Best Gifts for Travel Lovers – The Ultimate List of the Travel Gift Ideas

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Need gifts for all the travel lovers in your life? I have more than a few here to share with you. In fact, I probably have enough travel gift ideas for everyone on your list. After nearly two decades of traveling and living overseas, let me suggest some travel gifts for you. Whether it’s for a birthday or for holiday, whether it’s gifts for someone going abroad or to the next city, I have s few suggestions of what they might appreciate on their trip.

Cover Gifts for Travel Lovers

The Ultimate List of Gifts for Travel Lovers

If you’re here, then you or someone you love is interested in travel. That’s why we’ve written this up: to help you find something that the adventurer on your list would really like. Some travel gifts listed below may not seem essential. Indeed, some of the best travel gift ideas for him or her are often things that they may not buy for themselves. And that’s the point.

If given as a gift for a traveler, they might appreciate it more. That certainly happened to me! For example, I’m still using the same camera backpack that my parents gifted me for Christmas in 1997. I would have never bought it for myself then — I didn’t have the money and it just didn’t occur to me how useful it would be. Yet given as a present, it has become my favorite travel gear of all time.

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Table of Contents

Why Trust My Travel Gift Ideas?

why read my travel gift tips?

Lots of people write about what to give travelers for their birthday or anniversary. Loads of bloggers write Christmas lists of travel gift tips. So why listen to me? Well, for one thing, I’ve been giving and receiving travel-related presents since 1997. That’s when I left my hometown of Atlanta (USA) for a year abroad…and never moved back! I’ve been traveling/living abroad in one way or another ever since. That’s 20+ years of birthdays, Christmases, anniversaries, and other gift-giving holidays, all either on the road or planning the next trip. Since 1997, I’ve lived in:

We were a full-time slow-traveling family from 2013 until the summer of 2019. Six years! During that time, we met hundreds upon hundreds of travelers, including business travelers, solo backpackers, luxury travelers, traveling couples and more family travelers than I can count. I’ve seen the gifts for someone going traveling. I’ve seen gifts for travel and I’ve seen practical travel gifts. Over the years, my wife and I have seen what we needed and didn’t need. We saw what others used, too. And we asked them what gift ideas for travel lovers they actually used. We asked lots of questions. Constantly.

On top of that, I interviewed nearly 150 traveling families for our podcast. My guests came from various backgrounds and nationalities. They traveled with wildly different budgets, itineraries, and expectations. The entire experience gave me added insight into travel gifts for moms, for dads, and for any frequent flyers. Whether you’re looking for unique travel gifts for business travelers or cool travel gifts for new parents, you should find something here. We own or have owned many of the products here. The rest are recommended through research and word-of-mouth (ie. friends own them).

What Do the Best Travel Gifts Have in Common?

What are the best gifts for travel lovers? And what do the best travel gifts for backpackers, business travelers, and parents have in common? Every passionate traveler has different tastes. But most of the best gifts for travel lovers share a few traits in common. The travel lover gift you seek should have some of all of these characteristics.

It’s Light, Packable, & Portable – Best Travel Gifts

The best gifts for travel lovers are almost invariably small and lightweight. Small travel gifts are often the best kind. Unless you’re buying someone a Land Rover, your travel lover’s gift should easily fit into a travel suitcase or backpack. Anything large or cumbersome will likely stay at home. 

It’s Durable – Best Travel Gift Ideas

The best travel gifts for her will not break easily. The best travel gifts for him will last for years. If you have a cool gift idea for travelers, that’s great. But before you buy, ask yourself: how long will it last? Unless it’s granola bars or whiskey, travel-themed presents should be designed for a long life. 

It’s Useful – Gift Ideas for Travelers

The best travel gifts often serve a purpose. They usually make travel easier or keep one entertained on the road. For example, packing cubes help travelers keep things organized. A Kindle and a new novel help a long layover pass by faster. Whether you’re looking for travel gifts for women, for men or for kids, consider how it will affect the trip.

Best Travel Gift Ideas for Everyone

I’ll be honest with you: dividing these travel gift ideas into categories was a challenge. For example, look at these Bose headphones. In an earlier version of this post I had classified them as “best gifts for frequent travelers.” That’s true, but they’re also one of the best gift ideas for business travelers, digital nomads, men, women, you, your grandma, everyone! You’ll also see that the travel-related gifts below are also like that. These are travel gifts for all. Look through the travel gift ideas below for the person that’s hard to buy for.

Travel Books

This should be the most obvious travel gift idea out there, but travel books can inspire as well as augment a trip. For example, reading a book set in Japan can enhance your trip there. Likewise, reading about exploring Machu Picchu before visiting Peru can get you excited about your trip. 

Travel Books - Gifts for Travel Lovers

Read More: The Best Travel Books – The Ultimate Travel Gift

Kindle Paperwhite

As mentioned above, reading is the best gift for travel lovers the world over. I still enjoy the experience of reading physical books, but I am completely in love with my kindle.  It’s the best reading device on the market. It’s light, the battery lasts forever, and it allows you to carry hundreds of books with you wherever you go. And now that the Kindle is waterproof, it’s an even better gift for travelers.

We strongly suggest choosing Kindle models without an LED screen. Why? Well for one, it’s more like reading from an actual page. More importantly, LED screens emit blue light. Same with televisions, computers, iPads, and other devices. There are lots of studies showing how this blue light can interrupt your sleep patterns. We want our kids to be able to read before bed (me too!), so we try to avoid screens an hour beforehand. Non-LED Kindles are ok for that.

Kindle Paperwhite: the best travel gift idea

Check Price: Kindle Paperwhite – Now Waterproof  (INCREDIBLE Travel Gift Idea)

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2

Bring your music with you wherever you go! Bluetooth speakers are some of the best gifts for travel lovers of all kinds. They add so much to a trip, through music, podcasts, audiobooks, and more. We’ve been traveling with at least one Bluetooth speaker since 2013. They’re perfect for cooking in apartment rentals or dancing in hotel rooms.

