The best travel gifts – including 5 totally free ideas!

Christmas is on the way.

And whilst it may not have been the best year for travel fans across the globe, it doesn’t mean that we can’t use Christmas as an excuse to get excited for some holidays in the future.

So, here’s my list of the best travel gifts – and I’ve even scattered in a few options from small businesses too if you’re hoping to shop local this year!

£10 and under

Travel Guides

Has the person you’re buying for ever mentioned a place they’d LOVE to go? Why not buy them a guide book so they can get plotting their trip!

You can’t go wrong with Lonely Planet or Rough Guides but if you’re looking for a book that looks chic on a bookshelf, I love the super svelt Wallpaper* City Guides.

Phaidon Wallpaper* City Guide

£7.99

Around the World in 80 Trains by Monisa Rajesh

£8.49

Travel Books

These are different to the travel guides above because they whisk you away on the author’s journey – or are in fact completely fictional tales that inspire wanderlust in all of us.

There are plenty of listicles to inspire you – try this one, or this one – but books that catch my eye include Monisha Rajesh’s ‘Around the World in 80 Trains‘, Andre Aciman’s ‘Call Me By Your Name‘ (I’m saving this one for an Italian holiday),  Anthony Bourdain’s ‘Medium Raw‘, and Bill Bryson’s ‘Notes from a Small Island‘.

Virtual Travel Game

What’s this? Have I just snuck in my very own online travel game here?

YES I HAVE 🤣

I made this for all the folk who have had their holidays cancelled this year who want to bring a bit of travel into their lives.

You’ve got to try and get from London to Istanbul as quickly as possibly whilst solving tasks, answering questions and searching maps to get you to the next stage.

It’s a bit of fun and I’ve now added a ‘gift’ option where you can add a message and choose a delivery date, so you can share the travel fun this Christmas.

Dash Across The Globe Online Travel Game

£4.99

Unframed Square Cork Board

£6.13 + postage

Travel Collage

Know someone who keeps all their boarding passes, tram stubs and museum tickets? Why not bring them together as a collage?

I did this for my boyfriend using super simple pin boards and used maps and travel guide books I found in charity shops as well as nice paper from the art shop to create a textured backdrop to all the memories!

These pin boards are really similar to what I used (mine have since been discontinued). You could also make multiple boards if you had a lot of stuff, or make a board for multiple people to save on shipping!

Travel Beauty Items

Cheap travel is all about hand luggage only so help a travel fan out by getting them some items that will help to keep their bags light!

Think travel size perfume bottles, or even atomisers so they can decant their own perfume. I personally love the H&M perfumes which smell lovely and are a bargain!

I’m also a big fan of the MUJI travel pots for popping my beauty products in and sometimes, even some salt, pepper and oil too!!!

H&M Raconteuse 10ml Perfume

£3.99

Romania Bran Castle Mini Prinnt

£10

Travel Prints

A great affordable gift for anyone who loves travelling.

If you’re have somewhere in mind, why not simply search for it on Etsy or notonthehighstreet.

Need a bit more inspo? I love these Romanian castle screen prints from artist Rhi Moxon – she’s got lots of other travel inspired prints too over at Huck Muck.

I also really like these LandandSeaPosters prints that come with free delivery, Thorness has some £8 Australia prints and whilst a few pounds more, I’m in love with LizzieMayDesign’s illustrated Mykonos print!

 

Travel Hack Items

A tenner is more than enough to kit your travel fan out with something to try out that promises them extra comfort on their next flight or long coach trip.

I’d personally love to get a really decent blackout eye mask or even try out a foot hammock! I’ll give anything a go!!

COOWOO Folding Travel Footrest

£8.99

£20 and under

Scratch Map

A super fun – and stylish – way to track where you’ve been in the world. They also look great framed – I have my very own hanging in my flat but I can’t bring myself to scratch any countries off yet!!! It just looks too perfect untouched!

Luckies Scratch® Map Original

£18.95

The World's Sexiest Bedrooms plus
£30 Mr and Mrs Smith voucher

£18.00

Coffee Table Books

Glossy, hardcover coffee table books not only deliver some well deserved travel inspo, but look amazing in homes as well. My pick would be Mr and Mrs Smith’s ‘The World’s Sexiest Bedrooms‘ which features some of the most BEAUTIFUL hotels that feature on their fancy website. Even better is that every copy comes with a £30 voucher to spend on their site – what a great deal, eh?! And don’t worry, not all the hotels they feature are expensive!

Gadget Organiser

I bought this for James for his birthday one year and then stole it… And I’ve never been happier about it. Great for people travel with a lot of chargers or those with not a lot of space in their luggage to keep everything strapped in one place! Comes in lots of different colours but the blue is the cheapest.

