Christmas Gift Ideas for Travelers 2021

All links in this article are my own affiliate links. That means that if you click any of them to make a purchase from Amazon, I will get a small kickback. 

National Geographic Executive World Map
National Geographic Executive World Map

Christmas is right around the corner! If you’re wondering what to get that special traveler in your life, look no further than this comprehensive list of Christmas gifts for travelers.

Of course, there’s no better gift to a traveler than a plane or train ticket. But aside from that, there’s all kind of gear that globetrotters need when on the road. Having traveled all over the world for several years, I’ve acquired deep knowledge of what you need on your voyages, and what’s just plain cool.

I’ve broken down some of the most fun and useful gift ideas by price. You’ll find plenty of options from under $10 to over $500. There’s travel gear for use abroad, as well as gifts to enjoy at home or in the office. Feel free to click on the images to purchase them or get other ideas at Amazon.

Read on for my 2021 list of Christmas Gift Ideas for Travelers!

$10 & Under

Travel-Themed Face Masks

As the second year of covid comes to a close, vaccination rates are increasing and countries are opening back up, but the disease is still out there. 

Many countries seriously enforce mask use when indoors, even for the vaccinated. Since we’ve got to wear the things anyway, might as well have a cool one! You can find any number of cool options on Amazon or from a local seller. 

Travel Journal

Travel journals make excellent gifts to anybody, but are especially close to the heart of the traveler. You can find any number of high-quality (and high-price) leather journals at Barnes & Noble. Sometimes, however, you just need something simple and compact to throw in your pack; the memories themselves are what matter. 

For a simple travel journal that I put together, click the link below!

Passport Holders

Image courtesy of NotOnTheHighStreet.com
Image courtesy of NotOnTheHighStreet.com

International backpackers put their gear through a lot. The last thing you want is for your passport to get soaked, ripped, or torn. Protect your most vital travel document with stylish passport holders!

Pro Tip: Some of these have special compartments for international SIM cards and your vaccination card. 

Travel Towels

This is one of the most useful things you can give to a traveler. Regular bath towels are way too bulky and take too long to dry. These microfiber travel towels fold down flat, soak up water excellently, and dry quickly.

TSA Padlocks

These padlocks are useful for two reasons: you can use them on your luggage while in transit, and at the hostel. TSA padlocks have special mechanisms that allow all TSA agents to unlock them easily, should they have to search your luggage. They also keep your valuables safe in hostel dorm room lockers.

$25 & Under

LifeStraw

This is a piece of travel equipment I featured in my article 12 Must-Have Travel Items. It is a personal filtration device that allows you to safely drink out of virtually any body of water. Using a series of micrometer-thin sieves and other filtration processes, it removes debris, contaminants, and germs to keep you hydrated even in the backcountry. This is a useful tool for both international travelers and domestic campers.

World Map Extended Mouse Pad

These are excellent for the office (or home office, as more and more of us are enjoying in 2021). They allow for more freedom of movement than a typical mousepad, and they just look cool.

Travel Adapters

When you’re crossing international borders, you’re bound to be somewhere that uses different prongs and voltages. To keep your phone, laptop, or tablet running, you’ll need a good travel adapter.

I recommend any of Epicka’s compact adapters. They’ve served me very well and come highly rated.

Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are game-changers for those always on the go. They allow you to keep your clothes organized while in transit. Most will come in packs of 3 or 5, with several sizes to choose from. The Eagle Creek packing cubes below are dual-sided, so you can put your clean clothes in one and your dirty clothes in the other.

Travel Scratch-Off Maps

My scratch-off travel map
My scratch-off travel map

This is one of my favorites! While traveling is one of my favorite things to do in the whole world, I also appreciate coming back to my home base and reminiscing on my adventures.

Scratch-off maps are a great way to do just that. They allow you to keep track of where you’ve been in a colorful, visual way. No traveler’s home is complete without one.

Travel Books

Atlas Obscura, a travel guide for those wanting to get off the beaten path / Image courtesy of BoingBoing.net

Next to actually traveling, one of my other favorite activities is reading travel books. Travel books are equal parts fun and educational. You can gain inspiration for your next adventure, or familiarize yourself with your next destination.

Pro Tip: You can’t go wrong with Paul TherouxBill Bryson, or Atlas Obscura. You can check out some of my travel book reviews here to get some more ideas.

$50 & Under

Try the World Subscription

There are subscription boxes out there for any interest, from coffee to video games. Travel-themed subscriptions are no exception. 

Try the World brings snacks and meals from around the world to your door every month. Starting at $29, you can get mouth-watering snacks from a variety of countries, and for $49 you get entire gourmet meals you can prepare yourself at home. Products include dari couscous from Morocco, pistachio cream from Italy, and olive spread from Argentina. 

Travel Pillow

The original trtl Travel Pillow has served me well on long flights and bus rides all over the world. It’s small and packable, and you can remove the cloth exterior from the plastic frame to wash. 

For twice the price but twice the comofort, check out the trtl Plus.

External Battery Packs

Everyone’s familiar with battery packs, but are you familiar with THIS battery pack? The Qi Solar Battery Bank holds 10,000 mah of power (enough to charge three smartphone batteries and then some), can be recharged by sunlight, and even comes with a built-in flashlight. No wonder it’s a bestseller on Amazon.

