Whether you’re the type of person to thoroughly plan your gifts ahead of time, or the last-minute shopper stocking up on Christmas Eve, this post will hopefully give you some inspiration on what to buy your loved ones. I mean. if you’re reading this then I’m going to assume you need a hand. I’m also going to assume your Google search bar includes ‘travel gift ideas’ in 10 different variations. Need something quick and easy? Say less. On a bit of a budget this year? I’ve got you. Looking for something with the ‘WOW’ factor? Keep reading. Whatever your desired outcome, here you’ll find a selection of Thanksgiving and Christmas gift ideas for travel lovers. You’re about to make someone with major wanderlust VERY happy.
Before I get into the bulk of this post, I also wanted to remind you that my free Barcelona E-Book is now available for you to download. The PDF opens instantly and can be stored in your files for offline access. No email needed. I’ll add the link below, just in case you were looking to get someone some flights to Barcelona *Wink Wink*
Travel Gift Ideas If You’re On A Budget
‘Travel’ as a gift category tends to be extremely wide. However, this works in our favour as you can get creative with what gets wrapped under the Christmas tree. The below gift ideas shouldn’t set you back more than a 20£ note.
International Food Hamper. Whenever I’m stuck for ideas, but want something that looks presentable, I’ll purchase a few nicely decorated boxes from a home store and fill it with snacks from abroad. I tend to find confectionery and other snack-type foods work best, but last year I made a ‘Sushi Night’ hamper which had the relevant tools. I found things like sushi rice, a bamboo mat, seaweed sheets and chopsticks at my local supermarket. To dress up your hamper, you could add decorations like confetti, Christmas baubles or fake snow.
Display Book/Travel Journal. These options are convenient because regardless of whether someone is new to travelling or not, travel inspiration will always be appreciated. When it comes to coffee table books, I personally love the ‘Lonely Planet’ collection as information is given in bite-size form. However, if you’re fortunate enough to have some serious patience and artistic flair, you could even make your own travel book with snaps from someone’s holiday. For travel journals, Amazon has some great ones. The one I currently use (Suck UK My Travel Journal) has sections for scrapbooking, sticking postcards and doodling, besides the endless pages for writing your own thoughts.
Scratch Map + Frame. Scratch Maps are nothing new, but when you frame it? A whole new vibe. Not only does it serve as a visual reminder of the places you’ve ticked off, but the map also becomes something which helps to plan future trips.
Escape Room Envelope. Hear me out. You can actually purchase travel-related escape rooms to complete wherever you are. These envelopes have a series of puzzles to solve, in order to unlock the sender’s details. It’s a pretty unique way to send a little message. ‘Puzzle Post’ is the best out the bunch, as you can purchase riddles either for adults or for children. At the time of writing, I paid £14 for a ‘Missing flight’ themed escape room and took about 2 hours to solve it (let me leave out the part about one of the puzzles being so challenging I had to click on the hint lol)
Practical Travel Gift Ideas
You know, the type of thing that actually gets used and isn’t forgotten about on day two…
Travel Wallet. Not the passport covers as such, as they usually have to get removed through borders anyway, but the actual wallet. I’ve never found something so handy to store loose coins, travel tickets and photocopies of documents. Sure, you could always put this into a folder but a travel wallet feels that little bit more ‘put together’. I actually purchase travel wallets from accessory sections in department stores, as opposed to travel specialist zones, as the designs are more on the fashion side. My favourite places for these travel wallets are ASOS, TK Maxx (TJ Maxx in the US) and Selfridges.
Packing Cubes/ Organisers. Know someone who takes organisation very literally? Packing cubes will be right up their street. After all, you’re saying goodbye to pure stress trying to locate something in a suitcase. If you’re looking for something a little more glamorous, try a make-up organiser as it follows the same concept.
Silicone Flexible Coffee Cup. The usefulness levels of this one are through the roof. I mean, you can literally collapse the cup into a tiny disc like it’s nothing and it STILL stays good as new. These days, many coffee shops even give you a discount if you bring your own cup so it’s a win-win gift for a coffee or tea lover always on the go. I like to buy packs of 3 or 4 so I can put them into hampers.
