We’ve come up with a list of the greatest useful gifts for travelers in your life.
Being a professional traveler and moving to a new city yearly for the past seven years has made us more practical than ever. We want everything we own to serve a purpose and, if we’re lucky, multiple purposes. If your friend is a practical traveler, we’ve got you covered.
We’ve used all of these on this list, and they have made our travels and lives better.
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Last Updated: December 14, 2023
25 Greatest Useful Gifts for Travelers
Learn more about how we select gifts for our gift guides and methodology here.
Global Entry is hands down one of the most useful gifts for travelers, especially frequent flyers. We have gotten this as a gift for all our family members who travel. The $100 application fee is worth it since it saves you so much time. Once you get approved, you’ll be able to speed through security lines, passport control, and customs lines for the next five years.
Pro Tip: Some credit cards also give you free Global Entry.
Subtl Beauty is a portable, stackable makeup solution, perfect for travelers. Each Subtl Stak features a built-in makeup brush and a mirror on the ends, and you can personalize the middle section with your preferred makeup essentials. Subtl Staks are vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, fragrance-free, and refillable to help minimize waste.
My customized stak has concealer, cream highlighter, lip & cheek, eyeshadow, bronzer, and an additional lid to keep some staks at home. The left side demonstrates what makeup you can replace with Subtl Staks on your right.
If you’re looking to give a quality lightweight jacket that packs small but still keeps you warm, then look no further. When it’s packed up into its pocket, I like to use it as a travel pillow too! Since it has multiple uses, it had to make our list of useful gifts for travelers.
I can’t travel without these. I use them daily here in NYC since there are germs everywhere on the subway. Plus, they are great for travel. I use them to freshen up and then wipe down surfaces so they get more than one use especially on the plane.
Most people have multiple electronics now and sometimes there just aren’t enough outlets when you travel. This gives you the flexibility of a converter and adapter for international travel and has 4 USB charging ports and 3 outlets.
Whether you’re on a plane or out exploring all day, this charger is the perfect companion to give your phone the juice it needs. You can plug two devices in at once and it can even charge the newer MacBooks.
It’s always nice to take along a few books on a trip, but they always take up space and can get heavy. A Kindle can carry an entire library to read whatever you’re in the mood for.
If they aren’t much of a reader, you can also do Audiobooks or borrow books on the Libby App from your local library, which we started to do on longer road trips.
These are so cool! Pair Eyewear glasses are customizable. You select a base frame, starting at $60. Then select as many Top Frames as you want. They have licensed designs, sunglasses, and more. So now one pair of glasses can be an endless number with the lightweight Top Frames. We each got a pair of sunglasses Top Frames and a few other fun designs too.
The Block Brush is super helpful when you’re traveling our outdoors and need to reapply sunblock. Our hands are sometimes dirty or we don’t want to get sunblock on our hands (when we’re climbing) so the brush helps us apply sunblock handsfree. I much prefer it over spray too because I can ensure I don’t miss a spot.
I love multi-functioning products. The Orange Mud Transition Wrap is a perfect towel for people who adventure in their cars often. It has a built-in belt to help you change wherever you are, but then has a zipper to create a hood that goes over your car headrest. That way if you’re sweaty or dirty from being out (or you have a friend who is sweaty or dirty), you can protect your seats. It’s definitely something we’ll be bringing with us all the time.
20. Travel Shoes →
Shoes can take up a lot of space in a suitcase, so to help pack light, get shoes that are good for traveling. We currently wear Vessis for 80% of our travel adventures. They’re waterproof, lightweight, and pack up small.
For our outdoor adventures, Danner Boots are our go-to hiking boots. They also look good for the city and can handle rugged conditions.
This should have been one of the first things we got as a frequent flyer. I don’t know how many times I would get annoyed trying to fit all my toiletries in a ziploc bags and breaking them. Not only is it a useful travel gift, it’s also better for the environment.
I’ve had cuter toiletry bags before, but for some reason I always go back to using this practical and simple one. It packs better than any of the boxy ones.
After using bluetooth headphones, it’s really hard to go back to wired ones. I recently started using these Anker Soundcore Life Q20 noise canceling headphones at home. It’s been a great way to keep focused.
For traveling, we still prefer small headphones since we travel so light. I use a pair of Soundcore Liberty Air 2 earbuds and Jacob uses the Liberty 2 Pros. Both have wireless charging capabilities and they have adjustable sizes to make sure it fits you perfectly.
If your friends like to keep an eye on their things or have pets at home, these webcams are a great way to check in. We use them to see the cats when we miss them. Plus, we can talk to them through the camera.
More Useful Gifts for Travelers
- Aeropress for those who can’t live without coffee
- Balaclava or Buff for winter travel
- Blanket Scarf
- Camera (DSLR, Drone, Mirrorless, GoPro)
- Camera Accessories
- Compact Hair Dryer
- Dry Sac
- Foldable Water Bottle
- Gift Card to Airbnb
- Luggage – How to Pick The Best Carry-On Luggage for You
- Passport Holder
- Portable Luggage Scale – if they tend to overpack
- Priority Pass
- Scrubba Portable Laundry System
- Stretchlace turns any shoe into a slip on to breeze through security.
- Sun Hat
- Tangle Teezer
- Travel Pillow – we don’t like using one, but I know some people do.
- TSA Approved Luggage Lock – though now we never check in our bags, so we don’t use one anymore.
- Vessi Waterproof Knit Shoes
- Waterproof Phone Case
Can you think of any other useful gifts for travelers we missed? What’s on your wish list this holiday season?
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“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust
Esther + Jacob
Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.