Are you looking for some Christmas gifts for travel lovers that they are actually going to use? Nay, LOVE to use? Search no more! Here’s my list of USEFUL travel gift ideas for both women and men, as well as no less than 23 universal options to choose from!
Seeing the world is fun, but it sometimes requires a lot of organisation and carefully chosen gadgets that will make any traveller’s life ten times easier. In case you have a travel lover friend, the list below will surely help you find the best Christmas gift for him or her:
23 Universal gift ideas for travel lovers
1 - Noise-cancelling headphones
I’m adding this item as a #1 recommendation because having a pair of noise-cancelling headphones when you’re on a plane is a serious game-changer. No more continuous buzzing sound from the engines, no more kids screaming in the background and, most of all, no more chatty seat neighbours!
Of course, some good quality wireless headphones are great on trains as well or when working in a cafe or co-working space, like most nomads do!
Here are some amazing wireless noise-cancelling headphones worth checking out:
2 - Portable USB charger
Everyone travels with their phone, camera and other electronics. And, at least when it comes to our phones, we use those A LOT. That’s why having a portable USB charger on-hand can be life-saving at times. Maybe you’ve been watching a movie on the plane and your battery’s out when you land. Or you’ve spent your entire evening walking, taking pictures and using your language translator and you realise you have no battery left to call for an Uber.
Regardless of your reasons, I really believe that a portable charger is a must!
3 - Packing cubes
If you’ve never used packing cubes in your luggage before… just take my word that they’re real life changers. They’re the ultimate solution to keeping all your stuff organised and in place and, best of all, they’re almost weightless so they won’t count to the total kilograms of your bag – how awesome is that?!
Packing cubes come in all shapes and sizes, so you can mix and match the ones you need. By the way, although you might think that your stuff will be “cramped” inside one of those, you’ll quickly realise that a packing cube does a wonderful job at keeping your folded T-shirts wrinkle-free!
4 - Electronics organiser
Same as packing cubes, electronics organisers are a great helping hand at keeping all your cables and electronic stuff in one place. No more lost charging cables or misplaced chargers!
5 - Refillable toiletry bottles
In case you’re the same as me and really don’t like wasting plastic with those travel-sized toiletries every time you’re leaving home for a trip, then I have an excellent solution for you: refillable toiletry bottles! You can fill them with your own stash of shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste (and more) and bring them with you. Useful and lightweight!
6 - Filtered water bottle
Here’s another one for your eco-conscious travelling friends: a reusable water bottle with a water filter included! This item is useful for many reasons: it helps you save money on water bottles, it keeps you safe from water bacteria (especially if you’re travelling to remote parts of Asia) and, let’s face it, it can be pretty too!
LifeStraw is one of the most popular options out there and their filters are said to last for 5 years.
7 - International travel plug adapter
Everyone that travels a lot has been in this situation: you arrive in a country that doesn’t have the same electrical sockets you have at home. So you’ll need a plug adapter in order to charge your phone or laptop.
If you ask me, an international travel plug adapter with multiple plugs is the way to go. These are made to fit various types of outlets all around the world and they’re not even that expensive! Make sure to get one with USB ports as well for your convenience.
8 - Neck pillow
Here’s a no-brainer: a neck pillow can transform a long flight or a prolonged layover into a more pleasant experience. It might be boring, but at least now it’s a little bit more comfortable! I, for example, never fly without my neck pillow and it helps me a lot in long car rides and road trips as well.
9 - Travel backpack
This one’s another essential item that EVERY traveller, backpacker or not, must have. And in case your travelling friend doesn’t, then there’s no better gift than this.
I, personally, prefer simple and spacious backpacks – usability is the #1 asset you must look for. Forget about pretty floral backpacks and focus on multiple access ways (top and side at least), lots of dedicated pockets, special laptop compartment and a hip belt as well. A good backpack can’t be replaced by anything else when travelling light, trust me!
10 - Bluetooth speaker
Maybe a bluetooth speaker is not as essential as a sturdy backpack or a fully charged USB charger, but it can be pretty fun to have one on hand during your travels. If it’s both portable and waterproof, you won’t need much more to transform a dull evening in your hotel room into a private party. Uh, and it’s especially fun on the beach!
