With almost a decade of nomad life experience overseas and another decade traveling slow around Canada, this is my list of practical and unique travel gift ideas for backpackers, business travelers, digital nomads, and everyone in between.
Our list starts off technology-heavy, and then follows through to more traditional gifts for someone traveling abroad.
Travelling Gift Ideas & Inspiration
Choosing the best travelling gift ideas isn’t an easy task –the recipient of your gift is probably trying to purge unnecessary items, not accumulate more. And you’re likely here because you don’t want your travel gift tucked some place at the far end of a storage locker when they leave.
But how do you know what’s “necessary” for a traveler –what will make their eyes light up when they open it, give you that ‘ohhh, you’ face, and feel proud that their mom, dad, friend, wife, lover, cousin, biggest fan –whoever you are– “gets it”.
After almost 10 years abroad, we understand the complexities and headaches that come with long-term travel, and we stay current on the latest travel gear, products, and services that make for cool travel gifts and must-have travel gadgets.
This list of unique gifts for travelers is very technology heavy because of our focus on the digital nomad lifestyle.
What Is the Best Gift for a Traveler?
Call me a cynic, but the worst gifts I ever got right before or after I’d begun a nomadic lifestyle were usually the sort of thing normal people would leave on a shelf.
In other words, if they aren’t going to physically pick it up and use it 5 days out of 6, it’s not the perfect gift for travelers.
What About Mementos and Mushy Stuff?
Mementos, photos, and “remember me” items can usually be digitized and should be avoided unless they’re small enough for a keychain.
Even a wrist trinket or necklace could fall off in a swimming hole or on a 2-day hike, so low-cost trinkets are probably your safest bet (and less likely to incite a mugging) as gifts for someone traveling abroad.
Your gift ideas for someone traveling abroad should probably be compact, light, super useful, and take into account that your significant other will be lugging them around everywhere they go.
Answer the following questions as you shop for the best gifts for travelers:
- Will it save them money on something they had to buy anyway?
- Will it make their nomadic lifestyle easier in some way? Like, a lot a lot easier? As in, not a framed photo?
- Will it help keep them safe or prevent their nomad gear from getting stolen?
- Will they use it often –as in almost every day, or at least once per week?
- Will it improve their quality of life during the hard, lonely days and nights of travel?
- Will it make for epic Instagram photos?
- Will it demonstrate some how that you support their decision to travel?
With these questions in mind let’s jump into our massive guide to unique travel gifts for business travelers, digital nomads, expats, overseas English teachers, backpackers, and whoever you might know that travels often.
Gifts for Someone Traveling Abroad
To make absolutely sure all of the travelling gift ideas on this list were popular with our readers, we double-checked our analytics to see what items were most clicked and purchased via links on related articles, right here on Hobo with a Laptop.
All digital nomad gifts on this list are curated from our own digital nomad packing list (his and hers), our massive guide to business travel tools and resources, and of course, Amazon’s top-sellers lists.
We’ll start with electronics and must-have luggage items, and then work our way through to fashion and personal care. All images are clickable, and all links open in a new tab so you don’t lose your place here in this guide.
Space Capsule Pet Carrier Backpack
We figured we’d start this list of cool travel gifts off with a bang! The Anzone Space Capsule Pet Carrier backpack is sure to impress any pet lover who often travels with a small pet wherever they go.
In addition to being bloody amazing, it’s also one of the highest reviewed travel pet carriers on Amazon.
Osprey Farpoint Backpack
The Osprey Farpoint backpack is the best backpack for digital nomads, full stop. It comes in a range of sizes; the one above is the 40cl model, there’s a 55cl model, and I believe we use the 70cl model ourselves.
This backpack makes a great gift for someone traveling abroad because of it’s long lasting durability, detachable day-pack that fits a change of clothes and a laptop comfortably, and it’s clam-shell opening which allows you to access everything in it at once (instead of pulling everything out to get what’s on the bottom –a huge plus when you’re in the airport or on a train and forgot your charger was buried inside it).
I’ve had mine since 2011 and it’s still going strong –and even if it wasn’t, Osprey’s backpacks are protected by a lifetime warranty.
I highly recommend this backpack as a unique travel gift because it gives you plenty of room for all of your must-have travel gadgets and the zipper won’t break a week into your trip like other backpacks and suitcases (for adventure nerds who care about quality, it’s a YKK zipper).
You can pick up this super keen digital nomad backpack here.
DJI Mavic Air Drone
The DJI Mavic Air Fly More Combo with DJI Goggles is the ultimate travelling gift idea.
This photography drone combo comes with the foldable and compact 32 megapixel DJI Mavic Air drone, as well as DJI’s VR googles that allow the user to see what the drone sees and control video recording with head movement. It’s a must for any travel blogger, YouTuber, or hospitality marketing professional trying to take their content to the next level.
