Earlier this month, my family was like, “so now that you and Jeremy are done traveling long-term, what do you want for Christmas?” The question stumped us. We were traveling last year on Christmas, which meant we couldn’t receive any physical gifts, but we consumed enough gluhwein and liege waffles to fill any gift-sized holes. And we left for our year-long honeymoon right after our wedding, so we still had brand new wedding gifts we’ve only just started using (dear KitchenAid stand mixer: I may not be a contender for the Great British Bake Off just yet but you give me hope).
But this year, we have a whole apartment in which we can put things and ship things to! Travel related things, of course. Like, what other things are there that we would want? Come on, now. So this gift list for travelers is partially to help you shop for your friends, and partially just travel stuff I want other people to buy for me. Let’s just be honest: you’re gonna want all of this stuff for yourself too. No judgement, y’all – treat yo’self!
So here is our travel gift guide for every kind of traveler on your list, which is yourself, mostly, and maybe a couple other people, I guess (wink-wink). Get your wish list ready cuz you’re about to add a whole bunch of goodies to it!
Table of Contents
Gifts for Weekend Wanderlusters
Not all of us can be full-time travelers or permanent nomads. Most of us travel whenever we can, but unfortunately, that is somehow NEVER enough.
For those of us who are stuck at home instead of out exploring, we think about travel constantly. We’re always browsing for inspiration for our next trip, and we tend to surround ourselves with a little nest of travel-related things. Our home becomes kind of like a cocoon to cushion the blow of the fact that we can’t travel constantly.
If you’re my husband and I, that may mean covering your home with souvenirs from your trip, burning candles that smell like places you’ve been, cooking recipes for foods that you discovered abroad, and generally building forts out of travel-related stuff to hide in and sooth your wanderlust while you dream of your next trip. So these gifts are for those weekend wanderlust who breathe, sleep, and eat travel – but spend a lot of time at home between trips!
Cityscape Skyline Art
I am absolutely obsessed with the CityPrintArt shop on Etsy. This shop is chock full of stunning artwork featuring destinations all over the world, and their selection is huge! My favorite style by far is the colorful cityscapes and skylines, splashed with bright, dripping color.
Browsing through this shop made my heart sing and I kept getting excited over cities I’ve been to and fallen in love with. This is the perfect gift for the travel lover in your life who’s in love with a certain city, like their home town, the place where they spent their honeymoon, or maybe just every city they’ve ever blogged about on their travel blog, for example.
If you can’t quite afford to splurge on a full print, the shop also has beautiful coffee mugs adorned with the same designs. And I want literally all of them.
Stuff with maps on it
We wanderlust addicted folks LOVE stuff with maps on it. We could decorate our whole house with map-themed stuff and still want more! Here are some of our favorites.
- Leather watch/bracelet (with a map on it)
- Linen Couch Pillowcase (with a map on it)
- Travel Notebook (with a map AND a travel quote on it)
Scratch off maps are a fantastic way to decorate your home and also document all of the baller places you’ve jetted off to. I have this one mounted above my desk and I actually never scratch the countries off because the gold foil is so pretty!
Your friend (slash you) can keep a visual record of the states and countries that you’ve visited – like a checklist, but in map form! Ooooh, I just love checklists. I’m such a nerd. Or, like me, just leave it unscratched in all of its shiny glory.
Some people collect souvenirs from their travels like shot glasses or spoons or magnets. Me? I collect postcards! They’re cheap, lightweight, and double as a great way to decorate my home to remind me of all the places we’ve been. What do you mean I’m supposed to mail them?! That’s like, a whole thing.
I display my postcards on a wall at home using sticky tack, but I have to do this whole Tetris thing to get them to actually line up evenly. A much easier way to display your postcards is to use a hanging postcard display like this one or this one! I decorated my craft corner (because y’all know we can’t afford a whole room for that) and I love looking up at my gorgeous colorful wall full of the places we’re traveled to inspire me!
