Gift Ideas for Travelers and Digital Nomads
Let’s just say gift giving is not one of my natural love languages. What I am good at? Gift ideas for travelers just like me.
When I quit my job, sold my belongings, and became location independent, I certainly didn’t have the holiday season in mind. I knew my full-time travel lifestyle would impact my friends and family, but I didn’t consider that I’d quickly become the hardest person to shop for on their Christmas shopping lists.
I live out of a backpack for the majority of the year. That means, everything inside said backpack needs to be perfect. Each piece needs to be useful in a variety of settings and situations, durable for months of wear and tear, and preferably lightweight. It’s a tall order and one that could stress out any gift giver. Let these gift ideas for travelers help guide you in the right direction.
Everything that you see on this Pages to Passport Gift Guide would make the cut if I was packing for a long-term trip tomorrow.
Tech gift ideas for travelers
Tile Mate If your traveler is any bit as forgetful as I am, write this at the top of your gift ideas for travelers list. Tile Mate is a small “tile” about the size of half a credit card. It is a GPS tracker, allowing you to remotely track where the tile is. If I had one, I’d put in in checked luggage for flights and in my wallet for all other times. It also can help you find your phone. Just tap the tile and it rings your phone!
Electronics organizer Every long-term traveler worth their salt has a packing method for their carry-on bag that allows for optimal in-flight accessibility and minimal where-did-I-put-my-phone panic attacks. An electronics organizer is a great gift idea for the traveler in your life to help them simplify the process.
Noise cancelling headphones An in-flight survival essential. Noise cancelling headphones are a great gift idea for travelers. Some people prefer the over-the-ear type (these ones have glowing reviews for a hefty cost), but I prefer an in-ear option to save precious space. The in-ear headphones also allow you to use them in more settings, like for listening to an audioguide at a museum or setting a city walk to a soundtrack.
Exercise tracker A great gift idea for active travelers in particular. I’m always so curious how much walking I do in a day when I’m exploring a city. I wish I had had a Fitbit when I walked the Camino de Santiago!
Apparel gift ideas for travelers
High-quality basics I dare you to find a long-term traveler who wouldn’t want a new set of high-quality basics to replace their worn out smartwool hiking socks, everyday socks, or quick-drying undies.
Layerable tops Any traveler will tell you that layering is key to packing light. This gift idea for travelers helps them upgrade their staples and add some freshness to their wardrobe. I have my eye on long sleeve basics like this one, this one, this one, and this one.
Minimalist jewelry Simple accessories are an easy and lightweight way for travelers to add style to their (typically) basic outfits. My picks? These simple silver rings, stud earrings with personality like these or these, and this dainty bracelet.
Travel-themed tees I have my eye on soft tees with a vague travel theme like this, this, and this. Etsy also has some great options like this and this. When gifting clothes to frequent travelers, pay attention to the colors that they typical wear in their travel photos and purchase accordingly. Modern neutrals like olive, grey, black, and navy will allow them to mix-and-match more easily.
Functional athleisure wear This may depend on the type of traveler your buying a gift for but I personally find myself reaching for athleisure wear staples more and more often as I travel. Think leggings with pockets or performance tops with style like this one, this one, and these.
Compression socks If your traveler has some long haul flights in their future, consider compression socks as a useful gift idea for travelers.
Scarf Ah, the traveler’s holy grail. A scarf doubles as a blanket on chilly flights, a picnic blanket for spontaneous park visits, a towel in dire situations, a skirt if churches are strict, and yes, even a scarf! Choose a warm yet lightweight option like this one.
Beanie or baseball cap Runner up in the most-underrated category, a hat is a great gift idea for the traveler in your life. Chilly day? Hat. Sunny day? Hat. One too many days without a shampoo? Hat. I love these soft beanies or this simple baseball hat.
Miscellaneous gift ideas for travelers
Collapsible water bottle A collapsible water bottle is probably the top of my personal Christmas list. I’ve traveled with a Camelback water bladder system so far because I was thru-hiking for a month. If I did it all over again, I’d pack collapsible water bottles to stay hydrated while exploring cities too.
Slim packing cubes Frequent travelers sing the praises of packing cubes and I’m no different. This is a great gift idea for backpackers in particular, helping them stay organized and find what they need easily. I’ve used my current set so much that they have holes in the mesh. I find that I rarely use the “large” size that comes in mixed sets. More, but smaller, packing cubes are the answer. These basic ones are great as are this numbered set.
Hanging toiletry bag My advice? Choose a small one like this one. I’ve also been traveling with this slightly larger option for six months now. While it has served its purpose, it’s too large for the sparse amount of toiletries I prefer to travel with now. Choose according to your traveler’s style.
Mini travel hip pack I’ve had my eye on this mini travel hip pack (fancy way to say “small fanny pack”). It might not be the most fashionable thing on this gift guide for travelers, but it’s small, useful for active trips, and cute in its own way.
Journal and their favorite pens Admittedly, this gift idea is best suited for bookish travelers. I tried to go digital with my journaling during long-term travel, but caved about 48 hours in when I passed my first bookstore. A good journal and nice pens are a true luxury for a backpacker. That’s exactly why they make great gifts for travelers.
Gift certificate for a haircut or mani/pedi Most long-term travelers probably go a little longer than they should between haircuts and pedicures, prioritizing experiences and one-way tickets. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t squeal with delight at a “treat yourself” experience like this.
Stocking stuffer ideas for travelers
Popsocket Most modern travelers rely heavily on their phones, whether it be for snapping a photo for the ‘gram or staying in touch with friends back home. A popsocket makes the phone easier to grip and provides a “kickstand” and (bonus) is fun to fidget with.
Luxury travel toiletries Chances are good that your traveler has been choosing their current toiletries based on which option is a) cheapest and b) available. Treat them to a luxury travel sample in their stocking this year. This do-all product is beloved in travel circles.
Restock their first aid kit Most travelers have a mini medicine cabinet with them while they travel. A great gift idea for travelers is to restock their kit with the essentials. If they don’t carry a first aid kit, consider getting them this small one.
Sheet masks In Paris, I shared a dorm room with a lovely Korean girl. Despite a language barrier, we got to chatting and she offered me one of her sheet masks. I never would have thought to bring sheet masks on my trip, but their a simple self-care luxury that I won’t leave home without now.
What are your own best gift ideas for travelers?
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