Choosing the right gifts for friends going travelling can be a challenging task. In fact, it’s often hard to know where to even start.
It’s quite a common question – how to find the best gifts for someone going travelling. So don’t worry if you’re struggling, you’re really not alone.
We’ve been travelling the world full time for years – we live on the road. So we know a thing or two about what makes the perfect present for someone going travelling.
This selection of awesome gifts for friends going travelling is both practical and fun.
Tips for Choosing Gifts for Friends Going Travelling
There are three main considerations to bear in mind when choosing gifts for friends going travelling.
Firstly, the gift has to be small and light. It’s kinda awks when a friend gives you what on the face of it is a lovely, thoughtful present. But you have to leave it at home because it’s just too big. I speak from experience.
Secondly, it should be something practical that they will actually use. Most travellers like to pack light which means cutting any dead wood from their baggage. If it doesn’t have an everyday use, it won’t make the cut.
Thirdly, the very best gifts for someone going abroad are ones that enrich their travels. Items that really help enable them to squeeze the most out of every minute.
So with all that in mind, here are our top picks for the best gifts for friends going travelling.
Travel Documents Holder
When you head overseas, you inevitably end up with a tonne of documents to keep tabs on. Plane tickets, passports, foreign money, medical certificates, travel insurance documents, the list goes on.
Nobody wants to be that person, emptying all their pockets, holding up the line at immigration when they can’t find their stuff.
One of the most helpful gifts for friends going travelling is something that will put all of their travel documents in order.
A travel documents holder, or travel wallet as they’re also known, is just that thing.
So what makes a good travel wallet? There are a number of requirements that are non negotiable.
The most basic is that it needs to have enough pockets of the right size for the stuff you want to put in it.
This one has pockets for 4 passports, 5 credit cards, boarding cards, tickets and money. There’s also plenty of space for coins, keys, and a pen.
On the outside there’s a super handy pocket where you can pop items like a phone for easy access.
It’s made of top quality material that will keep your friends’ documents completely safe. Not only is it waterproof but it’s also equipped with RFID blocking technology.
This means no one can scan it to glean their personal information, a common crime in many countries. This will protect their ID cards, driver licenses, and most importantly credit and debit cards from being cloned.
There’s also a wristband that makes it easy to carry and difficult to lose or leave behind.
This is a fantastic present for someone going travelling overseas. Ours has lasted us over a decade and means we always know where all of our most important documents are.
Travel Cord Organiser
We all travel with gadgets these days, in fact they’re an essential part of the experience for most of us. Smartphones, Kindles, cameras, tablets, the list of devices is endless.
Of course, every electrical gadget requires charging for it to be of any use. So inevitably we end up packing a myriad of cables and plugs and docking station and whatnot.
Ever noticed how wires have a magical way of tangling themselves up as soon as you turn your back? Seriously though, they have a life of their own!
Like you can leave them in a draw all neatly wound, but god forbid you put more than one together.
Because when you go to get one out, it’s as if they’ve had a wild party. They’re as twisted as a birds nest and it takes an age to sort the jumbled mess out.
Well for some reason they seem to get even more excited when they’re in a backpack or suitcase.
And the last thing you want after a long day of travelling is to have to fight with a ball of cables just to be able to charge your phone.
Because of this, a travel cord organiser is an essential piece of kit for anyone heading away and an excellent choice of gifts for someone going travelling.
Unfortunately we were late to this and struggled for years without one. Once we got one, it literally changed our lives.
Everything has a place, we never lose cables or plug sockets and it’s saved us untold hours of cable wrangling.
This one is durable, waterproof, and padded meaning everything inside is protected.
It’s also super versatile. There are numerous pockets and elasticated straps providing plenty of spaces to hold accessories, cables and more in place.
One of the best things about going on a trip is reminiscing about it at a later date. But with the passing of time the details often tend to get a bit hazy.
Writing a journal is a fantastic way to keep a record of those precious memories. It also makes a wonderful, lasting keepsake.
This is one of the most thoughtful and personal gifts for someone going travelling. You’ll help them create and preserve the specifics of their trip.
