These practical gifts for someone going traveling are some of the most valuable items you can pack for a trip.

If you can only take 50 or so things with you from home, then you ought to really love and value every single item. So, these gifts for someone going traveling all offer big value and will immensely useful.

These practical gifts for someone going traveling

Before I left for my first backpacking trip, I did exhaustive research on what to pack. After combing through every blog post on the internet, I still packed horribly wrong. 

I WISH someone had helped me out and given me these items before I left.

Practical Gifts For Someone Going Traveling

There are some affiliate links on this page that help support this blog, which means I make a small commission if you make a purchase. 

I’d be recommending these gifts for someone going traveling anyway, so feel confident clicking away, friend 🙂

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1. Solar phone charger + power bank

A portable phone charger has become a pretty standard packing item for camping and backpacking alike. But, why buy just a phone charger?

First of all, this power bank packs a HUGE punch. It can fully charge an iPhone 10+ times, which is way more than your standard charger. Secondly, you don’t need to be reliant on the power grid at all. Harness the power of the sun to keep your electronics going. 

This is ideal for hiking, trekking, and going to countries that experience frequent power outages.

I mean, you’re going to pack a portable charger anyone. This is like two gifts for someone going traveling. It’s also water proof, dust proof, and pretty much travel proof.

2. Backup phone charger + extra long charging cable

No matter how organized you are, sometimes things just go missing. Your bag gets a hole. You have to leave your hostel before sunrise to catch a bus and you pack your stuff in the dark, leaving something behind.

Or, someone else with the same phone charger accidentally walks off with your cord *grimace.*

Be wise and pack two phone cords when going traveling. Take your normal charger (whatever you already use), and then an extra long cord for all of those rooms with poorly placed outlets.

3. Skillshare membership

Skillshare is an online learning platform where connoisseurs in their respective industries teach via videos that you watch at your own pace.

With just a quick glance at the travel “travel” category, these titles jump out as being exciting gifts for someone going traveling:

  • Travel the world: dream and budget your next adventure
  • Beginners Japanese: daily phrases to travel and communicate
  • Chinese for travelers: ready for China in 2 hours
  • Travel photography for beginners: how to take EPIC travel photos
  • How to start a successful travel blog from scratch
  • Travel hacking: an introduction to credit card churning

The premium membership offers videos available for download: perfect for flights and bus rides. Who doesn’t want to brush up their conversational Hindi mid flight? 

Since I’m a Skillshare member (and huge fan) I’m able to offer my readers a month of premium for free! 

What will you dabble in first?

4. Amazon Fire Tablet

A lot of packing lists recommend taking a Kindle traveling. It’s true that an e-reader is a great item to take: you can carry countless books with no bulk, and have access to reading almost anything at the speed of an instant download. 

But a step up from the Kindle is the 7 inch Amazon Fire Tablet. 

It has the same e-reader abilities as the Kindle, but can also do everything that a tablet does. Perfect for watching movies in your hostel or editing pictures (the Amazon Fire has a built-in SD card insert).  This is a gift for someone going traveling that does much more than just being an e-reader. 

Usually, I don’t get excited about tech, but this is an exception for me. I’ll be giving my Kindle to my husband and getting myself the Amazon Fire Tablet before our next big trip. 

At only $49, it makes an impressively versatile and cheap gift. 

Hot tip: see if your public library has e-books (most do) and then borrow e-books from the library for free, no matter where you’re at in the world. 

gifts for someone going traveling_Writing From Nowhere

5. Packing cubes

If you’re new to the packing cubes club, your life is about to change. 

Packing cubes do 2 major things for travelers: they create more space in your bag, and they keep things organized. 

How packing cubes create more space: You place (or stuff) your clothes into the packing cubes, zip the cube closed, and then zip shut the exterior zipper that squishes everything together. 

How they keep things organized: packing cubes create balance in an otherwise chaotic existence. It may sound dramatic, but your luggage becomes your home when you travel, and your home needs to not be a heap of clothes. 

I organize my packing cubes this way: 

  • small cube: socks, underwear and bras 
  • medium cube: things I don’t wear every day, but still need (like my warmest layers, a dress, etc.)
  • big cube: my daily closet 

These packing cubes by Well Traveled are made with the road in mind. They save space in your bag, keep things organized, and are made from water resistant and rip-stopping fabric. 

On top of the practicality, these packing cubes also make the perfect gifts for someone going traveling because of how ~lively~ they’ll make your luggage. 

6. Dry bag

“Rainy season? Great, that means cheaper hostels!!”

Is anyone nodding their head? It’s true, the rainy season does mean less tourist traffic, but there’s a very good reason for that.

To be honest, I’ll always travel during the rainy season if it’s an option because I love a traveling for as low-budget as possible. But I’ll also always have a dry bag with me.

