Gifting can be a tricky thing, especially when choosing items for people who prioritise travel over everything else.
Do you know someone who:
- travels a lot, sometimes for months at a time?
- is going travelling or heading abroad for a working holiday?
- travels extensively in a van or RV?
- loves to travel and also doesn’t like ‘stuff’?
If you thought ‘yes’ to any of the above, this gift guide is for you!
Featuring a mix of gifts for long-term travellers, this guide features useful, thoughtful and fun items that are both easy to mail (if applicable) and also don’t take up much space in a backpack.
Gifting for long-term travellers
As someone who has prioritised travel for over ten years, I am very familiar with the difficulty of gifting.
While receiving gifts from loved ones is something I am always grateful for, the reality of using and storing said gifts is difficult when your home base frequently moves. Sometimes quite literally, in the case of our current home base being our converted van!
If you too have a friend or family member who never seems to be in one place for long but you still want to gift them something meaningful, read on for some tried and tested ideas.
On the other side of things, if it is you that is the perennial traveller, consider this inspiration to help answer that dreaded ‘but what do you want?’ question. More useful gifts and less head scratching is a win-win for everyone! Onto the gifts!
Some links within this gift guide are affiliate links. If you purchase an item through one of these links, I receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products I use and love.
Practical (But Still Fun) gifts for Long-term Travellers
Practical items are certainly not boring for those who are long-term travellers. The fewer possessions someone has, the more useful each item becomes.
Kindle and eBooks
With the ability to store hundreds of books in one relatively small device, a Kindle is a perfect gift for someone on the move and/or limited in space.
As someone who loves to read (and reads pretty fast at that), my travelling world changed when I received Kindle as a birthday gift.
No matter where I am around the planet, I always have a bookcase at my fingertips. Amazon gift cards for future Kindle eBook purchases are an ideal follow-up gift for years to come.
Portable Battery charger
With so many electronic items being charged by USB these days, a portable charger is really a must-have.
It also makes an ideal gift for long-term travellers, to ensure healthy battery life everywhere they go. It helps too that portable battery charges are usually pretty small in size.
Less personal items = easier organisation, right? Unfortunately, this is not always true!
JR and I both love to use packing cubes to keep our clothes organised both in the van and in our backpacks. It saves so much time and effort. It also helps to prevent wrinkles – after all, we definitely don’t own an iron!
Waterproof phone case
Prepare your friend or family member for anything that may come their way with a waterproof phone case.
Not just useful for beach visits or water activities like stand up paddleboarding, waterproof phone cases also offer extra protection on ferries, small boats and rainy commutes.
Better still, a waterproof phone case takes up minimal storage space. Having tried a number of waterproof phone cases over the years, my favourite right now is made by Lewis N Clark.
Passport holders are not just more visually appealing but super useful too. After all, travellers with badly worn or damaged passports risk being refused entry at country borders.
Be a helpful friend or family member and help prevent this from happening with a passport holder. Of course, everyone’s style is different but I love those that feature maps or anything travel related.
Experience gifts for long-term travellers
Like many long-term travellers, I’m a firm believer in having one of a kind experiences over possessions. With this in mind, treat your loved one to an amazing experience they’ll never forget. Think spa days, theme park tickets, hot balloon rides and more.
Get Your Guide
Start your search for amazing travel experiences at Get Your Guide.
There are hundreds (thousands!) of excursions and tours listed from around the world in one convenient place, ranging from cooking classes, wine tours and whale watching to kayak adventures and tourist attraction tickets. It is possible to send an email gift card to your loved one with an activity suggestion.
Airbnb Gift Cards
Not just limited to offering unique accommodation around the world, Airbnb also connects travellers with authentic locally-run activities and adventures.
Traditional activities such as food tours, safaris and climbing courses are listed alongside more unusual options like martial arts, intimate music concerts and knife forging. Note – Airbnb gift cards are currently only purchasable by US residents.
National/Provincial/State Parks pass
Give the gift of nature and adventure to your loved one, whether they are based in the US, Canada or elsewhere.
Annual national park passes typically cost around $60-80 and allow unlimited entry to hundreds of beautiful places. It’s a gift that will just keep on giving all year long. An alternative would be a local provincial or state park pass.
Small yet impactful gifts
Gifts for long-term travellers don’t have to be big, in fact, it’s usually better if they are not! Remember, good things come in small packages.
A good pair of socks
This classic gift can still be a winner for long-term travellers! The key is to go for socks that a little bit more special than the everyday kind. I personally love Icebreaker’s sock range.
The main component is always merino wool, which is not only soft but has fantastic temperature regulation (warm when cold and cool when hot!).
Icebreaker socks also have a lifetime warranty guarantee and will, therefore, replace worn out or holey socks, no matter where the wearer is in the world.
Lush Shampoo bars
Not only better for the environment than the regular kind (both packaging and ingredient wise), Lush Shampoo bars are super travel-friendly.
As a super concentrated solid block of shampoo, these bars save a bunch of space and also avoid the liquid restriction issue on planes. And, of course, they smell great too!
Buying toiletries can be a bit cliche when it comes to gifting, but travel themed (and sized) products are definitely more meaningful.
Stainless steel straw set
It’s been hard to ignore the media coverage on straws and other one use plastics this past year. Help your friend or loved one reduce their own impact on their environment with a stainless steel straw set.
We recently received one ourselves and loved the idea. Not only are stainless steel straws easy to pack and carry, but it’s also so much nicer to use them over plastic!
Familiar items from home
Chocolate bars and tea bags may seem like an insignificant gift to most, but for long-term travellers, a taste of home is priceless.
Familiar treats take on a whole new meaning when living abroad or travelling for long stints. Consider sending or sourcing small items like candies and biscuits.
Happy gifting! Tell me about your gift ideas for long-term travellers!
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One half of the Canadian/British couple behind Off Track Travel, Gemma is happiest when hiking on the trail or planning the next big travel adventure. JR and Gemma are currently based in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada