Mihir and I love to travel. As a result, we rarely get each other gifts, but invest the money in traveling instead. I think that makes it hard for others to find good gifts for us. Sure, a little spending money for the next trip would be nice, but it’s also not very personal. Do you have somebody like that in your life? It can be hard to find the perfect gift for a frequent traveler who doesn’t put great importance on material gifts That’s why I thought I’d help you and create a list of gifts a travel lover would actually enjoy.
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Doesn’t A Travel Lover Already Own All Of These Gifts?
Before you buy a gift for somebody who travels a lot, you may wonder whether the person doesn’t already own everything related to travel. As somebody who travels for a living, let me tell you one thing: Lol nah.
Shoe protectors? I just stick my shoes into used plastic bags. Jewelry organizer? My accessories are always a tangly mess. Luggage scale? Just hope for the best.
The truth is, I would never treat myself to things that would actually make my life easier. I’m more likely to invest the money into my trip fund than to buy a handy gadget, even if I know I would actually benefit from it.
Chances are the travelers in your life are just like me. And even if they already own a travel journal or a travel wallet, a good quality item can still be a nice upgrade for them. And to be honest, they probably already lost 3 travel pillows this year, so they need a new one anyway (I may or may not speak from experience here, oops).
Buying high-quality travel accessories also ensures that they will be used for a long time which reduces the environmental impact gift-giving can have. It’s another reason why you’ll find only practical travel gifts on this list – Your friends will actually use them, promise! 🙂
The Best Travel Gifts Under 25$
Below is a selection of the best travel gifts for under 25$. They make perfect stocking fillers or even stand-alone gifts for your friends on the go.
1. Travel Journal
Even though I spend my life on a computer, I still enjoy taking notes on real paper. I love going back after a few months and read back my notes and impressions on the places we’ve visited. A travel journal is a perfect gift for people who travel for extensive periods of time.
This journal by MaleDen has the feel of high-quality leather while being 100% vegan. It comes in 4 different colors, but what truly stands out about it is the embossing and detailing. It’s small and compact which means it can fit even into the smallest carry-on bag.
What I liked most about it though is the fact that it’s actually a ring binder. That means you can put in any kind of paper you like, or even collect photos and other keepsakes in it without having to glue anything.
And if you don’t want to take my word for it, this journal actually has over 1,000 5-star reviews on Amazon.
Another cute alternative I found is this 12-pack of simple but sweet travel notebooks. They are quite small which means they can even fit into somebody’s pocket. It’s perfect for taking notes on the go, such as addresses, opening hours, or phone numbers. As a travel blogger, I use notebooks like these on the regular.
The 12-pack comes in 6 different designs, which means you get 2 of each design. Have more than one traveling friend? Perfect!
2. Travel Wallet
To be honest, for the longest of times I actually felt that travel wallets were gimmicky at best and useless most of the time. That’s until I tried juggling my passport, boarding pass, phone, and wallet regularly in duty free shops.
And what happens once you board the plane? Okay, a person who actually has it together probably manages to store everything properly before getting to their seat, but I always end of with a million things in my hands once I sit down. Snacks, water bottle, phone, book, earphones, passport, boarding pass, book, neck pillow, sleeping mask, argh!
It’s so much easier to have your important things in one neat little package that you can just shove into your backpack before it goes in the overhead bin or into the seat pocket in front of you.
This travel wallet by Zoppen actually has enough space for all your important documents and even your phone. What I like is that it also has a small slot for sim cards which is quite handy if you don’t have a dual-sim phone. It can also hold a pen and believe me, I never have a pen on me when I actually need it (e.g. for filling in arrival forms).
It comes in 36(!) different colors which is frankly insane. The classic design means that even ‘loud’ colors appear almost muted and classy. In fact, I would recommend a brighter color to make it easy to spot should it ever get dropped by accident.
The wallet is made from a good-quality artificial leather and is also RFID-blocking which means your friend’s data is safe. It also has nearly 3,000 5-star reviews on Amazon.
3. Travel Jewelry Case
Do you know why I never wear jewelry while traveling? Because I’m a mess and can’t take care of my things, that’s why. This small case fits regular earrings, bracelets, and smaller necklaces. It’s perfect to take a couple of pieces on the road without all of them merging into one huge tangly ball of junk.
