It’s nearly time for Christmas shopping, so I’ve put together this list of gifts for travel lovers, which would also work for birthdays and special occasions all year round to be honest. As someone who loves travel, I’d be made up with any of these things. In fact, I already have quite a few of them, so I can vouch that they actually are nice things to have.
Before you settle in to peruse my travel-themed present ideas, I just want to assure you that this list does not contain scratch maps, novelty passport cases or any other useless stuff that’s been done to death… Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I’m trying out some affiliate links in this travel gift guide, which has never actually worked for me before. This just means that if you buy any of my recommendations, I’m supposed to receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
24 gorgeous gifts for travel lovers
1. A beautiful illustrated map of their favourite destination
I know this example will be popular with my large gang of Isle of Man fans who regularly read this blog! But you can get a lovely illustrated map for most places in the world so it’s dead easy to pick where your travel-loving friend likes. If you buy from an independent retailer on something like Etsy, you’ll also be supporting an artist rather than just buying a generic print from John Lewis or something.
I particularly like the ones that have little images to represent towns in the region you pick, like I’ve seen one for the UK that has an umbrella on Manchester and a pie on Wigan etc.
Buy one on Etsy for around £14.
2. A map-print makeup/toiletries/wash bag
I have so many toiletries bags of various sizes depending on how long I’m going away for. My main two are small one for weekends away when I won’t need to do a hair wash and a big one for proper holidays when I’ll take all my shampoo and conditioner etc. But I also have others for fake tan, jewellery, contact lens equipment.
Basically, you can never have too many and having a travel-themed one for your travels makes a nice present.
Buy one on Etsy for £26.
3. A travel-themed t-shirt
I know a t-shirt isn’t exactly a ground-breaking gift idea, but if you get one for someone with a good slogan on it may well become their go-to top for wearing to the airport. Everyone needs a simple, comfy t-shirt to wear on a long-haul flight and why not a travel-themed one?
It would also make for a good selfie at the airport just in case everyone on Instagram didn’t know you were off on your hols…
Buy one on Etsy for £12.
4. A Kindle Paperwhite (one of the most useful gifts for travel lovers)
As much as I love the feel and smell of a real book, in reality they just weigh so much and take up a lot of room in your luggage. You need several books in your bag for a long flight or for a relaxing holiday and that’s a lot of extra baggage weight that could be used for more clothes.
Also, ever since I got my Kindle a few years ago, I’ve ploughed through more books than I had for years. That can only be a good thing.
Buy one on Amazon for around £99.
5. A reusable water bottle that collapses when empty
A reusable water bottle is a must for anyone who a) needs to drink water and b) doesn’t want to add yet more plastic to the world. So, quite a lot of people then.
I’ve blogged before about how easy it is to avoid killing the planet and wasting money with horrible disposable plastic bottles of water when you’re on your travels. Having a reusable one that also folds down into a small size when it’s empty is a bonus for when you’re on your travels and don’t want it to take up valuable room in your bag that could be used for tacky souvenirs.
Buy one on Asos for £12.
6. A dead swanky suitcase
This is one if you want to splash out on someone. Definitely not for the office Secret Santa. But if you do want to treat one of your travel-loving friends or relatives, you can get some amazing suitcases these days.
Marble patterns still seem to be going strong after a few years of popularity and you can even get this one personalised.
Buy one on Etsy for £115+ (depending on size).
7. A travel-themed piece of jewellery
I love a delicate necklace with some kind of meaningful thing on it. I’ve got a really cute bee one and one with a pinecone on, but I’ve also spotted this lovely rose gold number with a plane on it. It also has a little circle thing you can have your initial on.
This would make a good stocking filler at Christmas or maybe a small present for a friend going travelling.
Buy one on Etsy for £13.
8. The perfect backpack
Ah, the elusive perfect backpack. I’ve decided, after years of trials, that it really depends on the individual. Some people swear by certain brands that I’ve tried on and found massively uncomfortable.
My criteria for a good travel backpack are:
- colour: has to go with all my outfits so neutral nudes, black, grey or cream
- thick shoulder straps so it doesn’t rub
- no silver hardware/zips as I never wear silver jewellery
- has to fit my camera and water bottle comfortably
- can’t look practical or like I’m about to go hiking.
