Christmas Gift Ideas for Travelers
Are you looking for the perfect gift for that traveler in your life? Gift giving in general can be a little overwhelming. It can be especially overwhelming if you are trying to delve into a world that is a bit foreign to you. I have certainly gotten some strange travel gifts over the years from friends and family who meant well. I have also gotten some awesome stuff—but those gifts were usually from fellow travelers. If you are looking for Christmas gift ideas for female travelers, we have a few suggestions below. I even included some DIY projects. Happy shopping!
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Practical Christmas gift ideas for travelers
If you are looking for something practical that the traveler in your life will find useful, well, there is really no end to your options. So many travel accessories out there make travel easier, lighter, etc. You could go with something as simple as a water bottle (make it cute of course). R wrote a post about different water bottle options that work well for traveling and a good one makes a fine Christmas present. Other practical Christmas gift ideas for travelers include:
- Storage: packing cubes, drawstring bags, compression sacks, jewelry cases, etc. all make packing light and traveling a little easier. Some are more functional than others and some are definitely cuter than others. I mentioned before how much I love my Shoe Sac by Eagle Creek. It is a staple when I travel and very functional (although not very cute). These Waterproof Storage Bags on the other hand, are very cute. You really cannot go wrong with either one.
- Neck pillow: when it comes to travel pillows, there are many options out there. Some certainly work better than others. A coworker of mine recommended the Cabeau memory foam pillow and so far, it is the best I have used. It is a little bulky when you are trying to travel light, but I am grateful for it on those overnight flights.
- Toiletries: there is a very good chance that the traveler in your life already owns every travel accessory you can think of. However, toiletries tend to run out (in part because they are so small) and everyone needs these when they travel. Burt’s Bees makes a great little set (Fabulous Mini’s Travel Set) or you could go with something a little different like a Pod set.
- Travel razor: small and compact, the Venus Snap travel razor is one of my favorite purchases. I put on a new blade whenever I go on a trip and call it good. It works better than any disposable razor I have tried. Plus it’s cute.
- Waterproof phone case: we all travel with an expensive, minicomputer in our pocket (known as a cell phone). Most of us use it for everything from an alarm clock to a currency converter. Keeping it safe from the elements (or a thief) is crucial, and that can be difficult whenever beaches, pools and water sports are involved. I purchased this Waterproof phone case for a trip to Hawaii. Not only did it keep my phone dry, but I was able to take underwater photos and store a couple of things.
Fun gift ideas for travelers
Maybe the traveler in your life has every practical gadget and gizmo on the market. Or maybe a practical gift just is not your thing. Instead, you could go with something a little more fun. Really, anything with a map, travel quote or the word “wanderlust” on it gets me excited. Etsy has thousands of options for travel-related signs, jewelry, clothing, home décor, etc. If you are looking for something more specific (because yes, Etsy can get a little overwhelming), try a few of these Christmas gift ideas:
- Magazine subscription: you could go two ways with this one. Either go with a subscription for a travel-focused magazine (National Geographic Traveler anyone?) or pick out a magazine that your traveler would like to have when they go on a trip (my cousin loves her a People Magazine when she’s on the road). Either way, you are a winner. Plus, it is a gift that usually arrives 12 times a year. It is hard to beat that.
- Travel journal: I prefer a small notebook to record my experiences. Of course, the cuter the better. Since I use a separate one for each trip I take, I am always looking for new ones like the adorable Urban Cities Mini Journals. You could also pick up an official travel journal, but I would recommend it not be too bulky. If you want something really unique, pick up a copy of I Was Here: A Travel Journal for the Curious Minded.
- Something personalized: luggage tags, passport covers, lingerie bags, jewelry, etc. I could go on and on. If you have the option to personalize something, do it.
- Books: so many options here. You pick up a travel memoir, a guidebook or your favorite novel. A playful option could be a copy of Dr. Seuss’ Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
- E-reader: items like a Kindle Fire have gotten so cheap over the years, that they actually make a viable gift option—especially if your traveler has ever mentioned a dead cell phone battery or the hassle of hauling around a bunch of books.
- Games: R and I are not big into games while we travel. But I think we may be anomaly because there are so many travel-sized games out there to entertain while on the road. Even a deck of cards can be handy to have on hand during an extra-long layover.
Post-travel gift ideas for travelers
Reminiscing about a trip is almost as good as the trip itself. Something that encourages a traveler to remember their trip or experiences is a gift that keeps on giving! This could be something as simple as a photo album (although you may want to make sure your traveler is the kind of person who will actually print off some photos). Or try one of these suggestions for Christmas gift ideas for travelers:
- Photo book: After we return from a trip, R creates a book full of stories and pictures. We love looking through them and R often shares them with her family. If you know a traveler who is good with a computer, a gift certificate to service like Shutterfly is an excellent idea.
