20 Useful Travel Gifts for the Wanderlust Soul

If you are ready to start your holiday shopping list, or just happen to be buying a gift for a world traveler in your life, let me help you out. The following is a list of useful travel gifts (and perhaps some not so useful gifts) for travelers with wanderlust.

This is not my Christmas wish list, I swear. This is genuinely me telling you some (hopefully) helpful suggestions of gift ideas for the wanderlust traveler in your life either because I have (and love) these items, or, yes, maybe I want some of them.

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1) Kindle for Travelers

I know, some people really like to flip a page and feel the paper. I was one of those archaic people not long ago. But when you realize all the perks of a Kindle, you’ll never go back to your caveman ways.

  • It reduces paper use. Can’t argue that. And if you’re a minimalist like me and hate having “stuff,” this certainly eliminates the need for a book shelf and piles of old books you’ll never need again.
  • It almost always takes up less space.
  • You can look up any word that you aren’t sure what it means.
  • When you forget who a character is because it’s been a week since you picked up your book, you can search for that character’s name and jump back to each spot in the book where their name was mentioned to recall who they are.
  • You can switch from a white screen to a black screen and dim it at night so there’s no need for a book light. Plus, you can prop your Kindle up sideways and fall asleep reading. It’s like the best sleep aid ever (unless the book is a major thriller).
  • You can fit lots of books on it so if you’re a quick reader, you can bring multiple books with you while traveling.
  • You can rent books online through your local library, download them for free and, BOOM – instant new book! And here’s a hack: the book won’t disappear off your Kindle if you don’t turn it off or go back to your homepage. I’ve had library books on my Kindle for months and it didn’t affect anyone else’s ability to rent it. Plus, don’t physical library books just feel germy? You can also buy Kindle books from Amazon, and if you have Prime, it’s even cheaper.

2) Daypack for Traveling

If you’re buying for a photography aficionado, a nice camera bag is awesome. They may have one already though, so you’ll have to do some undercover work. Find out which one they’ve been dying to get. But anyone can use a cute daypack. For the girly type, I love this one.

embroidered floral backpack

If they’re a little more practical, these are classic, stylish, and go with everything. The first is the popular Herschel brand, and the second is a more affordable version with the same quality vintage look.


And to take backpacks to a whole new level of ridiculously awesome, the greatest gift for the traveler who doesn’t like to leave their dog or cat behind, and my personal favorite accessory is the U-pet backpack. Behold:

3) Travel Insurance

This is one of those things that nobody likes to spent money on, it’s rather annoying actually. But it provides a great deal of peace of mind for the traveler and those at home. Make sure to get one that has emergency evacuation. I’ve been recommended and utilized Allianz and have been happy with the process. World Nomads is another that I’ve heard is good.

Allianz Travel Insurance

4) External Hard Drive for Travelers

For those of us into photography, an external hard drive is a necessity. I just picked up this one. I think it’s the best for traveling due to it’s rugged design and ability to be dropped, driven over, splashed with water, whatever.

5) Gimble for Making Vlogs

If the traveler you’re buying for has dabbled in the idea of making travel videos/blogs (vlogs), a gimble is a must have. iPhones these days take awesome pictures and videos. Why not throw it on a gimble to up the video quality and professionalism?

6) Water Bottle for Traveling

A lightweight, double paned water bottle is nice for travel. Nothing too big, and definitely not heavy. Something they can take through security empty then fill up at the gate is nice to have. Here are three of the best rated brands and styles. And how fun are all the colors? I kinda want them in all different sizes and colors


7) Moneybelt for Traveling

These are super cheesy and mostly used by nerds. Kidding, kind of. I’m a nerd, so I’ve used them. In certain places in the world, especially if you don’t carry a purse and your wallet would not be safe in your pocket, a money belt isn’t sooooo bad. Sexy, right?

8) Electrical adaptor for Traveling

These should be a part of every traveler’s typical packing repetoir. A universal one is by far the best. And it’s never bad to have more than one.

9) Headphones for Flying

The little headphones they hand out on the plane are literally worthless. Even with max volume, you can barely hear the quiet parts of a movie. I always bring my own; they barely take up any room. And if you’re traveling with a partner, sometimes its nice to share them and listen to the same music and fall asleep. These are soft silicon so you can lay against them and it doesn’t hurt your ears.

