Shopping for travelers can be hard! Many of them value experiences more than things (hint: time to wrap up concert tickets, sporting event passes, and tour certificates), but if you prefer to buy physical items as Christmas gifts for travelers, these budget travel gifts will get you started.
Affordable Gifts for Travelers
Travel Gift Ideas from $0-10
Amazon Gift Card ($1+): Travelers always need movie, music, and book downloads, making this the perfect stocking stuffer.
Towel Clips ($3): Keep your towels in place on lounge chairs at beaches, pools, and cruises.
Airplane (Temporary) Tattoos ($5): Not every gift has to be practical, and these temporary tattoos are a cute way to show off a love for travel.
KIND Bars ($5): These nut-based snacks are great for protein on-the-go and come in tons of flavors, like my favorite Almond Coconut.
Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer & Case ($6): Keep sanitizer gel handy in a cute carry case to stay healthy on the road even when public bathrooms are out of soap.
A Cook’s Tour by Anthony Bourdain ($7) – I love all of Anthony Bourdain’s books, but this one is a great blend of food and travel. Of course you’re buying the Kindle version since Kindles are great for travelers.
Cell Phone Card Holder & Stand ($7): Travelers on the run love this stand that props phones up for easy use as GPS in the car and keeps cash or cards close at hand.
Steripod ($7) – Toothbrushes get nasty quickly when you brush your teeth in the morning, throw the brush in your bag, and let it sit around all day before you make it to the next hotel. I swear Steripods work, or at least they make your brush smell and taste fresh!
Instagram Books ($8): Print 80 of your favorite Instagram photos as a compact book so you can flip through pictures at your next dinner party.
Lonely Planet Magazine ($8): This brand new US-subscription is better than others because you can actually afford the suggested travel options.
Platypus Water Bottle ($8) – Water is the magical cure to all sorts of travel ailments. The Platypus bags are great for light packers: they roll up compactly so they barely take any space in your suitcase. Best of all, when full, it still stands upright in cupholders.
Decoy Wedding Ring ($10): Whether you’re married or not, this fake diamond ring looks real and helps ward off unwanted attention without the risk of traveling with valuables. Men’s styles also available.
Picture Dictionary ($10) – Language barriers are difficult for international travelers to overcome. Apps and dictionaries have a helpful place, but there won’t be confusion on pronunciation if you just point to pictures as part of your pantomimes. This book has frequently used topics all in photo form so you can get your point across.
Electronics Case ($10) – It’s nearly impossible to travel without electronics now, so keeping them in a single case keeps them organized and protected. This one from Amazon is sturdy and just the right size. It has slots for a pocket camera, memory cards, chargers, spare batteries, and even a headlamp.
Travel Gift Ideas from $11-20
Smartwool Socks ($11): Happy feet make happy travelers, and no matter how wet, sweaty, or gross my feet have gotten, with Smartwool I’ve never had cold or blistered feet.
Anywhere Connections Cards ($11) – Pack this deck of cards for conversation starters. About half the cards are good to prompt new topics with old friends and half are more suitable as interesting small talk — perfect for striking up a chat with locals during your travels.
Bananagrams ($11) – Games are great for passing time while waiting for buses and planes or for breaking the ice with other travelers and/or locals. Bananagrams is a fast-paced version of Scrabble and packs nicely into your backpack.
Adult Coloring Poster: U.S. Map ($12) – Adult coloring books are popular because they’re so relaxing. This map of the United States has cute patterns to color in every state and would be cute framed afterward. Throw in a pack of colored pencils and it’ll keep travelers entertained on their next airport delay.
Softcover Notebooks ($12 for 4) – I know I’m not the only traveler who journals along the way. These notebooks are easy to stash in any carry-on and downright beautiful.
Contact Cards ($12) – Have you ever met someone while traveling and then lost their contact information? These cards by Moo are great because you can add your photo to make sure they remember who you are as well as information like your email, Twitter handle, and blog link.
Travel Stickers ($12) – Perfect for scrapbooking, decorating laptops, and other projects.
Regional Foods ($12+) – Goldbely is a fun food delivery service with favorites like New York pastrami, Chicago pizza, Louisiana crawfish, and San Francisco sourdough to relive your vacation experience. New customers can get $10 off a $20 order or using my referral link bumps it up to $15 off $40.
