Buying gifts for travellers is hard. I know this thanks to my mom who complains every time my birthday or Christmas rolls around and she tells me how difficult it is to shop for me (Sorry mom!) Really though, I get it; travellers tend to value experiences over things. However, it’s also safe to say that most family members or friends can’t afford to send you on a vacation every time a holiday rolls around. Thankfully, there are still a few things that travellers do want to enhance their travel experience. So, from one travel addict to the friends and family of another, here are my top pics for travel gifts that travellers actually want to receive.
Travel Gifts Around $10
Looking for a little something special for a friend, co-worker, or to pop in the top of someone’s Christmas stocking? Here are some awesome travel gifts for under $20 USD.
Know someone who takes lots of red eye flights or long bus/train rides? Or maybe they stay in hostel dorms? Some soft earplugs are a great idea that will be used and appreciated. Buy some quality ear plugs here.
Silk Sleep Mask
Ideal for plane travel, hostel rooms, or even hotel rooms that don’t have dark black-out curtains. A sleep mask is easy and light to pack and can make all the difference in the world for any traveller trying to get some sleep. Buy this silk sleep mask here.
Fun Luggage Tags
Luggage tags don’t have a long life. At least mine never seem to. Especially if I check my luggage- they get ripped off and battered in no time. So I’m always happy to have a couple of extras on hand. Buy these world map luggage tags here.
I love having a separate passport wallet for travel. It’s much easier to keep my credit card, bank card, and passport all in one place rather than try to juggle between finding my normal wallet and then a passport. These ones are simple but do the job and come in a number of different colours. Buy this passport wallet here.
I’m a writer, so you won’t find me without a journal when I travel. Even if it’s not work-related, a travel journal is a great way to keep track of memories, important information, contact numbers, or even to draw or doodle if you are an artist. This journal is small and lightweight, making it easy to throw in your bag and carry around with you. It also comes in a few different colours. Buy this travel journal here.
Travel Gifts: Electronics
Electronics are pretty essential for any traveller. For everything from keeping in touch with friends and family to taking pictures and video. Sure, it can be expensive but there are also lots of little gadgets that can really simplify a traveller’s experience and ability to make and record their favourite moments. Here are my top picks for electronic travel gifts.
If the traveller on your list uses a lot of tech on the road then a power bank is a must. Fun fact: I usually have two with me. Not only is it handy while you are out travelling for the day, but they are also ideal for nights if there aren’t enough plugs in your room (common in hostels and some hotels). Buy this power bank here.
I’m not a die-hard GoPro addict, but I do love mine. The size and durability make it ideal for travel. GoPros are especially great for any water activities. I use mine for scuba diving, snorkelling, kayaking, canoeing, etc. Check out GoPro options here. Tip: if the GoPro is for water sports, make sure to get the floating handler as well!
Is the traveller you are shopping for a reader? I know I am, so I won’t leave home without some type of e-reader. The new Kindle Paperwhite is the latest favourite among travellers because it is small, light-weight has a glare-free screen, and is now waterproof. Perfect for bringing to the beach! Buy the Kindle Paperwhite here.
Good Quality Headphones
Headphones are essential to travel. You need them on the planes to watch the movies, or use the on long bus or train rides to listen to music. When it comes to travel headphones, you want a quality pair that helps block out the outside noise but are still small and easy to back. I recommend the Etymotic Research MC5 earphones because they do all of the above, plus they come with a variety eartips to you can find the best size to fit your ears. Buy the Etymotic Research MC5 earphones here.
Point and Shoot Camera
Taking photos is a huge part of travel and, honestly, cellphone cameras don’tt always do the job. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to invest in a fancy DSL-R. There are some awesome point and shoot options out there for well under $300 (CAD) that take great photos and are light and easy to carry. Personally, I love the Nikon Coolpix options. Try the Nikon Coolpix B500 here.
Travel Gifts: Gear
Travelling requires a lot of gear that, let’s be honest, isn’t always what travellers want to spend their money on. More often than not our gear is worn, lacking, or maybe even completely inappropriate. What may not seem to be the most exciting to you, will likely put a big smile on our face because it makes our adventures that much easier. Here are my top travel gear recommendations for travel gifts.
Whether your traveller’s trip involves water sports, boating, island hopping, or maybe even just a rainy weather forecast, a dry bag is perfect for storing electronics or some clothes to keep them safe and dry. There are a few different sizes to choose from. Buy a dry bag here.
I don’t consider myself to be a photographer, but my travel tripod is one of my top travel gagets. For photographing things like waterfalls to being able to take a photo of myself (that aren’t a crappy selfie)- it’s come in really handy. This one is easy to fold and under 3.5 pounds, making it perfect for travel. Buy this travel tripod here.
Quick Dry Travel Towel
Bringing your own towel isn’t necessarily if you are staying in a hotel. However, if you are staying in a hostel- you’ll need one. They also come in handy if you plan on heading to a beach during your travels, or work as an extra blanket if you are cold at night or on the plane. These quick-dry ones are ideal for those who are moving around a lot. After all, there’s nothing worse than packing wet things! Buy this quickdry towel here.
Light-weight Day Bag
A small day bag is ideal for everything from city exploring to hiking to hitting the beach. I got this small and inexpensive one for my trip through the South Pacific and I used it daily. Plus, it folds up really tiny when you don’t need it making it ideal for light packing. Get this light-weight day bag here.
Have a photographer with a DSL-R and extra lenses on your list? This camera bag is a great pick. I love these style bags because they don’t look like typical camera bags which makes me feel better about walking around with all my gear. Also, as a shoulder bag, it’s beside you not behind you which makes it easier to keep an eye on. Plus lots of pockets for extra batteries, memory cards etc. Buy this camera bag here (more colour options available).
