Whether it’s for the holiday season or for a special occasion such as a birthday, these are simply awesome gifts for travel lovers in your life that suit all budgets.
A lot has changed in the travel space this past year but that doesn’t mean the wanderlust has fizzled away for the intrepid globetrotter (which could be you who’s reading this).
Read more about my favourite gear
- Why the Keen Newport H2’s are the best travel sandals
- Review of Rainbow flip flops
- Packing lists
- Best credit cards for Canadians
How can you save money on your next trip?
- For the best prices on accommodations and the most choices, Booking.com has been my go-to choice especially once you reach Genius tier and you can find additional 10-15% off places to stay.
Here's what we're covering:
- Gifts for Travel Lovers Buying Guide in 2020
- Essential Travel Gifts Under $100
- Gift Ideas for Travellers Under $25
- Cheap Gifts for Travel Lovers Under $15
- Unique travel gifts for men
- Travel gifts women will love
- Luxury travel gifts if you’re looking to go all out
- Gifts for travellers that can’t travel right now
- Best Gifts for the travel photographer
- Useful gifts for those that love outdoor adventure
- Frequently Asked Questions
Gifts for Travel Lovers Buying Guide in 2020
I’ve been blogging for almost 9 years now and what goes in mine and my wife’s backpack has changed in some ways but has also stayed the same.
As a serial traveller, I’m always carefully analyzing what makes the cut for trips whether it’s travel gadgets, clothing, backpacks, and comfort items.
I’ve shared my travel toolbox in the past but here is my list of the best gift ideas for travellers that’ll surely impress. They’re practical, useful, and thoughtful.
What I’ve done is categorize this list into different categories and budgets to help you navigate. Enjoy!
Essential Travel Gifts Under $100
1: Eagle Creek Packing Cubes
I’ve owned these pretty much since day 1 of Going Awesome Places and a must-have for all travellers.
As a travel minimalist or OCD about staying organized, this is an amazing way to get into the habit of rolling your clothes and keep them nice and compact. The bags themselves are super durable and weight next to nothing.
You can see that I include this in almost all of my packing lists including my recent one to French Polynesia.
2: Anker PowerCore Power Bank
This is the Anker Powercore II 10000 mAh that has fast charge. You already know how useful these things can be whether you’re travelling or not.
For me, this has been my go-to power bank because of a couple of things. First, the footprint of this is very small is one few that perfectly fits the Peak Design Tech Pouch. Secondly, 10,000 mAh is an important specification because some airports have started limiting the maximum amount to 10,000 mAh (e.g. China).
3: Victorinox Travel Organizer
This is a super handy organizer that I use to hold all of my travel-specific cards, passport, boarding pass, cash, booking confirmation printouts, coins, and a pen. Another added benefit you get from this is that it provides RFID protection.
Victorinox has made a rugged case that belongs in any backpack as part of your carry-on kit. This is especially helpful at the airport or checking into hotels so you don’t need to rummage through your bag to find things. Pull this out and be confident that you’ll have everything you need inside.
4: Peak Design Tech Pouch
This is perhaps one of my favourite things in my travel backpack. We all have to bring more and more technology do-hickeys, widgets, and cables. The Tech Pouch keeps it all together.
I have a YouTube review of the Tech Pouch but what you need to know is that it’s the perfect place for your power blocks (laptop and phone), power bank, cables, earbuds, memory cards, business cards, pens, SIM cards, and dongles.
5: Eagle Creek Sac Set
These will look familiar as they’re by Eagle Creek but beyond matching, they’re an incredibly useful way to just organize different gear together.
Using this either in your backpack or suitcase, this allows you to know instantly what’s inside when you pull it out. I personally use this to put all my charging electronics together. I use another to throw in all my socks.
There are a ton of ways to use this and any travel lover would find a place for this in their kit.
6: Fjallraven Hip Pack
Fanny packs are back in style and there’s no slicker one than this one by Fjallraven. This hip pack comes in 3 sizes but the best for use as a companion to a backpack or as a day pack is the Large size.
