Shopping for useful travel gifts for someone going abroad can be a challenge. Frequent world travelers often already have everything they need or may not have much space in their bag for more. Plus, travelers tend to value experiences over things in the first place.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get great and thoughtful gifts for someone traveling abroad! I travel a lot (I’ve been to 43 countries in the past year alone) so I’ve got a few travel gift ideas that can help get you sorted in getting the right gift for a friend going abroad. That’s why, with the help of my readers, I’ve put together this list of great gift ideas for people who love to travel. We’ve got you covered with ideas for the best travel gifts for him, travel gift ideas for her, or simply gifts for friends going traveling.
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Practical and Useful Travel Gifts
Anyone who travels will tell you that the most useful travel gifts are often those that seem a little boring and too practical to the buyer, but are in fact amazing lifesavers to the friend going abroad. It’s amazing how excited a frequent traveler can get about their powerbank or neck pillow! So here are some of my favorite practical but useful travel gifts for someone going abroad:
What do you get for that frequent traveler who also loves to read? Help them fit all that reading material into the palm of their hand with the Kindle Paperwhite. I’ve had mine for a year and a half and love it. The screen doesn’t glare in the sun (so it’s great for reading on the beach) and it doesn’t strain your eyes. And if you combine it with Kindle Unlimited (get a 30-Day Free Trial here), you can get thousands of books — including the entire Lonely Planet library — delivered free to the device.
Have you ever faced the question of whether to bother bringing a laptop on your trip? Bringing it adds bulk and weight to your pack, but if you leave it at home you’ll be limited in what you’re able to get done. The Asus Chromebook Flip is the perfect solution while traveling abroad. It weighs just a couple of pounds and, though its hard drive is a bit limited, it has most of the functionality of a traditional computer. Oh, and the tablet mode is great for watching TV or movies on a plane!
Fitting everything into a small bag while traveling the world is a constant challenge. I use these compression sacs to take the air out of my clothes and to squeeze as much as possible into my bag. Sure, it’s not the flashiest gift for travelers, but if you’re just looking for useful travel gifts they will actually use, this is it.
I always carry a headlamp. It comes in handy when you’re doing anything outdoors since it frees up your hands and is smaller to pack than a flashlight.
This is a great affordable gift for travelers, as it’s the best eye mask I’ve found on the market. I’ve used it on trains, planes, in hostel dorms, or simply when the hotel room has too much light. This is a travel gift idea that they are sure to actually use.
Sure, it’s boring. But it might be the most useful travel gifts out there. Buying travel insurance is a relatively inexpensive way to protect against tragedy, making it one of the most useful and practical gift ideas for friends or family members going traveling. I personally use WorldNomads and highly recommend them.
Fun Gifts for Someone Going Abroad
If you’re looking for fun gifts for travel lovers, why not keep your friends entertained on the road? These gift ideas are sure to put a smile on that traveler’s face:
I love Spotify Music, because for a low monthly fee I get access to a huge library of music and the ability to download songs offline to my iPhone (so I can listen on planes or where I don’t have cell service). And it makes a great gift for someone going abroad because it doesn’t take up any space in their bag!
Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or HBONow
Nothing makes a long flight a little more bearable like a marathon session of Stranger Things. And if the traveler you are buying for is already on the road, gift cards to these streaming services are easy to send electronically. I especially love Netflix and Amazon Prime because you can watch TV and movies offline.
Instead of having to watch their favorite shows on a tiny phone or laptop screen, that special traveler in your life can cast their favorite streaming services to their hotel or AirBnB TV directly (through a WiFi network) using the very affordable Amazon Fire Stick. Better yet, it’s about the size of a lipstick case, so it’ll fit easily into their bags!
A reader had the brilliant suggestion for what to get a friend traveling abroad: the irreverent game Cards Against Humanity! Though it takes up a bit of space in a bag, this card set is a popular game in hostels around the world and sure to make them some new friends while traveling (now, now don’t get jealous…)!
Photography Gifts for Someone Going Abroad
Do you know someone who is planning to travel abroad carrying only — gasp — the camera on their phone? I nearly made this mistake myself when I set out to travel the world for a year. Thankfully, a smart uncle of mine talked me into buying a real camera and learning to take real photos. My Instagram feed thanks him for it! And so will that someone going abroad if you get them the ultimate gift of a quality camera!
Mirrorless cameras are the latest trend in travel photography. They shoot at almost the same quality as a traditional DSLR camera but are a fraction of the size. And the Sony a6000 is an excellent and affordable option that takes amazing photos. It’s still my camera of choice and most of the photos on this site were taken with it. If you’re looking for a gift that will wow that someone going abroad, this is it!
Ok, so a drone is not exactly a budget-friendly gift. But, if you’re really looking to go all out with your present, you won’t find a more exciting but useful travel gift than the DJ Mavic Pro. It’s the most popular drone amongst the traveler community for a reason: it takes gorgeous photos but folds down to the size of a water bottle! I’ve seen friends use and love this, and I have my eye on buying one for myself.
Cheap but Useful Gifts for Travelers
Not everyone has a big gift budget, so if you’re looking for cheap gifts for travelers, here are a few practical gift ideas that won’t break the bank:
There is nothing worse than running out of power for your electronic devices on the road! That’s why I always carry the Anker 10000 powerbank. It fits into the palm of my hand but has enough juice to charge my iPhone 6 plus four times. This is a great budget gift that every traveler will love!
Suggested by one of my readers over on Facebook, this thing looks incredible. The TRTL Neck Pillow has a built-in support to cradle your neck while you sleep, but folds down to half the size of a normal travel neck pillow!
What are your favorite useful travel gifts for someone going abroad?
Let me know your favorite gift ideas for travelers in the comments! What are some great ideas for gifts for friends going abroad? What about useful travel gifts for family members traveling the world? Let me know what presents you’d love to receive while traveling!
And be sure to check out my post on what I pack to travel the world.