11 - Passport holder
If your travel-loving friend has a habit of travelling internationally a lot, then a fashionable passport holder might be well-needed. I always prefer a simple, leather passport holder, but there are SO many options out there, it’s impossible not to find something for her/his taste.
And, best of all, most passport holders also have special compartments for cash, credit cards, IDs, boarding passes and more – multi-purposing at its best!
12 - Luggage tag
Simple and useful, a luggage tag is always a must for travellers, regardless if they’re flying every month or less frequently. Except for the usability, a luggage tag can also be pretty – what more can you wish for?!
13 - Travel wallet
Similar to a passport holder, a travel wallet is an excellent organisation item that will help you keep your cash, credit cards, ID, drivers license and tickets, all in one place. I recommend you look for a spacious one that’s not too bulky if you want to tick all the boxes.
14 - Digital luggage scale
I often have this problem when packing: my luggage is too big to fit my regular, analog scale at home so I’m always unsure if it’s too heavy or not! But a digital luggage scale is the perfect solution, as it’s designed especially for this purpose and it’ll help travellers avoid the uncomfortable airport fees for overweight luggage. Plus, they’re cheap too!
15 - Travel/camping hammock
This one’s an excellent idea for travellers that love camping and backpackers as well. A good travel hammock must be strong, spacious enough, it should be able to be folded so it takes up virtually no space and, ideally, it should be made of a waterproof material (usually parachute nylon).
A hammock is simply perfect for camping days in the woods, for beach days and for a relaxing evening in the park as well!
16 - Portable tripod
A portable tripod is a great choice if your travelling friend loves taking pictures and selfies. Or long-exposure pictures! But because not everyone has enough free space in their luggage for this, I definitely recommend a portable, travel-friendly tripod for convenience. And make sure the one you pick is lightweight but versatile enough so it can be used for both mobile phones AND cameras!
17 - Kindle Paperwhite
Do I need to add anything more? Whoever doesn’t have a Kindle already needs to receive one as a gift from their most thoughtful friend!
If you ask me, a Kindle Paperwhite is the perfect choice because it has a no-glare display and it looks and feels exactly like reading a real paper book. Plus – it’s small, lightweight, it has a long battery life and is extremely easy to use – and the new version is waterproof too. AND it can transform a long flight or layover into an enjoyable experience!
18 - Mobile camera lens kit
Everyone’s taking pictures on their phone nowadays. And the best way to up your (or your friends’) photography game is to use some special mobile camera lenses. I recommend getting a kit with multiple lenses: fisheye, wide, macro etc. The quality might not be as perfect as your DSLR but they’re definitely easy and fun to use!
19 - Portable espresso machine
This one’s for coffee connoisseurs that don’t want to give up on their coffee quality while travelling! This portable coffee machine has a rechargeable battery and it’s compatible with Nespresso and L’OR capsules. I think this is an AMAZING idea!
20 - Fitbit smart watch
Am I the only one that likes to see how many steps I’ve walked and how many calories I’ve burned at the end of a long travelling day? I hope not! If your travel-obsessed friend is the same as me, then they’ll surely enjoy a Fitbit smart watch that does both of these things – and more. It’s also a great tool for fitness lovers too.
21 - Multi-tool knife
I really believe that a high-quality multi-tool is an essential item when travelling, especially camping, regardless if you’re a man or a woman.
The one from Leatherman is one of the most famous ones out there – and with good reason. It has 17 mini tools and it’s really compact and high-quality. Bottle opener, knife, scissors, you name it and I’m sure Leatherman has it!
22 - Belt bag
I swear that, ever since I discovered the wonders of a belt bag (or bumbag), I’m never without one, especially in airports, trains or even on road trips. They’re fashionable, handy and most of them are spacious enough to fit all your travel essentials, including your phone, passport, hand sanitizer and even a little snack!
23 - Headlamp
A headlamp is another item on my list of essential travel gear for everyone out there, but especially for adventurous travellers that like to go camping, exploring caves, trekking and so on. The things you have to look for when choosing a headlamp are: waterproof, long battery life (rechargeable or AAA batteries) and high-quality materials so it won’t break easily.
