14 Travel Gift Ideas for the ‘Hard to Buy For’ Traveler

November 26, 2015

I give up…You are the most difficult person to buy a present for!

Stumped with what to buy for that discerning traveler in your life this Christmas? Before you consult a Magic 8 ball, we’ve researched and found 14 travel gifts that may be among those the recipient actually uses…again and again.

Gifts for the Traveler Who Puts Safety First

From prying hands sifting through checked baggage to identity theft to a dead cell phone, even a savvy traveler can get caught off guard.  Give the risk-averse traveler peace of mind with these six gift ideas.

1. The World’s Lightest Carry On


World’s Lightest Carry-on | Source: Hammacher.com

The best ways to avoid baggage stress are to carry on and to travel light. Why not use baggage that’s streamlined, too? This 20-inch, four-wheeled spinning carry-on weighs in at only 4 pounds (66% less than most 20-inch bags).  Balancing form and function, The World’s Lightest Carry On features classic good looks and sturdiness (the luggage must pass 6 separate durability tests before being sold).

2. RFID Blocking Neck Stash

Tarriss RFID Neck Stash

Tarriss RFID Blocking Neck Stash

Prevent illegal scanning of RFID credit cards and passports with the RFID Blocking Neck Stash. RFID Blocking Technology uses top-quality electromagnetically opaque shielding to block RFID signals from all standard North American credit cards and passports. Made of soft fabric and sturdy nylon, with three separate compartments and adjustable strap, the light and comfy RFID Neck Stash can be worn around the neck, in front of the body or across the body, and above or below clothing. Easily convert the RFID Neck Stash into a compact RFID Blocking Travel Wallet. Not only for travelers, buy a neck stash for family and friends to protect them from identity theft every day.

3. Alter Ego Water Bottle/Filtration System

Alter Ego

Aquaovo Alter Ego Personal Water Filter | Source: Amazon.com

This water bottle boasts a built-in filtration system for the traveler who wants to both stay hydrated and assure clean drinking water in any location. The Alter Ego Outdoor Filter protects travelers in the Northern hemisphere, removing up to 99.99% of water contaminants (including Giardia and Cryptosporidium). When traveling in remote parts of the Southern hemisphere, where drinking unfiltered water is riskier, ramp up to the Globetrotter water filter cartridge and remove up to 99.9999% of water contaminants, including viruses and bacteria.

4. The Hand Crank Emergency Cell Phone Charger

phone chargers

The Hand Crank Emergency Cell Phone Charger | Source: Hammacher.com

A hand crank charger offers extra protection for the traveler who wants to be sure he can make that all-important phone call or text when his phone is out of juice or when power is simply not available. This backup battery with charger turns one minute of hand cranking into four minutes of emergency power for a mobile phone. Features a 2,000 mAH lithium-ion battery which recharges fully in 2 1/2-hours from a USB connection to most computers or USB AC adapters using the included cable. Compatible with all devices that use a USB connector, including all iPhone models, iPod models, and all Android devices.

5. Tarriss TSA Luggage Lock with SearchAlert®

Tarriss TSA SearchAlert Luggage Locks

Tarriss TSA Locks with SearchAlert®

The newly designed TSA Luggage Lock with Search Alert from Tarriss makes the perfect gift for the traveler who frets about keeping luggage safe. This cable lock is notably wider and shorter than the older model. The lock’s numbered tumblers are also wider and larger than the previous design and feature large, easy-to-read white numbers set against a flat black background; even in dim lighting, the numbers will show. A Search Alert indicator changes color to alert you that the TSA has opened your lock. A large push button opens the lock after dialing the combination. Relock without setting your lock to its combination.

6. Jetsetter Digital Luggage Scale

Jetsetter Digital Luggage Scale

Jetsetter Digital Luggage Scale

For those times when it’s difficult to travel light, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Any traveler is sorry when they have to hand over their holiday money to pay for excess baggage fees. Weight your luggage before you leave home and know that your bags are below the baggage limit. This light weight and compact digital scale can slip into your bag so you can use it on the way home too!

Gifts for the Traveler Who Loves Gadgets

Always equipped with the latest technology, it’s difficult to keep pace with gadget lovers. The following three gifts may be less likely to end up buried in a closet.

7. Tarriss LessLost Customizable Luggage Tags

Tarriss LessLost Customizable Luggage Tags | Source: tarriss.com

Do whatever you can to make sure your luggage arrives with you at your destination.  A highly visible Luggage Tag is a must-have travel accessory.  If your luggage should go astray and arrive at a destination not of your own choosing, having an ID tag attached will make it easier for the airline to bring the two of you together again….oh, happy day!

8. The Only Live Streaming Video Camera Pen

camera pen

The Only Live Streaming Video Camera Pen | Source: Hammacher.com

For the traveler who wants to record video, sound and images—and remain inconspicuous. This ballpoint pen captures HD (720p) video (almost two hours’ worth) and streams it to an iPhone, iPad, or Android device in real time to view on a free app. The pen’s tiny camera lens will capture still images and has a built-in microphone that records sound (up to 30 minutes of recording time after a three-hour charge).

