15 Great Gift Ideas For Travelers In 2018 (That They’ll Actually Use)

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Best Gifts for Travelers

Best Travel Gifts in 2018

Travel Tips

Looking for the perfect present for that traveler in your life? It’s not always easy! Check out these best travel gift ideas for anyone with a case of wanderlust.

Skip the moneybelt this year, and buy a birthday or holiday gift that your favorite intrepid globe-trotter will actually use on their next vacation.

These popular gifts for travelers can help make any journey more comfortable and convenient.

As a professional traveler for the past 8 years, I’ve become especially careful about what I pack on my trips around the world.

After all, there’s only so much room in your bag! Travelers prefer to pack light.

I’m the same way, and choose to pack travel gadgets that have multiple uses, don’t take up to much space, and will improve my travel experience abroad.

So here are some of my best gift ideas for travelers that are guaranteed to put a smile on the recipient’s face!

Best Travel Gifts For Everyone

Filtered Water Bottle

LifeStraw Filtered Bottle

A must-have for international travel to keep yourself safe from sickness. The LifeStraw Filtered Water Bottle cleans up 99.9% of waterborne parasites & bacteria from water sources in countries where water quality can be an issue.

The 2nd stage activated carbon filter reduces odor, chlorine and leaves zero aftertaste too. I also use mine for hiking and camping in the wilderness! They have a minimalist version, for people who want to use their own container. Filters 1000 liters of water for long life.

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Travel Duffel Bag for the Holidays

Foldable Duffel Bag

Have you ever found yourself in a situation when your bag was too heavy to check on a plane? I have. That’s why these days I carry a packable duffel bag as a backup. But that’s not its only use!

You can use it as a beach bag, a laundry bag, and a grocery bag too. I also use it when I’m hiking & camping abroad, to store extra gear/clothing at a hotel or hostel until I return from the journey.

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Best Travel Gifts: Packable Headphones

SoundMagic E10 Headphones

I listen to a lot of music and recently discovered incredible headphones that sound like they should cost 3x more. Whether you’re watching movies on flights, listing to podcasts, or relaxing with tropical tunes at the beach, SoundMagic’s E10 Headphones are truly “magic”.

The bass is excellent but not over-the-top, while the mids and highs make it feel like you’re listening to a live show! Plus the cord isn’t too long (I hate long cords) and it comes with a great little carrying case.

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Gifts For Travelers: Portable Charger

Anker Powercore

We all use our smartphones, cameras, and other portable gadgets a lot. There’s nothing worse than running low on power when you need it the most. For travelers, this can be an extra headache if your ticket confirmations, directions, or translation app lives on your phone.

The Anker PowerCore 10,000 is about the size of a credit card (just thicker) and can fully charge your smartphone up to 3 times! It has a smart quick-charge technology and is the smallest & most powerful power bank in its class. I also use mine to recharge cameras, my Kindle, and more.

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Portable Travel Neck Pillow

Cabeau Evolution Travel Pillow

Neck pillows are one of the most popular items to pack for long-haul flights. But many of them don’t live up to the job of supporting your neck comfortably. The Cabeau Evolution Travel Pillow is crazy comfortable, packs down small, and holds your neck in an ergonomic position for sleeping.

I never fly without mine! I’ve tried every travel pillow there is, and this is the best. However if you’re looking for something that packs down even smaller, the TRTL Travel Pillow is pretty good too. It’s just not quite as comfortable as the Cabeau.

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Bluetooth Speaker

Sony Bluetooth Speaker

I love this thing! The Sony Bluetooth Speaker makes it easy to watch movies with other people on your laptop when traveling, throw an impromptu hostel party, or play your favorite songs on the beach.

There are a lot of bluetooth speakers on the market, and I’ve tried many of them. The Sony simply has the best sound quality for its size, and the battery lasts up to 12 hours! The only downside is it isn’t waterproof, but I don’t physically sit in the ocean when I’m listening to it either…

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Travel Hammock

ENO Travel Hammock

A hammock is a great gift for travelers and backpackers. String it up in the woods or on the beach to relax and enjoy the view. I’ve even used my hammock on boats, between palm trees for beach naps, or as a comfortable swinging seat after a long hike.

The ENO DoubleNest Hammock is extremely strong, lightweight, and easy to pack, perfect for people who don’t want to waste space in their travel bag. Designed to hold up to 400 lbs, you’ll always have a place to sleep.

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Amazon Kindle

Amazon Kindle

The Amazon Kindle probably doesn’t need an introduction. It’s the ideal gift for a bookworm or even those who like to read occasionally. Travelers like me love it due to its small size and long battery life.

The “Paperwhite” version allows you to easily read in the dark, plus there’s no glare from the sun when reading on a beach (unlike trying to read on your phone). You can fit thousands of books on it — a library in your hands. Excellent for flights and long bus rides.

