Thrifty Traveler’s Holiday Gift Guide: 33 Gifts for Travelers in Your Life
Stressing over what to buy your jet set friends or globetrotting family members this holiday season? Don’t worry, we got you.
Behold, our inaugural Holiday Gift guide. There are pieces of luggage, travel gear, headphones, and technology that will improve anyone’s adventures. There are simple accessories and gifts with a personal touch for the traveler in your life. And there are gifts for any price point, spanning from under $5 to $350.
We’ve tried almost every single product below – and in many cases, we use them on each trip we take. We’ve divvied up our master shopping list into four categories: luggage, bags, and gear; electronics and gadgets; accessories; and miscellaneous.
The Gift of Cheap Travel: Thrifty Traveler Premium
We saved the best for first.
What better gift to give someone than a year of the best flight deals we find? Read up on our Thrifty Traveler Premium service, and you’ll see that it means you get 40-plus international flight deals directly to your inbox, every single month. We’re biased, but we think there’s no better way to help someone travel for cheap.
You can give someone – including yourself, lucky you! – a year of this service for just $30 (normally $35). The gift will be activated on January 1, 2019. This is not a subscription and will end on December 31, 2019.
Read more and buy it for $30 for your loved one, then print off this image to stuff in their stocking!
Luggage, Bags, and Gear
Away Carry On Luggage
A favorite of many members of the Thrifty Traveler team, Away luggage is sleek, durable and functional. It comes with a built-in battery to keep your phone and other devices charged. These carry-ons have an unbreakable polycarbonate shell, TSA-approved combination lock, and a hidden laundry bag. Away allows you to test the piece for up to 100 days with a money back guarantee. And best of all, the bags have a lifetime warranty.
Buy it from Away for just $205 ($20 off!) with our link or use the promo code SAVE
Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage
Calpak may not have the same explosive brand power as Away, but their luggage is just as stylish and sturdy. The internal organizing system is perfect for any trip, the wheels glide like butter, and the four aluminum corners on the suitcase make it look far more pricey than its actual cost. The Ambeur carry on comes in four colors: Rose Gold, Gold, Silver and White.
Buy it from Calpak for $135
Delsey Aero 25” Expandable Rolling Luggage
We encourage all travelers to fly with just a carry-on bag. But sometimes you just need some checked luggage. The Aero 25” Expandable Roller is made from 100% polycarbonate which makes it lightweight yet durable. Within the suitcase, there are two full packing compartments with a handy divider to avoid your items moving around. There are also tie-down straps and a smaller pocket for safe storage of your accessories.
Buy it on Amazon for $108.70
Ebags Packing Cubes
Once you use packing cubes, you never go back. This set of three packing cubes are the perfect way for travelers to stay organized. And better yet, they’re available in 14 different colors.
Buy them on Ebags for $19.99. Use code SAVE at Checkout.
Ebags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack
This bag is officially Thrifty Traveler approved, as most members of the team have it. It’s got a dedicated sleeve for a laptop, another spot for a tablet, and room for whatever clothes or accessories you need. A zip-up front flap is perfect for your passport, paperwork, pen, and anything you can imagine. I’ve even used it as a weekend bag in a pinch. All this in a compact bag that can fit underneath the seat in front of you.
Buy it on eBags for $69.99. Use Code SAVE at Checkout.
4monster Packable Daypack
Sure there’s luggage and a personal item, but a daypack will come in handy. This packable bag that for short day trips to bring the necessities – and nothing else – along is key. The 4monster Packable DayPack is made of some magical, stretchy and water-resistant fabric that is up for any job. But the best part is that it folds into itself, stuffing into a tiny, fist-sized pouch. That means you or your favorite traveler can throw it into your luggage and break it out only when you need it. It’s available in two sizes and four colors.
Buy it on Amazon starting at $16.99
BagSmart Electronics Cable Organizer
Nothing clutters up luggage quite like a tangled mess of cords. This bag is the perfect stocking stuffer, helping travelers keep their electronic chargers and cords organized. It comes in five colors and can hold just about any cord, battery or electronic accessory you can think of.
