The choices of gifts for travelers have never been so good. From your local stores to online shops – the selections are getting bigger every year. New products are being introduced. And old ones are replaced constantly by new and improved versions, like Apple’s iPhones.
On top of it all, the advancements of technology have made gift giving instantaneous, even if your recipient lives thousands of miles away. With a few clicks on your laptop or taps on your smartphone, the items you purchased can be delivered by email at any time of the day. Think eBooks, music or an e-gift card.
You really don’t have an excuse not to get gifts for friends and family who are traveling or living miles away from you. As we gear up for the holiday season, I thought it would be helpful to compile a list of gift ideas suggested by Trippy members and myself. The travelers in your life will appreciate your effort. Maybe that traveler is you – you might want to get a gift for yourself too.
1. Gift cards
You can’t go wrong with an Amazon.com gift card. There are thousands of items on Amazon and the card can be delivered as an e-gift card to the recipient. This is my absolute favorite gift for travelers and non-travelers alike.
Gift cards are time savers. Recipients can get the things on their wish list with the gift card, without you having to know specifically what they want. Gift cards are also the perfect last minute gifts.
Trippy member Michelle Dunner from Melbourne Australia suggested:
Some type of debit card perhaps pre-loaded with the currency of where they’re going? I know I’d appreciate a gift that put the power in my hands to decide how to use it rather than locking me into a particular hotel group or airline. If you know someone’s booked a particular airline and you have miles you could offer for an upgrade, that would always be a treat. I know that here in Australia, being able to use points for an upgrade is hugely dependent on the fare structure of the original ticket (and it’s pretty restricted). You could end up giving away your miles for no return.
Jarrod Daughtry from Charleston said:
Honestly, I think an “old school” travel journal is one of the best travel gifts I’ve ever received or given. It makes you stop and actually record what you’re experiencing on your trip (sketch pictures of what you see, jot down how you’re feeling when waking up in a new city for the first time – we all know how special that feeling can be). Not to mention, it’s a great way to reflect back on your adventure. Obviously, any journal will do, but here these two are similar to the ones I’ve used in the past. Hope this helps!
Journals are a valuable tool for all types of travelers of any age or budget. I’ve purchased many affordable and well-made journals from Marshalls storefronts. For travelers who prefer leather bound or “old school” travel journals mentioned by Jarrod Daughtry, journals by Moleskine (a company based in Milan) are the best bet.
3. Packing cubes and toiletry bags
When we travel, the men in my family swear by their packing cubes and the women their toiletry bags. So these are gifts I would purchase for the travelers in my life.
Eagle Creek Pack – It Folder: Great for dress shirts
eBags Packing Cubes: Great for interior org[anization]
The lightweight Sea to Summit hanging toiletry bag
4. Travel books
For travelers who like reading, I recommend travel books (not necessarily travel guidebooks) especially books by Bill Bryson, Pico Iyer and Paul Theroux. Even Mark Twain’s Roughing It written in the 1800s is timeless.
Kax Uson from Barcelona preferred:
Travel books – not guides but anything (can be fictional) about the places I would love to visit. (e.g. I really liked The Shadow of the Wind and it made Barcelona more romantic, mysterious and over all fantastic for me after I’ve read it)
5. Language courses
Amy Marie from Florida wrote:
Language courses (Help them prep for their next foreign trip!)
Courses and lessons can be online or in-person. In the past, I’ve purchased two months worth of Spanish classes via Skype from the Simon Bolivar Spanish School in Quito for my daughter, and also four months Spanish lessons via Skype with Academia Uruguay in Montevideo.
These lessons are ideal for those who want a head start before traveling to a destination or joining the class in person. My daughter ended up meeting the online teacher and learning in-person for one month in Academia Uruguay when we were in Montevideo.
6. Portable charger
I travel with an Anker PowerCore+ 13400 Premium Portable Charger. It makes for a perfect gift for smartphone video and photo taking travelers. The portable charger came in handy when we were camping in the Andes in Peru for two nights and on the Trans-Mongolian train when there were limited charging stations.
JJD from New York City said:
PORTABLE CHARGERS. There’s no greater fear than your phone dying on you when in foreign territory.
Maps are wonderful gifts for travelers. Trippy member Mathilde Baillet from Venice likes scratch map, which allows you to scratch off the places you’ve visited.
8. Personal water filter
A personal water filter would make a practical gift for those who love camping in remote places or exploring in countries where tap water is unsafe to drink. We use the LifeStraw Go 2-stage filtration refillable water bottles. According to LifeStraw it removes bacteria and protozoa.
Melissa Cunningham from Los Angeles likes it too. She said:
The LifeStraw would make a perfect stocking stuffer and is great for hiking / camping / adventure travel, as well as any paranoid disaster preparedness urges : ) AND — for every straw sold, a child in Africa gets clean water for a year.
9. Swiss Army knife
Julie Skyes from York England said:
…a swiss army knife…. has come in handy for me for cutting fruit, spreading cheese on bread, opening wine, and unlocking a door.
A Swiss Army knife is a multi-purpose tool, but it is one of those things you may not take in your carry-on or personal bag.
10. International adapter and charger
An international adapter and charger is a thoughtful gift for someone who is traveling abroad for the first time. Get one that is comparable with European (EU), Australian and Asian outlets and voltages.