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Desk Globe Travel Gift

Antique Ocean Desk Globe

Maybe not be something you actually bring with you traveling, a fun desk globe is a perfect accessory to show off inside the home of a travel addict. The Antique Ocean Desk Globe is a quirky conversation piece and wanderlust-inspiring planning tool for your next travel adventure.

Your favorite traveler can day-dream about exploring Africa, South America, Central Asia, or any other destination from the comfort of their desk at work or at home. I’m planning new adventures looking at this thing right now!

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Looking for more travel gift ideas? Make sure to check out my Ultimate Travel Gear Guide to peek inside my travel bag.

Best Travel Gifts For Women

Ok, I admit I don’t personally own these travel gifts for women. However, after consulting my traveling wife Anna Everywhere, she assures me these are some of the most popular products for women who travel!

Apparently I’ve angered some women because these gifts are too “feminine”. Hey, if you’re a woman, and you’d rather have a leather toiletry case or travel dominoes, go for it! And dudes, if you want a travel garment steamer, no one is holding you back. Offending people wasn’t my intention.

Women's Travel Gifts: Portable Jewelry Box

Portable Jewelry Box

Storing a few jewelry items when you travel can be a pain. Especially when it comes to earrings, many women complain about them breaking in their luggage. This pretty little Travel Jewelry Box from Vlando is perfect for your next journey.

Keep delicate and expensive jewelry items safe and secure in one place. It has room for earrings, rings, necklaces, and even bracelets. A super simple and compact design.

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Diva Cup Travel Gift

The Diva Cup

The Diva Cup is a reusable, bell-shaped menstrual cup that is worn internally to collect menstrual flow, rather than absorb it. Apparently, women love this thing for travel.

It’s leak-free, comfortable, and convenient for travelers on their periods. Women don’t have to worry about running out of pads or tampons, or remembering to pack enough on vacation.

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Travel Garment Organizer

TUO Origami Unicorn

TUO stands for Travel Undergarment Organizer. Its purpose is to store anything travel-related, like socks and panties, electronics and jewelry, or other loose items that women find necessary when they travel.

Staying organized when you’re off galavanting around the world is so much easier using this fun little bag. You can hang it from towel racks or doors and unfold for full access to your stuff in hotels or bathrooms.

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Travel Fabric Steamer

Travel Garment Steamer

Clothes can get mushed & wrinkled in a suitcase. A backpack is even worse! If you want perfectly ironed clothes, without a necessity of carrying a huge iron, a portable travel steamer is a great solution.

The URPOWER Garment Steamer removes unwanted wrinkles from your whole travel wardrobe if necessary. It’s compact and lightweight for easy packing in luggage when you travel.

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Travel Door Stop

Security Door Stop Alarm

If you travel alone and worry about safety, get a security door stop. The GE Security Door Stop Alarm requires no wires or complicated installation, powered by a single nine-volt battery.

Place the door-stop under your door before going to bed, and if someone tries to enter your hotel or guesthouse room during the night, this device blocks the door from opening. It also makes you (and everyone else) up, scaring off the intruder with a crazy loud 120db alarm!

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Best Travel Gifts For Men

Some of my favorite travel gifts that are frequently bought by men. But please don’t assume that these gifts are ONLY for men. I’m sure women would love them too!

Travel Cologne

O’Douds Solid Cologne

O’Douds Solid Cologne is an excellent product for men who want to smell nice while they’re traveling. Because it’s not a liquid, you can easily pack it carry-on too. Liquid cologne is packaged in large glass bottles, not exactly travel-friendly. Not this one!

The scent is crisp, musky, and masculine. Very strong stuff, a little dab will go a long way. Easily lasts all day. Smells better on you than in the tin — you need to give it a try.

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Travel Dominoes Gift

Travel Dominoes Set

Playing cards might be the most popular game for travel, but why not change it up a bit to dominoes? Walnut Studiolo Travel Dominoes are perfect for those travelers who get easily bored or want to make some new friends while abroad.

Dominoes is a popular game around the world, and they’re easy to learn too. Play while waiting at the airport, in a backpacker hostel, or head to a public park and challenge a local. This set is especially small & packable but made of high-quality wood.

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Vagabonding Book


The Vagabonding is an excellent read about how to travel more, no matter what your budget or background.

Learn how to take a break from your normal life and travel for a few weeks to a few years while experiencing the world on your own terms, and do it while you’re young.

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Best Travel Gifts: Leatherman Multi-Tool

Leatherman Wave

A good set of tools is always useful when you travel, but it’s not realistic to pack a whole tool box. The Leatherman Wave is the next best thing. Perfect for any job, adventure, or everyday task.

