I have put together this list of unique gifts for travelers to help you find a special gift to please and surprise the globe trotter in your life.
Knowing you have found the right gift for a special person will give you great satisfaction too, so take a look and good luck!
I have tried to compile a comprehensive list where to find the best travel gifts, whether it’s for a friend, for your child, your partner, or why not for yourself.
I have divided the travel gifts for travel lovers list into 4 sections:
- THE USEFUL TRAVEL GIFT: where you will find the items every traveler should have
- THE UNEXPECTED TRAVEL GIFT: for special gifts, perfect especially if they are a seasoned traveler
- TRAVEL STOCKING FILLERS: here are some small travel gifts that are perfect for an Advent Calendar, or even for Secret Santa among work colleagues
- TRAVEL THEMED GIFT IDEAS: ideas for travel gifts, not take on a trip, but to help plan a new one or to hold the memories of adventures past
Are you in a hurry? At the beginning of each section there is a summary chart giving you an overview of all the products
There are usually countless variations of the same products on the market, but there are some essential elements to consider when looking for the perfect gift for travelers. It should be:
- small to pack
- possibly multi functional
Do not underestimate these characteristics, they are the ones that make the difference between a gift that will be used and one that will languish in the closet.
In the list below I have selected only products that take these characteristics into consideration. Sometimes the products I suggest are not the lowest price on the market, but only when the higher cost adds a quality that makes the object a useful travel companion instead of a burden.
Perfect, now you just have to start looking for the best gifts for travelers.
This post may contain affiliate links. I may receive a commission for purchases made through the links on this page, at no cost to you.
UNIQUE GIFTS FOR TRAVELERS: THE USEFUL TRAVEL GIFT
Here you will find ideas for useful gifts that every traveler should have, family and solo travelers, pleasure and business travelers … no exceptions.
This had to be my first recommendation for useful gifts ideas for travelers
After many years of carefree travelling as a couple, the arrival of our twins 4 years ago has changed our way of preparing suitcases and these packing cubes have revolutionised the process. (Read here the baby travel essentials article if you want some advice about what to pack when travelling with a baby)
Packing cubes have 3 main advantages:
- Organisation: with the cubes of different sizes it is easy to divide and combine different types of clothing: underwear, beach stuff, t-shirts, jumpers, gym clothes … This makes the subsequent search very simple.
- Fit more in: often also called compressing cubes, as the idea is also to fill each cube to the maximum and use the zip to compress and contain the volume. This does raise the concern of creasing, but if you carefully fold and roll your clothing then they will be kept in perfect condition.
- Easily identify your stuff: If you share your luggage with other family members it will be very easy to identify which is which.
In shops and online, there are now many options, and I personally have three different brands. They are essentially the same in principle, the difference lies in the quality which ultimately reflects in the price. The first packing cubes I bought (the one in the picture above) are still perfect after almost 4 years. The fabric and the zip are very resistant, and the upper part has a mesh that facilitates the identification of the contents.
Satisfied with the first purchase, I then bought these much cheaper packing cubes, but the fabric is less resistant and the zips are starting to break. I also bought the latest model from IKEA, the quality is good and they are super cheap, the downside is that the fabric, although resistant, has little structure and there are no parts that let you glimpse the contents.
Another perfect gift for travelers is this foldable blanket. Defined as a picnic blanket, but it is much more than that. Perfect for a picnic but also for many other occasions.
When folded and packed in its little bag, it takes up very little space, measuring only 15cm by 18.5cm, but open it becomes 140x180cm.
Very useful for those who love camping, but also for a stop on the beach or to rest while traveling by bicycle.
It does not have an eye-catching design like some beautiful tartan blankets, but it is waterproof, compact, and very light to take with you.
Being very light it could fly away easily so it comes with 4 pegs to fix it on the ground or in the sand.
If you would prefer a bigger size you can check this other model that stretches to 195x272cm!
Certainly not a fun travel gift, but definitely a much appreciated gift if you use the keywords well, small, light, and resistant. An umbrella must be so practical as not to raise the question of whether to take it with you on a trip or not.
Of course everyone probably already has an umbrella, so how to choose an original one that is truly appreciated? A key problem when traveling is that even if you have little luggage you always have something in your hand, a wet umbrella is the last thing you want to add to the mix.
Two models then emerging from the competition are the Beau Nuage and Yoobure. Both are very compact, but uniquely they have a waterproof case, so as soon as you close the umbrella you can put them directly in your bag without getting everything wet.
Beau Nuage umbrellas are not sold in many countries but you can check the price in Stanfords shop that delivers world wide.