You can buy a guided tour package as a gift. Pay in advance to the tour company in a destination via a company like Viator, which offers tours almost everywhere in the world. For example, I paid for my mom’s tour in York England before she arrived. All I needed to do was send her the voucher by email. On the day of the tour, she showed up at the designated location and joined the group tour with other tour members.
Jae Oh from Singapore wrote:
Viator tour gift card – 20,000+ tours to choose from
These days cameras come in all sizes and budget. Here is Kenneth M’s recommendation:
Have you thought about a camera? I have a Nikon D600 and the pics I get from it and a bag of prime lenses are amazing… Sometimes though I just want to travel light and the Fuji X100 (in any form X, T, or original) is wonderful. It has a equivalent 35mm F2 lens and a quiet leaf shutter.
13. Gift of miles or hotel points
Heather George said:
Miles on the travelers favorite airline
Amy Marie from Florida echoed:
Donate Frequent Flyer miles to them. (I’ve always wanted someone to do that…)
Coffee lovers will love a portable coffee set allowing them to brew a great cup of coffee wherever they go. I packed a cloth coffee strainer when I traveled in South America. It was cheap, practical and lightweight. A coffee strainer is a great option for a giver on a tight budget.
Jillian Greer from Los Angeles had a better plan. She wrote:
Since Blue Bottle Coffee opened on my street, I recently saw they partnered with Timbuk2 on a travel kit. If you are into great coffee and traveling, this is the perfect gift to receive. It comes with a travel case, Three Africans (my fav), as well as a grinder for amazing freshness on the go.
I carry a thermos wherever I go. My vacuum flask keeps my cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot – suitable for hot and cold days. It also eliminates the need to purchase water bottles, thus reducing waste. An insulated bottle is a green gift (no plastic bottles), and may be healthier to drink from compared to disposable plastic bottles.
Trippy member Peter Dorfman from Bloomington recommended Hydro Flask. He said:
A Hydroflask from these guys: Hydro Flask. I don’t generally do commercials, but they have somehow reinvented the thermos bottle. It comes in multiple sizes and colors and it just works — keeps liquids cold (or hot) far longer than any other flask I’ve ever owned. You really don’t want to be without one in, say, Italy in the summertime.
16. Easy fold bags
For a practical and affordable gift, get an easy fold bag. Pamela Peterson from New Canaan suggested:
Foldable shopping bags, like these from Baggu – for picnics, or flea market finds. Because there’s always a flea market somewhere.
Some of the best looking ones are made by Loqi, from Berlin Germany.
— LOQI (@LOQI) June 14, 2016
17. Portable digital scale
Lisa Riss listed:
A portable digital luggage scale preferably back lit so you can read it in those dark hotel rooms. I know I like to shop and need to be sure I don’t exceed those crazy airline luggage weight restrictions especially when flying in Europe!
18. World globe
Not every gift given to a traveler should be packed in a suitcase. It can be a decorative piece that showcases the places they plan to visit or they have been to. A world globe is a conversation starter for any home or office too.
19. Travel blanket
A travel blanket is perfect for those who prefer to have their own blanket when in airplanes or hotels. The TravelSmith CoolMax travel blanket is lightweight and has a compact stuff sack.
Robin Pick from Singapore wrote:
A portable travel blanket, always super handy in many occasions!
20. 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Picture-A-Day Wall Calendar 2017
Jacey and Scott Mahaffy from Fort Collins commented:
The best travel gift I ever received was the 1000 places to see before you die the wall calendar. Every day is a new place to visit! I love waking up and seeing what’s next!
Kids and adventure travelers will enjoy getting a headlamp. Headlamps were some of my kids’ favorite toys when they were in elementary school. They got to use the headlamps while we walked in the neighborhood at night or camped in the backyard.
Justin Schmid from Phoenix wrote:
A headlamp. I never travel without mine. A few good compression sacks are also great for gifts. Oh, and a good day pack, if you want to aim for a larger budget.
22. Travel size toiletries
Ashley and Ryan R from Calgary recommended:
Small travel sized versions of their favourite things would make great stocking stuffers. Often when travelling you have to switch to cheaper brand of something so you can get it in the size that will suit your carry on or squeeze stuff into travel bottles. A lot of women definitely use more specific hair and skin care products so it’s nice when they can find a micro versions of their everyday items to take travelling.
23. Noise cancellation headphones
Ross Weber from Manhattan Beach recommends noise cancellation headphones. Bose QuietComfort headphones are the gold standard.
24. External hard drive
An external hard drive is a must for all travelers who take photos, whether with a smartphone or DSLR. Amy Marie recommended:
For the traveling photographer/videographer, a portable, durable external hard drive, like the LaCie Rugged Mini 1 TB
I use LaCie Rugged Mini 1 TB and WD My Passport for Mac. Both are equally good, though the WD My Passport is cheaper.
25. Travel towel
Backpackers and flashpackers will appreciate travel towels. Julie Sykes from York, England a self-professed flashpacker recommended:
On the very practical (but not exactly exciting) front, a travel towel.
This by no means is a complete list of best gifts for travelers. We would love it if you could share your favorites too. To do so, head over to trippy.com and follow three easy steps:
1. Become a Trippy member using your Facebook account.
2. Verify your email account through the confirmation email from Trippy.
3. Go to the page with the question: Gift ideas for the traveler in your life?
4. Share your answer.
See you there!
Article by Claudia Looi