A dry bag is super handy for a few reasons:

  • A dry bag allows you to take your valuables out kayaking, rafting, canoeing, etc.
  • On dry land, a dry bag can be a safe place to store camera gear, e-readers, etc. in your bag if you have to travel in a downpour
  • If you ~miraculously~ manage to stay dry your entire trip, it's always just handy to have an extra bag. Store this at the very bottom of your pack (where you're sleeping bag normally goes), and it will keep moisture from transferring from the ground into your sleeping bag
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All camera equipment + precious snacks were kept safe in my dry bag on this sunset paddle. Pennsylvania, 2018

Hot tip: A colored bag provides more valuable than a neutral color. There’s a certain cool je ne sais quoi to buying everything in black, but if your bag goes overboard, you still need to retrieve it. 

A bright color makes spotting your bag in the water (and chasing it downstream) much easier. It’s cool that everything will still be dry, but if your stuff is g o n e then you’re still in a pickle. I have the yellow one. 

7. Lightweight waterproof raincoat

While we’re already on the subject of water.. who would like to avoid getting soaked to their socks if possible? *raises hand*

This specific rain coat is super practical:

  • This jacket zips up, rather than pulling over your head, so you can air yourself out a bit if things are getting sweaty
  • There are 2 waterproof pockets, perfect for your phone
  • The whole jacket packs up super compact, and comes with it's own perfectly-sized stuff sack to store it in
gifts for someone going traveling_Writing From Nowhere
Getting soaked in a downpour , in a "raincoat" that was NOT in fact WATER proof at all. Costa Rica, 2017


If you’re not sure what size to buy, I recommend choosing a bigger size rather than a lower size. Depending on the weather, you may have layers on underneath and extra room is always better than not enough.

8. Tips to help you travel cheaper, longer and smarter

“How to Travel the World on $50 a Day” is brought to us by Matt Kepnes, or better known as travel blogging icon Nomadic Matt. He’s a legend in the travel blogging community for a reason – he traveled and lived nomadically for an entire decade. 

In his New York Times bestselling book, he shares his wealth of knowledge of budget travel and how to travel cheaper, longer and smarter. 

9. Double-sided cable lock

No traveler is ready for adventure without a lock. When I go traveling, I actually take two. You can read all about my super-preparedness routine (all my security tips and tricks) in this blog post: 2 Tips For Securing Your Backpack.

If you’re only buying one lock, I recommend a double-sided cable lock. It’s the more diverse of the 2 locks. This gift for someone going traveling is really the gift of peace of mind.

The just in case things you should take traveling_travel preparedness_Writing From Nowhere

Use the shorter loop to secure the zipper pulls of your backpack together so that the bag can’t be opened up. A standard combination lock don’t always work for this – sometimes the metal shackle is too big to fit through the zipper pulls.

Next, lock the longer cable loop through a stationary object, making it impossible for your bag to be picked up and walked off with. On a bus or train ride, this could be the seat or the luggage rack. I’ve locked my bag to a fence while going swimming in the ocean.

10. Personal alarm SOS device

This is a small personal safety device, kind of like a small-scale car alarm. You pull the bottom piece off from the anchor point, and a 130 decibel alarm sounds until the two pieces are put back together. 

gifts for someone going traveling_Writing From Nowhere
gifts for someone going traveling_Writing From Nowhere

Aside from attracting attention in the event of a crime, this could also be helpful if you have an encounter with an unwanted animal. I’ve never tested it with an animal, but I’ve had my SOS device in my hand when I’ve had encounters with bears and stay dogs. I’ve never needed to use it, but it was a relief to have something. 

When it’s pulled outdoors, it’s not ear-piercing but it’s still loud and surprising, and draws attention. When pulled indoors, it’s much louder and actually hurts my ears. 

11. Multipurpose headband with SPF

There were so many times I wished I had a headband like this while I was traveling through Central America.

The most common culprit: long bus rides where every window on the bus was left open. This was pretty much every bus ride. Even if I had my hair tied back, strands of hair would still always come loose and end up wound together like ramen noodles. 

That’s when I swore I would travel again without a headband. This headband from Tough gets a gold star because it’s multipurpose. It can cover the head, hair and neck in 12 different ways. 

I’m not sure what’s more exciting: the word “multipurpose,” the SPF to keep adventures from turning ugly (and peel-y), or the fact that this is essentially weightless in your pack.

This practical gift for someone going traveling gets 3 thumbs up (and comes in a bunch of cute patterns, not just bank-robber black).

12. SteriPen Ultra

This practical gift idea for travelers is ALSO a gift for the environment. The SteriPen is a UV water sanitizer that makes water safe to drink with the click of a button.

