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So this year has been a very weird one. With second waves emerging in many countries, and world travelers now suddenly hunkering down and spending a lot of time inside, I think this holiday season is going to be pretty different!
Travelers are usually some of the hardest people to shop for. How do you get a gift for someone who lives out of a suitcase, or values experiences over things?
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But now with most of us stuck in one place, those go-to travel gadgets might not be the best choice for your traveler friend right now. So what do you get someone who loves to travel, but is stuck at home?
Here’s my ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for travelers who can’t travel (right now).
Now I know you may have seen a lot of these lists, and most of them have ridiculous items. A MacBook Air? A $1,000 drone??! Sorry friends, but that’s not in my budget.
All of the items on this list are realistic and affordable gifts for travelers, with only a few select items coming in at over $100. They are also all items that I either A) already use or B) want desperately, so you won’t be finding any bizarre gadgets or ugly travel clothes here.
For the Digital Nomad
Here are some of my favorite gifts for people working online! Whether you’re traveling the world or working from home, these gifts are perfect for your digital nomad friend.
1. Sennheiser Noise Cancelling Headphones
Whether you’re working from home right now, or on a plane or Airbnb in the future, these headphones are the best choice for people who work online!
My husband Chris got these headphones for me three years ago and I’m OBSESSED. Not only are they great quality noise-canceling headphones, but they also are somewhat oval-shaped so they fit over your ears super comfortably. My brother is a professional musician and he even swears by these while he’s working on editing and producing songs!
Their customer service at Sennheiser is also fantastic. After almost 2 years of use, my headphones were having issues and it turns out there was a problem with the cord that I use to plug my headphones into my computer. While the Bluetooth still works fine, I’m always forgetting to charge it. When I went on their help chat Sennheiser offered to send me a new cord for FREE even though I hadn’t kept the warranty receipt and we bought them in Japan. Talk about awesome customer service.
If you really want a nice gift for the digital nomad in your life, these headphones are GOLD. I have the Sennheiser HD 4.50 which works perfectly for me, but if you want to splurge, Chris swears by the Sennheiser PXC 550.
2. Travel Laptop Backpack
Every digital nomad needs a carry-on travel laptop backpack to fit all their gear. Personally, I travel with a laptop, keyboard, mouse and mousepad, camera, and podcasting microphone, so I need a ton of space in my carry on for all my electronics. A nice quality backpack that has a separate laptop compartment and tons of handy pockets is a MUST for any location independent traveler.
Take your backpack on a flight, or even wear it on the back of your motorbike as you drive to your local coworking space. Any digital nomad will get a TON of use out of a backpack like this, even when they’re not traveling right now
3. Collapsible Laptop Stand
One of the worst things about working from a laptop is the horrible back pain hunching over a tiny computer creates. But most of us travelers only work from a laptop so that we can work from anywhere. A collapsable laptop stand is a perfect gift for travelers because we can use it from home right now, and fold it up and take it with us when we eventually get to travel again!
I’ve traveled the world with this stand, and I even used to fold it up and throw it in my backpack when I went to a coworking space every day. Now that I work from home, I leave it on my desk, but it still works perfectly for me!
While I definitely recommend Roost stand for the quality, there is a Chinese knockoff called Nexstand for less than half the price that should do the job just fine too!
4. USB External Keyboard and Mouse
If you’re working with a laptop stand, you’re also going to need an external keyboard and mouse. I used this really cute rose-colored keyboard and mouse for almost two years and it actually fit really well in my backpack. I brought it to work at my coworking space every day, and never had an issue carrying it around until one day I ripped it out of my backpack at security too quickly and a bunch of keys fell off. Whoopsies.
Last year I ordered this Jelly Comb external keyboard and I’m definitely loving it. I like that the keyboard is a bit smaller, so it’s easier to bring with me everywhere, but I did prefer the shape of the other mouse in the first keyboard.
How does it work? There’s a small wireless USB tab that plugs into your laptop USB slot. Then all you need is some batteries in the keyboard and mouse and it runs perfectly! My life would seriously not be the same without this wireless keyboard, mouse, and laptop stand.
