Travel products and shopping

Best Travel Gifts for a Globetrotter

When shopping for a world traveler, you first need to know what type of traveler they are.

Are they trekking through the jungles of South America with the lightest pack they can find or are they jaunting through Europe and still have a use for a miniature hair straightener?

This list of gift ideas gives a combination of both useful and fun presents.

1. Backpacker Essentials

If your friend is about to set out on a backpacking trip and has yet to do any real shopping, help them out financially and get them what they need: a quick dry towel, a padlock, an adapter, a flexible water bottle, a collapsible umbrella, etc.

2. Girly Travel Gear

If your friend isn’t a backpacker, there are tons of useful, cute present ideas. Makeup bags, roll-on perfume, this adorable miniature hair straightener, jewellery cases, glam water bottles.

3. External Battery

Every traveler needs the ability to charge on the go. You can get a regular external battery that requires your friend to have a charger cord with them or you can give them a fashionable battery to keep in their purse that plugs directly into their phone.

4. Selfie Stick

No shame. This gift is great for the solo traveler or for the traveler who wants photos with her friends on every block. The good news: selfie sticks are really cheap so they’re a great gift even if you’re afraid your friend won’t actually use it.

5. Traveling Hammock

If your friend tends to do a lot of outdoor exploring, get them a hammock they can use on the go. These lightweight hammocks are great for hikers. Eagle Nest Outfitters sells a popular one but you can find various brands on Amazon.

6. Lifeproof Phone Case

If you know what type of phone your friend has, give them this phone case. The fact that it’s waterproof makes it great for any traveler – the type of friend who will be stuck out in the rain camping or the friend who wants to take underwater photos at their resort’s pool.

7. Coffee Table Books

Is your friend still in the middle of planning their global escapades? Give them this coffee table book that is one part stylish and two parts inspirational.

If they’ve narrowed down their area of exploration, consider giving them one of the 36 Hours book series. These beautiful books suggest how to take on a city in just a weekend – in 36 hours. The US & Canada edition is great for any friend who takes the occasional weekend trip to explore the country.

8. Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are great for any traveler. They are a lightweight, easy way to keep your friend’s bag organized so that it doesn’t look like a bomb went off when they go looking for a clean pair of underwear.

9. Foldable, Compact Duffle Bag

Any traveler can find good use for a foldable duffle bag. If your friend is a backpacker these compact, lightweight bags are handy when they want to leave their backpack behind at the hostel but need to take some supplies to the beach. On the other hand, if your friend is the opposite of a backpacker and tends to do quite a lot of shopping on a trip, these bags are great for when their suitcase overflows.

10. Noise-Cancelling Headphones

If you’re willing to pull out the big bucks, get your friend noise-cancelling headphones. These headphones are life-changing for anyone who is constantly on the move. They remove that sound of the airplane humming in the background and let your seatmate on a crowded bus know that you’re not down for small talk. Bose makes the most popular brand but you can find others on Amazon.

11. Passport Cover

Feel like giving a bit of a glamorous gift? Passport covers are very chic and you can find them at a variety of stores.

12. Laundry Bag

This cute laundry bag is useful for any traveler who needs to separate their dirty socks from their only sweater.

13. Houdini Jacket

This water repellent windbreaker from Patagonia is amazing. It’s called a Houdini for a reason – it balls into nothing and is incredibly lightweight. This is a great gift for anyone who will be spending some time outside.

14. Map

If your friend has been zig-zagging all around the globe, give them a map for their home when they return. They can then mark all the places that they’ve traveled. You can either go get a regular map and thumbtacks or buy this scratch-off map.

15. Gift cards

When in doubt, give useful gift cards: Uber, Amazon, REI, etc.

Addie Gottwald is a perpetual student. After graduating Davidson College in May 2014, she decided that her education wasn't, and will never, be over. She walks the world both literally through travel and hiking and figuratively through her love of reading, writing and research. Her classroom is ever-changing but her desire to learn is never-ending. Follow Addie's blog at Open Ended Life.

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