Best Guide To Buying Useful Gifts For People Who Travel

It’s never easy finding the right gift for your friends or family, especially if involves finding useful gifts for people who travel, whether they are first time or frequent travellers. Rather than buying something they won’t like, it’s probably best to hear it from the horse’s mouth – someone who has been travelling for quite a while! Focus only on the useful gifts for people who travel or are going travelling for the first time so the items they receive will add value to their travel experiences. After all, we all have ‘that friend’ who goes abroad a lot and I hope that after reading this article you’d know all about finding the practical and useful gifts for someone going travelling.  

Best Guide To Buying Useful Gifts For People Who Travel

  Let’s start with a few questions before we move to the list of useful gifts for people who travel so you can start evaluating your gift selection without wasting too much time.   1. How long have you known the person? 2. Are you looking for gifts for frequent travellers or looking for gifts for someone going travelling for the first time? 3. Do they value comfort? 4. How long are they going travelling for? 5. Are they social media obsessed? 6. Are they passionate about photography or like taking selfies and planning on filming themselves to upload their experiences on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Snapchat? 7. Lastly, how well do you know them and how much are you willing to spend on the travel gift? Well, I guess now you are ready to dive into our guide to ONLY useful travel gift ideas based on your budget. Here comes the list of most useful gifts for people who travel divided into low, mid and high budget.  


  Let’s start with the low budget ideas where you can find useful gifts for people who travel frequently or going travelling for the first time for less than £50.  

1.    Anti pollution mask

    This is probably one of the most useful gifts for people who travel! Whilst it’s not the most exciting travel gift as it’s not too flashy or just not trending on Instagram, it’s very practical. If your friend, family member or a work colleague is going travelling to Asia, they will soon realise that some of the most exotic parts of South East Asia and Far East will bring them lots of excitement and… chesty cough! Why? High pollution and dust concentration, particularly around the urban areas and rural areas during burning season. Honestly, I can name a few places where we experienced very high pollution levels, such as our visit to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap in Cambodia, busy roads in Bali or Bangkok in Thailand or Hong Kong. All these wonderful places have one thing in common – extremely high pollution levels and often smog, especially in the evenings! This can be quite dangerous for someone with asthma or pollen allergies but your travelling friend might be too stingy to pay out for the anti pollution mask before their trip begins. Once they are there, they’ll secretly wish they had bought it before leaving the country. If you care about your friend, get them the mask and patiently wait for their text message a few days into their trip, trust me on that one. Some of the best models out there are Respro, Airinum, Alpure, Cambridge or Vogmask. For more information, check out our article on choosing the best anti pollution masks for Asia.        

2.    Water purifier or water filter

    If your friend, family member or a work colleague is planning an adventurous camping trip or backpacking around some remote parts of South East Asia, rural parts of Latin America or Africa, they will love to receive a water filter, also known as a water purifier. Why? Water filter is one of the most useful gifts for people who travel to less developed countries in Asia, Africa or Latin America. Water filters are usually very light and can be a life saver if your friends are going to travel on a budget to some less developed parts of the world for an extended period of time. It’s also a nice and practical travel gift for those who enjoy hiking and camping in the remote parts of European and American mountain chains. One thing we’ve learnt from our travels is that there’s always a dilemma whether to stick to bottled water or risk drinking tap water? As much as you can be on a shoestring budget and want to feel like an environmentalist, you should never put your health at risk or try to save money by buying cheap and questionable travel insurance. Water filters are so useful! Some can remove up to over 99.99% of waterborne bacteria and waterborne parasites, including one of the really nasty ones E. Coli or Giardia. Water filters like LifeStraw will let your friends stretch their travel budget, prevent them from upset stomach and unexpected bouts of diarrhea. Not to mention brushing their teeth without having to use bottled tap water which we take for granted in Europe and North America. Lastly, having a water purifier will reduce their plastic footprint contribution as they won’t have to buy hundreds of plastic bottles throughout their stay in Asia, Africa or Latin America. Water purifier is by far one of the best gifts for someone going travelling for the first time and frequent travellers, especially the ones on a shoe-string budget. Some of the best brands out there include LifeStraw Water Filter, Sawyer, Steripen, MoKo or IdeaPro. You can read more about the best water filters and water purifiers for travel here.        