Do you have someone in your life who stores jewelry in sandwich bags or other random and definitely not suitable vessels? They could use a cute little jewelry box like this one. It’s not made for bulky necklaces or bracelets and big hooped earrings won’t fit either, but it’s perfect for smaller pieces.
It’s quite small so it can fit into a carry-on without taking up too much space and it looks classy to boot. The compartments make it easy to organize the jewelry even in the greatest of rushes.
Another option is this jewelry organizer by Bagsmart, especially if your friends tend to wear bulkier jewelry. The other advantage is that earrings and rings can be stored properly. This organizer closes flat and I personally wouldn’t recommend it for backpackers, but rather somebody who usually travels with a suitcase.
4. Hanging Toiletry Bag
Speaking of organizing – how do your friends usually carry their cosmetics? I long succumbed to just sticking them into two layers of plastic bags, but that’s not particularly eco-friendly, is it?
Hotel bathrooms are a bit of a hot topic with me. Especially because counter space is often abysmal. There is simply no room to store all your cosmetics while you’re getting ready and even during the day that means you’ll need to stick everything back into your suitcase or backpack.
This is even more true for people who stay primarily at hostels. And as someone who travels a lot, let me tell you, it’s important to keep up with your beauty regimen even on the road or you’ll suffer the consequences once you get back.
That’s why I really enjoy hangable beauty cases. Bathrooms will always have some sort of hook you can attach these to and this particular one by Narwey is also roomy enough to fit everything I need. I find the large one most suitable for my needs as I often travel with check-in luggage (and full-size liquids), but the smaller one is ideal for those traveling with hand luggage only.
PS: Combine the toiletries organizer with a selection of travel-sized cosmetics bottles. Liquisnugs are leak-proof and TSA-approved! They also come with a built-in suction cup which makes them another perfect travel companion for low-counter space environments 😉
5. Luggage Scale
Have you ever tried to weigh a piece of luggage on a normal scale? Because I usually do it still half asleep in the dark minutes before leaving my house. And every single time I run into the same problem: How the heck do I position my bag onto the scale so I can actually read the display while still getting an accurate reading?
Yeah, most of the time I just give up and hope for the best. And that’s usually fine on my flight out, but what about on the way back? After I have stuffed each and every space of my luggage with souvenirs and snacks? And how many hotel rooms have scales available anyway? I haven’t come across a single one so far.
A luggage scale is perfect for people who fly a lot, especially with budget airlines where even a pound of extra luggage can turn expensive quickly. Luckily, such first-world problems can easily be avoided by traveling with a luggage scale.
This one by Camry is small and won’t take up much space in your friend’s luggage once they’ve weighed it. It also has nearly 3,000 5-star reviews on Amazon.
5. Packing Cubes
Packing cubes are another thing I didn’t believe in for the longest of times. And to be honest, I’m still a light packer and don’t use these on any of our shorter trips. They do, however, come in handy on our longer trips, for example when we go to India for weeks at a time.
Now, there is a variety of packing cubes on the market. There are those which will actually compress your clothes in a vacuum which safe a lot of space, but will really only be useful one way (or how do you deflate them at your destination?).
Then there are fairly sturdy packing cubes and packing cubes made mostly from a mesh material. While sturdy cubes are handy for sensitive items such as bras, they are generally bulkier than you need them to be.
We own the most basic packing cubes from Amazon and they are actually perfect. I especially love stuffing panties and socks into them, because it keeps them all neatly packed together. The same goes for t-shirts which don’t even wrinkle if you roll them.
This set comes with cubes in 4 different sizes. They are super lightweight and won’t add any bulk to your luggage which is important for friends who are traveling hand-luggage only or will be carrying their backpacks on their backs for several hours a day.
6. Lifestraw Water Bottle
There is a gazillion of water bottles on the market, so why on earth should you be gifting a Lifestraw water bottle? Because it’s the perfect travel companion, simple as that.
The Lifestraw water bottle comes with a water filter that removes bacteria, parasites, and other impurities. While this doesn’t remove viruses from the water, it is perfectly suitable for filtering tap water in countries where tap water isn’t otherwise potable (looking at you, India).