Sustainable Presents For Thanksgiving/Christmas
The words ‘sustainability’ and ‘travel’ may raise a few eyebrows when put together in the same sentence, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be conscious when out and about. In fact, not too long ago I put out an article on small changes towards a more sustainable life. Sustainability during travels, if you will. Give it a read after you’ve checked the below for sustainable gifting inspiration.
Coconut bowls. I’ve constantly raved about these, so that must be for a reason right? These organic bowls are honestly genius. Not only do they look aesthetically pleasing on your kitchen worktop but they’re pretty sturdy so you can take them with you on your travels. A great way to lower plastic usage when purchasing from street food markets.
Natural Skincare Products. Another alternative is haircare. Let’s face it, it can be near-impossible to limit liquids to one clear zip-lock bag. That’s why items like a shampoo bar or body butter block become so useful. Not to mention the fact packaging is more eco-friendly than standard labels. Natural skincare products could also be a wonderful gift option for someone who has allergies or sensitive skin. ‘Wearthlondon.com’ has a fantastic selection. Need to jazz up the items a bit? Pop into a small wooden box and layer up with recyclable gift wrap.
Paper Backpack. I promise you this is a real thing. Vegan? Yup. Practical? Yup. Trendy? Double Yup. How are you going to transport all the goods you’ve received? With this backpack of course! Don’t let the thought of a paper backpack fool you though, they are more durable than you’d imagine and can last in a downpour of rain. Pretty damn cool. ‘Notonthehighstreet.com’ has one starting from £35.
Travel Gifts With A Sprinkle Of Luxury
If you’re in the mood to splash the cash, don’t skip this part on luxury travel gifts. The below ideas will definitely make you want to witness the look on someone’s face when opening:
Cabin Suitcase + Gifts Inside. I really like this suggestion because it links practicality with opulence. It’s completely up to you how you want to fill the suitcase but some things which work well are items you’d need for a long getaway/staycation. In the past, I’ve added things like a digital camera, headphones, new shoes, a complete outfit, luxury confectionery, candles, leather journals and experience vouchers. For a child, I purchased a travel blanket, stuffed toy, sweets, books and water bottles. However, the options are endless. Just make sure the cabin suitcase looks nice though. First impressions are everything, after all.
Mystery Holiday Ticket. Ok this option requires a little more planning but these days, with international travel often being cheaper than actually travelling domestically, why not look into a holiday? 80£ for a plane ride to somewhere in UK, from the UK, or a flight to Italy for 20£ return? Yes, the full duration of a trip abroad is likely to cost way more but I know which one I’d rather take! When you’ve got the location, pop into an envelope and hand over at the airport. What a way to make an entrance, eh? You can also purchase packages to visit an unknown holiday destination, if planning isn’t your thing. ‘Srprs.me’ is one option. If you’ve got Barcelona, don’t forget my free e-book to help with the researching! You can find that at the top of this post.
Last-Minute Gift Ideas For Those Who Love Travelling
Finally, the last-minute shoppers. If you need something low-effort but big impact, give these last-minute gift recommendations a try:
Drinking Game Sets. Is this not perfect for backpackers or hostel visitors to break the ice? This type of entertainment doesn’t need to be limited to drinking however, as think about long car journeys, plane rides, overnight sleeping at the airport or group travels.
Flight Essentials Beauty Box. A handful of travel-sized goods should have you sorted for road-tripping. A lot of big brands offer these sorts of bundles, with my personal favourite being ‘Origins In-Flight Essentials’ (Available on LookFantastic.com)
Ceramic Travel Fund Jar. If you know someone who lacks motivation when it comes to saving, and want a little stocking filler, travel jars may help as a visual reminder to save those coins. The feeling of reaching enough funds for a vacation will be oh-so-sweet.
Need Fully Virtual Alternatives?
If you and your loved ones aren’t going to be together during the holidays, don’t panic. Click this link to read about my top virtual picks for travel lovers. I’ve added everything from gift-cards to subscriptions to virtual classes. Some other options not mentioned on the list are letterbox brownies or letterbox flowers via a gift card. My personal favourite websites for these are ‘Bad Brownie’ and ‘Bloom & Wild’.
However you spend the holidays, I hope it’s a good one for you. Here’s to more travels and experiences round the corner in 2022.
Until then, see you in the next post