Since I own the Beau Nuage I have stopped losing umbrellas all the time and it is always with me becoming the umbrella I use every day!
Foldable Duffle bag
How many times have you found yourself at the end of a two week trip no longer able to pack your suitcase due to the amount of purchases made?
Here is a special travel gift that solves the problem.
A just in case bag to keep in your suitcase.
This foldable duffle bag is:
- very small when folded, only 277 gr (9.8oz) and 18x18x5 cm (7x7x2 in)
- spacious and robust once opened, with 30l volume; 45x20x35 cm (18x8x14 in)
- with a practical shoulder strap (but not padded) and even a sleeve to carry it over a trolley.
We use it particularly when we travel with low cost airlines. We usually travel only with hand luggage, but if we are not sure that on the return it will be enough we take the foldable duffel bag too. If necessary we check-in the hard trolley with liquids and more delicate things, and then carry the foldable bag as hand luggage with clothes etc.
Despite being very light it is water-resistant and tear-resistant. It is available in different sizes and colours, the 30l is in my opinion the sweet spot as it is considered hand luggage by most airlines (always check, as low cost airlines change their rules frequently)
HOT TIP: If you buy this bag as a gift, don’t forget to add the packing cubes. This foldable bag has no integral structure so packing cubes are particularly useful to organize the contents.
There was a time when I went on a trip and I disconnected from the world completely, I didn’t even take my cell phone with me. I reported news home every couple of days, and connected to internet points occasionally. Well that was 20 years ago … many things have changed including the quantity of electronics we bring with us.
Fortunately, many devices use the same ports, so a cable can be used to charge the phone and maybe the Kindle, but not always.
Laptop, Kindle, phone, toothbrush, headphones, kids tablet, camera, bike light… these are all the cables we usually carry on trips, plus of course spare batteries, memory cards… imagine the potential chaos !!!
You could be overwhelmed by the variety of options on the market but, unless you are aware of specific needs, the key rules are still lightweight and small.
TWOD Electronic Organizer is the smallest of this selection but still offers a lot of little spaces and even a zipped compartment.
BagSmart travel cable organiser is just a little bigger than the previous one, but yet super compact, this is the one we personally use and we find it super practical.
BUBM Travel Cable Bag is bigger, but folds really flat, perfect for a family with many different devices.
UGREEN Travel Case Gadget Bag : this is the more stylish and still really compact, even if a little less flexible as the case is rigid.
Credit card protector
Contactless has revolutionised the payments industry. During the Covid 19 pandemic, an incredible number of shops completely eliminated cash accepting only card and other digital payments. However, in some countries more than others, ingenious thieves have developed systems capable of stealing from you using the contactless facility.
Honestly, it’s not easy, and anyone who is careful about keeping their cards safe and being alert while using them shouldn’t have any issue.
However, when you are traveling, it is easy to be distracted and involuntarily let your guard down. In this case, RFID Blocking devices are the solution.
Integrated into common wallets, they prevent fraudulent card readers from copying your details and stealing your money. Here are 3 different styles to suit everybody.
The Zhoma RFID Blocking – Credit Card Case Holder is perfect for people with many credit and reward cards. It is in genuine leather and has space for at least 12 cards, plus a transparent sleeve at the front for a driving licence. There are many similar models, but it is better to choose the one that have open sleeves instead of plastic sleeves difficult to access.
The FurArt Slim Minimalist Wallet RFID blocking is really thin, but it still has space for 6 cards plus a transparent sleeve for a driving licence. They are so proud of their product that they even offer 45 days money back and 12 months replacement in case of quality issue.
Herschel Men’s Charlie RFID, this is the most basic of the three, but it combines Herschel quality with functionality.
Definitely one of the best gift for travelers
Smartphone Mini Tripod
Unless you or the recipient of your gift are professional photographers, the odds are that most of your travel photos are taken with a smartphone.
The new smartphone models, when used in conjunction with some good accessories, have no problem competing with traditional photography.
Using a tripod definitely helps to achieve excellent results in terms of stability, attention to detail, and composition.
Traditionally, tripods have been bulky and heavy, not the ideal characteristics of gifts for travelers. Now however, there are fantastic small and light tripods that you can easily take anywhere.
The most ingenious for me is the UBeesize mini tripod with wrappable legs, which can also be fixed around a pole or bicycle handlebar. It supports most smartphones and action cameras. The stand rotates 360 and tilts for horizontal or vertical photos. There is also a small Bluetooth remote control which works up to 10m.
UNIQUE GIFTS FOR TRAVELERS: THE UNEXPECTED TRAVEL GIFT
Now let’s move on to some more unexpected gifts. If the recipient of the gift is an avid traveler, it is possible that they already own many of the items I have suggested so far.
