Best Christmas Gifts for Travelers

Need some inspiration to get the perfect gift for your favorite traveler?

I’ve got you covered for your holiday gift giving. And yes, these would totally work for Hanukkah. 🙂

After interviewing world travelers and doing a bit of globetrotting myself, I’ve complied my epic list of hot travel products, swag and gear that will make your life on the road infinitely more comfortable and stylish. and I are like Peanut Butter and Jelly and please note that some of these links are affiliate links, which means if you choose to purchase via that link, you are awesome. It also means that I may make a small commission at absolutely no cost to you. Have I mentioned how much I love you?!

Travel-themed Gifts For the Home

My home is decorated with an antique-style map humidor, a vintage Japanese wood block print, framed photos from my journeys and various maps. For your travel lover, themed gifts like this are usually a home run.

This scratch off map of the world would be an epic gift! Unless they have little children, in which case it would be scratched off in minutes.


The Atlas Obscura is an epic coffee table book is chock full of fascinating and odd wonders from around our world. I own it in hardback and every time I open it, you can hear me say “Are you kidding me?!” at the random, odd and awesome trivia inside. I received it as a gift and I’ve given a copy as a housewarming gift to my travel partner. It’s cool.


Let’s start with the right bags. I’m usually on Team Carry-on Only, so this is my most important gear.

Ogio Half Dome Duffel Bag – This carry-on bag has magical powers. It’s dome shape helps it fit either above in the overhead bins or slip below the seat in front of you. My travel partner swears by it and says it has but one flaw – no pockets.


Nobody likes reaching into their bag for their charger and pulling out a wad of tangled cables. Keep them organized and tidy with an electronics storage bag designed for travelers.


Messenger Bags/Travel Purses – my bag varies depending on the type of travel. If I’ll be hiking or outdoors a lot, I use a crossbody bag of some sort. If I’m in the city with short durations walking through the streets, I might use a large over the shoulder purse that can also hold my camera. (I just got a Nikon D3400 and I LOVE it.)

  • Travelon Crossbody bags
  • Travelon Anti-Theft Messenger bags
  • Packing Cubes – This set of 7 cubes + shoe bag compresses and organizes all your stuff for the trip. Love these.
  • TSA locks – I don’t use these personally (I go through life with a naive sort of blind-trust that nothing bad will ever happen…) but my world-travelin’ travel partner uses these. TSA officials are issued codes/keys to access TSA approved locks. Non-TSA approved locks will be cut off.
  • Passport Covers – basically a temporary tattoo for your passport, because why the heck not!? It will also give your passport an extra layer of protection in your bag. I crunched up my passport in my purse while in Japan and the TSA agent on the return trip to the USA was NOT happy with me because it didn’t scan properly. I often give passport covers as part of a travel themed gift or as a stocking stuffer at Christmas. You can also purchase RFID blocking passport covers that help prevent cyber-theft of your document information.
  • Organizers – I use the File & Fly organizer when I’m flying overseas or with my whole family (I’m in charge of all the travel documents). If I’m flying solo domestically, I just use my phone and purse. This document and currency organizer is cheap and fits nicely in my bag.

Makeup Case – Get and stay organized with your makeup, toiletries or other small items. This one is Amazon’s #1 best seller for good reason.

And for those of us who panic every time we need to pack, there’s a checklist.



Hair/Face/Sunscreen/General Awesomeness

These make the perfect stocking stuffers!

  • Verb Hair Products – I use (I use other products too, but this line is awesome – cruelty-free, made in the USA, and affordable).
  • Skin Care – I’m fond of Paula’s Choice products although not all products are available in convenient travel sizes. The products are cruelty-free (not tested on animals), are safe and effective.
  • Sunscreen – I feel like the sunscreen category deserves several exclamation marks. !!! I was recently diagnosed with skin cancer and will be having surgery next week, so yes yes yes on sunscreen. I basically try to put it on in layers. A base cream sunscreen, a tinted moisturizer or makeup with SPF and a brush on sunscreen like this for travelingI am also obsessed with the tinted SPF 50 moisturizing sunscreen by MyChelle Dermaceuticals. There’s nothing quite like a skin cancer diagnosis to force you to be vigilant about sunscreen. I’ve been known to give myself these every Christmas.


