Buying gifts for someone who loves to travel can be difficult. Sometimes people who love to travel value experiences over things. However, they will still need some things for their next trip! That’s where these travel gift ideas come in.
Everything on this list is something we own, use and love. What makes this list different from others out there? Most of it was not gifted to us – we bought it ourselves and used it over our last 8 years of traveling together. Some of it was gifted to us by family for Christmas gifts. If it was given to us by the company, it is noted so that you know – nothing was given to us to write about on the blog.
The gifts on this list are in no particular order. Instead, they are separated into categories: travel gear, practical travel gifts, fun travel gift ideas, and photography gifts for someone going traveling.
***Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Purchasing through these links earns us a commission at no extra charge to you. We only recommend things we use and love, and all opinions are our own.
Table of Contents
TRAVEL GEAR THAT MAKES FOR GREAT TRAVEL GIFT IDEAS
These gifts make packing easier. Whether it is a new piece of luggage (one of our more expensive travel gift ideas) or something to keep your packing organized, these are the items we use when we travel.
#1: EAGLE CREEK LUGGAGE & BACKPACKS ($143 – $299)
One of the best ways to pack less? Get a backpack. When you have to carry all the gear on your back, you learn to pack lighter quickly. For many years we carried our faithful North Face backpacks. We loved them, but they were not easy to get into – you had to unpack everything to get to what you needed.
This last year, we upgraded and updated our backpacks to Eagle Creek backpacks. We always choose luggage with a lifetime warranty, and Eagle Creek has one. We love the look of our new backpacks, and I love that mine has wheels!
***Eagle Creek gifted us with this luggage but did not ask us to include them on this list or to include them on our blog at all. We genuinely love and use this luggage for our trips.
The backpack I use is the Gear Warrior Convertible Carry-On. It is actually two pieces of luggage that clip together easily. The main piece is a 37L rolling carry-on that converts to a backpack easily. It also comes with an 18L backpack that is perfect for carrying my camera gear. It clips on to the main bag or can be carried separately. I use the smaller backpack around town at home too.
After carrying a backpack that was too heavy in middle school, I ended up with scoliosis. While I typically pack in 20-25 pounds (9 – 11 kg) for a trip, adding my smaller backpack with my camera gear means the weight usually doubles. What I love about this backpack is that it is still a backpack, but it also has wheels. When we travel in areas that make it easy to wheel it around or in airports, I do not have to wear it on my back. However, if we are somewhere without smooth walkways or with lots of stairs, I can still throw it on like a backpack.
Another great thing about it? It is classified as a carry on. I am one of those people who worries about my stuff being stolen, even on an airplane (click here for the best travel safety tips from a cop, aka my husband). I like to keep my backpack under the seat in front of me where I can see and feel it the whole flight (or train ride or bus ride). Because the small backpack detaches, I keep my valuables in it and put it under the seat. The main bag can go up in the compartment or luggage hold without me needing it during the flight.
My husband opted for the Global Companion 65L, and we both love this bag. It also comes in a 40L if you prefer a smaller bag. In fact, I plan to get the 40L at some point to use as a second option because I love his bag so much.
While his old bag was also a 65L backpack, this one seems to have so much more room. The inside is laid out more like a traditional suitcase with two sides and zippered compartments to keep them separate. There are several smaller compartments too. For shorter trips like weekend getaways, we use this bag for both of us. Even for long trips, he tends to end up with extra space in this one. Don’t worry – I sometimes help fill up that space by throwing in my shoes.
#2: EAGLE CREEK PACKING CUBES ($32 – $39)
We have used packing cubes since we first bought backpacks to travel in 2010. They are amazing and make packing so much easier. They keep your backpack or suitcase organized too. When you get to a hotel, you are already organized and they make it easy to unpack.
I typically use 4 packing cubes. When I pack, I use one large cube for most of my dresses, tops, pants, and shorts. I use a medium size one for my workout type clothing and/or for dresses if I keep them separate that trip. In addition, I use two smaller ones – one for socks and one for underwear/bras. It makes it super easy to find what I need while we are on the road.
For years we used eBags packing cubes. Then I received an Eagle Creek packing cube for Christmas that also compresses. I fell in love. Now we only use Eagle Creek packing cubes. We find them to be much thinner than the eBags packing cubes and easier to pack.
We each use the Pack-It Specter Tech Cube Sets that comes with a small, medium, and large cube. You may be surprised how much you can cram into the large one especially. It’s okay to have space left over!
