Now updated for 2017
It’s that time of year again when you’re on the hunt for that perfect present for all those special people in your life. But what are some unique gift ideas for people who love to travel? We’ve carefully culled together some of our favorite travel gifts of the season for 2017. All of these gift suggestions for travelers are things we personally own, we’re buying (or have bought) as travel gifts for our friends & family, and a few other travel gifts that we would love to have ourselves.
For this travel gift guide, we tried to pick new and interesting items that are useful for the modern traveler. Yet always wanting to maximize budgets, these gift ideas for travel lovers focus on items that offer excellent value!
Many of these gift ideas for travelers can be purchased directly on Amazon, an affiliate of ours, and we’ve particularly zeroed in on items available on Prime, so you can take advantage of free 2-day shipping when you order them.
Don’t have Amazon Prime yet? You can use this link to get a 30-Day Free Trial to Amazon Prime! If you have no intention of keeping the Prime subscription, just be sure to cancel within 30 days. Then do all your holiday shopping within the next 30 days before canceling and you’ll be taking advantage of truly free shipping! (Side note: For some travel inspiration, you can use Amazon Prime to stream travel shows like Booze Traveler and one of our all time favorites – An Idiot Abroad).
We hope these gift ideas for travel lovers provides you with some shopping inspiration as you hunt for the perfect present for your friends and family who travel. But you may even want to pick up a few things for yourself. 😉 Happy browsing travelers!
Travel Gift Ideas for the Home
Travel Coffee Table Books
A perennial favorite and the perfect gift for any travel addict is Patricia Schultz’s 1,000 Places To See Before You Die. This will keep travel lovers day-dreaming for years.
Yet what really gives us wanderlust is National Geographic’s Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Greatest Trips.
Meanwhile the Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders shows off loads of strange destinations that you never knew existed. These gifts will not only make someone smile, but will inspire travel! Yet fair warning: these books are addicting to flip through.
Scratch the World – Wall Map
It’s fun to keep track of which countries you’ve visited. These fun scratch-off wall maps give a visual depiction of that while helping to plot where to roam around next! You simply use a coin to scratch off each country you’ve been to which reveals a colorful map underneath! We like this one because of its cartographic style and it breaks down larger countries like US, Canada, and Australia, giving you the option to scratch off each state/province.
A 2018 Calendar Providing 365 Days of Travel Inspiration
Can you believe it’s almost 2018? It’s time for a new calendar! This page-a-day calendar, based on the book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, provides a new travel scene and info for every single day of the year. Let the dreaming commence! Who knows, tearing off a page one day could spur someone’s next trip!
Great Gift Idea for the Grandparent of a Traveler!
A wifi-enabled digital picture frame is such a fantastic gift for those friends and family who aren’t connected to social media. You may be snapping your adventures and posting your gorgeous travel pics to Instagram, but Grandma or Grandpa may not be among your followers. Yet they are still very much interested in your travels! So this is a perfect way to share with them.
A wifi-enabled picture frame allows you to use an app to upload pics directly to that picture frame. We’ve been using one with Heather’s grand-mommy, who loves waking up to see a new travel pic magically appear in her picture frame. But this just isn’t for grandparents either. A wireless picture frame is great for any family member or loved-one who has chosen to stay away from social media, but may still be interested in your travels. Prices range by size of the frame which go from 8-18.5 inches.
Travel Accessory Gift Ideas
A Travel Daypack That’s Waterproof
Travelers are forever plagued with water splashes, theft, and tears. But this lightweight travel bag was designed with travelers in mind and hence takes much of the worry away. It’s water resistant for when caught in the rain and the durable backpack also has a patented anti-theft zipper. It’s lightweight (1.76 lbs.) and has loads of compartments for all your electronics. Despite all the functionality, it’s actually pretty sleek and stylish too! Best of all – it usually retails for $79, but the last we checked it, it’s on sale! That was such such a good deal, we just bought one ourselves!
Here’s a gift idea for a traveler – buy a travel pack like this and fill it with other travel items like the stocking stuffers we’ve listed towards the end of this post.
We received one of these as a gift and it has made traveling through airports a breeze. If you’re ever trying to balance your backpack, handbag, or anything else on top of your roller bag while traversing through the airport, you need a Demi Hugger! This is a novel travel gift that will enable someone to whip through the airport handsfree as this luggage strap holds in place whatever else you’re schlepping around with you.
