The Best Gifts for Travelers This Christmas

Besides pounds of quality chocolate, fuzzy pajamas (with the “feet” attached), and 1000-thread-count Egyptian cotton pillowcases, the best Christmas gifts out there are travel-related. And while it’s a no-brainer that guided trips are prize-winning presents — nobody in their right mind would turn up sightseeing tours from Morocco to Mexico, food tours from Paris to Tokyo, and heritage-history tours from Russia to Canada — we at GuideAdvisor have come up with a list of traveling essentials that will make any traveller, be it your dear friend Sue, your batty uncle Bill, or your naughty aunt Sarah, smile a Cheshire Cat smile will love to receive on December 25th.

That’s right, folks, not only do we pat ourselves on the back for bringing you the world’s best guides, we applaud ourselves for making your Christmas shopping this year as easy as polishing off a plateful of homemade holiday cookies (iced, sprinkled, and preferably cut into the shape of rotund snowmen). Say goodbye to last-minute panic buys that only make their way from wrapping paper to back-of-cupboard, and say hello to traveller-friendly gifts that tick the boxes for functionality, affordability, and overall usefulness. This year, we’re taking Christmas up a notch, and we guarantee that since any adventure guide worldwide would do a jolly jig if he or she were to receive one of the following, your loved ones will too. From stocking stuffers and beyond, shop away!

Foldable, reusable water bottles

Not only do foldable and reusable water bottles do the environment a massive favor, they’re also key contenders to good health; after all, keeping hydrated when traveling is a cardinal rule. These bottles are winners because you can fill them up after passing through airport security or before you head out for a day exploring, and when you’ve finished all the liquid, you can just fold them up and place in your purse or pocket.

Silicone travel tubes

Silicone travel tubes ensure your hair and skin get the treatment they deserve, even when you’re thousands of feet up in the air, or thousands of footsteps into a guided trek. Although there are many brands to choose from, we like GoGear’s travel tubes because they come in fabulous colors, the wide openings make them easy to fill (and refill), they come with stickers that you can write on so that you don’t mistake your body wash for shampoo, and they’re leakproof and TSA approved.

Longchamp Le Pliage XL travel bag

Inspired by the Japanese art of origami, Longchamp’s Le Pliage bag is the burrito of bags: it can hold everything, and it can fold up into a tiny size when not in use. Plus, lacking buckles and all the other bells and whistles bags tend to sport these days, Le Pliage makes for lighter, more comfortable travel. Added bonus: the bag is easy to wipe clean, and since we all know travel is never spotless, that’s huge. For any traveller who plans on returning with souvenirs galore, this is the gift for them.

Foldable noise-canceling headphones

Foldable noise-canceling headphones are great because they provide refuge from crowd chatter and airplane noises, which can be wearing on the average traveler, and they’re bag-friendly. If you’re buying for someone who travels light but who can afford the luxury of bringing along personal headphones, this is the perfect Christmas gift.

Packing compressors

While they’re not the most thrilling of gifts, packing compressors will make any traveler say thank you a million times over. Why? Because on future trips, they’ll be able to pack that much more variety! Packing compressors increase space by up to 80%, and if you’re looking for the best brand, head over to Eagle Creek. This is a gift that, hands-down, will be used.

Travel journals

Trust us, the person you’re buying the travel journal for will appreciate this gift big time in the future. Nomad Travel Journals is just one of many brands we like because they make recording things seen, people met (the list goes on), easy and fun. Years later, the person who you gifted the journal to will be able to look back and recall events that may otherwise have been forgotten. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving!

Foldable ballet flats

See a theme here? Foldable. Lady travelers will go weak at the knees after opening a gift of Tieks ballet flats. These are ballet shoes reinvented – they’re made to be worn snuggly but comfortably for hours upon hours. In fact, they’re so natural-feeling, wearing them feels like you’re, well, not wearing any shoes at all.

ENO ProNest Hammock

Weighing in at a scant 13 oz. (368 grams), and outfitted with ultralight carabiners, the ENO’s ProNest hammock is perhaps the most unnoticeable but important travel accessory out there. After a hearty exploration alongside adventure guides, nothing will feel better than falling into a bed suspended between two trees. Plus, if your friend needs inspiration on where to hang his or her new hammock, simply direct them to our blog post on the 14 Best Hammock Spots on the Planet. They’ll be forever grateful.

L’Occitane Lavande hand cream

Flying often dehydrates the skin, and since guided tours are no fun when your hands are itchy with dryness, may we suggest gifting your traveler friend some quality hand cream. Introducing L’Occitane’s “Lavande” hand cream. Not only will this cream quench your skin’s thirst, it’ll make you feel as though you’re exploring Provence by the side of a skilled tour guide in France.

Patagonia Nano Puff jacket

For your loved one to enjoy toasty-warm walking tours in stunning places across the globe on cool winter days, buy them one of man’s greatest inventions: Patagonia’s Nano Puff jacket. These jackets are incredible: they only weigh 11 ounces (340 grams), they keep you as warm, if not warmer, as a heavy jacket, and they’re compressible, fitting into its internal pocket. Whether on a trekking tour, art walk tour, biking tour, heck, any tour, this is one travel garment your loved one will forever appreciate, and the bonus is that each time he or she wears it, they’ll think of you.

Compact umbrella

Gifting a traveler a miniature umbrella may seem a bit meh, but, trust us, the receiver will love it. First of all, it means rain won’t stop them from exploring, and secondly, it means they won’t return home with a wet-clothing-induced cold. An umbrella gift is bound to bump you up a few spots on the Awesome People list.

The Adventure Cookbook

Food tours guides worldwide rave about this book, so your foodie-traveler friend will definitely think this is the best gift ever. In “A Suitcase and a Spatula: Recipes and Stories from Around the World,” Tori Haschka transports readers to Italy, France, and beyond with charming and humorous memories, anecdotes, and mouthwatering recipes.

Planet Earth DVD series

Not only would this present make you a gifting hero to nature tour guides, it will make you #1 for whomever you’re thoughtfully giving the Planet Earth DVD. Planet Earth videos show stunning footage of the natural world, allowing your traveler friend to explore the marvels of our planet. With these DVDs, the saying, “Once you pop, you just can’t stop,” most definitely rings true.


Some people argue against eReaders, claiming there’s nothing wrong with normal paper books, and while this may be true – there’s something comforting in the repetitive movement of slowly turning crisp pages – for travelers, eReaders are a lifesaver. Why? They’re lightweight, you’re not limited to traveling with just one or two books (you can store hundreds on an eReader), they reduce packing clutter, and most come with free copies of the classics like “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.” (No doubt that adventurous character would’ve liked an e-Reader for Christmas, if he had any interest in reading.)

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