Whether you’re working from home, or a hotel in Portugal, this keyboard and mouse combo can follow your traveler wherever they go!
The Eco-Conscious Traveler
Here are my favorite gifts that help prevent waste and save the planet!
5. Reusable Makeup Eraser
I SWEAR by my makeup eraser cloth. I have two of these reusable makeup remover washcloths and I love them to death. They actually work BETTER than the disposable makeup remover wipes, and you don’t have to worry about carrying around any makeup remover liquid.
How do they work? All you have to do is get them wet in the sink and they magically take off all your makeup. Trust me, I didn’t believe it either until I bought one for myself. I even tested with a makeup remover wipe to see if it actually took off all my makeup and there was nothing left on my face! I immediately purchased a second one.
Once you’ve used them for about a week and they start to get dirty you can just throw it in the wash and you’re good to go! Traveler or not, every girl who wears makeup needs this.
6. Collapsable Filtered Water Bottle
My parents brought these BeFree collapsable filtered water bottles to Vietnam and I was stunned. Who knew you could buy a filtered water bottle that folds up inside your purse?? Seriously! They were able to drink water right out of the tap while I carried around my clunky filter bottle, or just bought bottled water like a travel noob.
I was so obsessed with this bottle my parents actually got one for me two years ago and I love it! It was perfect for trips around Southeast Asia, and I love how it folds flat when you’re done drinking. No more bulky water bottles when you’re out and about!
Now that I’m not traveling, I still use it here in Tbilisi! I throw it in my purse whenever I leave the house, and it’s actually really easy to drink out of while wearing a mask! Because you can suck the water out through the mouthpiece, you don’t have to remove your mask to take a quick sip of water. This has saved me on many a taxi ride or trip to the vet.
7. LifeStraw Go Water Bottle
Another great option for a filtered water bottle (that’s also easy to use with a mask) is LifeStraw! These are more solid water bottles with a bite and suck straw, that can also filter undrinkable water while traveling so you don’t have to constantly buy water bottles.
Personally, I’m a fan of LifeStraw because they also give back to the global community. Through the company’s Follow the Liters program, every LifeStraw product sold provides a child in a developing country with access to clean, safe drinking water for an entire school year!
8. Aeropress Coffee Maker
Most of you probably know that I’m obsessed with my Aeropress coffee maker. I love having good coffee on the road, and the Aeropress allows me to do this from anywhere! I don’t need to buy $5 lattes, waste disposable (gross) coffee packets, or buy expensive coffee maker appliances when I travel, which saves me money and waste.
If you get the Aeropress, you can even grab a reusable metal filter so you don’t have to use any sort of disposable coffee filters! Oh, and did I mention it’s super easy to clean?
The Aeropress is the perfect gift for a coffee-loving traveler in 2020 because they can use it to make coffee at home now, and can easily take it with them when they travel! I still use the Aeropress 1-2 times a DAY, and I’ve been settled in Tbilisi for about 10 months now.
For the Adventurous Traveler
The perfect gifts for travelers who love to explore the outdoors!
9. Solar Powered Phone Charger
Hiking all day, camping overnight, staying in hostels with no outlets.. the last thing you want is a dead phone. My husband Chris actually got this portable solar charger for Christmas and it’s so handy for long outdoor trips, even if you don’t have to travel to get there.
Without the ability to travel, many adventurous travelers are taking to hiking and camping in their own home state! Getting out into nature is one of the best ways to social distance.
Seriously, I really wish he had this when we were hiking the Kumano Kodo for 2 weeks in Japan and had to route the entire journey on our phones! Something like this is also perfect for camping or hostel dorms where there are never enough outlets.
For the traveler who loves being on his phone but rarely has a place to charge it, this will be an awesome gift that he can use at home or abroad!
10. Waterproof Hiking Sandals
Tevas are an epic gift idea for hikers and adventurers. Traveling through Southeast Asia, waterproof hiking sandals are my best friend. Personally, I have a knockoff pair I found on Taobao because real imported shoes are way too expensive in China, but if I could I would’ve bought myself these.