Not only is this a fashion statement but a waterproof, versatile, and spacious 4 liters of space to stash your things while on the go exploring the city or on hiking trails.
7: Outdoor Research Radar Pocket Cap
This was a bit of an accidental discovery for me but pretty game changing because hats are by design, unbendable so you have to find space to cram it into your backpack or loop it off of something. With this, I can literally fold it and stash it in my pocket if I need to.
This Outdoor Research cap is unisex, provides 50+ UPF sun protection, is water resistant, and quick-drying, making this the ultimate travel hat.
8: Samsonite Omni Carry-On Luggage
I couldn’t go through this whole list and not throw in one piece of carry-on luggage. Samsonite makes some of the best suitcases on the market and one of their latest iterations is a winner.
Built to last, functional, and backed by a 10 year warranty, you can’t go wrong with this as a gift for any traveller. I love that this has a built in TSA-compatible lock, has 4 multi-directional spinner wheels, and comes with a bunch of colors.
Gift Ideas for Travellers Under $25
9: Original Buff Headwear
If you follow our Instagram account or see any of my photos when I travel, you’ll see that I usually have this thing around my wrist, neck, or head. It’s one of my must-have travel items that I pack for every trip.
I have a full review of Buff Headwear but the skinny on this is that it’s a thoughtfully versatile piece of clothing that I use to keep my neck warm or protected from the sun, as a head covering to double as a hat, or to wipe sweat off.
10: Smartwool Hiking Crew Socks
I’ve always found socks to be a really thoughtful kind of gift whether it’s for a traveller or not because of just how useful and impactful it is on daily life.
These hiking socks by Smartwool are the crew style that are made out of 66% merino wool which makes it warm, cushioned, breathable, and built for performance whether you’re going hardcore trekking or need a warm pair for home.
11: Victorinox Swiss Army with Nail Clippers
Gifting nail clippers is a bit weird but in a Swiss Army knife, now that’s not weird at all!
This is a useful multitasking survival tool to have and much smaller than its bigger brothers. For flying, you’ll just need to remember to put this in the check-in luggage.
12: Croakies Arc Sunglasses Strap
Not quite the fashion statement but I’ve sworn by Croakies for a long time.
Hear me out. When you’re travelling with quality sunglasses like Maui Jims, the worst is when you have it hanging off your shirt or on your head and you forget and they accidentally fall out.
This completely eliminates that problem and is especially important for photographers because you just can’t shoot with sunglasses on and this allows me to pop my sunglasses on fast.
13: Travel Adapter Power Strip
Normally, I’d recommend the Belkin 3-outlet surge protector but this is a sweet universal power strip that’ll make sure you can charge all the things when you’re travelling.
Any seasoned traveller will tell you that the worst thing about any hotel, hostel or Airbnb is the lack of plugs. One of the first things I do when I unpack is hunt for all of the outlets and start unplugging all the things I won’t use like the kettle and maybe even the TV. With this, you just need one and you’re good to go.
14: Personalized Travel Notebook
I simply adore the simple aesthetic of these notebooks that are fully personalized. Drop in your family or friend’s favourite quote, add their initials, and get them started on their journaling adventure.
One thing to note is that this ships from the UK and is in the A5 size which is slightly narrower and taller.
15: Custom Engraved Acrylic Luggage Tags
For a unique gift for travel lovers, consider these engraved luggage tags on acrylic plexiglass with a 3mm genuine leather cord.
The design is minimal and discrete and you’re able to work with them to have something custom engraved. You also have the choice of 5 different materials.
16: Customized leather passport cover
Etsy is the best place to find custom leather passport covers like this one. The workmanship is superb and the service you get is some of the best I’ve ever experienced.
With 14 different colors of leather and various embossing styles, this will no doubt evoke wanderlust vibes to anyone you gift this to.
