The Ultimate Gift List for Travelers 2020

Christmas is just around the corner, and if you’re like me, you’re racking your brain for gift ideas. When it comes to buying gifts for my loved ones, I always try to get them something they’ll love AND use often. That’s why I count my lucky stars that so many of my friends and family are avid travelers.

Travelers are some of the easiest people to shop for, and if you’ve got some in your life that you need to get a gift for, here’s my ultimate Christmas Gift List for all things fun AND functional!

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26 best gifts for travelers

26 Gift Ideas for Travelers

1. Packing Cubes

When it comes to long term travel, the key to not losing your mind while you live out of a backpack or a suitcase is to stay organized. Why not make it easy on yourself with a set of lightweight, mesh packing cubes? Not only does a reliable set of packing cubes come in different, streamlined sizes to help you pack efficiently, their durable and functional design speeds up an otherwise tedious process.

2. Travel Padlock

One of the most common pitfalls that face travelers is theft, and while people usually think this happens at the hands of a clever pick pocket on the streets, it’s just as likely to happen in the hostel you’re staying at. I had a friend who had both his laptop and camera stolen in Mexico out of the locker in his dorm room, which could have been completely avoided if he’d had a luggage lock with him. And while many hostels will offer you a padlock if you don’t have one, 9 out of 10 times you have to pay for it. Give the traveler in your life the best gift of all – security – so they can travel stress-free knowing that their tech, money, and passport are all locked up. 

3. Quick Dry Towel

When you’re already limited on space, you can’t afford to take a typical beach or bath towel with you. So when it comes to travel of any kind, the goal is to go lightweight and compact – and that’s exactly what OlimpiaFit’s Microfiber Travel Towel Set promises. This quick-drying towel set is super absorbent, multifunctional, and totally affordable! Not to mention it comes with two different size towels, a carrying bag, and clip so that you can maximize your space and stay dry on the road. This essential travel accessory is perfect for any adventurer!

4. Passport Holder  

One of the best words a traveler can hear when it comes to gear is “multifunctional.” The more purposes a piece of gear serves, the more space and money they can save in the long run. That’s why I love this particular passport wallet, and why it’s the perfect gift for the efficient adventurer in your life. Here are all the different features you get in this ONE wallet:

  • RFID Blocking
  • Compact design with detachable wrist strap
  • Can hold cash, cards, boarding passes, keys, maps, and travel guides
  • Separate pouch for your phone

Plus, it comes in a variety of colors, making it suitable for anyone!

5. Headlamp

Whether you’re camping, hiking, or trying to pack your bag in the middle of the night and not wake up your fellow travelers, a reliable headlamp is one of the best pieces of gear a traveler can have in their pack. I’ve been using my Black Diamond Headlamp for over 6 years now and will swear by it until my dying day. It has a variety of settings including full strength in proximity and distance modes, dimming, strobing, red light for night-vision, and lock mode. Plus, it has a Brightness Memory feature, which means you can turn the light on and off and it’ll hold at the level of brightness that you’ve chosen. Not to mention, it’s also water proof and protected up to 3 feet of water immersion for half an hour! 

6. Collapsible Metal Drinking Straw

In all honestly, a reusable straw is a great gift for anyone, not just travelers. But for anyone who is a proponent of sustainable, eco-friendly tourism, the Greenchimp Stainless Steel Collapsible Straw is the perfect gift to get them this year. This set comes with a collapsible, FDA approved folding straw AND a cleaning brush that’s all packed away into a durable, portable, pocket-size carrying case. It even comes with a key ring for quick and easy attachment!

7. Daypack

A reliable daypack is an essential piece of gear for any traveler, and I can’t think of a better daypack to gift to someone than Zomake’s Ultra Lightweight Backpack. This thing brags on itself as being ultra-light, ultra-durable and ultra-awesome. Not only is it coated in water proofing and tear resistant nylon that can stand up to the roughest and toughest of adventures, it also folds up into a sandwich sized pocket that you can easily clip to your primary backpack. Plus, it comes in some truly sick colors!

