Great Gifts for Travel Lovers They’ll Actually Use

Essential Gifts for World Travelers-chelsea-london-phillips-780446-unsplash

Updated May 2020

If you’re looking for gifts for the travel lovers in your life, you’ve come to the right place. Every item is something I use and recommend to my friends and family. They’re products and services every adventurer will thank you for and actually mean it.

(This post contains affiliate links. If you buy products using the links below, I receive a small percentage of the sale with no cost to you.)

Great Gifts for Travel Lovers

(On another note: Here are great gifts for photography lovers)

Amazon Essentials Women's Quarter-Zip Polar Fleece Pullover Jacket

Amazon Essentials Women’s Quarter-Zip Polar Fleece Pullover Jacket

I admit, I didn’t have much faith in a $20.00 fleece but I bought one to try, assuming I would end up returning it. Surprisingly, I really like it. The fleece is thick and plush, comes in a variety of colors, is very cozy and a great length. A wonderful piece to pack for any kind of cold-weather adventure. Who knew?

Amazon Essentials Men’s Quarter-Zip Polar Fleece Jacket

This is the men’s version.

Wallaroo Hailey Hat

Wallaroo Hailey Cowboy Hat

Hats can be difficult to buy for another person but if you are game I highly recommend this Wallaroo cowboy hat. It’s made with sun protection and a wire-rimmed brim so the shape can be adjusted. I’ve bought three of these hats (lost one, one stolen) and I’d buy another. The only con is it can’t pack it. That said, other Wallaroo hats pack well so if that’s a dealbreaker check out their other styles.

Susan Portnoy, The Insatiable Traveler wearing a Wallaroo Hat
Yep.. that’s me wearing my cowboy hat while in Greenland with an earmuff. Let’s face it, cold-weather hats and headbands do nothing to block the sun. So, I improvised.

Great Gifts for Travel Lovers:Aiwa Prodigy-1 Earphones: $49.99

Aiwa Prodigy-1 Earphones

Months ago, I received an email from the PR people representing Aiwa’s Prodigy-1 earphones to ask me if I’d be interested in trying them out. Sure, I said. But I won’t write about them unless I genuinely like them. They agreed. After using the earphones on multiple trips (I have a podcast habit), I think they’re great. The sound with these is substantially better–richer, fuller, more sound surround-ish. It’s a bit of a struggle to get the earphones to stay in–I find inserting and twisting works– but I’m addicted to the audio quality and noise reduction so I deal with it. I trashed the case because it wasn’t very user-friendly and I use my old Bose circular pouch (which I love) to carry my Aiwa around. That said, I still think they make a great gift.

myCharge HubMax Portable Charger 10050mAh / 3.4A External Battery Pack with Built-in USB Port, Integrated Apple Lightning and Micro-USB Cables, Foldable Wall Plug for iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy Roll over image to zoom in myCharge HubMax Portable Charger

My Charge HubPlus Portable Charger 

This is another device a company sent to me to test drive. A portable charger is a must nowadays and makes a great gift for anyone let alone a travel lover. I’ve used it for a year now and I really like it. It’s sleek, compact, and the integrated cords (I don’t have to worry about forgetting mine) is a great feature. I can charge my phone at least 3 times with MyCharge before having to recharge the device. Another nice touch: When you plug it into the wall you can simultaneously charge other devices too.

Anker PowerCore 10000

More economical than the MyCharge above but requires a USB cord and you can’t charge things while the device is plugged in.I use it as a backup and if your budget doesn’t allow for the MyCharge, this is a great option.

Outdoor Products 345;Pack Ultimate Dry Sack

3 Pack Ultimate Dry Sack

For cruises, island visits, or casual boating, dry sacks are a great investment to have that extra bit of protection. These are lightweight and large enough for things like a camera and lens, wallets, etc. 8-liter sack measures 10.75 x 22 inches; 4-liter sack measures 9.5 x 15.5 inches; 2-liter sack measures 7.75 x 13 inches

Foldable Backpack Packable Travel Backpack - 35L

Foldable Packable Travel Backpack – 35L

It’s always a good idea to have an extra bag in your luggage if you need it. Souvenirs anyone? I’ve used this foldable large backpack to carry towels and sunscreen in the summer and extra layers and gloves in the cold. It’s not for serious hiking but for a few miles carrying a little wine, bread, and cheese? Divine.