SteriPen has been gracing the packs of travelers for years, so you’ll see lots of models available.

This specific model is one of the best gifts for someone going traveling: it’s recharged via UBS instead of disposable batteries. This makes it more convenient, and doesn’t send any batteries to the landfill!

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13. Scrubba wash bag

A Scrubba bag, at its core, is the gift of clean underwear anytime, anywhere. And that’s priceless. This bag is lightweight and folds up into a small triangle that can be easily tucked into a nook or cranny of any bag.

This is #1 on my list because laundry is a pain point when traveling. Personally, I hate not being to do laundry on my own. I’ve tried washing clothes by hand in the sink to no avail.

I wish I had known about the Scrubba Bag years ago, and I sure won’t be going on another big trip without one.

When you seriously can’t wear those pants one more time: unfold the bag, add clothes, water and soap. There’s a flexible washboard on the back of the bag with little plastic nubs that scrubs the clothes clean.

14. Travel-ready multipurpose soap

Take the Scrubba Bag to the next level by giving the perfect laundry soap along with it.

This soap from Trek & Travel is perfect for traveling for 3 reasons:

  • It's multipurpose, so it's the only soap you need to pack. It can clean your clothes, spiffy up your shoes or wash breakfast off your plate.
  • Clocking in at 250 ml, this meets the TSA liquids requirement. This is bottled as a concentrate, so you get maximum bang for you buck in your pack.
  • Not only is it safe to use on skin and eating surfaces, it's also safe to rinse into the environment if you're outdoors. Trek & Travel Soap is Leave No Trace certified.
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Since this is a concentrated soap, you only need a little bit to get the job done. I’m still using a bottle I bought years ago. 

15. Vaseline

I had a dermatologist say to me once, “we tell most patients to go home, put some Vaseline on it, and then call us again in 3 days if they’re still having trouble. And about half of them don’t call.”

Now, in case there was any confusion, I am not a doctor and am not dishing out medical advice.

What I am is a 26-year-old who’s seen more dermatologists in my life than I can count. I have sensitive skin and allergies, and have to take seriously good care of my skin on a normal basis, let alone when I’m traveling. 

And, really, who doesn’t want to take care of their skin? Bug bites, rashes, sun burn, harsh soaps used to wash the sheets you’re sleeping on – irritating stuff will happen. Vaseline calls themselves “the healing jelly,” which in my experience is spot on.

These travel-size containers are sized just right: they’re safe to take in your carry-on, and are small enough to have one stashed away in every bag. 

16. Listerine Pocketpaks

There’s nothing like feeling of being fresh and clean. Likewise, there’s nothing like feeling of being gross and desperately needing a shower.

A pocketpak won’t exactly bathe you, but it will help take away some of that unpleasant feeling. 

Take a few pocketpaks and stash them in handy places, like the brain of your backpack, your toiletries bag or your wallet. 

17. Steripod clip-on toothbrush protector + cleaner

Getting sick is the killer of joy and the taker of time. And that’s just in normal life! Let alone when you only have a 2 more days in Cambodia before your flight leaves.

I’m prone to getting sick, so I always take a Steripod toothbrush protector with me traveling.

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A Steripod helps keeps your toothbrush clean in two ways. Like all toothbrush protectors, it keeps your brush safe from dirt, hair, leaked sunscreen, etc.

But this toothbrush protector goes a step further: It contains thymol, an ingredient also found in mouthwash and oral antiseptic. It should help stunt the growth of bacteria on your toothbrush.

The design also allows your toothbrush to air dry, instead of keeping bristles damp. Mouth bacteria isn’t a very pleasant topic, so I’ll leave it at that.

18. Biodegradable body wipes

Long flights, sweat, sleeping in less than prime quarters: travel leaves you distinctively unfresh at times. A quick wipe down can feel like a whole new world.

These Combat Wipes describe themselves as the “ideal outdoor wipe” for people without access to a shower.

In addition to making you more pleasant to be around, these wipes can also leave your skin feeling great. They’re made with aloe and vitamin E and are 100% biodegradable.

Gift Ideas For Someone Going Traveling Summary

I hope these gift ideas for someone going traveling help you pick out the perfect gift for your friend (or for yourself 😉).

Let me know in the comments or on Instagram (@kayla_ih) what you bought and how you like it! 

And as always, wherever the road takes you, happy trails! 

Get the goods!

gifts for someone going traveling_Writing From Nowhere
gifts for someone going traveling_Writing From Nowhere
Gift ideas for someone going traveling_Writing From Nowhere

Posted by:Kayla

Hello, friend! I'm Kayla. I help people shrink their footprint on the Earth and find freedom in owning less. On Writing From Nowhere, I share ideas on living more intentionally and sustainably.  

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