Nicki holds up her Mikkoa travel yoga mat in front of her. It folds up very small.

31 TRAVEL GIFT IDEAS: Holiday Guide

So you’re looking for some travel gift ideas for that frequent traveler in your life? Well, you came to the right place! The holiday season always sneaks up on us much quicker than we realize or want. So whether you’re finding this post with plenty of time to spare, or doing a last-minute freak-out, don’t fret! There are unique travel gift ideas, as well as practical gifts for travelers in this list that you’ll be able to take care of in a few days, or even a few minutes.

I’ve been traveling for 20 years- long backpacking trips, short weekend trips, hiking trips, years abroad etc. So I have been able to really narrow in on the things I find most useful and compile them in this holiday gift guide so you can find the perfect item this Christmas (or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, etc.)

If you’re looking for a few more ideas, check out this list of my favorite travel gear.

This post contains affiliate links and is a member of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. If you make a purchase using one of these Amazon links, I may receive compensation at no extra cost to you.

When you are preparing for a trip, it’s easy to remember things like luggage and your passport. But there are less tangible items that are easy to forget about, but which also make some of the best gifts for travel lovers.

An image of Airalo eSIM for over 200+ countries

These days, many phones don’t even have physical sim trays, as E-sim cards become more and more popular. While it might feel complicated to adjust to an evolving world, E-sim cards actually make traveling much easier. Travelers no longer need to spend their time after arrival searching for a phone store to buy and insert a sim physical card. So if you’re looking for gifts for someone traveling abroad, money towards an E-sim might be just what they need.

I use Airalo. They have several international plans, both for specific countries, as well as regional and global plans. I’ve even purchased US-based E-sims from Airalo before for short stints back in the US.

SafetyWing Travel Medical Insurance

I’ll admit it. Buying insurance is annoying. But when you’re traveling abroad, it’s a necessary purchase. You just never know what can happen to you in another country, so you might as well be prepared. At least SafetyWing makes buying travel medical insurance easy. They even have very affordable plans for those 40 years old and younger. SafetyWing is travel medical insurance made by nomads, for nomads, so they know what’s up.

So yes, insurance is both annoying and necessary. But if you’re looking for gifts for someone traveling abroad, why not remove that frustrating burden from them, and present them with the gift of travel medical insurance?

I love travel credit cards. If I’m going to spend money anyway, I might as well get something back. Especially if it’s travel-related. I’ve flown for basically free many times in the past several years thanks to my credit card points. The worst thing about travel credit cards though? The yearly fee. Many are around $100 per year, but some are even more expensive depending on what type of card you want. So if you’re looking for gifts for people going traveling, help them to open a travel credit card by paying that yearly fee. It’s the gift that keeps on giving (points).

Luggage is the most obvious item when you start to think about traveling. You gotta put all your stuff somewhere. But what type of luggage you use makes a big difference. You definitely don’t want to be that person duct-taping your suitcase together. Below are my personal favorites when it comes to packing for a trip.

holiday gift guide: kenneth cole carry on suitcase

I try to avoid checking in a bag as much as possible since those fees seem to be sneaking up everywhere and with every airline these days (except with Southwest who I love). Because of this, I did a deep dive a few years ago to find the ideal carry-on suitcase. That investigation paid off big time because now I have a carry-on suitcase I love. It always fits in the overhead bin, and it looks stylish at the same time.

Whether you’re going on a weekend trip, or an extended holiday, having the perfect backpack is important. Below are my absolute favorite travel backpacks.

tortuga weekender: holiday gift guide

The 30L Weekender backpack is perfect for traveling. There are water bottle pockets on the outside, as well as an organizer pocket. The outside fabric is durable and waterproof. When the backpack opens, it feels more like a suitcase, so everything stays organized, as the zipper top and the zipper goes around 3 sides. It fits perfectly in an overhead bin.

holiday gift guide: allpa 28L cotopaxi backpack

I have the Allpa 35L backpack and I am obsessed. I constantly get compliments on it when I travel. I take it on hiking trips as well as use it for my electronics and smaller items when I board a plane. There are several compartments and pockets inside and outside, as well as a side computer pocket which doubles for me as a Camelbak water pocket when I hike. It even comes with a rain cover in a side pocket.