17: trtl Pillow
Everyone has their preferences for neck pillows for when they travel but for something radically different, you should definitely check out trtl Pillow.
The design includes a super soft fleece that wraps around a shoulder-supported frame that is ergonomically correct for the plane or bus.
Cheap Gifts for Travel Lovers Under $15
18: Super International Power Adapter
I know this thing looks like is overkill but there’s a lot to like about this power adapter. Not only does it work around the world but it does so both ways on the male and female side of things. In addition, what I love the most is that it gives you 4 USB outlets.
This is that all-inclusive power adapter that also acts as a multi USB port hub.
19: Microfibre Travel Towel
Every traveller needs one of these lightweight, portable, and compact towels. From hostels to hotels or the gym, this is another one of those super useful gifts for travellers if they don’t own one already.
This one comes in a number of colors and sizes. I recommend that you go with a small or medium size because any larger means added bulk and weight when you’re on-to-go.
20: Portable Luggage Scale
Useful tool to have at home or even when travelling when you need to know the weight of your carry-on and check-in suitcase before you head to the airport.
The worst is when you arrive at the airport and realize you’re over the weight limit and embarrassingly need to open everything up to shift things around. Don’t allow your friend to be that guy or gal!
21: Travel Money Belt
Love them or hate them, money belts are essential when travelling in certain parts of the world where you need to make sure you keep your essential documents like the passport safe.
Personally, my money belt saved me in one occasion in France when I had my backpack stolen in Paris. Thankfully, I had my money belt on with my passport inside so the blow of the loss wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been.
This isn’t a gift you often think about giving but for travellers, this is one of those things that you always want to have a few of to make sure the immune system is bolstered or if you’re feeling the onset of a sore throat.
Emergen-C comes in small dry packets and can be mixed with hot or cold water.
Unique travel gifts for men
23: Sea to Summit Travelling Light Hanging Toiletry Bag
Toiletry bags or dopp kits are a personal thing as you can imagine but as someone that has tested many over the years, I know a thing or two about them.
If you’re looking to pick up a gift for a traveller that likes to keep things light and minimal, the Sea-to-Summit version is the best I’ve used for how low profile it is, adequate compartments, useful hook, durable Cordura fabric, and is ultra-light.
24: ExOfficio Give-N-Go Boxer Briefs
How close are you with your travel lover? This’ll certainly get you a few chuckles but once they start using it, they’ll realize how amazing of a gift this is.
I swear by these ExOfficio boxer briefs and it’s the only ones I travel with because of how easy they are to wash, how quick they are to dry, and how comfortable they are.
25: Actual money belt
Instead of the traditional money belt, this is an actual belt with a hidden money pocket. It’s perfect for emergency cash.
This won’t hold your passport but will fit plenty of bills. You will need to tri-fold cash vertically. You can also fit keys, USB keys, and photocopies of important documents such as your passport.
26: Travel pins
If you didn’t know, Going Awesome Places has its own official store!
In the store you’ll find a collection of travel-inspired pins that’s perfect for any travel lover.
Travel gifts women will love
27: Peak Design Everyday Totepack
This is one of the newer additions to Peak Design’s Everyday line of backpacks. This is a clean look bag that also serves as a tote bag.
Coming in black or bone color, this is the perfect on-the-go everyday and photo carry with side access, plenty of padding, and integrated straps.
28: Infinity Scarf with Hidden Pockets
This is a trendy scarf that comes in 16 different colours and at a reasonable price. What makes this great for women and also men is that there are 2 zippered pockets built in to stow things like smartphones, passport, cards, and keys.
The fabric is eco-friendly, strong, durable, and comfortable with its blend of bamboo, acrylic, and polyester.
29: Drop Dead Gorgeous Dry Shampoo
This is an all natural and vegan dry shampoo powder by Handmade Heroes. Dry shampoo is a fantastic addition to any toiletry set because it’s one less liquid you need to pass through security with.