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 - top musid & travel lover gift

Check Price: Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2

More Portable Bluetooth Speakers for Travel

The UE Wonderboom mentioned above is not the only wireless travel speaker we recommend travel gift idea, but it’s not the only speaker we recommend. If interested in other travel-worthy Bluetooth speakers cling the links below.

portable speakers: Best Gifts for Travel Lovers

Read More: Choosing the Best Bluetooth Speakers for Travel

Apple Airpods Pro

If you’re an Apple/iPhone user like me, then you’ve spent years with those little white wires dangling from your ears. I’ve caught those wires on zippers, armrests, and door handles. More than once on a crowded train in Tokyo and Osaka one of those wires snagged someone’s backpack or jacket and nearly got ripped out of my ears when they exited. So let’s face it: wireless is so much better.

I hadn’t recommended earlier Airpods because I didn’t think they were that different than competitor products when it comes to travel-related gifts. The Pros, however, have now reached that point. The noise cancellation is better, and the transparency mode lets you tune in and tune out of conversations with immigration officials and fellow travelers without having to take them off. This is the kind of travel gift that they are guaranteed to get a lot of use out of. Apple Airpods Pro - Gifts for someone traveling abroad with an iphone

Check Price: Apple Airpods Pro

Powerbeats Pro Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds

Wireless Bluetooth earbuds are a great gift for travelers of any kind. Wired earbuds work well, but there are so many scenarios where that wire is going to tangle or catch on something. Especially when traveling. The Powerbeats Pro earbuds take the wire away but still give you quality sound and up to nine hours of continuous playtime. You can adjust the volume and change the track from either ear, and they’re designed for listening and taking calls even when hot and sweaty. 

Powerbeats Pro Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds - small travel gifts

Check Price: Powerbeats Pro Bluetooth Wireless Headphones

Cree Super-Bright Tactical Flashlight

Depending on where you’re going, you may need a light source. Some travelers may think that they only need a small flashlight, headlamp or even the light on their phone. And they may be right! However, I must sing the praises of the new batch of high-powered LED flashlights coming out. They throw an incredibly powerful beam across long distances and can be concentrated into a small square of brightness. They’re great travel gear because they can light up an entire campsite or dark alley. Zoom in and you can focus the light on a single spot in a tree or window nearly half a football field away.

They can even be used as lighting for night photography. I bought my first one in Taiwan and used it to take some pics of the kids searching for snakes in the jungle at night. Lights that bright and far-reaching gave us an added sense of power in the black. Really. But do you need a travel present like this? Is it a travel essential? No. But it’s just the kind of travel gift idea for solo travelers and others that they might not think of buying for themselves. 

Cree Super-Bright Tactical Flashlight - travel gifts for solo travelers

Check Price: CREE Super Bright LED Tactical Flash Light (AAA Batteries Included)

The 23 & Me Genetic Test

A fantastic gift idea for anyone traveling to places where their ancestors came hail from.  For some people, travel is linked to family and identity. And nowadays, genetic testing kits like 23 & Me are inspiring travel. Simply send in a swab of your cheek and get back loads of reports about your ancestry, including possible health and wellness risks. Most people take the tests to see where their people came from. Indeed, some people end up planning a trip to where ancestors lived. Of course, these tests are not 100% accurate and are far from giving you the full picture. However, they are capable of telling you what part of Ireland, China, Mexico, your great-great-grandfather lived. 

23 & Me: travel gift ideas for international travelers

Check Price: 23 & Me DNA Test & Report 

Rainleaf Microfiber Towel

This is one of the best gifts for backpackers but it’s useful for just about any type of travel or home use. Travel towels make great gifts for travelers because they’re lightweight, super absorbent and dry fast. If you’re staying in hostels and small beach hotels, then a towel is not always included in the room. Using a travel towel solves the problem, and the Rainleaf Microfiber Towel is super soft and has antibacterial elements to keep it smelling fresh.

Rainleaf Microfiber Towel - travel gifts for backpackers

Check Price: Rainleaf Microfiber Towel

Foldable Travel Duffel Bag

There are times during travel where you need a little extra space. Some people need an extra bag to carry souvenirs back. Others might use it as a backup if another bag breaks. We always carry some extra lightweight foldable bag for trips to the market. That way we use a lot fewer plastic bags when we carry loads of fresh fruit (and my beer) back to wherever we’re staying. Foldable travel bags like this are great gift ideas for travelers because they’re small, light and fit easily anywhere until you need them.

This bag, in particular, is a great gift for international travelers because it can double as someone’s carry on. It folds down small but can be pulled out quickly and used to board a plane. It carries a lot, but still fits in the overhead and attaches easily to lots of rolling luggage. It’s also a good present for backpackers to use when they have dirty laundry or more souvenirs than can fit in their pack.

Foldable Travel Duffel Bag - travel gift ideas for everyone

Check Price: Wandf Foldable Travel Duffel Bag

Foldable Spare Backpack

An alternative to the foldable duffel is a compressible backpack like this one from Osprey. This is can be used daily or just as a backup storage/daypack. It holds up to 18 liters and has exterior holds water bottles as well. The best thing? It weighs next to nothing and packs down into the size of my fist. I bought the Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack for my son before he went backpacking in Europe the summer of 2019 and he was shocked how little space it took up. An excellent gift for backpackers or anyone traveling light. osprey foldable backpack - travel gift ideas for everyone

Check Price: Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack

Travel Insurance

Perhaps not the most unique travel gift, but if your loved ones are taking a long trip, it’s nice to know you helped cover them should an accident happen. Someone could get hurt, they could miss their flight, or luggage could be stolen. It’s rare, but it happens.

A Great Travel Jacket

Unless you’re traveling somewhere tropical like Penang or Playa del Carmen, one of the best gifts for someone traveling abroad is a great jacket. An ideal jacket would be lightweight, packable, and incorporate features that travelers will love. We’ve written an entire Travel Jacket Buyer’s Guide, which you can find below.

