Practical Gift Guide for Travelers

I am the worst at picking out gifts. It’s just not a natural gift I was given (hehehe–pun intended!). Gift giving is super easy when you see something and it screams “Buy me for Sean!”, but honestly, that doesn’t happen all that often. Listening and taking notes when people intentionally or unintentionally give hints is the best way to figure out that gift that someone really wants and will actually use. I used to visit gift guide websites which were somewhat helpful but sometimes they just pick a theme and go after it…like maps.

I like maps like most travelers. They are a great representation of travel, as are planes and compasses. But if people travel a lot, they probably don’t want or need more “things”, they need practical travel items.

You can still get stuck trying to be practical! I’ve seen great gift guides for travelers but even my family probably wouldn’t pay the price for the premium items suggested. Who wouldn’t love a new camera or a $1,000 tripod? If you’re offering, I’m more than happy to accept 🙂 But I’m pretty sure most people aren’t giving $1,000 gifts.

So, here you go, the practical gift guide for travelers!

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Noise Canceling Headphones

Especially for long flights, noise canceling headphones are essential! There are many different kinds from in-ear (like ear buds), on ear that sit right on top but the surface is small, and around ear which basically encompasses the ear. There are many different brands as well, some of the best that I’ve seen and read about are Sennheiser, Bose, AudioTechnica, Samsung, Sony. Though the range is from $80-$350, I would try to spend at least $150 to get a quality pair of headphones.

If you really want to impress, get ones that have Bluetooth so you can ditch the cord, and a microphone so it can also be used with a phone or for Skype on the computer or tablet. Rechargeable or with a battery is a decision you’ll have to make. I have one with a AAA battery so when it dies, I can just get a new one and recharge the battery. Sean has to charge his headphones ahead of time and if he’s not near a USB charger, he’s out of luck if his battery dies.

Kindle e-reader

How many books can you fit on a Kindle? More than you can read on any trip! I know some people just love their paperback books and will take them with them no matter how heavy their bag gets. But for those who pack light, want to pack light, or prefer ebooks (as I do), this is a great gift! From travel guidebooks, to non-fiction, to fantasy, reading helps pass the time while in transit and can be calming after a frustrating day.

Don’t forget the amazon gift card so they can grab a couple books right away!

Luggage tag

This might not sound like a big deal, but if you ever get stuck at the check-in counter and have to fill in one of their luggage tags, then you know the pain. Get a nice, durable, even cute luggage tag for your traveler. Bonus points if it makes the bag more noticeable coming off the luggage belt!

Luggage scale

Nobody should pay more than they need to for baggage! This luggage scale helps prevent the overage charges. Whether flying a budget airline and want to be sure your carry-on doesn’t get taken away and put in the hold, or just don’t want to go over the allotted 23 kg for your checked bag and pay a ridiculous amount in fees, these are a must have! Takes all the guessing out of the luggage game, and as the opinion of someone who tried the hold-the-luggage-as-you-get-on-the-scale game, don’t let anyone go through that frustration. It’s not pretty and sometimes involves bruises.

Packing cubes

Packing cubes help your luggage stay oh-so-beautifully organized. Not to mention because you stuff the cubes, you can probably even fit more in the bag. You’ll probably even be helping TSA out when they randomly search your checked bag. Oh wait, is that just me who gets search every.single.time? I won’t even get into the story about when they un-bubble-wrapped my wine. Anyway, organization–yes, this is a luggage win.

Skype credits


This can even be a selfish gift! Give Skype credits so they can call you while they are away…win-win? I think so. As long as they are on wi-fi, they can call a phone from their phone for super cheap when using Skype. OR if you are tech-savvy, video Skype and see their face! Huge bonus if they find wi-fi and video call you while at some cool spot that they get to show you!

Power bank

Techy travelers burn the battery life in their phones or tablets super fast. Grab them a good power bank to keep them going and updating social media with awesome photos that you can’t wait to see. I say “good” power bank because some hold more power than others and can even charge a phone multiple times on one charge.

RFID passport protector

You can never be too careful with your passport. This is a great accessory for any traveler. The RFID pouch can be used to hold a passport or two and a few credit or ID cards that also might have an RFID chip in them. My passport stays in one of these all the time because you just never know. If you are unfamiliar with RFID, here’s a post on it. But basically, these protectors block anyone from skimming the electronic information from anything inside that has RFID technology. Better safe than sorry!

EyeFi Wi-Fi SD memory card

This EyeFi memory card is a great gift for someone who loves social media and to share photos but prefers to use an actual camera to take photos instead of their phone. You may need to do some investigating for this one because this memory card is for cameras who don’t already use wi-fi and many of the newer models do have this feature. If you can find out what camera they have and if this is handy, it’s an amazing gift! I adore mine because I can send photos without going through my computer…which I don’t usually travel with.

PacSafe Bags

Want your friend or family member to feel safe? Then PacSafe bags are what you should be looking at. Mine is always my day bag because it is the most secure bag I own. From slash-proof straps, an eXomesh skeleton, to a clip that lets you hook the bag to something heavy or immovable, it gives a crazy amount of peace of mind!


Hot Air Balloon

When is a gift certificate a bad idea? I’m pretty sure that’s never! But this gift certificate from Tinggly is special because it’s something they can experience rather than keep. Here at A Wanderlust For Life, we are all about having experiences that give you special memories. This is the gift for that! There are so many kinds to give, but Tinggly has so many options that the world is open to your giftee. And I’m certain they will love you for it!

Gifts should be thoughtful, personal, and Always have the person receiving the gift in mind. Many people are starting to want a smaller quantity of things and more things of quality or experiences! Give a gift that really puts a smile on their face!

I hope this is helpful for anyone doing the holiday or birthday shopping. Please let me know in the comments what the best gift you’ve ever been given has been, and maybe what the best gift you’ve given was. Would you like to add anything else to this list? Let me know!

Happy shopping!

gifts for travelers birthday

Jessica Cutrufello wearing a green floral dress, glasses and pink lipstick

Hi! I’m Jessica, an American who made Amsterdam her home in 2014. I share European gems through food and memorable experiences. Want to know more? Head to my about page or check out my YouTube channel.

Travel with us - Tuscany October 2022