Buying Christmas Gifts for Travelers. You’ve been there before, haven’t you?
Sitting on a couch on the 20th of December and furiously thinking:
What the heck I should get them? They are never at home anyway!
They move around the world with a whole house in a BACKPACK!
They don’t need ANYTHING!
Or do they??
But of course we do, what were you even thinking? 😀
It’s true that we usually don’t need much (er, or we like to think so), but there are tons of little useful travel accessories that make our life on the road much easier (lifesavers, we call them), there is always a gadget or five we are short of and even when we are not traveling we like to be reminded of it (even though we are constantly thinking about it anyway).
So here you go, FROM the traveler FOR the travelers – over 70 ideas for Christmas gifts for every budget (but with the majority of them being under 25$) so you’ll never have to think again about what to buy for your beloved vagabond.
We have and use almost all of them (some we got as Christmas gifts!), others we still want to have and some of them we want or need over and over again! 😀
Table of Contents
CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR TRAVELERS: TRAVEL PLANNING
Planning is half the fun of travel, says Bojan.
And then the day before departure, he asks me: “Where are we going? What are we going to do? ” (apparently I’m supposed to have that “half” of the fun).
These are Christmas gifts for travelers that will make our travel planning at least a quarter if not half of the fun:
Travel Planning Journal
All ideas, itineraries, budget plans and useful information in one place! A Travel Planning Journal is one of the ultimate Christmas gifts for travelers and the best part is that we’ll always need at least one more. 🙂
Airbnb gift card
Accommodation usually represents a big chunk of our travel budget. Don’t worry, we are perfectly capable of finding our preferred hostel or apartment, but having someone pay for it, well that’s just plain awesome!
You can buy a gift card for Airbnb straight from Amazon.
Lonely Planet Guides (or Rough Guide or any other)
If you know your traveler’s next destination, a Lonely Planet Guide makes a perfect gift. But even if you don’t know – sometimes it’s just that little push we need to go somewhere we didn’t even think about going to before – and a brand new travel guide will surely do the trick!
One of the most useful things without which we can no longer imagine life! We destroyed a few of them during our year-long honeymoon, so we already have a second set!
It’s just amazing how much space you can save with packing cubes and to top it off, you know exactly where something is in your luggage.
We have these ones!
Let’s be clear, this is THE best gift for a traveler. Of course, this is not the cheapest gift, so I can imagine you won’t go crazy and buy plane tickets for every friend who loves to travel.
But I’ll tell you this firsthand – getting 3 different plane tickets for your 30th birthday, it’s THE most awesome feeling in the world (You almost forget you’ll never be 20-something again. Almost.).
A Travel Fund Box or a Piggy Bank
An essential part of travel planning is … well, saving money. Every time you pass your piggy bank, you can throw a few dollars in – before you know it, you’ll be buying a new plane ticket! 😉
CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR TRAVELERS: ON THE ROAD
Not all travelers are writing a blog, but many take a travel journal with them.
I either write down in a few sentences what happened to us that day and how we feel about it, draw a sketch of our favorite view or just paste entrance tickets from all the places we visited. Reading about our adventures (or how hilariously everything went wrong) takes me back to those days even when we are at home ( & plotting our next travels).
We’re filling them up real fast so this is a Christmas gift idea for travelers that can be recycled every few years as well!
Imagine this: you’re just about to go through the security gate only to suddenly realize you can’t find your boarding pass because you stuffed it somewhere in the bottom of your bag. Yep, been there, done that!
Carry On Suitcase or Backpack
For a shorter city trip, a travel conference or a romantic weekend getaway in a swanky hotel a carry-on suitcase will come in handy (yes, you just might receive some strange looks arriving at a Hilton Hotel with a backpack that has seen all of Southeast Asia ). The best are the ones with four wheels since they are much easier to drag around – I love the one from Samsonite!
For the most part, the backpack is a thing many travelers can’t imagine living without. When choosing a travel backpack, it’s super important that it is comfortable (as you carry it up those seemingly endless steps to the hostel) and practical.
For our part, we love Osprey’s backpacks, which open like a suitcase (so you don’t have to pull everything out when you remember that a toothbrush is somewhere near the bottom) and aren’t heavy.