Top travel Jackets - Best Gifts for Travel Lovers

Read More: How to Choose the Best Jacket for Travel

Good Walking Shoes = Travel Essentials

Travel often means walking — lots and lots of walking. That’s why some of the best travel gifts for men, women, and children are good walking shoes. I personally gravitate to companies like Børn, Merrel, and Chaco. But there are loads of great travel shoes for everyone. I also love Teva flip-flops, with that great Vibram grippy sole. Some of the best travel gifts for Europe will be what’s on their feet. We’ve written an entire buyer’s guide on shoes that make great travel gifts.

travel shoes - Best Gifts for Travel Lovers

Read More: Our Guide to Buying the Best Travel Shoes

Best Travel Gifts for Women

Let’s start with travel gift ideas for her. Whether you’re looking for travel gifts for Mom or travel gifts for the girlfriends, nieces or other special ladies, we hope you find it here. Here are some travel themed presents for the women in your life.

Pashminas, Krama, & Sarongs

One of the best women’s travel accessories is a versatile scarf, pashmina, or sarong. Wherever you’re traveling, I suggest carrying one of these multifunctional travel accessories. These are not just the best travel gifts for women, actually. In fact, my wife and I both carry a krama and a sarong wherever we go. We use them for shade and for warmth. They’ve also functioned as a pillow, an eye mask, a picnic blanket, and more. These are great travel gifts for her, but don’t forget him as well.

Consider packing a pashmina in cooler temperatures, but a sarong fills the same role. Sarongs are sometimes less stylish, but more versatile. Sarongs can become blanket on a cold flight or a leg cover at temples in Bali. They are a scarf on the mountaintop and a beach mat on the sand in Thailand.

Pashmina Scarf Shawl Wrap - travel gifts for women

Check Price: Pashmina Scarf Shawl Wrap

Sarongs and krama also provide shade when the sun is harsh. They also come in useful when visiting countries where women customarily cover their heads. A great travel gift for women traveling in the Middle East or Indonesia. They provide culturally appropriate modesty. Closer to scarves than shade, pashminas usually run a little warmer than krama and sarongs. Consider the weather and climate where you’re going, and pack accordingly.

sarong - travel gift ideas for her

Check Price: Sarong in Your Choice of Color

Underwear Organizer

Would the woman in your life like to keep her intimates in order? Then this underwear organizer may be the best travel gift for her. Versatile and lightweight, this bag weighs less than half a pound and carries a lot. Above the main pocket, there are four smaller pockets with elastic bands. Not only for underwear, theese pockets can also be used for cosmetics, camping supplies and more. Great gifts for travel lovers who like to stay organized.

Underwear Organizer - travel gift ideas for women

Check Price: JJ POWER Travel Underwear Organizer

Flight Day Trousers

The prAna women’s Halle Pant is perfect for before the flight and after. The relaxed fit is multi-functional, with roll-up legs when the weather is balmy. A special hidden pocket gives you a place to keep cash and other small items. The 97% Nylon, 3% Spandex means you have freedom of movement — whether it’s on a steep trail or stairs out of the subway. Travel pants are great gifts for world travelers and local campers alike.

prAna Women's Regular Inseam Halle Pant - travel gifts for women

Check Price: prAna Women’s Regular Inseam Halle Pant

Even More Women’s Travel Pants

We’ve covered the best travel pants for women in its own post. Here you’ll find tips on what features to look for, as well as over a dozen pairs of women’s travel pants reviewed. This is definitely one of the best gifts for travelers male and female.

women's travel pants - Best Gifts for Travel Lovers

Read More: Tips on the Best Travel Pants for Women

Best Travel Gifts for Men

Here are some of the best travel gifts for the dads, brothers, boyfriends, and grandsons in your life. Look through this list of best travel lover gift ideas and let me know if there’s anything else I should add.

Portable Coffee Maker

This small, portable brewer makes a damn tasty cup of coffee and cleans up in seconds. The BPA-free plastic design is sturdy but lightweight. In addition, it packs up quickly and takes up little space. I’ve met dozens of travelers and at least two families on the podcast have also sung its praises. Here it is in the section for best gifts for business travelers, but I’d also recommend it as travel gifts for campers, backpackers or anyone who wants a good cup of coffee wherever they are.

Aeropress Coffee Maker - travel gifts for men

Check Price: Aeropress Coffee Maker

Hair & Beard Clippers

It’s easy to really let yourself go while traveling. Skip the haircut? Sure. No shave or shower today? Fine. But once the mustache is long enough to braid, it’s time to take action. One of the best travel gifts for someone traveling long-term is a portable grooming kit. The Hatteker Cordless Hair Clippers work well for both beards and heads. It uses rechargeable batteries and can be juiced via USB cable. It’s waterproof, which makes it easy to clean. I also like that the guards are adjustable. An ideal gift for budget travelers in Europe…especially during the summer.

Hatteker Cordless Hair Trimmer - travel gift ideas for men

Check Price: Hatteker Cordless Hair Trimmer

Convertible Travel Pants

One of the best gifts for men is a sturdy-yet-comfortable pair of trousers made for travel. There are a wide variety of styles to choose from, but the main categories I consider are chinos, hiking pants, and convertible (zip-off) pants.

Personally, I do long-term travel in hot places with a pair of zip-off pants and swimming trunks. If it’s shorter-term (a few weeks) or somewhere colder, then I stick to chinos and maybe a pair of jeans. Convertible pants are convenient when flying from one climate to the other. For example, I’ve boarded a plane in Thailand wearing shorts and then exited the plane in Osaka during the winter in trousers. In Malaysia, I wear them as shorts to the movies and then convert them to pants once we enter the frigid theater. Same thing when a flight or a bus is too cold. Moreover, many designs are made from stretchy, easy-dry fabric, which makes them great travel gifts for backpackers.

Having said that, convertible trousers look rather dorky in some situations. For example, let’s say you’re going to a kabuki performance in Tokyo or exploring the tapas bars of San Sebastian. You’ll look like a tourist, for sure. That’s the downside of convertible pants: they look a little dorky and touristy in the wrong environment. But I don’t care. Regardless of what style you choose, travel pants are some of the best travel gifts for backpackers and any other type of traveler.