It’s a great alternative to constantly having to buy bottled water on the move which isn’t only bad for the environment, but can also be expensive in the long run.
7. Foldable Shoes
Speaking of germy floors, I cannot believe how many people walk barefoot on airplanes. I’m not a germophobe by any means, but I would also never use a plane toilet without shoes. I’m not saying you need to keep on your shoes on a 16-hour flight, because, let’s face it, that would be pure torture.
Instead, I recommend these foldable ballerina flats. They aren’t meant to be walking shoes as they literally offer no support for your feet, but they will do in a pinch. They fold down incredibly small which means they’ll fit into any carry-on bag.
I recommend these even to people who only slip-off their shoes while being seated to be more comfortable. In the event of an emergency, your soles would at least be somewhat protected during an evacuation as chances are you won’t have the time to put on your regular shoes.
This model by Silky Toes actually comes in more than 25 colors and variations. They are also the OGs on the market 😉
8. Door Alarm
This one is for your friends who travel solo. Contrary to popular belief, solo traveling is actually pretty safe throughout the world. However, peace of mind is essential to solo travelers, especially female travelers.
This alarm device is as simple as it is smart. All you have to do is to wedge it under your hotel door. Should somebody try to open it, it will depress the sensor and the device will sound a powerful alarm. It should be enough to deter any thief and to wake your friend out of the deepest slumber.
9. Travel Locks
While we’re on the matter of safety, how about a set of extra-sturdy travel locks? Back in my student days I never owned a proper padlock and every time I stayed at a hostel I cursed myself for my own stupidity.
These locks can be used for several purposes. For one, you can lock suitcases and backpacks. It won’t deter those with sharp knives cutting through the fabric, but it will keep out opportunistic thieves looking for an easy payday. It can also be used for hostel lockers or gym lockers.
These particular locks by Forge are TSA-approved and almost impossible to break.
I’ve never been camping in my life. Ok, that’s not quite true, but I’m most certainly a city traveler above anything. That’s why I get caught off-guard every single time I venture into more rural parts.
If you have friends who are heading to Northern Europe in winter or perhaps Canada or Alaska, give them this headlamp. I’m serious. Chances are they’ll end up in an outhouse in the middle of the night trying to survive in complete darkness. I don’t even recall how many times I wished I had owned this lamp because I did, in fact, end up outside in the middle of the night without a source of light. Thank you, Finland.
It’s also kind of useful for navigating hostel rooms late at night or, who would have thought, during a camping trip.
11. Travel Mug
Do you know how many travel mugs I have owned throughout my life? Please tell me, because I have literally lost count. I honestly wished somebody had told me about the Contigo travel mugs much earlier in my life because it would have saved me so much money.
These travel mugs seal automatically with a vacuum which is to say they are totally leak-proof. They keep hot drinks hot for up to 7 hours. It’s a life-saver for people who need to travel a long distance to their departure airport and leave their house early in the morning.
You can drop or shake this mug all you want, it won’t spill. Throw it in your purse, and you’re ready to go. Thankfully it’s also quite easy to clean which has always been my main concern with travel mugs, even more so than leaks.
This mug actually has more than 16,000 (!) 5-star reviews on Amazon. Your friends will love it and I wouldn’t judge you if you bought one for yourself as well.
12. Compression Socks
One way to show that you care about your friends is by giving them the most un-sexy and un-fun gift in existence. Ok, it’s not quite that bad, but compressions socks are probably not something you’d expect to see under a Christmas tree.
In fact, most travelers don’t even know how important compression socks can be. People who travel extensively and for long periods of time are at high risk of deep-vein-thrombosis (DVT). When resting your legs for a long time (say, on a 20-hour flight), blood clots can form in your legs and travel all the way to your heart or lungs where they will cause major havoc if not death. Compression socks can considerably reduce the risk of that happening.
And staying alive is pretty sexy, I’d say.
These compression socks by Physix come in different sizes to fit even the biggest calves. They also have over 10,000 5-star ratings on Amazon. Yup, everybody loves them.
13. Tangle Teezer
If you have never heard of the Tangle Teezer, let me change your world. This is the single best hairbrush I have ever used. Admittedly, I don’t use it much at home because I prefer a wooden brush on the daily, but when traveling this is my definite go-to.