If you have a friend heading on a big trip that needs a good pair of waterproof shoes, you can’t go wrong with Tevas. If for some reason she doesn’t like the style or fit, she’ll always be able to exchange them for another pair!
Plus, these shoes are super comfortable, and will be easy to wear to the shops or even in your backyard!
11. Portable Travel Hammock
What adventurous traveler doesn’t want a portable hammock that you can use in your backyard or throw in a backpack when you travel? These travel hammocks fit in a small duffel bag that you can easily take with you wherever you go.
Who says you can’t social distance while taking a nap in the woods?
For the Fashionable Globetrotter
Gifts for your female traveler who wants to look stylish on the go!
12. Kosan Go Travel Dress
I backed this dress on Kickstarter and I’m OBSESSED. Not only is it anti-wrinkle, anti-odor, moisture-wicking, and UV resistant, it also is adjustable to two different lengths! I absolutely loved wearing this dress on my Southeast Asia honeymoon, because I could wear it relaxed during the day while wandering around the city, and snapped up into a cute tulip skirt in the evening.
This dress also has zippered pockets (super convenient for travel!), along with a hidden pocket in the bust. Trust me, this dress is well worth the price, and I actually felt really fresh wearing it multiple days in 90-degree weather without washing it.
While this is a dress marketed at travelers, it’s still perfectly cute and comfortable to wear around the house!
I ended up going with the blue floral pattern, but I’d love to also get it in floral red too.
13, Crocs Isabella Shoes
Ewww Crocs? Yeah, that’s what I thought too until I saw these beautiful Crocs Isabella waterproof jelly flats. Not only are they super comfortable for walking around in all day, but they also go with basically everything, don’t rub on your feet or cause any sort of blisters, and they have little bumps on the inside of the sole to massage your feet as you walk!
I had my parents bring a pair of these to Vietnam for me a year ago, and I’m SO GLAD they did. These were the perfect shoes to wear out and about during the rainy season because I didn’t have to worry about getting them wet! I honestly didn’t even bother using my flip flops on the beach on my honeymoon. I wore these EVERYWHERE every single day.
Of course, they also came with me as part of my travel capsule wardrobe and I wore them almost every day this summer in Tbilisi. You don’t have to be traveling to appreciate how cute and comfortable these flats are!
Stylish, practical, economical, and comfortable, what more could you want? BEST SHOES EVER.
14. Cute and Comfortable Travel Sandals
Speaking of cute travel sandals, I couldn’t write this post without mentioning my Teva W Ysidro sandals which are also part of my travel capsule wardrobe this year!
Not only do these sandals go with everything from shorts and t-shirts, to cute dresses, jeans, and more, but they’re also insanely comfortable, and strap onto your feet so you can wear them all day without ever worrying about them slipping off.
Seriously, these sandals will get great wear if you’re at home or traveling the globe.
15. Babyliss Pro Travel Hairdryer
If your traveler doesn’t already have a hair dryer at home, a travel hair dryer is a great option! This dryer will work just as well at home as it will while traveling, and you can change the settings so that it works anywhere in the world!
Since it’s a travel dryer, it’s also pretty lightweight and doesn’t take up much room in your bag, which is perfect for long trips in the future!
16. Cozy Blanket Scarf
Whether you’re on an overnight plane ride or cozying up with some hot cocoa at home, your female traveler is going to love a large blanket scarf! I love having nice big scarves while I travel because I can wrap myself in them while I’m chilly, or toss them around my neck when I’m on the go.
Personally, I love the cashmere scarves, and these ones are actually reversible with different colors on either side, making it super easy to switch things up!
17. Speakeasy Infinity Scarf with a Secret Pocket
Honestly, I don’t know a traveler who doesn’t want one of these! These infinity scarves have a secret pocket compartment that’s perfect for cash, ID cards, or even your passport!
I got one in a nice green pattern for Christmas last year, and it’s been great for adding a pop of color (and professionalism) to a basic white t-shirt while on Zoom calls!
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend putting something heavy in the pocket like your phone, because it’ll drag the scarf down. But I’ve thrown my keys inside for a walk and it was perfect!
