15 Great Gift Ideas For Travelers

09.December 2013

Our Journey

Gifts For Travlers

Having trouble finding a gift for the traveler on your list?

Every year my family draws names for Christmas presents. Every year, no matter where we are, I can hear a quiet groan escape from the lips of the person who draws our name. What on earth would make a good present for someone who has sold everything?! Who carries everything they own in a 50L backpack and chooses every item in it with care?

I’m here to help! Here are 15 gift ideas for travelers; each of which hold space in our packs and so would make a great gift for any traveler on your list.

  1. Document Holder. One place to keep passports, tickets, hotel reservations, maps, and notes. We use one after learning the hard way that keeping it all in one convenient place saves the headache of trying to find that boarding pass that we ‘tucked away in a safe place’.
  2. Packing Cubes. Life is much easier on the road if you know where everything is in your bag. Oh sure, you’ll see plenty of ‘stuff it all in there’ packers and you’ll see them suffering as they frantically rustle through their entire bag looking for that one thing they can’t find. We use packing cubes in our packs and couldn’t live without them. I instantly know where something is plus I can fit way more in my pack when using these handy dandy organizing tools. Win!
  3. Plug Adapters. This international plug adapter kit works around the world. Whether your traveller is flying to Europe, Africa, or Australia, their electronics will be safely charged and ready for use.
  4. Laundry Line. We’re not fans of doing laundry in the sink – there’s usually a laundromat or a laundry service nearby – but sometimes it’s unavoidable. This little gem takes up no room in our bags and yet saves the day when we need it. Definitely worth it.
  5. How To Create A Travel Life You Love. This is a great gift for those with a bad case of wanderlust. Caz and Craig write the popular travel blog YTravelBlog; they have created a resource that will help anyone fit travel into their life in a way that syncs with their values, circumstances, and desires.
  6. Luggage and Cable Locks. Our bags spend more time out of our sight than we’d like. Whether in the belly of a plane, or the luggage rack of a bus, we can’t keep our eyes on them all the time. We use combination locks to ensure the zippers on our bags stay closed and cable locks to secure our bags to luggage racks or benches for added security in airports and bus stations. We’ve never had an issue but the peace of mind is worth it.
  7. Carry On Backpack. For those going on a short trip, or wanting to try out the minimalist packing list, a carry on backpack is all that is needed. No waiting at the luggage carousel, no wondering if your bag has gotten lost; everything stays with you!
  8. Luggage Tags. Hands up who owns a black suitcase. [raises hand…] There is nothing like waiting at the luggage carousel waiting for your bags and lunging at every single black suitcase that makes its way down the line. A unique set of luggage tags can save a lot of time and frustration!
  9. Kindle. When we first started travelling we didn’t have a Kindle. We carted books around from place to place – sometimes up to 4 at a time! Now I have a Kindle and I love that I can carry a bazillion books if I want and it won’t weigh any more than one book. I also love that I can access the bookstore from wherever there is an internet connection. No more rooting through foreign bookstores looking for the English books!
  10. Camera. We just bought this Olympus Tough camera ourselves. We have a dSLR camera which I like but, if I’m being honest, it’s often too big and cumbersome to lug around with me all the time. We also have an iPhone which does take great pictures (in my opinion) but we worry about it getting wet, or being dropped, so we don’t take it out as often as I’d like. We needed an ‘in between’ camera; one that could stand some getting wet and would manage a little bumping around while we cycle around Europe in the spring. This one is a great option. Waterproof, light, and small enough to fit in my pocket. Perfect.
  11. Portable Speakers. We love listening to music when hanging around our room (RadioParadise is our absolute go-to favorite for internet radio music); while we can listen to it from our laptop speaker or headphones, a portable speaker makes the sound richer and more like home.
  12. Books. While traditional books might be too heavy to travel with, they are great gifts for those still planning their travels. The Global Bookshelf is a great place to find books to enhance the travel experience. Stories and tales, novels and history books, travelogues and memoirs; travel the world, one book at a time.
  13. Scarf. A scarf is and absolute must on every woman’s packing list (and I would argue for men too!). They keep my neck from freezing cold air conditioning on buses in tropical climates, stretch my somewhat warm climate wardrobe to cooler temperatures when I have to, act as a cover up when entering temples and mosques, and provide sun cover when I’ve spent a wee bit too long in the sun. They take up almost no room and yet I can’t travel without my favourite.
  14. Multi Tool. This really is indispensable for fixing anything that gets broken, opening packaging, getting into wine bottles, cracking beers open…really, all travelers should have one!
  15. Cutlery Set. Whether we’re staying in a hotel, hostel, or apartment we usually like to self cater some of our meals. We carry a cutlery set with us just for this. We can eat yoghurt, slice cheese, slurp soup, or spread peanut butter on picnics wherever we find ourselves.