You may have guessed by the fact that I have a craft corner that I’m also the type of person who saves scraps of tickets and hand-written receipts to cut up later and turn into a scrapbook. Well, in theory. The giant box of tickets and brochures sitting in my closet waiting for me to dig through it may say otherwise, though. Scrapbooking is a fantastic way to re-live and preserve your travel memories – they’re much more fun to look through and share with friends than, say, the 13 brochures you picked up from every museum you visited.
If you really want to be THE BEST, get them some travel themed scrapbooking supplies to go along with it (you guys I want this so bad omg) like themed scrapbooking kits. Michael’s currently has a ton of adorable travel scrapbooking supplies, like this kit or these stickers. They even have destination specific stuff, like this San Francisco sticker set! Your crafty friend will love you forever. And in case I’m not hinting hard enough, DEAR MY FRIENDS: PLEASE BUY THIS FOR ME THANK YOU
There is nothing that screams “I am a person who loves to travel” more than owning a globe. Back in the day, entire rooms were built around massive, wooden-mounted globes. Today, you’re lucky if you find one from the 80’s at a yard sale or thrift store. Trust me, I look every time.
But you’re about to make your friend’s entire house come together, because a globe is a room centerpiece. I don’t just mean a regular globe, though. I’m talking about beautiful, hand-painted, hand-customized, hand-lettered, gorgeous AF globes from WholeWorldOfLove on Etsy. I discovered these this month and I am full on obsessed. Here’s a beautiful gold and white globe that matches my gold foil scratch-off map and makes me cry happy tears. Here’s a matte gray and white globe that would make my apartment look like it was a CB2 catalog. Here’s one that says “home is wherever I’m with you” that legit makes me tear up because Jeremy and I sang that at our karaoke wedding reception together and it was adorable. And here’s one that just says “wanderlust.” Do I even need to explain why I’m full on in love with these?! I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. I WANT ONE SO BAD. Am I your friend that you’re buying things for? Could I be? Let’s be friends. Hint hint hint hint hint.
Candles that Smell like Places
You know that feeling when you’re longing to be somewhere other than where you are? Sometimes, it’s homesickness: a longing for a place you once called home. Sometimes it’s Fernweh, which is a German word for wanderlust, roughly translated to a longing for somewhere you’ve never been at all. And sometimes it’s: Vacationweh: a word I definitely just made up, which is defined in no dictionary ever as “a longing for places you’ve been recently on like, a bomb vacation.”
Well, I have the solution for your aching wanderlust: candles that smell like places! Fill your home with the scent of somewhere else, close your eyes, and breathe deeply. I’m not ashamed to admit that I literally have a bar of soap that smells like tobacco and bourbon in my bathroom in a ziploc bag that I take out and sniff every time I miss my hometown, Louisville. But burning candles is a LOT easier.
Transport yourself to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado with a Colorado candle that smells like fresh fallen snow, Colorado spruce and ski lodge (omg I want one so bad). Or this Tennessee candle, which smells like Southern Appalachian spruce-fir forest and a hint of cornbread. Browse the rest of these yummy candles on Etsy!
Travel Quote Pillow
In our new apartment, we own a couch, which is the 1 thing we missed every single day of our year-long honeymoon. And on that couch, we have 2 generic, boring AF pillows that say nothing at all about who we are or how much we love to travel.
Instead, I’m dying over this beautiful handmade pillow by 521Handmade on Etsy. It says “not all those who travel are lost” and it’s on a map which fills me with joy because I’m a huge nerd who loves LOTR and also travel and that’s my favorite quote and this pillow just gets me. It would look really cute sitting on my couch across from this pillow, which says “I believe it’s time for another adventure,” AKA ANOTHER LOTR TRAVEL QUOTE.
I guess if your friend isn’t as huge of a nerd as I am, they might like this “Travel Explore Live” pillow. But if your friend is actually me, I want the LOTR ones. 😉
No matter where we are in the world, one thing is constant: we drink a cup of coffee every single morning. It’s a ritual, and it brings us calm and peace and clarity to begin our day. Plus, we’re like, HUGE coffee snobs, so there’s that too.
Here at home, we sip our coffee from a collection of random mugs that sort of just appeared in our cupboards from thrift stores over the years. But in our dream home, we sip our morning coffee from a collection of beautiful travel-inspired mugs sourced from artists on Etsy, like this one which says “Never Stop Exploring,” my personal mantra. Or this one, that says “Let’s Take a Trip,” my other personal mantra.