This brush detangles hair, whether it’s dry or wet, without any pain. Because it’s plastic it can easily be cleaned, even if a whole bottle of shampoo leaked into the beauty bag (been there, done that). The compact version fits into every carry-on bag.
It’s a simple product which you’ll never regret buying for yourself or for your friends. But if you buy it as a gift, I recommend that you pair it with a pack of Invisibobbles which are perfect for traveling. They give great hold while not adding any unseemly creases to the hair.
14. Contoured Sleeping Mask
This one may look ridiculous, but it’s a true game-changer for frequent travelers. Everybody who has used a sleeping mask before knows that they usually work okay-ish apart from the fact that they let in light from the bottom.
If you know somebody like me who cannot sleep unless in complete darkness, gift them this sleeping mask by MZoo. It is soft and doesn’t put pressure on the eyes while still blocking out all the light.
15. Microfiber Travel Towel
While backpacking and staying at hostels is cheap, there are certain comforts one misses out on. An important one is big, fluffy hotel towels – always fresh when you need them. Some hostels do provide towels for an extra charge, but that kind of negates the cost-saving aspect of staying at a hostel.
If your friends backpack frequently, they will love this travel towel by Rainleaf. It’s fairly compact and comes with a handy carrying pouch. Most of all, it dries very quickly.
A fair warning: the texture of a microfiber towel takes a bit of getting-used-to, but the space you save is well worth the adjustment.
PS: Speaking of microfiber, another great travel gift is the Miracle Face Erase. It’s essentially a special kind of microfiber towel which makes makeup removal incredibly easy. Much better for the environment and easier to carry than a pack of make-up wipes!
The Best Travel Gifts Under 100$
Looking for a gift that’s a bit more premium or something you know your friend would never treat themselves to? Then check out our list of the best travel gifts under 100$!.
1. Bra Travel Case
Above, I briefly touched on packing cubes and how you’d only need sturdy options for bras. Well, here is that option, especially for your big-busted friends.
Bras can easily get damaged if stored improperly in a suitcase. I know that I am guilty of not taking care of my bras which in the end means their lives end sooner rather than later. And seeing how expensive bras can be, that’s certainly not ideal.
I will say that travel cases for bras tend to be rather bulky. They are not a great option if you’re backpacking, but if your friends generally travel with check-in luggage, this is perfect. I particularly want my underwear to be safe if I travel for something important, such as a wedding or another big event. That’s when a case like this really shines.
2. Mobile Wifi Hotspot
As someone who works online, it is important for me to be connected to the internet wherever I go. That’s where mobile wifi hotspots come into play. While we usually stay at hotels that offer free wifi and generally travel in areas where wifi hotspots are ubiquitous, I like to have a plan B.
A mobile wifi hotspot works like this: You buy the device. Once you arrive at your destination, you pick up a cheap sim-card that offers mobile data. Instead of putting it into your phone, you stick it into the device. Once you have set it up, any number of people can connect to the device. That’s especially handy for people who travel with their spouses or families. And it’s even more practical for people who need to work on their computers while they travel.
This device by Huawei is unlocked which means your friends can insert any sim-card worldwide and get connected. Admittedly, the battery life on these things isn’t great, but they are usually good for about 5-6 hours of usage time without being charged.
Ideally, mobile hotspot devices should be combined with additional battery packs, especially when there isn’t always a reliable power source (e.g. on camping trips).
3. Power Bank
Speaking of staying connected, there is nothing worse than being on a trip to a foreign place and running out of battery. In the best case, you simply miss out on taking photos, but in the worst case, you won’t be able to find your way back to your hotel.
I personally don’t go anywhere without a power bank in my bag, whether I’m traveling or not. While the battery life on my phone is decent, you never know when you need to charge your devices in a pinch.
A good power bank is probably the most practical travel gift you can give to anybody. This model by Anker can charge up to 3 devices at the same time and supplies up to a week of power. That’s right, your friend can have their phone charged on a week-long camping trip!
It is quite bulky, but if you feel like your friend doesn’t quite need a week worth of power at their fingertips, Anker also produces power banks with smaller capacities and less bulk.
