As a gift giver, shopping for gifts for travelers can feel like fun. But those of us on the receiving end of these traveling gifts know that some travel gift ideas are better than others.
Of course, that’s true of all gifts, but we travelers, in particular, need functionality and convenience above all else.
A lot of gift guides for travelers out there include some questionable items, but I’ve spent the past few years compiling and updating this guide to make it the most comprehensive list of travel gear and present ideas that people would actually want.
Every item in this guide is useful, practical, long-lasting and many even eco-friendly. If you’re out of travel gift ideas, you should be able to find exactly what you’re looking for here.
Here are the best travel gifts, suitable for any traveler in your life.
First up: travel shoes! When I shop for travel shoes, I look for something that is weatherproof and supportive without compromising on style. Normally these categories are mutually exclusive, but fortunately, Vessi has come in with these amazing kicks that are vegan, waterproof and super comfortable.
These light, sporty shoes come with different designs for city life, every day and active wear, and they’re suitable for “peak to street” wear. Unlike other waterproof shoes, the Vessi travel shoes have a patented fabric weave that keeps them waterproof for life, which is perfect for impromptu storms or adventures. Unconvinced? Read my full Vessi Footwear review.
One of my favorite places in the world to hike is the mountains of southern New Zealand. I also love being able to drink from the ice-cold streams that snake through the valleys and forests thanks to the LifeStraw filtered water bottle.
Forget the iodine tablets and the extra water bottles, this filtered bottle gives you access to clean, natural water with every sip. This is a great gift for travelers who are eco-conscious and don’t like getting sick on the trail. I think it’s safe to say: That is most of us.
Every traveler knows the airline luggage struggle. You need a carry-on backpack that is the size of a cabin bag with the storage capacity of a suitcase.
The only item you see everywhere, however, is the clickety-clack wheelie bags that would be hopeless on a hiking trail. Fear not, the 45L Peak Design Travel Bag is my favorite carry-on backpack to date. Designed to be taken from the airplane cabin to the trail, this weatherproof wünderbag is the perfect present for travelers who need to carry a new backpack.
It’s definitely not the cheapest option on this list—this is a nice gift—but I personally love it and I’m sure they will, too!
Alright, I know what you’re thinking. You can’t possibly read from a screen because nothing will ever beat paper (except scissors).
Folks, I’ve been there. I am a voracious reader, but on my first trip, I realized that I had to do something about all the travel books I had accumulated because my back was killing me from lugging them around.
After moaning to a friend about this, they gifted me a Kindle Paperwhite …and I haven’t looked back. With its natural paper interface, it re nothing like a smartphone screen. If you love to read, a whole library of travel books can be made available in a device that weighs less than most paperbacks, plus it comes with a ton of accessories. This is one of my favorite travel gifts for travelers who love their literature.
Hands up if you’ve lost your keys, wallet or phone on holiday. We all know that sinking feeling of your things not being there when you need them, and not remembering where you left them. But thanks to Tile, you can find your accessories quickly and easily via Bluetooth.
You simply attach a receiver to your valuables, then if you misplace it, you can make them ring via Bluetooth. These are also trackable online if you lose them out of bluetooth range or if they are stolen. Keep track of those elusive keys and walkabout wallets, and thwart petty thievery. Pretty neat, huh?
Are you looking for gifts for travel friends but have no idea what they like? Give them a choice with a REI Gift Card. Their online store stocks an amazing range of gifts for travelers from high-quality tents to yoga mats to wool accessories, so they are sure to find something they will like.
Take the guesswork out of shopping and let your friends pick out the products they want the most!
In my opinion, one of of the all-time best gifts for travel is a Bluetooth speaker—or as I refer to them, Instant Party Machines. If you’re out on the beach and need some fun beats to get the mood going, you can connect your phone and get a soundtrack going. The sound quality is surprisingly good!
If your playlist runs out of steam, there’s no AUX cord to worry about, just connect someone else’s phone and you’re back on. Plus, this particular speaker from JBL comes in a bunch of colors and is sturdy and water resistant so it can handle a drink being spilled on it.
I’ve traveled with the JBL Flip 4 in nearly every country I’ve visited from Colombia to Laos, so join the party.