DryLite Towel ($14+) – Sure, any towel will do, but these ones are lightweight and fold/roll down into tiny sizes, which makes them great to throw in your daypack. I make do with the small (wring out and re-use like a chamois) but travelers needing them as shower towels at hostels or camping might want a larger size.
Mini Travel Charger ($15): With three outlets and 2 USB outlets, this multi-plug is great for hotels, airports, and anywhere you’re likely to fight to charge electronics.
Inka Travel Pen ($15) – You can draw a map on napkin, write a note on a business card, or just sign a credit card receipt. There’s no excuse not to have a pen with you when you can just loop this one onto your keychain. It wins in novelty: supposedly it can ever write underwater.
Mapnetic World Map ($15) – Scratch-off maps are so 2013, but travelers still love showing off where they’ve been and where they’re going. This dry-erase magnetic map is the perfect size to put on your fridge to show off adventures. As a bonus, you can stick photos and postcards on the map, too!
Wander the World Pillowcase ($16): Wish someone sweet dreams with these travel-themed pillowcases.
Travel Mug ($16): Everyone probably owns a travel mug, but is it one that never spills even when upside down and jostled in a bag?
Airplane/Map Toiletry Bag ($16) – Packing is more fun when you have cute accessories. This toiletry bag is perfect for non-liquids, like your toothbrush, makeup, and hair clips.
Action Wipes ($17): Way better than wet wipes, these “InstaShowers” are great after overnight flights, long hikes, or sweaty days at the beach when you don’t have time to clean up properly.
Personalized Photo Ornament ($17): Display and reminisce over your favorite vacation memories by sharing your favorite photos as ornaments.
Skin Salve with Aloe ($17): Solid products are great for travel since there aren’t restrictions on packing, and Green Goo’s all-natural salve is great for sunburns, dry skin, and blisters.
Lokai Bracelet ($18): This simple bracelet containing mud from the Dead Sea (lowest place on earth) and water from Mount Everest (highest place) reminds travelers to stay balanced.
Airport Departures Board ($18) – Now that I have a house, I look for opportunities to decorate every chance I get. This personalized departures board is a really cute way to highlight someone’s previous trips.
Wet Suit Bag ($18) – It’s a mess to come home to wet swimsuits in a suitcase, so avoid it in the first place by getting a specialty waterproof bag. It’s a great way to extend your vacation a few hours when you don’t want to get to the airport too early. (Also available: a separate bag to keep sandy towels at bay).
Dry Sacks ($18) – Dry bags take “waterproof” to maximum level. I’ve kept expensive cameras dry during whitewater rafting and clothing dry during thunderstorms.
Compression Socks ($20): Great for long flights or after long hikes, and Sockwell brand is cute and high quality!
Globe Bookends ($20) – The more I travel, the more I appreciate home, but being able to blend the two is best of all. These bookends are great for showing off a travel passion even when you’re at home. Pair it up with some travel books or photo albums to make it a complete set.
Travel Gift Ideas from $21-30
Packing Cubes ($21): Staying organized while packing is a great way to pack lighter and not feel like you’re living out of a suitcase.
Travel Shammy ($22): Never underestimate how useful a quick-dry towel is, especially for hostels, camping, or swimming under the waterfalls.
Sawyer Water Filter ($23) – After using a Steripen for years, I finally upgraded to a Sawyer water filter which is way better technology for a fraction of the price. Use it like a straw to drink tap water all over the world, even where it’s unsafe normally.
External Battery ($25): Power hogs take note! This external battery will re-power your cell phone or other USB-charged device over and over again without access to a wall outlet.
Dry Sack ($25): There’s nothing worse than ruining your electronics on boat trips.
Kiva Gift Cards ($25) – I’ve seen firsthand how budding entrepreneurs in developing countries have fabulous ideas and strong work ethics but simply can’t succeed because they don’t have the startup capital. Make a difference this holiday season by making a capital contribution and helping people around the world start a business.
36 Hours USA & Canada ($26): This book is great inspiration for anyone with limited vacation time!
3D Globe Puzzle ($28): On quiet weekends at home, this is a fun project for travelers.
Romantic Map ($30) – Everyone has a map, but most of them are pretty generic. This handmade artwork is perfect if you need a gift for couples. (Hint: keep it in mind for traveling newlyweds, too).
Swiss Army Phone Case ($30): Mini nail files, tweezers, scissors, screwdrivers, and a pen are housed in this iPhone case — and everything is TSA compliant.