Briggs & Riley Baseline Large Shopping Tote

A great personal tote for flying that also doubles as an overnight bag. The exterior is ballistic nylon so it doesn’t get dirty, or if it does it’s easy to clean. It’s big enough to carry my laptop in a sleeve and has a variety of pockets that make it easy to find things when you need them.

The Roost - Great Gifts for Travel Lovers

The Roost

This saved my life. Ok, that is an overstatement but it really helped me a lot. I rarely travel without my computer and The Roost collapsible laptop stand has been instrumental in alleviating neck and shoulder pain as a result of hunching over my computer by holding my computer screen at eye level.  The Roost weighs almost nothing, is adjustable, and packs easily. There’s also an optional case (sold separately) that holds a keyboard, mouse and The Roost in one sleek pouch.

Eagle Creek packing cubes

Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Cube Set 3Pk 

Speak to almost any ardent traveler and I bet you they’re using packing cubes. They’re ideal for keeping your clothes sorted, organized, and streamlined. I use three cubes to separate my undies, tops, and bottoms. I especially love them when I’m faced with a multi-stop itinerary–packing and unpacking is infinitely easier.

Cabeau - Great Gifts for Travel Lovers

Cabeau Fold ‘n Go Travel and Throw Blanket Plus Compact Case 

When I get on a plane, especially for an international flight, I like to bring things that will make me as cozy as possible. Not just comfortable, but cozy. There is a difference. The former is physical, the latter is emotional.

Cut to the Fold N Go Blanket and Travel Case, which I found running through JFK one morning picking up last-minute essentials (water, lip balm, granola bar) for a 16-hour flight to South Africa.

The fleece is so soft I want to make sheets out of it. It triggered that same “snuggly” feeling you get when you hold an armful of clothes fresh from the dryer.

I use the blanket in the case as a pillow for my lower back because that’s where I tend to get sore on long flights.

The blanket is dreamy too, big (60 x 36) and soft – and did I mention that it was cozy?

UPWADE Outlet Travel Power Strip

UPWADE Outlet Travel Power Strip

I won’t be without a mini power strip. It’s probably the one thing other than my phone I always have with me when I travel. I like this model by Upwade because it has two widely spaced international outlets which provide ample room for those pesky wide plugs that come with cameras and other devices, as well as four USB ports. The cord is a little longer than I need at 5 ft but I’d rather have it longer than too short. At 6 inches in length, it fits in any purse or carry-on bag.

Portable Travel Bottles Set

So many of the travel bottles out there are made with stiff plastic which makes it difficult to empty and makes me nuts. These, however, are squeezable and so much easier to use.

Ceptics International Worldwide Travel Plug Adapter 5 Piece Set,

Ceptics International Worldwide Travel Plug Adapter 5 Piece Set

A lot of people like universal cubes that contain every adapter known to man deployed by a series of sliders, and while I appreciate the concept, I’ve never found one that doesn’t break almost immediately or size-wise didn’t annoy me. Too clunky. This 5-piece set is great because I can cherry-pick what I need and plop it into my Think Tank case (see below) which I pack into my carry-on. I use the case that comes with it to keep all the adapters together at home; I rarely take the whole shebang with me.

Travel Smart by Conair Compact Digital Luggage Scale

The more remote travel someone does, the more you’ll need a luggage scale. Out of the way destinations often require small plane travel which in turn, have strict luggage weight and size restrictions. Sometimes you can get off easy, or pay your way out, but places like Kenya, take these regulations seriously and if you are over the limits, they have no problem holding you back.

Dream Essentials Escape Luxury Travel and Sleep Mask with Earplugs and Carry Pouch

Dream Essentials Escape Luxury Travel and Sleep Mask with Earplugs and Carry Pouch 

If you can’t sleep without a mask when you travel, Dream Essentials is the way to go. Unlike the most masks the side closest to your face is contoured and padded—no smashing your eyelids.  It’s far more comfortable than the standard design. The mask comes with a pouch and a set of earplugs so you’re sure to get the rest that you need.

Compression Socks for Men Women 

A dear friend of mine threw blood clots in her lungs after a plane trip to India. She’d never had issues before. If someone travels on long flights, these fun compression socks are a must.

Athalon 29" 15 Pocket Duffel Navy Rolling Duffe

Athalon 29″ 15 Pocket Duffel Rolling Duffel

I don’t remember how I first found this bag but I’ve been using it for the past 5 years. It’s incredibly durable—it looks the same as when I first got it and I’m hard on my luggage. It has 15 pockets, which I love. (I like things to have their place.) The top flap has a mesh pocket for wet clothes and it collapses for easy storage.

