What are some good gifts for travelers in 2021? This whole Covid pandemic, with all its quarantine and travel restrictions, has been a huge buzz-kill for us globe trotters, but there’s hope that things will change in 2021. Here are some gift ideas for the traveler in your life who is ready to get out again.
A while back, I made a gift list and broke it out into budget groups for my friends and family. I didn’t know how much people wanted to spend and I wanted to give them options to choose from.
I can only assume that you have been looking around for that perfect gift for the person in your life who loves travel, so I thought it might be useful to share this for your benefit.
As a traveler who has been on the road for more than a decade, theses are the gifts I have loved receiving over the years. Here they are, categorized by budget:
Hopefully you’ll find these various gift ideas for travelers to be inspiring to you!
Please Note: Many of these links here are affiliate links, which means that at no extra cost to you, I will receive a small commission for anything you buy. The price is the same for you whether you find them on your own or with my assistance. Thank you for your support!
Best Gifts for Travelers Under $30
Gifts under $30 are often some of the hardest to find! These are the kind of ideas I give my young son, my nieces, my nephews and my great-great aunt in Ohio who still insists on sending me something – all of whom don’t have a lot of money to spend but who still want to make me happy.
Don’t be fooled! Just because the price tag is under $30 doesn’t mean that the gift has to suck.
Below are five great gift ideas for travelers that will still bring a smile to their face.
Scratch Off World Travel Map (Under $30)
We travelers love to mark off where we’ve been – or plan where we want to go once this Covid crap ends!
These scratch-off travel maps make it easy to see exactly which countries we’ve visited by having brightly colored countries appear where we’ve scratched off.
For years this has been a popular gift with many travelers and thankfully there are a number of different options.
There are bigger maps and smaller, travel-sized maps. Some maps are more serious while others are extremely colorful. Some even come with flags and crazy stickers – it’s up to you!
Travel Cord Organizer Bag (Under $30)
This kind of thing is useful even when you’re not traveling!
You know how cumbersome all the various cords and adapters are that you have to carry. From chargers to earphones, batteries to connector cables – they have to be packed somewhere.
For most people, that just means stuffing in a pocket somewhere where the cables get all knotted together and lost.
OR…you can get what I like to call a “toiletry bag for your electronics”. Keep it organized. Keep it in one place.
Keep your cable sanity!
Moleskine Travel Journal (Under $30)
Travel journals make great gifts for travelers and Moleskine is one of the most popular brands on the market for most travelers.
Journals are for more than just writing “Here’s what I did today”. We use journals to track expenses, make budgets, creatively draw and plan future trips.
What’s nice about this particular journal is that is designed specifically with travelers in mind. There are sections that can be tabbed and personalized including areas for budgeting, writing and even blank pages for whatever they may want.
Universal Phone Camera Lenses (Under $30)
While I still recommend travelers buy and carry a good travel camera, most of us still use our phones as one of the primary ways to capture a moment.
What’s crazy is that nowadays the new Apple, Samsung and Google Pixel phones have cameras that rival many entry-level DSLRs!
Unless you have the most recent iPhone 12 Pro, Pixel 5 or Note 20, the use of additional clip-on lenses provide added flexibility. You can be creative with picture taking using a wide-angle lens, fish-eye lens a macro lens for close-up photography and many others.
Trust me, they’re lots of fun to use!
Universal Plug/USB Travel Adapter (Under $30)
It used to be that international travelers had to lug around heavy voltage converter when traveling between countries whose standard was 110v vs 220v.
Thankfully, now that most electronic devices can accept both voltages (especially newer phones, tablets and computers), most people only need a simple plug converter.
That’s where something like this comes in handy. Not only does it work for a good majority of the plugs you’ll find all over the world, it also has USB plugs so you can leave behind each specific adapter for your phone, tablet, etc.
These adapters can be a lifesaver!
Best Gifts for Travelers Under $50
As you can see, there are plenty of great gifts under $30 to choose from.
Increasing your budget to $50, however, opens up a whole new quality of great gift ideas for travelers. Here are some of the best.
Travel Water Purifier Bottle (Under $50)
In the western world, we often take for granted the fact that we can drink the water that comes from our tap. That’s not the case in most other countries that we travelers visit.
Whether you’re in a hotel or in the street, it’s hard to be sure whether the water you’re drinking is clean when you travel. You definitely don’t want to get sick while you’re on the road!
That’s why a gift like this LifeStraw water bottle that has a 2-stage water filtration system is such a great idea. Fill up on the go and be confident that the water you’re drinking is bacteria-free!
