22 Must Haves: A Gift Guide for Your Favorite Traveler

If you’re like me when Thanksgiving passes you start to rack your brain for what to get your family and closest friends for the holidays. Nowadays, people have so much stuff it can be hard to come up with a good gift. On top of that, many of us travelers have worked to minimize the things we own. You might need a gift guide for your favorite traveler.

For the travelers in your life, there are two great approached to take. First, things that make their travel easier. Second, cutting the cost of their travel.

Take a look at some ideas that can inspire wanderlust in your favorite traveler.

Note: You’ll find affiliate links in this post which allow me to continue to improve Traveling Nine to Fiver. I hope this article on a gift guide for your favorite traveler is useful for you. 

Find that must have gift for the traveler in your life. Help them travel and inspire their wanderlust with one of these present ideas.

Travel Umbrella

This simple present  can help make or break a trip. Most of the places I like to visit rain far more than where I live. Whether it was walking around Sydney on a layover, exploring a village in Bali, or running around a historic fort in Puerto Rico having a packable sized umbrella can make or break you travel experience. I love my Samsonite umbrella I recently purchased.


Whether your traveler is a writer, a dreamer, a blogger, a doodler, or many other things. Carrying a notebook while you travel is a great habit to have. Keeping track of what all you’ve done, writing down the unique experiences you witness, or just your random thoughts. The classic must-have notebook is the moleskin.

Reusable Bags

So small and simple but I always pack one of these when I travel. I carry it around for when I’m shopping so I have a sustainable way to carry and food or souvenirs home. On top of that, I like to make sure I have an extra bag in case I come back with too much stuff! This way I can carry on this smaller bag and keep my suitcase underweight. I love ones that fold up into small balls, making them easy to carry.

Portable Chargers

The problem with all the tech we carry around is that it only has a limited life source. The last thing you want is a camera dying right before that moment you want to capture or your phone when you are a little lost wandering a new city. Belkin makes some great options that can be a lifesaver.

Packing Cubes

I love, love, love my packing cubes. I have gifted them to most of my fellow travelers and will continue to do so. You can read more about why I love them over on this post. But the gist is, you can pack more and stay organized. I love my eBags cubes and the variety of sizes they come in.

Find that must have gift for the traveler in your life. Help them travel and inspire their wanderlust with one of these present ideas.

Kindle & Amazon Gift Cards

My number one must travel item! I’m a reader and often want to bring along more than one book on a trip. While I still buy real books I love how easy the Kindle makes it to read, and read a lot, when I travel. They’ll likely be running deals on it all holiday season. If you’re traveler already has one gift cards are a great way to help them keep reading on their trips.

Bose Wireless Headphones

I enjoy my travel but often when you’re in route it’s hard to relax with all the loud noises that come along. Whether it’s screaming children or a chatty couple, my Bose wireless headphones, have let me enter my own world where I can work or relax without interruption. Plus, the wireless style makes them so much easier to move around in.

Mirrorless Camera

If you’re looking for a bigger gift this can be perfect for a traveler trying to catch their memories. I think a mirrorless camera is the best camera choice for travelers. They are easy to carry around but have just about all the abilities of the DSLR. I have an older model the Sony NEX-5 and absolutely love it. A new version to check out is Sony’s Alpha series, the a5000  Mirrorless is a great deal with all the functions you could want.

External Drive

If your traveler is a photographer odds are they need more storage. On top of that, you want to help them back up the memories they’ve made along their travels. You’ll want something with a lot of storage that is small and easy to pack. My pick is the My Passport External Drive.


There are some moments you can’t capture, at least not well, without a tripod. It’s a great accessory that I’ve just added to my packing list. You’ll want to get them something portable but not too small! You don’t want a table top one since those are handy is very few circumstances. Check out the Manfrotto Compact.