 Happy Shopping!

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16 Responses to “15 Great Gift Ideas For Travelers”

  1. Carmel Says:

    Packing cubes! Portable speaker!

    These are two of our ESSENTIAL travel items. The packing cubes make the type-A anal organizer side of me so incredibly happy. I just pull out three little cubes and feel like I’ve unpacked without making a mess.

    Portable speaker is also good for those movies/tv shows on the laptop that are just barely too low to hear well. We use our speaker CONSTANTLY. It’s one of the best investments we made. We got the X-mini, which not only produces a great sound for such a small size, but also recharges using the computer, so there’s not a lot of extra cords to haul around. It compacts down to a smaller size, but ours just broke, so that doesn’t work anymore. For about $25, it’s still a great buy.
    Carmel recently posted..WAT TOOK YOU SO LONG

    • Gillian Says:

      I know. The packing cubes make SUCH a difference! I even labeled them; socks/underwear, tshirts/tops, pants/dresses – talk about anal!!

  2. Hogga Says:

    i’d love some portable speakers
    Hogga recently posted..Why Everyone Should Go Eat a Pecker

  3. Corinne Says:

    Such a practical list, and yes, I think a scarf is for both men and women. I still haven’t used packing cubes, but maybe this year someone will read your list…hint, hint…husband…
    Corinne recently posted..A Caravanserai Along the Silk Road

  4. Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) Says:

    I can’t imagine not having packing cubes; I know some people swear by stuff sacks but with packing cubes you save space, keep things organized, and everything doesn’t get all wrinkled. That’s a win win win, in my books!

    Also, I really wish we had gotten some small portable speakers for our lappy before we left. But we’re back in Bangkok for a little bit, so there’s no time like the present to pick up a set!

    And we love have our own cutlery—it’s convenient AND hygenic. Just make sure you pack it in your packed luggage… we just had our forks confiscated when flying out from Kathmandu because they could apparently be used to stab someone in the neck.
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..To Market, To Market: Kota Kinabalu in Photos

  5. Jeff Says:

    This is a really smart, can’t-go-wrong gift list. (Even for those who don’t travel!) My personal favorites I find the most handy is the document holder and multi too.
    Jeff recently posted..The 30 Most Essential Words to Know in a Foreign Language

    • Gillian Says:

      The document holder has saved our asses more than once! Knowing where all those documents are takes the stress out of those airport exchanges!

  6. Lisa Says:

    I gave my Mom a kindle and it’s one of the best gifts I’ve given. Especially since I’ve borrowed it a few times ;) I think I may need to gift myself one.
    Lisa recently posted..Common Health Beliefs You Should Kick to the Curb

  7. Barbara Says:

    What a great list! I can’t image being without any of the things on your list but the multi tool gets my vote for #1 on my packing list! So many useful tasks from such a small tool!!
    Barbara recently posted..Casa Monica St Augustine FL Historic Hotels of America

    • Gillian Says:

      Yes, that thing is worth it’s weight in gold! We’ll have a bike specific one too for our upcoming cycle tour – between the two of them we should be able to MacGiver anything!

  8. Dan Says:

    I’ve been on the road for almost as long as you two and I have never heard of the travel cubes :) Great suggestion! I will have to check them out; I saw your link… cool stuff.

    I also liked the portable speaker suggestion… it’s amazing how many times a simple, good speaker can come in handy during the downtimes on the road.

    Happy Travels!
    Dan recently posted..2013 Map

    • Gillian Says:

      Dan, the travel cubes make SUCH a difference! Only pull out what you need. Brilliant! And the speaker just makes anywhere feel a little more homey.

      • Dan Says:

        Outstanding :) great idea… there are so many “generic” gifts that people think will be good gifts for travelers but really aren’t; these are actually applicable. Great job!
        Dan recently posted..2013 Map