DJI is already known for their workmanship and quality, but the pricing on this combo pack is surreal. For a full features list view this drone combo on Amazon.
Want 4-Hour Workweek for Free?
This book was one of the first to kickstart my journey to become a digital nomad. While some parts are a wee dry, no one can argue that this book is a must-read.
Right now you can get the 4-Hour Workweek audio book for free if you sign up for Audible and grab a 30-day free trial. Cancel anytime, no questions asked.
Skyroam Solis International WiFi Hotspot
The Skyroam Solis personal WiFi hotspot is everywhere; it seems that every digital nomad, travel blog, and anyone living the laptop lifestyle is praising this portable international hotspot as one of the most useful travelling gift ideas on the market.
Simply put; the Skyroam WiFi hotspot brings with it 4G LTE data almost anywhere in the world without a SIM card –supporting travelers in 130+ countries including North America, South America, the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and Africa.
And because the Skyroam is a prepaid device that has no contract, it’s a great gift idea for someone traveling abroad.
This must-have travel gadget makes a great third option for internet access; if there’s no WiFi where we are, we’ll usually use a local, low-cost prepaid SIM to tether off our smartphone. If that’s not possible, we pick up a Skyroam $9 “day pass” for unlimited internet access on the road. Monthly unlimited internet access is only $99.
It also sports a built-in 6,000 mAh battery that doubles as a power bank, great for 16+ hours of functional internet usage when there’s no plug in sight.
Check out the Skyroam Solis for yourself. I negotiated a special discount for Hobo with a Laptop readers, use Skyroam promo code HOBOLAPTOP for 10% (or more).
Wireless. Water resistant. Magical music only you can hear. A marriage of three travel musts, rolled into a tiny must-have wirelessly-charging package. These Jabra wireless earbuds are a unique travel gift for music, phone calls and sport.
Wires are a nightmare over strap-filled shoulders and having hands-free access to Siri, Google or Alexa while on the go is a godsend. These ear buds come highly recommended for thier durability, quality, sweat-resistance, ability to stay in place, and brand recognition within the call center tech industry –they know a good headset when they use one.
Durable enough for sporty people, rugged enough for Machu Picchu, and more pragmaticly designed than Apple’s Airpods IMO.
Go see for yourself, check out reviews for these wireless earbuds.
Universal Smartphone Waterproof Case
This universal smartphone case is waterproof and touch-friendly so you can still use your phone under water to take photos. It supports Apple iPhone 6S, 6, 6S Plus, SE, 5S, Samsung Galaxy S7, S6 Note 7 5, HTC LG Sony Nokia Motorola, and many others.
If you can’t give the gift of GoPro, this one’s a must-have gift for someone going abroad. Check out reviews on Amazon for this Joto universal waterproof smartphone case –at about $5 and over 25,000 positive reviews, you can’t go wrong.
Personal Location Tracker
In this article, we reviewed a handful of the best GPS trackers money can buy that cover a range of different uses from search and rescue location extraction to finding lost keys.
I can think of dozens of reasons why a portable projector is one the best gifts for business travelers and digital nomads alike –whether it’s to Netflix and chill on a quiet night by the beach with friends or perform a presentation at a trade show, a portable projector that’s smaller than a can of Coca Cola is sure to impress.
The award-winning UO Smart Beam Laser Projector is by far the best and most affordable mobile projector currently available with features like auto-focus that works almost like magic, and it’s 2 hour fully-powered battery life when you’re not near a power outlet.
This mini projector is the one of the best unique travel gifts on this entire list and will most definitely, without a doubt, be the best gift a digital nomad could ever be fortunate enough to receive.
Personally, we’ve got a projector but it isn’t this one –we’ve got a Xiaomi laser projector, but that’s only because we have a home base to keep its larger form factor (we don’t travel with it).
Portable projectors have come a long way since I used to trade shows.
Check pricing or read reviews for the UO Smart Beam Laser Projector.
Make Money on the Road with a Flexjobs Gift Card
Help your friends and loved ones travel the world and get paid with Flexjobs. Remote jobs are a great way to fund your long-term nomadic lifestyle –when you find one that pays on time and doesn’t suck.
Legitimate online jobs are hard to find; where other digital nomad job sites put employers first, Flexjobs protects job seekers by screening out deadbeat employers with human eyes and does not charge 20% off every paycheck like Upwork and other sites do.
They were rated the top remote job site for digital nomads by our readers on Hobo with a Laptop’s remote job site directory.
Read: Location Independent Jobs That Are Always Hiring (Updated Weekly) –this article links to active search results on FlexJobs for digital nomad jobs that you can apply for today.
EXCLUSIVE FLEXJOBS PROMO CODE FOR DIGITAL NOMADS
Hobo with a Laptop readers get an exclusive discount on FlexJobs –use the NOMAD promo code to receive the following discounts:
$44.95 for 12 months of FlexJobs (10% off)
$23.95 for 3 months of FlexJobs (20% off)
$9.95 for 1 month of FlexJobs (30% off)
Learn how to get your first entry-level remote job with our how-to guide here.