Your friend who loves coffee (*cough*and yourself*cough*) will love a morning reminder that the world is out there just waiting to be explored!
I know we’re technically too old for stockings, but I LOVE stockings! There’s something so exciting about taking a bunch of gifts out of a giant sock. So pick up a grown-up appropriate stocking (like these, which are so cute! Penguins are grown-up, right?) and forget the gift wrap: it’s wasteful, anyway. Instead, give your travel-loving friend a literal stocking stuffed with goodies and ensure that next year they’ll be scrambling to meet the bar that you just raised 😉
Tiny Travel Tools
Tiny travel tools are totally terrific stocking stuffers (I almost made that entire sentence alliterative! So close). What do I mean by tiny travel tools? Well, here are some examples of teeny tiny little things I always take with me on a trip!
- Travel Scissors: These foldable travel scissors come with me everywhere. They’re so handy, and they’re totally airplane friendly! Is this a sexy gift? No, not really. Is it practical AF? OH YES.
- SPF 30 Sunscreen Stick: Friends don’t let friends get skin cancer. With this sunscreen stick in her bag, she’ll never forget to apply!
Tiny Travel Trinkets
I know, I’m going overboard with this alliteration thing BUT let’s face it, everyone loves a tiny travel trinket! Here are a couple of gorgeous handmade gifts that are teeny tiny and perfect for stocking stuffing.
- Tiny Map Necklace: These handmade state necklaces and country necklaces from Ivy by Design on Etsy are hella cute. My favorite by far is this beautiful world map necklace.
- Tiny “Wanderer” Pin: These gorgeous little enamel pins are the perfect low-key way to self-identify your wanderlust addiction to the world at large. Stick this little goodie on your purse, lapel, or backpack and tell the world YOU GUYS, I LOVE TRAVEL SO MUCH. Who knows what conversations about adventures and travel plans with friendly strangers that this pin might invite?! It’s like the whole world is your hostel!
Handmade Leather Luggage Tags
Nothing says “Why yes, I AM a frequent traveler” more than a beautiful luggage tag. A generic, mass-produced plastic one won’t do: your friend is unique and classy and socially conscientious and they need one of these gorgeous handmade leather luggage tags from Bramble and Beene on Etsy! Like this “Seek Adventure” one. Or this “Let’s Go on an Adventure” one. Or this one for lifetime adventure partners (stop it I’m not crying YOU’RE CRYING).
Not only are they absolutely freaking gorgeous, but they will last forever, unlike the 86 cheap AF ones I’ve filled and attached to my luggage that fell off mid-flight. This is actually a really good gift for your partner or a newlywed couple, so I’m legit not even being selfish about this one. Swear.
To go along with the fancy schmancy leather luggage tag, buy your friend matching handmade passport holders from Bramble and Beene! This one and this one are both perfect for newlyweds.This one that says “just go” with a map is perfect for any traveler, and this one is perfect for your outdoorsy camping/hiking friend.
Or you can get one that represents a beloved city, like this London one or this Seattle one. There’s even a San Francisco one. But this one is our favorite because it has a redwood on it (we got married in the redwoods!) AND A LORD OF THE RINGS QUOTE TOO. Oh my god how perfect is this for us? Can we go back to our wedding and put this on our registry?!
Travel-Friendly Shampoo Bar
We’ve all been there: we reach into our bags only to discover that, to our horror, everything is sort of wet and soapy because your shampoo exploded. Ugh. So over it.
Avoid this fate by getting your friend a yummy smelling travel-friendly shampoo bar! Be sure to get a little metal travel tin for it, too. You can also a few of these up at your local Lush store.
Also, huge giant bonus: shampoo bars are totally packaging free and zero waste, which means you’ll be saving a bunch of plastic bottles from the landfill AND conserving the energy necessary to produce plastic & then recycle it. Yay, earth-friendliness!