Deep down, many of us are yearning to return to our roots and see the land that we came from, but it’s not always an easy task finding out where that is. Thanks to 23andMe, you can find out and read exactly where your ancestry lies using an easy process.
Just a quick cheek swab and you can find out where your great great great great grandparents were from. Your results are sent straight to your email address and smart phone. Who knows, you might even get to meet a distant relative you never knew you had.
Bring business class comfort on your economy class flight with this deluxe travel neck pillow . Forget the limp U-pillows in the airport shops, this is the Ferrari of head support.
Guaranteed to avoid the dreaded post-flight crick in the neck. It has supports for your neck, chin and head using a memory foam core, and it can even strap to your headrest to keep you extra stable mid-flight. Designed to give you the ultimate in-flight comfort, the only thing this neck pillow doesn’t have is a built-in masseuse.
I am a sucker for a nice travel journal. They are like memory vaults, full of anything from journal entries to the bizarre directions a stranger gave you that you had to quickly scribble down. What better way to hold onto these precious moments and fun photos than with this quality, Japanese design from Midori?
It pulls your travel photos together with a stylish, classic look. Its high-quality craftsmanship will furthermore hold your treasured memories safely without falling apart. If you’re looking for a memorable keepsake, then this is one of the best gifts for travelers.
Who knew thermoses could be so cool this holiday season? These stylish insulated bottles are great gifts keep your cold stuff cold and your hot stuff hot while also being slim, chic and environmentally friendly.
HydroFlask has a number of designs made for travelers to take water, booze, coffee, tea, soup or any other liquid you’d rather not have lukewarm. Absolutely one of the best gifts for travelers who like to stay on the move with refreshment always on hand.
Socks are literally THE gift for the person who has everything, but that doesn’t mean socks aren’t thoughtful and luxurious! Every traveler needs a quality pair of socks with a great fit, and Swiftwick does the job.
My favorite socks are from the Pursuit line. They’re made of merino wool, they’re cushioned to support muscles, and they’re designed to absorb impact. Perfect for long travel days and walking for hours on end!
Plus from December 21-24, they’re doing 10% off e-gift cards. If you’re a last-minute shopper, hop on this deal.
You will never believe how useful packing cubes are until you try them. These handy little packing cubes do two things: they keep all your clothes separated for easy access, and they save you space by compressing them all so you can pack light.
When you travel with packing cubes, you’re staying exceptionally organized and saving yourself a ton of packing space in your luggage! Say goodbye to dirty old shopping bags full of clothes, these make great gift ideas for travelers who want to pack light and stay organized.
Give your outdoor-loving friends a gift that keeps on giving. The Nomadik Adventure Subscription Box sends a variety of camping, hiking, and travel-related products straight to their door every month. Best of all, each item they receive is handpicked and specifically curated to their tastes.
Past boxes have included compression socks, wool hats, multi-tool accessories, and even snacks. This holiday season, shower your friends with tons of accessories they’ll love for their next adventure.
Even though you’re in the wilderness, you can still wake up with a cup of hot tea or coffee. The Jetboil Flash is your portable cooking companion that can boil water in just 100 seconds! It’s perfect for hot drinks, oatmeal, pasta, and anything else on the menu that needs boiling water.
This is a must-have gift for friends who want to up their cooking skills while camping or backpacking.
We’ve all been there: Plans have gone out the window, it’s pouring with rain, you can’t find where you’re supposed to be going and you’re starting to panic. In times like these, it’s always good to have a reminder that it’s all going to be OK.
That’s just where this perfect shirt comes in: Look in the mirror, look at the shirt and remember to keep your chin up. After all, what could be better than traveling?
Picture this: Walking the streets of a far-off city while you head towards a beautiful art gallery, your phone suddenly dies and you lose your directions. You could run all the way back to the hotel and use the wall socket, or you could save yourself a whole lot of hassle with this power bank from Anker.
This portable charger with USB ports is an amazing piece of technology. It’s so small, you can carry it in your pocket next to your phone. Yet, it can hold enough charge for at least three full recharges. It’s the perfect gift to share with a city traveler.