Merino Wool Clothing for Hot and Cold Climate
Merino wool is a traveler’s best friend; it keeps the wearer cool in hot climate and warm in cold climate, it’s naturally antibacterial to kill the body odour funk of a long-distance flight, is more durable, stain resistant, requires less trips to the laundromat than cotton, keeps its shape longer than cotton, and it wicks sweat away like magic –making Merino wool the stuff of incredibly great gifts for someone traveling abroad.
Merino wool is the best gift for travelers that are hard to shop for due to it’s sheer practicality. Prioritize your purchase based on layers; start with undergarments and work your way up. Merino wool underwear is very comfortable and feels better to the touch than cotton or synthetics, and outer layers are fashionable enough to conceal their utility. Because nobody wants to wear “tourist clothes”.
We selected a few Merino wool clothing items that make for unique travel gifts; women’s long sleeve crew neck shirt, leggings, men’s rib tank and underwear –or you can just view the entire Merino collection on Amazon to choose for yourself.
A Travel Yoga Mat You Wear
Wait, huh? A wearable travel yoga mat? Yes, please!
I finally got woke and started doing yoga, folks. And every time we relocate our home base, I gift my yoga mat to a fellow traveler and buy another one in our next destination because they take up too much valuable luggage space.
Worse yet, is that I usually have to sacrifice build quality because premium yoga mats are either unavailable, or they’re cost prohibitive when you’re going through a few every year.
That’s where Yoga Paws come in –the ultimate travel gift for yoga lovers.
They’re made of premium yoga mat material, incredibly portable, and the reviews are exceedingly positive. They’re even great if you use them with a yoga mat because you won’t have to wipe it down for traction as often.
Check out Yoga Paws for yourself.
Waterproof Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
Yup, Amazon’s now got a new waterproof version of its flagship Kindle Paperwhite. And nothing says “unique travel gift” more than demonstrating you know what it’s like to be stuck on a plane for 12+ hours (or how bad blue light from regular tablets, phones, or laptop screens are for jet lag) than an e-ink Kindle Paperwhite ebook reader.
My wife never leaves home without hers, it’s her favorite travel accessory –exemplified by the fact that I can link it to my Canadian library card and get all her ebooks for free by “borrowing” them legally.
The waterproof version of this product is a must-have, even if the recipient of this unique travel gift already has one. I’ve seen countless posts in Facebook groups from people in Southeast Asia pleading for newcomers to pick them up a new ebook reader –they’re a hot commodity on the road and hard to replace. Preventing water damage is a huge bonus.
Take a look at the new waterproof Kindle Paperwhite.
Special Discounts for Lonely Planet
Check out Lonely Planet’s book shop for more travel information. With our link you are eligible for discounts other people won’t receive, and free shipping on orders over $40 USD (or $50 CAD).
They often run Buy One, Get One deals –so check it out.
Digital nomad, Mike. Digital. Does something as analog as a portable printer classify as a great nomad gift? Well, according to our research I’d say that a mobile and really portable printer is a hot commodity gift for someone traveling abroad who may need to work online to keep the good times rolling.
You never know when you’ll need to print a passport photo, business card, a contract, or a website mockup. And because using an internet cafe is as insecure as it is inconvenient.
We chose three of the best mobile printers for this digital nomad wishlist; the Canon PIXMA iP110 and Epson WorkFor WF-100 for simple mobile printing without sacrificing quality or luggage space, and the Canon SELPHY for photographers who need to create high-quality waterproof prints on the road (selling prints could be a great backup income, too!).
If you’re looking for a slightly larger MFP that can scan too, there’s the HP OfficeJet 250 all-in-one mobile printer –but with smartphone scanner apps getting a whole lot better in recent years, this one might be overkill.
Worth mention, I’ve also seen the Primera Trio all-in-one printer on a number of out-of-date digital nomad gift wishlists, but the reviews for that $500+ unit all report that it’s printing quality is relatively bad. If you’re going to lug around a mobile printer, it probably shouldn’t kinda’ suck.
Portable Laptop Stand
When it comes to a unique business-travel gift like a laptop stand, the Roost rules the roost, hands down. It’s an adjustable laptop stand that adds 12 inches of height under your laptop, ultimately turning your table top into a standing desk or raising it high enough that you don’t need to slouch.
And this is why health-conscious “woke” nomads use it –when you’re working on a laptop all day, sitting for extended periods of time is the new cancer and diabetes combined.
I understand the health benefits, but what I don’t understand is why business travelers and digital nomads pay so much for the Roost portable laptop stand when it’s competitor, the Nexstand, is 1/3 of the price for the same features.