Wireless Travel Router / Battery / Media Streamer (Under $50)
This has been one of my favorite travel devices! It is one of the most versatile, useful devices that I carry along with me as a traveler and a photographer.
Check it out: not only can this RavPower Filehub make a wireless network out of a Ethernet connection (for when you’re at a hotel that doesn’t offer wi-fi) as well as charge my phone in a bind, it can also help me transfer my SD card photos to an external backup drive without a computer! Seriously – this is a game changer.
No need to carry my computer with me just to make sure I have a safe backup of all my photos/videos.
World’s Most Comfortable Travel Pillow (Under $50)
I’ve bought a number of travel pillows for my travels and there’s usually two things wrong with them:
- They aren’t actually comfortable and,
- They’re so bulky that I can’t pack them easily.
That’s where the Cabeau travel pillow has shined for me.
The neck support goes above and beyond the average travel pillow to actually support my head and it can be squeezed into a travel bag for simple storage. Very handy!
Wireless & Waterproof Travel Speaker (Under $50)
There are literally hundreds of different wireless speakers on the market, which makes it hard to determine what is worthwhile.
For travelers, you want something that packs small, sounds big, and endures the elements.
Ironically, most name-brand wireless speakers don’t fit that category. That’s where a speaker like this one does well. It fits in a bicycle water bottle holder, it’s waterproof, and it even comes with an FM radio!
Portable Laundry System (Under $50)
This isn’t a gift for every traveler, but there are times when I’ve done laundry in a hotel sink or in a stream. The difference between that and doing it in the Scrubba laundry bag is night-and-day.
A travel laundry bag makes washing clothes so much easier and cleaner. Plus, it packs down to a very small pouch during travel.
The only thing I wish I could add to it is some sort of portable dryer (hang drying takes forever!)
Best Gifts for Travelers Under $100
Once we pass the $50 mark, we again find a number of very interesting gifts that I – like most travelers – would be more than happy to receive.
All of these gifts have a specific application that fit a specific type of traveler, so think hard about where the person you’re buying for likes to travel and how they usually travel (budget vs luxury; light vs heavy, etc.).
Pacsafe Anti-Theft Travel Backpack (Under $100)
After years of trying out different travel backpacks, I’ve finally found one that I absolutely LOVE: the Pacsafe.
Mind you, at 15 liters, this backpack won’t carry a week’s worth of clothes, but it’s amazing as a day pack.
You see, one of the biggest issues we face as travelers is taking our most valuable things with us (passports, computers, phones, etc.) but not losing them or having them stolen. That’s where an anti-theft backpack like the Pacsafe come in handy.
I’m a huge fan of the locking zippers, the cut-proof material, RFID blocking pockets and the compact design. It does look or feel like a huge backpack, but it holds my 15″ Macbook Pro without a problem. For this price, this is one of my favorite sub-$100 gifts for travelers!
Handpresso Travel Espresso Maker (Under $100)
Let’s face it: hotel and hostel coffee sucks. Can I get an amen?
While on the road, you either need to rely on an expensive Starbucks (which isn’t always available) or settle for instant coffee in some countries such as China.
OR…you can give them a travel espresso maker 🙂
Not only does it make a good cup of espresso, it’s also a good conversation starter with other travelers who will be very interested to see how this thing works. If the traveler in your life loves coffee, this gift is a sure-fire win.
Wireless Noise-Cancelling Headphones (Under $100)
A good pair of wireless noise-cancelling headphones that can fold up for easy packing is an excellent gift for any traveler.
You can spend hundreds of dollars for the new Apple Airpods Pro (which, if you have the budget, are an awesome gift for travelers!), but you don’t have to.
Unless you’re picky about having the absolute best, these Sony headphones work great at a fraction of the cost.
Some travelers prefer in-ear headphones (these are $99 from Bose, but there are cheaper options), so if you’re unsure just ask the person you’re buying for (or guess!). Either way, they’ll enjoy a new set of high-quality headphones for their next trip.
Virtual Private Network Subscription (Under $100)
It may not sound like a sexy gift for travelers, but if you care about the online security and sanity of your friend or family member, a Virtual Private Network (VPN for short) is an excellent idea.
Why? For those of us who travel internationally, we often face two big problems:
- We’re connecting to unsecured public WiFi all the time and,
- We’re traveling to places that have internet censorship or where geoblocking exists.
A VPN solves both of these problems. I simply connect to my VPN server and not only is my internet connection secure and encrypted, I’m also able to bypass any censorship or geoblocking.