Packing Cubes – Great for Traveling Couples
Packing cubes are a great travel gift idea for the traveler who likes to stay organized. These travel cubes make it easy to compartmentalize all your belongings so that you arrive to your destination with everything already in order. We own these packing cubes and it has been such a time saver to just pull out each cube and know exactly what we’re looking for.
We also love using them during shorter trips for when we only take a single bag for two people. The packing cubes allow us to take a single bag yet still keep our belongings separate. So consider this as a gift for a traveling couple too!
Travel Gadgets and Gizmos
A Mobile Printer for Your Smartphone
These are so much fun! This mobile printer essentially transforms your smartphone into a Polaroid camera. Snap a picture with your phone, then print it out right away with this little device. The best thing about these smartphone printers is for those instances where you’re traveling off the beaten path and you take pictures with locals.They would love to have the photo you’ve just captured, but often they may not have a phone or a computer to receive the pic by email (let alone a way to print it). This mobile printer solves that problem and allows you to connect with your new friends. It’s also a lot of fun to have at parties and social gatherings.
Smartphone Camera Lenses
Smartphone cameras have come a long way. Some of the newest models are almost beginning to rival some good DSRL and mirrorless cameras. But not quite. Yet with an inexpensive lens attachment, you can nearly get it to that level. Our Samsung Galaxy S6 takes great pictures but has a hard time focusing on close-up shots when we’re trying to take pictures of our meals for #FoodieFriday. A macro lens takes all the blur away. Meanwhile a fish-eye lens can transform your phone’s camera to give it that cool wide-angle view. This is the perfect phone accessory for your Instagramming friend whose always posting about their latest trip!
A Portable Charger to Keep Travelers Going
Powerful & Lightweight: Travelers love their gadgets but after a few hours of taking photos and using Google Maps, those batteries are drained. We own the Anker 10000 mAh portable charger which is lightweight and charges our phone and camera several times over. It works great and fits in my pocket. It’s about half the size and weight back-up batteries with the same amount of power.
Use Solar Power! How cool is this – for the traveler who likes to go off-the-grid yet stay connected, there’s a solar powered charger. This portable and lightweight charger gets its energy from the sun to keep all your gadgets charged, even if you’re camping out in the middle of Africa! That alone gives it a deserving spot in our 2017 Travel Gift Guide!
A GoPro Alternative with Amazing Value
GoPros are those awesome waterproof action cams that can take amazing footage during travels. But they are very pricey and the newest models run upwards of $500! When our GoPro finally broke in South Africa last year, we decided to take a gamble on a much less expensive GoPro alternative. We’ve been thrilled with it, as it seems to shoot with similar quality as our old GoPro yet is a fraction of the price! These DBPower EX5000 action cams may not have the name recognition and marketing as official GoPros, but the quality is great and the price is incredible!
But best of all it’s about one-tenth of the cost of a GoPro, so going with the knock-off is like getting a 90% discount! Yet it still captures 1080p HD video, has an LCD display, and can go underwater up to 30 meters (100 feet)! Plus it comes with a bunch of attachments and even an extra battery that you otherwise have to spend extra for with actual GoPros! We love our DBPower EX5000.
The last we checked, a holiday deal that had even further discounted the price!
Check current prices for this action cam.
The Best Value Tablet for Travelers
We love traveling with our Fire tablet and have purchased them as gifts for our family members. Sure, an iPad is arguably a better product. But why travel around with such an expensive tablet that can succumb to loss or theft, when you can take a Fire with you? We find the Fire HD 8 to be the best value tablet on the market, at a price that’s remarkably under $100! It has an 8″ HD-display, 16 GB storage, and a 12-hour battery life that will help keep you entertained during your next long-haul flight.
If you want more power, storage, or a bigger screen – go for the newer Fire HD 10, in which you’ll spend a bit more than the Fire HD 8, but it’s still a heck of a deal. But at about half the cost, we like the Fire HD 8 for a tablet that offers travelers the best value and find its specs plenty sufficient for our needs.
Set the mood during your travels by playing some tunes wherever you go. Portable speakers make awesome gifts for travelers! Play your own music in your hotel room, on the beach, or at the pool. For a good value buy, we like this portable bluetooth speaker that connects to your phone in seconds. It’s small and lightweight making it perfect for travel, yet the sound packs a punch for its portable size and price.
Noise Canceling Headphones That Won’t Break the Bank
Noise canceling headphones are a great gift idea for travelers who are constantly passing through loud environments. Beats Solo 3 are all the rage when it comes to high quality headphones and would make a great travel gift if you want to splurge for a loved-one. The headphones retail for $300 but last we checked Amazon had them on sale as a holiday deal!