Blue Light Glasses
Another big health-related problem created by working online over long hours is insomnia created by blue light. We’ve already got “Night Shift” on Apple laptops and Flu.x on PC to combat blue light –but what about those ceiling lights that are common in coworking spaces and guest houses?
Prevent eye strain and insomnia with these very low-cost unisex yet fashionable blue light glasses –they’re a must-have travel gadget for everyone.
Data Storage (External Hard Drives, Micro SD Cards, USB Dongles)
Data is always a concern for digital nomads; we produce a lot of it, and losing it likely means financial consequences. When you’re living abroad and your sole income is online, losing important data is just as bad as running out of room to store it –a faulty hard drive could mean an unmet deadline and snowball into missing a visa run (financial or legal consequences).
We recommend backing up copies of data on more than one drive, so if one dies, you’re not up a creek without a paddle.
The beautiful external hard drive above is an 8 terabyte monstrosity from Seagate, but there are more portable 4 terabyte options. And then of course there’s fast micro SD cards for digital cameras and USB memory sticks.
I always carry a dedicated USB memory stick with 16 GB capacity just for reinstalling my operating system, too.
Solar Nomad Charger
Whether it’s a gift for backpackers, or you’re an environmentally-friendly gift giver who recognizes that a lot of countries in the developing world are powered by dirty coal –a solar powered charger by RAVPower is definitely a great nomad gift idea for someone going traveling.
This particular nomad-friendly charger is 16 watts; a rare find and ideal for charging phones, cameras, laptops, and other USD-charged devices.
Take a look at the RavPower 16 watt solar charger.
Portable External Battery
Although they’re available at a very low cost all over Asia, “power banks” (aka portable external batteries) make great gift ideas for someone going traveling in advance of their trip.
There are larger nomad-friendly chargers out there, but to be safe I suggest you keep it to 20,000 mAh or below. This ultra-thin 20,000 mAh portable external battery recharger not only looks great, it works beautifully with the above solar nomad charger, too.
Wait, what? 20,000 mAh? That’s not the rule, Mike.
Some readers might think I deserve a trolling for this one, so here’s my explanation: There is a 27,000 mAh and below battery requirement on posters in most airports internationally, however it was my own personal experience that China airport staff confiscated my own lithium ion battery because it was over 20,000 mAh (but under 27,000 mAh) about a year ago.
They also took laptop batteries away from other travelers because they were not clearly labeled. If I had to guess why it happened, it may have been a rare occurrence triggered by the exploding Samsung battery fiasco.
Whether we like it or not, the 27,000 mAh allowance is only that; an allowance, it isn’t a legal right. At their own discretion, an airport employee can do what they wish with your batteries.
To prevent random battery confiscation at the airport:
- Keep batteries at 20,000 mAh capacity or below
- Ensure battery capacity is clearly labeled by the manufacturer
Picking up 2 x 20,000 mAh external batteries is probably a good gift for someone traveling abroad. At under $20 USD, they’re cheap enough and easy to swap as opposed to carrying a single, larger battery.
You can find these and other external batteries on Amazon.
WiFi Signal Extender
This inexpensive Netgear WiFi signal extender is another must-have travel gadget. Don’t let the image fool you, it’s tiny and will easily fit into any nomad’s luggage.
From my experience, a lot of guest houses keep their WiFi router near the main office and for some reason I always wind up staying in a room far on the other side of the facility and out of WiFi range.
This Netgear WiFi extender is one we personally use, and it’s one of the most valuable nomad luggage items we carry to ensure we always get work done on time –making it one of our personal favorite unique travel gifts.
PureVPN is the personal VPN service we currently use to anonymize our online data and still be able to watch regionalized content back home when we’re traveling.
A VPN is a must-have gift for someone going abroad because you never know how secure a hotel WiFi connection is, or if local governments are looking on.
Did you know that looking at gay pornography, specific memes that involve national leaders, or even leaving a negative review online is illegal in some countries? Just sayin’.
Using PureVPN will protect your online banking information, keep communications private, and keep you out of trouble. And this is one unique travel gift that is incredibly cheap.
Learn more about PureVPN.
GoPro Camera and Accessories
Of all the nomad gear we’ve reviewed on Hobo with a Laptop, GoPro cameras are by far the most popular. A GoPro camera is definitely a unique gift for travellers, although the newer 2019 GoPro 7 may be a little cost prohibitive for some.
We reviewed our GoPro 5 and 6 in this article and firmly believe that these slightly older models still hold their weight as great gifts for backpackers and travellers.
They’re waterproof, accept voice commands, record video in high definition, and allow for slow-motion edits at a higher frame rate.
Beyond that, the slightly older models have so many after-market accessories available for them that the cost savings go well beyond the reduced cost of the camera itself.