There was once a time when ‘fanny packs’ were considered nerdy. But I never gave up on them and just like that, they’re back in style. This makes my bum-bag-loving heart so happy. They are small and super practical. They are ideal if you’re looking for useful travel gifts.

holiday gift guide: tortuga sling

The Tortuga travel sling is so cute and stylish. There are so many inside pockets, as well as a secure back pocket. You can wear it over your shoulder in front of your chest, or strap it around your waist. The fabric is waterproof. It fits more than you would expect.

holiday gift guide: cotopaxi kapai hip bag

I love Cotopaxi so much, and one of the reasons is that they use recycled materials on so many of their items. The Kapai hip bag is one of these items. Because it’s made with recycled fabric, every single bag is totally unique. I have the 1.5L Kapai hip bag which is perfect for hiking, but there is also a 3L available.

holiday gift guide: packing cubes

My travel life has been forever changed since I started using packing cubes. Truly. They keep everything organized in their own sections, so I never feel like I’m digging and searching endlessly in my bag looking for something. So if you’re looking for lightweight gifts to take abroad, this is your sign to go all in on packing cubes. You can often find them in packs with a variety of sizes as well.

holiday gift guide: air tags

I have heard way too many horror stories at this point of airport workers stealing bags and pretending they’re lost, or bags just not making it onto flights. So if your favorite traveler has to check a bag, gift them with some Air Tags that they can hide inside their suitcases. That way they can keep a constant eye on where their bags are at all times.

travel gift ideas: luggage scale

This lightweight gift idea has come in clutch for me so many times. Instead of fretting at the airport, and then frantically unpacking bags in front of the ticketing agent (embarrassing!), having a luggage scale at your fingertips will alleviate a lot of stress. It’s also very inexpensive. It’s the perfect stocking stuffer.

travel gift ideas: passport holder

Whether you’re looking for travel gift ideas for couples, solo female travelers, or anyone going abroad, everyone can benefit from having a passport holder. I’ve had mine for years, decades even. It keeps my passport dry, and protected, and even has several pockets where I can put my immunization and vaccine cards, extra passport photos, and money when necessary. If you want a step up, this passport holder has space to add an Air Tag.

Sure, it may be easy to find tiny-sized shampoo and lotion bottles at the pharmacy, but sometimes you just want to feel like a normal person while you’re traveling. Here are a few things I like to indulge in when I travel to make me feel whole, while still being practical.

travel gift ideas: facial scrubber

When you travel it gets really difficult to maintain any type of routine, especially a face routine. That’s why I love my little face scrubber. I only need to charge it about once every 5-6 months, but it makes my skin feel so soft. I feel like it’s a little luxury I can do for myself at the end of the day after wandering around ancient tombs or dusty hiking trails. It’s small too, so it can easily fit in a travel toiletry bag. If you’re looking for gift basket ideas for travelers, this is what you need.

travel gift ideas: toothbrush

Using an electric toothbrush feels so good and leaves your teeth clean. But this is totally not practical when you’re traveling. Packing an extra cord and stand just for your toothbrush is a waste of space. Luckily there are smaller, battery-powered vibrating toothbrushes just for travel. I love mine.

travel gift ideas: towel

If you’re on the hunt for gifts for people going traveling, a microfiber towel might be just what you’re looking for. It’s soft, small, folds up easily, and dries super fast. When traveling, you never know if your accommodation will provide a towel, so it’s always better to be prepared, especially when it doesn’t take up much space in your bag. It even comes with a carry case.

travel gift ideas: jewelry case

I didn’t know I needed this in my life until it was gifted to me. I used to throw all my rings and earrings loose into a small bag and then got frustrated when I couldn’t find what I was looking for. But getting a travel jewelry case was a game-changer. It keeps everything organized and easy to find. This is the perfect gift idea for a woman traveler (or a man who also wears jewelry).

Every year, we get more and more dependent on electronics. Traveling is no exception. You need to be even more prepared. Below is a list of my must-have electronics for travel.

holiday gift guide: tech organizer
travel gift ideas: air pods

I have noise-cancelling Bluetooth headphones, but I don’t always want to travel with them. They attract a lot of attention. They’re big. They take up a lot of space. That is why I love Air Pods. They take up almost no space at all. They even fit in your pocket. They’re also very unassuming. If you have a hat on or long hair, people might not even know you have them in. You don’t have to get the Apple ones either. There are several imitation Air Pods out there on the market that are much more affordable.

travel gift ideas: world travleler adapter kit

I know that a lot of people either love or hate Apple products. I’m a member of the former group. I have all the Apple things. But for good reason. One of those reasons is that they make intuitive products. I bought my first Mac laptop in 2009 when I lived in South Korea. At that point, I also purchased the Apple World Traveler Adapter kit, and I have used it dozens of times since then. I already have the perfect plug for my laptop whether I’m in Argentina, South Korea, or the USA. I just switch them out easy peasy. This is a fantastic traveling gift idea for him, for her, for them.