It’s a great deal, but if you’re not ready to shell out a few hundred dollars on headphones, we like these Sony noise canceling headphones as a more affordable alternative to the Beats line. We bought these for our niece and can tell you first hand that the sound is great. And at nearly one-tenth of the cost of those Beats, the value of these Sony headphones is phenomenal! Check current price for these Sony headphones.
Is 2017 The Year of the Drone?
Drones seem to be the new “it” gadget for any traveler wanting to document their adventures from new heights! You can now get amazing aerial shots and video of beaches, mountains, waterfalls, wildlife, or wherever (within local drone laws). The following are three drones we like, pending budget and functionality.
An Entry Level Drone with Great Value: The DJI Phantom 3 Standard is the least expensive of DJI’s Phantom series drones, which can carry out professional quality drone shots. We find it to be a great drone for the price point – $499 – and the best value drone out there. That’s why we finally got one ourselves last year. All of our drone footage you see on this site and our social media pages is from the Phantom 3S. We like it a lot. But one of the biggest drawbacks of this drone is its size, which makes it not ideal for travelers to schlep around the world.
Quality + Portability: A better option for travelers is the DJI Mavic Pro. It’s much more portable than the sizable Phantom drones. The Mavic folds down to about the size of a water bottle, making it great to pack into your carryon or even to bring with you on a long hike. But with the added portability and functionality comes added cost. The Mavic retails for $999, which is a little too pricey for our budget travel tastes.
At time of last update (Dec 3, 2017), Mavics are being sold at a discount on Amazon!
Portability + Value: A final consideration for a drone gift for travelers in the DJI Spark! This is a new drone launched by DJI earlier this year. It combines the portability of the Mavic with the great value the Phantom 3 Standard offers. When compared to the PS3, the Spark isn’t quite as fast, the video quality is HD 1080p instead of 2.7k, and the battery life is shorter. But the Spark boasts other features that the Phantom does not, perhaps most importantly for travelers – it fits in the palm of your hands! The Spark is way more portable, easier to use, can be flown indoors, has collision avoidance, and uses gesture control. If the the DJI Spark were available when we were buying a drone, we likely would have bought it over the Phantom 3 Standard. We do like our PS3, but we hate having to lug a big extra carrying case around the world with us. The DJI Spark solves that and is still affordable, retailing at $
🔥 At time of last updating this post (Dec 3), Amazon has these Sprak drones on sale! 🔥
Here’s a promotional video from DJI to explain more about the Spark:
Stocking Stuffer Gifts for Travelers
A Portable Phone Mount for Rental Cars
For those who are renting cars to get around when traveling, it can always be a challenge to navigate a new city. Thankfully apps like Google Maps and Waze come to the rescue, but rental cars never have a place to conveniently rest your phone. These portable car mounts clip right onto the air conditioning vents which then attaches your phone with a special magnetic pad. The portability is perfect for switching cars. This is a great gift for anyone you know who frequently uses car rentals. And by keeping hands-free and concentrated on driving, this portable mount will also help keep your loved-one safe! They’re inexpensive too, so consider picking up a few pair in case you accidentlly leave them behind in your rental car. (Oops! It’s very easy to forget them, haha!)
A Modern Update to the Swiss Army Knife: Add a USB Drive
A multi-tool is an essential item for any traveler. And in today’s digital world, USB sticks seem to be growing in increasing need while on road. This Multitool w/ 32 GB USB is a modern update to a traditional Swiss Army Knife and makes for a perfect gift for a digital nomad. Just make sure that it’s packed in checked luggage or else it’ll be taken away when flying.
This is an upgraded version of a classic gift for any frequent traveler. The pillow’s memory foam will help you actually get some sleep on that long haul flight without bobbing your head and drooling on the person next to you. Feel like your sleeping in the clouds while your plane flies through them. This makes for a great gift set.
Anyone receiving this awesome gift will be able to drink water from virtually anywhere in the world. The Lifestraw is great for camping, those wary of drinking the tap water, or just to have in case of emergencies. This invention that won Time Magazine’s Invention of the Year will filter out 99.9% of waterborne bacteria & parasites without the need for chemicals. We love ours and have used it on many occasions when the tap water is questionable.
Buy the Lifestraw Personal Water Filter on its own, or
Wool Hiking Socks
Socks are a classic stocking stuffer. The active traveler in your life deserves a good pair for hiking. We like these soft Thermal 80% Merino Wool Socks not only for hiking but to keep our feet warm in cold destinations. Cotton won’t cut it. Any traveler, unless they’re a beach bum, needs at least one good pair of wool socks.
