Best Travel Gifts and Ideas for the Traveler in Your Life

We all have that travel crazy friend who never seems to be home. Instead, they are busy travel hacking, jet-setting around the world or around the country, and making everyone jealous with their Instagram photos. Shopping for gifts for this kind of friend can be tough. For them, they may value memories and experiences more than things. However, I do think they would appreciate travel gifts – you would help them gather those experiences and memories safely, stylishly, and efficiently!

What follows are ideas for travel gifts that could really apply to anyone who loves to travel and explore. Many of these are also budget-friendly ideas that I think will be really appreciated and definitely useful.

Travel Gift Ideas

Jet Lag Treatment Kit

Who doesn’t suffer from this when you go abroad, or even travel coast to coast? Jet lag can not only take a toll on your health (lack of sleep makes you feel awful) but can eat into your travel and vacation time. Preventing and treating jet lag is a great gift! Your kit can/should include some or all of the following:

  • Pain killers
  • Over the counter sleep aids
  • Eye mask
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Ear plugs

Place all these items in a stylish travel kit and your friend will be able to just grab and go and never leave home without it! Its a super easy kit to put together and definitely a helpful one to have while traveling.

Luggage or Luggage Accessories

Some of my own favorite travel gifts to give or get have to do with the travel journey itself. They’re super useful and also help with organization. You can opt to buy your friend some nice, durable luggage, or a travel backpack, or if that’s too much I’d consider luggage accessories. For instance:

Luggage tags

Leather luggage tags are really nice and super durable. You can take it one step further and have them personalized!

A TSA approved lock

Many new suitcases nowadays have these built in. However, if their suitcase doesn’t already have a built-in one, you can definitely purchase an exterior lock that is approved for usage.

RFID Blocking Travel Wallet

Identity theft is literally everywhere and one way it’s done now is to scan people’s IDs and cards from afar. So having a wallet that can block that technology is super important. An RFID blocking travel wallet will do just that.

Leather Passport Holder

Everyone needs to put their passport somewhere. What you also need is to make sure the pages don’t get wet or ruined. A nice passport holder can offer functionality and style.

Packing Cubes

Any experienced traveler will tell you that they travel lightly. A packing hack to help your jet setter only take a carry-on and backpack is to use packing cubes. These guys can be bought as a set, are inexpensive, yet super helpful and a great way to organize and save space.

Travel Jewelry Box

Getting necklaces tangled, or losing an earring because it fell out of a bag or got buried somewhere in your suitcase is frankly super annoying. A travel jewelry box is a great gift idea for keeping those small items untangled and organized.

Collapsible Bags

A collapsible duffel, for instance, is something that you can stuff at the bottom of a suitcase (doesn’t take space) and then open up on the way home to help with making room for souvenirs and purchases made during the trip. It’s a great way to expand space without too much extra weight.

Luggage Scale

Some airlines are super strict about their weight limits, not just with check-in items but also with carryon luggage. Knowing how much your luggage weighs before you get to the airport can be super helpful. Sometimes this more of an issue on the way home because you will have extra souvenir items that you’re traveling with. A handheld digital luggage scale can help with preparing and managing your luggage weight and potentially help your traveler friend better plan for any added fees because of it!

Travel Adapter

For your travel friend who loves to explore exotic lesser-known areas of the world, I’d suggest a universal travel adapter. These make great gifts. They contain not only the different prongs for different types of plugin sockets, but also have USB ports, turning them into a mini charging station.

Pay for TSA Precheck and Global Entry

The best thing you can do for your friends is to expedite their way out and their way home. It saves so much time and money at the airport. TSA precheck allows you to skip quickly through security while checking in and Global entry allows you to skip ahead in the customs line on the way home.

They each cost $100 and lasts for 5 years.

Travel Gifts for the Airplane

The journey itself can sometimes take up the most time during your travel. The farther you go, the more airplane time you can expect to have to deal with. Some ideas for fun travel gifts to help pass the time up in the air, and make the journey a bit more comfortable, include:

Noise Canceling Headphones

These are a great asset, especially if they’re wireless noise canceling headphones. Not only do you get to fully hear your music and movie you’re watching, but you also can use them to drown out outside noise and hopefully get some sleep!

A Travel Pillow

Finding a place for your head can be so hard. I’m definitely not someone who can sleep sitting up. Using a travel pillow for some is a must and can really help get some z’s on the plane.

Travel Sized Gadgets

If your friend is into electronics, then a small tablet is a great item to have. You can download movies, music, or books to help pass the time.

Alternatively, you can look into the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. It’s for books only, however, the battery life lasts forever, the paperwhite background is easy on the eyes, and there’s no blue light as with tablets and smartphones. For someone that may already have the kindle, you can also consider recommending or purchasing the best travel books as recommended by Amazon or another source like the New York Times.

Another gadget that isn’t really appropriate for an airplane, however, is great for that music-loving friend, is a travel-sized portable Bluetooth speaker. I, for one, love to jam out to my favorite music getting ready in the morning. For anyone else in your life that loves to do the same, you can offer them the opportunity to do it while they’re abroad as well.

Face Masks

This is something that I think is great for long trips. They’re so tiring, and so often sleep is lost. A facial treatment mask put on during your flight can not only help with relaxing but also help your friend feel refreshed (especially if it’s used at the end of the flight). These are also useful after a long travel day to be used for relaxing in the hotel room.

Safety Items

Traveling anywhere, whether it’s solo or in a group, requires vigilance and some preparation in order to travel safely. Gifts such as a whistle or a small can of mace can go a long way towards helping someone not only feel safe but may also actually help them get out of a bind. Giving individual safety items, or creating a small safety kit for them to take is a great gift that also says you care!

Gift Cards

If you’re at a total loss of ideas, or your friend seems to have everything already, then the next best thing is a gift card. For instance, you can get a prepaid VISA gift card so that your friend can use it while he/she is traveling. They can use it to buy a nice souvenir or treat themselves to a nice meal!

If nothing else, your gift card will help them get a cheaper flight or save money on some other part of their travels.

Random Travel Related Gift Ideas

To round off this post, I thought I’d jot down some travel gifts that you can look into that don’t have to do with the journey, or a trip itself. Rather, they’re related to travel and I think can be perfect gifts that your friend would appreciate.

  • Scratch Travel Map – with each destination complete, you scratch off that portion of the map!
  • A travel journal – for documenting all those experiences and stories!
  • Recipe books from their favorite destination – can make all those great foodie dishes right at home
  • Paintings/framed pictures of their favorite spots

In Summary

The best travel gifts and gift ideas will, of course, be tailored to your friend(s) and their specific travel needs and interests. Hopefully, this list above gives you some valuable ideas that can be used during any gift-giving occasion.

Happy shopping and travels!


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Tawnya is an elementary special education teacher by day and co-blogger at Money Saved is Money Earned by night.

She holds an Honors BS in Psychology from Oregon State University and an MS in Special Education from Portland State University. She has had a pretty successful writing career, first as a writing tutor at the Oregon State University Writing Center, and in recent years, as a freelance writer.

Tawnya and co-blogger Sebastian have a wealth of knowledge and information about personal finance, retirement, student loans, credit cards, and many other financial topics. They teach people how to save money, make money, and understand money.