It’s officially gifting season and this guide is for anyone who has a travel-lover on their list and wants advice on what to get us. This will also be helpful if you’re a travel-lover and need advice on how to guide your loved ones to getting you a gift you’ll actually use.
Wait a second, are you accidentally making travel their whole personality?
To kick things off, ask yourself the question: Is travel something that is truly a big part of this person’s life, or is it my perception? For example, from the outside, someone might travel a lot for work, and you might be under the impression they love their jet-set life when in reality, they’re mostly flying to conference centres or doing factory visits and are actively trying to travel less.
Make sure you’re in tune with their lives so you’re not basing everything purely on your outside perception. This isn’t just for travel, this is for any hobby, interest, or character trait. You might know someone but you’re not as close as you once were, and in your mind, they’re really into all things tennis so you get them something for that. But then you find out later that after an injury, they switched to swimming and you just didn’t know.
Or, you know one thing about someone and you make it their entire personality. This can just be awkward and a little hurtful if that person disagrees with the way you see them. Anyway, this tip is just to make sure you’re not making assumptions from the get-go.
What Kind of Traveller Are They?
If you’ve considered point #1 and you’re sure they’re into travel, the next question is: what kind of traveller are they? Let me share a few categories:
The business traveller gift guide
That’s more or less me. I’d say about 50% of my trips are for work and the rest are for family obligations, so I sadly am not the type of traveller that’s romanticizing my life, posting selfies from the beach, and talking about my next European vacation. And if someone were to imply that was me, I’d almost be offended.
Business travellers want their travel gear to be stylish, functional, and durable. They want items that make travel more comfortable, help them feel fresh and put together, but aren’t extra weight or too bulky. It’s possible they have slightly more expensive taste, have already outfitted themselves with most basics they need, and travel business class often. So don’t get things that would be better suited for backpackers, students, hardcore adventurers or touristy travellers.
BUSINESS TRAVELLER 1. Steamery Cirrus 3 https://amzn.to/3EAjnJm 2. Everman Grafton Pens https://everyman.co/?sscid=b1k6_ykp1d& 3. Cincha travel belt https://amzn.to/3uo6Cgt 4. Troubadour Belt bag 5. Nextstand laptop stand https://amzn.to/3ELucIH 6. Apple wallet https://amzn.to/3ARjGOW 7. Larq purifying water bottle imp.i263265.net/3PAKgM 8. Cuyana Passport Holder https://cuyana.64ud.net/JrGPrQ 9. Saje wellness pocket farmacy https://www.saje.com/ca/product/pocke… 10. Cuyana small leather goods https://cuyana.64ud.net/XxbBx5
The lightweight minimalist gift guide
In truth, this type of traveller would probably prefer you get them gift cards above all else, which you can do for several travel services like airlines, Airbnb, Home Exchange, or get them gift cards for stores like REI or MEC.
Whether these people need help funding their ambitious travel plans or are wealthy but simply prefer experiences over things, you’ll avoid giving something they don’t want. If you are set on giving a physical gift, which I get because I love the thrill of picking something out that’s just right, go for upgraded functionality.
For example, a slightly nicer, more high-tech version of something you know they use already. Replace their basic long-sleeved shirts with technical merino shirts. Or get them a backup battery with better longevity. Notice if they have anything that looks a little tattered and offer to buy them a replacement and spoil them a little with an upgrade at the same time. If they’re into camping in particular, figure out if there’s a piece of gear that would make a big difference in their kit.
MINIMAL TRAVELLER 1. Anker Portable magsafe charger https://amzn.to/3EI4pRE 2. Monocle anorak https://monocle.com/shop/product/2105… 3. Snow Peak coffee dripper https://amzn.to/3UhUg3D 4. Rains puffer vest https://www.ca.rains.com/collections/… 5. Rains Pallashock shoes https://www.thelasthunt.com/products/… 6. Unbound merino shirt https://alnk.to/2uAhSsC 7. Gifts cards 8. GSI thermos flask https://amzn.to/3EAl9Kw 9. Nomad Orbitkey holder https://www.kqzyfj.com/click-10018091…
The sentimental traveller gift guide
For most people, I’d say: avoid home decor and overly travel-themed gifts. Just because someone did a semester abroad in Paris five years ago, doesn’t mean that “Paris is always a good idea” shower curtain is… always a good idea.
This sadly goes for many many many gifts you’ll see if you search for gifts for travellers. Think scratch-off maps, travel journals, charm bracelets for different locations, anything that hints too much at travel. In my experience, few people want this…except maybe for the sentimental traveller.
With this type of traveller, you can get them things that remind them of all their wonderful trip experience! Get them a special display case or shadow box for their souvenirs. Or, go for an instant camera or a mini printer to print out their favourite travel photos.