Blue Yeti Podcast Microphone
There’s a lot of reasons why a suitcase entrepreneur will benefit from a quality microphone like a Blue Yeti. Whether it’s for client calls and interviews over Skype, narrating videos for YouTube, recording an instrument or starting a brand new podcast –the Blue Yeti is the perfect mic to do it with.
The Blue Yeti is the ultimate low-cost professional microphone and it’s in a price class all its own when compared to similarly functional mics. You can’t find another mic on the market that offers what the Yeti does for the price it retails for, full stop.
It’s got 3 condensers and 4 polar patterns to handle almost any recording situation. A Blue Yeti’s stand is a wee on the heavy side, but that’s part of what adds to its build quality. Size-wise, it’s about the size of a 1 litre cylindrical water canteen so it won’t take up too much space in a nomad’s luggage.
Setup is hassle-free and the build quality is absolutely fantastic. We’ve got red one, and we love it (podcast coming soon because heck, why not?).
This particular Blue Yeti is one heck of a deal –it comes in a bundle with Tascam TH-03 closed back over-ear headphones and a Knox Gear Pop Filter.
You can find the Blue Yeti microphone here.
Wall Socket Plug Prong Adapter
While this universal travel adaptor for plug sockets won’t be the most unique travel gift ideas on the list, it’s certainly one of the most indispensable due to it’s combination of USB charging functionality and ability to conform to plug wall sockets around the globe. And it’s pretty. You can take a look at it here.
Warning! This is not a voltage adapter, that’s the next nomad gift idea on the list:
- A plug or socket adapter like the one above only allows you to plug in what you consider a “normal” power plug into one of those weird foreign wall sockets
- A voltage adapter like the one below converts a 220 volt wall socket (Asia) into a 110 volt wall socket (North America) or vice versa
Most laptops support both voltages because of that blocky thing that’s part of the charger cable (Mac has it built in, too) so a voltage adapter is likely not needed for your laptop, but a plug socket adapter like the one above likely will be.
Other devices, like my no-longer-manufactured vintage WAHL beard trimmer I got from my dad do require a voltage adapter (I almost found out the hard way). Check packaging or device manuals to see if your electronics can handle both 110 volts and 220 volt wall sockets to be sure, never leave it up to chance.
I suggest you pick up both a plug wall socket adapter and a voltage adapter to play it safe, or in the very least, the voltage adapter below to be sure.
As previously mentioned, the world has two generally accepted voltages –in North America we’ve got 110 volts surging through our walls, and say, where I am now in Palawan, Philippines, the standard is 220 volts.
Plug shapes and sizes vary all around the world, and this universal voltage adapter will prepare you for anything because it serves as both a wall socket adapter and a universal voltage adapter that works in 150+ countries and has 4 USB ports on the back.
If you only want one nomad luggage item that fulfils all your weird power socket and voltage conversion needs, it’s this one.
You can view this great gift for business travelers by clicking here.
Xiaomi TV Box
Binge-watching Netflix on your phone or laptop is a typical activity for travelers, and its totally unnecessary at home, in hotels, or guest houses.
This $50 – $60 set-top box is small enough to easily fit in a backpack, and the payoff is not mutating your testicles or getting ball cancer to watch the latest episode of Travelers while you’re ..traveling.
For those not in the know, Travelers is a really awesome Canadian Showcase/Netflix scifi series we recently discovered.
For digital nomads, this one’s a must-have gift for someone traveling abroad. TV abroad isn’t exactly as good as we had it back home. Buy this one purely for health reasons –WiFi on your junk all night, every night, cannot be good for your health.
Check out pricing and reviews for this unique travel gift here. Worth note, the Xiaomi Box works great with a laser projector.
If you haven’t got one already, this is one unique travel gift that should be on your wishlist. Take it from me; I’m on my fourth laptop that I’ve had to purchase in 6 years abroad, not by choice. Water damage in a freak storm and a half opened backpack zipper can strike at any time –so make sure you’ve got a water resistant laptop sleeve.
You can check out this digital nomad gift idea on Amazon, or shop around and look for something that fits your own style.
Digital Luggage Scale
We recently upgraded our luggage scale from a big ugly stupid looking luggage scale that always turns on when it’s packed away in our bag, in favor of this digital luggage scale by Tarriss Travel Gear.
It’s another great stocking stuffer travel gift at under $15, and with it’s small size and accuracy you can bet it won’t be left behind in favor on another one someone else might get your traveler-to-be.
Check out the Tarris Travel Gear Jetsetter luggage scale for yourself.
Waterproof Electronics Organizer
Wrapping up our must-have travel gadgets and accessories related to electronics, this waterproof electronics case is great for tablets, memory cards, portable hard drives, GoPro batteries, and more.
It’s one of the lower-priced gift ideas for someone traveling abroad on this roundup, making it a go-to stocking stuffer or last minute gift. Nothing says I love you quite like a case that will ensure their priceless electronics and data doesn’t die.