Here we have a list of cool gifts for travelers to surprise even those who think they have everything.
|CAMERA LENS KIT FOR SMARTPHONE|
|WINE BOTTLE PROTECTOR|
|KODAK INSTAPRINT CAMERA|
|TRIPPED FOLDABLE BACKPACK|
|TRTL NECK SUPPORT|
|CAR HEADREST MOUNT HOLDER|
Camera lens kit for smartphones
This gift is truly exceptional for everyone, as even those who are fond of traditional photography often take photos with their mobile phones.
Whilst it is true that modern mobile phones are equipped with sophisticated cameras, it is also true that not all of them offer many options or flexibility. Clip on lenses can brilliantly compensate for these small shortcomings.
Most of the models are compatible with different phone brands and models. There are a large variety of clip on lenses on the market including macros, telephotos, wide angle and more.
For a gift, Kingmas lense kit is very practical as it is a set of 3 different lenses; a fisheye, a ‘wide angle’ lens, and a macro lens.
It can be applied to most smartphones and it is super light to bring around. On the market there are many different price point. This is one of the cheapest model available (well below £10!!!), perfect for people that like to take pictures and play with difference settings. Maybe for your photographer friend you could get a higher performance version like the Xenvo pro lens kit!
If this travel gift idea has inspired you, but you prefer to focus on traditional cameras, then have a look at this travel lens guide for the Sony A6000.
Wine bottle protector
Here is the perfect gift for all your foodie friends. It certainly isn’t a captivating gift to look at, but if you have heard them telling stories of ingenious bottle packing on their return from the Tuscan cellars, then don’t worry, they will appreciate it immensely.
These wine bottle protectors are inflatable bags formed by independent air columns that protect the bottles from bumps during the shipment in checked baggage.
When used for the first time, they are flat like a sheet of plastic and do not take up any space at all, subsequently they can be reused but cannot be deflated. However, if you plan to buy bottles of wine to take home at the end of a trip, you must allow for the space in your luggage, so maybe it’s not so bad.
If you prefer a more sleek design then the Wine Angel (or Wine Wings inthe UK) sleeves are the answer. These are reusable wine bags that offer triple protection and they are leek proof.
They have a double ziplock and Velcro seal to keep bag air tight and they can be reused many times. After use they are flat and can be easily stored away.
This gift is definitely at the top of my fun travel gifts list. It is a slightly more expensive gift than the others, but perfect for a special friend or to share with your partner.
It is a reinterpretation of the Polaroid. A lightweight, and compact camera that shoots and prints instantly.
An ideal gift for people who like to have a travel souvenir photo album, but who baulk at the idea of sifting, selecting, collating……..
This type of instant camera is not used to look for the perfect shot (your smartphone will probably do better), but to have an immediate memory.
The quality, considering the simplicity of the product, is excellent. The photos are printed in credit card format on adhesive paper. The KODAK smile is one of the cameras with the most complete feature offer for the price range when compared with other instant cameras. You have the possibility to see the photo on the digital screen and decide later whether to print it or not, you can edit it before printing and there is a self-timer and flash function.
Like other similar cameras it does not need ink but only the special ZINK paper (zero ink) and the photos come out in less than a minute ready to be handled without further waiting.
A gadget not essential for everyone but certainly fun !!!
Airport lounges membership
This is another quite special present. In this list of travel gifts, this is certainly the most expensive, but it is worth considering perhaps for your partner who travels a lot for work or for yourself.
When traveling weekly by plane, it is not unusual to be the victim of delays or long stops at the airport. Even many of those who travel a lot for work do not always travel in business class.
It is therefore often not possible to take refuge in one of the lounges that airlines offer their more valued customers, so the solution is to gift a membership plan from a company like Priority Pass.
The Priority Pass Standard Plus Plan includes the first 10 visits to the more than 1,300 lounges in its network. With the Priority Pass it is not necessary to have a Business class ticket to access a quiet place to relax, work, eat and drink something, and in some cases even have a shower or use of a pod to rest.
…and you want to know something? Gifting membership lounge passes or even a lounge voucher is a great present also for families. Transiting through airports is much more pleasant for the whole family with the use of lounges! We have Priority Pass through our Amex and we use it all the time.
TRIPPED foldable lightweight backpack
This is another of those objects that until you own it you don’t really appreciate its benefits. Your recipient will thank you in due course.
We have already talked about the foldable duffle bag, here instead we see a backpack, but with another function. This backpack is super light so it is perfect for when you spend the whole day moving around.