8. Anti-Theft Money Belt

Much like a padlock, an anti-theft money belt is another essential element of traveler security, and out of the many money belts that you can find on the market, one stands above the rest. Zero Grid’s Travel Security Hidden Money Belt has a number of features that makes it perfect for any traveler. With its durable nylon webbing, wider pocket for storing bills, and buckle with travel safety lock technology, your loved one can explore with confidence knowing that their money is safe. And as a bonus, the belt is designed to be TSA approved!

9. Multitool

As useful as they can be, a solid multitool can often be expensive, and travelers will skip out on purchasing it. But a proper multitool doesn’t have to be upwards of $50, and makes a great gift for campers, hikers, and travelers. That’s why we recommend the Pro-Master Multitool Knife. This little guy packs a punch! It boasts a folding saw, wire cutter, needle nose pliers, a double-sided nail file, hook remover, can opener, and even a set of screwdrivers. The Pro-Master Smart & Simple Multitool can do it all, and not break your bank!

10. Hammock

Camping, traveling, or chilling in your backyard – there is no better way to relax than in a hammock. There are lots of great brands out there, but our vote for hammock goes to the Eagles Nest Outfitters (ENO) DoubleNest Hammock. ENO markets this as a hammock for two, and while it can definitely accommodate two bodies, the DoubleNest is ideal for one. It gives you plenty of room to stretch out and also fit a sleeping bag when the occasion arises. Plus, they come in some great colors!  

11. Sleeping Bag Liner

Another go-to travel accessory is a reliable sleeping bag liner. Whether you’re trying to keep warm inside a sleeping bag or you want a barrier between you and the linens with questionable stains at your hostel, a sleeping bag liner is a great gift that you know will get used.

12. Dry Bag

Out of all the gear a traveler can bring with them, a waterproof dry bag could easily be considered the most valuable. I’ve known plenty of fellow travelers who have lost phones, tablets, eReaders, and other expensive pieces of tech to a sudden rainstorm or a kayaking trip gone wrong. Earthpak’s Dry Bag comes in a variety of sizes, including 10, 20, 30, 40 and 55 liters. You also can use the strap system to convert it from a backpack to a shoulder bag, all the while keeping their gear safe and dry.

13. Chacos

Whether it’s hiking a mountain or exploring a new city, travelers are always on their feet. So, when it comes to a travel shoe that checks all the boxes and looks great, too – my vote is for a pair of Chacos technical sandals. These bad boys will not only get you from Point A to Point B, they can take a beating and look great at the same time! Chaco has several style options, but my favorite is the Z2 Classic Athletic Sandal. Plus they have options for Men and Women!

14. BUFF

Without fail, the word “multipurpose” is music to a traveler’s ears, and this is the perfect way to describe BUFF Headwear. Made with Merino wool, this thing is soft, warm, light weight, and wind-resistant. With your trust BUFF at your side, you can use it as a neckerchief, sun guard, face mask, hood, balaclava, cap, headband, and hair tie. The ways to wear it are only limited by your imagination! 

15. Portable Battery

Given that travelers handle their flight schedules, boarding passes, and accommodation through their smartphones and tablets, it’s critical that their devices hold a charge throughout the day. And the more off the grid you get, the harder it is to make sure your tech is all charged. So a reliable battery like the Anker PowerCore 10000 is the perfect gift to get the traveler that’s on the move and needs to stay connected!

16. Extra-Long Charging Cable

When you’re on the road, it’s critical to stay connected to your devices. Whether it’s taking some photos of their trip, reading an eBook on their tablet, or tracking their finances on their laptop, travelers need to stay plugged in and charged up. But nobody tells you how crowded airports can be or that rarely is an outlet near your bed in the hostel’s dorm room. So, give the traveler in your life the gift of convenience and a full charge with an extra-long charging cable! Check out these 10-foot cables for iPhones and Androids!

17. Travel Adapter

Another traveler essential is a reliable adaptor – but most retailers sell individual ones for the European Union, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the US. Save yourself some money and your loved one some space in their pack with this universal, all-in-one travel adapter that also comes with four USB ports! Perfect for smartphones, tablets, laptops, and more!

18. Noise Cancelling Headphones

A pair of reliable headphones is another essential piece of gear for travelers. Between long flights, noisy bus rides, and rowdy hostels, being able to block out noise for a few hours is key to keeping your sanity. The great thing about these noise cancelling headphones from BYGZB is that they come with a number of great features like four speakers, high resolution mic, and strong bass. Not to mention you can get them at a steal for under $20!