Lightweight Travel Backpack ($30): This daypack folds down and weighs almost nothing, but still has enough space for all your needs AND two exterior water bottle pockets.
Home Flight T-Shirt ($30): If you fly a serious amount of miles, this tee is just for you.
Travel Gift Ideas from $31-40
SmugMug Subscription ($32): For travel photographers, SmugMug galleries are a great way to show off (or sell) your best shots.
Bluetooth Speaker ($33): For boat trips, beach days, or lazy days at the hostel, a bluetooth speaker can transform things into a fun time!
Airport Lounge Pass ($35): On long layovers, airport lounges can take away some of the stress by providing snacks, drinks, free Wi-Fi, and a quiet place to sit.
Bike Trunk Mount Rack ($35): Make it easy for travelers to pack their bikes on their next roadtrip with this rack for their car.
Chilly Jilly Wrap ($35): This wrap packs down into a small, light bag and is multi-purpose as a shawl, sarong, or scarf!
Globe In Artisan Box ($35): This beautiful hand-woven box is filled with artisan crafts, specialty food items, and more…plus it supports artisans and farmers in remote areas.
European Neighborhood Map Coasters ($36) – Know someone who loves a Europan city inside and out? These map coasters show different neighborhoods of beloved cities, such as the arrondissements in Paris.
FitKit ($36): Stay in shape on every trip with this compact kit that includes a resistance band, resistance tube, jump rope, reflective arm band for running, pedometer, and more.
Camera Bag ($38): Nothing’s worse than owning a nice camera without a case to protect it.
Stuffitts Odor-Killing Bag ($39): Amazingly, this bag locks odors in and sucks moisture out, so you can throw wet swimsuits or smelly travel clothes in it without ruining everything else in your suitcase.
National Parks Map ($40): Track your visits to all 59 national parks with this map and stickers set!
Travel Gift Ideas from $41-50
Earring Travel Case ($41): If you travel with more jewelry than I do, this earring organizer will keep everything handy, organized, and de-tangled.
World Tea Kettle ($45): For part-time travelers, this is one way to satisfy wanderlust without leaving home.
Bugsaway Adventure Hat ($45) – I hate hats, but they serve a purpose…like when you’re on safari in Africa. This one will keep the sun off your face and it has insect shield technology to repel mosquitoes, ants, and more.
Sunbasket Meal Kit ($45) – Like other delivery meal services, Sunbasket ships everything you need to make three meals at home, but with international flavors. Perfect when you’re renting a timeshare and don’t want to deal with the hassle of grocery shopping (or the inconvenience of needing to buy a full set of spices for a single recipe).
Anti-Theft Camera Strap ($45) – If you’ve got an expensive camera hanging around your neck, the least you can do is make sure it’s on a slash-proof strap.
A Year of Website Hosting ($48) – Travelers that want to start a blog sometimes get hung up on the cost of web hosting, but Bluehost is great for sites that still have low-traffic.
Nap Anywhere Pillow ($49): Those U-shaped pillows aren’t comfortable if you’re not normally a back-sleeper, but this unique shape is great for buses, trains, and planes.
Clothing Rentals ($49): A one-month subscription to LeTote means you can rent party wear in Las Vegas, something chic in Paris, or sundresses for Florida.
Clip On Cup Holder ($50): I just started working on airplanes this year, but there’s not enough space on an airplane tray table for a laptop AND a drink unless you “build” some extra space.
Headlamp ($50): Anyone who loves adventurous sightDOING needs a headlamp for late night animal sightings, caving, camping, and more.
Urban Adventures Gift Certificate ($50) – Travelers value experiences above all else. I’ve taken a couple of Urban Adventures tours worldwide and they’re always fantastic. Pick a specific tour if you know where someone’s headed or shoot for a gift card (most tours are $35-80).
Trekking Poles ($5o): For outdoor lovers, a pair of trekking poles can make adventures so much easier to tackle!
Travel Gift Ideas from $51-60
Handheld Scanner ($53): Business travelers can finally go paperless with this cordless, handheld scanner that keeps track of receipts and business cards on the go.
Chaco’s Women’s Sandals ($55): Just because you’re wearing flip flops, you shouldn’t have to scrimp on foot support.
External Hard Drive ($55): When you store as many travel photos as I do, you need extra space…and this hard drive is meant to be manhandled across continents and keep your files safe.