I also use and love the Pack-It Specter Tech Compression Cube Set which comes with a small and medium cube. These are different because they compress down. Once you have them packed, zip it shut. Then zip the second zipper around to compress it down. This makes it easier to fit everything into a smaller backpack or carry-on. I highly recommend these, especially if you struggle with not having enough space! These are also available on Amazon.
***Some of our Eagle Creek packing cubes were gifted to us with the backpacks. One was given to us by family which is how we found them and fell in love with them.
The best thing about Burton bags and accessory kits is that they have a lifetime warranty. I’ve used my Burton Low Maintenance Kit for the last three years, and it is still in perfect shape. I keep my makeup in the top compartment even at home. When we travel, I throw my other toiletries in with my makeup or in the bottom pouch (usually liquids), and I’m ready to go.
My husband uses the same kit with a different pattern for his toiletries when we travel as well. He found these on Black Friday years ago at the Burton Outlet in Orlando. We bought them and have used them ever since.
We love them because they are small enough to fit in our backpacks and soft sided making it easier to squeeze them into tight spaces. They hold up well and are durable. If you like more of an organization system to your toiletry kit, they have other options as well.
Just like the rest of their bags, Burton’s laptop and tablet cases come with a lifetime warranty. I started using their tablet case for my iPad when I first got it in 2011. Since then, I trust their laptop cases and tablet cases with my electronics. They typically have lots of fun patterns to pick from as well as more understated looks.
PRACTICAL GIFTS FOR TRAVELERS
While the first section focused on luggage and packing gear, this section focuses on the things we take that make travel easier or protect our gear. These are practical travel gift ideas that every traveler can use and should have.
#5: INTERNATIONAL POWER ADAPTER ($11+)
We do not leave for a trip overseas without our international power adapters. We currently use this power adapter that comes with 4 USB ports and plugs that cover pretty much every country. I use a blue one, and my husband uses a green one when we travel. The nice thing is that the USB ports give me a chance to charge my phone and my camera at the same time (or my laptop). Or I can charge my phone while straightening my hair without having to pick one or the other.
Before we got our colorful adapters, we used an adapter very similar to this one. We originally upgraded to the colorful ones because the white ones we have do not have USB ports. Now that they do have the USB ports as well, these are a cheaper option for an international adapter. We still carry one or two of these adapters with us when we travel as extras.
#6: TSA APPROVED TRAVEL LOCKS ($14.95 FOR 2)
Another thing we take with us everywhere, even within the US, is a few travel locks. We use locks with a four digit code to unlock them like these. We use TSA-approved travel locks even though we don’t lock our backpacks when we check them.
When we travel, we take about four of them with us. While we don’t usually lock our big backpacks, we do lock our small backpacks with our valuables when we are in the airport or carrying them around. My husband uses one to lock the big compartment on his backpack when we walk around or even hike. He keeps our valuables there, and you can see why in he recommends this as a cop in his travel safety tips post.
You can find much cheaper portable phone chargers, but this is the one I have for hurricane power outages in Florida. After looking into a good portable phone charger last hurricane season, this one seemed like the best fit for what I needed. Because I can charge my phone multiple times, it is perfect for days we are on the go and may need to charge both of our phones. With this charger, we can actually both charge our phones at the same time.
If you don’t need this heavy duty of a charger (it can charge an iPhone XR more than 4 times), they do have smaller sizes of chargers. For example, the next size down still can charge an iPhone two full times.
We love our travel towels! These light-weight microfiber towels dry quickly and are easy to pack. We take two of the extra large towels on every trip. They are large enough to work as a beach towel or a towel for a shower but take up very little space in our bags. We also have the small size and take them on trips to use as a hand towel. We may not always need them on trips, but it works out well when we stop by a beach or need to dry off after getting caught in a downpour.
Amazon also sells a 3-pack of towels with these sizes and a medium sized towel. We have not used this brand as we bought ours at REI, but they look to be very similar.
Speaking of getting caught in a downpour, we opt to carry a lightweight rain jacket on our trips instead of ponchos or umbrellas. We both have hiking pants that are waterproof that we can wear if needed. My favorite lightweight jackets fold up into one of the pockets so that they are easy to carry.
I use a North Face jacket that is both waterproof and folds up into the pocket. I carry it with me when we travel, but I also carry it with me at home. It’s perfect to throw in a bag and use if a restaurant is cold or if a sudden downpour happens (which is often in Florida!). Columbia makes a similar jacket as well.
FUN GIFTS FOR TRAVELERS
Now for the fun stuff! If they already have the practical items, it’s time to get some fun travel-related gifts for the traveler in your life.