There is nothing like a quality cup of joe on a trip. The ESPRO travel press means that you never have to settle for instant coffee. You can bring your favorite roasts and beans with you wherever your traveling.
With the french press and pour-over capabilities, as well as a tea brewing capability, this travel press means every traveler can have a cuppa their way, no matter where you are. It is also nice and compact to slide smoothly into your gear without taking up too much space.
I lovethis washbag set from Scrubba. It’s basically a portable washing machine for your trail gear. Dirty, stinky trail gear that’s being worn multiple days is a hygiene risk (not to mention gross). But a Scrubba will have it fresh and clean with just a touch of detergent and some water.
These make perfect gifts for travelers who are looking for a space saver—washing your clothes mid-hike means you don’t have to pack as much clothing, plus the set can be used as a laundry bag once dry. What’s more, you’ll save money while traveling by not having to pay for washing services or a laundromat, which makes it one of the best travel products.
One of the most irritating parts of traveling to new countries is power sockets. Why can’t they be standardized like charging cables? It would make things so much easier.
Thankfully, there is a magic solution. This universal travel adapter adjusts to fit any socket anywhere around the world, and fits plugs from just as many places. It even comes with two USB ports so charging your phone and mobile devices is easier than ever. Compact, sleek and ruggedly designed, this is one of the best gifts for travelers who are looking to cut down on unnecessary purchases during their trip.
Just to be clear, we are not telling you to buy the Egyptian artifact held at the British Museum (though if you get the chance, you should definitely see it). Rather, Rosetta Stone is a language learning tool that is easy for everyone to use.
No, it’s not a piece of tangible travel gear, but it will be something that the traveler in your life appreciates on his next adventure.
This is a perfect travel product idea because it teaches everyday foreign language skills that you can use quickly and easily, instead of getting bogged down in excessive vocabulary and grammar. With a wide range of language options, Rosetta Stone is a great way to prepare yourself for a new country and make yourself some new friends. That’s why it’s one of the coolest travel gifts.
Just like onions and ogres, travelers have layers. What better layer to get for your nomad friend than a comfy, wear-anywhere t-shirt that will take them from the hiking trail to the city with ease?
With its lightweight fabric and assortment of colors, this is one of the best travel gifts for someone who needs a little extra in their wardrobe (or luggage). It’s especially great for your environmentally-conscious BFF—it’s entirely made from recycled materials.
While we’re talking about deliveries, let’s talk about Quip. This is a revolutionary electric toothbrush, designed for travelers who want to keep their teeth extra healthy.
The sleek metal design is compact enough to slip into your luggage, and fresh brush heads are delivered to your door every three months so you always have maximum brushing power. The vibrating technology gives your teeth a bit of extra polish to keep all those late-night travel beers and morning coffees from doing too much damage.
The best travel gifts are the ones that keep your important stuff safe as well as stylish, and that’s exactly what NOMAD does with its range of smartphone cases. Beautiful, American-made leather cases that not only look amazing but that also protect your electronic baby from the hard knocks of life on the road.
They even have cases that will fit a Moment smartphone lens for those who like to take smartphone photography to the next level. You can still take a great photo while also protecting your smartphone from scratches and dirt.
From camping trips to music festivals, the Coalatree Kachula Blanket is a must-have gift for the holiday season. But, this multi-functional product is more than just a water-resistant blanket for picnics. Not only can it be used as a light sleeping bag, but it can also transform into a hooded poncho or travel pillow.
And if you want to share with others, the module system can snap together with another blanket set to make one giant, super-blanket! It’s one of the coolest accessories you can have for traveling.
Considered the swiss-army knife of blankets, I absolutely love the Kachula Blanket for its versatility.
Say hello to the world’s first self-cleaning water bottle! As one of the most technologically advanced products on this list, the LARQ Bottle will easily become the coolest accessory in your bag. In fact, it’s one of the best travel water bottles out there.
The built-in UV-C light neutralizes 99.9999% of viruses and bacteria, like E. coli and Salmonella. On top of that, it cleans the inside of the bottle, which means you’ll never have to wash it in your life!
