22 thoughtful gifts for those who love to travel
For those with a serious case of wanderlust.
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Everyone has that one friend or family member who is always dreaming about their next adventure—the one who enjoys jetting off to a new location whenever they get the chance. This person shares the best stories about the exotic places they’ve seen, the delicious meals they’ve eaten, and the incredible people they’ve met. We all envy this person, yet they are the best company to keep, as they see the beauty in everything, and understand how to live life in the present moment.
While buying your beloved globetrotter a plane ticket is likely unfeasible, here are a number of gifts they will cherish just as much—and be able to use on their next trip. There's something for every type of traveler, from the techie to the fashionista.
1. A chic yet functional weekender tote bag
This popular tote bag is a great gift for those who take weekend trips or purchase basic economy airfare, which only allows for a small-sized bag. It comes in a number of colors—and a lifetime warranty—so these stylish Herschel duffel bags make the perfect gift. Right now, you can save $22 on the classic black bag with leather straps.
2. This top-rated portable charger
For the tech-savvy traveler, a portable charger is a necessity. This RAVPower 26800 maH backup charger is one of our editor’s favorites, as it provides him and his faimly peace of mind when on the go. Taking a long flight or a road trip can be nerve racking when access to outlets are limited—especially if you rely on your phone’s GPS (or Instagram) which can suck battery life pretty quickly.
3. This wanderlust-inspiring watch
I want this watch. Mainly because the little black plane on the face actually flies around the face—because it's the seconds hand. Yes, this is just about the cutest thing you’ve seen all day.
4. This extremely helpful bluetooth tracker
I can be absent-minded, and because of this, I have left important things in airports (R.I.P. to my wallet, kicking it in Rome somewhere) which has caused some major headaches. If only I'd had this bluetooth tracker, I wouldn’t have frantically circled the Rome airport, harassing kind Italian police officers with my problems. The Tile Mate has over 7,000 reviews on Amazon and a 4-star rating, a favorite amongst travelers and airheads alike.
5. A scratch map to mark where you’ve been and where you’re going
I’ve yet to meet a traveler who doesn’t want one of these world map scratch posters to artfully document their travels.
6. A guide on how to be an explorer of the world
I love this interactive journal. Not only does it stimulate your mind with fun prompts, but it pushes you to examine and document your experiences in a unique way, giving you something more detailed to look back on than the average photo album. Plus, this journal makes for a great coffee table book, so you can flip through it daily to keep the creativity flowing.
7. This award-winning carry-on suitcase
After testing 12 popular carry-on suitcases for durability, comfort, and fit, the Samsonite MightLight 2 was a clear winner. Not only does it comply with airline carry-on size restrictions, but the wheels move 360 degrees, which is a major plus for travelers maneuvering around obstacles. This would make a great gift for a serious traveler.
8. Kid-safe headphones for traveling with children
Having to sit still and be (relatively) quiet for long stretches of travel is not easy, but having movies to watch and games to play makes time fly. Rather than letting your kids stick earbuds in their ears, get them a set of over-ear headphones that are comfortable, wireless, and safe for developing ears. Plus, they fold up for east storage. And if you use the coupon code "GIFT25!" you can save 25% on the best kids headphones we've ever tested.
9. A stylish passport holder
Remember when I said I lost my wallet in the Rome airport? Well thank goodness I didn’t lose my passport—the only reason I didn’t is because I keep it separate from my wallet and my purse, in a holder that tucks into the waistband of my pants. Having a passport holder is useful because you can keep boarding passes tucked inside and can easily locate it even in a large bag. Gifting a personalized passport holder is not only thoughtful, but useful as well.
10. A funky fanny pack
There are two types of people in this world: those who can rock fanny packs, and those who can’t. If your traveling buddy is among the former (a rare, but precious bunch) then gifting them a funky fanny pack should be your move. These psychedelic fanny packs have a 5-star customer rating on Amazon, and over 500 reviews. Mom, if you are reading this, please buy me the holographic blue fanny pack for the holidays.