It includes 17 common tools, crammed into a simple compact package that can be opened and operated easily. Never be without a sharp knife, pliers, bottle opener, screwdriver, or scissors again! There’s also a smaller version called the Leatherman Squirt.

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Gifts For Travelers: Toiletry Bag

Leather Toiletry Kit

Every man needs a good toiletry bag for their adventures around the world. This Veneto Leather Toiletry Kit is made with rich antique bridle leather. It’s durable and waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about wet surfaces in hostel/hotel bathrooms.

The leather bag gives you plenty of room to pack everything the traveling man would need, plus gives you a little style bonus over a cheaper plastic toiletry kit. This is how I pack enough shaving cream to keep my head so shiny and clean!

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Best Travel Photography Gifts

Do you know a traveling photographer? Check out some of these great travel photography gifts that will help them craft the perfect postcard photo during their next trip.

Travel Photography Gift: Joby Travel Tripod

Camera Travel Tripod

Whether you want to take photos of yourself when traveling solo or capture the magic of the northern lights, a tripod is a necessary tool. The Joby GorillaPod Focus is small enough to take anywhere and strong enough to hold larger cameras too.

It’s easily attached to different objects, so you can shoot photos from the side of a balcony or hanging off a tree. I’ll sometimes sneak it into “tripod restricted” areas like some cathedrals, monuments, or other attractions. It fits into a day pack easily.

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Small Camera Bag Gift Idea

Domke Camera Bag

What I love most about Domke Camera Bags is the minimal padding they have. Most companies go overboard with heavy padding, but not Domke. The tough waxed canvas is super durable, protects against light rain, and still has a classic “travel reporter” look.

It’s the perfect size for holding a mirrorless camera, 2nd lens, and a few accessories. There’s a thick belt-loop too, for carrying it fanny-pack style, or even attaching it to a larger backpack’s waist belt when hiking outdoors.

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GoPro Session Travel Camera

GoPro Hero Session

Adventure travelers love GoPro action cameras for good reasons. They’re small, bombproof, and easy to use. The new GoPro Hero Session has a voice controller so you don’t have to mess around with buttons to shoot footage or take selfies.

Just tell it what you want it to do from a distance! Waterproof up to 30 feet, the Hero 5 also includes digital stabilization for smooth shots. Great little camera for biking, hiking, swimming, snorkeling, surfing, snowboarding, and more.

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Camera Clip

Peak Design Camera Clip

One of my favorite pieces of camera gear, the Peak Design Camera Clip allows you to wear your camera on your belt, keeping your hands free for other tasks when not shooting photos. Fits into most tripod heads too! No need to remove it.

Clipping in and out of the device is incredibly quick and easy. You can even run with your camera strapped to your belt wearing this thing. Never miss another shot due to messing around with a camera bag. It’s a fantastic accessory for those who often go hiking with their camera.

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Camera Lens Pen

Camera Lens Pen

Nothing is more annoying than a dirty lens when you’re trying to capture beautiful photos. A Camera Lens Pen is a dedicated cleaning solution for your camera lens, keeping travel shots crisp and in focus.

Smudges on a lens can distort light sources, create glare, and ruin shots. This is one of those products you can never have enough of. Small and easy to carry, it’s always good to have a few lying around.

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Happy Holidays!

Well, that’s it for the best travel gifts for 2018. I hope you found some unique gift ideas for the traveler in your life who likes to pack light.

I actually own and use most of this stuff regularly on my travels around the world! Well, maybe not the Diva Cup… haha.

Happy holiday or birthday shopping, and remember to get out there and explore the world! ★

Looking for more travel gift ideas? Make sure to check out my Ultimate Travel Gear Guide to peek inside my travel bag.

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Best Travel Gift Ideas. More at ExpertVagabond.com

Have any questions about these travel gifts? What about other suggestions? Drop me a message in the comments below!


  1. What about World Wide Tracking device for a friend who is a traveler also? Do you have any suggestions?

    1. Hmmmmm. Like for their luggage? I really don’t think that’s necessary to be honest. Seems like a gimmick. I’ve been traveling regularly for the past 8 years, and the airlines have only misplaced my bags 3 times, and they all showed up eventually. Usually the next day.

  2. Any power bank is a definite MUST have for travelers! I need to know my phone will be charged, because it is also my camera – and you need to take cool pics of your adventure.

    Also think a neck pillow is a great travel gift.

  3. Hey, very useful list, thanks! I definitely gonna get a Trtl Travel Pillow for myself. I love to travel and I got a lot of amazing travel-related goods at airportag.com

  4. Really nice list with some practical gadgets. I already own a lens pen and have to agree that it is really handy. Just bought the GoPro Hero 5 so the session would have to wait, but I think they really are planning to add some amazing additions in the next models. I really like the Domke camera bag, and need one desperately, so shall give it a go. Thanks

    1. Right? It’s wonderful for travel, and helps save the environment (and your wallet) too. The plastic bottle situation is getting out of hand all over the world. Anything we can do to help reduce that waste is a good thing!

