Updated on March 13th, 2023
The fact that you’re reading this means you are either interested in travel or have somebody you love who is an enthusiast of exploring the globe. With the festive season fast approaching, I felt it was time to share my latest inspiration with this year’s round up of my top 26 best gifts for travel lovers. Enjoy, and don’t forget to share with anyone who you feel needs a little nudge in the right direction! ?”
All wrapped up and under the tree…wherever in the world you’re celebrating!
It’s the time of year again when we are all hunting around for the perfect gifts for the festive season. Last year I really enjoyed putting together my suggestions for the best gifts for travel lovers, so here is my second edition.
Last year I gave you colourful kikoys, tote bags and mugs that you colour for the countries you’ve visited, wooden wall maps and jewellery which really spoke to my personal journey, among many other choices. The theme that pulled them all together was companies whose ethos I love, a few ideas for travel inspiration and some of the key products I cannot do without. This year is no different. So, without further ado, let’s get down to business.
This post may contain affiliate links. By using these, Sue Where Why What may receive a small commission. You will not pay any extra charges for this. Please note that I have very rarely received any freebies and have never taken a Press Trip because of the recommendations in this blog and on my YouTube channel. My opinions, reviews and recommendations remain my own and most activities are self-funded. For more information see my disclosure.
Title: 26 of the Best Gifts for Travel Lovers
1. Beauty Advent Calendar
Travel will often mean compromising on many home comforts, but for me, one of the things I never compromise on is a good skincare regime. Nowadays, the run-up to Christmas brings a plethora of options when it comes to getting brands of all price points, at a discount and in travel sizes in beauty advent calendars.
Trust me, the joy of opening a drawer every morning to discover a different brand, a new formulation or just one you use every day but in a handy travel size, is a joy.”
You can then use the containers to refill future trips, giving you sustainability points too. What’s not to love? Here is a list of some of the best on offer in the UK this year.
2. Solid Beauty Bars
I discovered these recently, but they have been essential for me this year as I am on a constant search for how I can pack lighter and travel more sustainably, so a win, win as a gift for any traveller! Lush is my bar of choice so far. Using bars instead of lotions means that you can pack them for hand luggage-only trips and not take up valuable space in your liquids bag for security. I use bars now for shampoo, conditioner, soap, and body lotion and have even recently found body oil bars. Therefore, I believe these make the perfect gifts for travel lovers.
3. Essential Oils
Having something soothing to give a more pleasant aroma on the plane, calm you in times of stress, or help you sleep when jetlag has taken its grip, is always a treat. So, how about sticking some essential oils into your friend’s stocking, or even a pillow spray?
4. Silk Pillowcase
I don’t know about you, but as I’ve gotten older, it takes progressively longer for the lines from my pillow to disappear in the morning! A new investment of mine is a silk pillowcase. Apparently, they have multiple benefits, including preventing wrinkles and frizzy hair, as well as keeping your skin moisturized and regulating your temperature.
I cannot think of anything better to slide onto an airline pillow. So, why not invest in one as a gift for the travellers in your life?”
5. Silk Eye Mask
And if all these benefits are to be believed, then a silk eye mask is another option for your travel-loving friend. Why not prevent wrinkles at the same time as helping you sleep on a plane, train, bus, boat or any other situation we find ourselves in on our travels?
And while we’re on the subject of something silky to slip into at night…
6. Silk Sleeping Bag Liner
I’ve had my silk sleeping bag liner for years. I love it because it is light and not bulky (there’s a theme starting to emerge here!). It is perfect for keeping my sleeping bag cleaner, for longer and is also useful for staying in beds you may not be 100% confident in. I’ve certainly stayed in my fair share of those! Or, if you just want something light in hot weather. The great thing about silk is that it helps insulate in cold weather but is absorbent and breathable in warm weather. This one even includes a hidden passport pocket to store valuables for peace of mind whilst you sleep.
7. Life Straw Water Bottle
LifeStraw originally began as a humanitarian drive to give people in developing countries access to clean drinking water. This is still the case but lucky for us travel lovers, their technology is also available in water bottles. The bottles are perfect for everyday adventurers to refill anywhere outdoors. The straw acts as a filter, making any water safe to drink.
In addition, the company are helping combat climate change through their schemes to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and supply clean drinking water to families in Kenya.”
8. LARQ Self-cleaning Water Bottle
And I have just discovered this bottle too. The LARQ water bottle comes as a choice of insulated (to keep your beverage of choice either hot or cold) or a self-cleaning and water purifying version. It uses trademark technology to eliminate up to 99%of bio-contaminants such as E. coli from your water and bottle, meaning again you can get good drinking water from a variety of sources while travelling, cutting down on single-use plastics.