9. The 150-Country Travel Adapter

Travel adapter

The 150-Country Travel Adapter |Source: Hammacher.com

A practical gift for the world traveler, this palm-sized gadget adapts to plug outlets in over 150 countries worldwide. Comes with five different fold-out plugs that fit most 110- or 240-volt outlets used in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Americas and Caribbean, and Australia. The adapter has two 110-240-volt outlets to power small appliances (like hair dryers and steamers) and two USB ports (for charging mobile devices).

Gifts for the Fastidious Traveler

For a bona fide fastidious person, the vacuum cleaners and blenders of this world are often welcomed as gifts. Beware: the equipment better do what it claims because perfectionists will test, analyze and find fault with even the “best of the best.” While unromantic in every way, one of these five gifts might please the Felix Unger or Monica Geller in your life.

10. The Traveler’s Germ Eliminating UV Wand

UV wand

The Traveler’s Germ Eliminating UV Wand | Source: Hammacher.com

Worry no more about MRSA, H1N1, and E-coli when touching that hotel door knob, headboard or TV remote. This alternative to alcohol sanitizer is also good for anyone allergic to mold and dust mites. The 10″-long wand kills all of the above offenders (up to 99.9% of germs) using safe UV-C light—the same disinfecting method hospitals use. Just hold the wand over a surface for 30-60 seconds, and the UV-C light destroys the DNA of microorganisms.  Disinfect surfaces everywhere-from light switches to head rests. Sanitize without harsh chemicals, and feel confident against bugs.

11. The Two-Person Sandless Beach Mat

Sandless beach blanket

The Two-Person Sandless Beach Mat | Source: Hammacher.com

Originally designed for military use to contain sand and dust when helicopters take off and land, even Adrian Monk would be hard pressed to fault-find: it’s impossible to cover this 36’ sq. mat with sand. The mat’s two layers of patented woven polyurethane filter sand as soon as it falls on its surface. And…the mat also eliminates dirt, dust and water from its surface. The mat won’t absorb moisture, either, preventing mold and mildew. Fold and store mat in travel bag (included). A Christmas gift likely to please anyone tormented by dirt.

12. Jiffy ESTEAM Handheld Travel Steamer

travel steamer

Jiffy ESTEAM Handheld Travel Steamer | Source: Amazon.com

For the traveler set on de-wrinkling garments with neither fuss nor iron nor ever removing clothes from their hangers, a Jiffy steamer is the answer. Compact, lightweight, and easily packed into a suitcase, the Jiffy works so well during travel, it might just replace the traditional steam iron at home, too. Use on fabrics from delicates to business suits. Touch up dress shirts in a flash. Equipped with a nice, long cord, Jiffy heats up,  starts steaming in minutes, and works well with distilled or tap water. Fill her up, and get enough steam to press several items of clothing. The average iron spits up so much water, it needs a bib. Not so with the Jiffy.

13. Microfiber Towel System by Northbound

Microfiber towels

Northbound Train Microfiber Towel System

The Northbound Towel System is unlike the average microfiber towel. For the traveler (swimmer, yoga lover, car detailer, you name it), there are few things about this travel gear not to like. A cinch to pack, the towel compresses to 1/8 of its full size, which is equal to or larger than a full-size beach towel. Four times as fast to dry and incredibly thirsty (absorbs six times more water than other microfiber towels), you’d think this one could take on the Pacific. Its anti-bacterial zinc oxide coating is the towel’s crowning achievement (goodbye, old towel smell), and it’s gentle and safe for skin. Order and get an extra 12″x 36″ Sport Towel and a durable Mesh Bag. Northbound Train gets it right with the Microfiber Towel System. Joan Crawford would surely approve.

14. TAB Seatback Organizer: Messenger

tab messenger bag

The TAB: Messenger by Walter + Ray | Source: WalterandRay.com/

A dream come true for travelers who like things neat and in place. A tickler for short-term memory, the Messenger style “Never Forget” TAB seatback organizer offers just enough extra real estate to have everything you need at your seat. The organizer fits inside a seatback pocket or hangs from a plane tray table. A SmartFlap™ stores large smartphones, and the PLUS feature reminds the traveler to take TAB when deplaning. Includes two insert bags for small essentials, a separated tablet area, two SnapStraps to attach to tray table legs, a headphone hook, and 60″ adjustable cross-body strap. Can be used as an everyday bag—not just for travel.

Still not sure if any of these 14 travel gear gifts idea would suit the traveler in your life? Be sure to click on their links to discover other unusual gifts–which would likely beat that snowman-making kit with plastic pipe and nose you gave ‘em last year. Let the holiday shopping begin!

Written by Katie Anton