My current Herschel city bag ticks most of these, but it’s yet to come on holiday with me. I will report back but I have high hopes…
Buy one on Asos for £40.
9. A gift card for a hotel stay
I really like the idea of giving someone a hotel stay but without just giving them a wad of cash that they might end up spending on gin instead. You can get vouchers for various hotel chains, but I think letting them choose their own is better.
The hotels.com gift card is a good shout for this. You don’t have to give loads, because they can just use it to knock off the price of their next trip.
Buy one on Hotels.com for any price you want. How much do you like your friend?
10. A new Lonely Planet guidebook for their next adventure
As much as I love travel blogs (mainly my own TBH), I always buy a guidebook for a new destination. Some people are team Rough Guides and some are team Lonely Planet. I’m firmly in the latter camp, so that’s my go-to shop for guidebooks. They often have really good offers on too.
This would be a good present for anyone with a holiday coming up, but also for any travel-loving couples’ wedding present. You could put some currency for their honeymoon destination inside it too. (Disclaimer: I’ve definitely done this for most of my mates who’ve got married, if it sounds familiar to any friends reading this..)
Buy one on Lonely Planet for various prices.
11. A chic floppy straw hat with some kind of travel-themed slogan on
These are so ridiculous and frivolous. I love them.
You can get them with stuff like ‘out of office’ or ‘wish you were here’. We’re all sick of seeing them on Instagram and they’ve probably had their day but… they’re just fun, ok?! I couldn’t leave them off a list of gifts for travel lovers because they’ve kind of become iconic.
Buy one on Etsy for £39.99.
12. A vintage souvenir scarf from their favourite city
Bear with me on this one while you’re thinking ‘WTF is a vintage souvenir scarf?!’… it’s one of these. A vintage silky scarf with pictures of a famous tourist destination on.
You’ve probably seen them before in vintage/charity shops. They must’ve been the chic version of a fridge magnet back in the day. They’re usually square, so they’re the sort of scarf you tie round your neck to pretend to be French.
Buy one on Etsy for about £7.
13. A moneybox to save coins in for travel
This is a bit of a stocking filler or small present for someone you don’t know that well or don’t want to splurge on. I’m all for not buying pointless gifts, and you could possibly class this as pointless…
BUT who doesn’t have annoying piles of change rattling around drawers and the bottom of every handbag? Tip it all out into this bad boy and watch it rack up. Then take it to your bank or a supermarket, wherever has one of those machines for making coins into real money. And voila! A bit of holiday spending dosh.
Buy one on Asos for about £7.
14. Personalised map-print coasters
How many map-print items can you fit onto a list of 24 gifts for travel lovers? I’m pushing the boundaries here.
These little wooden hexagonal coasters are a really lovely idea though. You just need to pick a location personal to the person you’re buying the present for. So you could do where they live, their favourite holiday destination, where they’re going to on honeymoon if it’s for a wedding present etc. Cute. And nobody has ever said they have too many coasters.
Buy some on Etsy for £19+.
15. A plain white pair of comfy trainers
I take dressing for travel/holidays very seriously. One staple of my holiday wardrobe in almost all seasons is a pair of plain white trainers that I can walk all day in. Coloured trainers are all very well but they’re not going to match with a week’s worth of outfits, unless you’re some kind of weirdo who dresses in the same colour every day. This is why you need a plain pair.
And given the average city break involves doing 25-30,000 steps a day – for me at least – they need to be comfy. I really love Converse, but they can be a bit flat for that amount of strolling. I’m currently on a pair of Nikes but my next are going to be New Balance, which everyone assures me are the best for city break marathons.
Buy some on Asos for around £70.
16. Packing cubes
Not the most snazzy and exciting present, but definitely a practical one. A lot of frequent travellers swear by these so they’re a solid set of gifts for travel lovers.
Buy some on Amazon for around £20.
17. A print of their favourite metro system from around the world
If the person you’re buying a present for is anything like me, they will love you forever for this. I adore a good metro system and the maps of them are often things of beauty. I’ve got the Copenhagen one (FIT) but I’m now also tempted by Moscow, given how much I loved it (side note: Moscow is amazing and if you’ve not been, read my post on it).