19. Portable Speaker

I can’t say enough how critical good music is for travelers, especially when you’re in a large group and trying to keep the party going. If you’ve got a quality portable speaker with you on your travelers, odds are you’re going to be a crowd favorite wherever you go. When it comes to tunes, the JBL Clip 3 Portable Speaker checks all the boxes. Not only is it lightweight and have a convenient clipping design, but it’s also waterproof – which is probably the most important feature on it (I’ve seen many speakers meet an early end from a quick dip in the ocean or dousing in beer).

20. Kindle

I don’t know about other people, but traveling is one of the best opportunities to knock out a bunch of books that you’ve been wanting to read. Between never ending flights and bus rides that crawl by, reading is one of the best ways to pass the time, keep your sanity, and even get more enjoyment from your trip. For travelers, one of the best e-readers out there is the Kindle. In addition to being cheaper than tablets, it’s designed specifically for reading, and packs in awesome features like a glare-free display, tons of space, and an adjustable front light so you can read inside and outside. Plus, a single battery charge can last WEEKS, not just a few hours!

21. WiFi Booster

One of the most common problem that travelers face on the road is unreliable WiFi. More often than not, the free WiFi that your hostel advertises on Agoda or Hostelworld barely reaches to every part of the property, and even if it does, a simple web page can take 15 minutes to open. An easy solution? This N600 Dual Band WiFi booster from Panda that doesn’t take up any space, supports PCs and Macs, and simply plugs into a laptop’s USB port. This is the perfect, and inexpensive, stocking stuffer for the traveler in your life who likes to stay connected or works on the road.

22. Mobile Hotspot

Another great gift idea for an avid traveler is a mobile hotspot. When you’re traveling out of the country, the most common options for staying connected include data roaming and local SIM cards, which can be pricey and tough to find on the road sometimes. A great solution and gift idea for an avid traveler is a mobile hotspot like GlocalMe’s G4 Worldwide High Speed Wifi Hotspot. This particular model works in over 100 countries, comes with two slots for local SIM cards, and its own data plan that’s actually affordable!

23. World Scratch Map

Wanna hear a cliché? An important part of the journey is coming home. And as played out as that saying is, it’s very true! For people have taken month- and even year-long trips, coming home is just as rewarding as the epic trip they just finished. And one of the best parts about wrapping up a trip is reminiscing about all the memories that were made. What better way to do that than with an International Scratch Off Map that shows all the great places you’ve been? Not only will it look great on the wall, but it’s also perfect for reigniting that original wanderlust!

24. Indestructible Playing Cards

One of the best ways to pass time on the road or make some new friends is with a deck of handy playing cards. But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost an entire deck of my favorite playing cards because someone (me) spilled a beer all over them or someone (me) left them in their daypack while spending a few hours in a kayak. So, do your beloved traveler a favor and get them a set of Waterproof Playing Cards that can hold up on the road and keep them entertained.  

25. Travel Pillow Kit

I don’t know what it is about traveling, but between late nights, loud hostels, and day-long adventures, it seems like you never get enough sleep on a trip. Either way, travelers are notorious for falling asleep in the most random places, which usually means in some heinous sitting position with no room to stretch out or get comfortable. So, it goes without saying, but having a comfortable travel pillow in your pack is essential. My favorite is the MLVOC Travel Pillow because it’s comfortable, machine washable (SO IMPORTANT FOR TRAVELERS), made with a breathable fabric, packs into a compressible bag, and includes a kit with an eye mask and ear plugs!

26. Travel Journal

A classic gift to give the traveler in your life is a solid travel journal. Thanks to Pinterest, most people these days go for an elaborate journal with a decorative leather or super detailed cover. But this is a rookie mistake. Because most travelers are carrying everything they need on their back or in a super compact suitcase that they can bring as a carry-on, they don’t have space for an elaborate travel journal. My favorite travel journal is this number from WANDRD that includes world maps. Itineraries, trip logs, and planning checklists. Plus, it’s made with high-quality materials, so it can stand up to wear and tear on the road.

Need more gift inspiration? Check out my Ultimate List of Gift Ideas for Rock Climbers!

If you liked my ultimate gift list for travelers, be sure to pin it and save it for later!

26 best gifts for travelers

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