Now there are a few brands who do this infinity scarf with a pocket, but if you’re going to support someone, I suggest Bethany Savon at Speakeasy, who is actually a blogger and she handmakes her scarves!
18. Portable Jewelry Box
Last year I recommended this travel toiletry organizer with a jewelry compartment which I then received for Christmas (thanks Chris)! While I absolutely love traveling with it because it holds all my hair stuff and my jewelry, it’s been a bit weird to use this bag to store all my jewelry when I’m NOT traveling. A few months is fine, but we’re going on nine months now, and I still have my jewelry in this bag.
I’ve seen a few bloggers recommend this travel jewelry box instead, and I love the concept! This way your traveling girl (or guy… hey, I don’t discriminate!) can store their jewelry in the box while they’re home, and then just pop the box in their suitcase or backpack on their next trip! I definitely think this box is a lot prettier sitting on a dresser or desk than a travel toiletry bag.
Clothes for Every Traveler’s Wardrobe
These are some of the clothes and shoes I picked up last Christmas for my travel capsule wardrobe, after extensive research!
19. Packable Black Puffy Down Jacket
I’ve had my puffy down jacket for a few years and I use it constantly! This jacket is nice enough that I can throw it on while heading out to dinner but casual enough to wear while hiking the Kumano Kodo for two weeks. It’s also lasted me for multiple years, which is a good sign!
20. Merino Wool EVERYTHING
So, last year I went a little merino wool crazy after reading a few posts by Travel Fashion Girl as I was creating a winter/spring capsule wardrobe. I have merino wool socks, merino wool leggings, and a merino wool top!
The great thing about merino wool is that it’s extremely warm, but also very breathable. This means you’re toasty warm when it’s cold outside, but you won’t get all sweaty or overheat when you go inside!
The reason why I recommend these merino wool items for 2020 is that they’re perfect for keeping your traveler toasty warm this winter, and can easily layer under things while they travel!
For me, I’m obsessed with my black merino wool socks. I have two pairs, and I’ve even been able to get away with wearing them two days in a row if I’m just walking around inside. Don’t judge me! They seriously don’t smell at all.
The merino wool thermal top is perfect for layering under a jacket or sweater or exercising outdoors. It also doesn’t stink and keeps me from overheating.
Now the merino wool leggings on the other hand are not good for layering. They definitely are too thick to fit under a pair of my tight jeans, and for some reason, they fit great in the morning, but get loose and baggy at the end of the day, almost like a pair of fitted sweats! So basically I just wear them around the house or a quick trip to the store, but they’re super comfortable and warm!
21. Merrell Black Hiking Shoes
This is another one of my Travel Fashion Girl purchases. These black hiking shoes are PERFECT for sightseeing, or for slipping on for a quick run to the store. Since they’re hiking shoes, they are super comfortable for walking around in all day and have a nice grip if you do decide to go for a hike.
As much as I love my hiking boots, they’re not super practical to travel with if you don’t plan to do a ton of hiking. These shoes were perfect for my Europe travel capsule, and I still wear them almost every day in the winter here!
From the Amazon reviews I’ve been seeing that these shoes aren’t great if you plan on hiking trails every day, but for someone who just wants a super comfortable pair of versatile shoes that are perfect for sightseeing… this is the pair!
For the Travel Photographer
Whether they’re traveling the world getting the best shots, to taking incredible photos in their backyard, these gifts are for your photographer friends!
22. Stylish Camera Purse
What’s better for a traveler stuck at home than a camera bag that can double as a functional purse?!
Having an obvious camera bag is one of the best ways to get your camera stolen, and who wants to carry around a giant ugly bag anyway? If you’re looking for something fashionable and functional, there are plenty of beautiful camera bags that look like purses. The best part? You can take out the padding and use it as a normal bag too.
23. Flexible Tripod
I have the basic SLR Gorillapod, but there are plenty of other designs for smartphones and digital cameras too. This tripod is perfect for travelers because it can grip onto almost any surface. Wrap it around a tree, place it on a pile of wobbly rocks, attach it to the side of a (small) cliff… Gorillapod can go anywhere.
