Giving gifts is an art: you have to know someone well enough to know what they like, what they already have, and what will make them feel special. Travel gifts are even harder because you throw in complications like having limited space in your suitcase and recipients who would (often) rather have experiences than things. This year’s guide to unique travel gifts attempts to balance everything and stay on a budget.
So without further ado, here are my recommendations on gifts for people who love to travel.
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Unique Travel Gifts – for the Person Who Has Everything
It can be impossible finding a gift for someone who already has everything, but here are a few travel gifts ideas to inspire you.
The best travel gifts are ones that you can use in everyday life, too. I love Fitbits to keep track of steps while traveling (it’s easy to hit 15,000 in a city like London) and the bangle straps make them look like jewelry or watches instead of those ugly rubber bands.
| Map Origami
Thoughtful gifts don’t have to be expensive and these DIY paper flowers made from recycled maps are cute and easy to personalize. You can choose a map from anywhere in the world to make them unique gifts specifically for the recipient.
|In-Flight Foot Rest
Dustin from Running with Miles recommends this foot rest, which looks small enough to realistically pack on your trips. I get so uncomfortable on long flights (doesn’t everyone?) so I need this to “stretch out” and get some rest.
|Lump of Coal
The Adventure Project is selling charcoal soap with an incredible cause behind it. For each bar of soap, they’ll donate a new stove to a woman in Kenya so that she no longer has to use a charcoal stove (which is terrible for your lungs). Since charcoal soap clarifies and detoxifies your soap without leaving it dry, it’s a win-win for everyone.
|Urban Adventures Gift Certificates
Out of all the companies I’ve tried, Urban Adventures is the one that consistently offers tours around the world that are truly unusual. They get hands-on, stay local, and have fun twists. Send a gift card for a certain dollar amount or choose a specific tour.
|50 States Journal
I love this handmade journal and how it divides up each page by state — great for chronicling your quest to visit all 50 U.S. states. I’d twist things around though and use it as a place to jot down ideas and suggestions for future trips. But that’s because I’m more of a planner than a nostalgia-lover. Great either way.
|Ancestry.com DNA Kit
Help someone inspire a trip to their motherland after they dig into their ancestry. I’d start with the DNA kit to get a good idea of your heritage, but the family tree membership is a cool service, too.
Related Post: Przemysl Poland – An Unexpected Surprise
| In Her Kitchen by Gabriele Galimberti
This combination cookbook and coffee table book is a must-have. Each recipe is inspired the author’s international travels and comes straight from a grandmother she met on the road — meaning it’s delicious food plus insight into local homes and culture. Bonus: the photography is inspiring (so don’t get the Kindle version on Amazon).
| Smartphone Projector
Photos aren’t just for Instagram. Share your favorites with a crowd easily by using a projector and a blank, white wall. You can connect it to your phone, tablet, or laptop but unfortunately not directly to a camera.
| Custom Designed Suitcase
Because who doesn’t want luggage designed with their custom logo, team mascot, or photo from one of their other adventures? As a blogger, I think this is the perfect holiday gift!
| Paracord Water Bottle Handle
For anyone who loves adventure travel, this handle slips onto water bottles as a sturdy carrier. The paracord unwinds into a 12 foot rope in case of emergency and there’s a carabiner, compass, signal whistle, and fire starter built in. Talk about travel accessories!
Know travelers who will go out of their way for food? These maps of New York City and Paris (arguably culinary capitals of the world) focus on the best places to eat rather than traditional attractions. Try the Paris croissant map or New York pizza-by-the-slice to start for the ultimate travel guide.
Not what you’re looking for?
For the practical traveler, shop everything that’s in my suitcase — if it makes my packing list, it’s definitely useful.
For anyone on a budget, check out perfect travel gifts under $100. More than half of these 103 items are at a price under $50 and 14 of them are even under $10! No excuses!
For more traditional gifts, like a world map, GoPro Hero, or packing cubes, don’t miss my classic travel gifts.