It’s always a challenge to find good gifts for travelers. Those unique travel gifts–the ones that are really useful, or evocative of a journey, or just plain fun—can be tricky to get just right. Even though we’re nomads ourselves with few belongings, we still get excited about the perfect accessory, great luggage, or even a good book to spark our wanderlust.
So whether you’re looking for gifts ideas for someone going traveling, an armchair aficionado, or even yourself, read on. Inspiration is just ahead.
Note: If you’re interested in a gift that you see suggested here, please consider using the links we’ve provided below. We participate in the Amazon Affiliates program, where we make a small commission from these sales, at no extra cost to you. It’s one of the ways we keep things humming here at Changes In Longitude, while providing free travel advice to our readers. Thanks!
Unique Travel Gifts
Gifts for Photographers (under $50)
We gals love to accessorize, and our camera is no exception. I was thrilled to discover this scarf camera strap this year, which is a fabulous combination of function and style! Not only is the scarf pretty (and oh, so chic!), it’s also softer around your neck than a strap. As an added bonus, there’s a good-sized hidden pocket inside, which is perfect for carrying a few extra doo dads, like your phone or passport or lipstick. I also love that it comes in over a dozen fabric designs, so you can choose one to suit your personal style! Available on Amazon: Scarf Camera Strap
Most camera bags are chunky and bulky, screaming “expensive camera equipment within.” Not so the Passport Sling by Lowepro: it looks like a large cross-body shoulder bag and is shaped to rest comfortably against your hip. The bag’s removable protective inserts allow you to stow as much (or as little) photo equipment as you need. And it comes in “basic black” as well as the “outback” shades pictured here. But what I really love is the clever expansion zipper: it gives me room to stow my purse when flying, which keeps me under the 2-carry-on-bag-limit. Available at Amazon: LowePro Sling Camera Bag
Best Travel Gifts for Him
A few years ago we discovered the joys of rolling totes. They’re the perfect carry-on–large enough to carry chunky items, yet small enough to fit under the seat of most aircraft. (Which means that no matter how full the flight is, you won’t have to check it.) Until recently, most of the totes available were of the “girly” variety (such as my Delsey tote). But Michael started using this Eagle Creek Wheeled Tote this past year, and loves it’s versatility (and its “manliness”), coupled with the legendary Eagle Creek ruggedness. Purchase on Amazon: Eagle Creek Rolling Tote
When you travel with minimal luggage (like we do) you need shoes that multi-task. Michael likes these loafers from Olukai. The nubuck leather is super-comfy, comes in a selection of (manly) shades and works well to jazz up an outfit. Best of all, the nifty fold-down heel converts them to a slipper or casual shoe in no time (which also makes them great for packing!). Get them on Amazon: Olukai Men’s Loafers
(We couldn’t leave this one out!). Perfect for the gear head or classic car buff in your life, this book is the most comprehensive collection of car museums around. Including all sorts of quirky auto-related attractions such as the wacky Carhenge in Nebraska (yes, it is a Stonehenge replica made out of old cars!), the 2nd edition of this informative guide contains more than 300 museums and attractions. Perfect for your next road trip! Full disclosure: I know the author personally & he’s a good guy 😉. Available on Amazon: Roadster Guide.
Travel Gifts for Her
A raincoat is an indispensable travel accessory for me. I like one that looks good for city travel, yet is still functional enough for “light outdoorsy” activity. This one comes in a bunch of great colors, two different lengths, has a detachable hood, and an adjustable drawstring waist (perfect for layering). It’s reasonably priced, too! Available at Amazon: Lightweight Raincoat
Flip flops are incredibly versatile for travel. What makes the Fit Flops brand so special is the combination of comfort and durability–they seem to last forever. I have literally walked miles in these shoes for days on end. A slightly dressy pair is perfect for strolling through a European capital, scampering on the beach, or even as slippers in your hotel room. They weigh almost nothing, and fit easily into your suitcase. And they come in a TON of cute styles and colors, too! Available at Amazon: Women’s Fit Flops
Fun Travel Gifts
Travelers love to keep track of where they’ve been, and what better way than this world map, where you scratch off destinations as you visit? We like this one because it includes US states as well as all the countries of the world. Once scratched-off, the map reveals cool local icons, such as the Eiffel Tower in France. Plus it’s already framed, so you can just pop up on the wall and scratch away! Purchase on Amazon: Framed Scratch-off World Map
If you really want to get off the beaten path, this is the book for you. Jam-packed with sights all over the world that are quirky, curious or just downright odd (such as Carhenge in Nebraska), Atlas Obscura will have you pining to hit the road for all sorts of parts unknown or unexplained. They’ve also just released a kid’s version, perfect for fostering curious would-be explorers! Available from Amazon: Atlas Obscura & Atlas Obscura for Kids
Anyone who loves to travel needs a globe. We can never resist spinning one to see where we might land next! This one is especially cool: it shows the countries of the world by day, and then lights up at night to reveal the constellations above. This is a terrific way to get kids interested in the world around us as well as the skies above. (But let’s not forget the kids-at-heart: I would SO love to have this in my suitcase!) Available from Amazon: Illuminated Constellation Globe
A National Geographic guide written by the World’s Longest Honeymooners (aka our friends Mike & Anne of the blog HoneyTrek), Ultimate Journeys for Two is the best gift for couples seeking some adventure! Taking inspiration from their six-year journey across the seven continents, they’ve compiled their absolute favorite 75 destinations and savviest tips for couples adventure travel. With gorgeous photos, this book is inspiring, helpful, and FUN! Grab it on Amazon or have it personalized by the authors.
For the past few years we’ve been singing the praises of the Travelpro Maxlite Series. (See our in-depth review here.) We love the 21″ spinner; it holds an incredible amount of stuff (and even has an expansion panel), is easy to maneuver, super-sturdy and ultra-lightweight. (Although it does come in larger sizes if you absolutely MUST pack that extra pair of shoes!) The newest version has managed to shave off another 1/2 pound! Available on Amazon: Traveler Maxlite 5 Luggage
Luggage tags make fun travel gifts are a great way to differentiate your bags from all of the others on the baggage carousel. For that retro “grand tour” feel, check out the collection of tags that look like vintage travel posters from Pacifica Island. If something whimsical is more your style, how about Star Wars’ BB8 and R2D2 (or a whole slew of other comic book heroes)? Either way, your bags will stand out in a crowd! Find them on Amazon: Star Wars Luggage Tags & Vintage Travel Poster Luggage Tags
Whatever your destination(s) for the coming year, may the Force be with you, & happy travels!😊🌎
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Larissa and Michael are your typical middle-aged couple from Philadelphia who’ve been traveling the world full-time since 2011, seeking off-beat, historic and tasty sights. To receive our free quarterly newsletter with updates and valuable travel tips subscribe here.