Looking for the perfect present for the traveler in your life? Something they might actually use? It’s not always easy. We’ve had the chance to road test a lot of unique travel gifts and gadgets in different situations around the world to find the things we recommend most–things that will actually be awesome, helpful gifts for people who travel.
This list of travel gift ideas is designed to be interesting and fun and to help make travel easier. But since most people aren’t on the road all the time, we’ve also included things in this travel gift guide that will help you remember your trips and be inspired even when you’re not globetrotting. There’s a wide price range if you’re looking for stocking stuffers or a splurge gift, but most things on this list are less than $50, so hopefully you can find some cool travel gifts for your friends and family (and yourself, too!).
This list of great gifts for travelers includes:
1. Top Gifts for Travelers in 2018
2. Best Travel Presents Under $30
3. Insanely Useful Gifts
4. Gifts for Foodie Travelers
5. Must-Have Luggage Gifts
Top Gifts for Travelers in 2018
I have been on a quest to find the perfect size travel purse–one with enough room to carry a camera, phone, and other essentials without weighing me down and one that will keep everything inside it safe. This Pacsafe handbag is the winner.
Pacsafe makes the best safety-related travel products. This bag has slashguard embedded in the fabric and an RFID blocking pocket so all your belongings and your information stay safe. The Citysafe bag also has hooks to keep the zippers closed, which is a great protection against potential pickpockets.
Are you always asking yourself where your phone is or where you put your keys? That was me until I got Tile Mate.
Tile Mate is a Bluetooth tracker that you attach to things you don’t want to lose. When you can’t find them, you can locate them using an app on your smartphone, Alexa, or Google Assistant. It’s the only way I get out the door on time.
A Fitbit is awesome whether you’re traveling or not.
When we’re on vacation, we tend to walk. A LOT. I love the feeling of accomplishment when I can see how many steps I’ve taken, and I love that it makes me feel OK about indulging in a few of the local treats. At home, my Fitbit prompts me to get up and move more–an occupational hazard of being tied to a computer most of the day.
The Fitbit Alta tracks your steps and calories burned and how well and how long you sleep. It also tells time and notifies you of texts and calls to your smartphone.
Several years ago, we became obsessed with tracing our family heritage and learning stories about where our ancestors came from. Taking an AncestryDNA Test brought all that research together. It’s a fascinating way to see your origins and how your ancestors moved across the world to help you land in the place where you are now.
Best Travel Presents Under $30
Full-size tripods are big and can be clunky to travel with, but tripods are an important part of taking photos. Low-light settings, selfies, odd angles, and other scenarios make a tripod truly indispensable. To solve the problem, we use GorillaPod tripods whenever possible.
A GorillaPod is one of the best gifts for people who love to travel and and take photos. GorillaPod tripods are small, lightweight, and flexible so you can carry them easily and twist and bend them however you need. They take up very little room and are super useful. There are two helpful versions—one for regular cameras and another for smartphones.
There are a million things to organize when you’re traveling. Some people are very good at that (Lance), but others aren’t so much (me). That’s why I use a multi-purpose travel wallet. Especially when I’m traveling on my own, it helps me know that I have all my important things in one place.
My travel wallet helps me keep all my essentials together. That way, I never have to frantically search from my passport, boarding pass, credit cards, tickets, and other things that seem to go missing along the way. There’s even a spot for a SIM card. This passport wallet is available in 35 colors and includes RFID technology to safeguard your privacy. It’s the perfect gift for the (slightly disorganized) traveler.
Fun socks are the best. They’re a great way to show a little personality, and if you’re wearing them, you can’t help but smile. I tend to collect them–especially ones with quirky sayings and designs–so I love these.
We love being around water when we travel. Beach, waterfalls, hot springs, ocean — you name it, and it’s probably on our list. We even travel with our own snorkel gear. That means we also spend a lot of time wet on our trips, which isn’t very convenient when you’re renting a car or otherwise traveling around.
This microfiber towel makes it a lot easier to continue with our adventures without having to worry about air-drying or soaking our clothes or car seats. The towel is compact and dries quickly, which is perfect when you’re moving around. It’s also great as a bath towel if you’re renting an apartment or staying in a hostel.
Traveling means often finding yourself in places where you need or want to sleep but where sleeping may not be that easy. (I’m looking at you, uncomfortable airplane seat and too-bright hotel room).
An eye mask and ear plug set is the best combination we’ve found yet to help with sleep in these challenging situations. The contoured, lightweight eye mask feels natural, doesn’t put pressure on your eyes, and blocks every speck of light. And the earplugs are a must.
Bringing wine home from vacation is one of our favorite ways to make a trip last in our minds. From Alsace to North Carolina, we’ve found ourselves needing a safe way to transport wine while protecting our clothes. Sometimes, if stores know we’re traveling, they’ll give us a wine bag as an incentive to take something home. But they’re always one-use bags, which feels wasteful. That’s why we love these bags–they’re reusable.
Insanely Useful Gifts
I’m a klutz by nature, and I’m often taking photos at weird angles. Plus, I live on my phone. All of that adds up to the fact that I drop my phone. A lot. And thanks to the Otterbox Defender, I’ve never had a single worry about damaging my phone or cracking my screen.
The Otterbox Defender is one heavy-duty phone case, so it’s one of the best gifts for people who like to travel or those who just can’t hang on to things. It has three layers that spread out the force of any drops or dings, and it’s practically indestructible. I would never use my phone without it.
We often find ourselves in hotel rooms or apartment rentals with only a couple of outlets and numerous devices to charge. This multi-purpose charger comes in very handy in those situations.
The charger allows us to charge several phones, cameras, and tablets using only one USB port. Not only is it efficient, but it means we don’t have different devices strewn all over the room, so we’re less likely to accidentally leave a charger (or a device!) behind.
This charger isn’t the sexiest gift for travelers, but it’s one of the most useful things we’ve come across.
If you do a lot of water-related activities, having a dry bag can be critical. If you’re snorkeling, rafting, fishing, or just hanging out at the beach for the day, a dry bag lets you keep important things away from splashes.
It’s great to keep important things—like your phone, camera, or wallet—dry and safe. But it’s equally convenient to have a completely dry change of clothes or towel when you’re done enjoying your day on the water.
I once packed for a month in Europe using only a carry-on. Let me tell you: that requires a little bit of creativity. These facial cleansing towelettes are perfect when you have to limit your carry-on liquids and want to still take care of your skin quickly and easily. Plus, who doesn’t love Burt’s Bees?
Whether you’re using a tablet for in-flight entertainment, posting on social media, or using your phone for a GPS, there are lot of opportunities to run down your batteries when you’re traveling and often fewer chances to get a full charge. Having a back-up power bank means you don’t have to worry if you’re not near an electrical outlet.
This power bank can charge your phone or tablet multiple times without having to be re-charged itself. That means you’ll never miss the end a movie or get stuck without a map or a camera while you’re on the road.
When you’re traveling, it’s best to back up your photos in two separate places–online and on an external hard drive–so nothing ever gets lost. And because slow Internet speeds are often a problem on the road, a high-quality external hard drive is even more important.
This hard drive has fast transfer speeds, and with 4TB of storage, you can photograph an around-the-world trip and never run out of room.
There are never quite enough outlets. With this power strip, you’ll have all the regular power outlets you need. Plus, it has a USB port for easy phone charging. Pair it with the multi-purpose charger and you’ll have all the room in the world to charge things.
Packing cubes are the easiest way to stay organized whether you’re going on a weekend getaway or a month-long journey. They also help keep your clothes from wrinkling so you don’t have to deal with the hassle of ironing.
In addition to helping me (try to) stay organized, I love packing cubes because I can use them to separate my dirty clothes on the way home from any clean clothes that may be left.
If you travel often to different countries it’s easy to end up with a large collection of electrical adapters. This all-in-one worldwide travel adapter makes all the other ones unnecessary.
In one small package, you have an adapter that works in the US, UK, EU, Australia, and more. In total, it works in over 150 countries. The adapter also has 2 USB ports for added convenience. Doesn’t get much simpler than that.
We got this fan as a gift, which is how I know it’s the PERFECT thing for travelers going to very hot places. Yes, when we went to Egypt in the summer, it came in quite handy. But conditions don’t have to be that extreme to enjoy a handheld fan. A little breeze makes everything better. It’s the number one gift you never knew you needed.
Gifts for Foodie Travelers
Traveling in Europe, it’s easy to fall in love with world-class cheese. From trying sirene in Albania and a cheese smorgasbord in Athens to early-morning wake up calls to watch Parmigiano-Reggiano come to life in Parma, we’ve had our fair share of cheese experiences.
That’s why we love this kit. In a few simple steps, you can re-create some of those tasty cheese experiences and try other varieties for the first time—or give it to your favorite traveler to enjoy making mozzarella, burrata, ricotta, mascarpone, and more in their own kitchen.
We have a thing for distilleries. Thus, we also have a thing for cocktail glasses. This whiskey glass is one of the best gifts for people who travel to help remember their favorite place (or pay homage to home) while imbibing. From Los Angeles to New York, there are about 15 US cities available along with several international ones.
