Travelers aren’t always the easiest people to shop for, because they tend to prefer experiences over things. Ask a traveler what they want, and the answer is often “money for my next plane ticket!”
If you prefer to give something a little more creative or personal, rest assured that the traveler in your life will love the items in our travel gift guide.
Travel-Themed Home Decor
We don’t exactly have a home to decorate right now, but when we did, you can bet it was filled with travel-themed decor. Fun and inspirational decor items like these are some of the best gifts for travelers (assuming they have a place to put them).
Nothing brings back memories quite like smell, and that’s where these scented candles come in. Each one is designed to smell like a different state, so if you have a friend who’s missing home or you want to remind your partner of a place you visited together, just give them the appropriate candle. This is the Montana version, but they have candles for every state.
Travel Tree by TobrisMyTravelTrees
This cool tree makes a unique piece of décor for your home and a way to remember your trips. Just tell the artist which countries, cities, or states you want, and you’ll receive colorful signs depicting each one and a stand to display them on.
A stuffed vicuna made of wool may serve no real purpose, but how could you not want something this cute and fuzzy? It’s a fair-trade product and is handmade in Peru.
Art Deco Travel Poster by FoxyNFoxyVintage
Give your loved one some travel inspiration and some great art for their home with one of these vintage travel posters. There are over 200 prints available, but some of our favorites are Amsterdam, South Africa, and Vietnam.
Help your loved ones display their favorite memories with this beautiful set of picture frames from Ten Thousand Villages. It’s made from (wait for it) a weed that interferes with farming in the Philippines, which local artisans have now found a use for.
Inspirational Chalkboard Poster by LilyandVal
This hand-lettered chalkboard print is beautiful, unique, and perfect for a traveler’s wall. And no, it’s not an actual chalkboard (no chalk dust to worry about).
If we were a little more settled, we just might have a coffee table with a tall stack of wanderlust-inspiring coffee table books. Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Greatest Trips seems like a good place to start.
All travelers are fascinated by maps – so any good travel gift guide should be at least half map-themed products, right?
Every traveler needs a map to track their travels, or just one to stare at and daydream. When we lived in Boston, we had this world map hanging in our living room. It has a beautifully classic look, is super detailed, and most importantly, uses an undistorted projection (because Greenland is not really as huge as it looks on some maps!).
Scratch-off maps are the hot new thing when it comes to travel-related décor. They come intact, and you scratch off each new place you visit.
A lot of companies are making these maps now, but this one is big enough to easily see what’s scratched off, and it shows state/region outlines for many countries. Plus, it scratches off to reveal bright colors, meaning the more you travel, the more vibrant it becomes.
We have this blanket, and we love it. The watercolor map design is beautiful, and it’s incredibly soft. Perfect for cuddling up under while you read your favorite travel blog or plan your next trip.
Food Map Poster
For your friend who’s both a traveler and a foodie, these food maps from Legal Nomads are perfect. Each one uses hand-drawn typography to illustrate the cuisine of the country. Available countries include Italy, Mexico, and several others.
We discovered Xplorer Maps at a craft fair in Montana last year, and were captivated by the detail, artistry, and vintage design of the maps, like this one of Glacier National Park.
Equal parts map and art, the illustrations are hand-drawn and hand-lettered and represent the history and culture of the places they depict. With maps of states and national parks from across the U.S. plus a handful of countries in Africa, Xplorer makes something for everyone.
Sure, most of us reach for our phone when we need to know what to go, but that’s not always an option if you’re traveling and don’t have Internet access. That’s when it pays to go old school with a paper map – but who hasn’t become enraged trying to fold one back up?
Crumpled City Maps are made from Tyvek, so they’re 100% waterproof and you can ball them up in your backpack without worrying about them tearing. This one is for London, but they make fabric maps for dozens of cities around the world.
When you think of travel clothes, zip-off pants and safari vests might come to mind. But the clothing items below – which work equally well on the road, on the trail, or at home – make much more useful travel gifts.
These are easily the best men’s travel pants available. The lightweight fabric (100% polyester) is perfect for tropical environments and great for hiking, but they also look dressy enough for a day at the office or a night out. Plus, they dry super quickly and take up almost no space.
Darn Tough Wool Hiking Socks: Women’s
We love this Vermont-based company that makes nothing but wool socks. They’re soft, comfortable, and high quality, and they even come with a lifetime guarantee.
If you want to splurge a little on a special someone – and that special someone loves traveling and spends time in cold climates – this jacket is perfect. It’s super warm, but it weighs almost nothing and packs down to the size of your fist. Plus, with Patagonia, you know it’s going to be high quality.
Help your traveler express their love for the world with one of these beautiful accessories.
Compass Necklace by MignonandMignon
This dainty compass necklace is perfect for women who love travel, or who are just dedicated to finding their true north. It comes in silver, gold, and rose gold.
Compass Bracelet by StarlitMoonDesigns
If your loved one is more of a bracelet-wearer or prefers casual jewelry, this cotton cord bracelet also features a compass charm.
“Nomad” Keychain by SilverStatements
There are a lot of cool key chains available on Etsy, but this hand-stamped one is probably our favorite. Each order is individually created, so no two are exactly alike, and the camper design it features is adorable.
This company trains and employs young people in rural Cambodia and aims to keep the country’s traditional handicraft industry alive. Artisans Angkor has its own silk farm, where they raise silkworms and harvest their thread to make these stunning scarves. (Yes, they ship to the U.S.!)
Christmas Tree Ornament by LittleFishPlace
If you want to give the traveler in your life something they’ll keep for years to come (and they celebrate Christmas), give them a travel-themed tree ornament. This one is handmade from recycled maps (and as we covered above, travelers love maps).