Columbia Men's Silver Ridge Convertible Pant - gifts for traveling man

Check Price: Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Convertible Pant

More Men’s Travel Pants

We’ve written an entire buyer’s guide to men’s travel pants. Stylish travel pants, convertible travel pants, pants with loads of pockets…they’re all in there. You’ll also find tips on how to find the best pair for you and why they make such great gift ideas for the traveling man.

mens travel pants - Best Gifts for Travel Lovers

Read More: Guide to the Best Men’s Travel Pants

Luggage & Storage – Most Useful Gifts for Travelers

Whether you choose a suitcase, backpack or rolling carry-on, travel luggage is often an excellent travel gift idea. In fact, some of the best gifts for world travelers deal with storage and organization. How are you going to carry all your stuff, anyway? Below we touch on some of the best backpacks, bags, and suitcases that are the most useful gifts for the travelers in your life.

Backpacks

For many forms of travel, backpacks are the way to go. So naturally, some of the best gifts for backpackers are — you guessed it — backpacks. On our travel podcast, Osprey backpacks receive the most name-checks and praise from the most guests. But there are lots of great backpacks for the traveler on your shopping list.

best backpacks - Gifts for Travel Lovers

Read More: Best Backpacks for Travel in Europe and Beyond

Carry On Suitcases

After decades of backpacking, our travel style is changing to carry-on only. In fact, a nice rolling carry-on suitcase has become crucial to our travel style. Now that we settle in one place for longer periods of time, we carry a few large check-in items to our new home. Then we travel carry-on only to short-term destinations as much as we can after that. Carry on luggage is one of the most useful gifts for men and women, for business travelers and for kids.

carry on luggage - Best Gifts for Travel Lovers

Read More: Carry On Luggage Reviews

Check-In Suitcases

Not everyone can travel carry-on only. We do as much as possible, but when we move to a new country, we’re always busting out the check-in suitcases. Larger suitcases are also a good travel gift idea for families taking short holidays. They’re also great gift ideas for short-term travelers who go to resorts or take cruises. They often want to carry more and want to have room for souvenirs on the way back. It’s certainly one of the most useful travel gifts.

check in suitcases - Best Gifts for Travel Lovers

Read More: Best Suitcases & Checked Luggage for Travel

Packing Cubes

Out of all the travel gear gifts that I’ve discussed with people, packing cubes come up the most. Packing cubes are one of the best gifts for travel lovers because they’re practical, reasonably priced, and take up little space. They’re great gifts for backpackers and luxury travelers alike. 

packing cubes - Best Gifts for Travel Lovers

Read More: Best Packing Cubes – Best Way to Organize Your Luggage

Fanny Packs

Is it a bum bag? A belt pack? Once a symbol of 1980s fashion, the fanny pack has made a resurgence. And well it should! Few packs are as versatile, being able to be worn across the waist, the shoulder or lower back. Fanny packs come in a dizzying array of sizes, styles, and colors, with features to match just about any type of traveler. They’re some of the best travel gifts for Europe, South America, Asia and beyond.

fanny packs - Best Gifts for Travel Lovers

Read More: Best Fanny Packs for Travel

Sling Bags & Shoulder Bags

While not as small and versatile as their fanny pack cousins, I find shoulder bags and sling bags preferable as a travel gift idea. They tend to carry a little more and are designed to be carried mostly across your back. However, many of the best shoulder bags work both ways and can be slid front-to-back quickly and safely. Here are our top picks. 

Sling Bags - Best Gifts for Travel Lovers

Read More: Top Sling Bags & Shoulder Bags for Travel Gifts

Best Gifts Ideas for Business Travelers

Here are a few gift ideas for the business travelers on your list. Most gifts for business travelers can also be some of the best gifts for backpackers and other types of travel since they are designed to be small and portable.

Travel Tea and Coffee Press

Want the options for both coffee and tea? If so, then it’s hard to go wrong with this Bodum travel mug. It’s stainless steel, vacuum-sealed, and easy to clean on the go. A perfect travel gift for anyone who wants a warm drink wherever they are.

Bodum Travel Tea and Coffee Press - gifts for business travelers

Check Price: Bodum Travel Tea and Coffee Press

Travel Passport Wallet

Keeping up with all the papers and documents of travel can be confusing for even the most organized people. Invest in a travel organizer and things get easier. Whoever designed this must be an experienced traveler. Little touches like specialized pockets for boarding passes and spare SIM cards tell you something. An excellent gift idea for business travelers and anyone traveling abroad.

Zoppen Travel RFID Passport Wallet - travel gift ideas for business travelers

Check Price: Zoppen Travel RFID Passport Wallet

Hanging Toiletry Bag

No matter where you’re going, there will always be toiletries to keep track of. A great travel gift for women and men is a good toiletry bag. Small toiletries can be troublesome to keep up with, but with this organizer, all have their place. The hook makes it easier to keep organized. No matter where you’re going, a toiletry kit is one of the best gifts for travelers staying in hotels, hostels, guesthouses and anywhere they need to keep things organized.

ProCase Hanging Toiletry Bag - gifts for travel lovers

Check Price: ProCase Hanging Toiletry Bag

Best Gifts for Frequent Flyers

Whether it’s for work or other reasons, many people spend a lot of time in the air. Any of the best gifts for travel lovers listed here would probably work for the frequent flyers in your life as well. But here are a few specific gift ideas for frequent flyers that they will especially appreciate.

Travel Pillows

There are dozens of travel pillows out there, but the TRTL travel pillow’s unique design is now the darling of the Amazon reviews. As opposed to cushioning your head, the Trtl supports your neck. Like a reinforced scarf, you wrap the Trtl around your neck and lean on it. The scarf-like design is a bonus on cold flights and long-haul buses, and it wraps up nice and small. No more awkwardly hooking a U-shaped pillow to your daypack for the day.

trtl neck pillow - gifts for travel lovers

Check Price: Trtl Travel Pillow

More Travel Pillows

Few travel accessories g through so many design iterations as the travel pillow. The one I use may not be the same one I’d give someone was a travel gift since personal preferences play such a role. Here are a few more to choose from. 

