Cue holiday music! Fairy lights! Tinsel and mistletoe! It’s starting to feel like the festive holiday season, which means it’s time to start gift shopping. If you’re a competitive gift-giver like me, you want to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. In this post of Unique Travel Gifts, I’ve done some of the heavy lifting for you by finding some amazing travel-related Christmas and holiday gifts for the traveler in your life.
After you’ve browsed by essential gift guide for backpackers (power banks, power converters, packing cubes, blah blah.. also listed under “travel gift basics” below), check these more fun and unique travel gifts like yoga mat sandals or waterproof playing cards. The gifts they never knew they needed! You might even consider popping an extra one of these unique travel gifts into your shopping basket, just for yourself 🙂
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Travel Gift Basics
Let’s get these basic travel gifts out of the way first. If you’re holiday shopping for a first-time traveler, you’ve come to the perfect place! These gifts are classic because they are very practical, and would be a welcome addition to anyone’s Christmas stocking.
I wouldn’t categorize these as “unique” travel gifts because you’re bound to find these on almost all travel gift guides. I won’t explain the benefit of traveling with each one, but many of these are included on my Essential Long-Term Travel Gear Post.
If you notice a travel gift here that you don’t already have, toss it in your cart for checkout!
50+ Travel Gifts for any budget
Airbnb or Hotels.com Gift Card
Audible Audiobook Subscription
Know where your traveler will be heading to next? Why not gift them an excursion or entry ticket through GetYourGuide?
GetYourGuide is an authorized reseller for many popular excursions around the world, and makes travel planning easy through their app. Purchase tickets through them directly to gift, or purchase a gift card. The perfect travel gift for any budget!
eBooks on Kindle
Travel-related eBooks, or eBooks that can transport readers to other countries, make great, waste-free Christmas gifts.
Check out my travel books page for some of my favorite travel books, and some that are on my reading wishlist too!
Unique Travel Gifts Under $10
Earth Laundry Bag
This lightweight, foldable laundry bag is perfect for storing dirty clothes. Packing cubes are a travel gift to help organize before a trip. But what about during the trip when you’re blazing through clean clothes?
This laundry bag is a travel gift to use during a trip. Throw your dirty clothes in here and keep them separate from the rest until you’re able to do some laundry.
Gift this beautiful copper compass to your favorite traveler this holiday season!
Compasses are great for survival and orienteering in the wilderness but are also great symbolic gifts for future adventurers. This one is both pretty and practical, with glow-in-the-dark features and a rotating rim.
Whether your traveler is staying in hostels or taking long-haul flights, give them the gift of security to prevent mishaps on the road.
Luggage locks with longer cables can be used in more ways than standard hard locks.
Sun Bum Sunscreen
Sun Bum makes sunscreen that is good for you and good for the planet. Not only is this sunscreen vegan and reef-friendly (perfect for snorkeling reefs in Australia and Belize), they are also hypoallergenic, oil-free, and moisturizing. This 1 fl oz container is perfect for short trips or when packing light.
Here’s a unique travel gift that I have myself!
This map tapestry is a beautiful blue, and comes at a great price. It’s great for decorating rooms on its own, or get creative with print-out pictures or pins so it serves as a reminder of where you’ve traveled.
Mr. Bronner's 18-in-1 Soap
Mr. Bronner’s is a sustainable, eco-friendly soap that has a whopping 18 uses in one bottle! These are great for travelers who want to wash their hair and body, do some laundry, even wash the dishes. Mr. Bronner’s soaps are a personal favorite and come in every size from this 2-ounce bottle all the way up to a 1 gallon refill jug.
Waterproof Playing Cards
We all need something to keep us entertained on the road right? Here’s a unique gift for any traveler – waterproof playing cards! These Hoyle Cards look great and are sure to last even on sticky hostel tables.
Hydrating Facial Mist
Mario Badescu’s facial sprays are perfect travel companions that provide a refreshing pick-me-up. Made with ingredients including aloe, green tea, peppermint, and cucumber, this facial mist will both hydrate and invigorate tried travelers.
Unique Travel Gifts Under $25
Books to Spark Wanderlust
Touchland Rejuvenating Hand Sanitizer
Touchland developed these sleek hand sanitizer sprays to be a perfect addition to every traveler’s carry-on luggage. These mists not only sanitize, they moisturize and detoxify as well with ingredients like collagen, aloe vera, vitasource, and detoskin. They also come in a variety of scents like rosewater, citrus, aloe, and watermelon.