We own Osprey’s Fairviews backpacks (for women and men; the main backpack + daily backpack, which is zipped on the big one) but if we’d be choosing again perhaps a better choice would be a Fairpoint 40 because it is designed to fit the dimensions of carry-on luggage requirements.
Fairpoint 40 is super useful!
Extremely useful thing! They throw our backpacks around the airport, kick them under boat decks and they lay around on the floor in hostels… all of which shortens their lifespan.
Protective bags protect them from damage, and if you buy a bunch of trekking equipment (or travel souvenirs lol) on the other side of the world, you can use them as an extra bag to bring it all back home. 😊
“Hey you, don’t take this, this is my luggage !!” I yelled in a panic to the girl who was grabbing my backpack. Heck, she even refused to believe it wasn’t hers until we opened it.
With a noticeable tag (preferably one that screams THAT’S MINE), this probably wouldn’t happen.
We usually don’t take the “big” wallet on a trip because it takes up half the space in our daypacks. Small, compact wallets with concealed pockets are a better choice.
Oh, and you can always be THE best friend/relative and hide another dollar or twenty in the wallet. Or an Amazon Gift Card. 😀
(Hanging) Travel Toiletry bag
There is no such thing as too many toiletry bags!
Either small ones for weekend trips or slightly bigger ones for longer travels. The best ones are hanging soft bags since they take up less space, and unless you are staying in hotels, there is often no space to put them down (or the whole bathroom is so wet you wonder if it had been flooded).
Do you know how long it takes for a thick cotton towel to dry? Forever! Microfiber travel towels take up less space, dry faster, and make the sand much easier to shake off than ordinary ones (We all love sandy beaches, but nobody wants to have sand everywhere. And when I say everywhere, I mean EVERYWHERE.)
Solid Shampoo and Conditioner bar
One bar of hard shampoo can last as long as 4 bottles of liquid shampoo. Well, that says it all.
Travel Size Bottles and Toiletries
With restrictions on liquids for cabin luggage (or because you can’t squeeze that much in a 40l backpack), it’s convenient to use travel-size bottles and toiletries – for creams, face cleansing gels, etc.
I consider these “consumables” since it takes an infinite amount of time to completely clean the bottles (the alternative is to come to terms with having a new gel, which is a blend of hibiscus and almond) – so I always need new ones. They make a perfect cheap Christmas gift for travelers!
A Belt with a Hidden Pocket
All the places in the world are not equally safe. And travelers love good safety hacks! A hidden pocket in a belt is a great idea, because, honestly – the majority of travel-related crimes are opportunity thefts.
While a bag or a wallet can be easily snatched, pickpocketers won’t go and pull your belt off your pants. 😊
Life Straw or SteriPen
Water is not drinkable everywhere in the world (or sadly, not in many parts of the world). Besides having a reusable water bottle, Life Straw or SteriPen are helpful items for travelers since you can immensely reduce the use of plastic – and the weight in your hiking backpack.
This SteriPen uses UV light to purify water.
One of the best things in the world is snorkeling in warm tropical waters, and observing the colorful underwater life. Oh man, I could stay for hours underwater, every day!
But renting equipment all the time can be costly. Not to mention that you never know… er, in which mouth the snorkel has been before. 😛 So snorkeling equipment can be a great Christmas gift for a traveler who loves Nemos.
Going on a snorkeling trip or just planning to spend a day at the beach and you don’t want to get all your stuff wet and dirty? Well, a dry bag is another useful thing for somebody who spends a lot of their time near water! I can tell you firsthand that’s an awesome Christmas gift for travelers!
TRAVEL STOCKING STUFFERS: LIFESAVERS
Before we went on a year-long trip around our Blue Marble I (Sandra) received “A Survival Box” as a farewell gift at my previous job. It contained a bunch of incredibly useful little things that come in handy when traveling. This gift was surely far from expensive but it was extremely thoughtful and it was one of the most beautiful gifts I have ever received! These “lifesaver” gifts are small and great as travel stocking stuffers!
We can’t imagine our life without a travel pillow!
Airplanes, buses, trains … as soon as you fall asleep your head falls down with your neck in the most unnatural position possible… within an hour it hurts so much that your day is ruined (especially if you’re just about to be informed that your bus ride will take 12 hours instead of 6).
Inflatable pillows are an extremely useful Christmas gift every traveler will be happy about!