Moleskine are quite simply the best journals on the market, built to last and oozing class and quality.
This one is specifically designed for travellers for use in every part of a trip and they’ve thought of everything.
The Moleskine Voyageur includes detachable packing list pages, daily planning and “to do” sections, and budget pages. In addition there’s a personal data page, a useful double page world map, and country codes and ER numbers.
And, of course, it also comes with plenty of journalling space to write comprehensive notes on the trip itself.
Moleskines are renowned for being extremely durable and this one’s no different with its hard, cloth bound cover. It’s also got an elastic strap to fasten the journal together to stop the pages getting roughed up in transit.
The thick, ivory coloured paper inside is truly luxurious and perfect for writing with ballpoints, pencils, or fountain pens.
We always carry a Moleskine with us on our travels. There’s just something romantic about jotting your musings down on a physical journal which makes it a truly wonderful gift for a friend going abroad.
Universal Plug Adaptor
This is an absolutely failproof gift for a friend going abroad. Because regardless of where they’re heading to, they will more than likely need a plug adaptor.
But more than that, these babies are super useful beyond just enabling you to plug in anywhere in the world.
They also allow you to charge multiple devices at the same time. Plus you don’t have to carry the actual plug parts of the chargers, just your charging cables.
We actually received one of these from a friend before we set off on our very first trip. It’s been with us ever since and is undoubtedly one of the most useful things we own.
We can assure you this is one of the most perfect gifts for someone travelling abroad.
This one features two 2.4a USB and one Type C USB as well allowing for any plug.
It also has built in surge and shock protection. This means your friend and their devices will be guarded against sudden jumps in power – quite common in many countries.
Water Filter Bottle
We are absolutely in love with our water filter bottles. Like head-over-heels verging on creepy, obsessive kinda love.
Other than our backpacks themselves, they’re probably the first things on our packing lists. Yes, even before clothes.
Because you know what? You can live without clothes. But you absolutely cannot live without clean water.
This is easily, hands down one of the best gifts for someone going travelling. Firstly, it will save them a tonne of money on bottled water.
But more importantly it will also save the world of single use plastics, and could possibly even save their life.
Drinking bad water is unbelievably dangerous and can lead to all manner of nasty conditions and diseases. But this Water-to-Go filter water bottle makes water from virtually any source safe for drinking.
It removes 99.9999% of everything horrible including viruses, bacteria, parasites, heavy metals, and even chemicals.
Even if your friend is going somewhere with “safe” drinking water, it could still make them ill.
This is because the content of water is different in every location, and what’s fine for a local to drink could instantly give your amigo an upset tummy.
With a filter water bottle there’s no risk of that whatsoever. They can literally fill up from anywhere (other than the sea) and be sure the water is safe to drink.
It’s an essential bit of kit for anyone going overseas and an ideal present for someone going travelling.
We’ve got such a good relationship with Water-to-Go that they’ve given us a 15% discount code. And you can use it too!
Order direct from their website and apply the TWWON15 at checkout for your 15% off.
Power Bank Battery Pack
Smartphones are an integral piece of travel kit these days. We use them for everything from storing boarding passes to navigating our way unfamiliar in places.
But what happens when they run out? Sure, you may not be able to post that awesome selfie on Insta. But a dead phone can also lead to some tricky, if not downright dangerous situations.
A power bank is the perfect way to avoid this happening and a cracking present for someone going travelling.
Not only will it keep their phone juiced at all times, but they’ll be able to charge all their other important devices from it as well. Kindles, tablets, speakers, bluetooth headphones, and virtually anything else that charges from a USB port.
This power bank is ideal for travelling because it has a huge capacity but weighs next to nothing.
It allows for simultaneous high speed charging of multiple devices thanks to its huge 4.8 amp output.
Built from premium materials, it’s extremely durable and will stand up to the rigours of travel. Plus it comes with a handy little travel pouch to give it even more protection.
As a gift for a friend going abroad it’s incredibly practical. We’ve lost count of the number of times that our power bank has got us out of a sticky situation.
When we first set off on our travels, many years ago, we didn’t pack a bluetooth speaker. We assumed that headphones would do the trick.
