Oops, you procrastinated and missed Black Friday. Now the holidays are basically upon us, and you still don’t have a gift for that special traveler in your life!
Don’t fret! It’s still possible to get gifts and stay on budget, even during this time of year. Get someone you know who loves to travel a gift that will be useful, reusable, and thoughtful!
There are endless possibilities in cheap travel gifts, but here are a few of my suggestions:
(The list below contains affiliate links. If you click and shop through these provided links, I get paid a small portion. Thank you for supporting me and my blog, at no extra cost to you!)
Pictured: The beautiful mountains in Taos, New Mexico.
I am a huge fan of giving experiences over material items, and so therefore I am going to list them first!
These are also the most expensive suggestions of the list. If you feel this is not within your budget, keep scrolling down!
• An Airbnb Gift Card – $50
It’s true! They exist! Airbnb sells them through Amazon. Find them by clicking here.
Even just $50 can go a long way in the Airbnb world for someone who loves traveling. Sometimes it can even cover an entire trip!
• Or, An Airbnb Stay – $ Price Flexible
Airbnb is ridiculously affordable. I’ve even stayed places for just $20 a night! If you know where someone is traveling to, this may be an easy and thoughtful gift while staying on budget.
(I also get a little money too. Let’s save each other money!)
Pictured: A view of the mountains from our Airbnb in Tucson.
• Travel Insurance – $ Price Flexible
Not very sexy, but very important. This holiday, give some peace of mind for your loved one about to embark on adventure.
I personally used World Nomad’s health insurance while studying abroad and felt it was priced fairly. I luckily never had to use it, but had a few friends who did and they only reported good things. Hospital’s recognized it and everything was covered.
Another great thing about World Nomad is that they believe in their responsibility to give back. Through their program Positive Footprints, they are funding local charities across the globe.
If you use the link I provided when purchasing your insurance, I get a small commission off of the link. Thank you for helping me help you!
Pictured: A rock formation in Arches National Park.
• A National Parks Pass – $80
For just under $100, give the explorer in your life the opportunity to go and see all of America’s most beautiful landscapes.
We bought this pass for The Great American Road Trip, and it paid for itself by the time we hit the third park. National Parks are expensive – this pass may just save you or your loved one money!
For example: Rocky Mountain National Park – $35, Arches National Park – $30, Canyonlands – $30, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park – $20
Find discounts for seniors and 4th graders on this site too.
For the lover of both travel and history, a national museum pass is a win/win.
Contact your local North American Reciprocal Museum to inquire about getting a NARM membership. There are different benefits to their passes, including free admission, museum shop discounts, and more.
Pictured: A Mardi Gras float in New Orleans, LA. New Orleans has a ton of amazing museums you can visit!
No traveler wants to have spent oodles of money to see an amazing monument or landscape, only to not be able to capture the moment in a photo! This affordable photography gear just might remedy that situation:
• A Selfie Stick – $21
Sure, it’s embarrassing. But a selfie stick is a must for a solo traveler or a couple. You’ll get over the laughs from other tourists once you see how amazing your photo turns out!
Seriously, I have been using a selfie stick coming on year 3 now of travel. It is the only solution to making it so that your entire face and the entire background is in the photo. (Aside from asking someone to take a photo – but that can be nerve wrecking when on your own.)
Once you learn the arm angles and figure out how to hide the “stick” part, no one will even know you used one ;).
Here is one for older version iPhones, and here is one for the iPhone 8 and above (in rose gold!!).
Pictured: A photo taken by selfie stick in Saguaro National Park.
• A Flexible Tripod – $25
A step up from the selfie stick is the bendable tripod. I bought this for our road trip this past summer and it really came in handy for full body shots.
The legs are bendable, so you can use it either as a tripod on the ground or wrap it around stuff. We used a shrub, a mile marker on the trail, and a rock for a few of our pictures. What’s also awesome about this tripod is that it can be used with both a smart phone, as well as a general camera and DSLR.
If you want photos like the one below, I’d seriously consider getting one of these!:
Pictured: A selfie taken by bendable tripod at White Sands National Park.