Portable Speaker

If your traveler is also a music lover it is great to have a portable speaker to use in your hotel room or even while laying on the beach. Or if they have an outdated car as a speaker on road trips. My favorite is the Jawbone Jambox. There mini’s run about $80 and larger up to $160.

Find that must have gift for the traveler in your life. Help them travel and inspire their wanderlust with one of these present ideas.

Day Bags & Purses

There are so many different types of bags that can be helpful for travelers. Whether it’s a day bag, a bag you can pack for a weekend in, a small wristlet to explore a city at night, and more. Check out a few of my favorites here.

Camera Bag

If your traveler already has their camera a new bag can be a fun treat. They might have one, but there are so many different types that it’s worth having another. You can have one that fits nothing more than your camera. One that fits all your accessories. Another that’s a backpack that allows you to carry all the non-camera items you need as well. Take a look at a few options that make great gifts.

Carry-On Suitcase

A traveler always needs more luggage! Whether it’s an overnight bag, a traveler’s backpack or a large suitcase. My top pick is a solid carry-on. My Briggs-Riley is one of my favorite things I own and comes in handy on just about any trip. Find a few of my favorite carry-ons here.

Find that must have gift for the traveler in your life. Help them travel and inspire their wanderlust with one of these present ideas.

Betabrand Pants & Dresses

At Betabrand, you can get the most comfortable pants for men and women that still look like you’re dressing up. They are comfortable for long hauls in the car or plane, and perfect if you might not have time to change before grabbing dinner somewhere nice when you arrive. I often live in their Dress Yoga Pants and their men’s sweatpants are a great option as well. Plus get $15 off your purchase using this link.

Hiking Boots

If your traveler is up for a little adventure or even just enjoys long walks a good pair of hiking shoes is a must. There are lightweight options, cold weather options, and a little bit of everything. I’ve loved my Columbia books that have worked for every hike I’ve taken yet.

Compression Leggings

If your traveler has a long flight coming up soon these are a must have. I can’t stand wearing closed toed shoes over long flights. I researched other options to help keep my body feeling good during international flights and came across using compression leggings. These are perfect for a long day sitting or on your feet walking.

Cute & Cozy Travel Wear by Athleta

A sports attire company that makes street clothing is the ideal travel attire. From their cozy dresses, you can wear all day, to their tights and pants, that are comfortable but built to wear to just about any event.

Find that must have gift for the traveler in your life. Help them travel and inspire their wanderlust with one of these present ideas.

City Pass

If you know where your traveler is heading next check and see if there is a CityPASS in that town. Whether it’s Seattle, Houston, New York, or more these passes allow you to see all the sites while saving a bundle. As a gift, you’d allow your traveler to do so without spending a dime. Take a look at the cities where it is offered.

Airline & Hotel Gift Cards

I love airline and hotel credits as gifts. It’s just one more way to do what I love without spending as much. My family knows I fly Southwest the most, so I get those. For hotels, you can get a little more creative. My favorites right now have been the Kimpton line. Amazon sells a wide variety of airline and hotel gift cards. You can find them here and take a look around at whatever Amazon offers.

Zipcar Membership

Sometimes you need a car just for a day or a few hours when you’re traveling.  A great way to help your traveler out is through a Zipcar membership. You can find them just about anywhere and they can allow your traveler to add some adventures a little out of their reach to their trip.

G Adventure Trip

Okay, now this might be going overboard with a gift but there might be a time you’re looking for an adventure to take with your favorite traveler.  A great way to do that is through a tour group like G Adventure. They offer everything from adventure trips like hiking the Inca Trail to sailing the Virgin Islands. Take a look at the deals they’re running right now.

A Gift Guide for Your Favorite Traveler

If you’re feeling stumped even after this gift guide, often the best things to give to a traveler are something for the two of you to do together. While it might mean taking a trip, that can also just mean going to a show, cooking them their favorite dinner, or exploring a museum in town.

Need a few more ideas, check out some of these older posts on what travelers can’t live without, last year’s gift guide and my must haves for any flight.