  5. Some neat little gadgets here, thanks for sharing :) As a woman the little jewellery box would be a great travel accessory, as normally it gets dumped and carried around in one little pouch! I think the garment steamer would be a bit cumbersome to carry around though!

  6. I am looking for travel gift:) thats mean cup which is possible to warm water or put soup to warm that things in every situation. For example I walk near seaside , is heavy rain, and I need sth warm I take cup and do sth warm to drink. with greetings

  7. Great article, Matthew! All true, all helpful… definitely a “go-to” list that I’ll tuck under my wife’s pillow closer to next Christmas, haha…. cheers!

  8. Yep – less of the gendered gifts please – no categories needed! I’m a woman and I would much rather have a leatherman than a garment steamer!!!

  9. that water bottle looks like a real life saver. I have had some serious issues with water quality even where i live.
    Also that travel pillow is a new one for me, great stuff, will definitely look into getting of those… just need to make sure i don’t use it while driving… you never know.

  10. I love that cork globe and a community member kindly bought it for me as a gift after I posted how cool it was on Facebook. It sits at my new apartment in Wellington and I need to figure out how to stick 70 pins into it now to mark the countries I’ve visited.

  11. Hello matt ☺

    I am very fond of travel gadgets. It is always good to have such useful things as a gift.thanks for the suggestions there are many good stuff to give someone who love traveling.Now I Have many many options fir travel gifts.

    Happy Travel ?

  12. Okay I need to get a LifeStraw! It helps to cut down on the number of water bottles I buy on the road as well. I’d add the P-style for women adventurers – it allows us females to wee while standing, from a kayak, etc and it’s great for going off the beaten track.

  13. My friend’s camera lens pen saved a photo session of mine last week. And the dumbest part was, I own one, I just don’t keep it on me. They are a lifesaver!

    Oh and I love that jewelry organizer. So cute.

  14. Nice list of travel accessories, Matt. One thing I’m really looking forward to getting this year is the Pilot from Waverly Labs, an earpiece that translates foreign languages for you in real time. It sounds to-good-to-be-true, but the tech seems legit.

  15. You have some great suggestions here! Love the life proof case and the eno hammock. As a female traveler, however, it was a bit disheartening to see your recommendations for women. While I’m sure this wasn’t your intention, it certainly perpetuates the stereotype that women travelers should be concerned with organizing jewelry and panties, wrinkle-free clothes, and personal security, while books about getting out of your comfort zone, games, and handy tools are recommended for men. It’d be awesome to see gifts such as these recommended for female travelers, too!

    1. It was not my intention. But when I ask female travelers what their favorite travel products are, these were the top recommendations that were not also shared by men.

      I’ve never met a man who recommended the travel steamer, or a woman who recommended the multi-tool. I’m sure there are plenty who would, but these don’t seem to be high priority for most. Hence the word “best”.

      I could remove the “women” and “men” descriptors, but I won’t, as then people won’t find my article when they are searching for those terms. Which they are.

      For the women reading this article and getting offended, buy whatever you want! I’m not saying you shouldn’t get a multi-tool or adventure book. Relax. :-)

  16. Hi Matt,

    I was going to buy the JBL speaker you recommended on your ‘Gear’ page until seeing that you’ve recommended a different speaker here. As this content is more recent, can I assume you prefer the Sony to the JBL? Do you think it’s worth the extra weight?

    Finding your site extremely useful in preparing for my upcoming travels so thanks a lot. Will make sure I use the affiliate links ;)


  17. How is a leatherman or a book about science a gift for men? I guess women are too daft to need tools or be interested in science.

    How is a steamer a gift for a woman? Men don’t like to look sharp?

    1. Actually, you’re right. Women are free to use men’s cologne too. And I’ve been eyeing that jewelry box for myself.

      But if you re-read the headlines here, these are my recommendations for “best” travel gifts for men & women.

      It doesn’t say “only”.

      1. Honestly, a lot of those travel gifts for women really are great. Yes, they are archetypically female, but it sounds like he based the list on women he polled. Dare I say it was even “bold” for him to talk about the cup as a man. I’ll admit that a part of me did eyeroll that the adventure science book was in the male category. I think what some of the female readers were hoping to point out was that most of the items mentioned in the female section were pointedly appealing and useful to women alone, and none necessarily engaged the mind or body. While the male section, barring a few items, women would genuinely find equal interest in, so could have easily gone into the “everyone” section. Obviously this list is helpful and is meant with only good intention. Looks like most are taking it as such.

    2. About the steamer: Mens clothes are often anti-wrinkle, especially when they’re backpacking. Women’s dresses usually aren’t.

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