Best Travel Pillow for Long Haul Flights - Best Gifts for Travel Lovers

Read More: Best Travel Pillows for Long-Haul Flights

Travel Strap

Simple idea, great results. The Demi Hugger is a well-designed bungee strap that attaches to your suitcase’s handle when extended. Now you can make better use of this area by strapping things securely to the handle. Pillows, stuffed animals, and other bags are now fixed to the suitcase. An excellent gift for frequent flyers as well as one of the best gifts for traveling families.

Demi Hugger Travel Strap - gifts for frequent flyers

Check Price: Demi Hugger Travel Strap

Noise Canceling Headphones

Look at any list of best travel gifts and you’ll see at least one pair of noise-canceling headphones. Why? Because they change the way you travel. The ability to block out the sound around you transports you to a different place. It allows you to work, read, or concentrate more easily in the most chaotic and distracting environments.

Sony’s WH1000XM3 is a mouthful to say but a breeze to operate. I like that the quick volume controls let you jump in and back out of conversations with spouses and kids fluidly. The battery gives you around 30 hours of playtime, too. Alexa is built-in, which doesn’t do much for me (I’m much more a Siri/Google guy), but an added bonus. Some of the most comfortable wireless headphones around and an ideal gift for frequent flyers. 

Sony Noise Canceling Headphones WH1000XM3 - gifts for travel lovers

Check Price: Sony Noise Canceling Headphones WH1000XM3

Eye Masks

For nearly a decade, I’ve used eye masks to sleep better. Not only a gift for frequent flyers, but a good eye mask is also great for just about any sleep situation. It’ amazing how much faster and deeper I sleep when it’s dark. There are loads of fancy sleep masks — some that work better than others, some are interchangeable. My main recommendation with eye masks is to make sure that whatever one you buy is cloth wherever it touches the skin. Many cheap eye masks use vinyl or other synthetic materials, which can make the skin around your eyes sweat. 

My absolute favorite sleep mask now is the Manta. The inside of the eyecups are hollow, so nothing presses against my eyelids as I sleep. They have space. The eyecups are adjustable as well and come off easily for washing. The strap is super comfortable and the velcro is a softer, sturdier kind that doesn’t fray after constant use. I have used my Manta sleep mask every night since it arrived and I’ve even thought about getting a second spare in case I lose it. Highly recommended. 

manta sleep mask - air travel lover gift

Check Price: Manta Eye Mask

Compression Socks

Planning any long-haul flights soon? Then consider getting some compression socks. Compression socks are great gifts for frequent flyers. Why? Because they help improve circulation during and after a flight. These compression socks from Physix work just as well on the plane as they do the track and the field. 

physix compression socks - air travel lover gift

Check Price: Physix Compression Socks

Best Gifts for World Travelers

What makes something the best gift for world travelers? Anything that helps with customs, and anything useful with the different airports and voltages of the world. Here are a few of the best gifts for someone traveling abroad for the first time or the 100th time.

Plug Adapters

Different countries have different plugs. One of the best gifts for international travelers is a plug adapter. That way you can charge your devices wherever you are. Read our buyer’s guide to plug adapters and why they are one of the best gifts for someone traveling abroad.

power adapters - Best Gifts for Travel Lovers

Read More: Best Travel Power Adapters to Buy

Digital Luggage Scale 

Picture this: you’ve arrived late for your flight and then discover that one of your bags is slightly overweight. Now you have to hastily reconfigure your stuff to make the scale happy — right there at check-in, with everyone watching. I’ve done this. Believe me, you don’t want to.

Digital scales are small, inexpensive and great travel gifts for frequent flyers. They make situations like the one above disappear. Just weigh your bags before heading to the airport and you’re set to go. One of the best gifts for international travelers, and business travelers too. I like this backlit model because you can read it in dark hotel rooms when you don’t want to wake sleeping kids the night before a flight.Travel Inspira Digital Luggage Scale w/Overweight Alert - gifts for travel lovers

Check Price: Travel Inspira Digital Luggage Scale w/Overweight Alert

More gifts for travel lovers below. But first, PIN THIS!

Best Gifts for Travel Lovers PIN 1

Best Travel Gift Ideas for Hikers & Adventure Seekers

It could be hiking, camping or surfing. We all have an adventure traveler on our gift list. Here are a few of the best gifts for travelers who see excitement and adventure. Look through these gift ideas for travelers going into the woods or away from civilization.

Headlamps

Some of the best places for family travel aren’t very well lit at night. For example, we were at a beautiful mountain lodge in Lombok but still needed headlamps to go to a restaurant a few blocks away. When we were in Northern Spain, we used them at dusk as we were hiking the final mile of a trail.

Headlamps make great gifts for travelers because they come in handy in so many situations. Whether you’re walking an unlit road after dinner or simply need to find the mosquito spray at sundown, headlamps light the way. We prefer to buy headlamps that take AA or AAA batteries as they’re easy to find or use rechargeable ones. Having an optional red light feature is an added bonus.

I like the multi-functionality of Black Diamond headlamps. You can dim the light or make it a red light to be less intrusive to sleepers. Now you can navigate inside a dark hotel room without disturbing those already slumbering away. Great gifts for outdoorsmen or anyone traveling away from big cities.