Carry On Cocktail Kit
What better way to tell your bestie that they’re kind of a lush (but in the best way) than a tiny Carry On Cocktail Kit? Packaged in the cutest little tin, containing the most adorable tiny cocktail tools, all your friend will need is a teeny bottle of booze and she’ll be the classiest drunk on the flight! I say your friend … but we all know you’re getting one for yourself, too
Cluventure Gift Card
Give your friend the gift of travel, adventure and MYSTERY. All at once! We’re incredibly obsessed with Cluventure, an interactive travel game slash travel agency that sends you on a customized vacation that you have to figure out along the way. Your puppet masters (aka the 2 super sweet business owners) will design the perfect trip for you, from a weekend getaway to a 10-day epic adventure.
But here’s the awesome catch: YOU WON’T KNOW WHERE YOU’RE GOING! At least, not unless you can solve your pre-departure clues. The fun continues once you arrive, with even more clues that lead you to specific pre-planned activities. It’s like Sherlock meets Clue meets Carmen Sandiego meets Serial. As the kind of people who get ridiculously into guessing games and unsolved mysteries, this is so incredibly up our alley it’s actually on the 5th floor looking down over the alley below like “oh hay, that’s totally your alley!” Pick your favorite travel and mystery lover up a Cluventure gift card for as low as $100.
Practical Travel Gifts for Frequent Travelers
Practical travel gifts may not be as sexy as stuff with maps on it or cute little stocking stuffers, but gosh darn are they useful. If your friend that definitely isn’t just you is a frequent traveler and doesn’t already have one of these, you’re about to up their travel game like crazy! These are our favorite travel essentials and must-haves for you/your friend/everyone you know who travels.
Silk Sleeping Bag Liners
I know – silk sleeping bag liners sound super luxurious, but we actually use these in hostels or on camping trips, when “luxury” is sorely lacking. But silk sheets make everything better!
Protect yourself in a cocoon of silk, equipped with stretchy panels for those of us who sleep splayed out like starfish all night. If you’re a hammock camper (or just sleeping in a hostel hammock), these solve that irritating sheet tangling situation while keeping you cozy.
If you’re a hostel backpacker, the sleeping bag liners are the perfect balance of just cool enough on a hot night, and just warm enough when your blankets are too thin – plus your skin never has to touch any used sheet. They’re super lightweight and pack down into tiny little silk rolls. We think these make a fantastic gift (we got ours as a wedding present).
Travel Tech Case
Traveling in 2017 means carrying around a bunch of cords, a few extra memory cards, like 86 chargers and 15 of those USB cube thingies. There’s a lot of ~tech. And if you’ve spent a frustrated 20 minutes wrestling with your 18 chargers trying to untangle the damn things so you can charge your 53 electronic devices, you know what you need: a well-organized tech case. Like this one from Nomad Lane!
This gorgeous vegan leather tech case has little pockets and loops, and it’s even big enough to fit a Kindle. Plus, it’s beautiful and it has a map AND a travel quote on it, so major bonus points. We take this with us on every trip!
Money Belt or Bra Pocket
I’ve full on given up on purses. Purses and I have ended our relationship forever. I just can’t deal with them – I’m forever leaving them behind, getting tangled in their straps, and trying to ease my shoulder pain. I hate purses! Instead, I wear a money belt or bra pocket for my cash and cards (yes, even when I’m not traveling).
It leaves me hands free and feeling safer. If you have a friend who is a frequent traveler, get them a money belt or bra pocket – it might just change their lives, too!
For those days when I need more than just a few credit cards and some cash, I bring a day bag with me packed full of Travel Supplies: snacks, water, layers, a charger, extra camera (you never know), umbrella, etc. This super cute day bag looks amazing in photos. Jeremy’s camera day bag holds all of our camera gear and keeps it waterproof, theft-resistant and super protected.
If you know a frequent traveler who ISN’T using packing cubes, get ready: you’re about to change their lives. Forget disorganized suitcases and backpacks. Forget hunting through all of your semi-folded clothes to find that ONE shirt. Packing cubes like these turn you from a messy human into a super organized traveler! Trust us – we’re insanely messy humans and we never ONCE struggled to find what we needed in our packs during our year-long honeymoon. Life changing!