City Map Tie ($59): There are tons of women’s scarves with maps, but this is the first (classy-looking) map tie I’ve seen, with cities like Chicago, San Francisco, NYC, London, and Paris available.
AAA Road Kit ($60): Being prepared for a big roadtrip means packing jumper cables, air compressors, and more — the peace of mind means that the travelers can focus on the fun part!
Birchbox Subscription ($60): Start a traveler off with a few months of sample-size beauty products delivered to their door (men’s and women’s options available).
Gogo 1-Month Internet Access ($60): For frequent flyers, staying connected while in-flight can be a godsend.
Home State Return Address Stamp ($60): Frequent travelers make new friends on the road, and these super cute return address stamps fit your name and address into the shape of your favorite state.
VPN Subscription ($60) – Do you know what a VPN is? It’s super important because it protects and encrypts your personal and financial information whenever you’re using public wi-fi (which travelers do often). An annual subscription is just $60.
Travel Gift Ideas from $61-70
Massage ($62): Think about how stiff you are after a long flight home — and then pamper your favorite traveler by promising them a free massage (with gratuity) after their next trip!
CMUK Sneakers ($65): Most sneakers are bulky and a pain to pack, but CMUKs are lightweight, compact, and quick-dry.
Rainrap ($65): Finally, a raincoat that looks nice and packs lightly.
Flight Essentials ($65)- For overnight flights, grab a kit with eye shade, ear plugs, neck pillow, and blanket. You can build one yourself, but a pre-made one is an easy gift idea for fellow travelers. To make it more deluxe, throw in things like lip balm, cozy socks, breathmints, a magazine, and noise-cancelling headphones.
Complete Set of Peter Moore Travel Books ($68): For travelers that think they have seen it all, these adventures will have them laughing over cultural differences like No Sh*tting in the Toilet.
Travel Insurance ($69): Insurance isn’t sexy, but it can save a traveler’s butt in some situations and policies are usually quite affordable.
Travel Gift Ideas from $71-80
All-in-One Travel Bag ($72): This bag converts between purse and backpack, for maximum flexibility in convenience, comfort, and style.
Airplane Wine Bottle Holder ($76): Show off a love for travel and a love for wine simultaneously.
Carry-On Backpack ($77): This is my go-to backpack; it’s well within airline limits and still big enough to carry everything you need.
Jetboil Camp Stove ($78): What packs compactly, boils water in a flash, and even works in windy conditions like those in Deadhorse, Alaska?
Kindle ($79): I love my Kindle; it’s the best way to carry thousands of books, read in the dark, and store travel maps, reservations, and itineraries.
America the Beautiful Pass ($80): This annual pass provides free admission to all national parks and other NPS-managed sites for an entire carload/family traveling together.
Jewelry in the Shape of Your Route ($80): With Meshu, you can trace your journey and have that geometric shape turned into a necklace, earrings, or even just a postcard ($5).
Power Wallet/Wristlet ($80): Charge your cell phone while it’s tucked away in this wallet, which is great when you don’t want to carry a full purse.
Travel Gift Ideas from $81-90
Satellite Radio ($81): Roadtrippers will love having a satellite radio for their car and even if you include a 1-month subscription, it’s still an affordable gift!
Thermal Underwear ($84): The right base layers mean even the coldest destinations are great for travel and Underarmour Coldgear 4.0 is a brand I trust and love.
GeekPro Camera ($85): If you’re looking for an action camera just for personal/family vacations, this budget-friendly option has enough bells and whistles to be useful without overdoing it.
Travel Art Kit ($85): No doubt that beautiful destinations inspire great art, and this heavy-duty sketchbook with watercolor pencils is the perfect way to capture the moment.
Travel-Themed Baby Mobile ($88): It’s never too early for a love of travel 🙂
Travel Gift Ideas from $91-100
Binoculars ($93): When wildlife watching is on the travel agenda, a good pair of binoculars is a great gift!
Compact Laptop Charger ($99): Charge a laptop and two mobile devices simultaneously on a device that fits in your pocket, without the need to pack multi-plug outlets.
Rosetta Stone ($99): Knowing the basics of a foreign language is one of the best ways to make a good impression and meet more people while traveling.
Global Entry ($100): Skip the lines at U.S. immigrations and get access to TSA Pre-Check at airport security. You can’t apply for someone, but you can gift them $100 to apply.
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There’s even more recommendations in last year’s guide if you need them!
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