PureSteam Portable Fabric Steamer (White) - Powerful, Fast-Heating, Garment Steamer

PureSteam Portable Fabric Steamer

THIS. IS. THE. BEST. STEAMER. EVER. I use it on the road and at home. It is so much easier (and faster) than ironing. Enough said.

Pentax UP 10×25 Binoculars

A compact set of binoculars is always great for holidays where wildlife and nature are on the agenda. It comes with its own carrying case and is only 0.7 lbs.

Ultimate Journeys for Two_CoverStyled (1)

Ultimate Journeys for Two

When travel bloggers want to know where to go, what’s cool or what to avoid, we ask other bloggers. It’s an inner circle with tips and suggestions I’ve always found valuable. My friends, Mike and Anne Howard of the blog HoneyTrek, have put together an amazing guide with National Geographic Books based on their own experiences and those of other travel-wise couples. If you’re in need of a little inspiration for your next amazing adventure, Ultimate Journeys for Two is where to look for a treasure trove of ideas.

Comfortably Wild

Comfortably Wild

The second book from my friends Mike and Anne Howard of Honeytrek. For those who love the idea of being close to nature yet want a little more than a pup tent, you should check out this book. But why take my word for it, here’s renowned travel editor Peter Greenberg’s take.

“I have always believed that if you understand and appreciate the process, that’s the only time you can value the product. And that’s exactly what Anne and Mike have done here in addressing the brave new world of glamping. For those who are both adverse to as well as unable to pitch a tent—let alone survive in one—but still want to enjoy the wonders of life outdoors, this book is for you.” —Peter Greenberg, travel editor at CBS News

Small Yet Special

Dingbats D5408R A6 Lined"Wildlife Portrait Pocket Hardcover" Notebook - Red

Dingbats “Wildlife Portrait Pocket Hardcover” Notebook

I use my phone and computer a lot to take notes but I rarely travel without a notebook as well.It feels more personal and by handwriting, I often remember more details than when I type it. This journal makes a great present because it’s small and fits in a fanny pack or other small bag. The big ones I find are too awkward to carry around.ButtonCheck Price on Amazon

Sink Suds - Great Gifts for Travel Lovers

SinkSuds Travel Laundry Detergent Liquid Soap

Longer trips require spending money on laundry services or doing it yourself. This box of 8 packets makes it easy to stick in your luggage and have enough liquid for the basics.

Great Gifts for Travel Lovers - AmazonBasics Portable Digital Luggage Weight Scale

AmazonBasics Portable Digital Luggage Weight Scale

With the neverending restrictions on air travel, a luggage scale is a wise investment. But it’s far from an exciting purchase so buy it for your favorite traveler so they don’t have to.

Crest Regular Paste .85 oz – (Pack of 12)

It’s funny how the ordinary little things can be a great gift. Traveling as much as I do, having an easy stash of travel toothpaste is so convenient.. not to mention cheaper. As a stocking stuffer, guaranteed your traveler will appreciate it.

Travel First Aid 'Kit

First Aid Kit

I wonderful compact kit for when you need it.

Tile Pro

Tile Pro (2020) – 2 Pack

My sister called me one night from the airport in New Jersey. Her flight home to D.C. had been canceled and her luggage was missing. She got home but her luggage didn’t and the carrier couldn’t find it. My sister had a tile in her bag and she was able to locate it when no one else could. I received my own a few weeks later.

Better safe than sorry. 

Hothands Insole Foot Warmer

You’re probably familiar with hand and foot warmers but these soul warmers are the best. Classic foot warmers concentrate on the toes, while these warm the whole foot.A great gift for any travel lover who enjoys cold-weather activities. Love them!

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26 thoughts on “Great Gifts for Travel Lovers They’ll Actually Use

  1. John Rodgers says:

    Your ideas are great and loaded with itemized information. Very helpful. My wife and I both travel so this list will help me find her (and me) a special Valentine’s gift this year. Thanks for the post.

  2. Liz says:

    Susan, the links on the last four or five items on your list returns to the fleece pullover. I think there’s an error somewhere. ??? Thanks for the lists.

    • Susan Portnoy says:

      Have you had a chance to check this out? Definitely get boots, pants and coats rated to -50 below. That’s what I had. The weather hit about -39F which is similar to Mongolia from what I understand.

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