10) Viator Tour for a Gift

If you know someone is traveling to a particular city for certain dates, why not get them a city tour, food tour, or something unique they can do while there?

11) Restaurant Gift Card for Traveling

This is a good one. It’s personal and shows you put some time and effort into a gift. Look up the city your gift recipient is visiting on Trip Advisor and select “Restaurants” to read reviews. Email the restaurant and ask them to mail you or email you a gift card paid for with a credit card or PayPal.

12) Toiletry Bag for Traveling

They’re not the funnest gift, but we’ve got to have them. Pick something small, compact, multiple compartments, and pretty. I personally love these.

How cute is this flamingo one?!


13) Backpack Towel for Traveling

If someone stays in hostels or camps a lot, a backpacking towel is awesome. They barely take up any room, they’re dry quickly, and have so many uses. Like soaking up spilled wine.


For travelers with more room to spare in their luggage, these round towels are a blast to bring to the beach.

mandala, round beach towel

14) Computer Applications

If you’re getting something for a traveler who likes photography and likes to edit photos, Adobe Lightroom/Photoshop is an amazing editing program that they are sure to love. You can buy the whole program and download it or pay monthly to have access to it. Chances are, they may already have it. So maybe pay for the next year for them.

15) Mobile Hotspot for Traveling

Skyroam or something similar where a person can travel with a hotspot anywhere they go is an awesome gift idea. This gift I actually need. Hint, hint. Skyroam is great because it lets you pay only when you need Wifi, so you’re not paying monthly for access, and once you pay for the day, it is unlimited. There are some speed limitations though, so it wouldn’t be your best option for streaming videos. But I still WANT it.

16) Passport Cover

Another cliche, but so what? They’re adorable. And I don’t even have one. Get me one.


17) Luggage Scale

Why not? These babies can save your ass when the weight of your luggage is borderline over the limit.

18) Airplane Comforts

Admittedly, the foot rest is kind of a joke. But someone might like it. However, I think pillows are totally worth it despite what a pain in the ass it is to carry around your whole trip. Compression stockings aren’t necessarily a “comfort” but they can save your life from a blood clot. I either take an 81mg aspirin before flying or wear bad boys like these.


19) Packing Cubes

Apparently these are really useful. I’ve never tried them but keep hearing how awesome they are. Maybe I should.

20) Totally Worthless Novelty Travel Gift Ideas

They appeal to our wanderlust soul, so indulge us.


Want so splurge on the best travel gift of all? Consider the ultimate photography tool for travel: A small drone!! Checkout my top picks and guide to picking the Best Travel Drone.

To read more about my favorite Travel Essentials, click HERE.

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10 thoughts on “20 Useful Travel Gifts for the Wanderlust Soul

  1. Sierra

    Love the floral backpack and the airplane necklace! (Worthless novelty or not!)

    Also, girl, get on the packing cube train. I am not joking, it will change your LIFE.

    1. Jessica Carpenter Post author

      I love the backpack too! Worthless novelties are totally fun. Ok. I’m going to commit to trying the packing cubes. I keep hearing they are a game changer. I’m really fascinated! Thank you for the comment and visit!

    1. Jessica Carpenter Post author

      Thanks Anshula! We just got the gimble I referred to and it’s awesome so far. Looking forward to traveling with it and making some videos. And I totally want a passport cover too! I can’t believe I’ve never had one. Thanks so much for visiting!

  2. Sheree

    I am totally here for the gimble, the external hard-drive, the adapters… but I just can’t quite get on board with the Kindle! My husband and I are both book junkies, and people have been recommending Kindles to us for years, but it’s just not the same! A big part of our travel adventures (domestically and abroad) is finding awesome second-hand bookstores, so perhaps it’s more that than the actual technology. I’ll settle for having to make room in my suitcase for piles of books hahaha. The rest of these look awesome though! Thanks for the list! 🙂

    1. Jessica Carpenter Post author

      I can totally appreciate the love for a real book, especially when you find unique gems at a second hand store. That’s awesome. I’m personally a bit of an “anti-hoarder” – like physical stuff gives me anxiety, so minimalism somehow makes me feel better, haha. But I know the book/kindle debate is a personal one, and people much have their own preferences! Thanks girl!


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