What if you could really nail the whole gift-giving thing? Though gift cards are appreciated as a general rule, they’re just not all that original. It’s so much more satisfying to find the perfect gift to wrap and surprise your recipient with.
Just about everyone travels throughout the year. Whether for business, fun, or to see family, you’ll probably see the inside of an airport at least once each year. And when it comes to the transportation side of travel, it can be a bit uncomfortable without the right tools.
The following gifts for travelers will help recipients save time, create more space in their luggage, or inspire them to start planning their next trip. Many of these things are second thoughts to most but make all the difference in the world when it comes to improving the travel experience.
A great trip starts with a good foundation. These packing essentials make for smart and useful gifts for travelers:
$7 | Amazon
From the makers of my favorite to do pad, this super comprehensive packing list can help you make sure to bring everything you need on your next trip. It’s perfect for the frequent traveler that can benefit from getting some of their trip information out of their head and onto paper.
$139.99 | Amazon
Samsonite has a great reputation for making quality luggage and they have a number of options that match TSA guidelines for carry on bags, so you can purchase without worrying about whether or not it will pass a ruler test. The pictured expandable spinner is a nice option if you’re not sure what to get and don’t want your giftee to be limited by hardside spinners that are unforgiving if they bring back more than they planned for. For the best pricing, shop around major shopping holidays like Black Friday.
Both Dan and I have a Samsonite set.
$44.99 | Amazon
The Rolo Roll-Up Travel Bag could train even the worst overpacker in the fine art of “just enough”. It’s ingenious in its execution and a lighter solution than your typical luggage options. As an added bonus? It’s also a lot cheaper than your standard luggage piece.
$19.99 | Amazon
Packing cubes make it easy to organize your luggage in a way that makes you more efficient at packing. Amazon offers this gift for travelers in 6 different colors and since it’s one of their “Basics”, you know you’re getting a good deal that doesn’t sacrifice on quality.
Traveling in Style
Trying to fit everything in a carry on doesn’t have to mean sacrificing on your favorite beauty routines. Gift these tools to the traveler who wants to always look #Instaready every day on their trip.
$12.99 | Amazon
I have a mini-Chi straightener that I got ages ago to use after gym class in high school. It still works but if it didn’t, I’d grab this option. Straighteners aren’t terribly bulky but those that need them for small styling aspects will appreciate how this version will help you save room in your luggage for more important stuff—like souvenirs!
Price Varies | Target
Travelers are always looking for mini version of their favorite hair, face, and beauty products. Sign up for Target email updates to find out when they release their next beauty boxes which always have a few travel-sized sample items. Each box usually runs $5-7, and includes a $3 off coupon so that your favorite traveler can pick up whatever other travel toiletries they’re missing.
Since Target Beauty Boxes come out at random, you might instead opt for a travel-sized beauty set of your giftee’s favorite brand of makeup at Ulta.
$9.99 | Amazon
If you’re carrying on luggage (a great way to save time and money), you’ll have to plan your liquids accordingly. The rule is 3.4 ounces or less for each item, all packed together in a quart-sized bag. These bottles give you plenty to work with, so grab them for the traveler who can’t leave the house without their favorite hair and beauty products.
Just because you’re at the airport doesn’t mean you can’t use the occasion to show off your style. Grab one of our funny tanks for travelers for just about anyone you’re buying for this year—there are so many different options to choose from.
Carry On Must-Haves
Thanks to my United MileagePlus credit card, I’ve been hacking United Basic Economy like a boss and avoiding extra fees. I tend to pack light and can fit most things in a carry on bag. If you know a traveler like me, consider a present from this list of gifts for travelers:
$49.99 | Amazon
I’ve been really digging these Bluetooth headphones because they’re light and sweat resistant. I use them when I work out but love them equally for traveling. I can listen to music or an audiobook in line at security or while waiting at the gate and don’t have to take them off or worry about them falling off and getting lost. Since they’re flexible (not hard plastic like most Bluetooth neckband headphones), you can pack them away wherever’s most convenient.