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3 Travel gifts for women
All the items above are great for everyone, regardless of their gender or travelling style, but I also selected 3 unique travel gifts for her below:
Portable jewellery box
Jewellery is not the easiest, most pleasant thing to carry in your bag while travelling, as small pieces can often get tangled, misplaced or even lost forever (it happened to me more than once!). Which is why I think a portable jewellery box is so, so welcome. It helps to keep all her rings, earrings and small trinkets organised in one place, safely!
Okay, maybe guys will enjoy this one as well but, let’s face it, it’s girls who are completely lost without a good hairdryer while travelling! And yes, I know that most hotels provide these nowadays, but what do you do when you’re staying in a hostel or you’re out camping, heh? I like to have the option of bringing my own travel-friendly hair dryer, just in case!
Long-haired girls, unite! In case you haven’t tried a Tangle Teezer yet, get ready for your life to be completely changed. This special hair brush is small, portable and it does a hell of a job untangling those messy strands! And it has a very accessible price range as well.
3 Travel gifts for men
Let’s not forget about men as well, eh? This special section is for your male travel obsessed friends because yes, I know, it can be so hard to find gifts for them! Here are 3 quick ideas:
Are you ready for this one? 2 stainless steel collapsible shot glasses, a 4-mode LED light and a classic flask for your favourite alcohol, all in one item: the VSSL Flask! This one’s built especially for men (although, c’mon, us girls can benefit from these perks as well!) and it’s super durable and water-proof as well. I think it’s one of the best gifts for men, really!
Travel-friendly cologne that’s not liquid and you can actually take it with you on your carry-on? Yes, sir! I really like the idea and the scent is really nice and subtly as well – a combo of refreshing and kinda sweet, if you can imagine. A little goes a long way!
Let’s face it: men have SOME toiletries as well but I’m pretty sure 90% of them don’t have a dedicated toiletry bag to keep them safe during their travels. So if you really hate it when your travel friend simply throws his cologne and shaving cream in their luggage, then gifting them a rugged leather toiletry bag might be the best idea.
BONUS: Travel gifts under 10$
I know that some of the gifts mentioned above fall under the pricier side, but no worries, a tight budget doesn’t mean you cannot make a great travel-related gift! Here’s my selection of gifts under 10$ or 10£:
1 - Packing checklist
A cute, handy pad that will help everyone make sure they haven’t forgotten anything from their suitcase! In short, you basically get printed sheets with checklists that will help you pack.
2 - Mini skincare travel set
This Burt’s Bees Skincare Kit is my ultimate travel obsession! It’s the ideal moisturising pack for those long flights and it will help you keep refreshed. This super affordable set has 5 travel-size moisturising products.
3 - Sleep mask
Sleep masks are great in hotels, hostels and in airplanes as well, as most of them do a great job at blocking the light. Plus, some can be super cute, too!
4 - Waterproof phone case
This is a great little item that will help you take underwater photos safely in case your phone is not waterproof. Plus, it’s easy to use and quick to assemble!
5 - Aesop rinse-free hand wash
Forget about the boring ol’ bottles of hand sanitizer! This Aesop rinse-free hand wash is an alcohol-based hand wash that does the same thing, but it’s ten times prettier and smells amaaaazing!
6 - Headphone splitter
You know those annoying moments on the plane when you want to watch the same movie or listen to the same songs with your friend or significant other? This headphone splitter is an easy and quick solution! Personally, it’s made long bus rides with friends so much more fun! And it’s affordable too!
7 - Digit combination lock
An extremely effective yet affordable item for any traveller that wants his/her luggage to be secure. In all honesty, I really think everyone should have at least one at home.
This was my complete gift guide for travel lovers for this year’s winter celebrations – or for any other special occasion, on that matter. My hand-picked selection of useful travel gifts above will surely help you pick the best Christmas gift for your traveller friends or, who knows, maybe you’ll order some stuff for yourself too. A little self-care never hurt anybody, am I right?