SENTIMENTAL TRAVELLER 1. Travel keepsake box https://thingsengraved.ca/catalog/gif… 2. Instax camera https://amzn.to/3GW2yLT 3. Fujifilm iPhone photo printer https://amzn.to/3gImK9c 4. Moleskine travel journal https://amzn.to/3u7kMCc 5. Italia candle https://brooklyncandlestudio.world/en… 6. Shadowbox frames https://amzn.to/3GP01ms 7. Try the World subscription box https://www.pntrs.com/t/TUJGRUdJRkJGS… 8. Travel challenges card deck https://www.uncommongoods.com/product…
The bougie or finer-things-of-life traveller gift guide
Now bougie isn’t about having money, it’s a mindset. This category is actually a great fit for beauty and wellness gifts. If this person wants to feel fresh and pampered on their flight or a trip, you can get them mini versions of their favourite cosmetics, or accessories to elevate the experience.
I’d also add in this category foodies, so you can get great crystallized instant coffee from amazing roasters, and other gourmet travel snacks. You can also splurge a bit and go the route of the “upgrade” type gift I described for the minimalists.
Maybe this is getting them better noise-cancelling headphones, or the most hyped neck pillow, or something off of Oprah’s Favourite Things list. Because if one thing is for sure, bougie travellers will always recognize a celebrity endorsement.
BOUGIE TRAVELLER 1. Cuyana backpack https://cuyana.64ud.net/qnJdzO 2. Cashmere travel kit https://amzn.to/3gzHPmk 3. Flightfud elixir https://amzn.to/3XAlci5 4. SnowPeak kabuki chopsticks https://amzn.to/3AN7G0Y 5. Italic aluminum suitcase https://shrsl.com/3tdw9 6. Away Jewelry box https://www.awaytravel.com/ca/en/acce… 7. HydraGun travel mini massager https://www.hydragun.com/products/ato… 8. AirPods Max https://amzn.to/3F7OA8k 9. Bluebottle instant coffee https://bluebottlecoffee.com/us/eng/p… 10. Aesop travel kit https://www.aesop.com/ca/en/p/kits-tr…
The broke traveller gift guide
On the other end of the spectrum is the backpacker, a shoestring traveller who needs all the help they can get to fund their travel plans. So don’t get them something purely decorative. Get them something that goes directly towards their travel goals. Of course, gift cards or money are the best, but also a sturdy suitcase, an e-sim card plan, and money towards a better smartphone or camera. These people can be easy to buy for because it’s not like they already have everything and everything going towards making their travel goals possible will be appreciated.
BROKE TRAVELLER 1. Away suitcase https://www.pntrs.com/t/TUJGRkpGSUJGS… 2. Uniqlo puffer coat https://www.uniqlo.com/ca/en/products… 3. Away packing cubes https://www.pntrs.com/t/TUJGRkpGSUJGS… 4. Infinity pillow https://amzn.to/3F3N7zH 5. Joby travel tripod https://amzn.to/3EHbeCU 6. Drybar travel blow dryer https://www.sephora.com/ca/en/product… 7. North Face slippers https://amzn.to/3VrxYNS 8. Bellroy Passport folio https://amzn.to/3F6eGZ3 9. Cover the fee for TSA PreCheck
The informed traveller gift guide
I would not necessarily gift guidebooks anymore because while there are many great, high-quality ones, the information can go out of date pretty quickly compared to the internet. However, if well-chosen and vetted, these can be great gifts for travellers who like to do their research. Also, good gifts for the informed traveller include magazine subscriptions (digital or print), language acquisition app memberships, history books, coffee table books, or fiction books that feature their favourite destinations, and subscriptions for discount airfare alert services.
You can also easily gift them things that are highly recommended by travel titans. In the same way, bougie travellers will recognize celebrity endorsements, informed travellers will regard international awards and lists, as well as travel guru opinions, like Rick Steves, if they vibe with their travel style.
INFORMED TRAVELLER 1. New York Times 36 hours https://amzn.to/3gGEhi0 2. Monocle Barcelona Guide https://amzn.to/3EHb4vd 3. Fodor’s Pocket guides https://amzn.to/3gzJbNW 4. Pimsleur language courses https://amzn.to/3AKOFfx 5. Monocle subscription https://monocle.com/subscribe/ 6. Wind up bird chronicle https://amzn.to/3u2I8Jg 7. Anthony Bourdain Travel https://amzn.to/3XAbAUD 8. Assouline books https://www.pjtra.com/t/TUJGRkZGSkJGS… 9. Scott’s Cheap Flight subscription https://scottscheapflights.yuy8ab.net… 10. Apple News +, National Geographic Subscription, etc
In a nutshell, practical, well-rated items that also offer an upgrade to a person’s everyday travel experience will be the best gift for a travel-loving loved one, and certainly better than an obviously travel-themed item. I hope this helps guide your shopping this Holiday season. You don’t need to spend a lot of money, certainly don’t put yourself in debt for gifts, and if you can, use a credit card that gets you points on every purchase so you can also treat yourself to a trip in the future.
Happy travels xox