My daughter did her first solo trip this past year so last Christmas was spent getting ALL the travel related gifts! I think almost everything we went for was received really well and useful so I wanted to write up what gifts I recommend getting someone who loves to travel.
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You’ll find these are pretty good general gifts but if you’re buying for a history obsessed traveller (or for yourself!) you might want to also head to our history experiences gift guide for some more ideas.
I’ve split the gift ideas in to different sections to make it easier to navigate – do let me know if you have any other ideas for this guide as I love to buy stuff for myself, ahem, I mean for gifts!!
Travel inspiration and fun gifts
Travel inspiration books
I’ve got a bit of a thing for those coffee table books that are travel related and almost every gift I was given last year was a book! Every year sees a few different new books be published but they great thing is that they mostly don’t really age that much (like a guidebook can do). On a rainy day, especially if I need to get away from my computer screen you will ALWAYS find me with my head buried in a travel book!
Rough Guide has been one of my favourite companies for these books and this year we are loving the 100 best places on Earth for 2020. No matter how many times I read these books I always come away learning something new! This one was no different. You can see more about the top places that they have singled out this year at their website here – I am so intrigued about Ethiopia and it has definitely climbed up my ‘must visit’ list!
The book is full of colourful photos and each place they mention gets a double spread dedicated to it with a small snippet about why it was chosen and what there is to do there. I loved that the places were evenly spread throughout the world with no area being more heavily represented. I’ll be browsing for a little while yet with this one!
(disclaimer – we were given a review copy of this book for free)
I’ve got to add this book in here too which I bought for my Father in Law for this year (shh – don’t tell him) and for all my history enthusiast readers. It’s also a Rough Guide book and it covers a huge amount of historical sites around Europe relating to WW2 and the liberation. I’ve had a sneaky peek and it’s packed full of information, photos and ideas for places to go if you’re interested in military history.
Probably a bit more writing in this one than your average inspiration coffee table book, but for those of us who love to learn the history when we travel it’s perfect. It covers so many places as well from France, as you’d possibly expect, all the way to Poland and beyond. I’d highly recommend this one!
Travel guide books
If you know where your intending gift recipient is headed to in the next year or where they are lusting after going then a guide book for that country or city could be good. I quite like to have a physical copy of a guide book for the planning phase of the trip – sometimes I don’t always bring it with me though. The little pocket city guides like this one for New York City are great for putting in your suitcase and taking with you though.
Somewhere to plan trips, write about trips or just to keep all of the receipts and leaflets you collect on vacation is a great gift idea. There are so many around from just plain journals, leather bound, or specific notebooks to help plan.
Scratch off map
A scratch map is a really popular gift these days – so much so that there are a number of companies making them. We actually got our first scratch map when we travelled in our camper van – we got a small travel sized one which our kids loved scratching off as we went in to new places. We since got ourselves a much bigger poster sized map from Luckies of London and I love looking at it and reminiscing about where we’ve been and where I can scratch off next! There are so many kinds you can get – a platinum edition like the one in the picture, a classic one or even one where you add pins instead of scratching them off!
On a similar vein to the scratch off maps is this cork globe – I haven’t got this one myself but I saw one while in London and I love the idea of it. It would be a great addition to a desk or travel themed room to remind where you’ve been. They are quite small so not too overwhelming in size and come with different coloured pins to add once you’ve been somewhere.
Toiletry gifts for travellers
When thinking about what to take in a toiletry bag often you might consider mini versions of standard products. What makes a nicer gift though is something like the nice shampoo bars from Lush. They are great because they don’t take up your liquid allowances and can be perfect for if you’re just travelling with a carry on – make sure to get a tin for it too so it doesn’t get messy.
Lush also does toothpaste tabs as well – a perfect stocking filler!
Travel toiletry bag
A perfect travel wash bag might depend on your gift recipients trip style and length but having something specific that you use just for travel is great. If you know they travel with budget airlines and carry on only then a clear toiletry bag like this one is essential!
Essential oil roller ball kit
Essential oil blends are great for those who like to use more natural aids for stress or sleep. We got my daughter these ones from Tisserand last year so she could help sleep when she needed it and have energy for those times too – she really liked them! They are a UK company and you can buy them from Amazon UK here.
A similar product available in the US is this essential oil roller set.
Practical gifts for travellers
Digital luggage scales
Something small enough to fit in your case and small enough to be an extra gift for a travel lover is a set of digital luggage scales. We got our daughter these and it made her feel so much happier that she could weigh her luggage before setting off for the airport so as not to get hit with extra charges. I think they’ll get used a lot! You can see the ones we got here.
