We are a family that loves to travel. We love showing Miss M the world that we live in and different places and cultures. This year we have been to Brussels, Amsterdam, Munich, Berlin, Italy and soon Australia. At Christmas – or any time really – gifts for travellers and travelling are perfect!
Travel gifts basically fall into one of three categories:
- Gifts about travelling or new places
- Something useful for when you are travelling and
- Presents to remind the recipient of a trip they have taken.
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for travellers – gifts for a young child
There are so many books about travelling that are perfect gifts for small children. Looks for books about going on a boat or a plane, such as this one. Just before our trip to London, we got Miss M a pop-up book of sights to see in London. She loved using it to identify which things we saw. They have one for Paris and New York too.
Mum Fox’s book “I’m Australian too” is great for introducing kids to other cultures. For younger kids, “Ten little fingers and ten little toes” is great and talks about differences but similarities. It is also available in bilingual English/Spanish for anyone raising their child to be bilingual. Coincidently, it is also the book that the Australian Government chose to give the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of Prince George.
2. Chopsticks trainers
I know it is cliched, but whether you are planning a family trip to somewhere exotic in Asia or just want to go to a Chinese restaurant for Chinese New Year, you might want to get your kids some chopsticks trainers. There are a number of different models and colours available. They are the perfect gift for little travellers who are adventurous with
3. Coloured pencils
One of the things that we have found really useful to have when we are travelling is some pencils. I found these wonderful double-ended pencils: double the colours, not double the space. They make the perfect gift for little travellers. Miss M loves hers.
Of course, you can’t gift coloured pencils without gifting a colouring book. Bonus points if you find one that is travel themed – and with stickers!
4. Kids camera
Shhh – don’t tell anyone, but Miss M is getting one of these this year for Nicholaus. She loves taking photos and is constantly asking to use our phones to take photos. Some of these work out very well (such as the ones she took in Amsterdam).
We got one for a friend and found this one to be very intuitive. Miss M has already had a play with one and has been asking for her own. The timing will mean that we can take it with us to Australia. We are looking forward to seeing what photos Miss M will take with it.
5. Travel journal DIY
If you are planning a trip soon, make a DIY travel journal. It won’t take that long and you don’t need that much to make one.
As your child fills it out the journal, drawing pictures and telling you what to write (if your child can’t read or write yet), you will get an insight into which parts of your trip they have enjoyed most. It is also a great keepsake for the years to come. Miss M is already quite proud of her travel journal.
6. A photo or wall art
Miss M has a photo of the three of us that we had taken at a zoo in a clear dinosaur-shaped frame. She loves it. If you have a photo taken of your family on a trip to somewhere special, get a print for your little ones. Find a fun frame to put it in. Alternatively, have it printed on a canvas.
Don’t forget about maps as art or a wall mural.
Gifts for travellers – gifts for an older child
1. Colouring books
Colouring for mindfulness is a great pastime and helps kids (and adults) relax. There are numerous travel-themed colouring books, especially on Paris or New York. I like this European Vacation colouring book and might even get one for myself.
2. Travel guide, calendar or fun book
There are numerous travel books available that are directed at kids. If you have a trip planned, you can buy them a travel guide or an activity book for the area you will soon be seeing. For many countries, you will also be able to find a book (fiction) based in that country or city.
If you are going somewhere, where English is not the native language, such as Paris, you might want to get a book (with audio) to help them learn French. You could try a language course, too – Rosettastone has some good ones. Grab our list of useful travel phrases and learn those first!
If your travel plans are not as concrete, try a colourful calendar with images from where you would like to go. You can even make one yourself with some photos.
3. Polaroid camera
We love our Instax camera – it is just so much fun! We enjoy using it, even though we have mobile phones. It is easy to operate and the results are instantaneous, which makes it easy to get kids enthused about taking photos. They come in different colours and styles and you can get various accessories too (e.g. bags, straps, filters) to personalise.
If your child is a fan of “Stranger Things”, there
4. Journal and fun pens
Whether for everyday use or to reflect on trips or vacations, a journal is an easy but effective gift. You can buy a blank one or one with prompts, or even make your own. Bonus points if you include some fun pens with the gift.
5. Hand luggage
As your child enters double digits, they are probably getting to the stage that they should have some decent hand luggage and not just a little kids backpack.
Backpacks are still good if they will be doing a lot of overnight stays. A pull along trolley might be better if you anticipate doing some long weekend city trips in the near future (or if they just have more stuff).
Get something that is big enough to fit all their necessities in, but not that bit that it exceeds carry on allowances. Lightweight is essential. Make sure you get something distinctive so that you can easily identify it. Grab a fun luggage tag while you are at it.