• Smart Phone Camera Lenses – $15
Another fun addition to use with a smart phone are different camera lenses. These are a great purchase for the traveler who also is looking to up their Instagram game. And they’re pretty cheap!
I’ve used these before, and they just snap right onto your smart phone. They can even go over your case. Check out the different options too – fish eye, macro, wide angle, and more!
Pictured: A photo taken using an iPhone lens while drinking beer in a park in Milwaukee.
Seasoned travelers S W E A R by shampoo/conditioner bars!
These are great for a few reasons. First, they basically vanquish the fear of a tube of shampoo exploding in your suitcase. Second, because they are solid, they can be packed in a carry-on. This is essential for travelers going backpacking or trying to minimize weight. And third, they are so affordable!
I particularly like Sweet & Sassy’s brand because they send you containers to keep the soap in, are all natural and, best of all, are cruelty-free.
Lush apparently makes a wonderful equivalent as well, but I have never tried it. Tell me your thoughts on it below!
• A Microfiber Towel – $11 – $36
Another essential for a traveler concerned about weight are microfiber towels. These are compact, light, and dry quick.
This is especially important for those you know going to stay in hostels, cheap hotels, or who are going camping. This is because cheap accommodations like to charge you for amenities – towels included.
Short story time: One time while studying abroad, I couldn’t fit my towel in my back pack on a trip to London. The hostel wanted to charge me 7 pounds to borrow a towel (the equivalent of about $9). So what did I do instead? I dried myself off with toilet paper.
If you don’t want that to happen to the people you like, consider getting them this towel hahah.
Another perk? If it’s cold out, these can act as an additional (thin) blanket.
Pictured: Me, swiftly walking across Abbey Road, while also trying not to get hit by a car.
Common Sense Items:
• A Portable Phone Charger – $20
A portable phone charger is a great tool for those planning on exploring all day. Whether you are out hiking or are on the opposite side of the city from your hotel, it can be tough to always know where to find an outlet. A portable charger removes this worry.
This is especially crucial to have on hand for emergencies. If you get lost, get hurt, etc. and your phone is dead, this charger can come to the rescue!
Pictured: Me, enjoying my millionth bowl of ramen in Tokyo, while also charging my phone in my purse.
• An International Travel Adapter – $15
I remember when I first went to Germany, almost 10 years ago, and these travel adapters were well over $50. Now you can get them on Amazon for $15!
You can get travel adapters specific for countries you are visiting, but this one in particular works for over 150 countries.
• A Collapsible Water Bottle – $15
Seriously – an empty water bottle is so frustrating to travel with because they take up so much space! Remedy this with a collapsible water bottle that can be compactly taken anywhere.
The best part about the water bottle I linked is that they donate 10% back to help dolphins. Reduce your waste and save the planet!
Pictured: A photo of Leo Carrillo beach in Los Angeles.
• A Fanny Pack– $9
A fanny pack is essential for those who don’t want to lug a big purse or backpack around, but still need somewhere to store your wallet and other valuables. Fanny packs are also harder for thieves to pickpocket.
Best yet, they are toOoOootally stylish.
• A Water Filter – $24
Nothing is quite as frustrating as being dehydrated after a long day of travel, but having to worry about purifying water.
Whether it be having the wait to boil your water while camping, or trying to find a bottle of water in a country with water your stomach can’t handle – this all gets even more frustrating when thirsty!
My recommendation on a simple water purifier for hiking is the Sawyer Squeeze. You can hook it directly onto your water bottle and drink through it! It’s highly regarded in the thru-hiker community, and has saved many a person from giardia.
For international travel, purchase the Sawyer Select S2 or S3 – which filters out viruses.
Sawyer International is also working on providing their products to developing countries without clean drinking water as well!
If not either of these, you can always get them Imodium tablets instead (a very romantic gift lol).
Pictured: A photo of me in Taos, NM. There’s no water system in the mesa, so collected rain water through a purifier was the way to go!
These are just a handful of awesome and thoughtful gifts you can get the people you love for the holidays. But drop me your recommendations below as well!
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