Travel jewellery box
I haven’t got this one yet, but it’s on my list! I love this company for the gorgeous jewellery boxes they do – so simple and smart. They have just released a travel range of jewellery boxes like this one (UK) and lots of other nice travel things too. I like that they are completely vegan too.
A similar jewellery box in the US is this one.
Notice I don’t say passport cover here – although they can be nice there’s nothing worse than going through the airport motions and having to constantly take your passport out of its cover. A passport sleeve on the other hand, like this one from Stackers(UK) (I know I am obsessed by them), gets protected and is easily removed using the tab feature. It’s stylish and had pockets for your tickets and perhaps a travel credit card so you don’t need to be using your purse all the time.
A similar one is the US is here.
Something small and inexpensive that shows the recipient that you know they love their travel would be a nice luggage tag. The world is your oyster with all the fantastic designs that are around. Plain and stylish like the ones above or maybe a character tag like Disney?
Gadgets that travellers will love
With all the different gadgets that we can bring on our travels, a way to organise them is essential! This will fit a number of cables, memory cards and even a hard drive all in one space so you won’t forget them. It’s not too big either and sits nicely in a suitcase or some travel on luggage.
My parents bought us a travel power bank like this one and it’s been a life saver for a number of times so it makes a perfect gift. One like this will charge a number of different items and also has enough charge for multiple uses. We also got our kids some smaller size iPhone chargers which are great for day to day use or if you’re limited for space. I’d recommend the RavPower brand of power banks for sure and it feels like it will last a while!
These House of Marley headphones are great for people who don’t like to use the in ear type. Of course they are a little bulkier but I like these as they fold up as well. They are bluetooth so no worry about cables which is great when you’re on a plane or train and the battery lasts a really long time too.
I bought these for my daughter last year because of their eco credentials – it’s difficult with new tech but the company is good and they use sustainable and eco materials. They are so good that my husband soon after bought a set and then I also got one too! We all have different colours so we don’t get mixed up!
Kindle or e-reader
I love my Kindle and have had it for a number of years now – it really helps if books and reading are another passion! Many guidebooks are also available as e-books now so having one can be really useful.
We’ve tested out other makes of e-readers too – my kids both have a Nook but I’ll admit I just love the ease of being able to buy ebooks on Amazon and them arriving seamlessly.
I keep waiting for mine to break so I can upgrade it to a Paperwhite version but it’s still going strong!!
This was the most asked for gift from my husband – a waterproof speaker. He loves to listen to music and knowing it’s safe from splashes no matter where we travel to really appealed to him. The sound quality for the JBL speakers is really good and it’s about the size of a can of fizzy pop so really small too.
We got one for my daughters birthday this year and for us it was quite hard to decide which one to go for as I knew nothing about them – I’d advise reading the reviews and checking the spec before buying. Most need a case for underwater photography too so factor that in.
This is the latest GoPro 8 – but some older models might suit.
External hard drive
For anyone who loves to take photos on their holidays, and especially for people like myself who rely on those photos not being lost for their business, a hard drive is essential and IMO you can never really have too many! Having one that is small and can be taken away with you means you can store a copy of your photos so you are less likely to lose them. This is the one I bought my daughter last year and she loves the bright colour of it (you can get a few different colours) and it’s a good make that is reliable.
Eco friendly gift ideas for travellers
Reusable water bottle or coffee cup
We’ve had many water bottles over the past few years but I have to say that since we started investing in good quality metal bottles I’ve felt like we didn’t need to keep buying them! I’ve just got myself a Chilly’s bottle in a perfect small 260ml size which is just right for when I’m travelling on my own (they do 3 different sizes – the main size is 500 ml and has the most designs available) and the quality of it is excellent, I know it’s going to last a long time AND look good after lots of trips. You can see it on Amazon here.
My US readers might want to check these out which are similar and have good reviews.
For those who like to self cater when travelling, just like to buy food to take back to the hotel room or want to cut down on cutlery from cafes when out and about then some reusable cutlery would be a great idea. Many options come in a cloth roll or a container and they’d make a great gift.
Alternatively, do as we did and use some old mismatched cutlery and some scrap fabric and make one!
For those less handy with a sewing machine this is a product that gets good reviews.
Avoiding plastic bags is something that can be a bit harder when travelling so having something extra that you can use if you happen to buy more than you intended (no? just me?) can be a lifesaver. I always have small reusable shopping bags with me but a backpack like this one would be good especially if you’re walking around a lot.
Gift for hard to buy for travellers!
The perfect idea for anyone who is really hard to buy for. Go for a general store gift certificate like Amazon or maybe buy something travel related – there are some ideas below:
Get Your Guide gift card (travel tours and tickets)
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