Buy it on Amazon for $19.99
Pockit Lightweight Stroller
Welcome to the wild world of family travel. What better way to show the new parents in your life that their days of travel don’t need to be over than giving them this ultra-compact stroller? Thrifty Traveler co-founder and new dad Nick Serati uses this one and swears by it.
Buy it on Amazon for $179.99
J.L. Childress Ultimate Backpack Padded Car Seat Travel Bag
Another one for the traveling parents out there. It’s no breeze bringing a car seat with on your travels, but this bag makes it easier. When it comes time to haul the seat around or check it, this bag is a lifesaver.
Buy it on Amazon for $39.99
Electronics and Gadgets
Anker PowerCore Lite High Capacity Portable Charger
Anker portable chargers are a lifesaver and a mainstay in all of our backpacks. This model will provide two-and-a-half charges for iPhone 8 Plus, or 2.6 full Galaxy S9 or iPhone X charges before it needs to be recharged.
Buy it on Amazon for $33.39
Even book lovers have to admit it’s not always practical to schlep around books in your suitcase. The Kindle is the perfect solution. And the Paperwhite is the best, as the adjustable backlight allows you to read in any conditions. Amazon’s latest and greatest version is waterproof and comes with at least 8GB of storage.
You can never count on having movies to watch on your flight. As more and more airlines are pulling seatback entertainment out of their planes, it pays to bring your own device. The latest iPads are out for just $289 for a 32GB model. That should be plenty to save a few shows or movies on Netflix to watch during a traveler’s next trip.
Buy it on Amazon starting at $289.00
Bose QC35 Wireless Noise-Cancelling Headphones
There’s simply no better travel accessory than a good pair of noise-canceling headphones. And no company does it better than Bose. These are perfect to shut out the world – and drown out engine noise – during a long-haul flight. At roughly $350, it’s not cheap. But what a gift this would be for the favorite traveler in your life.
Buy it on Amazon for $349.00
TaoTronics Bluetooth 5.0 Transmitter and Receiver
Want to bring those new Bluetooth headphones on the plane? Here’s the solution.
The TaoTronics Bluetooth 5.0 Transmitter and Receiver will allow you to seamlessly connect wireless headphones to the seatback entertainment. We’ve used it and swear by it.
Buy it on Amazon for $25.49
Bose Soundlink Micro Bluetooth Speaker
This great little Bluetooth speaker is perfect for travel. It normally costs $99 but it is on sale for the holidays for $79. It is fully waterproof with a rugged exterior that resists dents, cracks, and scratches. That makes it the perfect speaker to throw in your bag for a day at the beach or at the pool. Oh yeah, and it sounds great as well.
Buy it on Amazon for $79.00
RXSQUL Universal Power Travel Adapter
Long gone are the days when you needed a four-piece system to stay plugged in across the globe. There are plenty of single-unit options that allow you to charge your devices no matter where you rest your head. My favorite is the RXSQUL Universal Power Travel adapter, a compact cube that offers not just a power port, but four USB ports as well. Unless if you’re traveling with heavy-duty electronics, this can be the one-and-done solution for staying powered up on international travels.
Buy it on Amazon for $18.99
TRTL Travel Pillow
This goofy travel pillow might look more like a turtleneck, but it’s a godsend. There’s no better way to help someone survive a long flight in economy than this travel pillow, which the Thrifty Traveler team swears by. In our minds, no other travel pillow comes even close.
Buy it on Amazon for $29.99
Que Collapsible Travel Water Bottle
Just because you can’t get water through airport security doesn’t mean the water bottle should stay at home. This adorable and versatile travel water bottle scrunches up into roughly half the size. Help the traveler in your life save on space and stay hydrated. This one is 20 oz and comes in five different colors.
Buy it on Amazon for $25.95
HumanGear GoToob 3 oz Travel Bottles
Never have a bottle of shampoo or body wash leak in a bag again. I bought these a few months ago and will never look back. Rather than hard plastic that will crack, these rubbery bottles will withstand whatever you throw at them. Plus, these 3oz bottles are well under the TSA carry-on requirements, so you’ll be set.