International Travel Adapter – you’ll need one, at least. I have a few depending on whether I need a converter and adapter or just an adapter. Basically, this just depends on whether or not I plan on curling my hair! The coolest thing about modern adapters is that you can simply plug in a USB cord for your devices, rather than have to use the plug.


Stuff you never bring but wish you did + Misc.

  • Travel Umbrella –  The Rain-Mate Travel Umbrella is so compact that you can always find room for it in your suitcase. It rained in Bora Bora. It rained in Japan. It rained in Paris. It rained in Alaska. It rained in the Azores…so pack an umbrella. But unless this is paired with a round trip ticket to Ireland, you may get smacked on the head with it. Just saying.
  • Essential Oils Rollerball Travel Case – Okay, so I’m not an essential oils “believer”, but every time I start to get sick on a trip, my travel partner does her witchdoctor thing with essential oils and I love it. So…if ya’ll have any interest in essential oils (or any other medicinal liquid that can be applied roller ball style), snag this kit.

What should you have in your travel bag anyway? (All of these make excellent stocking stuffers)

  • Sunscreen
  • A fan (for summers and tropical climates)
  • Pens
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Clorox wipes (at least for the plane)
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Lip balm


Gifts for Staying Comfortable on Long Flights

I used to be hardcore on flights with a ‘just suffer through it’ mentality. Now, I’m all about that comfort, baby! Being comfortable on a flight will reduce physical pain (back aches, leg spams), increase your liklihood of getting some quality sleep and reduce your fatigue once you’ve reached your final destination. Don’t care what you look like, just get comfortable! This is an order, not a request…

  • Inflatable Foot Pillow – inflatable is the way to go for your travel swag. It’s not as comfortable as a cushion or memory foam, but it collapses into next-to-nothing. And if you travel carry-on only like I do, that matters. You can read about my backpack trick here, but if you’d rather not have your feet on your bag, get an inflatable pillow. Many airlines don’t have footrests, so this way you’ll be prepared for comfort.
  • Travelrest Neck Pillow – if you have room, grab the memory foam version. If you don’t have room, inflatable is the way to go. The cross body portion allows you to rest your arm so you can get in a slightly more natural sleeping position.
  • Sleeping mask – Yes. Yes. Yes. I use these ALL the time and they have transformed the quality of my sleep. The darkness will help you sleep on the flight and help you adjust to your new timezone on your trip. (I just mentioned to my husband that they should create one that looks like a Batman mask and fits over your entire face when you sleep. He was dubious and unimpressed.) This sleep mask package is inexpensive, contoured over your nose and comes in a pack of 3 (for when you leave one in your hotel room).
  • Noise Cancelling Headphones – I’ve heard from multiple travelers that these are life savers on international flights. The amount of ambient noise from the plane (without wearing the headphones) taxes your senses and leaves you much more tired when you arrive at your destination. With the noise cancelling, you’re able to sleep more soundly and are more rested. Especially if you’re riding in Economy, give yourself the upgrade of proper headphones.

Books and Travel Guides

For starters, I’m a Kindle fan. Get yourself a Kindle or just use the free app on your iPad. I’ve recently joined Kindle Unlimited so I can get my nerd on more effectively for a monthly membership (it’s convenient and encourages me to read more, which is always one of my goals).



Lonely Planet’s 500 Places to See Before You Die

I’m crazy about the Slanguage books. You will NOT be speaking like a local, but you’ll have a better grasp of pronunciation and you and your new local friends will have a great laugh when you try to speak. I have both the Portuguese and Japanese versions.

What to eat in the Azores, Azorean Food on Terceira Island
I’m crazy about the Slanguage language guides.


Last but certainly not least, do you know what your traveler really wants? A plane ticket…

best gifts for travelers






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