Toiletry sets make great stocking stuffers and small gifts for travellers and there is a large variety available. Make sure the bottles/containers comply with TSA or other security rules. You can a filled toiletry set or get a set of empty bottles for your gift recipient to fill with their favourite products. If you can, get a set which includes a clear plastic toiletries bag that complies with the size rules.
7. Watch or Jewellery
For many years, I had a watch with dual time zones. This made it very easy to see what time it was where my parents were and it
If you travel a lot or have family that lives in another time zone, a watch with dual time zones could be a great gift. It could be especially cool if you are the person who lives in the other time zone and the watch is to help keep track of where you are.
For girls, there is some cute
Gifts for travellers – gifts for the whole family and the home
1. Coffee table book
Are you looking for some inspiration for your next family holiday? Find a big coffee table book with lots of inspiring images to help work out where you will go on your next trip. Like this Bucket List book – grab our printable bucket list and use the book to create your own!
2. Travel necessities
There are a few small things that we pack in our luggage or hand luggage that have really made travelling easier.
- A bag for the dirty washing. We have this map bag.
- A travel lint brush. We have this one from OXO.
- For any family members that have a Kindle or e-reader, get a cover. This helps to protect the Kindle when travelling. There are numerous travel-themed covers available.
- Toiletry bags – especially for those for whom the one
–litre restrictions are too restrictive. The bags that unfold and can hank on a hook or towel rail in the bathroom are particularly useful.
- If you are going on a long-haul flight, make sure each family member has a neck pillow.
Miss M needsa new one – perhaps this one? We keep ours in our carry on suitcases, so that we can always find them easily.
3. Map pillows for the couch (or anywhere really)
A number of etsy stores offer personalized pillows, where you can choose what city or state or country appears on the pillow. Is there somewhere special from your honeymoon or favourite family vacation place?
If you are crafty, have a look on etsy or your favourite DIY site. There are some designs I am sure I could recreate. You probably could, too.
4. Vintage artwork
Remind yourself and the rest of your family of your favourite holiday with a vintage travel poster.
There are a number of free images available, such as on freeclassicimages.com. Download the file you like, and get it printed off in the size you need.
Some wrapping paper works wonderfully as wall art. This set of maps of the world can be easily used for wrapping or artwork. Cavallini & Co. has various maps, including Asia, Paris and Yellowstone National Park for fun.
Don’t forget about maps! There are a number of sites that will custom print a map of the city of your choice. I even found a map of my (small) home
Gifts for travellers – t
1. USB hub
We bought a simple USB hub for our guest room. It is super easy to set up and very much appreciated. We then discovered that it was very useful for travelling, too. You might want to go with a more high-tech hub, or a wireless charger, but you get the gist.
2. Camera goods
There are a number of photography-related gifts, depending on your camera options and budget.
- Camera filters for better photos. Throw in something like a fisheye lens for some fun shots. I have a photography ball like this one on my Christmas list.
- A tripod that works with your camera or phone. Make sure it folds up to a good size for travelling.
- A portable photo printer that prints photos straight from your mobile phone. I have my eye on a
nHP Sprocket, but I am waiting for a sale.
3. A drone
For many people, the price will make this idea a little unrealistic, but if you are planning a trip to somewhere with fantastic scenery, you might want to consider getting a drone. There are some good mid-value ones available now. If you do, make sure you know the local rules relating to flying a drone, especially in relation to airspace, privacy and registration of the drone.
4. A photography book or course
If your gift recipient already has all the gear, and you prefer to gift experiences, you might want to consider getting them a book or course on photography. In my books, a course on photo editing also counts.
Gifts for travellers – gifts for her
1. A travel wallet
I can’t count the number of times I have had to wait longer than necessary at passport controls for the person in front of me to remove their passport from their cover. Yes, covers look nice, but many electronic scanners that the border control authorities use cannot properly scan your passport if it is in a cover. Leave it at home! And please don’t gift one.
Instead, gift a travel wallet, that you can put your passport(s) and all travel documents in. Mine is about the size of a small clutch, with partitions and a couple of zipped pockets, similar to this one. Make sure it is long enough to fit of printed itineraries (folded of course).
I like this one. It’s fun and practical and you can personalise it and mark off where the gift recipient has been.
2. A scarf or pashmina
A wide scarf or pashmina is something you should not forget to pack in your luggage and they are the perfect gifts for travellers. They can help with warmth on a plane or train or with a dress in the evening. Many religious sites in particular also will not allow you to visit with bare arms or without a headscarf. If you have a scarf or pashmina with you, no problem.