Black Diamond Headlamps - gift ideas for travel lovers

Check Price: Black Diamond Headlamps

SteriPen

Some of the most exciting places to travel don’t have the best water quality. If you’re heading to one of these places (or someone you love is), then a SteriPen is a great travel gift. SteriPens use UV light to kill or denature the stuff that makes you sick in water. You get around 50 treatments per charge. We like the Ultra model because it also charges from a USB port.

steripen - gifts for adventure travelers

Check Price: SteriPen Ultra

TSA-Friendly Multitool 

Whether it’s at a bus stop or deep in the bush, there are often needs for a pair of scissors, pliers, tweezers and other tools. The Leatherman PS has all of those and many others. It doesn’t have all the features of an all-purpose tool. In fact, there is no blade, but that’s one of the reasons that it’s TSA-compliant and you should have no problem flying with it. LEATHERMAN Style PS Keychain Multitool - travel gifts ideas for adventure travel

Check Price: LEATHERMAN Style PS Keychain Multitool

Waterproof Dry Bag

Dry bags are great for any travel that involves the outdoors or tropical destinations. It’s a great way of making sure your clothes and electronics don’t get wet when camping or kayaking. That said, I really could have used one when riding a scooter in Taiwan and Bali during the typhoon season. Earth Pak waterproof dry bags are the best travel gifts for adventurers on your list. They roll up small and have a shoulder strap attached for easy carrying. They even come with an IPX8-certified waterproof phone case.

Earth Pak -Waterproof Dry Bag - gifts for travel lovers

Check Price: Earth Pak -Waterproof Dry Bag

Waterproof Cellphone Pouch 

We all want to use our phones in the wild, but it’s not always a great idea. All it takes is a quick dip in the river and your device is ruined. Waterproof pouches are a great gift for adventure travelers because it lets them bring their phone into wetter and wilder situations. This makes taking pictures from the boat or the waterfall that much easier. They’re also great for camping and music festivals when it could rain anytime.

JOTO Universal Waterproof Pouch Cellphone Dry Bag Case - gifts for travel lovers

Check Price: JOTO Universal Waterproof Pouch Cellphone Dry Bag Case

Best Travel Gifts for Photographers

So many of us want to capture our experiences and share them when we get home. Sometimes a snapshot with our phones is enough. Yet other times we need more. Here are some of the best gifts for travelers who love to photograph their journey.

Action Cameras

It’s been amazing to watch the growth of GoPro and the action camera industry. Now we have more amazing pics and videos than we could ever watch. There are competitors knocking in the door, but GoPro is still king of the adventure travel gift market. They’re great for capturing rafting, scuba diving, sky diving, and other daring activities. But hardcore adventure isn’t required! GoPros are also great family travel cameras at the pool, the park, and the birthday party, as well. GoPro’s rugged build can take anything your toddler or teen can throw at it. Easily one of the best gifts for families who love to travel.gopro hero travel gifts for photographers

Check Price: GoPro Hero7

Canon Gx7 Mk II

This remains one of the best travel cameras on the market. It’s small and compact, yet shoots great pictures and video. It focuses fast, has a great little zoom and a super versatile LCD screen. The LCD screen is an important component for sure. It angles up and down so you can find better angles. The LCD also flips all the way up so you can frame selfies better. I’ve been using mine for over several years now and I’m still very happy with it. I’d buy it again tomorrow if I had to.

 Canon Gx7 Mk II - travel gift ideas for photographers

Check Price: Canon PowerShot Digital Camera G7 X Mark II

Want to see more great travel cameras? Read our buyer’s guide to the best camera gifts for travel lovers.

Read More: How to Choose the Best Cameras for Travel

SD Cards

Not the most unique travel gift, but any travel photography lover will appreciate having extra data. SD cards are always one of the best gifts for photographers who travel. I’ve used SanDisk for years since many of the professional photographers I worked with during my years at Nikon seemed to always use them. Of course, there are many reputable SD card makers. Regardless, extra data is always a great travel gift for photography lovers. 

sandisk SD cards - travel gifts for photo lovers

Check Price: SD Cards

Travel Tripod

Portable tripods are always some of the best gifts for traveling photo enthusiasts. The GorillaPod design has set the standard getting good shots in tricky places. This hybrid model is designed for compact cameras, phones and POV cameras like the GoPro. It also comes with an attachment to keep your phone secure. The remote (included) helps trigger Apple and Samsung phones wirelessly.

JOBY GorillaPod 3K Kit. Compact Tripod  - travel gifts for photo lovers

Check Price: JOBY GorillaPod 3K Kit. Compact Tripod 

Lightweight Monopod

For years, I wanted a tripod with me all the time, but they were heavy and hard to pack. Instead, I’ve carried a lightweight monopod with me since 2013 and it’s covered 75% of what I’d want a tripod for. They hook on the side of small packs easily, and they also serve other functions such as hiking pole and thief deterrent on dark alleys! A great travel gift idea for photographers who want to travel light.Manfrotto Lightweight Element Monopod - photographer gift ideas

Check Price: Manfrotto Lightweight Element Monopod

Phone Lens Kits

I’ve used the Olloclip on various iPhone models over the years, but recently there are more and more competitors that really turn your smartphone into a proper camera. The highest praise seems to be for the Moment series, which requires buying their specialized phone case. Once you’ve done that then the lenses slip on and off much more fluidly than previous Olloclip models. If you had to choose only one Moment lens, then I’d get something wide-angle as they’re the most versatile. A wide-angle view is incredibly useful when traveling since it allows you to capture larger-than-life scenes but also get close-ups in crowded situations. All great travel gift ideas for photo lovers. 

Check Price: Moment Wide Angle Lens

Check Price: Moment Phone Cases

Best Travel Gifts For Digital Nomads

More and more people are taking their job on the road, working from a laptop in places like Chiang Mai, Valencia, Medellin, and Ho Chi Minh City. Then there are families that use electronics for education, entertainment, blogging and more. Here are some of the best gifts for digital nomads and best travel gifts for families with a strong digital presence.

Laptop Stand

One of the worst problems for digital nomads and remote workers is the neck pain that grows over time from using a laptop. Enter the Roost. The Roost laptop stand raises your laptop screen to a healthier eye level. Add an external keyboard and now your neck is at a healthier angle. I bought one of these when it was still a Kickstarter project and it has changed the way I work. A fantastic gift idea for digital nomads or any international travelers who carry their laptops with them.