Being very light and foldable it has no structure, but the shoulder straps are still padded and breathable for greater comfort. It is also water resistant for the occasional splash. Overall it’s a perfect bag to use on most European low cost airlines, it is a bit bigger than Ryanair limits, for example, but if you don’t over-pack you can carry it on board for free and save hundreds in luggage fees!
Despite being very simple and super cheap, it has amazing features, such as backpacks from much more famous and expensive brands. It has two large internal compartments, padded with microfiber top pocket to protect sunglasses and two large pockets for bottles.
I am so excited about it that in our recent quest to minimise luggage, I also tested it as a main hand luggage bag (and with Ryanair I saved £ 30). 35L organised with packing cubes can contain an huge number of things !!!
No, this is not the common travel pillow you usually see for sale at airports, but an ingenious support for the neck, which helps you rest even when you have to spend 12 hours in economy class.
It almost looks like a soft scarf, but inside it hides a special support that can be placed on one side of the neck or under the chin.
When you fall asleep, the head instead of dangling finds a firm and soft support on which to rest.
The shape is a bit strange, but it is very light and the velcro used to close it can be easily used to attach it to hand luggage or backpack.
I only discovered this about one year ago, but now we are inseparable during travel
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Car Headrest Mount Holder
The best gift for travelers who love road trips and have children.
I imagine that many may criticise this suggestion on the basis of limiting screen time, However, while I share the same principle, I know that three or four hours in a car even with stops are very difficult to pass for a child.
I can’t count the times we had to stop driving because the phone slipped from its precarious perch on the armrest or air conditioning vents, and slipped under the seat to an absolutely unreachable position.
This solution is fixed to the headrest of the front seat and extends into the middle (perfect if there is more than one passenger). You can fix a smartphone, a tablet, and even the Nintendo (who says it only helps small children?)
This object will certainly not end up in the design museum, but it is certainly a great invention!
For new parents who love to travel, take a look at this gift guide for baby’s first Xmas present.
UNIQUE GIFTS FOR TRAVELERS: STOCKING FILLERS FOR TRAVELERS
In this category you will find a lot of fun gifts for travelers. They’re perfect if you’re preparing an Advent Calendar for your partner or for a Secret Santa present!
|PORTABLE BATTERY CHARGER|
|CROSSBODY PHONE HOLDER|
|HEAT RESISTANT POUCH|
|PORTABLE CUTTLERY SET (more below)|
|PORTABLE MEDICAL KIT|
Portable Phone charger
Almost everyone now has a portable phone charger, but how many are satisfied with it? Perfect stocking stuffers for travelers but also very useful if you choose the right one.
We have 3 at home, but Luxtude is the one I would never change. What differentiates it from the others is that it is very thin, and the cable for charging the phone is directly integrated into the structure itself. (you have to choose if you want it for iPhone or Android)
It has enough capacity to charge my iPhone more than three times, and the cable is short allowing you to easily hold the phone and the charger in one hand even while talking.
Lately it seems difficult to find, so in case Luxtude isn’t available an excellent alternative is the iWalk power bank. It costs slightly more, but is more powerful and even if just slightly less thin it has the advantage of having two integrated cables, one for iPhone and one for Android!
Phone case: crossbody and waterproof
This may seem more of a fashion item than anything else, but I can assure you this cross-body case is another incredible help when traveling.
If your friends always have their phone in hand, to pay, to show boarding passes, to take pictures … this phone holder is a great help. It is always kept close at hand, like a purse, but it does not occupy your hands!
For the water sports enthusiast there is also the practical waterproof and floating version (make sure you get the floating option, you don’t want to leave your valuable stuff at the bottom of the sea!).
Definitely not as stylish, but essential for the perfect shot when you do SUP (or canoeing, kayaking …) and don’t want to risk damaging your phone.
Heat resistant pouch
For all the hair conscious, here is the solution to pack your straighteners or curling iron that you have just finished using two minutes before leaving and is still hot!
This small neoprene pouch is designed to withstand heat, is elastic enough to adapt to different plate/iron sizes and is super practical!
Organised travel is happy travel could be one of my mantras … in every respect. I get frustrated when I have to rummage through my bag to look for something and, of course, usually find everything except what I’m looking for whilst creating chaos around me.
While travelling, this gets even worse with all the tickets, document receipts, and brochures accumulated during the various stages ending up in the bag … well here is the solution: a bag organiser.
Nothing could be simpler. A small lightweight bag with several compartments to divide and organise everything from cocoa butter to documents. The organiser then sits inside your handbag, and when you want to change bag then just swap the organiser into the next bag!