If you are looking for one as a gift, look for something lightweight, striking and preferably natural fibres, such as a wool and silk blend. A bold colour or interesting pattern can help change up an outfit.
Also make sure that it is wide and long enough to serve its purpose.
Does your gift recipient have a favourite city or place that is special to them, such as where they got married, went on a honeymoon, went to university or were born?
I love the map pendants by designer Talia Sari. The rings aren’t bad either. At the moment, Talia has pendants for Paris, New York, London, Rome, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Barcelona, Tel Aviv, San Francisco and Jerusalem.
You can also create a custom piece with a map of your choice. Can you imagine one with an excerpt of the neighbourhood where your gift recipient used to live, with their house slap bang in the middle? Yeah, I can too.
I really like this simple Africa pendant too, but don’t have a connection to Africa (yet) to get one for myself. Others have a disc with a country border cut out of it, like this one for Canada. You can even get a pendant or necklace custom made, with a town boundary, state or even a road trip map.
Gifts for travellers – gifts for him
1. Travel socks
If you stop believing in Santa, you get socks as a gift.
Better still, if your gift recipient just went to the Oktoberfest or is planning a trip, get them an Oktoberfest pack from Happy Socks. Berlin packs also available. Lion socks for an African safari. Beatles socks for Liverpool. Pink Panther or Eifel Tower socks for Paris. Get creative!
2. Nail set
We try and get one with at least one pair of scissors, a nail file and a set of tweezers in a leather case. The tweezers double for first aid and the scissors can also cut tags off anything new.
We’ve left ours home on a couple of trips and regret it every time!
I love the simplicity of this travel-themed print:
At the same time, I can see the image or one similar embroidered on canvas. A ‘skyline’ line of a special city would also look great. Find the instructions here.
If the man you are buying for wears shirts regularly, why not get him some travel-themed cufflinks. Peter wears them regularly for work and he has some lovely Murano glass cufflinks we got in Venice. For our first anniversary, I got him some paper plane ones to remind him of the paper planes that were thrown at our wedding. He also has a lovely pair that look like car grills.
If you are taking a trip before Christmas, look to get some while you are there – it’s a lovely souvenir, too. Otherwise, look online: just search for cufflinks and travel.
Gifts for travellers – gifts for anyone and everyone
1. Photo memories
There are so many apps and sites around at the moment which help you turn your photos into gifts for travellers.
Make a photo book with the best shots from your last trip. We made Miss M one last Christmas from all the zoos we had visited.
Make a calendar with some photos of places you’ve been and places you want to go. Use sites such as unsplash.com to find free photos of places you have not yet visited.
If you have a stan
Photos also make great advent calendars. We’ve used these the last few years as cover art and pictures behind the doors. Here you can order them online – advent calendars originated in Germany. If you can’t find a site online, and you’re handy with a knife, you could easily make one.
2. An experience
If you prefer minimalism, gift an experience!
There are so many different experiences you can give that you can find something to suit your budget, no matter what it is.
You can gift a trip, with transport and accommodation. This year, we are going to visit Kangaroo Island as a family for a couple of days after Christmas. Peter and I have decided that we are gifting the trip to each other.
If you already have a trip arranged, book tickets for something to do while you are there. Can you find a concert or show? Or get tickets online for an amusement park? Book a massage? Or reserve a table for dinner or afternoon tea and get a voucher for the meal? If you get actual tickets (and not e-tickets), make sure you don’t forget to pack them when you go.
We will be going to Dubai on the way home. We have decided that we will use Miss M’s Christmas money for her entry into the parks and activities that we decide to visit. Of course, this means that she will have a say in what we see, but we wanted her to help with the planning anyway.
If you have a family member who lives somewhere else, you could gift one person a trip to visit them and the family member a voucher to go out to dinner when their visitor is there.
Of course, if plans are not yet concrete, you can get a voucher for an airline or hotel chain. If you know where you are going, but not when, you can change some money into the appropriate currency in preparation.
If your budget does not stretch that far, get a voucher to be a tourist in your own town. Go on a guided tour or visit one of the top tourists spots in your city. Or get (season’s) tickets to a local attraction, like a zoo, museum or amusement park.
So many gifts for travellers! What should I choose?
Fortunately for us, we already own many of these suggestions, so we don’t have to go out and buy everything on this list. Still, if you are looking for inspiration, the range of possible gifts for travellers, young and older, means you are bound to find something suitable for everyone.
We hope you have fun finding just the right gifts, and wish you all very happy holidays.