How wrong we were. We quickly realised it’s a really essential thing for us to have in our bags.
We use ours daily in our hotel room or Airbnb to listen to music, podcasts or audiobooks. It’s also a compulsory part of our beach kit when we’re chilling out on the sand.
Of course, if your friend is travelling alone then it may not be as crucial to have a speaker. However, if you’re looking for something for a couple or group then it’s a must.
I’d go so far as to say it’s the most perfect of gifts for people going travelling if there’s more than one of them.
We got given this UE Boom speaker and can’t speak highly enough of it. It’s ideal for travelling because it’s waterproof, dustproof and drop proof, almost unbreakable and safe to use anywhere.
But most important of all, it’s got awesome sound quality. The bass is deep and accurate and the overall balance is fantastic.
For the sound quality, it’s also really small and lightweight. You can chuck it in your day pack or handbag and not notice it’s there.
If you’re looking for gifts for people going travelling who love their music, this is the one.
Look, I’m a paperback lover. I adore everything about physical books, from the smell to the feel of the pages as you turn them.
And I promised myself that I would NEVER EVER get a soulless, digital e-reader.
But here’s the thing. It’s pretty much impossible to travel with a decent selection of books. It just ain’t practical.
So as you’ve probably guessed, without any other practical solution for reading books on the road, I eventually caved. And boy am I glad I did.
As a pretty voracious reader, my Kindle is now one of my favourite devices. I’m never without it on my travels, it comes everywhere.
Ok sure, there’s not the same tactility to a Kindle that you have with a book. But it either matches or outperforms a book in virtually every other way.
For a start you can fit hundreds of titles onto a device that’s smaller, and weighs less than a skinny novella.
But there’s also simple things like the fact you can never lose your page, ebooks are way cheaper (and lots of the classics are free), and you can do stuff like adjust the font size to suit your needs.
But another huge benefit that makes it one of the best gifts for someone going abroad is that they won’t have to go searching to find an English language book store if they want to pick up a book on the road.
It’s as simple as searching for it on Amazon and they will be devouring the latest novel on their reading list in seconds.
A Kindle is a fantastic gift for someone going abroad and one that will serve them for many trips and years to come.
A towel might not sound like the sexiest of gifts for someone going travelling, but bear with me.
Because the right travel towel is far more than just something for your sidekick to dry their ass with when they get out of the shower. They are, in fact, versatile beyond belief.
Ours have doubled up as everything from yoga mats, picnic blankets and beach rugs, to sarongs and makeshift pillows. Put simply, every traveller needs one in their bag.
We’ve done a lot of research into the best travel towels so if you want a more detailed rundown click here.
But if you just want the bottom line, our overall favourite travel towel is the Youphoria Microfiber Quick Dry Towel.
It’s made from unbelievably soft, extremely high quality microfiber material. This means your friend will enjoy the comfort of its lush, luxuriously soft feel on their skin.
It’s also super absorbent sucking up an incredible 5 times its weight in water. So no matter how wet they get, it’s able to do the job.
It comes in three sizes, but to make the most of its versatility we’d recommend opting for the largest. The other two are probably a little small to use as anything other than a towel.
It comes with its own mesh bag so it can be packed down to almost nothing in between uses.
Any traveller will tell you that a good travel towel is a fabulous gift for a friend going abroad. Don’t let them set off without one.
Audible Yearly Subscription
Travelling isn’t always exciting. In fact, it can get downright tedious at some times. Honest!
I’m talking waiting around for delayed flights in deserted airports or long bus journeys with no scenery to speak of.
Plus you can’t always be running around exploring. There are times when you need nothing more than to just kick back and chill out.
So something to alleviate the boredom or provide relaxation is definitely one of the best gifts for friends going travelling. While a Kindle is perfect for book lovers, what if your friend doesn’t like reading?
Cue Audible. If you’re not already familiar with Audible, it’s Amazon’s subscription audiobook service.
You can download both books and Audible Originals. These are titles created by storytellers specifically for Audible and not available anywhere else.
