Finding the right gift is hard enough, but finding the right gift for someone traveling can feel almost impossible. Today’s reduced luggage allowances and TSA restrictions can seriously limit what can be brought on a plane.
Jeremy and I are often away for birthdays and Christmas. This makes giving each other gifts challenging.
It is even worse on a lengthy trip. As much as I love my terrycloth robe, I really didn’t want to drag it around Scotland.
Basically, the gift must be small enough to fit in a suitcase, and light enough not take up precious weight allowances. Plus, if your loved one only has a carry-on, you must avoid prohibited items, such as liquids and gels.
These gift ideas are for those looking for an alternative to giving your traveling loved one money.
Experiences are my go-to gift. You can never have too many, and the memories last a lifetime.
There are tons of ways to learn which experiences are available.
- Groupon or Living Social can tell you what’s on offer in your area.
- Cloud 9 Living or Xperiencedays make purchasing experiences super simple.
- I also use Google maps to search specific keywords like “survival training”. This is how I found the Trail Blazer Survival School where I bought Jeremy a 2-day Essential Wilderness Survival course.
Consider purchasing an experience for the destination they are traveling. One year, we did a cultural cooking class in Morocco that was delicious and memorable.
Just be careful of weather dependent activities. For example, a lot of hot air balloon companies won’t give refunds, they will only let you reschedule. That’s not great if your love one won’t be in the area long enough to reschedule.
Here’s a few gift ideas from the experiences we have given each other;
Live Events or Shows
You can’t beat the ambiance of a live event. Especially a sporting event or a concert.
It’s easy enough to check Ticketmaster or StubHub for upcoming events.
Don’t forget to check in your loved one’s travel destination. For instance, we attended an Irish Curling game in Dublin. It was amazing fun and something a bit different.
- Sporting Events
- Musicals or Theater Plays
- Traveling Shows/Performances
- Concerts or Music Festivals
- Comedy Shows
- Magic Shows
Not just magazines anymore. You can buy subscriptions to almost anything these days and spend as little or as much as you like.
Here are some subscription gift ideas;
- Online video game services (Steam, Origin)
- Food and drink sample boxes (Vinebox, Dessert of the month)
- Make-up in the mail (Birchbox, IPSY)
- Man boxes (Loot Crate, Man Crates)
- Wardrobe and jewelry (StichFix, rocksbox)
Super practical, yet often we don’t purchase these services for ourselves.
They can be a little more personal in nature. So you’ll need to know if your love one would be comfortable with the service, like letting someone clean or organize their things.
- Session with a make-up artist
- Photo shoot
- Style consultant or personal shopper
- Housekeeping service
- Organizational service
- Massage or a spa day
Annual Pass to the National Parks
For the history and nature lovers on your list, I can’t think of a better gift than an Annual Pass to the U.S. National Parks.
The America the Beautiful Pass costs $80 and gives access to over 2,000 National Parks for a year. Places like the Shenandoah in Virginia, Fort Moultrie in South Carolina, or the stunning Red Rock Canyon in Nevada. Plus, you are supporting our great parks system.
Alternatively, most states have an Annual State Park Pass. The one for South Carolina, for example, gives entry for up to four people for $99.
Travel Related Gifts
The next best thing to something that literately takes up no luggage space, like concert tickets or a subscription, is something practical to use while traveling.
These are some of the travel accessories we regularly use;
- Kindle – Reading material can be your best friend on the road. A kindle is light and slim, making it easy to carry a whole library in your carry-on.
- Packing Cubes – These make packing and unpacking really easy. Especially for road trips, when you are moving from place to place. Plus, they take virtually no space or weight.
- Travel towels – Not so useful for hotel stays, but a must for backpacking or camping trips.
- Cord organizer – Between the phone, headsets, camera and drone this keeps our cords from getting lost.
- Toiletry fold out bag – Look for one that has a strong hook for hanging.
- Luggage scale – I’m a souvenir junkie so I always pack my return trip to the limits, this keeps me from getting those pesky baggage fees.
- Sleep mask – A good sleep mask is worth it’s weight in gold on the road. I love the GiniMax as there’s no light leakage.
- Waterproof anything – We always carry waterproof backpack covers and a dry bag with us. These waterproof shoe covers were amazing for Iceland. I’m on the lookout for better waterproof gloves.
Hobby Related Gifts
Most travelers combine travel with a hobby. Jeremy’s are drone videography and water activities, such as snorkeling and scuba, and mine is photography.
- Camera bag – I love my Peak Design 20L bag. It’s compact but carries my primary equipment in an easily accessible way. I also love that it doesn’t look like a camera bag.
- Camera accessories – SD cards, filters, neck strap.
- Photo editing software – Photoshop and/or Lightroom.
- External Hard Drive/Solid State Drive – Reaching “the cloud” is not always easy when traveling, we love the rugged Transcend StoreJet to back-up our photos.
- Action camera and accessories – Nowadays you can buy an action camera for under $50.
- Carrying case – We bought this carrying case for our DJI drone.
If they truly are the person that wants nothing or has everything, there are plenty of great causes out there that you can donate to on your loved one’s behalf.
Travel Shop Ideas
We hope this list has given you some gift giving inspiration.
What gifts has your traveling love one appreciated most?
We recommend and use these companies to arrange our travel plans; they make travel planning easy and affordable. If you have questions on our experiences, feel free to ask us!
We use Skyscanner to compare flights all over the world. Their “anywhere” feature shows the cheapest destinations from wherever you want to fly.
Booking.com has been our go to hotel booking site since 2007. They are easy to use, with a great selection of accommodation, and usually have the best deals.
Book Rental Cars
Rentalcars.com make comparing offers across various companies easy. We find them the quickest and easiest way to identify the best deal, no matter the country.
Buy Travel Gear
Amazon consistently has the best range and availability of travel gear online.