Most metro maps look very chic in a plain black or white frame. You could make a gallery wall of them. This is the stuff dreams are made of.
Buy one on Etsy for £17+ (depending on size of print).
18. A foldable tote bag
Another boring-but-practical item. These are better than normal tote bags when it comes to packing and travel, because you can fold them up into little tiny squares and put them inside shoes to save space. Then, once you’re on your trip, whip them out and use them to store dirty clothes so they don’t contaminate your clean clothes when you’re moving between places.
You’d probably want to get someone another present to go with this TBH because it’s not very exciting. They’ll use it though!
Buy one on Amazon for £5.
19. A Rains jacket
There’s almost always the risk of rain on holiday, even in summer in a lot of places. And there’s nothing worse than walking round getting your hair wrecked because you’ve only brought a denim jacket.
Here’s the answer in the form of a slightly-too-expensive Scandinavian beauty.
Rains is one of my favourite brands and you can get their iconic jacket in loads of gorgeous colours (I have yellow, navy and grey). Put it on and you instantly feel like a cool person who lives in Stockholm and cycles everywhere. I don’t understand how ugly raincoat brands are still in business these days.
Buy one on Asos for £75.
20. Map-print socks
I warned you I was maxing out on the map-print stuff didn’t I? But how pretty are these?!
I think it’s the pastel shade of the map that makes them acceptable. A good stocking filler or small present.
Buy a pair on Amazon for £5.
21. A travel-themed Christmas bauble/ornament
Yet another thing on which you can personalise the map location! I think a Christmas ornament is a really nice gift if you’re in a Secret Santa situation or you just want to get someone something small and cute. This little wooden aeroplane ornament would look brilliant on the tree. It’s got a map on one side, which again you can pick yourself, and a plain other side where you can have a message written on it.
If you’ve ended up with someone you don’t like in your office Secret Santa, you could get outer Mongolia on one side and ‘wish you were here’ on the other.
Buy one on Etsy for £15.
22. A hidden clip-on travel wallet for going to dodgy places
This is neither pretty nor exciting, but is the best travel-related item I’ve ever owned.
If you’re going anywhere with pickpockets, I can’t recommend this enough for stuffing some money and your cards into. It clips inside the waist of your jeans/skirt, or if you’re in a dress you can also put it on the inside of your bra. It’s so thin that you can’t see it at all. Then you can keep your spending cash for the day in your normal purse in your bag, and still have this as a backup if something goes horribly wrong.
Buy one on Amazon for £10.
23. A map of the world doormat (one of the most original gifts for travel lovers)
In the vast world of map-themed things, I think this is one of the nicest. What a lovely present this would be for someone’s new home/house-warming do. It’s about the right price for that kind of gift and is probably something people wouldn’t buy for themselves.
One of my favourite travel-themed gift ideas!
Buy one on Etsy for £25.
24. A dual voltage travel hairdryer that works around the world
Last but not least, another bargain travel essential. I will never forget the first time I was planning a trip to Japan, and someone in work warned me that the voltage wouldn’t work with UK-standard hairdryers and hair straighteners. I immediately verified this with a quick Google and then ordered next-day delivery new GHD straighteners and this exact Babyliss hairdryer. It was the biggest near-disaster I’ve ever had. Imagine arriving somewhere and having no way to sort your hair out! Unthinkably terrifying.
Anyway, four years later and I still take this little hairdryer with me when I go to places with different voltages in their electricity. Despite its size, it’s surprisingly strong and does actually dry my (long, thick) hair. Other travel hairdryers I’ve tried have been beyond useless.
It’s got a dial on the front that you turn to the correct voltage, and then you can turn it back for UK use. Simple but life-saving.
Buy one on Amazon for £15.
Save and share: 24 gorgeous gifts for travel lovers
If you enjoyed this blog post on some nice gifts for travel lovers in your life or you want to save it for later, why not hover over the image below and pin to your Pinterest board?
If you’d like an email alert when I publish a new post, subscribe using the box at the side (if you’re on a laptop) or at the bottom (if you’re on a mobile or tablet).