Best of all, you’re cutting down on the usage of single-use plastic bottles. Save the environment and enjoy fresh-tasting water anywhere around the world! Check out my full LARQ review here.
This is a personal favorite. As someone who hoards charging cables, stationery, SD Cards and other tech bits because “you never know…” It’s amazing to have somewhere organized to carry them all.
This handy little pouch is basically a toiletry bag for electronics. It holds all your electronics in a maximum-storage/minimum-space design that will fit perfectly in your luggage. This easily makes it one of the best items for travelers trying to save space. Plus, if you go to the Peak Design store and order this Tech Pouch with the backpack from earlier, you save 10 percent.
Between trips, every traveler craves a taste of the world to keep the wanderlust at bay. With Atlas Coffee Club, you can travel around the world with the tip of your tongue.
This subscription delivers a new single origin coffee to your travel companion every month. The menu is complete with tasting notes, brewing tips and a postcard from the country of origin. In other words, it’s a fun idea that supports local coffee farmers and is, therefore, a perfect gift to share with people who travel with a mug in their hand.
Meet the next generation of headphones designed for active listeners. The Jaybird X4 ‘s are custom designed to stay on while you exercise so you never again have to scrabble in the bush on a trail trying to find your other earpiece.
Matched with a high-quality sound production system for a flawless listening experience and an eight-hour battery life, this is one of the best gifts for travelers who like to stay active on the road—or just listen to tunes while hustling through the airport.
As a frequent traveler, you know that packing light is the key to a stress-free vacation. Although you’ll need to carry on luggage for overhead storage, you should also make sure you’re utilizing your personal item allowance.
And we have the perfect piece of luggage to maximize your space. The Waterfield Air Duffel is small enough to fit under your seat but spacious enough to fit everything you need for a weekend away. And don’t worry, you’ll still have enough legroom to stretch out during your flight.
One of the best gifts for travelers these days is something that will keep their most important things safe: passports, tickets and money. With this passport wallet from Nomad, it’s all together in one discreet package. Plus, it has enough space for multiple passports and credit cards.
This passport wallet also includes a hidden pocket for your cash stash or tickets. Plus, it comes with a bluetooth Tile Tracker so you’ll never lose track of your passport, even when you do! This is a perfect way to give peace of mind to your traveling friends and give them a very slick accessory at the same time.
Goodbye screaming baby on the plane, goodbye roaring bus engine, goodbye snoring roommate. Life instantly becomes a relaxing and pleasant melody with these premium noise canceling headphones.
Featuring the latest sound-wave negating technology for perfect noise isolation and crystal clear sound quality, these headphones from Bose are a must for any traveler. Tune out the loud and chaotic noises of travel and simply relax with your music, movies or podcasts. It’s a perfect travel gift idea for all the audiophiles out there.
If the Swiss army started making clothes instead of knives, The Baubax 2.0 is the jacket they would make. It comes with 25 features designed for travelers: an eye mask for sleeping on the plane, pockets on the inside for your iPad, phone, passport and sunglasses, airpod straps, a blanket, collapsible water bottle, inflatable footrest, and (I’m not kidding) an inflatable neck pillow in the collar.
As far as gifts for travelers go, this piece of fun travel gear is top notch—you might not even need a backpack!
If you’ve ever wanted a hammock that works hard and plays hard, this is your stop. The Kammok Roo works hard by being made of tough, tear resistant material and stronger-than-steel cords. It plays, not exactly hard, but incredibly comfortable and provides the perfect resting perch between your hard travel adventures.
Use it in the backyard on a summer evening or as a camping hammock in the bush. Big enough for one or two, this is among the best gifts for travelers who are creatures of comfort.
These days, not everyone is looking for more things in their life. For someone who already has all the things they need, try buying them an experience—quite literally the gift of travel—with a Tinggly gift pack. Simply choose your category, send it to your friend and they have a choice of fun experiences that make perfect gifts for travelers.
Think: Kayak trips, bungee jumps, off-road driving, and culinary tours are all on the menu. So your friend is sure to find something they like with this, one of the most comprehensive travel gift ideas.
On a camping trip, there’s always that one friend who complains about never getting enough sleep. To save them (and yourself) from hours of whining and complaining, consider buying them a Kammok Pongo Pad.