travel gift ideas: adapter

If your favorite jet setter is traveling to several locations, then they can really benefit from having a universal travel power adapter. It can fit almost any size plug (covers 160 countries) and has several USB ports as well. That said, it does not convert voltage, so make sure to read up on the correct voltage for each location.

travel gift ideas: clicker

This is a game-changer. When you’re a solo traveler, it can be both intimidating and annoying to ask strangers to take your photo. It’s also annoying when you set up your camera timer only to find that one photo turned out badly; you keep running back and forth between the camera button and the ideal location, hoping that this time the photo turns out well. When I finally got a self-clicker, everything changed. My photos were more natural and I could spend much less time running back and forth. Self-clickers are also very affordable, lightweight, and connect easily via Bluetooth.

travel gift ideas: selfie stick

Much like the self-clicker mentioned above, the Selfie stick tripod helps out that solo traveler big time. It’s easy to connect your phone to the tripod, it extends (for easy packing), and even comes with a remote with a wireless Bluetooth connection so you can take as many photos of yourself as you need without bothering strangers.

travel gift ideas: power bank

If you’re in a city, you’ll rarely need a power bank or portable charger. It’s the in-between times that you’ll need it most. On the airplane. On the train. The bus. Or especially if you’re outdoors. I’ve used a power bank for long, several-day hiking trips such as the Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu or climbing Volcano Misti.

When you’re traveling you want to be both comfortable and chic. Here are a few of the clothing items I use and love.

cotopaxi trico jacket: holiday gift guide

I love this Cotopaxi jacket with all my heart. It has great colors, it’s lightweight, folds up easily, and is so cute! It’s great for outdoor hiking and airport lounging alike. It’s the perfect travel gift.

holiday gift guide: all day leggings

The All Day leggings by FreeFly Apparel are so comfortable, light, and soft. I love wearing them on airplanes, going to yoga, or just hanging out at home. The fabric is soft and durable. If nobody gifts these to you, maybe you should gift them to yourself.

travel gift ideas: Compression socks

Some people struggle with flying, not just for the fear of turbulence, but also because it can be really uncomfortable. Compression socks make things a lot easier on the blood vessels in your legs and feet.

travel gift ideas: period underwear
Nicki holds up her Mikkoa travel yoga mat. It's purple and pink marble. In the background there are green hills and a grey sky.

Maintaining a fitness routine while traveling is incredibly tricky. Normal yoga mats are just too big to fit in a carry-on suitcase. I don’t want be carry around weights with me. So when I found the Mikkoa Yoga Travel Mat, I knew I was in love. I have the Mystic Marble. It folds up small, it’s thin and lightweight, and has strong grip so I can use it anywhere. I can’t wait for my next trip with my Mikkoa mat. It’s also so pretty. A perfect gift for a traveling yogi.

travel gift guide: so cards

I first played with So Cards a few years ago while living in Florence. It’s the perfect conversation starter and a way to break the ice with any new travel companions. They are as small as a deck of cards so they can fit easily in your luggage.

travel gift ideas: moleskin

As a long-time journal writer, I know the power of having a high-quality journal to write in. Every traveler needs a great notebook to write their observations and daily activities in. It’s a perfect, useful holiday gift.

holiday gift guide: kindle

When the Kindle first came out, I swore I would never give up real books. But then I realized how amazing it was to have several books all in one place. Long gone are the days of taking a second book with me just in case I finished the first. Now I would be lost without my Kindle. I have mine connected to the library, so renting books (in English!)from abroad is free and easy. It’s an ideal gift for any frequent flyer.

When you travel, it’s so important you stay hydrated. You’re running around and doing lots of things, so you need to keep those H2O levels up.

Holding the LifeStraw water bottle by the caribiner.

I used the LifeStraw water bottle for two months in Mexico and never once got sick. This is the perfect gift for any adventurous traveler headed to places with questionable tap water, or river water.

holiday gift guide: water bottle

What I love about collapsible water bottles is that once the water is gone, they take up barely any space at all. You can throw them in your bag or fit them in your pocket. No big deal.

holiday gift guide: reusable bag

This is one item I always pack in my bag. I hate feeling stuck using plastic all the time when I travel, so I make sure to pack a foldable, reusable shopping bag. I’ve had the same one for the past 13 years. It has come in handy so many times since I prefer to go shopping and cook at the Airbnb, than eat out all the time.

If you’re looking for great travel gift ideas for your favorite world traveler, I hope you were able to get some solid ideas from this holiday gift guide. If you plan ahead, you can create the perfect traveler’s gift basket or stocking stuffers. If you’re sliding into this blog post at the last minute, you can still find some great gifts that take just moments to purchase, such as SafetyWing travel medical insurance or an E-sim. Happy travel gift shopping!