Gift Ideas For Travelers

Seven gift ideas for travelers that we love and anyone like us will, too. For more ideas and inspiration, see How to Pick Gifts Even Better than Santa: 8 Unconventional Tips.

Gone, But Not Forgotten!

They’re going away and it’s a bittersweet feeling. You’re happy they’re heading off on an adventure, but you’re also sad they’re leaving you behind. What do you get them as a send-off gift that they’ll constantly see as a reminder of your affection for them?

It’s a tough decision, but hopefully this list will help. Here are seven easy gift ideas for someone going traveling.

1. An E-Book Reader

Sure, a lot of people like the feeling of reading physical books. The smell, too, is nice. But for someone on the go and trying to pack light (see Chris’ tips for minimalist packing), an e-book reader is an absolute must-have.

An e-book reader’s benefits go beyond space-saving, though.

  • Read Anywhere! They have a backlight so you can read in poorly lit places, or in bed when your travel partner or dorm-mate is sleeping.
  • Read Anything! This is a super underrated benefit of having e-book reader for traveling: Instead of facing an extremely limited choice of books in the country they’re traveling in, every book in the world is just a quick download away.
  • Read Always! The battery can easily last for 3 weeks (or more, for someone like me who doesn’t read much.)
  • Read Privately! Since e-book readers have no covers, no one has to know you’re reading 50 Shades of Grey.
  • Save the Planet! Less paper = less trees 😉

My recommendation: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. Why the Paperwhite and not the latest model from Amazon, the Oasis? Because the Paperwhite has everything you could possibly need. If money’s no object, go ahead and get the Oasis, but let’s put it this way: If I lost my Paperwhite, I’d get another one, and not a different model, immediately.

lonely planet guides make great last minute gift guide for travelers
My friends would’ve wished they had an e-book instead of this brick of a travel guide when we were backpacking in India.

But What If They Already Have an E-Reader?

1.a. Lonely Planet E-Book Guides

Lonely Planet e-book guides will be lifesavers for when they’re lost and have no internet connection, or when they’re stuck on an endless international flight or bus ride.

Get them online here.

lonely planet guides make great last minute gift ideas for travelers
Lonely Planet E-Book Guides are super useful, especially when you don’t have internetb. 

1.b. An E-Reader Case

Many people with e-book readers (like Chris) are too cheap or lazy to get a decent case. Do them a favor and help them protect their precious book with one of these:

2. A Travel Towel

Travel towels are on Kim’s exclusive list of 15 favorite travel essentials for women because they seem to come in handy way more often than you’d ever expect, wether it be as a beach blanket, a hostel privacy curtain, or an extra layer for frigid air-conditioned buses in the tropics.

Chris even likes to wear them on his head, under his hat, on hot sunny days!

towel for minimalist packing list
A travel towel also serves as a super cool Arab-style sun protection device.

These microfibre towels dry extremely fast and can pack into a small pouch, making them a perfect gift idea for someone who is going traveling.

They’re available at REI (US), MEC (Canada), at any travel store, or, of course, online.

3. Airbnb Gift Cards

Not just a gift idea for someone going traveling, this is even better as a gift for someone who is traveling!

Any long-term traveler is going to be counting their pennies soon enough, and the first thing they always sacrifice is a comfortable night’s sleep.

With an Airbnb gift card, you can treat your traveler to a comfortable, memorable, and much-needed rest that they’ll be thanking you for ages.

You need an Airbnb account in order to send someone a gift card. Don’t have an account? Sign up with this code and you’ll get a gift for yourself too: $45 to use towards your first trip!

Purchase your Airbnb Gift Card here.

airbnb gift card

4. Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

Whatever it is they enjoy listening to (music, radio, podcasts, etc.), every traveler needs a pair of headphones.

But why wireless headphones?

If you have to ask, it’s because you haven’t experienced wireless headphones yet. Once anyone does, they never go back. Trust me.

For sporty travelers, I recommend the Backbeat Fit from Plantronics. They work great for the many people like me who have problems finding headphones that fit. They go over the top of your ear so there’s no way they will ever fall off, even when they’re doing handstands. They’re also water resistant which comes in handy for those who sweat a lot, or have a tendency to fall into puddles. And the battery charges in no time and lasts for up to eight hours.

5. A Dictionary App

Have you ever said you were pregnant (embarazada) when you meant to say embarrassed (tener verguenza), in Spanish?

Save your friend or family member from a potentially embarasante vergonzoso situation with a dictionary app.

I particularly enjoy the Ultralingua dictionary apps because they gives me multiple definitions and sayings, as well as conjugations. My Spanish/Engish Ultralingua app is probably my second most used app down here in Colombia (after Google Maps) and is handy since it doesn’t require Internet.

Chris using dictionary app
Chris using his dictionary app to see how to say “I’m lost” in Spanish

6. Lululemon Shorts and Pants

Lululemon makes some great gear. Sure, it is expensive but there are a few pieces I think are worth the money.

For women, I love the Speed Up Tight  and the On The Fly pants. They dry quickly, have smart pockets, can be worn on the plane or for workouts, and are overall, very versatile pants.

For men, Chris swears by his Pace Breaker shorts with liners (he has 3 pairs), as well as the ABC Pants—lightweight pants that look good but are super comfortably and stretchy.

Lululemon makes great gifts for someone going traveling

Even while waterfall swimming (up to my thighs) through mud and spider web my Lululemon Speed Up pants held up just great in Jardin, Colombia.

7. A Packable Down Jacket

No matter where I go, even just a weekend away, I never leave home without my packable down jacket. And if you’re looking for gift ideas for someone going traveling, make sure they don’t either.

These jackets are amazing. They weigh next to nothing, take up almost no space, somehow come out of the washing machine almost completely dry (and yes, they’re washing machine friendly), and can be worn below or above other layers.

But which jacket to buy?

First of all, get one in black. Quite simply it’s the most versatile and stain-resistant color.

Secondly, go for Patagonia. If you haven’t heard of Patagonia, they’re an amazing company whose ethos is preserving the earth for generations to come. Their jackets are made from recycled materials and they’re guaranteed for life. If the person you gift the jacket to ever has any problem, they can take it to a Patagonia store to get replaced or repaired.

Chris and I love the Patagonia Nano Puff jackets so much that we put up with the silliness of walking around everywhere wearing the same thing.

Chris and Kim in matching jackets
Yeah we’re matching. So what? These jackets are too awesome not to wear.

Give a Gift They Won’t Forget!

Hopefully one of these gift ideas will earn you some brownie points from the person you’re buying for.

And, if you have any other ideas and suggestions, please let me know (let’s just say I might need a gift for a special someone…)

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Disclosure: Whenever possible, we use links that earn us a cut if you pay for stuff we recommend. It costs you nothing, so we’d be crazy not to. Read our affiliate policy here.

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Kim and Chris are fighting the status quo to win at life, then sharing their best tactics on The Unconventional Route. If you want to join, subscribe to Consider This for a fresh dose of ideas every 10 days.

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