This inflatable sleeping pad has an egg-crate design that’s guaranteed to keep them comfortably snoozing through the night. And they won’t have to worry about hauling around a bulky mattress topper. That’s because the Pongo Pad deflates to a compact 4 in x 8 in, and can easily fit in most backpacks.
Until January 5th, 57Hours is giving 10% off ALL of their trips so you can give friends and family the gift of adventure travel! Since the mission of 57Hours is encouraging people to adventure outside and making it easier for them to do so, this promotion aims to do just that.
Whether it’s rock climbing in Red Rock Canyon or hiking in Svalbard, 57Hours has an adventure travel option to suit everybody. You can’t put a bow on top of it (or maybe you can?), but the gift of travel is pretty hard to top.
If you’re looking for a travel daypack that’s a cut above the rest, look no further than this Arkadia backpack. It’s lightweight, durable and, best of all, the main compartment is fully waterproof. It’s basically a packable, dry bag daypack! And the adjustable side straps and padded shoulders mean you can carry your stuff around all day and explore the world with minimal discomfort.
The Sea to Sky pack can be used for hiking in a rainy season. Or it can be used for bicycle commuting at home if the weather isn’t holding up.
After a day on the trail, there is nothing I hate more than fiddling with matches or gas cookers to get dinner started. Thankfully, the BioLite CampStove 2 is here to help.
This amazing little stove burns biomass wood, pinecones or pellet fuel and has adjustable heat settings. All this energy funnels to a grill top and even a phone charger.
Best of all, the fire is smokeless, so you don’t need to get up and move every time the wind changes. At five pounds, you might not want to take it backcountry hiking, but it’s a brilliant and lightweight assist for camping trips. It’s the perfect travel gift idea for anyone who wants to bring a bit of glamping to their camping.
We all have that one friend—that one traveler—who has kept the same sleeping bag for too many years, who insists it has character…if that’s what character is supposed to smell like.
Do them and yourself a favor with this sleeping bag from Cotopaxi . With a high-quality duck down fill and 15-degree rating, this is one of my favorite travel gifts for someone who loves cold weather hiking.
What’s more, it comes in a bunch of colors with a very handy integrated neck pillow pocket and packs down nice and small for those travelers with a space budget, which, let’s be real, is all of us.
When I travel anywhere, I like to save luggage space by taking clothes that are versatile without compromising on quality. One of the best ways to do this is by taking a jacket that is durable and weatherproof for hiking, but can also be worn for sightseeing in the city. It’s extremely versatile, serving as either a midlayer or an outer shell.
That’s why I absolutely love this hoody from Arc’teryx . Lightweight, insulated and quick-drying with a bit of subtle style, it is one of the best products someone looking for a versatile layer.
If your camping set is needing an upgrade, look no further than the Big Agnes Copper Spur . This is one of the best backpacking tents for backcountry hikers who likes a bit of headroom, as this tent is designed for maximum internal space (HV = High Volume).
As well as being very lightweight (UL = Ultralight), it is adaptable for hot summer nights with the ability to turn it from a tent into a ventilated shelter. Three-season, two-person, one award-winning tent. So, if you need to share your space with others, it’s easily one of the best gifts for light travelers and campers!
If you’re hiking in the bush and Google Maps just isn’t going to cut it, the Garmin eTrex 20x is what you’ve been looking for. These are designed to get you geolocated no matter the weather conditions or the forest cover.
Durable, boasting a long battery life and coming with a handlebar mount for wheeled adventures, this is certainly a key piece of safety gear for anyone venturing off the beaten path. As one of the best gifts for people who travel, they’ll never have to worry about getting lost in the wilderness again.
When you’re doing adventurous things in dark places, you need to be able to see what you’re doing. Try lighting up your life that with this BioLite HeadLamp 330 . A good headlamp is easily one of the most useful things to take with you on your adventures (or, let’s be real, even for just rooting around in your backpack in a dark hostel dorm).
It weighs only 69 grams and its moisture-wicking fabric keeps you nice and dry. There’s a rechargeable battery, and red night vision is included. Plus it comes in four colors to match anyone’s style!