3.    Waterproof Dry bag

    A waterproof dry bag is one of the pretty useful travel gifts for people who travel frequently as well as first time travellers. Whether it’s your family, friend or a work colleague, a dry bag is a great problem solver for backpackers, campers and even moderate travellers. There will be time during their travels when they’ll have to trek for hours and sometimes even for days (depending on their travel bucket list), and having a waterproof dry bag will come in handy. It’s quite probable they’ll get caught in a heavy tropical rainfall with their belongings getting drenched. This can be a daily occurrence if they travel during wet season (it pours down so heavily that it’s pointless comparing it to the typical European rainfall) or if they want to swim across to a nearby island, kayak around the islands and take some good pictures from those spots. We’re talking from our own experience here and I can guarantee you that this inconspicuous travel accessory will prove to be one of the most useful travel presents for people to travel short, mid and long distances. Waterproof dry bags come in variety of sizes and can fit in anything from house keys, smartphone, DSLR camera, medication like asthma pump, books, clothes, towels and most importantly, your passport! The optimal size is between 10-30 litres depending on what you want to put in there. We never leave our accommodation without one, check your channel if you’re not convinced It’s one of the must-have travel presents for someone going travelling. Pretty handy and great if you’re on a low budget!    


4.  Waterproof raincoat

    It goes without saying that a good old waterproof raincoat is one the coolest and practical travel gift ideas for someone going travelling. Depending on your personal budget, you can go for something very affordable, starting with £5-10 or treat them to the branded raincoat. It really doesn’t matter, they will appreciate your thoughtfulness and practicality. Although a raincoat won’t make it to the top of their wardrobe, they will thank you as soon as they get caught in the heavy tropical rain or a monsoon. Usually waterproof jackets do not weigh much, are easy to fold and unlike disposable ponchos, they can be reused. Even better if you choose a branded raincoat like Mountain Warehouse, Regatta or Carter & Jones. Just bear in mind the location they are choosing – whether it’s a tropical climate or Alaska! There are even some really stylish, clear waterproof raincoats that your friends wouldn’t mind adding to their existing wardrobe! Talking of practical gifts for someone going travelling!        

5.    Power bank for Smartphones

    That simple. You might even have one yourself. If not, then I guess you take care of your phone or change your phones frequently enough not to notice deteriorating battery life. Sad news, not everyone does. Including myself. We have 2 functional long-lasting power banks just for our phones – in case one stops working. This is how much we depend on them! But thanks to that, you can watch our videos from many beautiful parts of the world which would be impossible to film on a single battery use. Power banks are one of the pretty useful gifts for someone going travelling for the first time as well as frequent travellers. Imagine being constantly out, visiting some remote places not being 100% sure when you’ll be back. Beautiful scenery, maybe you’d want to take a few shots of the scenery or facetime your friends from there? The last thing you’d want is to run out of battery. It has happened to me a few times when I forgot to pack it or forgot to recharge the power bank after a few days! Power banks can save your life when you’re stranded, need immediate help or just simply need to check the last train back to the closest city when you’re only 80 miles away and your battery is showing 2%!  This is why it’s a good thing to have at least one power bank but not the weak one that lasts not more than one phone charge! I’m pretty sure your friend who is going travelling already owns one of those flimsy power banks but would rather had invested in a better quality one in the first place.  If you’re making into a travel gift, go for the top range so they don’t have to charge it every single night, along with their phones, laptops and the DSLR camera. You know, they will be on the move and I doubt their accommodation will have so many plug sockets available! Anything with the battery power for at least 5 phone charges is considered good, even better if they allow charging multiple devices simultaneously like RAVPower 26800 Portable Charger 26800mAh with three separate USB slots. One overnight charge and you can go on for a few days. Honestly, power banks are one of the best and most useful gifts for people who travel, at least until the smartphone manufacturers switch to solar-powered phone batteries. We wouldn’t even attempt to leave our accommodation without taking our power banks these days!    



  If you can stretch your finances a little more, let’s review some mid range gifts for those who travel frequently or a newbie setting off for a new adventure for the first time. They are good whether it’s a personal or a joint gift for someone going travelling and are between £50-£100.  

6.    Daypack or Day Backpack

    Yep, daypacks or day backpacks are very handy for day trips and might be life saviours. Some of them have a few compartments to separate water from laptop or documents. Something we all need when we’re on holiday. Same rule applies to backpackers and frequent travellers. If you’re after some useful travel gifts for someone going travelling, your friends won’t be disappointed when they unwrap this gift in front of you. I have seen people going travelling from my previous work places and they actually made it so easy for the rest of the team that they would even specify the brand of a day backpack they wanted. People travel a lot these days so why not invest in a comfy daypack for a friend? Maybe in exchange they can bring a few goodie bags from the land of paradise in this very same backpack? Best thing about it? They’ll never forget who got it for them and will wear your gift all day long, most of their days out! As you can see, there are a few reasons why you should consider buying a daypack as one of very practical travel presents! Just make sure you get something decent like The North Face Jester Unisex so they don’t curse you each time they have to put on the backpack straps on their shoulders!        