$42.99 | Amazon
Those free battery chargers you get at promotional events are OK but they probably don’t possess enough power to juice up more than one device per charge. Furthermore, as you drain your external battery, you’re really just creating another device to eventually charge. This option is super useful because it has a wall plug: allowing you to charge it while it charges your devices. Its multiple ports are also helpful if you have limited adaptors when traveling internationally.
In addition to a USB outlet, there’s a built-in lightning charger. Clearly, this external battery is best suited to an Apple user.
$12.99 | Amazon
I have at least three of these but am always scrambling to find one right before an international trip. Needless to say, even the person you’re buying for already has one of these, they can probably use another. If anything, it’s the perfect stocking stuffer for your favorite international traveler.
$49.99 | Amazon
Frequent travel means tons of opportunities to knock out a good novel, without any other distractions. After owning Kindle devices from multiple generations, I can speak from experience that the reading experience is quite pleasant on this particular ereader. You can also use it as a tablet, which may come in handy when looking things up in your travel destination—just download your favorite Netflix and Amazon Prime shows straight to the device for offline watching! It has a lot of basic functionality you’d otherwise turn to your laptop for but takes a fraction of the space in your carry on. As a gift, it’s an affordable piece of tech that’s always appreciated.
$14.79 | Amazon
I’m a little obsessed with water bottles and can recommend one for almost any occasion. I like the Brita for traveling because it has a built-in filter. Don’t count on this to protect you from Montezuma’s revenge if you decide to test it on the tap water in Mexico but definitely use it to drink unfamiliar water to make it taste more like what you’re used to.
Price Varies | Kickstarter
Ryanair and Spirit Airlines are basically the worst. Even if you manage to fit all of your stuff in a teeny carry on bag, you won’t avoid a baggage fee unless you stick to just one “personal item” (basically, a book).
This jacket is intriguing because it has enough pocket space and length to essentially act like a piece of luggage—just not in a way these budget airlines can charge you for. Score one for the little guys.
$7.99 | Amazon
For how important they are, passports are kind of flimsy. Help your favorite traveler protect their most important travel document. These passport holders are stylish while also helping them stand out amongst your belongings so you can find them quickly during travel.
The things you experience during travel stay with you far past the end of your trip. Help your favorite traveler celebrate trip highlights with these gifts for travelers:
$14.99 | Amazon
Your favorite wanderluster needs one of these in their lives. It’s fun to scratch off the places you’ve been while fantasizing about where to go next.
4 10×10” canvases for $39.99 (plus shipping) | Groupon
I get an assortment of these exact canvases for Dan almost every Christmas. We travel enough that there are always some fun memories to choose from and display in our apartment. Because of this, they make for a lovely custom gift that can build on itself year after year to become a gallery to a person’s favorite travel moments. I like the square options because they combine together nicely.
Exploring More of the World
Travel is a never-ending yearning to explore more of the world. These gifts for travelers celebrate and empower the curious nature of those with wanderlust.
$39/month | Try the World
Try the World is one of my favorite subscription boxes. Each box is curated around a certain country theme. I’ve gotten boxes from South Korea, Italy, Greece, Chile, and more. The boxes include a plethora of gourmet food items that will spice up your giftee’s kitchen routine.
$15/quarterly (but cheaper depending on the term) | Scott’s Cheap Flights
Scott’s Cheap Flights (click to read my in-depth review) is an amazing subscription service that allows you to set alerts for different departure airports and destinations. I recently used it to book a 10 day trip to London with a stopover in Iceland for $338 per person (including baggage fees!). The cost more than pays for itself and makes for one of the most appreciated gifts for travelers.
19 Gifts for Travelers: Travel Lover Gift Guide
Whether you’re shopping for a coworker, friend, sibling, spouse, or parent, there’s something on this list for every traveler in your life. If you’re shopping for yourself, add your favorite items to an Amazon wishlist and share with the people who have you on their list this year.
What would you add to this list of essential gifts for travelers? Tweet @tanksgetaround and we’ll share our favorites!
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