Click here to pick up this electronics organizer.
Boy, there’s a lot of really pretty-looking yet shoddy and poorly manufactured packing cubes out there. Every time we’ve tried to save a few bucks on packing cubes they ripped.
And that’s why these Shacke Pack packing cubes are “Amazon’s Choice” and got stellar reviews –they’re not garbage.
If you’re looking for one of the best gifts for travelers that’s ultra-practical, this is it. And at under $30, they won’t bleed you dry. Check them out.
Hanging Travel Closet
Unlike other hanging travel organizers, this one’s got a 34 litre capacity and utterly destroys any 19 litre form factor I’ve ever used.
If you’re carrying around a 55+ litre digital nomad-friendly backpack, why would you only want to neatly organize 1/3 of it when you settle into your guest house?
You can find this hanging travel closet here.
Portable Clothes Line
Doing laundry in a sink or bathtub is a common occurrence no matter where you go, because laundry services are often either hard to find or insanely expensive. And worse yet, its not uncommon for your favorite clothing to go missing during the wash and fold process.
In order to save money and ensure none of your best duds disappear, a portable clothesline is a must. This durable traveling clothesline is a great gift for backpackers and will only cost about 10 bucks.
You can view this travel clothesline here.
Airplane Travel Kit
It’s more expensive to buy gifts for someone traveling abroad like a memory foam neck pillow, ear plugs, and eye mask separately, so we suggest you pick up this airplane travel kit all in one go.
I’ve tried inflatable neck pillows before –sure, they save marginally more space in one’s luggage but the sacrifice in comfort is too great to bare.
This memory foam neck pillow squishes up pretty good, and it comes with a drawstring bag to keep it all together. If it doesn’t scrunch up enough to your liking, you can always shlock it into a packing cube to save a little more space.
You can find this airplane travel kit here.
Jet Lag “Glasses”
These innovative and award-winning AYO Light Therapy Glasses do just the opposite of the blue light glasses I mentioned earlier on this list and make for a very unique travel gift –they manipulate blue light to help you overcome jet lag 2 to 3 times faster than you normally would.
While these look a little more like the failed Google Glass from a few years ago than actual blue light therapy glasses –they’re a must-have travel gadget that is engineered to reset your biological clock after a long flight.
The AYO Light Therapy Glasses have different programmable settings for sleep, travel, and increasing energy which are fully controlled by the goAYO App available for iOS and Android.
This great gift for travelers also comes with a case that doubles as a recharger and the reviews on Amazon are impressive.
Don’t take my word for it, check it out yourself.
Theft-Resistant Day Pack
We probably could have chosen a cheaper theft-resistant day pack for this suggestion, but thought having a more elegant and fashionable yet very thoughtfully designed anti-theft bag would make more sense on a unique travel gift wish list.
At about $130, the LocTote Flak Sack certainly isn’t a cheap gift for digital nomads and backpackers, but it’s a got great build quality, is slash-resistant, is pre-treated with industrial-grade water repellant, and has an inner pocket with certified RFID-blocking material.
It’s an ideal gift for someone going traveling and will rely on hostels as opposed to private hotel rooms. It locks safely to bed posts, metal poles, and so on. It’s engineered to be tough, and the ratings are pretty good.
Read reviews about the LocTote Flak Sack.
Travel Wallet Passport Holder
Alright, I can’t decide which travel wallet and/or passport holder to suggest for this big ‘ol list o’ digital nomad gifts. I’m stuck on two, so I’ll recommend them both.
Pegusus by Baller Leather
On the left (first of the two if you’re on mobile), there’s Terry Lin’s Baller Leather wallet. There’s a story to this one; Terry and I were members of the Dynamite Circle (DC), a paid forum run by the awesome team at TropicalMBA. When he first launched the Baller Wallet on his own ecommerce store, members of the DC all scooped one up as soon as they could.
Most passport holders force you to fold your boarding pass or departure card, so he thought it would be rad if his wallet fit it in there, sans folding. So I picked one up, I still use it today, and I love it. It’s even more personal to me because I know it was a turning point for Terry.
He sourced the manufacturer, ecommerce fulfilment partner, leather, and design personally. Since then he’s gone on to become a successful entrepreneur and ecommerce consultant.
Learn more about the Pegusus by Baller Leather.
RFID-Blocking Fabric Passport Holder by SimpacX
On the right (second one down if you’re on mobile), you’ve got the fabric passport holder by SimpacX –no story behind this one but it does make a very logical gift for someone who travels often because of the RFID-blocking feature.
Beyond that, it’s basic. But what do you expect from a passport holder? The reviews are top notch, it’s a really cheap unique travel gift yet the build quality is excellent, the gaudy-looking logo fades away after some use, and it’s nice and compact.
It’s worth taking a look at, find out more about this RFID-blocking passport holder.