Cocoon Innovation GRID-IT! Organiser

£12.95

Luxury Italian Leather Personalised Luggage Tag

£19

Personalised Luggage Tags

Forget your Louis Vuitton suitcases, who needs thousands of pounds in the bank to add a bit of monogram chic to someone’s luggage set up?!

These ones from HurleyBurley Man are Italian leather, come in a cute gift box and are from a small business. Tick, tick, tick!

Packing Cubes

Now I know it sounds boring but packing cubes will CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

Or the life of whoever you buy them for.

They can be cheap, or pricey – it’s up to you! But these Eono ones are a good price with good ratings and also have a zip to compress your items once they’re packed.

I also absolutely recommend using vac packs when packing to make the most of your space but make sure you buy some that allow you to manually push the air out, or buy one with a small travel sized pump.

Eono by Amazon - Compression Packing Cubes

£18.99

Anker SoundCore mini, Super-Portable Bluetooth Speaker

£17.99

Mini Portable Speaker

There’s nothing better than being away and having your own mini speaker to make your hostel, hotel or Airbnb feel more like home.

I love the look of this speaker from Anker as not only does have 51,000 reviews (blimey), it’s also super tiny meaning it won’t take up too much room.

Oh, and I like the price too.

Travel Postcards

I love collecting postcards to frame or or stick up on my pin board and whilst we can’t getaway at the moment, why not send someone who loves travelling a set of stylised postcards?

I also love these London ones from London Illustrations that are just over the £20 budget but each come with their own envelope and I’ve loved sending them to friends and family during lockdown!

LandandSeaPosters Travel Postcards

£16.50

£50 and under

Artistic Scratch Map

For a few quid more than the original scratch map you can get this super cool Artist’s Edition by Dave Buonaguidi, otherwise known as ‘Real Hackney Dave’. His map prints, in this same style, cost over £250 each so this is an amazing way to get some cool artwork for a lot less. I’ve got this framed in my bedroom!

Scratch Map™ Artist's Edition - Dave Buonaguidi

£25.95

The New York Times:
36 Hours 125 Weekends in Europe

£21.40

125 European Mini Break Itineraries

I LOVE THIS BOOK! It’s literally what it says on the tin – a book full of maps, pictures, itineraries and ideas for 125 different European mini breaks. I like to flick through the many, many pages and ask my boyfriend to shout ‘stop’ when we can’t figure out where we should go on holiday. Make sure you get the 3rd edition for the most up to date version, and check out their guides to the US & Canada and The World too!

Noise Cancellation Headphones

Now, you can definitely spend A LOT on noise cancellation headphones but these Mpow earbuds have got so many great reviews that I can’t help but think that they’d make a great gift that doesn’t cost you too much either!

I’ll include some more expensive ones lower down too but having gone for cheaper versions in the past, I was amazed at how much they improved long haul journeys for me!

Mpow Wireless Active Noise Cancelling Earbuds

£49.99

Readly 3 Month Subscription

£23.97

Travel Magazine Subscription

Oh I love a travel magazine – it feels like such a treat! And the great news is that many do offer gifting options – Conde Nast Traveller, Wanderlust and Suitcase (this magazine is so beautiful!).

Another option would be to gift someone a subscription to Readly which allows up to 5 devices to access a whole range of magazines digitally. That way they can have choice and read a variety of travel publications.

Hotel Candle

You know you’re in a nice hotel when it has its own SCENT.

So, if there’s a favourite hotel someone’s been to – or perhaps one that’s on their bucket list – this could be a thoughtful nod in times where we can’t travel.

Some hotels, like The Landmark, will have their own signature scent, whilst others will be known for another brand – for example, when we stayed at The Gallivant they were burning this local Wideye candle. We’ve bought it four times since as it always reminds us of that amazing stay!

Ylang Ylang & Tangerine Frosted Candle

£24.99

Papier Hardback The Minimalist Photo Book

from £35

Holiday Photo Book

Now, there’s a fair few places that offer photo books (and some that are cheaper) but I can’t get over how damn classy these Papier ones look?

Beautiful!

They also have a softback version from £28 too.

 

£100 and under

Patagonia Bag

This is the bag I use for all my trips! From 2 night European getaways to 2 weeks travelling around Japan (yes really), this bag has got me through thick and thin. And whilst it’s *technically* too big to get on the likes of Ryanair and Wizzair, as it’s on your back I’ve yet to be stopped and charged. Plus, I just love all the amazing colours you can choose from!

Black Hole® Duffel Bag 40L

£95

By Faye Personalised Illustration

from £70

Personalised Holiday Illustrations

Got a holiday photo you LOVE? Well, why not get an illustrated version? It’s a service that Manchester based artist Faye offers – and look how great they are?! You can check out her out on notonthehighstreet shop but why not ping her a message on Instagram or submit an order on her site to support her small business in the best way possible!