Eco-Friendly Travel Gifts
Being a responsible and eco-friendly traveller is more important that ever. While it’s not always easy to be green while travelling, there are few simple items that really will make an impact in terms of helping save the oceans and environment. Here are my top picks for eco-friendly travel gifts.
LifeStraw Reusable Water Bottle
Reusable water bottles are always a good idea, but this LifeStraw bottle takes it a step further with its unique filtering system that removes 99.999% of bacteria, allowing travellers to drink questionable water when necessary. it’s durable and easy to bring around. Buy the LifeStraw Water bottle here.
Reef Safe Sunscreen
Did you know that normal sunscreen actually damages and kills coral and marine life? That’s why reef safe sunscreen is so important for any type of water activities. Stream 2 Sea is an amazing brand because they have properly tested their products to make sure they truly are safe. Plus, the packaging is eco-conscious as well. Buy Stream2Sea sunscreen here.
Plastic straws are a huge problem for the environment (have you seen that horrific video of the sea turtle with the straw stuck up it’s nostril?), yet they are used everywhere. You can help cut down on that use by bringing these reusable straws (with cleaning tools and storage containers) wherever you go and using them instead of the plastic ones offered by bars, restaurants, and food vendors. Buy these reusable straws here.
Reusable Shopping Bag
We use resuable bags for groceries and shopping at home, and should use them abroad too. Whether it’s for souvenir shopping, food items, or even bringing your laundry to be washed, having a reusable tote bag with you is an easy way to help cut down on the use of plastic bags. Get this cute elephant reusuable tote bag here.
Toothbrushes are another plastic item that pile up quickly in landfills and on beaches. Help reduce the plastic by choosing bamboo toothbrushes which are biodegradable. Get a box of bamboo toothbrushes here.
Travel Gifts for Women
Personally, I think that women always have a few more needs and considerations when packing and travelling. Looking for the best travel gifts for the adventurous woman on your list? As a female traveller, here are my personal favourite recommendations.
You can also check out my list of top travel accessories for women for some more ideas.
Travel Perfume Bottle
Allow the female traveller on your list to bring her favourite scent with her with these re-fillable travel bottles. The small size makes them carry-on friendly and they are durable enough that they won’t smash and break like the normal travel size bottles. Buy this travel perfume bottle here.
Travel Jewellery Case
Travelling with jewellery can be tricky. Small earring get misplaced and necklace chains get tangled. This small, but useful, travel jewellery case will help solve that issue. But this travel jewellery case here.
Versatile and Stylish Travel Clothing
Looking good while being comfortable is important to women on the road. One of my favourite travel clothing lines is Diane Kroe- which covers both those needs. Her pieces come in numerous sizes flattering for all shapes and all of her pieces are versatile and offer multiple looks. My favourite: the layer jacket (I have it in black and red). Check out Diane Kroe’s products here and use promo code HANNAH10 to save 10% on your order.
Essential Pieces for a Capsule Wardrobe
Another travel clothing line I love is encircled which offers basic, stylish, and ethically made pieces perfect for creating the ideal travel capsule wardrobe. My encircled essentials are the dressy sweatpants (I always wear them on the plane) and the evolve top which has travelled with me for 3+ years now. Check out encircled clothing here.
Anti-theft Travel Purse
Theft isn’t something travellers want to think about, but it’s always good to do what you can to prevent it. This purse is RIFD blocking and made from anti-slash material. It’s lightweight and perfect for all kinds of travel. Buy this anti-theft travel purse here.
Travel Gifts for Men
Just as women have a few needs of their own, so do men. Here are some travel gift ideas for the adventurous man on your list.
A Quality Toiletry Bag
Have a regular travelling man in your life? Then this durable, well designed toilety bag is a great addition to their packing gear. Buy this leather toilety bag here.
Help him stay smooth and clean shaven on the road with this handy travel shaver. This one by Panosonic uses batteries, which are easy to replace, and handier than something you need to charge or require a plug for. Buy this Panosonic travel shaver here.
Pick-Pocket Free Clothing
One of my favourite travel brands for men and women is The Clever Travel Companion which offers pick-pocket-proof clothing. T-shirts, sweatshirts, and even underwear with hidden pockets, perfect for stashing credit cards, cash, or your passport. Check out this pick-pocket free clothing line here.
Just because he’s a traveller doesn’t mean he needs to smell like one. This solid cologne comes in several different manly scents and is easy to throw in a bag to use on a daily occasion or just for a night out. This product is cruelty-free and made from natural, organic products. Buy this solid cologne here.
Swiss Army Knife
Swiss army knives can always come in handy, especially if the man you are shopping for is an outdoorsman. This swiss army knife has several handy extensions. Just make sure he doesn’t bring it in his carry-on! Buy this Swiss Army Knife here.
Travel Gifts: Experiences
What do you get the traveller who has it all already? How about an epic experience for their next trip? I’m not saying you need to gift an entire vacation (but if that’s your style, let’s be friends?), but you can easily add to an existing trip or vacation by choosing one of these types of experiences as travel gifts.
A Night at a Hotel
Many travellers are on a budget and stay in low-cost hotels or even hostels to help cut costs. Treat your traveller to a night at a nice night hotel. If you feel inclined, you can even add some extra credit on the account for a meal or a spa day. I like to recommend using booking.com because they have some great deals and often have free cancellation if there is an issue and it needs to be cancelled.
A Day Trip or a Tour
Another option is to get them tickets for a day trip or a tour. Whether it’s a walking tour, cooking class, show, or even tickets to a museum. I love using Get Your Guide for this service as they use local companies in each city. I’ve used them many times and have always been very happy with the experience.