Every traveler needs a way to show the world the crazy stuff they’ve been up to. With the GoPro 8, you can capture it all with a high-resolution, waterproof camera that will survive the toughest adventures. Also, the photo and video quality is fantastic for the GoPro 7’s compact size.
Plus, with the new Shorty accessory set, you can add a handy handle that can turn into a mini tripod for that perfect photo. One of the best gifts for travelers who like to remember all the action.
Made specifically for photographers on the go, the sleek WANDRD Duo Daypack is an innovative bag to hold all your gear and equipment. It’s also one of our favorite gifts for travelers who love taking photos on their trips.
Fishing for small items floating around your bag is not just a hassle – it’s annoying. But this module backpack unfolds so you can have full access to whatever you’re looking for, whenever you need it.
In fact, every item has its own pouch, compartment, and organizer. The pop camera cube protects your camera body while the padded expansion pockets can easily fit up to four lenses. There’s also a padded laptop sleeve, tripod compartment, and hidden passport and cash zippers.
The Boundary Supply X-Pac Prima Backpack is one of the most versatile camera bag sets out there. It comes with the Verge Case and Fieldspace to provide unbeatable organization, and its adaptable modular features provide extra stowage.
You can attach and remove various components for the ultimate organization! This bag is definitely too heavy-duty for photographers just starting out, but if you travel with lots of equipment, this one comes highly recommended. Check out my full Boundary Supply Prima System review.
Take your travel photography to the next level with these mountable lenses from Moment for your smartphone. Compatible with almost any device, you can get a single photo lens for enhanced mobile travel photography, or a whole kit of different sizes if you want to get serious about your travel photos.
These lenses will enhance the quality of your photo without the expense of purchasing an expensive camera.
These are the best travel gift ideas for travelers who want to capture a special memory without having to haul around a chunky DSLR.
It’s a fact: handheld selfies make your face look weird. Get yourself a better photo with a selfie stick. The distance will put your face in better proportion, plus it gives you more space to get your friends into the shot.
Our best recommendation is this extendable, battery-free version from Anker. Take it from me, the one time I wish I had a selfie stick was in Vietnam: wearing a triangular Non La hat makes it very hard to take a photo with a friend. The best travel gifts are ones you can share with friends, after all.
Any photographer knows that an expensive camera lens should be protected at all costs. Well, with the KUVRD Universal Lens Cap , you won’t ever have to worry about losing your lens cap again.
Made from stretchy rubber, it creates an air-tight seal to protect your camera lens from dust, sand, and dirt. That means no more smudges or scratches on each photo! And because it fits most DSLR and camera lenses, it’s the only camera lens cap you’ll ever need.
10 Years a Nomad is more than your typical travel read. Written by Matt Kepnes (founder of Nomadic Matt), this book dives head-first into what it means to be a world traveler. From hilarious stories about staying in hostels to life-changing advice on traveling long-term, this is the ultimate travel read for anyone with wanderlust.
If you’re looking for a classic read, then I recommend On the Road, by Jack Kerouac. Based on the adventures of Kerouac’s own road trip across the US, this novel is one of those timeless gifts. The engaging narrative and stories of personal exploration make it one of the best gifts for travelers who love to read.
Take a journey through the mesmerizing city of Bombay in this action-packed novel. Written by Gregory David Roberts, Shantaramfollows a man named Lin, who flees a security prison in Australia and ends up trying to navigate the streets in India. Full of mystery, glamour, and crime, Shantaram is one of those books he or she won’t be able to put down.
A 2018 New York Times Best Seller, To Shake the Sleeping Selfby Jedadiah Jenkins will easily become your new favorite travel book. After quitting his job, Jenkins documents his journey as he sets out on a sixteen months soul-searching cycling trip from Oregon to Patagonia. This autobiography weaves together issues of travel, self-discovery, and sexuality as Jenkins tries to find himself on this road.
We’ve all got one AWOL friend who’s off gallivanting around the world. And, if you can’t think of that friend, it’s probably because you are that friend. So whether you’re shopping for gifts for others or yourself, rest assured that this list has you covered.