9. Stojo Collapsable Travel Cup
I have one of these and use it pretty much every day. I love it as it fits with my travel philosophy – takes up little space and doesn’t weigh much. In addition, it is leakproof, handles hot and cold drinks and is dishwasher safe. Once again, switching to reusables is a simple but powerful way to reduce your environmental impact and as a bonus, many places give you money off if you provide your own cup. What’s not to love about that? Depending on where you are reading this, use this link for the US, or this one for the UK).
10. Travel Hammock
Who doesn’t love relaxing in a hammock wherever you happen to be in the world? I hunt them out everywhere I go, so I felt that including a travel hammock in this list was perfect as one of the best gifts for travel lovers. After all, if you take a hammock with you, you always have somewhere comfortable to lay your head and catch up on some sleep. The best versions are lightweight and simple to fold up for easy packing.
11. Manduka eKO Yoga Mat
I have one of these too and it has been an essential item in my backpack to make exercising while travelling easier. And believe me, trying to stay fit while I’m away from home is my nemesis! I’m not a yogi, although I am partial to the odd retreat. (Check out my posts on yoga in Cuba and Iceland for more). What I love about this mat is that it is super thin, so folds rather than rolls, is light and has a superior grip. In addition, it is made of biodegradable sustainably harvested tree rubber. So, it would be rude not to include this in my list of the best gifts for travel lovers, especially if they want to stay fit while they are exploring the globe!
So we’ve covered beauty gifts and some invaluable products, next we move to clothing…
Uniqlo is one of my favourite brands for basic but useful clothing and one of my essentials once the weather starts to get a bit colder is their Heatech brand. If your loved one is going to colder climes, then check them out. I literally live in these for 6 months of the year.
In addition, I love their down jackets. These are fantastic for travelling as they are light, come with their own pouch, squeeze down very small for packing but add an incredibly warm layer for any outfit.”
I also recently invested in one of their waterproof jackets which looks great and is also smaller and lighter than my previous one.
13. Merino Wool Base Layer
For a more premium thermal gift for the adventure lover in your life, then a merino wool base layer is the perfect practical gift. I learned the benefits of merino wool when I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and lived in these, literally day and night. The benefits of merino products are that they are sweat-wicking, and incredibly warm but also absorb odours. Perfect for the skier, hiker, or just cold climate city explorer.
14. Nordace Backpack
I bought one of these recently and genuinely I think it is one of the best travel backpacks I have owned. It has been well thought out for us travellers and includes an antitheft pocket for all your valuables and a USB charging port. It also has a padded section for your laptop and a loop to attach it onto the handle of your suitcase. They also have a huge range of colours.
15. Cabin Sized Bag
One of the big changes for me this year was travelling hand luggage only. Many of the items which are featured in this post have been chosen to cut down space or weight. But the biggest revelation was how much you can take on some airlines.
I fly British Airways a lot (it’s a reward scheme thing) and by doing a small bit of research discovered that I could bring a bigger bag and still be within the limits for cabin luggage.”
Obviously, not all cabin luggage dimensions are created equal but for several (not just BA), a bigger bag could make all the difference. This is the one I bought in the end from Aerolite and I love it!
16. GPS Luggage Tracker
I have never used one of these but bearing in mind the travel chaos of last summer, this could be a new invaluable gift for the travel lover in your life. Basically, put one in or on your bag, hook it up to your phone and it will allow you to track your bag across its journey, to hopefully arrive with you at the other end. The Lugloc Luggage Tracker or Apple Airtag come highly recommended.
17. Luggage Scales
These digital luggage scales are brilliantly simple to use and essential for avoiding unnecessary airline charges for overweight luggage. All you need to do is clip the loop from the scales around the handle of your bag and lift it for a couple of seconds to get an accurate weight. Even better, they are again small and lightweight, so perfect for carrying with you on any type of trip.
But what about gifts for travel lovers that will not need to be carried but will create memories that will last forever?
18. Travel Experiences
Both Get Your Guide and Viator offer a wide range of travel experiences around the world. Find out where your travel-loving friend is headed and why not treat them to an experience that will create amazing memories? Some of my favourites are walking tours, food tours, maybe consider a wine tasting, a cultural or history tour, a cookery class or who doesn’t love a sunset cruise? I used Get Your Guide, particularly for my recent trip to Vietnam. See the video below to experience my cookery class in Hoi An, or head over to my unmissable activities in Saigon which features several of the day tours I enjoyed.
The choices are endless, but one thing is for sure, they will come back gushing with photos galore to share of their special day.”