4. Portable Bluetooth Speaker
In the rare event that we travel for pleasure rather than work, we tend to veg out either at the pool or at the beach. What really helps us to relax beside a good book is good music. While one person can simply use headphones, it’s easier for two people to enjoy with a portable Bluetooth speaker.
These are also handy for relaxing in the hotel room or blasting a happy tune during a morning shower. All in all, it’s a great mood enhancer on any trip.
This speaker by JBL convinces because it is waterproof and offers up to 12 hours of uninterrupted music playtime. They are perfect for people who would like to enjoy music while paddleboarding, kayaking, or doing any kind of water sports, really.
5. Travel Pillow
Who hasn’t used a travel pillow and found it to be an utterly useless piece of garbage? Because that’s how I felt about travel pillows for the longest time. That’s until newer, more innovative models started to come onto the market.
This travel pillow by Cabeau stands out for several reasons. First and foremost it has chin support which prevents your head from tilting downward and therefore losing all support. It can also be attached to a plane’s headrest for even less head-drooping (is that even a word?).
The cover can be taken off and washed which is a big bonus over many other travel pillows I’ve had. Attached to my purse, they would inevitably graze airport floors and collect germs from all over the world before I’d bury my face in it. Bleh.
I will say that this travel pillow is a bit bulky compared to others, but it also offers outstanding support and the best chance to actually come off a red-eye flight not looking like the walking dead.
6. Portable Washbag
One of the keys to travel cheaply and extensively is to pack light. I hardly ever travel with more than maybe 3 or 4 outfits. While that’s perfect for a short trip, on longer hauls that means I need to do laundry.
If your friends camp or hike frequently or if they are simply planning a long trip, a portable washbag by Scrubba is honestly the best. It kind of works like a fancy washboard. That means, a certain physical effort is required to clean the clothes, but it will work significantly better than just rinsing dirty clothes in the sink.
The price makes it a bit of a luxury item that cost-conscious travelers may not be willing to invest in. Honestly, that makes it all the better a gift for travelers.
Luxury Travel Gifts
Are you looking for a travel gift for someone truly special? Then check out our recommendations for travel gifts your friends most likely won’t treat themselves to!
1. Kindle Paperwhite
The smell of a new book is, admittedly, one of the world’s greatest pleasures. However, it is nearly impossible to carry around a stack of books during extended or frequent travel. Still, reading is one of the best pastimes at airports, during flight, or even on the train. It’s an easy source of entertainment when an internet connection isn’t guaranteed or when you’re simply sick of social media.
An e-reader is a perfect gift for book lovers who also travel a lot. It’s a bit of an investment so not everybody is likely to purchase it for themselves.
While there are dozens of different e-readers, the Amazon Kindles are still a great choice. They have the benefit of easy access to e-books via Amazon, plus access to Audible (for those who enjoy podcasts and audiobooks).
2. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphone
Alright, these are a full-on luxury and definitely something not everybody would buy for themselves. They are, however, a Godsend for anybody who travels a lot during the night, such as overnight train journeys of long-distance flights.
These headphones won’t let through any sound which means your friends can sleep in peace and actually arrive at their destination fresh and well-rested. A must for people who travel a lot for work, in particular.
PS: A fair alternative to the Bose headphones are these headphones by Cowin. While they don’t have exactly the same functionality and quality as the Bose headphones, they only cost a fraction of the price and come with over 9000 5-star reviews on Amazon! Perhaps unbeatable for the price.
3. Samsonite Luggage
For the last couple of years, Mihir and I have been using nothing but Samsonite luggage. This post is not sponsored by Samsonite (I wish), but I truly can’t recommend their products enough. I know that other people don’t always love them, but we have literally never had even a single problem with them.
While for carry-on luggage we generally prefer a softer (and lighter) material, our check-in bags are pretty sturdy. This Winfield models by Samsonite are some of the best suitcases on the market and won’t let your friends down.
Apart from their sturdy structure, they also come with 4 wheels. I once bought a suitcase with only 2 wheels and regretted it on our very first trip. So 4 wheels – a definite plus. The brushed design also helps cover unseemly scruff marks which will appear sooner rather than later.
Now, what do you think? What is the best travel gift you have received or which travel gift do you love giving? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!