World Time Watch (Casual)

Casio World Time Watch
Casio World Time Watch

A traveler doesn’t have to have a fancy watch to brave the elements around the world; a good Casio will do you just fine. After all, Casio G-Shocks work perfectly well for militaries around the world

While not specifically a G-Shock, the Casio World Time AE-3000W is very inexpensive, keeps track of time in up to 3 cities, and has a nifty little globe on it that lights up each of the world’s time zones. 

Pro Tip: An inexpensive watch is perfect when traveling in places where you don’t want to flash a fancy timepiece. 

National Geographic Executive World Map

National Geographic Executive World Map

This beautiful 73″ x 48″ laminated wall map of the world is the exact same one I have hanging in my apartment. It’s big, detailed, up-to-date, and accurate.

See, most world maps get some measurements wrong, because of the difficulty of putting a round surface on a flat surface. Those maps showing Greenland to be almost the size of Africa? Way off. In reality, Greenland is a little smaller than the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It’s one of those things you can’t unsee after you learn about it.

The 73″ x 48″ map is quite large. It will take up most of a bedroom or living room wall. However, if you want a W O R L D M A P, then they also make a gargantuan 110″ x 76″ version. Please note however that this one comes in three panels and is meant to be pasted directly onto the wall.

$100 & Under

UV Light Water Purifier

For those of you traveling to countries where the water isn’t safe to drink, or backpacking deep in the back country, you’ll want something to make water safe to drink. Sure, you can get disposable water bottles, but all that plastic clogs up the environment eventually. For a piece of equipment that purifies up to 20 liters of water on a single charge, try the American Red Cross UltraLight Purifier!

$250 & Under

Smartphone Handheld Gimbal

DJI OM 4 Handheld Gimbal for Smartphones
DJI OM 4 Handheld Gimbal for Smartphones

Handheld gimbals have been increasing in popularity over the past couple of years for the average tourist. What was once the domain of professional filmmakers and full-size cameras is now accessible to anyone with a smartphone. 

Gimbals stabilize the device taking the video, making it appear slick and smooth, without any of the vibration caused by walking. Like with a lot of products, there’s a proliferation of similar items coming out of China, but I used the DJI OM 4 here as an example. 

World Time Watch (Nice)

Nautica Ocean Beach World Time Watch
Nautica Ocean Beach World Time Watch

I get it. Sometimes you don’t want to get that special person a Casio. You want to get them something nice. Don’t worry, there are plenty of nice watches that exude a globetrotter’s flair. 

When it comes to quality watches, the sky’s the limit in terms of price. But you don’t need to get them a Patek Philippe 5230G to show them you care. There are plenty of great options in the $200 range. 

Pictured: A wonderful watch...if you have enough houses to mortgage to pay for it.
Pictured: A wonderful watch...if you have enough houses to mortgage to pay for it.

Take for the example the Nautica Ocean Beach World Time watch. It’s bezel is lined with major cities in all the world’s 24 time zones. Typically with a watch like this you’d have to rotate the bezel to line up your current time zone with the one back home. It’s not hard but you do have to sort of “calculate” the time. With this Nautica, changing time zones is as simple as the push of a button: a secondary dial will show local time in each city. It’s very handy, and it’s a very slick-looking watch. 

Travel Backpack

Cotopaxi Allpa 42 Travel Backpack
Cotopaxi Allpa 42 Travel Backpack

A good travel backpack is a traveler’s best friend. After all, it’s supposed to allow you to comfortable carry all your stuff!

There are any number of good backpacks you can buy, at all price points. I’m personally including a link to the Cotopaxi Allpa 42, my personal travel backpack, which I can definitely vouch for. 

Need help choosing a travel backpack that can hold everything you need AND come with aboard a plane as a carry-on? Check out my article How to Choose the Best Carry-On Travel Backpack

Kindle Paperwhite

I am a fervent lover and supporter of physical books, and always will be. Having said that, for those on extended backpacking journeys, lugging around a bunch of paperbacks just isn’t going to cut it. For storing an entire personal library worth of reading material in a lightweight, compact, waterproof device, check out the Kindle paperwhite.

$750 & Under

DJI Mini 2 Drone
DJI Mini 2 Drone

DJI Mini 2

Video drones are becoming more and more popular, and while the very best models can be prohibitively priced for many, there are several more affordable and very capable drones to choose from!

I myself bring the DJI Mini 2 on all my travels. I’ll admit it’s the entry-level drone in DJI’s lineup, but it still takes stunning 4K footage; I myself have used the Mini 2 to create videos like these

The above price is for the Fly More combo, which I highly recommend. If you’re going to shell out the cash for a good drone, in my professional opinion, you should splurge a little more for the Fly More Combo. For a grand total of about $650, you get two extra batteries, a smart charger that can charge all three batteries (and even your phone), several replacement blades, and even a nifty carrying case to hold it all. 

Conclusion

I hope this list of Christmas gifts for travelers helps you find something your friends and family can use and appreciate! If you found this article helpful, please Like, Share, Tweet, and Pin. I would really appreciate it.

If any of you are traveling for the holidays, I wish you safe travels, more so this year than any other. Happy travels and Merry Christmas!

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2 Responses

  1. The packing cubes aren’t cubes, they’re rectangular cuboids. I just take an old carrier bag or bin bag for my dirty clothes. Takes up a lot less space and weight

    • Lol yes they’re not actual cubes but that’s what everyone calls them. You can use whatever kinds of bags you like; the idea is to get everything compressed and organized instead of just having all your loose clothing taking up one big space.

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