Are you looking for the perfect gifts for the travel lovers in your life?
In the 20 years we’ve traveled together, and the fifteen years we’ve written on The Barefoot Nomad, we’ve had a chance to road test quite a few travel gifts.
Some have been instant hits, like our my SCOTTeVEST travel jacket, packing cubes, and Scrubba Mini portable washing machine. There have been some duds as well, but we’ve left them out so we can concentrate on showing you the best travel gear out there.
The Best Gifts For Travel Lovers
Here they are: our very best gifts for travel lovers.
A wireless hotspot is an essential part of our travel kit. For just dollars a day, we can get WiFi almost anywhere in the world. Even better, we just pay for it when we need it. Check out our in depth review.
Have you ever had to hand wash clothes on holiday in a sink, with water and suds everywhere? It’s messy, tiring, and usually your clothes don’t end up that clean.
The Scrubba Mini is a portable washing machine, that lets you use minimal water to get sparkling clean clothes.
The Scrubba Mini uses minimal water and detergent, making it an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional laundry methods. It also saves money, time and hassle over finding laundromats on vacation.
How does it work? Just add a few clothes, water, and detergent, seal the bag, and rub the clothes against the internal washboard. In minutes, the clothes are clean.
The Scrubba Mini’s unique design caters to minimalist travelers, being half the size of its original Scrubba, but with all the cleaning power. (See our review of the original Scrubba).
The light and compact Scrubba Mini easily fits into the smallest spaces in a backpack or suitcase, making it ideal for backpackers, hikers, and long-term travelers conscious of packing light.
This versatility makes the Scrubba Mini a perfect companion for any kind of trip, whether it’s a short business trip, a rugged camping adventure, or a round-the-world expedition. It’s especially useful for small, daily washes or unexpected laundry needs.
As long as the sun’s out, I can charge up our power bank on the go. This has saved me multiple times!
Here’s a little bit more about the BABAKA solar power bank:
4 solar panels
2 USB Outputs
comes with an attached compass (not shown in my photos)
Three light modes on the LED flashlight
The gift of an experience
If your travel lover is the fun loving type, consider giving them the gift of an experience.
With Tinggly, you can give your travel lover the gift of an eVoucher to use on one of hundreds of experiences on the site.
You can find the perfect experience for a solo traveler, couples, or a family. They offer everything from hot air balloon rides, to luxury hotel experiences, to unique local dining. Check out the video below to learn more.
Chances are, there’s a class or course that your travel lover is interested in. Even better, a course that lets them travel more will definitely be appreciated.
Not sure what to choose? Maybe help your travel lover find an overseas job teaching English.
Joby GorrillaPod Smartphone tripod
We bought our Joby GorrillaPod about a year ago, and it’s become an indispensable part of our travel kit. Despite its small size, it’s surprisingly sturdy, and a lot of fun to tote around and use.
This little stand for smartphones has flexible legs, making it easy to level on uneven surfaces like rocks and trees. It folds easily, and it’s easy to slip into a pocket or our day bag, and lightweight as well. It has an adjustable phone holder that should fit almost all smartphones with no problem, as we use it regularly with a Samsung S6 and iPhone 6.
My women’s SCOTTeVEST travel jacket is by far my favorite item of travel clothing. It’s cute, comfortable, and has a whopping 18 hidden pockets to store all my travel gear. Even better, it’s nicely fitted, and is never bulky. See my review here.
Tip! A travel adapter connects your plug to the outlet wherever you travel. An adapter does NOT change the power output coming from the outlet so make sure your devices can handle the local voltages.
Quick drying travel underwear
When you’re trying to pack light, quick drying travel underwear is a must. You need something that you can wash out in a sink or bathtub at night, and that will be dry by morning.
ExOfficio fits the bill. They’re lightweight, fit comfortably, and dry quickly. We have a couple of pairs coming for review, as we’ve heard from other travelers that ExOfficio underwear is their favorite.