#10: TRAVEL RELATED JEWELRY
I don’t wear much jewelry, but I received a Teton mountain ring from Jackson Hole Jewelry Co., and I wear it every day, 24 hours a day. It has an outline of the mountains and is simple but delicate. I love it and wear it everywhere. It comes in sterling silver, white gold, yellow gold, or rose gold. You can even buy it in different colors to stack them or buy any of their other Teton rings to stack with this simple design.
If you’re looking for a cheaper option for travel jewelry, I also have and love this globe necklace. At $10.50, it makes it hard to pass up. For someone who rarely wears jewelry and often forgets to accessorize, this necklace is perfect because I can wear it with just about any outfit to dress it up.
#11: TRAVEL JOURNAL ($35)
I love my travel journal from Wandrd. I found out about it when they were doing their Kickstarter campaign and bought a few of them. It has space to plan out 12 trips of varying lengths with checklists, maps, and space to plan out your entire itinerary and keep notes as you go. It also comes in yellow, and this link currently shows it for $25.
#12: TRAVEL-RELATED GIFT CARD
Gift cards are always a good gift to get for a traveler, especially if you know which hotel brand or airline they like or often use. Even if you don’t know of a brand, there are gift cards to sites like Booking.com (only available in stores) that allow them to book at a wide range of accommodations.
#13: LOCAL EXPERIENCE
Sometimes people who value travel also value experiences over things. Check sites like Groupon or Living Social to see if there is a local experience your friend or loved one may enjoy for the holidays. You can even book full vacations or hotels through Groupon Getaways and Living Social Escapes. To see our experiences with traveling through these sites, click here.
PHOTOGRAPHY GIFTS FOR TRAVEL LOVERS
As someone who has always loved taking pictures when we travel, even before social media and this blog, photography gear is always a great gift. It does not have to be expensive gifts like a new camera or a new lens. There are plenty of other things to buy someone who loves to travel and take pictures.
#14: EXTRA CAMERA BATTERY OR CHARGER
I always carry at least two camera batteries with me, but having an additional battery is never a bad thing. This is especially true when you travel to cold destinations where batteries tend to die faster. You never know when one might die or get left behind. I only carry one charger with me, but it also is not a bad idea to carry a second charger for your batteries. It also makes it easier to charge both at once overnight.
Make sure you know which camera the person uses before buying a battery or charger for them though! I usually buy my chargers and batteries through Amazon, but I did have to stop in a camera store in Barcelona to buy an extra battery once. It was not cheap! That’s why I now carry an extra with me at all times.
#15: EXTRA SD CARDS
Now that I take RAW photos, I really go through some SD cards, especially if they are a smaller size. My aunt used to give me an SD card every year for Christmas, and it was nice to have extras on hand. You don’t want to run out of space while traveling and have to either delete some photos or take time to find and purchase an SD card on your vacation.
I recommend the SanDisk Extreme PRO and use the 256GB card. I carry a few of these with us on every trip we take. This card writes pictures quickly so it can keep up with my camera as it takes bursts of photos.
Because I need to back up my photos, I tend to keep them on the SD card until we get home and also back them up to an external hard drive. I love my LaCie Rugged Mini 4TB hard drive and have several of them. It comes in several sizes if you need a bigger or smaller hard drive.
I switched to the LaCie Rugged after dropping my hard drive in Lisbon and losing all the photos on it. Yes, I cried. I asked several travel photographers which one they used, and they all suggested this one. While it still shouldn’t be thrown around, it is more likely to survive an accidental drop.
#17: TRAVEL TRIPOD
You see something you want a picture in front of, so you wait patiently for someone to take a picture of you. When you find someone, they happily take a few photos of you. Then you look at them. They aren’t great. Maybe they missed the entire background or maybe you blinked or maybe they cropped you or got full-body when you only wanted waist and up. We have all been there.
We carry a tripod with us when we travel now to make it easier to get pictures of the two of us together. My camera links to my phone through its own wireless connection so that I can use my phone as a remote.
We’ve used a few tripods, but our favorite one is the Davis & Sanford Traverse TR553. It is lightweight and compact making it easy to throw it in the backpack and take off for a day of exploring. Thankfully, it doesn’t add too much weight to the backpack either. It is a little shorter than our other tripods, but because it is easier to carry, we take it with us.
If you are looking for a taller one (or a cheaper one), try this one from Amazon. We have it and use it for shorter trips or when we don’t have to carry it everywhere (road trips!).
People who enjoy traveling typically enjoy gifts that make travel easier or that make travel more fun or that show off their love to travel. With the gifts on this list, you can’t go wrong!
Looking for gift ideas for a blogger? Check out this list of the 9 best blogging tools to grow a blog.
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