7.  External Hard drive

    I think you’re all going to agree with me here as this doesn’t need explanation. Travel means pictures and videos, more travel equals more pictures and more videos, right? External hard drive is by far one of the most useful travel gifts for someone going travelling and your friends will be forever thanking you for being proactive in this matter. And even if you treat them to a sizeable 2 terabytes of data, trust me, it’ never too much data. Not when everything is digital in today’s world. Speaking from our own experience, we’ve already run out of space on 3 external hard drives that most would consider unthinkable to fill, even if you tried with loading 100+ movies on it. Put yourself in your friends’ shoes – they will be visiting places for the first and probably last time in their lives and it would be quite nice not to delete videos and photos from your phone gallery just because they’ve reached their limit on their phone, laptop and even external hard drive. Ouch, it really sucks when you’ve maxed out the external hard drive memory – this is it, it’s time to start selective deleting of your travel files and it’s not fun at all! Especially your friends are into photography and like to take hundreds of shots that look the same to a non-expert. So, if you’re after some really practical travel gift ideas for someone going travelling, invest in a large external hard drive! Just saying, better to be safe than sorry!  We use WD 2TB My Passport as our main external hard drive and that should be enough for the typical backpacker unless they upload their vlogs to YouTube; then I’d suggest to go with at least 4TB. Read more on choosing the best external hard drive for travellers here.        

8.    Kindle & E-Books

    Although I’m a big fan of paper books, they can be a burden to the weight limit of your suitcase and that precious space you’d rather fill with other items, like snorkel masks, fins and DSLR camera. I had never thought I’d give into an e-book but it turns out this is what I should have brought with me right from the moment we went travelling for the first time. I understood it when trying to squeeze in a few ‘smallish’ books which eventually I needed to leave behind on our way back to Europe. Lesson learnt – no need to do that if you can store all your favourite authors’ titles in one, safe place – without compromising on the weight or space. Kindle or Kobo are fabulous, powerful and very useful gifts for people who travel all the time or setting off for their first adventure – especially if you match it with a beautiful cover like I did – The Great Wave Off Kanagawa It’s even better if your friend or a work colleague is planning to learn a new language – Kindle has a built-in feature to translate words in foreign books into English and vice versa. You can highlight and save words that are new to you to help you boost your vocabulary. How do you think I keep up with my Spanish fluency? Read more about picking the best e-readers for travellers here.         

9.    Micro SD card for phone and DSLR camera

    Although SD cards can be quite cheap, my suggestion is to go for the SD card with the highest speed, best for recording HD videos. They are usually more expensive and this is why I placed them under mid range useful gifts for people who travel or are going travelling. Do you ever get that feeling ‘oh, my phone’s memory is running low…again!’. Well think how backpackers and Instagrammers must feel! If your friend is going travelling for the first time, the chances are, they’ll be snapping shots and videos of even most pointless things. Just to realise they’d need to delete them soon unless they find an electronics store. It’s not so easy to find a decent store that’s also selling reasonably priced SD cards one in the remote locations of South East Asia or Latin America, whether it’s a beach location, jungle or a mountain trek. If you’re after a Memory Card for a DSLR camera, Extreme Pro with speed at least 95 MB/s is the minimum. Personally, 64 GB is the minimum I’d go for. Learn more about the choosing the best memory cards for DSLR cameras and phones for travellers in our article here.        

10.  Laptop Power Bank

    Whilst it’s fairly easy to find a power bank for a smartphone, it’s a little bit more difficult trying to find a reliable laptop power bank. Some of us going travelling will want to stay connected to the outside world and phones can’t do everything for us (yet). Never thought of this inconvenience until we went travelling for the first time. One of the most annoying things about travels is having to bring your laptop charger along each time you’re out. Even if you’ve charged your laptop up before leaving the house, a few hours in and you end up looking for a quiet spot with the plug socket nearby. This is why I’m adding laptop power bank to our list of useful gifts for people who travel or going travelling. I cannot tell you how annoying is to go to a beach or spend a full day out just to think you’ll get a couple of hours work max unless you’re indoors – going from one coffee shop to another can be a pain and some baristas will frown upon you if you haven’t ordered a second drink after an hour! This is, unfortunately, adding to unnecessary travel expenses and can be simply reduced with the laptop power bank. Whether your friend is planning to work remotely, upload a few videos on social media or simply stay in touch, having a decent laptop power bank is one of the best and most useful gifts for people who travel for work or pleasure, frequently or for the first time.        