His & Hers Refillable Leather-Bound Notebooks
Birthdays and holidays tend to bring out the stationary aficionados in all of us, and truthfully, one cannot go wrong with a carefully selected notebook or planner.
Let’s face it; apps don’t always cut it when it comes to organizing our lives or planning a trip. Sometimes even the coolest, must-have travel gadgets pale in comparison to a good old fashioned notebook.
Click on either image above to explore some travel-inspired journaling notebooks Oshin picked out for this post. Or click here if a blank (unruled) Moleskin is more your speed.
Travel Scarf with Hidden Passport Holder
Sneaky sneaky, sir. These passport-holding scarves come in enough different color combinations (not all pictured here) to make them suitable for any gender, and they’re as functional as they are fashionable.
Yup, on dusty roads and cool environments even men wear scarves when they travel, to absorb sweat and offer some protection from the elements. No hipster membership card required, gents.
This particular travel scarf makes for a unique travel gift due to its build quality and the overwhelmingly positive reviews it’s earned on Amazon.
Take a look for yourself.
Audible by Amazon is a great source for “reading” material when pulling out a book isn’t ideal –like on a tuk tuk, jeepney, during turbulence, or at the gym. You’ve probably already got a login for Amazon kicking around which makes signing up for this service even easier.
Even better is that Amazon has a gifting option for Audible, check it out.
Since the very beginning of my nomad life in Asia, I’ve carried an epic hand made hammock I got as an especially unique travel gift by a classy individual and made by Hanging Hugs in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. I’d recommend them to anyone, I love mine, and if they’re still in business I know you will, too.
Hanging Hugs makes each hammock to order, just for you, and they’ll let you choose the design and materials which makes it a pretty great gift for travelers.
However, for those that prefer the warranty, service and shipping speed that comes from Amazon, I highly recommend the Double Camping Hammock from Wise Owl Outfitters. It’s one heck of a great deal for an “adventure gift” –a hammock doesn’t take up much space in a nomad’s luggage and the experience of using one is sorta’ why we fly half way around the world, no?
Just like my Hanging Hugs hammock, it’s got a side pouch and it’s made of weather resistant 201T parachute material.
Go with a double. I find that two-person hammocks feel awesome when you’re solo, and you never know when someone is going to want to join you.
You can find this unique travel gift on Amazon.
Finding a good, high quality hot/cold water canteen that isn’t overpriced while you’re traveling is next to impossible –and when in Asia, you never know if it’s full of Chinese lead or worse. That’s where you come in; a perfect opportunity for you to make your special someone happy with this must-have travel accessory.
Not only is it a nice water canteen, they even thought of the unboxing experience which makes it feel like a more premium product for a unique travel gift.
For me, I’m not all about bells and whistles or branding when it comes a flask –I just want my hot liquids hot and my cold liquids cold, for as long as possible. I want a seal that doesn’t leak, and I want my water canteen to be durable.
A few months ago I picked up a double-walled stainless steel water canteen with a powder finish and I love it. Mine’s made by Omega and it’s red and I love it but I couldn’t find it on Amazon –however this Iron Flask looks just like mine (and by looking at the reviews I can see they aren’t fooling around with this travel necessity, either).
You can find this water canteen on Amazon.
UV Water Purifier
The SteriPen Adventurer Opti is a UV water purifier we love and personally use. We came into this adventure gift by a fluke –a hostel owner we befriended found it left behind from another traveler and gave it us not knowing what it was for.
Well, it’s saved our bacon a number of times. We don’t recommend drinking water from a mountain spring on a hiking trip or tap water in Asia too often, but we did after using the SteriPen, and we didn’t get sick.
Especially in Bali, there’s a thing called the “Bali belly” the SteriPen could probably help you avoid –no guarantees, though.
And if it’s travel diarrhea you’re worried about, pick up some Goldenseal and Cat’s Claw; two travel supplements I always keep on hand to ward off bad bacteria, stomach problems, and IBS –ensuring I don’t ever have to spend too much time hugging the porcelain.
The Steripen works because it uses UV light to make bacteria incapable of breeding. It doesn’t clean out harmful chemicals or heavy metals, but that’s what the next item on this digital nomad wishlist is for.
Learn more about the SteriPen Adventurer Opti UV Water Purifier.
LifeStraw Water Purifier
The LifeStraw provides a little more substance than the SteriPen and is a must-have adventure gift for hiking, camping, and nature lovers –simply put; you can drink from any water source and it cleans the water as you drink it.
Heavy metals, microplastics, chemicals, parasites, and bacteria –you name it, it makes water safe when you’re in the middle of nowhere. All claims are verified with laboratories using standard testing protocols set by the US EPA, NSF, and ASTM for water purifiers.
This unique travel gift is disposable, however it lasts long enough to purify 4,000 litres! That’s 1,000 gallons.
At only $15 – $25, it’s definitely worth considering.
