Travel Gift Ideas for the Holidays: 2018 Edition!

Sometimes I can’t believe how quickly the holidays roll around — seems like I was just sitting by the Christmas tree with my family last year.  But here we are, shopping for the perfect presents once again.  If you’re looking for travel gift ideas this year (for another travel lover or as inspiration for your own wishlist!), I’ve got some new ones on this year’s guide.

Travel Gifts – New for 2018

Travel Tree

Is this not the cutest?  You can personalize the signs on your tree to places you’ve been or places you want to go.  You can always add or swap out other signs in the future, so the possibilities are endless.  I’d make signs for the places I’m going this year, then change it out next year for inspiration.

Dash Cam

My parents bought a dash cam for their epic roadtrip through British Columbia, the Yukon, and Alaska and there were some great video moments, both of scenery and of fast-moving wildlife you’d never be able to photograph.  I wish I had bought one for my Hudson Valley trip and perfect fall foliage on windy mountain roads where I couldn’t stop, making this a great gift idea for travelers.

Mountains Ring

mountain ring travel gift ideas

I love this sterling silver ring and you can personalize the inside with any inscription you’d like (though I love the default).  Since fine jewelry isn’t a great option for travel, this one helps me still feel fancy without the risk of gemstones.

DSLR Camera Backpack

More and more people are getting into photography these days with the growing popularity of Instagram.  For the traveling photographer, this waterproof backpack has a brilliant protective area to carry and access your DSLR, plus pockets for other necessities during the day.  A great option that looks like a more expensive gift than it really is.

Dog Car Seat Cover

I can’t remember who told me to buy one of these when I adopted a puppy, but a car seat cover is worth its weight in gold, keeping your seats clear of hair, dirt, and anything else your dog might track in.  It’s easily removable, too.  This one is nicer than the model I have, since it has a mesh window for your dog to look out the front window.

The Perfect Beach Bag

It has a cooler built in!  It wasn’t until I moved to Buffalo and was cold all. the. time. that beach vacations were particularly important to me.  Now that I’ve discovered a whole new world of destinations, and a whole new set of gear, I can recommend this mesh bag for sandy towels with a built-in insulated cooler on the bottom for a few cold drinks.

Microfiber Travel Towel

Speaking of beaches (or waterfall hikes or hot springs), this lightweight travel towel is amazing because it genuinely dries super-quick.  No mildew in your suitcase here!  As a bonus, it has a waterproof pocket so you can safely store things while you take a dip in the ocean.

Manta Sleep Mask

Yes, someone really did improve upon the classic sleep mask.  There’s finally one with anti-slip gel so that it doesn’t fall off during the night.  It has complete black-out, deep eye cups allowing REM sleep, and memory foam for a comfortable fit.

Mountain Shelf

Nature lovers, this is such a unique way to display photographs from your adventures in your own home.  It is custom made with your preference in stain color and a lovely way to blend travel with everyday life.  After all, life is all about balance.

Keyboard Skin

map keyboard skin travel gifts

Fact: I spilled coffee on my keyboard and it completely killed my laptop.  You can protect your laptop from minor spills (like from airplane turbulence) with a silicone skin — not to mention, it’s cute, has great tactile feel, and has been a conversation starter all over the world.

My Travel Wishlist – Things I Want, But Haven’t Tried

Santa, if you’re reading this, feel free to leave these under the tree this year.  (And readers, if you have tried any of these, please leave your review in the comments!  I always love a first hand account of gifts for travel lovers.).

Allbirds Wool Loungers

Merino wool shoes, for moisture-wicking, maximum flexibility, and cozy for long walks.  Two of my friends have them and swear by them.  Bonus: they’re machine washable so they never get gross!

Audible Subscription

I have a 13-hour flight to China coming up on an airline that consistently gets reviews for terrible in-flight entertainment.  Audiobooks to the rescue!  Can you suggest a specific book to download?

VacayStyle “Sonoma” Collection

Have you heard of capsule wardrobes?  They’re a set of mix-and-match clothing items, and VacayStyle has pieced together 5-piece collections that ultimately form 15 outfits.  It’s a carry-on packing dream.

Online Spanish Classes

Tourism in Nicaragua (one of my favorite countries) has fallen off a cliff with this year’s political unrest and violence, with many locals losing their jobs and businesses.  One way to help locals there is to hire them for online language classes via Skype.

Stowaway Cosmetics Set

stowaway cosmetics gift bag

Natural cosmetics in travel sizes, so everything you need fits neatly into a compact bag.  I love the idea of keeping a separate set just for travel, to make packing a breeze.


Touchscreen Compatible Gloves

I know, I’m a thousand years behind the times, but I *need* some touchscreen gloves before traveling this winter.  These ones in particular caught my eye because they’re from Smartwool, a brand I know and trust.

Green Powder

I eat a ton of veggies at home, so when I’m traveling and eating high-carb, high-fat meals, I feel like crap.  As an experiment, I want to pack some of these veggie powders (just add water) to make my own green juice and hopefully feel better on the road.

Phone Gimbal

What’s a gimbal, you may ask.  If you’ve ever watched a video that looks super steady even while moving, it’s probably because the camera was attached to a gimbal to smooth and stabilize the image even during jerky movements.

Marvis World Flavors Toothpaste

There’s nothing rational about paying this much for toothpaste, but I’m just fascinated by flavor combinations like “Karakul”, with orange juice, cardamom and mint.  The travel-size gift set means I can try something new on every trip.

10 Classic Travel Gifts

There’s nothing new about these recommendations — you’ve probably seen them recommended over and over on my blog — but there’s a reason for that.  These are the things I couldn’t travel without and genuinely love.

  1. Contigo Autoseal Mug – Keeps my tea piping hot for ~3 hours and never, ever leaks, even when it’s thrown upside down in my laptop bag.
  2. Steripod – No more nasty mildewy toothbrushes when you have to pack up first thing in them morning.
  3. Binoculars – As a wildlife junkie, these are a must-have.  These are perfect for whale watches, national parks, and more — plus I can’t tell the difference between these and my husband’s $400 version.
  4. Smartwool Socks – Happy feet make happy travelers, and no matter how wet, sweaty, or gross I get, Smartwool keeps me warm and without blisters.
  5. Sawyer Water Filter – So easy to use and it filters out 99.99% of bacteria, making it possible to drink tap water anywhere in the world (or from streams and rivers).
  6. External Battery – If you live on your phone (I do), this compact battery will recharge your device so you can keep going on Google Maps and Instagram Stories.
  7. Waterproof Daybag – The best day pack in the world, with easy access to inside, water bottle pockets, and extreme waterproofing (trust me, I’ve tested it).
  8. National Parks Pass – Inspiration for your next adventures and unlimited free admission to all U.S. national parks, all year long.
  9. Human + Kind Family Remedy Cream – Not just lotion, this all-natural cream is great for anti-itch, sunburns, insect bites, and razorburn.
  10. Packing Cubes – If you don’t have a set yet, you’re missing out.  I use these on every single trip and recommend them to everyone I know.

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Need more gift ideas for travelers?

Women will love these gifts for female travelers.

I also have unique ideas you haven’t seen anywhere else (promise).

For shoppers on a budget, don’t miss these gifts under $100 (about half are under $20!).

Want something practical?  Shop my suitcase!

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All these recommendations are based on my experiences and holiday spirit — not sponsored placements.  However, purchasing these or other products through my Amazon store provides a small commission to sightDOING.  If I’ve helped you find the perfect gift, do me a favor and consider starting your shopping from the Amazon box above.  As always, your support is appreciated!

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