To use dry shampoo, all you have to do is blend it in by massaging the powder into the scalp. On top of being a quick liquid-free shampoo, it also adds volume. Note that there is one for medium to dark hair and another for light to medium hair.
30: Travel Jewelry Foldable Case
This a much better way to organize jewelry when travelling than a box because this folds flat and takes up less space.
The mini size in black or soft pink make excellent gifts with its numerous zippered pockets, straps, and earrings panel. Beyond travel, this is a great add-on for business trips and night outs.
Luxury travel gifts if you’re looking to go all out
31: Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L
This is currently my primary backpack for travel and while it doesn’t come cheap especially when you factor in the camera cube you’d need, it does a brilliant job at carrying a ton of camera gear, laptop and everything else you need on the road.
A full review of the Travel Backpack and my field test shows how it can be used.
32: Travelzoo Travel Vouchers
While travel has come to a screeching halt, the flip side has been that hotels, resorts, and tour companies have been offering deep discounts. The best place this has been consolidated has been on Travelzoo.
Travelzoo is essentially selling vouchers to places like the Maldives for really cheap and the best part about it is that they’re fully refundable. Make sure you read our latest piece on how Travelzoo works.
33: Victorinox VX Touring 2-in-1
This is another travel bag that I’ve fallen in love with but is a pretty incognito piece of luggage that was released by Victorinox not too long ago.
The VX Touring is a 2-in-1 where you it has backpack straps so you can carry it on your back but it can also act as a carry-on suitcase.
Gifts for travellers that can’t travel right now
34: Dr. Bronner’s Organic Hand Sanitizer
This usually makes a great hand sanitizer for when you’re travelling but in 2020 and 2021, this becomes even more important to carry around with you, in the car, and at home.
For those that aren’t familiar with Dr. Bronner’s, they make some amazing organic and vegan products. The lavender scent is also quite gentle and pleasant.
35: World Maps with Pins
Speaking from experience, travel enthusiasts like to keep track of everywhere they’ve been or at least want to be able to see the world to be able to figure out where to go next.
In our article on the best world map with pins, you’ll find 7 different varieties in different styles that would make epic gifts.
36: Kammok Swiftlet
With so much time spent at home now, the key is to find new ways to relax and leverage things that you might already have. Kammok’s Swiftlet helps you do exactly that.
Swiftlet is a portable hammock stand that is currently the lightest in the market. You can set it up outdoors but you can also put it on our deck, balcony, or even inside the house.
37: Custom City Map Print
Continuing the “at home” theme, these beautiful prints of any city in the world are perfect pieces of art.
NordicCollection is an Etsy store that allows you to customize the size, location, and printed on fine art paper. All maps are made to order. Pair this print with a black frame and hang it in any part of the house.
38: Travel Airport Stickers
Stickers are a great way of reminiscing old travels and wanderlusting future trips. You can stick these vintage airport code luggage tags on the fridge, journal, laptop, scrapbook, photo albums, real luggage, and decorative ones.
This is a pack of 46 stickers with 23 unique airport codes that are approximately 3.5cm x 3 cm. They’re made in Canada and amazing quality.
39: Rosetta Stone
The gift of language may be the best of all. For those that can’t travel, learning a new language is one of the best ways to prepare for a future trip.
Through Rosetta Stone’s system of learning a new language from the ground up by focusing on practical uses, pick up the basics in no time. The best package to purchase as a gift is a 1 year membership.
Best Gifts for the travel photographer
40: Peak Design Capture
I always get comments and stares when I travel with my camera clinging to my backpack strap. Peak Design’s Capture clip is an indispensable tool for all photographers because it allows you to quickly mount the camera on your body securely without having to stuff it back into your backpack.
Capture is what allows you to have your camera as accessible as possible so you never miss a moment when you’re travelling.
41: Fujifilm Instax Mini 90
When it comes to gifts for travel lovers, retro is in and the Fujifilm Instax 90 is a fun little camera for any photographer. It’s great for when you travel but it’s also great for when you’re at home as well.
