I did a lot of traveling in 2016. Along the way I figured out what makes a nomadic lifestyle feel luxurious, and what gets thrown away in the hostel dumpster. I take forever to replace things that desperately need replacing and I’m constantly getting rid of things to keep my life minimal and packable. This is exactly what I kept in mind while crafting this list of 33 things travelers actually want to receive.
Global Entry Clearance
The bane of a traveler’s existence is waiting. Global Entry Clearance is basically a way of registering yourself as a trusted global traveler, and as your reward you get to skip a lot of lines. This is the only gift on this list that the receiver will have to work for after getting it, but a $100 check made out to the CBP and application instructions wrapped up for your travel-loving friend will mean a lot.
I absolutely loved and devoured Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Personally, I can’t see a man relating to this story as meaningfully as a woman, so I would recommend you gift this to your travel-loving female friends.
Everyone should read The Alchemist. It’s fast, adventurous, full of wisdom, and applicable at any stage of life.
Travel blogger Brooke spent a year traveling the world solo, single, and on a budget. A Year To Myself is about her experience that year. I want to read this so bad!!
Better Packing Containers
I’m a packing cube convert. After moving from San Francisco to NW Washington to Nanjing to Beijing and back to Washington, I know what travel containers are actually helpful and which ones aren’t at all. I want this set of 4 myself. [$23]
A hanging toiletry bag like this is invaluable in a cramped bathroom, which seems to be the norm while traveling. Also, this comes in a ton of diferent colors/patterns, so it’s fun to pick out. [$12]
Occasionally I mix clean and dirty clothes in the same suitcase and this bag would probably convince me to stop that disgusting behavior. [$22]
I used a tote bag very similar to this one all the time when I was living in China. It collapses into itself so it fits easily in your purse, and if you need an extra bag you can unfurl it and voila – a tote bag. [$20]
I own a DSLR, which obviously takes higher quality content, but I found myself capturing a lot more once I got a GoPro. It fits in my pocket, and I literally push a button to start recording video. I filmed most of my daily vlogs on it! [$130]
A Legitimately Nice Power Bank
The only power banks I’ve ever owned were either free or incredibly cheap, and I’m just waiting for the day I can justify dropping $28 on this one, which holds a ton of charge, does the job fast, and won’t break after 6 months like my other ones.
A Drink On The Plane
This is one of those clearly-impractical-but-justified-by-cuteness items you’d find at a kitschy small town gift shop, and I love it. The Bloody Mary cocktail kit comes in a little travel tin and has MINI PICKLES inside, I repeat, mini pickles. [$18]
OK, OK, I know compasses aren’t a modern gadget to travel with, but they can be damn useful when you get lost in a new city. This working compass necklace is really similar to one I relied on while exploring China. [$12]
Touchscreen gloves are essential for a modern traveler. I know this beause I don’t have them, and I feel their absence when it’s freezing cold and I have to take off a glove to find out where I am. [$38]
This scarf has a hidden pocket perfect for carrying a concealed passport, hotel key, or cash. [$20]
Family Passport Organizer
This little wristlet looks like a fashion-forward wallet, but it’s actually designed perfectly for a family who travels together. [$60]
Kindle or Book Credits
I love reading books the old-fashioned way, but when I travel the Kindle is way more practical. [$100]
As someone who has a Kindle but hesitates to buy books for myself, I can tell you that having a gift card to buy a few books is awesome.
Global Snack Box
One of the best things about travel is tasting new food. These Try The World boxes are subscription boxes for unique snacks and new ingredients, featuring a different country every month, or you can buy them one at a time. I’ve never tried it personally, but it’s something I’ve been interested in for a while. [$40]
These. Trust Me.
I found out about these recently and I’ve been obsessed with the idea of them ever since. Have you ever tried to fall asleep with music on but couldn’t bear the feeling of your headphones while laying down? Sleep Phones are what we’ve all been waiting for. [$30]
My oversize circle scarf is by far the most versatile, travel-friendly item of clothing I own. I use it as a scarf in the cold, a blanket on the plane, a pillow case in a nasty situation, and a covering at temples. [$28]
I tried these shoes on once about 2 years ago and since then I’ve seen them on hundreds of people. The absolute comfort is still stuck in my brain, and I still want them. If they were waterproof, they would be the absolute best travel shoe, imho. [$100]
I just bought this flexible tripod, and now I can’t imagine life without it. Forget selfie sticks – this can get you any shot you imagine. Compatible with tons of different kinds of cameras! [$35]
Wireless earbuds are SO much easier to deal with than a tangled mess of wire, and these have really awesome Amazon reviews. [$48]
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked my husband to estimate how much my luggage weighs. We’re usually wrong. A luggage scale would eliminate the guesswork. Also did you know a lot of international airlines have weight limits on carry-ons? [$8]
Scratch Off World Map
I’ve wanted a scratch off world map since I first saw one. A lot of travel maps don’t give you a chance to mark off just part of a country, but this allows you to scratch off however big or small a chunk of land as you want. Just because I’ve been to Beijing doesn’t mean I want to check Dalian off the list, ya know? [$23]
Old Lady Things They Secretly Want
Lavender sachets just like grandma sews to keep her clothes smelling fresh, except these have a fun, modern design. Smell good, feel good. [$24]
Packing clothes in your suitcase always leaves the weirdest lines and wrinkles, so I’ve been wanting to try out a wrinkle releasing spray. Look good, feel good, knowwhatimsayin? [$10]
A Better Travel Adapter
I bought the cheapest travel adapter Amazon had to offer, and it works, but feels really crappy. A nice travel adapter is just one little piece of luxury that feels awesome while traveling… and won’t fall out of the socket. [$20]
A Packing List They Don’t Have To Write
Sometimes I just want an easy button when it comes to packing. [$5]
Airline or Accommodation Gift Card
Travel Fitness Kit
It can be really hard to figure out what to do and where to go for a good workout while traveling, but a travel-size fitness kit means you can turn your hotel room into a temporary gym. [$40]
A Possibly Unnecessary But Very Cute Journal
In honor of my fellow school-supply-obsessed freaks (I know you’re out there), I feel obligated to suggest a travel journal. They’re adorable, and probably really impractical and about to sit on a shelf for a while only to be rediscovered during the next big home clean-out, it’s such a fun thing to receive. This colorful, hardcover beauty is on my wish list. [$13]
Honestly I’m recommending this because I can’t stand the blankets they hand out on the plane. At least I have a chance at falling asleep with this cozy, compact option. [$30]
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