Available in a 5-pack too so you can gift one to all of your traveler friends.
Collapsible Water Bottle
If you know the favorite city of your loved one, here’s a unique travel gift for them. Memorialize their trip by gifting them a detailed map of their favorite city. Or order a few to have as classy wall decorations.
Mini Hair Straightener
This hand-sized hair straightener is a perfect travel gift for travelers who like to pack light and style their hair on the road. While mostly recommended for use on short hair and bangs, this handy tool is perfect for on-the-go styling.
Merino Wool Socks
Homeopathic No-Jet-Lag Tablets
Any travelers with long-haul flights coming up will appreciate this travel-related gift. No-Jet-Lag is made in New Zealand based on a mixture of natural, homeopathic ingredients that combat jet lag and flight discomfort. Its plant-based formula of chamomile, daisy, leopard’s mane, clubmoss, and more easy the symptoms of fatigue, disorientation, and broken sleep.
As always, consult your doctor before trying any new medication.
Portable Travel Diffuser
If the traveler you’re shopping for is a fan of essential oils and diffusers, this handy, portable diffuser will make an amazing gift. This company, 100 ml diffuser is perfect for setting up on-the-go, so you can travel with your favorite essential oils.
GoToobs Refillable Bottles
GoToobs are travel-sized, squishy, refillable silicon bottles that make great unique gifts for travelers. They come in various colors and sizes, have a leak-proof, lockable cap, and even a little handle to loop around bathroom hooks.
Sanuk Yoga Mat Sandals
Travel often means walking thousands of steps more than you’re used to each day. Make sure your feet stay cool and comfortable with these yoga mat base sandals from Sanuk.
Perfect for traveling to hot countries, these sandals are sure to keep your feet happy.
Shampoo and Conditioner Bars Set
Shampoo and conditioner bars have started trending in the last years as travelers seek to be more eco-friendly. Forget those tiny plastic travel-size bottles and check out this unique travel gift.
This sample pack from Ethique has two shampoo and one conditioner bar, perfect for travel.
Reusable bags are an everyday necessity, but a unique gift for travelers too. It’s much easier to refuse plastics abroad if you can show the vendor that you brought a nice bag yourself.
These Bee Green nylon shopping bags are lightweight, come in countless different colors and designs, and can be bought in bulk. The perfect stocking-stuffer!
Coffee Table Travel Books
These large books are filled with beautiful pictures and hundreds of adventures. They go great on any coffee table or bookshelf, and are great because you can pick them up and flip to any page for guaranteed wanderlust inspiration.
Unique Travel Gifts Under $50
Things uniqu gift is one I’ve started to travel with on my weekend trips: the Google Chromecast! This casting device connects to streaming apps from your phone, to display on any TV it’s connected to via an HDMI input.
Not only is it great for home, it’s a perfect portable travel companion for kicking back at the hotel while traveling.
Foldable Yoga Mat
This perfect travel gift for the yogi in your life: a travel-friendly yoga mat. This portable yoga mat neatly folds down into something that can easily be packed in a suitcase or large backpack.
Never worry about carrying around a roll-up yoga mat again!
Massive (Capacity) Memory Card
Travelers with digital cameras, micro SD smartphones, tablets, and even Nintendo DS’s would adore this massive Samsung memory card. 512 GB would have been unheard of just a few years ago, but here we are! These will hold all the photos and videos from future travels.
Travel-sized Air Purifier
This portable air purified is a great present for people traveling to big, bustling cities or people traveling in the spring and prone to hay fever.
Create a little slice of easy-breathing heaven in your hotel room at the end of the day by using this portable HEPA filter air purifier.
Detailed Scratch-Off Map
Homesick is a create candle brand that seeks to evoke some of the scents of cities and places around the world through their “memory candles”.
New York for example, smells like spring in Central Park, department stores, and concrete. Yum!
Other homes include one of my own, Houston, as well as Southern California, Boston, Chicago, and a slightly off-topic four-twenty candle too. See all candle cities (US only) here. Some countries, such as Mexico, France, and United Kingdom, are also available.
Lego City Skyline Sets
Has your loved one recently visited a city that they can’t stop talking about? Fuel their wanderlust with one of these LEGO Architecture sets to commemorate their trip. They are available for several famous city skylines including Paris, London, New York, and Sydney. They’re great for kids and adults.
Promptly Travel Journal
Promptly developed a compact travel journal that helps travelers record their travels using easy writing prompts like “what advice would you give otheres traveling here?” and “what did you love about the local culture?”. The pages provide space for travelers to note their “memorable moments”, “accommodation”, “mishaps”, and more as well.
