If you’ve never gone on a long-term trip yourself, knowing what gifts to give someone travelling for the first time can be a little confusing. There are tons of posts listing off top gifts for backpackers, a lot of which are full of utter rubbish – a scratch off map poster (this isn’t going in anyone’s backpack! Sorry!). A lot of new backpackers will already have done their research and picked up a lot of their own gear. If you’re looking to add to that, try looking for some cool travel gear that they might not have a budget for/haven’t thought about themselves.
In this list, I’ve pulled together some of my best trip gifts guaranteed to be of use to both newbie and experienced travellers. Most of these items are linked straight to an Amazon listing for ease and convenience …
Heads up: My post contains affiliate links. I’ve recommended these items because I was happy with them myself. If you buy something through one of these links, you won’t pay more than usual, but I do get a little commission, and that’ll go towards me paying my site costs and seo tools 🙂
Let’s get right in there with the exciting stuff first! This 3 in 1 Clip-On 180 Degree Supreme Fisheye Lens comes as a pack of 3:
Macro lens – for taking extreme close-up pictures of very small objects.
Fish eye lens – Creates a spherical view of the subject, most evident in the curved, outer corners of the photo (see my snap from North Argentina, below).
Wide angle lens – projects a substantially larger image circle than would be typical for a normal design lens.
These things are so teeny tiny that they’re are a perfect little gifts to give to someone travelling, and chances are high that they won’t have got themselves one! You can’t argue at the £7.99 price point either!
Sounds boring, but hear me out. I’ve lost count of the number of these I’ve lost. I’ve also lost count of the number of times I’ve go to a hostel and had to buy a crazy expensive padlock from the reception desk because their storage lockers don’t come with padlocks. I recommend a set like this that have combination locks – keys are just another thing to lose! A little pack of two costs only £6.99.
The first time I wore flight socks I was a little bit apprehensive about how tight they felt, but after a 17 hour flight to Beunas Aires, my legs weren’t half as swollen as they’d usually be without. These cotton anti-DVT flight socks in black are well priced at £5.45 and do just as well as some of the branded ones at double the price.
You shouldn’t need to spend a fortune on money belts, I found this hidden waist pouch is perfect for the job. It’s only £5.45, comes in black and grey and has enough space with three front zippered pockets & large space. It has inner pockets, making it easier to organise passports, tickets, phones, credit cards, cash etc. in different places.
This one also fit iPhone6s, iPhone7, Iphone8, Iphone8 Plus, Iphone X, GalaxyS7, S8 & more.
Travel towels are life!!! Have you ever tried to get a full sized regular towel in a 60L bag when you’re packing for a year!? You’ll never love these as much as your usual fluffy, home towels – it’s really not one for using to cosey into after a hot shower. It’s functional – but space saving. They dry quickly and are super lightweight. These microfibre travel towels come in blue, green, pink and grey and these guys will even gift wrap for you, making them the perfect present for a traveller.
3 days on a slow boat from Thailand through Laos will teach you to bring some kind of entertainment for yourself (and potential new travel friends). With limited space, cards are a good one to get inventive with. I actually found it tricky to find somewhere that sold mini cards in a solo pack, but these Mini Playing Cards at £2.99 eventually did the job.
If you’re a light sleeper, hostel dorms can be frustrating. The chances of you making it through the entirety of your trip without encountering the infamous ‘dorm snorer’ are slim to none. For me, ear plugs are a travel essential and I use them on flights, trains and in dorm rooms. These wax and cotton wool earplugs warm to your body’s temperature and adapt to the unique shape of your ear, so they’re good for cutting out as much noise as possible. You get 20 pairs at this price, but you can get them even cheaper at 10 pairs (via this same link). Cheap and cheerful under a fiver.
Did you know you can get a Kindle E-Reader, 6″ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display with Wi-Fi for £59.99 now! I remember when these things started at £200! The lower priced one is the smaller and lighter of the lot, so it’s prefect for traveller with little space.
E-readers read like a normal book, with no screen glares to give you a headache. They save you from having to slog full sized books about and, once you’ve bought one for someone, you can always keep adding to their gift with e-books.
These are a perfect present for a traveller if you’re looking for a group gift.
I’ve already covered hidden waist pouches, but did you know you can get bra ones too!? Bra pouches are a lot smaller and don’t hold as much, but they’re great if you’re just looking to carry a card and some cash for the day.
They clip nicely onto your bra at either the front or the side and even a flimsy vest top over the top is enough to hide them. You can get this one in black or pink.
I recently ran a guest interview with Leah from vegan friendly beauty brand Get Dirty With Me. I was completely blown over by her Clean All Things pack, as I’ve NEVER found a product that will wash your hair, body and your clothes!
Everything in her packs are natural, vegan, environmentally sound, gluten-free and come in a biodegradable pouch. They can be taken on as carry-on luggage, as it’s all in powder form – no more mini bottles!
I promise you, this is a gift they won’t have thought of!
One for the girls – a Mooncup is the healthier, easier and more economical alternative to tampons. They say that the average female uses around 20 tampons per cycle. Multiply that by 12 months and you’ve got 240 a year! Per woman! The pressure on the environment is excruciating.
Mooncup are a fantastic for travelling females. You can forget carrying boxes on tampons/pads around or worrying about being in a country where they’re hard/expensive to come by. The Mooncup does not absorb your body’s natural defence mechanisms and will not deposit fibres in your vaginal wall.
There’s a couple of big brands on the market, but I like the Mooncup as they are certified by the Vegan Society and also put a lot more focus on environmental issues than some of the other brands.
My friend actually got me one of these for my first ever backpack trip and it was a godsend when I hit the Thailand for the first time. I took tons of boat trips, snorkel tours, island days out, and without a waterproof phone case my phone wouldn’t have gone the distance – my camera wasn’t so lucky!
With this one, the cover is designed not to hinder touch screen use, even underwater. I found the only thing I couldn’t do with it is use the touch ID fingerprint. It’ll fit all large Smartphones below 6 inches and was also really good for taking out cash and other documents that I didn’t want getting wet – making them great outdoor gifts!
Although I didn’t get one, there are lots of videos in the reviews here showing people using it, to put your mind at ease (nobody wants to be the one to dunk their phone in the water for a test run).
I’m so sorry! I couldn’t resist! The are frickin’ hundreds of selfie sticks to choose from online and, in my opinion, you’re as well just picking up a cheaper one like this bluetooth Selfie Stick, with an extendable holder.
It’s battery life is pretty decent at 20 hours (they say that lasts 3000 selfies!) and it’s only 18cm long so that it’s not taking up heaps of space. If you’re anything like me, you’re going to break this tearing it haphazardly out of your bag, so the £6.99 is manageable.
Not content with just a selfie stick? Like it or not, sometimes you want that perfect ‘for the Gram’ shot and there’s nobody around to get it right. I just picked up a cheap and cheerful tripod mount/stand.
At £7.25 it won’t do any of the fancy panning or wizardry that some of the expensive ones do, but it again, it’s a good little compact present for someone going travelling.
Another easy little tuck away item, a travel clothes washing line is good for campers or folks staying in tight budget hostels with basic surroundings. You can also get one with suckers, but I personally prefer hooks.
Have I missed anything? The one thing I haven’t linked to here is a solar charger. These things are great for the environment and perfect for backpackers who plan to spend time camping in the middle of nowhere. So why haven’t I included a link? I’m still to find one at a fair cost that lives up to the job. Got recommendations? Pop them into the comments below!