I also love Viator which offers my amazing visit to the Underwater Sculpture Tour in Grenada.
19. Or how about a Gift Card instead?
If it’s too much to decide on what activity you want to give, Get Your Guide offer gift cards too, so your loved one can choose what they want to do for themselves. Who wouldn’t love that?
20. Airbnb gift card
One of the biggest expenses for travel is accommodation and now Airbnb is offering gift cards which is a fantastic idea for those friends and family who love to travel. Check out the link HERE for all the details.
21. Tinggly vouchers
Tinggly offers a range of experiences which you can buy as gifts and claim to be one of the cleanest experience gifts available. Basically, you choose the price & the gift box, your recipient receives the voucher either physically or as an e-voucher. They can then choose from hundreds of experiences in over 100 countries. As a result, the company plant, protect trees and offset 200% of carbon dioxide that was created during your chosen experience!
22. Tripadvisor Plus
This one is hot off the press as it’s not available yet but it is touting the big claim that you can make savings on over half a million hotels and experiences worldwide. Tripadvisor Plus includes members-only discounts on over 100,000 hotels and 10% off activities. In addition, there are member perks on flights and car hire and even a simple way to get expert travel advice. It is currently only available for those with a US credit card but they are hoping to expand their scope to other countries in the future.
And how about some gifts for travel lovers to enjoy back home, to inspire or remind them of their adventures?
23. Enjoy The Wood
In last year’s gift list, I shared my 3D wooden world map which takes pride of place across the entire wall of my spare room. It came from Enjoy The Wood, a family-owned business, based in Ukraine, hence why I am sharing their products again. This year the war has created numerous setbacks to their business, so I believe it is important to show them our support. And also, their maps are fantastic, unique & excellent craftsmanship.
They have continued to trade throughout, despite having to relocate their whole operation. If that doesn’t deserve some custom, I don’t know what does!”
You can choose 3D wood, cork, coloured or even luminous maps and as small or as large as you wish.
24. World Scratch Map
In a similar vein, how about a scratch map as a gift for your favourite travel lover? As they tick off new countries from their Bucket List, they scratch off the destination to reveal the world map underneath. You can even get them personalised for an extra special touch.
25. Cork Map
If this kind of home decoration appeals, then the other alternative is to use your world map as a pinboard. With this one you can use pins to attach photos, postcards, tickets and any other mementoes of your travels to truly personalise your map.
26. Awesome Maps Towels
And finally, the last on this list of the best 26 gifts for travel lovers are maybe the most practical maps of all. The towels by Awesome Maps include versions for runners, hikers, surfers, mountain bikers and climbers among many others, as well as a Bucket List version. Perfect for anyone with a passion for exploring the world!
So, here is my full list of the best gifts for travel lovers. I hope you have found it useful and found something here for even the most difficult traveller to buy.
Interested to read more?
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Great list. There are lots of stuff that I don’t usually think about but are very useful while traveling. I have to say that I really love bringing a pillow spray with me anywhere I go and the collapsible cup is such a great thing and doesn’t take much space!
Thank you, Mayi, so glad you found the post useful…& now I’m adding pillow spray to my packing lost too 😉
You’ve given me some ideas, Sue! And not just for travel lovers. Thanks for these. It is always great to get some suggestions for gifts for people and you have mentioned some great ones. Wouldn’t mind one or two of them. Is it wrong to give yourself a present? 😉
Thank you, Alma! Glad I’ve given you some inspiration & NO! Never wrong to gove yourself a pressie 😉
It is that time of year where I start thinking about shopping for the holidays. This list was good to get me thinking about things for that list. For others … and for me too! I like the idea of silk pillowcases to keep my curls in order. But I now wear a silk head covering that protects me from bad pillowcases. I know a few people who would like a self-cleaning water bottle. Thanks for some new ideas.
Thank you Linda & I am glad I was able to give even a seasoned traveller like you some inspiration!
Perfect timing and great list of gifts! I love these posts and they may even become gifts I give myself! ?
Thank you Heather & I am glad you enjoyed my list. I certainly will be gifting a few of these to myself this year…or already have 😉
Great read. I’m working on a video right now with a similar topic. Fun to read this since it was already so on my mind!! Merry Christmas to all the travelers!
Thank you Laureen & I look forward to seeing your video & soaking up some of your ideas too!
Wow, a beauty advent calendar sounds so fun! Much better than chocolate or other sugary desserts I don’t need to load up on this time of year, lol. Thanks for sharing these awesome gift ideas!
Thank you Brittany & I love my advent calendars, they are such a treat! Glad you got some new ideas.