Whether the traveler on your list prefers a weekend getaway or a trip halfway around the world, a perfectly chosen gift can inspire wanderlust—or memories of places traveled. Here’s our collection of tried and tested travel essentials and fun gift ideas for those constantly on the move.
1. Tailored Inspiration
Every trip begins with planning, and Lonely Planet offers just the right amount of up-to-date information in their guidebooks for almost any destination. Whether your favorite traveler is looking to discover all of “Eastern Europe” ($27.99) or a specific spot, such as in “Route 66 Road Trips” ($12.99), Lonely Planet has it covered.
Lonely Planet’s online store also includes compilations and cookbooks that appeal to travelers by bringing international experiences back home. Check out “The World's Best Spicy Food” ($10.00), which includes over 100 authentic recipes of the world’s spiciest dishes, or “Lonely Planet's Beautiful World” ($39.99) for beautiful imagery that’s sure to inspire their next trip.
2. On-the-Go Entertainment
Is your favorite traveler always one to get the party started? The waterproof UE Roll ($99.00) isn't just portable, it's built for adventure! Pint-sized with a low profile design, this speaker is easy to fit into small bags. As a bonus, the UE Roll can be attached to just about anything, thanks to an elastic strap on the back.
And they mean anything. The UE Roll is rated IPX7 waterproof, meaning it can go in the shower, by the sink, or out in the rain without worry of it breaking. There’s a door concealing the USB port and aux input, but since even the connectors themselves are waterproof, the door is just extra protection to keep dirt out.
You can submerge UE Roll in water, but since it can't float, online orders are bundled with a blow-up floatie that keeps the speaker afloat in a swimming pool or open water.
3. A Portable Place to Lock Up Valuables
Many travel-oriented gift guides focus on the adventurer but leave off items of interest for resort lovers who enjoy lounging by pools and beaches.
The AquaVault ($39.95) aims to solve a perennial problem faced when sun worshipping or splashing around: What to do with one’s phone, keys, wallet, and watch when you head into the water? This mini safe attaches to lounge chairs, banisters, boat railings, or even bicycles—it can attach to a variety of objects to keep stuff safe.
4. Photography Gear For iPhone Lovers
What to give a friend or loved one who wants to level up their Instagram game? There’s no need to spring for a DSLR when the iPhone 6s is already boasting a cinematography-quality camera. Instead, treat them to this Kit for iPhone 6/6s and iPhone 6 Plus/6s Plus ($199.99), designed to help anyone take pro-level photographs with the same phone that fits in their pocket.
The kit includes an Olloclip Active Lens Bundle for ultra-wide and telephoto shots, a compact Manfrotto PIXI Tripod, a MeFOTO Sidekick 360 Plus Tripod Mounting Adapter (which locks an iPhone into position at virtually any angle), and an HISY Bluetooth Camera Remote.
The whole bundle comes packaged in a compact, custom designed Incase Photography Kit case. It’s made with a tough 1680D nylon molded cover and includes custom laser-cut foam pockets, ensuring everything is kept safe and securely in place, even on a journey.
5. A Battery Pack to Charge Up
The flexibility of not having to track down an outlet every night or worry about forgetting to charge a phone is one of the best gifts you can give a frequent traveler. Unlike many external batteries, Anker Astro E4 ($29.99) can recognize and charge any device at full speed. And not just once or twice—this lightweight charger can fully recharge an iPhone about five to six times before needing to be topped off itself.
The Astro E4 also comes with a travel pouch and an 18-month warranty.
6. A Custom Travel Journal
Keeping track of travels has changed quite a bit, thanks (or not) to social media. Do you know someone who waxes poetic about the old days, back when the folks at home had to wait until a traveler returned from destinations far and wide to hear detailed accounts of every experience? If so, then a TrekNotes travel journals ($68) might be just the ticket this Christmas.
The fact that every TrekNotes notebook is unique and customized for its owner is why each one costs $68: The cover is a satellite map of wherever home is or wherever a traveler wants to go. On the inside, aspiring adventurers will find 200 uncoated, matte pages that are filled with wanderlust-inspiring images that range from mountains and lakes to deserts and glaciers.
7. MacGyver-Level Fixing Putty
Why get someone you love air-curing rubber for Christmas? Because every traveler knows that there’s nothing worse than carefully curating your packing list only to have a much-needed item break halfway through a trip.
Enter Sugru ($12), This stuff is pure magic. Fix dodgy cables, suitcase rips, unhinged headphones, make hooks stick, patch up a hole in the sole of a shoe—essentially, Sugru can mend almost anything and is a travel essential.
8. An Award-Winning Travel Pillow
If you know someone who frequently spends long hours on a plane, here’s a gift that’s sure to be appreciated! The J Pillow ($29.95) currently holds the position of #1 Best Seller in Amazon’s Travel Pillow category and is the winner of the British Invention of the Year 2012.
Uniquely shaped to support the head and neck at multiple angles, the J Pillow stops the head from falling forward while sleeping. A definite upgrade from classic U-shaped neck pillows, any frequent traveler will be grateful for the gift of a good rest during future trips.
9. What To Get the Traveler Who Has Everything?
You can always take a philanthropic approach. Forbes compiled a list of the Top 7 Travel-Minded Charities For Holiday Gift Giving. Included is the opportunity to adopt an acre from the American Prairie Reserve ($1,000), as the organization attempts to restore northeastern Montana’s biodiversity—once as rich as Africa's Serengeti.
Humanitarians can donate a GPS Device to the International Rescue Committee ($300). These devices are used to help whole communities in rural villages locate the closest water source, allowing for more infrastructure and reduced safety risks to the women and children that are often sent to wells.
Another worthy mention is the USO Wishbook, which offers a wide-ranging collection of gifts to bring cheer to those serving our country and to their families. Options include care packages, books and games for those overseas, even a resume-writing workshop for when they return. You can also sponsor phone calls home or gifts for their kids like a personalized DVD in which a service member gets to read their little ones a bedtime story. Donations begin at $15.
Still stuck on what to get your favorite frequent flier beyond basic travel gear?
While there’s nothing wrong with luggage tags and passport covers, we’d love to help inspire a more personal pick! Just let us know a little about your favorite traveler in the comments below.