Because you can download them, it’s possible to listen to them absolutely anywhere. The only problem your friend will have is choosing from the vast selection of over half a million titles.
You can purchase a month, 3 month, 6 month or yearly subscription up front. This will entitle them to an audiobook and two Audible Originals per month for the duration.
Buy this as a gift for a friend going abroad and they’ll love you forever. And remember you every time they’re bored or chilling out with their audiobook.
As mentioned earlier, travelling has its low moments. Sometimes you need something to pass the time or a little pick me up.
Travel games are also a terrific way to meet people or get the party started when you’re in a group.
We always carry a pack of standard playing cards with us at a very minimum. But we also always throw a couple of awesome travel games in our bags.
We’re pretty serious game players, always have been. So we weren’t ready to stop just because we were on the road.
The solution? Find some amazing games that we could actually take with us.
The main considerations for choosing the right travel games are weight, size, and portability. Oh, and of course they also have to be wicked fun!
We have tested many, many games. I mean A LOT. In fact we’ve got an in depth post on it that covers the 41 best travel games on the market right now.
But we’ll just tell your our favourite right off the bat to save you time.
Drum roll please… It’s DOBBLE!
Technically Dobble’s a kids game, but don’t let that put you off. It’s amazing fun for adults as well and will bring out the kid in even the most serious of travellers.
It’s actually got five different games you can play with the one deck. Each one is super simple because they’re all based on matching pictures on cards, a bit like snap.
This is important, because on the road you might have to overcome language barriers. Plus you don’t want to have to spend half an hour explaining a game. Anyone can pick these up in seconds.
This game is sure to break down barriers and is a super cool gift for someone going travelling.
Weight and bulk is at a premium for most people when they’re going overseas. Toiletries are one area where most people can easily cut down but aren’t necessarily aware of the options.
The best way to reduce the volume of your wash bag is to switch to solid toiletries.
Sure, it takes a little adjustment moving from shower gel and liquid shampoo. But picking the right products makes all the difference.
This Friendly Travel Soap is specifically designed to be used for trips, making it one of the most suitable gifts for someone going abroad. As an added bonus, it can also be taken on planes in hand luggage.
It’s amazingly versatile and can be used as a shampoo, body or hand soap, shaving soap and even a deodorant. This means it can instantly replace half the contents of your friend’s toiletry bag.
The bar smells gorgeous thanks to the balanced mixture of lavender, lemongrass, peppermint and tea tree essential oils it contains. And this concoction is specially formulated so it’s antiseptic, antifungal and can also be used as an insect repellent.
You can rest assured that it’s not harming the planet either. It’s free from palm oil, parabens, sulphates, triclosan, phthalates and animal cruelty so it’s totally eco-friengly.
Plus the soap comes boxed in recycled and recyclable packaging and there’s not a shred of plastic in sight. It really is an all-in-one wonder bar!
The Best All Round Travel Camera
An awesome camera is easily one of the most thoughtful gifts for someone going travelling you can opt for. It will allow them to capture their trip and provide them with reminders for the rest of their life.
But choosing the best camera for a trip is a difficult task.
We actually got given this camera as a present before we set off on our trip. So we can personally attest to it being one of the best gifts for someone going abroad.
What’s so special about this camera? It’s built for any adventure.
The TG-6 Tough is waterproof, shockproof, crushproof and freezeproof, meaning it’s virtually indestructible. So whatever your friend throws at it, or wherever they’re planning on going, it’s up to the job.
But best of all, and obviously most importantly for a camera, the TG-6 Tough takes incredible photographs.
Don’t worry, your friend doesn’t have to be David Bailey either. This camera is basically a point and shoot and super simple to use. But it’s also got tonnes of cool settings to choose from for a bit more control.
It takes amazing underwater images making it great for snorkelling or beginner scuba diving. It copes with changes in altitude for things like hiking and climbing, and works great for city or landscapes.
So there you have it, the best 13 gifts for friends going travelling. Drop us a note in the comments below if you have any questions on them.
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Travel lover, professional writer and football (soccer) obsessive, James loves nothing more than getting outside and exploring little known corners of the globe. He’s also very partial to a drop of Guinness.