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Top 27 Traveler-Friendly Holiday Gifts for 2023

Last Updated: 10/30/23 | October 30th, 2023

Travelers can be a fickle group of people to buy gifts for. We’re constantly coming and going, we usually don’t carry a lot of stuff with us, and no two travelers are alike. Finding the perfect gift for the traveler in your life can be tricky. While a plane ticket is never a bad idea (I’m a window seat in case anyone is thinking of getting me one), I’ve put together this ultimate gift guide for travelers as there’s a lot of great travel gear out there these days that helps people travel cheaper and better. Even me, the gear-adverse traveler, likes a lot of this stuff! This is stuff I actually think is super useful. No nonsense. No fluff. Just the best gifts for intrepid travelers and globetrotting nomads.

Gifts Under $25

  1. A Travel Lock

    This simple item is one of the most important for the budget traveler. Since many hostels have lockers, backpackers need to have their own travel lock when they’re on the road. While you can usually rent them at hostels, those prices add up after a while. I never leave home without a lock because I know it will come in handy. Buy now on Amazon!

  2. Loop Earplugs

    Anyone who has ever stayed in a hostel knows that a quality pair of earplugs is a necessity. From chronic snorers to late-night drinkers to copulating couples in creaking bunks, hostels are known for their less-than-quiet accommodation. I suggest investing in good earplugs and not just the cheap foam ones. Not only will they help you sleep, but they’re great for bus trips and flights as well as wearing as you explore louder, more hectic cities. Buy now on Amazon!

  3. Travel Adapter

    Nothing is more tedious than arriving to a new destination only to realize you can’t charge your devices because the electrical outlets are different. That’s why you’ll need a travel adapter. They’re a simple accessory. There’s a million out there but this is one I use as it covers every region of the world and comes with USB ports too. It’s cheap, easy to use, and lightweight. Everything you need in an adapter. Buy now on Amazon!

  4. Scratch Travel Maps from Landmass

    Scratch maps are a fun way to keep track of your past travels while helping you stay inspired as you plan your future trips. You simply scratch off the parts of the world you’ve been. Simple. Easy. Landmass is my favorite company that makes these, though there are plenty of other companies that make them now so you can find them in all sorts of sizes and colors. Buy now on Amazon!

  5. Passport Holder

    A passport holder is a must-have for any avid traveler. Not only does it protect your passport from wear and tear, it makes your travels much more convenient. Most passport holders have slots for your travel credit cards as well as any cash you have, making it a safe and convenient way to keep your valuables secure while you travel. While there are tons of expensive and fancy passport holders out there, a simple one will get the job done and save you money in the process (money you can spend on more travels!). Buy now on Amazon!

  6. Hand-drawn Food Maps

    These are unique, hand-drawn typographic maps of food from Legal Nomads and artist Ella Frances Sanders. They make a thoughtful gift for anyone who loves to eat and travel (and who doesn’t!). They come in a variety of sizes too! Jodi’s maps are the best! (Use code NOMADICMATT to save 10%) Buy now at Legal Nomads!

  7. Ten Years a Nomad (and Other Travel Books!)

    This book is my memoir about my ten years traveling and backpacking the world, my philosophy on travel, and the lessons I learned that can help you travel better. It takes you on a trip around the world from start to finish: getting the bug, the planning, setting off, the highs, the lows, the friends, what happens when you come back — and the lessons and advice that come with all that. People have been really enjoying and connecting with it and I think you or any other traveler would love it!! (Plus, getting it helps support everything we do here!) Buy now on Amazon! Buy now on Bookshop

  8. Celiac Travel Cards

    My friend Jodi from Legal Nomads created these helpful travel cards for anyone traveling with Celiac disease. They are in-depth resources that communicate your concerns to restaurant staff in a way that allows anyone traveling with this disease to have a worry-free meal. If you or someone you love has Celiac disease, these travel cards are a useful resource! (Use code NOMADICMATT for 10% off!) Buy now at Legal Nomads!

  9. Dry Shampoo

    Dry shampoo is a convenient liquid-free alternative to regular shampoo. It’s a useful minimalist solution for budget travelers who travel carry-on only and an eco-friendly choice as well. Natural dry shampoos absorb the grease and oil in your hair, keeping it clean while you’re on the road — and with minimal effort too. It works for all types of hair and hair lengths as well so you don’t need to shave your head or do anything drastic either. Buy now at Lush!

  10. Packing Cubes

    Packing cubes are an awesome tool to help you stay organized while you travel. Whether you’re a budget backpacker or traveling with half a dozen suitcases, packing cubes will keep you organized as you travel the world. They come in a variety of sizes, allowing you to store items big and small. If you know a traveler who needs a hand staying organized, this is the gift for them! Buy now on Amazon!

Gifts Under $100

  1. HostelPass

    For the traveler heading to Europe, consider gifting a HostelPass. This discount card offers over 130 discounts to hostels in 40 cities throughout 15 countries in Europe. With HostelPass, travelers can save up to 40% on accommodation. It’s the discount card I wish existed when I first started backpacking around Europe and is perfect for budget traveler planning a trip around the continent. Buy now at HostelPass!

  2. Trip Chaser

    In this fun travel game (created by my friends Dalene and Pete) you have to prove who’s the most travel-savvy by buying, bartering, and gambling your way to various destinations. Just like actual travel, expect both stumbling blocks and enriching experiences along the way. You’ll rely on the luck of drawing a good event card, or proactively buying travel insurance to save you from the unexpected! It’s a family-friendly game for 2-6 players and perfect for everyone who loves to travel! Buy now on Amazon!

  3. DryFox Quick Dry Travel Towel

    Unless you’re only staying at hotels or using Airbnb, you’re going to need to bring a towel when you travel. Having a lightweight, quick-drying towel makes a huge difference when you’re on the road since regular towels are too bulky and heavy (and they take a long time to dry). Get a travel towel for your next trip so you can travel light. They’re a compact, quick-drying solution that every backpacker needs. (Use code “nomadicmatt” for 15% off your purchase!) Buy now at DryFoxCo!

  4. Menstrual Cup

    Menstrual cups are reusable, eco-friendly feminine hygiene products. While I can’t speak to their effectiveness personally, tons of female travelers I know are huge fans. It can be a hassle trying to find the products you need while abroad, making this a simple, effective, and affordable addition to your toiletry kit. Buy now on Amazon!

  5. Trtl Travel Pillow

    Travel pillows are perfect for those long-haul flights, delayed buses, and airport naps. Every traveler needs to have a travel pillow on hand to maximize that downtime and time in transit, and Trtl pillows are the best on the market. They help prevent jet lag and make even the longest, most uncomfortable trip a little more bearable. Buy now on Amazon!

  6. Travel Headlamp

    This is a handy tool for both backpackers and anyone looking to do any hiking or camping. In a hostel, a headlamp is helpful…


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