Do you love travel? Or do you have a travel obsessed friend that you need to find the perfect gift for? Well, I’m here to help. When it comes time to buy someone you love a present, or even just treat yourself to something nice, you want it to be something thoughtful, useful and something they’ll really love. The ideal gift for any travel lover would definitely be an all-expenses paid trip to somewhere amazing, but if you aren’t a multi-millionaire with cash to spare, these gift ideas are the next best thing.
Also, it’s really important to live within your means. So if some of the ideas listed here are outside your budget, that’s cool. Making someone a really delicious dinner and telling them you love them is incredibly meaningful and will make them happy. If some of the ideas listed are a outside your budget, do a search for alternatives. This could just be your inspiration starting point.
1. Tinggly gift voucher
But waaaaaaait a minute… aren’t gift vouchers the most impersonal of all gifts, short of cold hard cash? Yea, in some cases they are. This isn’t one of them. When you buy someone a Tinggly gift voucher you’re buying them a super cool experience on their next trip. You buy them the voucher, they jump online and have a look at experiences in the destination they’re visiting and choose one. There are 350 experiences in 80 countries to choose from. It’s great because you get to give them a memorable travel experience and they get to choose something they’ll love. It could be visiting the Great Wall in China, whale watching in Iceland, motorbiking through Cambodia, exploring a volcano in Hawaii or parasailing over Lake Wanaka.
2. Polaroid camera
For photography lovers you can’t go past a super cool polaroid camera. You can take some really cool ‘inception style’ photos with these bad boys. Travel lovers can also peg their polaroids to string, on their wall at home, to make an instant memory wall of all their best travels. I bought a polaroid myself a few years ago and make a point of taking a few in each place we visit and pinning them up in our bedroom. It’s cool to see all the places you’ve visited each day.
3. Map artwork
Travel lovers adore maps. They’re a great reminder of a place you’ve visited and, when they’re sharing stories with friends, make it easy to jump up and point out where they were and give recommendations on places to visit. There is some really cool map artwork on Etsy, like this great shop: iLikeMaps, so you can choose their favourite city and get a map of that, or go for a world map if you prefer. If you’re on a budget, you can always DIY this and find a vintage map or a super-cool map at a bookstore and frame it yourself.
4. Travel wallet
My dad gave Matt and I a really great travel wallet and it was an awesome gift. A really good quality one will last a long time and be used by your travel loving friend every time they take a trip somewhere. Also, splashing out on a really nice one is probably something they haven’t done because they can’t justify the cost, when they could be spending their money on sangria and other wonderful things at their next destination. Great wallets, like the one I’ve linked to below, can carry a phone, iPad, passports, credit cards, sunglasses and more.
5. Overnight bag
If your friend or loved one tends to pack their travel belongings into reusable shopping bags, then it could be a sign they need a decent overnight bag. Depending on budget there are a few different options you can go with. For something more fancy, look into a really cool leather bag. Some can even be monogramed for that personal touch, like this one by HeritageWedding on Etsy. For more budget friendly options you can find some pretty cool bags at army disposal stores, Country Road or even your local Kmart.
6. Things to help organise
The hardest part of travel is staying organised, am I right? You get to your first hotel, rip open your suitcase and next thing you know everything you own is absolutely everywhere. Every travel lover needs help staying organised, so giving them gifts like laundry bags for dirty clothes, delicates bags for their socks and jocks, small boxes and bags to store jewellery, toiletries, cosmetics, medicines etc can be a really big help. They can even be help they didn’t know they needed!
7. Beauty bag
If you’re after a gift for someone who loves beauty products, put them together a special bag for their next trip. Buy a toiletry bag and stock it full of yummy things for them to treat themselves with when they next travel. We’re talking luscious moisturiser for keeping skin hydrated on long-haul flights, non-greasy sunscreen for face, a great lip balm, decadent hand creme, beautiful soap, face masks, body scrubs and maybe even some essential oils. Give them the gift of a DIY day spa! You may just find they bliss out with it at their hotel.
8. Jewellery with meaning
Violet Gray Designs create beautiful jewellery, more than that you can choose something specific to your loved one and give them a gift they’ll really treasure and hopefully remind them of something important. For instance, you can choose a necklace with the Aum symbol, representing the sound of the universe and totality of all. You could also choose a chakra necklace that relates to where they are in their life at the moment. You could choose the throat chakra necklace, representing self and soul expression, communication, confidence and willpower. They also have a cool range of rings, bracelets and other beautiful items.
9. Portable speaker or cool headphones
Listening to your favourite music while you travel is one of the best parts of the journey and you quite often connect certain songs with places you’ve visited. A great gift idea for music and travel lovers can be a portable speaker they can take with them. Something that gives good quality sound but is still light weight and easy to use. A USB speaker would be ideal! If you want to go one step further, a really great pair of headphones could be the ticket too. Bonus points if you get a noise cancelling pair, they’ll make all the difference on those long haul flights.
10. Emergency power pack
When you’re using your phone as a camera and map, you can run the battery out really quickly. This is especially true if you’re out all day sightseeing and don’t want to have to go back to your hotel to charge your phone in the middle of the day. Give the gift of POWER! Caps felt appropriate there, sorry. Gift your travel loving friend a power bank, most come with different adaptors so they’ll fit a phone, your camera and a few other devices too.
11. Cool adaptors
Give the gift of MORE POWER! Caps is still appropriate, sorry. I really like these brightly coloured power adaptors from Flight 001. They’re colour coded, which makes it easy because usually adaptors are white and you can never remember which one is for which country, so you just pack them all. They’re also great because they stack into each other and go into a nice compact box, making it easy to pick them up and throw them in your luggage with no worries.
12. Good books for travel inspiration
Just like music, when you read a good book on the road you always associate it with that trip. If your friend is a book lover like me, shower them with paperbacks. Choose some classics from the penguin range, give them a copy of your favourite book or pick out some travel inspiring titles like The Last Train to Zona Verde by Paul Theroux, The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo and Marching Powder: A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine and South America’s Strangest Jail by Rusty Young and Thomas McFadden.
If you’re on a really tight budget, here are a few ideas just for you:
- Buy a selection of books from your local thrift store, bundle them up with some twine and give them to your beloved. You never know what you can find at thrift stores.
- Give the gift of nature! Yep, a beautiful plant in a nice pot or repotted into a quirky vessel from the thrift store can make a great gift idea.
- If you’ve got some talents in the art department, draw or paint your friend something and give it to them in an up-cycled frame. Personal gifts are always the best.
- You can also hand make your own jewellery on the cheap, thanks to discount bead stores. No need for fancy equipment either, just thread some beads onto a coloured piece of leather and voila, you’re done.
- Coffee. Everyone loves coffee… or tea or hot chocolate. Grab your friend and get a couple of takeaways, go sit somewhere with a beautiful view and just chill out. I do this with my girlfriends when we’re all on tight budgets.
Watch: our ‘NOT Your Average Luggage Review: the Lojel Lumo’ video
Phoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger with a love for storytelling. Phoebe creates practical, fun and engaging written content designed to inspire and energise travel-lovers and dreamers. Follow her and Matt’s adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box and through Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.