Roost Laptop Stand - gifts for travel lovers

Check Price: Roost Laptop Stand

Multi-Port USB Charger

We love our Anker 6-port charger on the road because it allows all four f us to charge our devices in one place and still leaves two additional USB slots for a Kindle, iPad, or pair if Headphones. Whether you’re family travelers like us or flying solo with your gadgets, a multi-port USB charger is one of the best gifts for digital nomads. Just plug it in and you can charge six devices at once. It’s perfect for hotel rooms with one outlet or other places where there aren’t enough places to plug in.Anker 60W 6-Port USB Wall Charger - travel gift ideas for digital nomads

Check Price: Anker 60W 6-Port USB Wall Charger

Power Strip with USB 

Anyone working online overseas will tell you that a good power strip is crucial because many places simply don’t have enough power outlets. There are larger and more complex power strips out there, but when I need that many plugs I prefer to carry two smaller ones over one big one. A 5-6 meter cord is usually plenty. Lots of newer plug strip models come in cubes and discs, but I think the conventional power strip shape is best for packing. Just keep in mind that most plug strips bought in the US will have 3 prongs. Many countries with outlets that take similar plugs (Japan, Mexico, etc) may have only two, but then again you should probably have a plug adapter with you anyway. 

Anker 3-Outlet Power Strip with USB & Strip Surge Protector - travel gift ideas for travel lovers

Check Price: Anker 3-Outlet Power Strip with USB & Strip Surge Protector

External HD

Just as with the SD cards mentioned above, external hard drives are great gifts for travelers because they will appreciate extra data storage. Today’s external hard drives are lighter and more rugged than ever. And they hold tens of thousands of photos and still have room for some tunes and a few movies to watch on the plane.

Check Price: Portable External Hard Drive

Portable Powerbank

Tell me if this has happened to you: you’ve been exploring a new city all day. You’ve used your phone to look at maps, check your social media, snap a few pics and maybe even live-stream a moment or two. Then you discover the battery is at 20% capacity…and it’s only six o’clock! You start searching for a power outlet, but you either can’t find one or it’s a different plug than your charger. You have plans to use your phone until late that night. What to do?

This is when you need a portable charger. And not just any charger. The PowerCore+ 26800 PD powers up three times faster than many of its contemporaries. On a full charge, it can recharge your phone seven times, or charge your notebook fully once. An excellent gift suggestion for digital nomads or anyone who uses a smartphone, which is to say basically everyone.Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD - Gifts for someone traveling abroad

Check Price: Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD

Best Travel Gifts for Couples

There’s nothing more fun than traveling with the one you love. Keiko and I did it as much as we could before kids came along, and now we’re thinking about when just the two of us can set out again. Whether you’re traveling newlyweds on a budget, retired travelers on a luxury outing or just a fun-loving couple seeking new experiences together, here are a few things to consider for travel gifts. 

Headphone Audio Splitter

Whether on a plane, a bus or the beach, there will be many opportunities for traveling couples to listen to something together. It may be watching a movie on a laptop at the airport. Or perhaps it could be listening to music, a podcast, or a language lesson. That’s why a headphone splitter is a great travel gift for couples, but it’s also a great travel gift idea for parents since it gives them a chance to enjoy time together without waking the kids. We go to the movies when we can, but when we’re traveling we watch much more on the laptop than anywhere else. That’s why a headphone splitter is one of the best gifts for traveling couples.

I used to recommend just one type of headphone splitter as a travel gift, but now that iPhones have changed their ports, there’s more than one option and it gets complicated for traveling couples who use different devices…like us, actually. To simplify things, I’ve just carried two old pair of earbuds with us. I used to simply recommend a splitter for two headsets, but now the multi-splitters only cost a few dollars more and can be nice to have around. They make great gift ideas for traveling families and groups and come in handy when you meet new people on the road. 

Belkin RockStar 5-Jack Multi Headphone Audio Splitter - gifts for traveling couples

Check Price: Belkin RockStar 5-Jack Multi Headphone Audio Splitter

Hammock for Two 

Some of the best journeys are far from comfortable seating. Does your next destination resemble the woods instead of the resort? Then consider some cuddle time in a hammock for two. Eno makes great sturdy hammocks designed for just that. They weigh only 19 ounces, and for their coverage, they pack down remarkably small, but I wouldn’t buy this for someone who has limited packing space

ENO - Portable Hammock for Two  - gifts for traveling couples

Check Price: ENO – Portable Hammock for Two 

Airbnb Gift Cards

We made it clear that we love apartment rentals, and have given our advice on staying in Airbnbs in Asia and beyond. An Airbnb Gift Card is a romantic gift idea for couples who travel, but it’s just as good for couples who may simply want a staycation somewhere nearby. These gift cards work worldwide: for family compounds in Bali, slick lofts in Mexico City, rustic homes in Spain, traditional houses in Japan, and more. Then again, they’re also great for a city escape somewhere in the area as well. 

airbnb - gifts for traveling couples

Check Price: Airbnb Gift Cards

Eco-Friendly Travel Gifts

As we travel, it’s important to think about the impact we’re having on the environment. Not just travelers, of course, but for us all. If you’re looking for eco-friendly travel gift ideas, here are a few I can recommend. 

Shampoo Bars

Air travel means packing as little liquid as possible. That means large shampoo bottles don’t work. Shampoo bars are one of the best gifts for travel lovers packing light because they eliminate one concern for cosmetics. On top of that, you use less plastic. J.R. Liggett’s bath and body products are hypoallergenic and all-natural. Plus, they’re easier to throw in and out of your pack.

A good friend gave Keiko some shampoo bars as a gift a few years ago and we were hooked. I don’t think we would have bought them for ourselves, so I’m thrilled we discovered them. We consider them great travel gifts for anyone really, but especially if you have long hair.