Portable French Press
Wrapping up our coverage of unique travel gifts that ascribe to liquid consumption when you’re on the go –this Bodum travel french press is an absolute must for coffee and tea lovers, and it makes a great gift for someone traveling abroad.
Bodum is the leader when it comes to french presses, and truth be told, I’ve been in want for years –french presses in Asia are usually fakes, or simply not made with tempered glass and they break. If you do find a Bodum that’s genuine, it’s usually $20 more in Asia than it is back home.
Because a good french press is hard to find on the road, this is one nomad gift I strongly endorse.
You can find this model here.
Starfrit Can Opener
Unusual, yes. But a can opener will help long term travelers who might want to skip eating out and have food from a grocery store at a lower cost.
The can openers you find on the road will never compare to the quality and durability of this specific can opener.
They last decades, I know from experience. A great gift for anyone going to college, too.
Moving onto personal care items, Friendly Soap Shampoo Bar is a little-known travel secret for long-lasting shampoo that doesn’t leak in your luggage and restores hair to all it’s natural splendor.
Friendly Soap’s shampoo bar is made from all natural ingredients, contains lavender and geranium essential oils for fragrance, and contains a little castor oil for deep conditioning, a rich lather, and it encourages new hair growth while limiting hair fall. And it’s under $10.
If dry shampoo is more your thing, check out Drop Dead Gorgeous Dry Shampoo; a natural, vegan, dry shampoo powder for brunettes. Both products come highly recommended and have great reviews.
Travel insurance is an absolute must, and it’s the unique travel gift that keeps on giving. The sheer amount of money you’re saving someone will be such a relief and is so thoughtful you’re going to make them blush.
We personally use and recommend World Nomads insurance because they cover things other insurers don’t –like emergency helicopter extraction or dental work for freak emergencies.
We’ve written a comparison of World Nomads vs SafetyWing for those interested in learning more about the most common travel insurance options most nomads use.
In the least, buying a young traveler insurance that covers both their nomad gear and their health will help everyone sleep better at night.
Click here to visit the World Nomads website.
Really Cheap Online Courses
Skillshare is a great place to take unlimited online courses for a flat rate of $15 per month or $99 per year.
Every single one of us will need to upgrade our skills now and again, and that goes double for people who want to work online, without a safety net, to fund their life of long-term travel.
Maybe you or the person you’re shopping for just need to make a little scratch on the side to supplement an existing income. This is a unique gift for anyone –travelers, stay-at-home moms, or even the newly retired.
Grab a Skillshare account.
Prepaid or Free Accommodation
Hooking up your loved one with some free or prepaid accommodation in advance of their trip is always a great travel gift idea.
Airbnb has millions of apartments, hotels, resorts, guest houses, hostels and even tree houses for let on their app and it’s incredibly convenient. Yup, we rented a tree house on Airbnb for the ‘Grams.
You can either setup their Airbnb account and link it to your credit card yourself if you trust them, or you can pick up a gift card on Amazon (they have both physical cards and an email delivery option).
We personally use Airbnb often and we’ve stayed in some pretty amazing, rare places because of it. However, Airbnb isn’t the only website that offers breath-taking accommodation.
There are precious few items you can’t afford not to pack because you may not see them again until you return home. Some examples of this are as follows;
Products are clickable to view on Amazon, and strongly advised. You never know when you’re going to walk into the right place at the right time and find a use for all the products listed in one go.
Because the world is gross, I take these with me everywhere. Imagine all the uses –if the original MacGuyver was your grandpa, he’d give you sanitary wipes for Christmas instead of socks because nothing beats them when traveling.
Worth note –the other sanitary thing? If you use tampons and plan to head to Asia, stock up. They’re a rarity in those parts.
In Southeast Asia, sizing is a little different at your local 7-Eleven when it comes time to buy condoms –as does their quality if they’re shelving lower quality local brands. Don’t take the risk, stock up.
Bringing condoms from home is a notch in your safety belt, until your traveler-to-be finds a 7-Eleven, Makro, or a pharmacy that has Western-sized domes.
There’s no eyedrop like Visine Red Eye Triple Action; it will cure what ails ye, if it relates to your eye.
City pollution, forehead death sweat, nasty subway dust (mostly dead skin cells FYI), not enough sleep, too much sleep, jet lag, blue light, drinking, or other substances can make your eyes look funny when local eyedrops suck.
Happy gift-giving! 😝
Wrapping It Up
What did you think of this list of great gifts for travelers? Was there anything missing?
What was your favorite unique gift idea? Why not leave a short comment with the name of the ONE item you hope to give to, or receive, from your significant other?
Fellow nomads; if you’re about to travel and want to be on the receiving end of the best gifts for digital nomads one day, please share this post on Facebook right now. Moms and others tend to notice these silent cries for help and bookmark them so they can spoil you later.
Big love from Palawan,