TP Link Portable Hotspot
Staying connected while traveling is important for many travelers these days. Having a portable hotspot means being able to touch base with friends and family, navigate around unknown cities and public transport, and being able to use Google Translate to help with any language barriers. A portable hotspot or wireless router is a great gift for connected and tech-savvy travelers!
Anti-Theft Cross-body Bag
This awesome anti-theft bag is a great new staple piece for travelers. It’s stylish, spacious, has lots of pockets, and has anti-theft capabilities. The main pocket zippers have a clip at the end that clips onto the bag so it can’t be opened easily.
When I was a kid, I spent hours staring at the globe in my house. What’s more fun for a traveler than closing their eyes and spinning it, then imagining what it would be like to go where their finger lands?
Unique Travel Gifts Under $100
America The Beautiful National Parks Pass
The U.S. National Parks Service’s famous America the Beautiful National Parks pass is a must-have for American road-trippers and international visitors alike. For $80, this pass is valid for one year, and provides free entry into 63 U.S. national parks and over 2000 federal recreation sites.
Considering famous U.S. national parks like Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, and more cost $30-35 for entry, this pass is worth every penny!
Note: May take up to three weeks to process and receive the physical card.
Wireless Charging Station and Tray
This sleek wireless charging tray is an awesome gift for travelers. The Courant wireless charger and tray looks sleek, comes in various colors, and goes perfectly with any nightstand.
After a day of exploring, toss all of your important things in the catch-all tray and your electronics on the wireless charger. Keep everything in one place to make travel organization a breeze!
Portable Solar Charger
If your traveler is going to a remote area or a place where electricity is not always guaranteed, a solar charger is a great gift. I would have used this while trekking in Nepal, where the teahouses only have solar to generate electricity anyways. Another way to reduce your carbon footprint on the road!
LARQ Self-Sanitizing Water Bottle
As seen on the show Shark Tank, these LARQ bottles provide an awesome service for travelers. They clean themselves and the water within them with a UV light inside the lid. These bottles are also insulated, stainless steel, and super stylish too!
Any traveler will be the life of the party with this amazing portable speakers by Bose. These SoundLink Micro speakers are a must-have for big family and friend get-togethers. They’re sturdy, waterproof, and can last up to 6 hours without a charge!
Air tags have gone from a completely obscure Apple product to a must-have travel accessory. The number of lost and delayed bags flying around the world over the last several months has been nothing we’ve ever seen before.
Air tags ensure all bags are kept track of, should the worst case scenario unfold. This 4-pack is perfect for traveling families and large groups to keep track of all their checked luggage.
Remember Air Tags are just the little tokens themselves, so be sure to include some Air Tag cases in the gift.
Chacos All-Purpose Sandals
Chacos are the only travel shoe you’ll need. With my Chacos I’ve trekked through Nepal, walked through rivers, and tackled both hot and cold weather exploring.
The adjustable straps ensure that the sandals will fit comfortably, and they dry quickly too if you walk through water. Cold weather hiking? Wear socks with these bad boys too!
Travel Gifts $100+
For backpackers and adventure travelers, there’s no better travel gift than the backpack that will be their travel companion. My recommendation is the Gregory Jade (the backpack I use) which comes with both a small day bag and a raincover. Another popular bag option is the Osprey Fairview, popular with backpackers.
Fujifilm Instax Camera
One of a traveler’s worst nightmares is to be stuck in the bathroom with case of Delhi belly. Help keep their drinking water clean and safe by gifting a Steripen. It uses UV light to destroy 99.9% of harmful bacteria and viruses in water, including Giardia (which is not killed off by water purification tablets.)
Cozy Earth Bamboo Pajama Set
Once you’ve started wearing clothing made of bamboo, you’ll never go back! Soft, breathable, stretchy, and friendly for the planet, bamboo clothing make perfect travel gifts. Cozy Earth specializes in bamboo clothes like pajamas and active wear.
5-Piece Map Wall Art
Take map decoration to the next level with this gorgeous wall art. Gift this unique travel gift with a set of push pins, or just let it serve as a reminder of all the places yet to be explored.
Samsonite is known for creating some of the best suitcases in the world. Feel secure with this unique and special travel gift, which is a true and tested, hardshell checked-luggage option that includes a 10-year warranty.
If your traveler wants to take their pictures to the next level, why not give them a drone? This entry-level drone connects to smartphones and allows users to see what they are flying over.