Travel Gift Card

Before you go ‘this is well boring Chelsea’ HANG ON ALRIGHT?!? Surely a gift card with a nod to what you could spend it on is more thoughtful than just cash right?

And, if you’re wanting to make a bit more effort, you could also include a few suggestions for what they may like to spend it on (see some of my free ideas below!)

Some of my favourite travel brands do gift cards including Mr and Mrs Smith, Canopy & Stars and Quirky Campers!

Quirky Campers Gift Card

from £50

Abstract Heroes Three Peaks Prints

from £70 for all 3

Travel Art Prints

We’re turning things up a notch here with these prints as these are a big tick for travel fans but will also make a big statement in the home too!

Need some inspo? I love Abstract Heroes’ Three Peaks Gift Set, the vintage Transport For London collections, and Nick Cranston’s Luggage Tag prints.

 

£100 and over

A hotel stay!

from £100

A Minibreak!

What better gift for someone who loves travel than to take them on their very own holiday!

If you’re looking for a treat stay, check out my list of top UK hotels and here’s my guide on how to bag the best price possible.

To be on the safe side, I’d recommend booking something with free cancellation where you only pay at the hotel – just in case you need to cancel or rearrange!

Personalised Embroidered Map Notice Boards

How beautiful are these vintage map notice boards? To make it even more special, this particular one can be personalised with hand stitched lettering to include a family name or perhaps a favourite travel quote. Jen also has World, Europe and Scotland maps on offer too.

Personalised UK Embroidered Map

£135

JOBY GorillaPod Mobile Vlogging Kit

£179.95

A Smartphone Vlogging Kit

Know someone hankering to make their own travel videos? This Joby kit is a great all in one set up that utilises a smartphone and makes sure that you’re ready to go! I say this as someone who has had to buy all manner of things to create their own similar set up… I’m not lying, check out all the things I had to buy!

Noise Cancellation Headphones

There are many highly rated – and expensive – noise cancellation headphones on the market but after reaching out to my followers on Instagram, they overwhelmingly told me they love in ear buds rather than over the ear. Having experienced my fair share of headphone inflicted headaches on long haul flights, I kind of have to agree.

So step forward the Sony WF-1000XM3 which I think are the perfect combination of high spec, high rated and whilst being pretty expensive, are definitely more affordable than its competitors who sit alongside them in the ‘top noise cancellation headphone’ listings.

Sony WF-1000XM3 Noise Cancellation Headphones

£169

Free ideas!

Personalised Travel Itinerary

FREE!

Create a travel itinerary

Whilst you may be reluctant to book a holiday at the moment, there’s nothing from stopping you doing the research and plotting out a trip – and what a wonderful gift that would be for someone you want to go with! Think of it as your very own Lonely Guide book. Include photos, maps, clickable hotel options… Show them you’ve really thought about something you want them to enjoy in the future!

(And yes, that to the side is just one page of an itinerary I’ve done for someone in the past!!)

Research a trip and make a personalised Google Map

Similar to the above, why not research but instead of making an itinerary, pop all the places you’d love to visit into your very own Google Maps. All you need to do is go to Google’s ‘My Maps‘ and click on ‘Create a New Map’ and off you go. Another totally free way to show thought without having to break the bank!

Google Map Recommendations

FREE!

Create a Holiday Experience

FREE!

Recreate a holiday experience

Now, this may involve some costs down the line – but that’s down to you – but is there a particular holiday experience you could recreate? Perhaps an amazing meal you had together in Italy? An epic road trip in America? A bender in Thailand? 

Think about what film, food or drink you could use to recreate the experience. And perhaps a costume change and some creative shuffling around of your front room?! Have fun with it!

Edit Holiday Photos

Know someone who’s filled up their phone with photos of their travels but never done anything with them?

Why not go through and pick some favourites – and then edit them too?

It’s amazing what a difference it can make and the Adobe Lightroom app I use to edit my own shots is totally free!

There’s also plenty of guides on how to use it on YouTube to make sure you’re producing the best final product.

Create a Holiday Experience

FREE!

Set up a travel blog

Know someone who’s always wanted to capture their travels?

Why not set them up a travel blog?! You can do this for totally free on WordPress and do all the boring setting up so the person can just crack on and start writing about their experiences.

You could also try Squarespace but you will need to pay a subscription fee once you’re ready to launch.

I gave away a Scratch Map!

Make sure you’re following me over on Instagram for more competitions in the future!

This post contains affiliate links which means I may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. This does not affect the price but does help support my work so thank you!

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