Portable Luggage Scale
The carry-on luggage limit is 8 kg, and you are standing in line, slightly sweating and thinking whether you should take another hoodie out of your luggage now or wait for the weighing and half ashamed do it at the counter. Again.
The portable luggage scale saves us from those stupidly embarrassing situations when we are trying to put on three extra layers in front of an annoyed airport employee (and other passengers behind us).
Sleep Mask & Earplugs
I can’t stress enough what lifesavers these are!
And sometimes it happens that the kid in the line in front of us decides to whine for 12 hours (Don’t get mad at me! It’s totally understandable and no judging here, it’s just that… I can’t sleep 😀 ). Having a sleeping mask and a pair of noise-canceling earplugs with you is a total game-changer.
Not to mention they come in handy if you sleep in a party hostel / next to a main street / in the company of a hundred mosquitoes or a-very-engaged-couple. Believe us, in the years of travel, we have seen it all. 😉
Ok, this is a lifesaver Christmas gift for female travelers.
It is one of the most multi-functional things on my packing list and I take it almost everywhere. It can be used as a scarf on a cold evening, it functions as a long skirt or a cardigan in temples and churches, it can be transformed into a short dress or used as a towel on a sandy beach.
Sudoku & Crossword Puzzles
Isn’t sudoku just for grannies? Let’s go digital!
Nope. Nope nope nope. You can only watch XY movies on the plane before you get a headache. Not to mention there is no internet everywhere in the world 😉 Or electricity, for that matter.
And also because it feels wonderful to get a digital detox from time to time and make your brains busy with something else than pressing that ❤️ on Instagram.
Travel Sewing Kit
Another lifesaver. Not sure why, but somehow it always happens on travels that a button falls off or a hole appears in an otherwise perfectly fine T-shirt. Or underwear, oops.
We’re not going anywhere without these! Either you need it to find something in your luggage and don’t want to wake up everyone around you or you are scanning your surroundings at night to find a perfect place to dig a hole and do your thing (Yes, it has happened. Numerous times. It’s called vanlife.)
Emergency Rain Poncho
An emergency rain poncho takes up almost no space and finds its place in our backpacks even when it’s sunny outside. Because before you know it, it will start pouring heavily and everyone will envy that ugly plastic thing you’ve just put over yourself.
First Aid Kit
Yes, this sounds weird, we know. But when you go to the pharmacy to fill up your medical travel kit, you don’t get rid of the headache; instead, you get one when you take a look at the bill. 🙂 So don’t rule them out when considering Christmas gifts for travelers, we’d be happy to get them!
Mini Hip Flask
Hey, we don’t encourage excessive use of alcohol! But….there’s no better way to disinfect your stomach before and after lunch at some suspicious-looking street stall than with a gulp of whiskey. 😀
CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR TRAVELERS: TRAVEL GADGETS
It’s irritating (to put it mildly) coming to a country and realizing you do not have the right kind of adapter for their sockets and then you spend all day finding a suitable store where they sell it. With a universal adapter, this simply cannot happen (well, it can, if you forget it at home.)
Another hilarious moment while traveling is when the flight attendant brings dinner, you jump enthusiastically to get it… and you almost choke yourself on your headphone string.
Kindle + Cover
I love reading books. Bookworm is my middle name. And even though I still swear by the “scent of the real book”, Kindle is an essential travel accessory in my backpack.
Its best features? You can read in any position (no hands, I’m telling you!), you can adjust the screen brightness (so no light needed for reading in the dark) and best of all – you can literally take hundreds of books with you. 😀
And if Kindle seems like an expensive gift (because it is!), a Kindle Cover is another great Christmas gift idea.
External Hard Drive
Once upon a time, we used photo albums and now they have been replaced by external hard drives. Sure, we may put some photos in an album still, but the majority of them are stored on external hard drives.
This little black box is a lifesaver. Get it here from Amazon
A travel camera would probably be one of the best Christmas gifts for travelers EVER. But it can be quite costly.
Usually, the batteries run out at the most inconvenient moment – like, when you are lost in the middle of nowhere or when you try to call an Uber.
We always carry a mini power bank with us for those emergencies.
Travel Case Organizer for Electronics
GoPro & GoPro Accessories
A GoPro camera is also one of those Christmas gifts for travelers that would make them jump with happiness. If you don’t want to spend a couple of hundred bucks or your traveler already has a GoPro camera, you can’t go wrong with one of the GoPro accessories.
CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR TRAVELERS: FOR THOSE RARE TIMES WHEN WE ARE AT HOME
Even when we are at home, our gypsy soul needs some comfort. And that can be easily achieved with travel-inspired home accessories!
A Wooden World Map
This is something I’ve always wished for and we finally have one! It’s a constant travel inspiration and a pretty cool wall decor too. We’ve got one from Enjoy the Wood, a family-owned Ukrainian business that 2D & 3D world maps (plus accessories) from birch plywood of the highest quality. If you want to get stunning travel-inspired wall decor AND support a company that is thriving despite the war that’s raging in their country, I recommend you get their world map as a Christmas gift this year!
Back in elementary school, I had a globe light, and in the evening I would dreamily spin it around, wondering what it was like on the other side of the world. Well, now I know, but I still love the globes!
For a more personal touch, you can write a few inspirational travel quotes on it.
Scratch Off World Map
In our opinion, the number of countries you visit is not a measure of how awesome traveler you are – after all, somebody who spent months exploring one country may have experienced more than somebody who visited 20 countries and spent there a day or two.
However, scratching off that new piece of the map is still a lot of fun and a scratchable world map is an excellent idea for a cheap but thoughtful Christmas gift for a traveler. Yes, we have one.
World Picture Frame
Now, that’s a good photo frame for a living room wall! And imagine there’s an empty frame from a certain destination…You can bet travelers will try to fill it up as soon as possible!
Travel-Themed Throw Pillow Cases
Why have a boring throw pillow case if I can get reminded of traveling every time I see it. Right?!
Travel Inspired Bedding
What’s better to wrap yourself up in than travel-inspired bedding and dream about….traveling? 😀
Travel-themed (Personalized) Mug
This can be another personal gift – buy a simple mug and write (or print) a travel quote on it. It will be unique, which will make it even more special.
Any other travel-inspired “dust collector” or any other kitschy accessory for home
No need to say more. For us, it can be those world map whiskey glasses. 😛
CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR TRAVELERS: FOR TRAVEL INSPIRATION
What do travelers like besides traveling? Thinking about traveling. Reading about traveling. Watching TV shows about traveling. Got the idea? 🙂
Bucket List Journal
Ah, our bucket list gets longer every day. And while we don’t run out of ideas, it’s always nice to get some new inspiration! This Bucket List Diary for you or for couples will do just that! From ticking off boxes like “paddling in a transparent canoe in Seychelles” to the simple but equally important ones like “visit your family and talk to them about your travels”. These bucket list diaries are one of our favorites Christmas gifts for travelers! 🙂
Instax camera & films
There’s nothing like a bit of nostalgia, huh? 🙂 Capture those unique moments and make a vintage photo album. If you know that your traveler already has an Instax camera, they’ll sure be happy to receive new films for it!
Cooking Class or Cookbook
Food is such a big part of traveling – one of the greatest pleasures is trying new dishes and getting to know new flavors. And somewhere along the way we usually find our new favorite cuisine!
If you happen to know what this is, then cooking classes (for let’s say…sushi? :D) are absolutely stupendous Christmas gifts for travelers!
Coupled with a cooking class, a cookbook from a destination that the traveler loves also makes an excellent gift.
Destination Photoshoot Session
Not all travelers enjoy taking photos or perhaps they aren’t super good at it but would like to have beautiful visual memories from a certain destination. Or perhaps… you are planning to propose to your beloved one at a tropical beach? 😉
Travel Inspired Jewelry
Travel World Map Watch
Travel Themed Colouring Book
Colouring reduces stress. But what if at the same time it inspires you to travel? Well, then it’s a double win and a Christmas gift I would love to receive!
Subscription to a Travel Magazine
A dose of travel inspiration straight to your mailbox or iPad every few weeks? I’d sure be happy to receive one.
Travel Inspired Books
Imagine this… a winter evening with a cup of hot chocolate, a warm blanket and a book that will take us somewhere far, far away… 😊
With this first-hand guide to Christmas gifts for travelers, I hope you’ll have no trouble finding a perfect gift!
I wish you stress-less shopping and happy holidays!🎁🎅
Since Christmas comes every year, don’t forget to pin this for later! 😉