Buy a set on Amazon for $13.69
Bidear Travel Pill Case
Whether you’ve got prescriptions to bring on the road or just want to be prepared with painkillers and antacid, you shouldn’t be bringing full medicine bottles on your trip. This travel case is perfect because it’s compact yet has 10 separate compartments to store your pills.
Buy it on Amazon for $8.27
WiseOwl Travel Towel
Packing a full-size towel is a frequent traveler sin. Your favorite traveler needs a compact microfiber towel instead. The WiseOwl Travel towel folds up into a hand-size pouch but will dry you off like the plushest hotel towel you’ve ever used. Plus, these travel towels dry fast, too. It’s the perfect solution for travel when you can’t count on having a towel readily available. The WiseOwl Travel towels come in two sizes: Large (think bath sheet size) and Extra Large (beach towel size).
Buy it on Amazon starting at $13.95
Burt’s Bees Face Wipes
Staying fresh on a 12-plus hour flight is a challenge, to stay the least. However, face wipes like these from Burt’s Bees allow you to easily and quickly clean up throughout a long-haul journey. They come in a handful of different varieties, from Cucumber Sage to a sensitive skin formulation. These wipes also work great for cleaning up spills or cleaning airplane tray tables.
Buy them on Amazon for $14.37
Mack’s Ultra Soft Earplugs
A good pair of earplugs is a must for any long-haul flight. Planes are loud, neighbors can be louder. I’ve found none better than the Mack’s Ultra Soft Foam Earplugs, which are insanely comfortable while remaining effective at cutting out excess noise. A container of 50 will last any traveler a while.
Buy them on Amazon for $8.49
Travelon Floating Waterproof Phone Case
Your travel buddy will thank you for saving him or her from having to buy a new cell phone. This pouch from Travelon comes in five colors and seals watertight. And critically, it also floats. Perfect for the clumsy friend in your life with some wanderlust.
Buy it on Amazon starting at $8.46
Scratch the World Travel Map
We love this gift because it’s interactive. Scratch off each country after a visit and travelers can log their progress as they see more and more of the world. Plus, it’s beautiful and available in two sizes.
Buy it on Amazon starting at $23.99
Travel Stub Diary
Does your friend or a family member have a drawer full of old plane or train tickets? Help them cherish their travels with this handy Travel Stub Diary.
Buy it on Amazon for $13.31
Carry-On Cocktail Kits
Some people just need a stiff drink at 35,000 feet. These cocktail kits can help travelers make it a good one. From a simple Gin and Tonic to an Old Fashioned and even a Hot Toddy, these little kits make the perfect stocking stuffer.
Buy it on Amazon starting at $16.45
Up in the Air Doormat
Tell me this isn’t the best doormat you’ve ever seen. Modeled after those airport signs we’ve all had burned into our minds, this will look great outside your door. And it’ll give your guests a flavor of your passion for travel.
Buy it on Uncommon Goods for $32.00
Wooden Neighborhood Map Coasters
Celebrate your favorite city with these impeccably designed coasters. Each set of four coasters is made of cedar and showcases some of the neighborhoods in 15 American cities. From Minneapolis to Phoenix and Manhattan, there are plenty of cities to choose from.
Buy them on Uncommon Goods for $36
Looptworks Airline Upcycle Projects
This could be the best, personal gift for the diehard traveler or avgeek in your life. Looptworks has worked with Southwest, Alaska, and now Delta Airlines to upcycle their retired uniforms and retired leather seats to create gorgeous bags and travel accessories. These unique gifts both reduce waste and gives you a great story to tell about your leather duffel or passport holder.
Use our promo code to receive $15 off your order of $75 or more with our link.
Airport Map Wall Art
There are plenty of airport map manufacturers out there, but these from Etsy are our favorite. Whether it’s a home base or a favorite destination, help the traveler in your life commemorate their favorite airport. There are multiple sizes and several dozen airports in the U.S. and abroad to choose from.
Buy it on Etsy starting at $15
“Adventure Fund” Jars
Help inspire someone to start saving for their next trip with one of these beautiful “Adventure Fund” jars. Inspiration is the best gift you can give, after all.
Buy it on Etsy for $13.19
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.