16 Gift Ideas For The Traveler On Your List

16 Gift Ideas For The Traveler On Your List

Whether we’re ready for it or not, the holidays are here. Yes, already. And if you’re anything like the rest of us, you’ve probably got quite a few stragglers on your list that you have yet to shop for. Whether it’s your sister, friend, roommate, or the coworker who is on vacation more than he’s actually in the office, here are 16 gift ideas for the on-the-go guys and gals on your list, no matter what your budget.

1. For the friend who’s always planning their next trip: 1000 Places To See Before You Die. This book is full of must-see destinations and practical information to help plan. Whether the jet-setter on your list likes history, outdoor activities, shopping, or cuisines, this book is sure to offer valuable suggestions. Pick it up at your local book store or Amazon.com, starting at less than $10. Pair it with a journal and a nice pen to make the ultimate travel planning companion.

2. Maybe your friend isn’t a frequent flyer at all, but the thought of going on that spring vacation with her is enough for you to “accidentally forget” to pick adjacent seats. Anin-flight organizerwill help her keep everything handy instead of disturbing the people next to her while digging for lip balm, headphones, or Advil every 10 minutes.

3. Everyone likes to protect their electronics, so why not give them a stylish, water resistant case for their new eReader? Just make sure it’s sturdy enough to shove into a bag while on the go.

4. A quality carry on bag is always a good idea, but don’t overlook a “personal bag” to suit his/her style. I pack an overhead carry on with clothes, shoes, and any other large items I may need. But the bag that I use as my personal item has to fit my laptop, power cords, hair straightener, makeup, liquids, DSLR, keys, wallet, iPod, snacks, books, and then some. It’s nice to have a trendy, high-quality, organized bag that can double as a purse once I arrive at my destination. For men it might be better to go with a traditional overnight bag, but for women, check out their favorite designer or accessories store and look for an oversized bag with compartments. Go with their natural style- do they often carry boho-chic bags? Or how about a messenger bag, backpack, or simply a duffel bag?  ebags.com also has an excellent selection of bags for every guy or gal on the go. Some suggested features:

  • Strong zippers
  • Water repellant material
  • No more than 12″ high so that it fits under the seat
  • Heavy duty, padded handles and a removable/adjustable strap
  • The ability to zip shut or remain open comfortably
  • Separate pockets on the outside for quick access to cell phone, ID, ticket

5. What about the coworker you picked in the office gift exchange? Whether he’s an avid traveler or just a guy who doesn’t like to get wet when running out for lunch on a rainy day, a nice travel umbrella should do the trick. The smaller, the better. A flat handle fits into a bag much easier than a clunky round one. Or better yet, the Shortstuff Portable Umbrella is only 5.5″ folded so it can fit comfortably in his pocket. This is the type of gift that may not seem like much, but it’s one that he’ll use just as much, if not more, than any gift on this list.

6. I’ve found myself packing cheap and easy foods like instant oatmeal and macaroni & cheese in an attempt to save money while traveling. But sometimes it can be difficult to find dishes to prepare these low budget meals in. How about a collapsible bowl & plate for the extremely frugal traveler on your list?

7. Got a wine lover on your list that stocks up in every new place they visit? Give them Bottle Armor XXLthe perfect gift to prevent a suitcase of wine-stained clothes and shards of glass.

8. While on the road, clean drinking water isn’t always easy to come by. And we all know bottled water can get quite expensive. Here’s a cheap way to give your friend filtered water all the time, with the Waterbobble Filtered Water Bottle.

9. Has your friend been dying to visit a place year after year, but it always falls through? Ever wonder how you can help them get there without paying for a plane ticket that costs more than your first car? Why not get them a gift card through their favorite airline? It’s like starting a rainy day fund that they can’t accidentally spend on anything else.

10. Do you have a roommate who works nonstop on the road, but is constantly calling to have you to email a file from their desktop? Why not get them a subscription to MobileMe? At $99, you’ll help your hard-working roomie get a bit more organized by automatically syncing their desktop, laptop, iPad, and iPhone. No more docking and syncing before every trip. Added bonus: there’s even a feature to help your “organized” roomie find their iPhone or iPad the next time should they happen to misplace it.

11. Know a shutterbug that insists on showing you every single photo after every mini-adventure? Give them a Flickr Pro subscription so they can upload and share their photos with the entire world. At only $24.95 for one year, it’s also a great way to store high quality photos online, just in case anything happens to their memory card or computer while on the go.

12. What do you get a world traveler who’s not planning a trip any time soon? Let them explore different cultures while staying local by giving them a certificate for a class. Maybe a wine and cheese class, or a language class that will help them when they finally make that trip to Germany. If their schedule is too unpredictable, maybe a membership for a cheese, wine, or beer of the month club. I can’t recommend or speak on behalf of any company in particular, but a quick search will pull up several options to suit your price range.

13. What about the clutter-free friend whose apartment looks like a page from a West Elm catalog? Perhaps a digital picture frame would be the perfect decoration for their place. Most of the nice ones can run you close to $100, but look for a combo pack with a memory card included for that price. Load up the card with some pictures of their journeys for a more personalized gift.

14. An essential for any traveler, especially those who frequently fly long distances: noise canceling headphones. I’ve personally had great experiences with Bose, but do some shopping around to find the best ones in your price range.

15. Turn their digital camera into an underwater one with a water resistant cover. Many travelers have great cameras but miss out on quality underwater photos when they settle for a $15 Kodak disposable. These can cost a couple hundred dollars, so make sure you know the camera’s exact model before purchasing.

16. Can’t decide on just one gift to give the wanderer in your life? Why not make your own travel gift basket? Get items that will come in handy when they’re on the go, and stuff them inside of a new carry on bag instead of a basket. An emergency charger, a sleeping mask, snacks, travel games, a passport folder—anything goes.


  1. Caroline March 23, 2011

    These are all fantastic ideas, thanks so much.

  2. admin March 24, 2011

    I’m glad you stumbled upon them and actually found them to be useful! Maybe next holiday (or birthday) season I’ll pass this list around to my friends and family, you know, just as a reminder.

    Thanks for stopping by the site!

  3. speeding August 11, 2011

    Would you mind enabling rss feeds, because this page is difficult to read on my phone. Don’t mean to be a complainer, but I figure if it would help me it would probably help others as well. Thanks :)

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