Steri-Pen Water Purifier
If your travel friend ever goes somewhere without drinkable tap water, this handy little water purifier is a must-have! The Steri-Pen Water Purifier saved us a LOT of money (not to mention illness!) in all of the places we went on our year-long honeymoon that didn’t have safe drinking water. It purifies water in 90 seconds, using an UV light to kill living bacteria and viruses in even the most untrustworthy tap water. Rather than have to buy multiple bottles of purified water per day, which is wasteful and also expensive, we were able to purify our own and save money every single day.
We calculated that the Steri-Pen earned back its cost after a month of daily use – a must for traveling to any country without potable tap water! We use ours with a reusable water bottle and it works like a charm. We received ours as a wedding gift, and while it may not be sexy or glamorous, but we were grateful for it every single day during our honeymoon!
GoPro & GoPro Accessories
I hope you said that in a King of the Hill voice because that’s how I wrote it. Look, here’s facts: if you get your partner/best friend/whoever a GoPro, everyone can give up and go home because you just won at gift giving. Yes, it’s a competition. I bought a GoPro 4 for Jeremy for our anniversary way back when that was the new hotness, and we’re still getting a TON of use out of it even though now the world has moved onto the brand new GoPro 6.
If you aren’t quite baller enough to afford a GoPro, you can still give the gift of ridiculously hi-def adventure movies with this GoPro accessory kit, which is roughly 98% cheaper than an actual GoPro. Just uh … hope someone else gets them a GoPro.
Know what I love? Books. Especially books about places that I can then plan a trip to. When we were preparing for our trip to South America, we read through 100 Years of Solitude to get stoked on Colombia and 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus to get informed about the civilizations that existed before Europeans arrived. And we definitely referenced a few copies of South America on a Shoestring during our travels … but NEVER ONCE were we tempted to take that giant, heavy AF book with us.
Here’s what I don’t love about books: they use a ton of paper and they’re super heavy. But that’s where our Kindle Fire comes in! Instead of lugging around or favorite books, we loaded up a library of books onto our Kindles before our travels!. We caught up on our reading all year long, on buses, in hostels, on trains, and on planes. Kindles are a book loving traveler’s best friend!
Zero Waste Travel Kit
Since returning from our year-long honeymoon, we’ve deeply changed our attitude towards waste. We’ve always been mindful of our consumption – we compost, we recycle, etc – but we’d never actually tried to reduce the amount of waste we produced – until now.
Something about living out of backpacks for a year in countries where things like plastic bags at the market or toilet paper in the bathroom are not automatically present changed our perspective. We’ve committed to being as zero-waste as possible starting this year. So, now we’re the kind of people who carry around a re-usable water bottle, coffee mug, tupperware, fork, and cloth bag – and we’ve noticed a huge difference in our consumption and waste since changing our mindset! If your friend is concerned with sustainability and their impact on the environment, they’ll appreciate this zero waste starter kit. It’s small enough to throw into a day bag and take it all over the world!
Travel Scarf with a Pocket
A scarf … with a pocket in it?!! It seems so obvious, and yet I had NEVER heard of this amazing invention before I discovered these awesome travel scarves made by Visible Clothing. As a person who both wears a scarf every day of my life, and also a person who HATES PURSES SO MUCH, this solves so many problems in my life and I can’t even believe I didn’t already own one of these. As a huge bonus, Visible Clothing is a fair trade, ethical, transparent and sustainable clothing marketplace whose products are created with zero-waste principles in mind and ethical labor practices. They’re awesome, and we love their mission!
Gifts for Foodies & Booze Travelers
Some of us travel mostly to eat and drink. Like, we schedule our Christmas holiday this year entirely so that we could visit as many Christmas Markets as possible – yep, just like last year – so we can eat and drink our way into a holiday stupor. If your friend (slash you) is anything like us, chances are once they’ve tried something abroad, they’re going to crave it for the rest of their lives! So help them out by enabling their foreign food love.
