The holidays are right around the corner and nothing shows that you care like a thoughtful gift. But what sort of holiday gifts do travelers love? Travelers want practical holiday gifts that make their lives easier and more comfortable, gifts that help capture special moments and gifts that inspire wanderlust. If you’re wondering what these gifts look like, I’ve got you covered. I’ve come up with a holiday gift guide for travelers that feature a wide variety of gift ideas that your favorite traveler will love. From high-end gadgets to low tech entertainment, there is something for everyone on this list.
Just in case if you’re looking for a gift for a traveling mom, Kathryn from Kathryn Anywhere created a holiday wish list for the traveling mom which I think you’ll find very helpful.
17 Must-Have Travel Gifts
(That They Will Actually Use)
1. Thrifty Traveler
Give the gift of cheap flights with 12 months of Thrifty Traveler Premium.
Thrifty Traveler Premium is a paid flight deal service which alerts you of international flight deals via email. I’ve been a subscriber for the past few years and I’ve been able to score plenty of cheap flights with Thrifty Traveler.
2. Airbnb Gift Card
Give the gift of lodging this year with an Airbnb gift card.
This is the perfect gift for travelers who use Airbnb to book unique homes from local hosts around the world. Airbnb has over 1 million homes worldwide and travelers can also enjoy top-rated experiences as well as restaurants.
Get an Airbnb gift card from $25 to $500 at various retailers online and in stores like Target and Staples.
These gift cards do not expire and there are no fees to buy or activate. Customize your message, send digital cards by email or physical cards and wish your favorite traveler an adventure of a lifetime!
Skyroam is a global Wi-Fi hotspot that allows travelers to stay connected on up to 5 devices around the world without roaming fees, SIM cards or unsecured connections.
Skyroam offers various options like unlimited wifi so you can connect on-the-go. You can also rent hotspot day passes.
4. Luggage Scale
As you know, airlines charge for everything nowadays.
A luggage scale is extremely important for travelers because going over the weight limit means paying excessive baggage fees. Your favorite traveler can avoid the stress and hassle of having to re-pack at the airport by checking their luggage weight from the comfort of their home.
The best luggage scales are digital, light-weight and some even have cool built-in tape measures and can switch between weight units – kilos and pounds.
Some popular luggage scales include:
5. Travel Blanket
Travel blankets are one of my favorite holiday gifts for travelers especially for those uncomfortable train rides, bus rides and chilly flights.
6. Goverre Portable Wine Glasses
Goverre offers classy to-go cups for wine!
With a drink-through lid and colorful silicone sleeve, you can enjoy wine from just about anywhere. As Goverre says, “You can simply pour, seal, pack and enjoy.”
Goverre’s real glass portable wine glasses are perfect for beach days, picnics and bbqs. This is the perfect gift for your favorite wine enthusiast traveler.
7. Camera Sleeve
A camera sleeve is a soft form-fitted pouch that protects cameras from getting scratched or dinged. With a camera sleeve, your camera will always look like new and it’ll keep it safe from moisture, dirt, dust and impact.
8. Time Traveller Watch
Time Traveller by Mr Jones Watches lets you tell time from anywhere in the world. This watch features 16 iconic landmarks marking different time zones. For example, if you’re in London, read local time by following the Big Ben hour hand. If you’re in San Francisco follow the Golden Gate Bridge.
I appreciate that every Time Traveller watch has a story, and there are all sorts of funky designs from cats and dogs to skulls.
Drones are still very popular amongst travelers.
Drones are remote-control flying devices. Camera-included drones are great holiday gifts for travelers because the videography and photography capabilities offer a birds-eye-view perspective.
Drones can range anywhere from $100-$3,000 USD. However, it is important to note that quality and outdoor stability varies at different price points.
If you’re considering buying a drone, make sure it’s light-weight, hooks up to your smartphone and can easily fit in a backpack, jacket pocket or carry-on luggage. Also since travel is so unpredictable, having a waterproof and resilient drone that can withstand bad weather, harsh winds and snow is ideal.
Here are the top drones out in the market:
10. Photo Books
Photos are a travelers best friend.
Similar to physical photo albums, photo books are photo albums made online. In addition to sharing photos digitally, with photo books like Shutterfly, you can order prints and turn vacation photos into holiday cards, a collage, home decor and lots more.
Photo gift ideas include:
- Laptop cases
- Pencil cases
- Phone cases
- Key chains
- Mounted wall art
- Calendars and more
Helpful Tip: Shutterfly always has sales so never pay full price.
11. Scratch Off Maps
Scratch off maps are a hit with travelers because it’s fun to scratch off where you’ve been. All you have to do is grab a coin, use an eraser or fingernail and scratch off all the destinations visited to date. Some scratch off maps have features like country flags and landmarks.
Many travelers use scratch off maps as a way to log their travels. Some even come framed so you can display them on a wall.
Here are some popular scratch-off maps:
12. Waterproof Playing Cards
Cards games are a great way to pass the time at airports or make new friends at hostels. Bring your waterproof playing cards to the beach or pool and don’t worry that they’ll rip or get wet. Just wipe them clean and store them in your luggage until the next time you need them.
Waterproof playing cards also go perfectly with a Lamzac, an inflatable couch that you can take anywhere. This is a great gift for backpackers who need to pack light but also want to lounge around while taking in a fantastic view.
Travel memoirs and other books that inspire wanderlust are always a great holiday gift. I usually refer to the New York Times Best Seller Monthly Travel List for book recommendations, however, one of my favorite travel books is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
If you prefer, you can read audiobooks instead with Audiobooks.com. Audiobooks has over 125,000 books available and you get the first book free!
14. Travel Journal
Despite status updates on social media, a travel journal is a more tangible way to document travel experiences.
With a travel journal, you can jot down personal thoughts, lessons learned, doodles or even add pictures and business cards.
A travel journal is something personal that you can always look back on.
Alternatively, for the travelers looking to find balance in their work and family life, the Transcending Waves Planner is the perfect holiday gift. This planner promotes positive psychology, achieving goals and having a happier outlook and appreciation towards life.
Raincoats and rain ponchos make for perfect holiday gifts. A sturdy raincoat comes in handy on rainy days or when visiting waterfalls. I just got my hands on a stylish military red vinyl smock from Hunter Boots. Hunter’s rainwear collection includes rain boots, rubberized leather backpacks and umbrellas – all great holiday gifts for travelers!
16. Travel Corkscrew
Some gifts are all about convenience. I can’t count how many times I had to buy or borrow a corkscrew while traveling. Travel corkscrews are inexpensive, compact and as long as it doesn’t have a knife, it will pass security at the airport.
The Traveling Nine to Fiver included a wine suitcase in her traveler’s gift guide. This is a phenomenal gift idea because the wine suitcase allows travelers to bring home their favorite wines without damaging the bottle or the things inside their suitcase – that’s a win-win!
17. Trtl Pillow
Designed to look like a scarf, get comfortable on the plane with this soft travel pillow that wraps around your neck. The Trtl pillow keeps your neck in a better position when you’re sleeping upright and prevents you from nodding off. It easily attaches to your backpack or luggage and you can throw it in the wash when dirty.
Wether you’re looking for a gift for the holidays, a birthday gift or a special gift to wish your favorite traveler bon voyage, you can’t go wrong with any of these gift ideas!
What holiday gifts are on YOUR wish list this year?
Danielle is a travel finance strategist, author, speaker and podcaster. She paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27 and has traveled to 26 countries. She refuses to let her financial responsibilities hold her back from living life on her own terms.