J.R. Liggett's Shampoo Bars - eco-friendly travel gifts

Check Price: J.R. Liggett’s Shampoo Bars

Titanium Cutlery Set

Like with straws, much of the world goes through tons of wooden chopsticks and plastic forks and spoons. Get a cutlery set like this and you’ll never have to use them again. They’re titanium so they’re strong, lightweight and easy to clean. A perfect eco-friendly gift for travelers and coworkers alike. There are 3, 4 and 5-piece sets. I prefer the 5-piece since it comes with chopsticks and a straw, but if you only need a fork, knife and spoon then follow the link to the 3-piece. 

finessCity Titanium Utility Cutlery Set 

Check Price: finessCity Titanium Utility Cutlery Set 

Reef Safe Sunscreen

As we continue to discover, many of the best sunscreens are quite harmful to ocean life. This goes double for areas with coral reefs, and so we urge you to be responsible when visiting these places. Kokua Zinc Sunscreen meets strict standards, yet still gives you SPF 50 coverage for up to 80 minutes in the water. Just take your time rubbing it in, and scrub well to remove at the end of the day. 

Kokua Sun Care Hawaiian Natural Zinc Sunscreen SPF 50

Check Price: Kokua Sun Care Hawaiian Natural Zinc Sunscreen SPF 50

Best Gifts for Traveling Parents

If this blog and podcast have tried to say anything, it’s that travel shouldn’t stop when you have kids. In fact, some of the happiest travelers I’ve met were with babies and toddlers.

Family Passport & Document Organizers

So simple, yet so useful. Travel wallets like this one are the best gifts for someone traveling abroad with kids. They keep all your passports, credit cards and travel documentation in one place. Getting through customs with kids is stressful enough.  And now you have to stand in a long line juggling multiple passports and other immigration forms.

The Valante travel wallet holds up to six passports, along with storage for cash, cards, coins, keys and more. Water-resistant RFID adds extra safety. There’s even a pen slot so you always have something to sign that customs declaration with. If you’re looking for gifts for world travelers who take their kids along, then this is it.

Valante RFID Family Document Passport Organizer - gifts for family travelers

Check Price: Valante RFID Family Document Passport Organizer

Baby Carriers

Some travel destinations are not very stroller-friendly. Whether it’s dubious sidewalks in Kuala Lumpur or the tire-eating cobblestones of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, some places work better with your baby close to you. The Ergobaby carrier has been a favorite of Epic Education Radio guests and other travelers for years. It’s no surprise that Ergobaby carriers make our list of the best travel gifts for parents with babies. It’s ergonomically designed for both the comfort of the baby and the carrier. Even better, it can be adjusted as your little one grows.

Ergobaby Carriers - travel gifts for parents

Check Price: Ergobaby Carriers

Airplane Travel Bed for Kids

Economy class isn’t just uncomfortable for adults. It’s hard for kids to find a comfortable sleeping position too since their bodies are half on, half off the seat and still can’t reach the floor. That’s when the airplane travel bed comes handy. This inflatable device fills the space between the seats so that kids can put their legs out. It has three adjustable sizes, and when delated folds up into a 6×4” roll. A great gift for little travelers and their parents.

air travel bed - gifts for travel lovers

Check Price: Airplane Travel Bed for Kids

White Noise Machines

Family travel often means sleeping in unfamiliar environments. There may be new noises, too, such as barking dogs or conversations on the other side of the wall. These sounds can seep into the room and disturb a child’s slumber. With a portable noise machine, you can drown out these sounds. The result: sleep-sensitive kids (and adults) get a more restful night.

In her episode of Epic Education Radio, Alisa told me that she actually carries two noisemakers, including a Sound Spa Noisemaker. That way, she says the kids sleep better. In addition, she and her husband can move through the room without having to tiptoe so tenderly. This LectroFan white noise machine recreates fan noises as well as a number of ambient sounds. The result is a better night’s sleep for all, and parents who don’t have to tiptoe around as often. An excellent travel gift idea for light sleepers of all ages.

noise machine - gifts for travel lovers

Check Price: LectroFan High Fidelity White Noise Machine

Infant Travel Beds

This small, portable travel bed is an ideal gift for traveling with babies. It packs down small and weighs less than three pounds. Some hotels require an extra fee for a cot, but if you have this, you can save some money. It’s also great for when you are ready to sit down for a sunset or to rest at a park to read. Just pop this up and you’re set.

travel tent cot - gifts for travel lovers

Check Price: Kidco Peapod Infant Travel Beds

Clip-on Highchairs

Not every restaurant has a high chair, and that’s where the Mountain Buggy Pod comes in. Just clip it to the side of the table and you’re set. It weighs only 2.2 lbs and packs up quickly and easily. Just to be sure if the table can hold baby’s weight. Great gifts for culinary travelers who don’t want to leave kiddo with a babysitter.

travel high chair - gifts for travel lovers

Check Price: Mountain Buggy Pod Clip-on Highchair

Travel Gift Ideas for Kids

We’ve been traveling with our kids since they were babies. If you’re looking for travel gift ideas for kids, then I have a dedicated post for children’s travel presents.

Cover Best Travel Gifts for Kids - gifts for travel lovers

Read More: Best Travel Gifts for Kids

Know More Gift Ideas for Travelers?

Sure, there are a lot of great gifts for travel lovers on this list, but what am I missing? Do you have gift ideas for someone going traveling? Are there travel presents that you’d recommend? I have lots of travel gifts for parents and kids but want more gifts for business travelers and gifts for couples who travel. Small travel gifts, luxury travel gifts, I want to know them all! Tell us your suggestions!

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which cost you nothing. However, when you use our links, we might receive a small commission if you book a room buy some of the travel gifts we recommend. My opinions are my own and I only recommend travel gifts ideas that I believe in. 

Photo Credits via Creative Commons CC BY or other Royalty-free image sites. Some images may have been altered slightly via cropping or color enhancement: #1, #2, #3, #13, #27, #31, #32, #33, #34, #49, #50, #80, #81, #82, #83, #84, #85

 

Comments

  1. All look great Jason. The laptop stand seems enticing. I find myself Chrome-booking on my lap in most locations. All well and good because I am used to the set up, but would be nice to have a stand, or even some type of portable desk, if the brilliant person could design that one and make it packable. Fab list!

    Ryan

  2. Elijah Erwin says

    Hi, thanks for the article. Loved the list, really useful staffs. 🙂 I just want to add Rowkin earbuds to this list. Got one recently and loving it.

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