Magic Underwear That Are Great for Long Travel
The other classic stocking-stuffer is underwear. But for the traveler, you can’t just buy regular old Hanes or Fruit of the Loom. They need something that’s going to hold up on those long flights and bus ride in addition to grueling hikes and excursions. I personally love my ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go Boxers and never travel without them. Their ability to hold up continually amazes and astonishes me. I gave them the ultimate test during our 2-months of camping in Africa. They’re quick-drying, soft & comfy, lightweight, and somehow never ever get smelly. We call them magic underwear. Highly recommend! When it comes to underwear, they’re on the pricey side, but they’re so worth it!
A Micro-Fiber Quick Drying Travel Towel
This is another great travel gift idea particularly for outdoor enthusiast. These microfiber towels are super absorbent, lightweight, and dry fast. They’re perfect for travel or using at the beach. We love ours. Despite always trying to pack as little as possible, we actually recommend a large size towel because it can double as a blanket during long train rides or chilly bus trips. It makes for a great beach blanket too!
This an essential item for any frequent traveler’s arsenal. Whenever we’re flying, we travel with a luggage scale to ensure that we avoid those overweight baggage fees that are different for each airline. So many budget airlines now charge you by the weight of your bag but they make you guess the weight when buying the ticket or checking in. That’s nearly impossible to guestimate! Use this device to weigh your bags before you go to the airport, instead of holding up the check-in line by attempting to shuffle the weight around to your carry-on at the airport. We like this light weight, strong, yet inexpensive digital luggage scale that includes the battery.
A Waterproof Phone Case
When traveling, you regularly face obstacles such as waterfall mist, freak rainstorms, splashes while boating, and even the occasional water gun fight. For any of these instances, a waterproof phone case is an absolute must. We always travel with ours. This universal waterproof phone case fits most all smartphone sizes and can even be submerged up 100 feet! Get one for yourself, if not for some gifts that your friends and family maybe never thought of.
A TSA-Approved Luggage Lock
It’s a good idea to lock your luggage to protect your personal belongings. But if flying through the US, the TSA is permitted to inspect your checked baggage. In doing so, they regularly cut off many locks from traveler’s luggage. But TSA agents have a special master key to open these TSA-Aprproved Luggage Locks. So having one of these on your bag will ensure your belongings stay safe and your lock doesn’t get clipped. It’s always good to travel with locks, which can also be used to lock up your luggage at hostels or left luggage stations.
A Worldwide Universal Power Converter
If you know someone whose always fumbling around with a sack full of different power converters, this is the gift for them. We used to carry around an arsenal of converters for all the different regions around the world. It turns out that really all you need is one of these little devices. This Worldwide Universal Converter will provide you with two USB ports and an AC Adapter in 150+ countries around the world.
Travel Wallet & Passport Holder
This travel wallet will help to keep all your essentials safe. It’s waterproof, blocks RFID signals that attempt to steal credit card info, and has a wrist strap to keep secure. It can hold credit cards, your passport, money, and has a coin pouch for all the foreign coins you inevitably collect while abroad.And it’s on sale on Amazon for the holidays.
What To Buy The Traveler Who Has Everything?
Many seasoned travelers may already have all their favorite travel gear. So what the heck do you get this well-stocked breed of traveler?
Travel Gift Cards
Buy these difficult-to-shop for travelers some travel gift cards. Most avid travelers tend to value experiences over “stuff” anyways. So buy them a travel gift that will actually help them travel and to enjoy the experiences they love so much! Travelers always need a place to stay!
Hotels.com Gift Cards for Millions of Hotels Around the World
We probably use Hotels.com more than any other booking site because of their low prices, inventory of hotels, and they have the best loyalty program (one free night after every 10 nights). But hotels.com is also one of the only booking sites to offer gift cards. Travelers on the receiving end of these gift cards can use them in nearly all countries around the world at over 150,000 hotels, guesthouses, hostels, and resorts. You send them by email or print them at home to have a physical item to give. And they never expire!
What’s On Your Travel Gear Wish List?
What’s on your wish list? Did you see anything here you’d like to pick up for yourself or as a travel gift someone else? Let us know in the comments!
And if you’re not ready to shop for the holidays yet, be sure to bookmark this Travel Gift Guide 2017 page to save these travel gift ideas for later. Or Pin this to your Pinterest boards.
-John & Heather, Roaming Around the World