If your budget won’t quite reach to a high end camera or a trip, a Kindle is almost always a great gift for a travel lover.
We have the Kindle Paperwhite and love it. The only thing that we wish ours had was the cellular connectivity. Cellular connectivity is free (after the initial buy), and it will let you download and shop on the go anywhere in the USA or roam in 100+ countries without an additional charge for wireless data. Trust me, your traveler will love this.
As for books, here are a few of the most popular travel novels out there to get you started.
We also adore audiobooks for travel. Every year we drive thousands of kilometers across Canada and the USA to visit friends and family, sometimes logging in over 40 hours and four thousand kilometers behind the wheel over a week or two.
Audiobooks are an absolute lifesaver on those trips. When we start a great audiobook, the hours fly by as we drive across our gorgeous country. It’s a great way to keep the kids entertained, and keep us from going stir crazy.
An Audible subscription with Amazon makes a fantastic gift, and you can even sign your travel lover up for a free trial to see if they like it.
We’ve moved on from traveling backpack only to wheeled carry on only these days, but for many years we traveled with a backpack.
While most people get a backpack based on features and cost, the most important thing is probably making sure you get the right size backpack for your frame. As a woman who’s five foot five, I’ve tried on a few backpacks that are geared for tall men. What a mistake! They’re uncomfortable, the straps dig in, and even worse, the waist straps are often too big.
For women, the Osprey Aura 65 AG Backpack consistently gets great ratings, and it’s sized perfectly for female travelers. Even better the Osprey comes in small, medium and large for a perfect fit.
See the Osprey Aura 65 AG Backpack on Amazon.
For men or taller women, the Deuter Aircontact 65 +10 is a great choice, as is the Osprey Pack Atmos 65 Backpack.
Keeping your gear safe with a travel pouch
There are a lot of choices for keeping your travel gear safe, from fanny packs to belt wallets to traditional money belts.
When we’re in a situation where we need to keep our valuables as close to us as possible, we usually choose a neck travel wallet (see our extensive review of them here). A neck wallet has room for passports, credit cards, money and the like. It’s small enough that you can wear it under your shirt and no one can see it.
Tip: The most secure way to wear a neck wallet is like a gun holster; over your neck, with one strap under one arm. If you wear it only around your neck, it’s easy for someone to rip off. The only downside is that it’s a bit embarrassing to have to lift up your shirt to access your wallet if it’s slung under your shoulder. Keep it slung in front of your body.
Silk is a good choice for a neck wallet. It feels good against the skin, plus it’s durable, washable and lightweight. I wore a Neck Wallet almost every day for a year. It was lightweight, thin, and comfortable, though I did have to sew the straps back on after about nine months.
It’s surprisingly lightweight, has a padded tablet sleeve, a wealth of pockets and locking zippers, and anti-theft Slashguard stainless steel wire mesh embedded into it complete with RFID protection. At 18 inches high and 9 inches wide, it’s small enough to use as a personal item with most airlines, and it holds an awful lot. It also has a molded frame that sits on the body quite well.
We never leave on a trip without grabbing our external battery chargers. Finding a place to plug in our smartphones, the kids electronics, and our tablets, is a constant hassle, so now we have a few chargers with us at all times.
Admittedly, a headlamp isn’t the first thing you’d think of as travel gear, but our Petzl Tikka headlamp has been a must pack item for us for the past 10 years. It’s still going strong after a decade.
Even in the age of smartphone flashlights, we still love it because it lets us have a hands free light. It’s perfect for camping, and finding our way around strange cities after dark. We’ve used it for home renovations where we need our hands free, and the kids love to play with it, which is a bonus.
The Tikka we use takes three AAA batteries that last us months, and it’s lightweight enough that we carry it with us in our day bag everywhere we go.
We've been traveling around the world since 2003, first as a couple and now as a family of four. We love sharing our adventures and the lessons we've picked up on the road. Contact us or check our About page for more info.