Looking for a good tripod to take some awesome solo shots while social distancing? This is my favorite. The tripod is also super lightweight, so it’s easy to throw in a backpack too!
24. Cute Camera Neck Strap
I love that my camera has some personality, and is basically an accessory in its own right. This strap is also way more comfortable than the original Nikon strap my camera came with.
No matter what you choose, a cute camera strap is the perfect stocking stuffer or small gift for a friend, and most of them come in under $10.
Not your friend’s style? Don’t worry, Amazon has a million… literally.
For the Traveler Who Loves to Read
You don’t have to be traveling to read about traveling!
25. Kindle Paperwhite
Can you believe I used to travel with the Lonely Planet China book that literally weighs 10lbs?! I switched to a Kindle about 5 years ago and trust me, I’m never going back. A Kindle is perfect for storing not only novels but also guidebooks too!
For someone who is always traveling like me, the Kindle is great because I have a really difficult time finding good English-language books when I’m traveling. With my Kindle, I always have a few books on hand for long plane or train rides.
I’m absolutely obsessed with my Kindle Paperwhite because I can read in the dark without needing a flashlight or overhead light. I can also connect to the wifi to instantly download books, without needing to worry about connecting my Kindle to my computer.
26. Travel-Themed Books and E-Books
Many of us who can’t travel right now love immersing ourselves in a good travel novel. Here are a few of my favorites!
I’ve been trying to read a lot of travel novels by female authors, and I really enjoyed Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven, Love with a Chance of Drowning, Wild, Without You There is No Us, RASH: A Memoir, and What I Was Doing While You Were Busy Breeding
Travel Tech Gifts
Some tech items your traveler will love whether they’re at home or away!
27. Amazon Fire TV Stick
Chris got a Firestick for Christmas last year, and we’re OBSESSED. This little HDMI plugin device allows us to steam all of our shows from Netflix and Amazon Prime, to Youtube and even Spotify music.
The Fire Stick itself is very tiny and can be easily thrown in a backpack. When you use it, all you need is a tv with an HDMI port and an internet connection. The Firestick even works really well with Express VPN, so we can watch US shows abroad!
I love this gift for 2020 because lets be honest, we’re all steaming a bunch of shows right now anyway, and when you travel, you can just take the Firestick with you and load it up on any tv!
28. Sony Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker
Chris and I have been talking about getting a speaker for the bathroom to listen to music and podcasts while we shower, and I’m really liking the look of this Sony Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker. It has a great sound quality for the compact size, and the battery lasts for up to 12 hours!
Once you start traveling, this speaker is great for other things as well. Use it to help the sound quality while watching movies on your laptop, or play music while you relax at the pool or beach!
Travel-Themed Gifts Gifts For the Home
Can’t travel? Bring the world to your home with these incredible travel-themed home gifts!
29. Scratch off Map
Want a travel gift that can be displayed on the wall now, but can also roll up and move with your traveler later? A scratch-off travel map is a great option!
In college, I had a map on a corkboard and a tin full of push pins so that I could put a new pin in every place I visited. While it was fun, the little pins were definitely a hassle. Travel scratch-off maps are just as cool and so much easier.
While some of them can be kind of ugly, I really love this rainbow watercolor map. It’s the perfect conversation piece for any living room!
30. Shadow Box Ticket Stub Holder
I always end up collecting so many things while I travel: tickets, postcards, coins, and other paraphernalia that’s too pretty to throw away. But then, what do I do with it??
A Shadow Box is the perfect gift for the girl who loves to collect things while traveling but doesn’t have the energy to scrapbook. Imagine how cool this would look if it were filled with brochures, tickets, postcards, and coins from all around the world!
To be honest, I could literally fill one of these with small change and coins from my travels. Right now they’re in a sad little bag!
Bonus: Some More Travel Themed Decor!
What traveler doesn’t want a little cute travel decor around their home? I love these very cute travel themed pillows, but there are plenty more online to choose from.
Honestly, I would love to have any one of these right now!
What gifts are you obsessed with? Let me know below!
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