In addition to straight buying snacks from places we’ve traveled, we’re also obsessed with re-creating dishes we’ve fallen in love with. We have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to saving recipes for foods we’ve discovered abroad, and as soon as we get home to our kitchen you can find us hard at work trying to duplicate them. Which is why this year for Thanksgiving, we’ll be lighting a rum-soaked sugarloaf on fire at my sister’s house to attempt our very own feuerzangenbowle (see below).
Here’s a tip: if you fuel your foodie friends’ food love, they’ll probably reward you with delicious food too, so these gifts are really in YOUR best interest.
Global Coffee Subscription
Atlas Coffee Club is a monthly subscription coffee delivery service, that helps you explore the globe via delicious single origin coffee. Each month, you’ll get a new coffee to try from somewhere new, along with a postcard of where the coffee is from, tasting notes, and brewing recommendations.
I’m not going to lie: we flipped our sh** when we discovered Atlas Coffee Club. We’re travel addicted coffee snobs, and this is a monthly coffee snob delivery service for travel addicts. Holy sh**. If your friend is on our coffee snob level, trust me, they’re going to freak out too! Buy them a gift subscription for as long as you want them to keep thinking of you each morning as they sip their coffee (psst: this gift goes perfectly with a coffee mug like this one! HINT HINT FAM).
Look, I’m not proud to admit this, but Jeremy and I have tried every Stroopwafel available in the US: World Market, Trader Joe’s, United Airlines.. None of them are the same as what we had in Amsterdam. If you want the real thing, you just have to make it yourself.
And now you can (er, your friend can)! This Stroopwafel Iron solves all of our/your friend’s Stroopwafel woes. Just channel your inner Great British Baker (yep, they made Stroopwafel last season!) and get your stroop on. Oh, and here’s the recipe for making Stroopwafel. Feel free to thank us with a batch of homemade Stroopwafel.
This is one of our obsessions from our trip to Bremen last Christmas. Feuerzangenbowle is gluhwein (mulled wine) plus a rum-soaked sugarloaf, like this, lit on fire and slowly dripped into the gluhwein. It tastes like Christmas and wine and smoky caramel and heaven. We’ll be recreating this ourselves soon, so wish us luck since we don’t have a kit like this one and are kinda just making it up as we go, whoops.
Sushi Making Kit
Ever wanted to roll your own sushi? Us too. But that’s like, hard, and there are a bunch of ingredients that I can’t pronounce. Enter this DIY Sushi Making Kit made by Global Grub! It comes with everything your way-more-skilled-in-the-kitchen friend needs to whip up 8 sushi rolls like a Japanese itamae. Now every night can be sushi night, and your bff’s kitchen can be Japan, and your bff can be Jiro Ono, and you can be a lucky guest who gets to help eat 8 rolls of delicious fresh sushi.
If sushi isn’t your fave, Global Grub also offers a DIY tamale kit (we tested, and yes, they’re *almost* as good as the ones Jeremy’s grandmother makes, because nothing can actually be better than handmade tamales made by your grandmother) and a DIY ravioli kit.
An authentic Mexican Molcajete is necessary for anyone attempting legit Mexican salsas (that’s the Spanish word for “sauce,” and does not refer solely to the kind you eat with chips). This heavy AF molcajete is made out of literal lava rock, and comes with instructions on seasoning it with garlic paste (omg my mouth is watering already).
Ever been to Italy? Boxed pasta will never be good enough ever again. You need a pasta machine. Er, your friend. Your friend needs a pasta machine… to make you pasta. Just have your friend watch like, a LOT of competitive Food Network shows – they make it look SO easy!
Ensure years of adventurous cooking with this awesome around-the-world cookbook. Open a page at random and challenge yourself to transport yourself to a new place each night! Er, in my case, challenge your husband to transport you both to a new place each night (y’all know I can’t cook, right? Jeremy does all the cooking for us. I’m more of a delegator … and consumer).
Y’all, researching this post sure gave me a lot of inspiration for gifts to buy for other people and definitely not just for myself. I’m absolutely going to shop from this list for other people, and not just send it to my friends and family with a bunch of prayer hands emojis. Wink wink.
Did you find a gift on our list for someone else (slash yourself)? What’s on your wish list? Tell us below in the comments!
Did you find something you wanted on our list? Save it to reference later on Pinterest!
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