Amazon Kindle Reader (Under $100)
The days of lugging around a bunch of books while traveling are now officially over (have been for a couple years now, really).
Most people are now transitioning their physical libraries to digital ones and this is especially true of travelers. Whether looking for the best e-ink book reader or perhaps the best tablet with stylus, it’s much easier for travelers to go digital.
Amazon has the largest marketplace for digital books, which makes the Kindle a top choice for e-readers. This $80 Kindle is the cheapest on the market but you can also opt for the better Kindle Oasis which makes reading in the dark incredibly simple.
*Do they already have an e-reader? Consider buying them an Amazon gift card so they can stock up on more books!
Best Gifts for Travelers Over $100
With a budget of over $100, it stands to reason that you’re going to have some high quality options to choose from. The gifts for travelers listed here are things that most anybody would love having but would rarely buy for themselves due to the high price.
If you want to get a “wow” for your traveler gift…this is the way to do it.
DJI Mavic Mini 2 Travel Drone ($599)
Traveling with a drone used to be a luxury. Now, thanks to smaller and cheaper drones, it’s almost expected that you have a drone.
In the world of drones, DJI is king. Personally, I own a DJI Mavic Pro 2, which I love, but there’s one big advantage that the newly-introduced Mavic Mini has: size.
You see, most countries (including the U.S.) have restrictions on drones that weigh more than 250 grams. In order to legally fly a drone over 250 grams, you need to register the drone and in some cases even pay for permission.
How much does the Mavic Mini 2 weigh? It’s a whopping 248 grams.
The DJI Mavic Mini gives travelers a perspective of the world that you’ll never get with a traditional camera. Give the gift of a drone and you’ll be sure to earn a smile from the traveler in your life!
GoPro Hero Action Camera ($249+)
If everyone you know seems to have a GoPro action camera, there’s a good reason: they’re awesome.
As a traveler, I appreciate how light the camera is and yet how incredible the video results are. Not to mention the vast selection of GoPro accessories.
You can get the newest GoPro Hero 9 with a screen on the front, or you can save a bit of money with the HERO8 you see here. Of course, you can even buy an older model or the smaller GoPro Hero Session for less than $200.
Two of the biggest differences between the older and new models is the front screen (which I don’t think is absolutely necessary but I do use), higher quality video capture (up to 4k with the newer models) and being waterproof.
Travel Vest with 25 Specialized Pockets ($175)
Who doesn’t love pockets? How about 25 of them?
That’s how many that this ScotteVest jacket has and they’re all custom-designed to fit everything from your keys to your iPad.
Trust me – they’re incredibly comfortable and it makes it super easy to go through airport security when all you have to do is take off your jacket and put it through the X-ray machine.
I love my Scottevest.
These jackets also include an RFID-blocking pocket where you can store your passport and credit cards – a preventative measure to make sure digital thieves can’t steal your information. I love these kind of gift ideas for travelers that are fashionable yet incredibly useful.
Airport Lounge Priority Pass ($100-$400)
Covid has changed the way we travel, and airports are suddenly much less fun than they used to be.
It makes all the difference in the world now to have access to some of the lounges that provide a bit of respite from the Covid crazy outside.
The great thing about PriorityPass is that it doesn’t matter what airline you’re flying – the pass gives travelers access to over 1200+ lounges in airports all across the world. Annual plans start at $99 (each visit to a lounge only costs $27) all the way up to $399 (each visit is free) as well as plans in between.
Best of all, you can get 10% off when you click the button below!
1 Gift Every Traveler Loves
Of course there is one gift that any traveler – I don’t care who they are – would absolutely love. The gift of travel.
I’m not saying you need to go out and buy them round-the-world flight tickets or pay for a cruise. Here’s what I am saying: traveling is only as fun as the people who travel with you. It’s true!
If you really want to put a smile on somebody’s face when they open your gift, promise to join them on an epic adventure sometime this year. Check something off your travel bucket list if you have one. Experience something incredible…together. You don’t have to travel across the world – you could even drive an hour or two away.
If this is your significant other, book tickets to take a second honeymoon. However you choose to express the sentiment, I know they’ll love it.
I know I would 🙂
Final Thoughts | Gifts for Travelers
As you can see, there are plenty of great gift ideas for travelers as long as you’re willing to have a bit of fun and be a little creative.
Even if the traveler in your life isn’t absolutely in love with the gift you buy, the fact that you spent the time trying to match your gift with their passion for travel will go a long way.
Happy gift buying!