget traveller). So yes, I want this so badly.
But please make it for someplace I’m already making plans to travel to or in my city. I don’t want it to imply other costs on my part.
Travel Quote Wall Art
Inspirational travel quotes for home decor. And if we’re getting fancy here, we travel girlies love everything travel-related decor. It just helps us define our space as the space of a traveller so that future home visitors can see and wonder about that.
We’re proud of our experiences and want the world to see it. Or at least, our close friends to see it (the ones who visit us in between our travels).
Destination-Specific Gift Baskets
Filled with goodies from their favourite travel destination. This is not really my personal case, but I know lots of travellers who love certain destinations more than others. This is a perfect Christmas gift for travellers who are also foodies.
So it could be something like an Italy-inspired basket or a Greece-inspired one. You get the idea. Ok, I might be lying. A nice bottle of wine and some good authentic pasta are not things I will be disappointed with.
Travel Book Set
Curated collection of travel literature or destination guides. And when we don’t travel, we read travel-related stuff because that’s who you are and stories fuel your entire existence. I think it’s about time to start thinking about a good list of travel books.
Luxury Travel Toiletry Bag
High-quality, stylish, and functional. I always choose the practical items here. But luxury can be anything that’s not absolutely essential. So it could be a mini version of your friend’s favourite perfume (those tiny bottles are expensive, and I always marvel at them in airports).
Funny and Unique Gifts
These are the presents that someone who loves to travel would notice, even think about getting some, but would probably never get it for themselves. Or maybe that’s just my thought process.
Anyway, I see this category as the easy gift to get to someone who loves to travel, and you don’t know them that well, so this is a fun gift that will put a smile on their face.
Scratch-Off Travel Map Poster
To track and display their travel adventures. I’ve been wanting this for so long, but I will probably never spend my own money on one. It’s just one of those things that make so much sense to receive as a gift but not a present to buy for myself. Maybe it’s just me.
Personalized Adventure Fund Jar
A fun way to save up for the next trip. This is a rather symbolic gift when you don’t have a huge budget to spend on travel-related gifts but still want to let your friend know you cherish them and want to be a part of their dream to travel the world. So take a jar and write “adventure fund” on it. And don’t give it empty. Add some money to it just to get things started.
Funny Travel-themed T-Shirts or Socks
With humorous quotes or images. This is one of the easiest fun presents you can get for travel lovers. But generally, if you’re not super close to that person, I would suggest not getting them anything like clothing because you could get the size wrong, and it ruins the fun of receiving that gift.
Travel-Themed Board Games
Like “Ticket to Ride” or “Globetrotter”. Yes, absolutely this is a fun present for travellers. This works really well if they’re a travel couple or a travel family, so they can play it together or when they have friends over. I have “Ticket to Ride” and both my boyfriend and I love it.
Customized Travel-themed Phone Case
With maps or travel-related designs. It’s cute and fun and helps others see a bit of your personality without actually talking to them. It’s like bragging you’re a traveller without saying any words. Perfect for all introverted travellers (because they do exist in all of us).
Travel Quote Mugs
With funny or inspirational travel quotes. I am not a huge fan of mugs, but I will not dislike a really cute and travel-related one. Don’t get a cheesy one with just a travel quote on it. It has to be pretty, and it’s perfect if your friend is drinking lots of coffee or tea.
3D Puzzle of Famous Landmarks
Like the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Mahal. I guess this is a nice and fun gift for that kind of traveller who has a home base, loves to build stuff and is a bit more technical.
Travel-themed Novelty Night Light
Such as a globe or a mini lamp in the shape of an aeroplane. A travel-related item is for sure a great and fun gift for someone who loves to travel. As long as the item is well-made and doesn’t look cheap or brittle, then it’s a great idea.
Presents and travel-related gifts for all travellers
In wrapping up this whirlwind tour of gift ideas for the travel enthusiasts among us, I can’t help but reflect on my own adventures.
Having trotted across various corners of the globe and been both a giver and receiver of many such thoughtful presents, I’ve seen firsthand how the perfect travel-related gift can light up a wanderer’s world.
Whether it’s the practicality of a sturdy suitcase, the connectivity afforded by the best Europe SIM card, the delight in unwrapping cool, fun gifts for travellers, or the thoughtful touch of a personalized present for travel lovers, each gift carries a story, a possibility, an adventure waiting to unfold.
For those of us who yearn to explore, to see, to experience – these gifts are more than just items; they’re a passport to memories and experiences.
From the top gifts for travellers that I’ve seen make eyes sparkle to the ideal presents for people who love to travel, the key is in the thought and understanding of what makes a traveller’s heart beat faster.
It could be a quirky gadget, a travel-lover gift that tickles the fancy, or something as simple yet indispensable as a travel app for solo adventurers.
Remember, the best gifts for travel lovers – be they Christmas gifts for travellers, birthday surprises, or just a ‘thinking of you’ present – are those that resonate with their passion for exploration.
They could be funny gifts that bring a chuckle in the middle of a hectic journey or practical tools that turn a trip into a smoother experience.
So whether you’re scouting for gifts for male travellers, looking for that perfect gift for a world traveller friend, or seeking the best gift for someone travelling, know that your choice is a reflection of the joy and freedom that travel brings.
From my laid-back, well-traveled perspective, I’ve cherished each gift that’s come my way, each one a reminder of the vast, beautiful world out there and the countless adventures that await.
Happy gifting and happy travels! 🌍✈️🎁