Trying new foods is one of the best parts of travel. Just like 1000 Places to See Before You Die inspired people to visit new places, 1000 Foods to Eat Before You Die encourages readers to push their culinary boundaries worldwide. This book is a road map to try the best things to eat–both exotic and a bit more tame–no matter where your travels take you.
Since you can’t always be on the road, it’s great to have a reminder of past travels and a way to look forward to new ones at the same time…or just a way to experience some really great coffee from around the world without leaving your couch. The Bean Box features 16 gourmet coffees from 16 regions on 4 continents. Try coffee from Kenya to Guatemala and lot of places in between.
You might be sensing a theme that we love (and sometimes survive) on coffee. If there’s a coffee lover in your life who’s always on the go, check out the portable Handpresso espresso maker.
This travel coffee maker lets you make real espresso anywhere using your favorite pods from Starbucks, illy, Lavazza, and other makers. In addition to the espresso maker, the set includes a thermal carafe, 4 cups, 2 napkins, and a carrying case. It’s ideal for outdoor use while camping or picnicking. It’s the definition of decadence but one of the best gifts for travelers who already seem to have everything.
I’m sure that this cute–and inventive–scarf is meant for easily, conveniently transporting water where you need it like to a concert or other event. But it doesn’t take much work to figure out that other substances could also be used with the hidden flask.
The scarf is available in a variety of solid color an chevron prints. The folds hide an 8-ounce flask to carry your beverage of choice.
Cabernet or Merlot? Chardonnay or Viognier? We bought Wine Folly last year after we watched a documentary about people studying to become sommeliers and decided we wanted to be smarter because…well, we drink a lot of wine. The nice thing about this book is that there’s no sobbery or unnecessarily complicated terms–just a nice primer in good wine.
Wine Folly clearly and simply provides an excellent introduction to wine and wine tasting and is a great gift for any wannabe oenophile. You can learn about different varietals, their characteristics and flavors, where they grow, and other information in a clear and approachable way.
The perfect remedy for a long flight, the Carry On Cocktail Kit has everything you need to make your favorite cocktail in flight. Twice. Just add booze.
There are kits for a selection of classic cocktails, including Bloody Mary, Hot Toddy, Moscow Mule, Old Fashioned, and others. Depending on your selection, the kit includes items like a muddler, aromatic bitters, cane sugar, and even a linen coaster. It’s a great gift idea for travelers who want something a little special on their next flight, and it makes a unique stocking stuffer.
Our favorite travel souvenirs are related to cooking because they let us relive the tastes from our trips at home. We’ve collected salt from France to Trapani, Sicily, and more. This kit includes salt from both of those unique locations and 14 others that you can experiment with.
The Gourmet Sea Salt Sampler kit has 16 individually labeled salts from around the world with information about their origins and suggested uses. You can try Cyprus Onyx salt from Cyprus, Mayan Sun from El Salvador, and Tibetan Rose from the Himalayas, among others. Have fun experimenting with the global flavors.
Just about everyone loves sushi, even if they’ve never stepped foot in Asia. But it’s not one of those things most people make at home thanks to the specialty ingredients. This sushi making kit makes it easy to make your favorite California roll or anything else you want.
The Sushi Chef Sushi Making Kit has all the basic ingredients and tools to make sushi, including Japanese-style vinegars, toasted seaweed, wasabi, a bamboo rolling mat, and a rice paddle. It even includes rice. The recipes and step-by-step instructions help you create up to 125 pieces of sushi.
Must-have Luggage Gifts
While we do like to pack in only carry-ons when we can, that’s not always possible. When we need more room, the Osprey Meridian is our go-to bag. We love it so much that both of us have one.
The Osprey Meridian has large, heavy-duty wheels for rolling over uneven surfaces and is made of ballistic nylon mesh, so it lasts. The most important feature of the Osprey Meridian is that it has convertible straps to turn it into a backpack. This is particularly useful for managing your luggage in hotels without elevators, when walking over rough surfaces like cobblestones, and a variety of other scenarios (it’s the bag we recommend for the Galapagos and everything else). We’ve traveled with our for three years so far and would never give them up.
We pack carry-on only whenever possible, which means we want to fit in as many items as we can without having our suitcases feel like we’re carrying rocks. Having a lightweight, easy-to-manage bag is an important part of that equation. That’s why we love this hardside suitcase.
This bag is light and compact enough to use as a carry-on on international flights, but it also expands to add 15% more room when you need it. It’s the ideal carry-on.
Light, durable, and waterproof, this Zomake day pack is great from carrying your most needed items around the city, on a hike, to Disney World, or anywhere else you need a day pack. As a bonus: it’s waterproof, so your things stay dry even is you get splashed or rained on.
The ZOMAKE day pack folds up small and comes in 11 colors.
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