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Buying gifts for travellers is challenging.  There’s a good chance they don’t want a bunch of ‘stuff’ that will just fill up their backpack, or they’ll have to leave behind.

My family is a little obsessed with holidays and I can’t convince my mum, no matter what, that we don’t want more things.  If your family is anything like mine you’ll understand the struggle!  So, if those presents are going be purchased anyway, we may as well make sure they’re awesome, right?

If you have a friend going travelling and you’re wanting to give them a leaving gift, we’re here to help with this list of unique travel gift ideas that they’ll love.  These ideas are things that we’ve used and love, or wished we had over the past few years of non-stop travel.


Unique Travel Gifts


What better way to help your friend remember all the amazing experiences while travelling than with a photobook?  Or perhaps they’re leaving long term and you’d like to send them off with a reminder of all your great times together.  Either way, you can create a photobook for them or give them a gift card to make their own when they return.


Travel Journal

One of the best ways to record all the incredible adventures they will have is with a journal.  Make it a beautiful, leather-bound one for the ultimate unique travel gift.

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Luggage Tag

Have you ever watched one after another identical bag spin around the luggage carousel at the airport and wondered how people can find theirs?  An eye-catching luggage tag is a gift your friend will appreciate time and again.

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A beautiful piece of travel-themed jewelry is a gift that can be taken along on travels without taking up any space.  That’s a win-win!


Camera phone lens kit

Terry recently got me one of these and they are awesome!  When you can’t afford a $1000+ camera, these are an excellent alternative and work surprisingly well.

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Wireless Headphones

Trains, airplanes, buses, waiting rooms, noisy hostels….  The times we’ve been thankful for wireless headphones are countless.  They’re great for the gym or work too after the traveller returns home.  Terry just got these ones and loves them.  They’re water-resistant, have a great sound and the case also charges them so perfect for on the road.

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Sleep Mask

I can never quite manage to sleep while travelling but a good sleep mask can make all the difference.

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Travel Coffee Maker

We’re not big coffee drinkers but for those that are, this coffee making set might become their favourite travel gift ever!

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Travel Scarf with Hidden Pocket

I NEVER travel without a scarf.  I use it as a blanket on a cold plane, to cover my eyes at night, to cover my head when visiting a temple, or as part of my outfit.  The hidden pocket is an amazing feature for passport, tickets or spare money and a great pickpocket deterrent.

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Travel Scratch Map

While this one can’t really be taken travelling, it’s a fun way to track where you’ve been and find inspiration for future trips.  We have one and love to look at it and reminisce – although mine isn’t this attractive.
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Compression Socks

It’s incredible the difference these make on a flight.  My legs were always sore during and after flying but not any more.

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Practical Gifts for Friends going Travelling

Lifestraw water bottle

We hate buying plastic water bottles if we don’t need to.  The Lifestraw water bottle allowed us to save money, plastic and hassle of carrying jugs of water to and from our apartment during our time in South America.  It’s great when you run out of water while hiking too!

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Packing Cubes

I love how organized and easy to pack my bag is when I use packing cubes.  People rave about them and you’ll see why too.

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Universal Adapter

Last year we upgraded our bag of adapter parts for a universal adapter.  Not only does the one small box work for anywhere we travel, it even has a couple of dedicated USB ports making charging small electronics easier too.

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Battery pack

Do you know someone who is travelling somewhere remote?  Then they will be so grateful to have a portable battery pack so they can keep taking those pictures.

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We always travel with a multi-tool.  We use it for hiking, cutting snacks on the road and any emergencies that crop up.  Just remember to put it in checked luggage!

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Portable Bluetooth Speaker

We always have a portable bluetooth speaker on hand.  Make it a waterproof one for the beach and rainstorms and your friend will thank you.

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Travelling is fun, but there’s a lot of downtime too.  While reading is a great way to pass the time on planes, buses and relaxing at the beach, carrying around heavy books isn’t fun.  Since I got a Kobo I can carry around thousands of books and yet it takes up next to no room or weight.  I recommend Kobo over other brands as they are able to read all kids of digital books.  Other brands can be specific to their own book store.

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My parents bought Terry a travel hammock and we discovered it’s a pretty cool thing to have with you.  Just find a couple of trees or posts and set yourself up for a comfortable afternoon nap in the sun, or good night’s sleep.

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Travel Pillow

Did I mention I can’t sleep travelling?  I tried a few different travel pillows but I always find them uncomfortable and bulky.  I bought the TURTL Neck Pillow and I really love how is allows my head to still sit flat against the chair.  It takes a little adjusting to find the right spot but it’s a definite improvement over other styles.

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So, there are a collection of unique and practical travel gift ideas for someone who is travelling.  We personally use, or have friends who use, pretty much all of them.  If you’ve got a friend who loves to travel on your present list this year, we’re sure you can find the perfect gift here!  Let us know what you think.

unique gifts for travellers

Practical gifts for friends going travelling



I'm Claire, a teacher who loves to travel! Together with my husband, we have a combined 40 years of teaching experience and 5 years living and travelling overseas! We're here to help with teaching tips and resources focused on Language Arts, Math and Assessment AND share our best travel ideas with useful itineraries and destination information. Do you teach, travel or both?


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