Over the years, I’ve made it a habit to bring this along with me as an alternative way to create collectable memories.
42: Peak Design Everyday Sling
For day trips, road trips whether local or internationally, having a good day bag is important but the question always is how do you balance the day bag with your larger backpack. Instead of having two backpacks, I’ve learned that travelling with a smaller sling that can be packed inside a larger backpack is the key. That’s where the Everyday Sling comes in.
This is Peak Design’s newest 6L sling bag that can carry an impressive amount of camera gear, iPad, documents, and water bottle. Whether you’re using this for big trips or small, this is the perfect photographer’s sling.
If you’re thinking about finding a gift for a photographer that’s just starting off, they may not have this handy accessory that everyone needs – a Lenspen!
This 3 Lenspen set is what you need to clean your lens, viewfinder and filters from dust and dirt.
This may seem like a bit of an unusual gift but to a traveller and photographer, this is extremely useful. In digital, photos take up more and more hard drive space and thought of losing these files in a hard drive failure becomes more frightening.
Backblaze is an off-site backup strategy which uploads your most important files in case something ever did go wrong. Think iCloud but for unlimited storage of data. A one-year membership is an awesome gift.
Useful gifts for those that love outdoor adventure
45: BioLite HeadLamp 330 Lumen
There are a ton of things to like about this BioLite headlamp. It’s designed for comfort which is important, has multiple lighting modes, and can be recharged via micro USB instead of batteries.
The comfort part of this headlamp is due to the fact that it uses a 3D molded housing that sits as flat to your head as possible so it doesn’t bounce and slip like others do. The 330 lumen model also provides more light than the smaller 200.
46: Kammok Roo Single
47: Kammok Firebelly Trail Quilt
Trail quilts are becoming a must-have piece of gear for outdoor enthusiasts because of how lightweight they are and how versatile they can be when in combination with a hammock, as a sleeping bag, or just as a quilt to keep you warm.
I have a full article showing why quilts will soon replace sleeping bags so make sure you take a look!
48: Stuff Sack Set
Also called ditty bags, this set of 5 is a useful set for any outdoor and travel enthusiast. Stuff sacks are a great way to stay organized and throw in anything from clean clothes, dirty clothes, food, and camping gear.
With a set like this, you also get ones that are all different colours so this makes it easy to identify what’s what when you pull it ouf your backpack or suitcase.
49: Osprey UltraLight Dry Sack
A traveller’s worth nightmare is getting things wet and so dry sacks like this one are helpful to have and they also double as a standard stuff sack.
This is made of 40D rip stop nylon and comes in 5 different colors. 6L is a good size to have but they also come in 1.5L, 3L, 12L, 20L, and 30L.
50: SteriPen UV Water Purifier
This is a nifty gadget to have especially if you’re going to a destination where clean water is a challenge. The way it works is that it uses UV light to destroy over 99.9% of bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. It is battery powered and is good for 50 treatments per charge.
Many people that use that have used it for trips to Africa with success and definitely makes a thoughtful gift. If you read the reviews, batteries seem to be a problem so it may be worth it to include a few CR123 batteries.
Frequently Asked Questions
All e-commerce platforms including Amazon will allow you to send to a separate address from your billing address. Some will allow you to send it as a gift as well to make sure the invoice isn’t packaged with it.
It is always recommended to buy gifts early. My recommendation is to start looking before Black Friday comes around which gives you ample time to put your order in and receive the gift well before Christmas.
Create an Amazon wishlist right away and watch the prices as they constantly make micro adjustments to prices. Sometimes they’ll drop significantly and that is when you should jump on buying it. Also, look out for Amazon Warehouse items as they come at a significant discount for boxes being simply open but not used.
Another great idea is to gift travel experiences through something called Tinggly.
If you’re not a fan of Amazon or would like to support business directly, I recommend that you look up the brand’s website and purchase directly from them.