I can put my hand in the bag, use the other to hold Liam and Santiago, hold my phone between my head and shoulder, and still find what I’m looking for with my eyes closed!
Over time I have had 3, the only difference being in the size. When travelling I usually use larger bags, such as a tote bag, so the inexpensive bag organiser from Amazon does the job perfectly.
For an upgraded present, Etsy sell some lovely handmade bag organisers, almost to beautiful to hide!!!!
Since it became an object for me to use every day, I also bought a small one for smaller handbags. (perfect also for friends with design handbag as you can customise the size!!!!)
This is definitely my best gift for traveler woman!
We talked about original gifts, so how did socks, the Christmas classic, end up on the list? These are not absolutely classic socks, but another excellent gift for travel lovers.
Graduated compression socks are an exceptional travel companion, especially for those traveling on trips where you end sitting still a lot on flights, trains, buses etc.
When movement is limited, the blood flows more slowly towards the heart, causing fatigue or swelling of the legs, not to mention more serious circulation problems that can lead to development of blood clots in the leg. These socks have a higher compression at the ankles which decreases as you go up making them comfortable to wear for long periods.
In reality, even if I have never suffered from swollen legs or clots, they make my legs feel much lighter whether I spend the day sitting working on the computer or I am on my feet all day.
Reusable and portable cutlery set/straw
With this gift ideas for travelers we enter a dangerous territory, susceptible to controversial and challenging opinions. Sustainability is now a word of daily use, but often misinterpreted. I work in a large company that spends millions of pounds on advertising campaigns to raise awareness of living more sustainably without spending more but actually saving money instead.
So I had to think about whether reusable cutlery and straws were a good suggestion and not just an incentive to give something that you can do without, that only generates more rubbish.
They will definitely be a fun travel gift for the right target. Families with small children, for example, often find themselves improvising picnics during a trip to make mealtime easier. They can use disposable cutlery, or simply pack cutlery from home, but that’s not always practical.
Here is a clever gift that makes the difference, cutlery with their own container that can be stored easily. The 2 person set is a great travel gift for couples, but single options are available too. (the Joseph Joseph is also really stylish)
The same goes for the reusable straw, they must be practical to always carry around without messing around. This portable straw packs down super-small and can even be attached to the key ring.
Medical kit pouch
This is a small but very cute pouch for all your adventurous friends. Perfect for those who spend days hiking or exploring away from speedy medical help (1 month cycling in Patagonia anybody?) It is also great for those travelling with small children (who seem to attract cuts and scrapes like magnets!)
It is Waterproof and contains 92 pieces, including bandage, alcohol pad, little scissors, emergency blanket and more. Compact and lightweight, perfect to always have in the suitcase
UNIQUE GIFTS FOR TRAVELERS: TRAVEL THEMED GIFT
Here are the best unique travel gift ideas for when people are at home dreaming about the next trip, reflecting on a previous one, or learning more about the beauty around the world.
|LONDON: THE INFORMATION CAPITAL|
|STICKERS AND SCRATCHING MAPS|
|BOARD GAME: WHO KNOWS WHERE?|
|VINTAGE SUITCASE STYLE STORAGE BOXES|
A Special London Travel Book
This isn’t your classic guide book, but it is a lovely present for whoever wants to learn more about London.
Did you visit London and are curious to discover original facts? This book presents fascinating insights through maps and info-graphics, maybe Londoners would discover a few things too!
World map: wall stickers or scratch off map
Great travel gift for any traveller, to pin or scratch all the countries visited.
I personally prefer (and I have) the sticker version, It is versatile, sleek, and it fits well with a frames composition in our hallway.
Board game: Who knows where?
Who knows where? is a global guessing game where opponents compete to be the first player to travel the world by spotting famous places on the double-sided world map board.
With over 1,000 locations to guess in 5 categories, including capitals, big cities, countries, events, and facts, famous tourist sites, and beautiful images of many iconic landmarks. It’s a great fun way to get to know our world.
Vintage suitcase storage box
This set of three vintage mini suitcases is a cute travel gift. Instead of the classic storage boxes, these suitcases will add a touch of vintage detail and originality to any room.
They are made of rigid cardboard, with external world maps, red interiors and stitching details. Metal handle, fastening, and snap closure.
This is certainly, of all travel theme gifts, the most special.
This little Globe uses solar cell technology to quietly rotate on its own with any indoor ambient light or indirect sunlight, with no batteries or cables needed.
It is really soothing to watch and it makes an amazing decorative piece. MOVA also sell a slightly bigger version and other designs
Unfortunately I don’t have one yet, but it’s on my wish list
I hope this list has inspired you and it helps to make someone smile when opening their gift!
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