Luggage Tag by OddsnBlobs
We all know that lost luggage is one of the worst parts of travel. Help your loved one make sure they get their bag back with this handmade luggage tag.
There’s a ridiculous amount of travel gear out there, so how can you decide which of it actually makes good gifts for travelers? We promise everything on this list is useful, high-quality, and sure to make life easier for your favorite traveler.
Packing and Organizing
Trek Light is a hammock company, and they use leftover hammock fabric to make these incredibly durable cloth bags. The fabric is super thin, so they weigh almost nothing and pack into a tennis ball-sized pouch – but they can hold an almost comical amount of stuff. These totes make the perfect laundry bag on the road.
Everyone needs a set of toiletry bottles for their carry-on. The problem is that most bottles sold for this purpose (despite their claims of being leak-proof) inevitably end up leaking all over your bag.
Fortunately, you can be pretty sure that bottles made by Nalgene won’t leak, and this kit even comes with a couple squirt caps that can be attached when you arrive at your destination.Packing Cubes
We’d read articles from other bloggers swearing that packing cubes changed their travel experience. Skeptical, we eventually got some of our own – and now we couldn’t agree more. How did backpackers survive without these?
Packing cubes keep everything neat and organized, so moving on to the next destination is a cinch. Add some shoe bags to organize even further.
Jewelry is one of the hardest things to pack for travel – necklaces get tangled, rings get lost, and one earring inevitably goes missing. Help your female traveler (or jewelry-loving dude!) stay organized with this convenient jewelry roll.
We may have ridiculed selfie sticks when they first came out, but it’s clear they’re here to stay – and they’re actually a pretty useful photography tool. Even if you’re not taking selfies, they can help you get interesting angles that will make your photos pop. Better yet, this one can also be used as a tripod.
We can’t imagine how we ever traveled before the Kindle – hauling heavy books around and having to scrounge for new reads on the road? (Okay, it’s fun to check out foreign bookstores and hostel book swaps, but it’s nice to have other options.)
A Kindle is super lightweight and gentle on your eyes, and the Paperwhite version has a light-up screen, making it easy to use at night.
It seems no matter how much care you put into packing earbuds, they always come out a tangled mess. These earbuds have a braided fabric cover on their wires, which prevents them from sticking together and drastically reduces the amount of time spent untangling – making them a perfect gift for frequent travelers.
Travel usually involves a lot of eating out, and the ubiquitous street food in places like Southeast Asia usually means a new set of disposable silverware at every meal. Bring your own bamboo set to avoid creating so much plastic waste.
With a set of bowls, you can buy more of your foods from grocery stores and avoid some of the eating out altogether. You’ll save money, have more control over what you eat, and cut out some of the high-fat, high-salt dishes often served in restaurants.
It’s hard to emphasize just how useful the Scrubba has been for us over the past year. While Southeast Asia is famous for its cheap laundry facilities, not every country is like this. Give this wash bag to the frequent traveler in your life, and they’ll never worry about where to find the next Laundromat or pay the high cost for hotel laundry service again.
If you’ve ever flown a budget airline, you know how stingy they can be when it comes to baggage weight. Fees for excess pounds can be exorbitant, and repacking to distribute the weight or decide what to get rid of is stressful and kind of embarrassing. A luggage scale avoids this problem, and it’s a gift the recipient will appreciate every time they fly.
Everyone hates carrying heavy liquids and cleaning up the exploded mess they inevitably leave behind, so solid shampoo is a godsend for travelers. Lush’s solid shampoo lathers like bar soap and cleans your hair just as well as its liquid cousin. Pick up their solid conditioner to save even more space, and grab a carrying tin or two to keep those bars fresh.
Misc. Gifts for Travelers
Some of the best gifts for people who travel don’t fit neatly into a category, but that doesn’t make them any less useful (or fun).
Passports are arguably the most important item for an international trip. Keep it safe from harm with a fun cover that can also hold a few credit cards and important travel documents.Travel Journal
Even for people who travel with a laptop or smartphone, every traveler needs a notebook! Journaling at the end of the day or during long bus rides helps make travel more meaningful. Of course, a journal is also useful for jotting down that cute backpacker’s WhatsApp number.
For the avid yogi, carrying a yoga mat on the road is a must. Unfortunately, the quality ones are often heavy and bulky, making them less than ideal as a travel product. That’s why the travel mat from Jade is the perfect gift for the traveling yogi in your life.
For non-yogis who want to stay in shape on the road, resistance bands are the perfect accessory. They take up almost no space, and a set like this includes everything needed for a full-body workout.
How many times have you spread out a picnic blanket, only to have it get rumpled on the ground or have one end keep blowing up? This blanket has tiny stakes in each corner to weigh them down and hold it to the ground. And it folds into a 4×2-inch pouch when not in use – perfect for picnic lovers and festivalgoers alike. City Coloring Books
The popularity of adult coloring books has surged, and it’s not hard to see why – they promote creativity, relaxation, and living in the present moment. Plus, they’re equally useful for unwinding at the end of a long travel day and dreaming of places you want to go. Remember to upgrade your colored pencils – you may be coloring, but you’re an adult who can have nice things.
The “America the Beautiful” Pass provides access to 2,000 national parks, monuments, and wildlife refuges across the U.S. If you know someone who will be visiting more than one such spot in the next year, it’s a great deal.
Many travelers are on a journey of self-discovery and personal development, something meditation is also often part of. The Headspace app provides guided meditations that improve focus, decrease stress, and help users better understand their emotions. A Headspace gift card is probably the gift your favorite traveler didn’t know they wanted.
Amazon is the go-to place for all shopping, but it’s especially important for book-loving travelers. Carrying a Kindle instead of a bunch of physical books has certainly saved our backs, and the Kindle store means access to pretty much any title out there.
What’s on your wishlist this year?
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