- Scratch map: it is almost impossible to do a search on the internet for travel gifts and not have some sort of scratch map pop up. I actually have two, both given to me as gifts. There are different sizes available and you can choose the entire world or just the United States. Either way, it is a pretty cool gift.
- Map or globe: R was given a world map as a gift that allows her to mark all over it with a dry erase marker. For Christmas one year, my mom gave me a vintage world map on a tapestry. There are so many different options out there. A regular old paper map and some push pins or a globe of some sort all are good choices for a gift.
- Picture cube: (warning: what you are about to read is blatant self-promotion.) I make custom vintage picture blocks that I sell on Etsy. I do them for all sorts of occasions but some of the neatest I have done over the years have been for people’s vacations. They make a unique keepsake.
Weird Christmas gift ideas for travelers
I have a friend whose family gives each other the most weird and random gifts. There is really no explanation for most of them. If this is your cup of tea, then there are certainly options that fit the bill. Weird Christmas gift ideas for travelers include:
- Shewee: yes, R and I both have one of these. However, we have not found a whole lot of situations in which they are actually useful. In fact, I rarely remember to pack mine. But that is not to say one wouldn’t make a perfect gift for the outdoor-obsessed female in your life.
- TravelJohn Disposable Urinal Packs for Women: this is along the same lines as the Shewee discussed above. Only I have never used one before and cannot give an account of how they work. However, they definitely fit the “weird” bill so it probably does not matter if they work or not—assuming weird is your aim here.
- Personal luggage tracker: in my opinion, airline companies are getting better at keeping track of your luggage (they should be with all of the technology available out there). But losing a bag is still a risk you take every time you check one. That is where a personal luggage tracker comes in. I am not sure what you are supposed to do if your luggage is declared lost by an airline but you can see its location on some sort of app map (chase it down!?!). Regardless, a luggage tracker makes an interesting gift for the techie traveler in your life.
- Socks: airplanes can get chilly and even on flights to warm-weather destinations, my toes tend to get a little cold. There are so many weird and wonderful socks out there and they make great gifts. And soccer socks, we recently learned, are a great alternative to compression shocks. If you want to play it safe, pick up some merino wool socks. Anything Icebreaker will make the traveler in your life very, very happy.
- TSA PreCheck or Global Entry: this is not the cheapest option on the list, but offering to pay for either service would make a great gift—assuming they are not already enrolled. To learn more, read up on a post R wrote about TSA PreCheck vs. Global Entry.
DIY gift ideas
I am kind of a DIY junkie. Unfortunately, not everything I make turns out quite like I planned. Oh well. However, the following DIY travel gifts are pretty easy to manage and may even spark your creativity to make something else. Plus, something handmade makes a gift extra special in my opinion:
- Travel fund jar: I have a change jar at work that is simply a mason jar with gold stripes painted on it. My change jar at home is a slightly bigger jar with a cork top. I went ahead and added a photo to the back and a label to the front. It is adorable and I love it. The label I made is available as a Free Printable. Enjoy!
- Snacks: if you know your traveler’s snacks of choice, you could put together a little goody basket of all their favorite treats. Everyone who knows me knows I love Swedish Fish and I never leave home without them. You can read more about snacks on the road in a post R wrote earlier this year.
- Cord holder: I do not know anyone who does not travel with some sort of piece of technology. Most of us travel with several (e.g. cell phone, e-reader, MP3 player, etc.). Where there are gadgets, there will be chords and some sort of cord holder makes an excellent gift. Last year I made my brother-in-law a simple earphone holder with leather and a snap. Then I tooled his name on it. I have been meaning to make one for myself since it was so darn easy and cute.
- Luggage tags: there are many DIY luggage tag options. Just Google it. You can keep it simple or go all out. A couple of years ago, I made leather luggage tags for R and S (and myself) with travel quotes on them. They were not the easiest DIY project I have embarked on, but they were cute and have held up after multiple trips. Anything personalized is usually very appreciated.
- Gift basket: you could always gather a few things from the lists above and put together a travel-themed gift basket or box. Better yet, put everything into a drawstring map bag!
I hope this post helped you come up with a few Christmas gift ideas for travelers. There are practical gifts as well as fun gifts. Or you can make something if you prefer. The important thing is to keep your traveler in mind. Trust me, we appreciate any effort made to choose something related to this crazy world of travel that we love.