What are some of your favorite gifts as a traveler? What item would you add to this gift guide for your favorite traveler? Leave a comment below. Find that must have gift for the traveler in your life. Help them travel and inspire their wanderlust with one of these present ideas. Find that must have gift for the traveler in your life. Help them travel and inspire their wanderlust with one of these present ideas.


About Megan

Megan MacNee is the founder of Traveling Nine to Fiver. From nine to five she works in the political world in California, but on evening and weekends spends time exploring the West Coast and more. All while encouraging others to join in on the adventures.

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  • nkompanik

    Great article and some awesome suggestions!

  • Chrysoula Manika

    Amazing suggestions . As a traveller I use most them.

  • Megan Claire

    Fantastic list – especially the travel tech – we take thousands upon thousands of photos from each trip we take, so I would be happy to kiss anyone who got us SD cards or an extra portable hardrive for Christmas. I’m all about the practical gifts!

  • Great list! I’m a packing cube convert and think everyone should have them! Love the clothing by Athleta too – looks comfy and stylish 🙂

  • Vishal

    It is an excellent list. A lot of other items can be added, however, you have listed the most important ones and with the categories also. Which makes it easy to navigate through the list.

  • An Outcast Wayfarer

    This list is spot on, it took my family a while to realize that I have more interest in these kind of gifts. Since I have a huge love for travelling. I do like to get travel journals and journaling stuff the most. but I got a travel coffee mug in the shape of a lens!

  • Catarina Leonardo

    Really good list 🙂 The Christmas is just here and it´s good to know there is such good presents. I´d like to receive the notebooks, to write my articles.

  • Melody Pittman

    Marriott cards are always a great gift in my book! Nice list. I love the Sony camera. I could use a smaller one that I can fit in my purse.

  • That’s a great list. I love all your suggestions.The umbrella is a great idea.

  • I just love reading gift guides this time of year and yours is a fantastic one! I think I might have to buy those leggings. Thanks for sharing and happy travels 🙂

  • chanelle

    I’m sending this list straight to my friends! I’m traveling quite extensively next year and some of these would really make my trip so much better. Thank you for sharing, yay!

  • Jean Bean

    Ah the good old favourites that get whipped out every year! There’s only so many packing cubes I need people

  • Davide uTravelshare

    auhauhuah this list make me laugh because i did almost the same list last year and now, I am looking for some Christmas gift for my wife (fellow traveller like us); well I have no idea ’cause she has almost everything from this list; Maybe I will… buy a Flight Ticket 😀

  • Jennifer @ Made all the Differ

    As a traveler, I already own most of these items. I love travelling with my tripod. I have never regretted travelling with it.

  • Gareth Thompson

    Coming up to the Christmas season, I’m noticing more and more of these kind of posts although this is certainly one of the most comprehensive. Certainly, I like your idea of getting a durable travel umbrella and I don’t think this is something that occurs to most people. The number of times I have arrived in a place only to spend the first hours or even days stuck in the hotel because I didn’t have an umbrella that would allow me to go out and buy an umbrella!

  • Great list! I also swear by packing cubes–they are everything to me. And a Zipcar membership–such a great gift I never would have thought of otherwise!

  • The best gift for me would be hotel stays or plane tickets. As an avid traveller I already own most of the things on your list, haha. But they are very good suggestions, I have to admit.

  • Shem Hooda

    What a perfect list! As a female traveler, I’d be so happy to receive any of these items! My husband and I have started doing trips/experiences/adventures for each other instead of physical gifts (minus birthdays) so I definitely agree with you on that one!

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  • Okay, I’m SO glad to see that portable chargers made the list! I was given one a few months ago and it’s allowed me to take photos on so many occasions when my phone has about to run out of battery! A great list of useful ideas:)

  • The camera dilemma is high on my list at the moment. I love my DLSR but hate carrying it around so end up using my phone most of the timeZ I’ll have to check of the mirrorless for something in between.