If you’ve reached our last section which includes high budget travel gifts, you are either very generous or must really like your friend, family member or a work colleague! Good on you, there should be more people like that! The items found here anything around £100 but you can find more affordable models as well.  

11. Backpack with wheels

      Having a hybrid backpack suitcase is a great alternative for travel lovers. If you would like to treat your friends to something ultimately practical, go for the backpack with wheels. There are a handful of good models out there. Backpacks with wheels are very useful gifts for people who travel and you can’t go wrong with it. If your work colleague or a friend has never gone travelling before, the chances are, they’ll need to buy a suitcase or a backpack which is usually quite expensive. This also includes those who have been travelling but you can tell they might be a bit stingy to buy a decent suitcase for themselves! Some good quality hybrid backpacks with wheels will endure multiple plane and train journeys without any noticeable damage, including muddy and bumpy roads in South East Asia. Having a backpack with wheels will give your friend enough comfort to lug the suitcase whenever the surface is flat and use the straps whenever they are facing a longer trek with steep, uneven ground. If you’d like to learn more about finding the best backpacks with wheels for travel, click here.        

12.  DSLR camera

  This is more of a premium item if you are after super useful gifts for someone going travelling, especially if that’s their first time and it’s exactly what we did before we went travelling for a few months for the first time! Whenever we went on holiday, we somehow could get away without having a DSLR camera but this changes with the thought of travelling for a few weeks or months. If you’re generous enough or chipping in with a few work colleagues or friends, I’d totally recommend getting even the most entry level DSLR Camera, such as Canon EOS 4000D DSLR. This blog, our YouTube channel and our pretty pictures posted on Instagram and other social media would have never happened if not for this single purchase. I think you get the gist why treating your close friend to this travel essential might be so important.        

13.  GoPro or an Underwater Camcorder

    This is not a cheap purchase and to buy a top quality underwater camera like a GoPro you must either: have comfortable disposable income, really like your friend, are buying for a work colleague and have raised enough funds from your department. Totally worth paying out every single penny for the convenience of owning a GoPro. The chances are, your friend will rather save money for their travels rather than spending money on the expensive photography equipment. And here comes your generosity and admirable thoughtfulness: your friends will fall in love with their brand new GoPro because it means they no longer need to be very careful with their phones or – if they already own a DSLR camera – sticking only to the ‘land’ photography. I would never take our DSRL camera in the water and neither should they! But I also like to have the convenience of having both. Both GoPro and DSLR camera are considered equally essential and useful travel presents for someone going travelling as both devices have different application in photography.         My advice is if you know they have any of the two, you can treat them to one they don’t own yet. Alternatively, if you’re low on funds, there are cheaper underwater cameras and camcorders that will still do the trick without breaking the bank (maybe only sacrificing on the quality a bit – but still, this is much better than not having any alternative!).    

14. Photography equipment

    These are the important add-ons for those travelling souls that have already built up some sort of photography equipment and are looking to improve their existing photography skills with a few new gadgets. The list is endless and could range from a tripod, stabiliser, wide lens to a microphone. As you can imagine, these are the useful gifts for people who travel quite a lot or have discovered their passion for photography and video making. I’m covering this in a separate article about best gifts for photography lovers where you can read in more detail about photography gadgets that are going to take good amateur pictures to a pro-like level (well, skills and creativity are needed here too, ok?)        

15. Amazon GiftCard

    I wasn’t going to add it to the list of useful gifts for travel lovers but… gift cards are hands down practical! Don’t be a slob; at least attempt to use your brain to think of what your friend or a work colleague may need. But if you are 100% sure that they have absolutely everything that I’ve covered here and you want to play safe, then get them an Amazon GiftCard. The chances are, even though you think they already have everything, they can find something for themselves. Best thing about it? You can aim for as little as £10 or go right up to the top, treating them to the whopping £1,000. It’s up to your generosity! I’d say £25 is the minimum up to around £100. Works well if you’re out of ANY ideas (come on, I’ve listed so many of them above!) or simply couldn’t agree with your work colleagues on what to get them (or couldn’t be bothered to look for anything which is often the case in the corporate world…) Again, this is your last resort it but does the trick.    


  Looks like you’ve come to an end of our list featuring useful gifts for people who travel or going travelling in the near future. I hope you’ve found this article useful and are ready to get your friend, family member or a work colleague something practical that they actually will need, rather than getting a semi-pointless travel bracelet! Well, ok, maybe they need it too. Ah, don’t forget to write out a nice card wishing “Happy Travels!” They’ll appreciate it (even more if you put some cash in there)!   

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