11. This vibrant duffle bag
Yes, we all owned Vera Bradley duffle bags in our glorious youth, but I still wouldn’t write off the whimsical designer—they know how to make a great bag. I’ve used a Vera Bradley tote bag for the past five years, filling it to the brim until I have to forcibly zip it up, and somehow the straps have yet to pop off. I bought my sister this duffle bag a couple of years ago, and she still uses it anytime she takes a weekend trip. It may be too large to use as a carry-on bag on certain flights, but it is a great road-trip getaway bag that I highly suggest. Also, the patterns are too fun to pass up.
12. A sleek pair of wireless headphones
These Beats Solo3 wireless headphones come in striking colors, and they have an incredible battery life that will last through even the longest of journeys. Not having to worry about wires is also a plus when struggling with luggage, shedding layers of clothing for security, and juggling smaller necessities like keys, a wallet, and a passport. These headphones received a strong rating from our testers, who’ve noted that “music, regardless of genre, just sounds fantastic on the Solo3s.” Also, the rose gold pair is just WOW.
13. A hilarious looknig neck pillow
If you are looking to give the traveler in your life a gag gift, why not get one they can actually use?! The creepy arm-like pillow has firm flex to it to support your head, and though it's not yet available, you can track its progress on Kickstarter. The Ostrich pillow, however, is something you can actually get your hands on in time for the holidays.
14. A beautifully designed crumple map
Bring back the map! Although many prefer a GPS, these beautiful city maps are printed on waterproof cloth that is easy to stuff in your pocket (because folding a map is just as difficult as reading one). The maps of cities available on Amazon: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Chicago, London, New York, Paris, San Francisco and Tokyo.
15. This genius carry-on cocktail kit
Traveling can be stressful, but this gift will take the edge off. Not only are these just about the classiest things I’ve ever seen, but they come in great drink combinations as well. Personally, I am having a tough time deciding between the Moscow mule and the Champagne kit.
16. A durable water bottle
One of our editors absolutely swears by this water bottle, reporting that, “this water bottle holds the same one liter as a Nalgene, but unlike the Nalgene that rolled around my center console, this bottle just fits into my cup holder. Plus, the ‘chute’ spout is easy to drink from in the car, whereas the wide mouth of a Nalgene has left me with a soaked shirt too many times.” This is a great gift for those who enjoy outdoor adventures, too.
17. A top-rated pair of earbuds
Earbuds are a necessity on flights, and this pair of earbuds from 1More won our Editor’s Choice pick for the best earbuds under $100. Significantly cheaper than comparable in-ears, the Triple Drivers are compact, have a great fit, and feature a spectacular sound profile that punches way, way above what you'd expect from a pair of in-ears in this price range.
18. A unique and expressive luggage tag
Stuff these into your travel buddy’s stocking as a thoughtful yet useful gift to help them spot their luggage in a sea of black and gray cases.
19. The Fujifilm Instax mini
Don’t be fooled by this camera’s adorable appearance: it takes a mean instant-print photo. For people who love to document experiences in a unconventional way, this camera makes the perfect gift. Besides, it’s nice to display pictures on physical walls sometimes too.
20. A GoPro camera
This is obviously a big ticket gift and requires some splurging, but for the particularly adventurous, jump-out-of-planes traveler in your life, a GoPro is the perfect gift. We recommend the Hero 5, but for a lower cost, you can get the Hero 5 Session, which offers less of the bells and whistles, but great quality all the same.
21. This adorable cork globe
For those who want to literally drop a pin anywhere in the world.
22. This whimsical journal for the curious traveler
When I travel, I document everything and anything that sets my heart ablaze—from new recipes to incredible moments. But this journal is far more detailed than the average lined paper I use to scribble the highlights of my trip. With clever sections and lists to jump off from, this journal is perfect for creative travelers.
Prices are accurate at the time of publication, but may change over time.