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12 gift ideas for travelers in the new year

Give the gift of travel! Here are the best travel gifts for couples, families, and friends, including gift boxes, Costco Travel, Expedia, and accessories.
Written by Sherin Shibu, Contributor
Tinggly Gift Box | For the choose-your-own-adventure traveler
Tinggly Gift Box
For the choose-your-own-adventure traveler
View now View at Tinggly
Expedia All-Inclusive Vacation | For the person who really needs a break
Expedia All-Inclusive Vacation
For the person who really needs a break
View now View at Expedia
Costco Travel Packages | Special packages for the holiday traveler
Costco Travel Packages
Special packages for the holiday traveler
View now View at Costco Travel
The Carry-On Flex | For the traveler who needs a flexible carry on
The Carry-On Flex
For the traveler who needs a flexible carry on
View now View at Away
Roadsurfer RV Rental | For the #vanlife enthusiast without a van
Roadsurfer RV Rental
For the #vanlife enthusiast without a van
View now View at Roadsurfer
Vacasa Full-Service Vacation Rental Management | For the holiday travel entrepreneur
Vacasa Full-Service Vacation Rental Management
For the holiday travel entrepreneur
View now View at Vacasa
Travel Notebook | For the offline travel planner
Travel Notebook
For the offline travel planner
View now View at Papier
Perilogics Universal Airplane Phone Holder | For a versatile gift that mounts your phone to any object up to 1.5 inches wide
Perilogics Universal Airplane Phone Holder
For a versatile gift that mounts your phone to any object up to 1.5 inches wide
View now View at Amazon
Lightimetunnel Sleep Eye Mask | For the sleep-conscious traveler
Lightimetunnel Sleep Eye Mask
For the sleep-conscious traveler
View now View at Amazon
Travel Water Bottle | For the hydrated traveler
Travel Water Bottle
For the hydrated traveler
View now View at Amazon
Liquid IV Sleep Multiplier | For the frequently jetlagged traveler
Liquid IV Sleep Multiplier
For the frequently jetlagged traveler
View now View at Amazon
Sensate Relaxation Device | For the traveller who needs some relaxation
Sensate Relaxation Device
For the traveller who needs some relaxation
View now View at Amazon
Vitamin and pill box | For the health-conscious traveler
Vitamin and pill box
For the health-conscious traveler
View now View at Amazon
Show more (8 items)

What do you gift the traveler or adventurer in your life? You could get them a trip, even an all-inclusive one through Expedia or Costco Travel, or another travel retailer, but if your budget doesn't extend that far, there are plenty of other options. 

Have you thought of gifting a hotel experience anywhere in the world? How about an RV rental that your gift recipient can use for a romantic getaway? You can stretch your money far with these unexpected gifts, or go a more standard route with quality luggage that offers smart organizing solutions or comfortable travel accessories. If you're looking for a gift for a travel property entrepreneur, there's an option on this list for them too. 

Must read:

The best travel gifts

 Below are 12 travel gift ideas I found for the holiday season this year, from all-inclusive vacations to accessories.

  • Price: $0 to $299 for experiences and $199 to $1,299 for getaways
  • Features: Versatile | Gives the recipient choices | Adjustable to your budget

Tinggly gives your recipient the choice of traveling to more than 100 countries. Depending on your budget, you can go for a $0 free experience, or an experience box ranging from $59 to $299. The more money you put into the gift, the wider the range of experiences. There are more than a thousand experiences to choose from, and there's no expiration date. 

The Merry Christmas box offers trips for one or two people to visit one of 100 countries. Your gift recipient can choose a trip close to home for a fun day excursion, or structure a longer vacation around an experience farther away. They can swim with the manatees in Florida, take surfing lessons in California, enjoy a sightseeing sail trip for two in Maine, or even take a waterfall hike in Hawaii. If they would like to leave the country, they can experience a gourmet five-course dinner in Rio de Janeiro, visit the Harry Potter studio in London, tour a Game of Thrones experience in Croatia, or visit a Beijing opera night show. 

You can select either an experience box or a getaway box -- the latter includes the hotel stay. It can be much more expensive, ranging from $199 to $1,299. I bought a getaway gift box for my sister in May (for her birthday), and she loved it. I purchased the additional $10 gift box, so that she a physical gift to open, but you can also send the gift as an eVoucher via print or email. The latter option is more eco-friendly.

  • Price: $716+ per traveler
  • Features: Roundtrip flight included | High ratings | Adult-only options

If you're feeling really generous this year, you may want to gift an all-inclusive vacation to family or friends. Expedia has vacation spots all over the world, from Aruba to Ireland to Turkey, and an all-inclusive vacation means that your room, airfare, food, and activities are all covered under one fee. What's included may differ depending on the location and the specific package, so be sure to read the fine print.

I pretended I was booking a vacation to Aruba, leaving from JFK in New York to AUA in Oranjestad. What were my options if I left on December 12 and came back on December 26? A tidy two-week vacation right in the middle of the holidays. The options that unfolded before me were actually reasonable considering what was included in the price. For a 14-night stay and a roundtrip flight, I would be out $2,685 per traveler. The hotel featured an on-site spa, pool, and gym. 

  • Price: Varies
  • Features: Different amenities with each package | Taxes and fees included | Costco rewards | 5 nights or more

Costco Travel offers some eye-catching vacations to places like Fiji, Hawaii, Orlando, the Dominican Republic, and Greece. The company has special packages with added value in Hawaii, including trips at award-winning hotels. Certain packages have a "Stay 5/Pay 4" benefit, in which you can have five people on the trip but pay the price of four people. 

Costco Travel is only available to Costco members who live in the US. You'll have the benefit of transparent pricing on each package. Plus, you'll receive alerts throughout the booking process if you incur additional fees. And if you're an executive member, you'll also receive a 2% reward after the vacation. 

  • Price: $325
  • Features: Interior organization | 360° spinner wheels | Durable shell

The Away Carry-on suitcase is versatile, and it flexes to make room for more as checked luggage if necessary. It features a removable lining and a grab handle on the underside, so you can easily grab it from the overhead bin on an airplane. It has space for roughly 5-8 outfits and includes a TSA combination lock for extra security. The cool zipper expansion detail offers an additional 2.25 inches of packing space if you need it, although it may push into the checked luggage size category. Otherwise, this carry-on fits in the overhead bin of almost any flight.

All of Away's Flex suitcases have a removable, washable lining for easy cleaning. There's an interior compression system to help you pack in more stuff and a hidden laundry bag to separate clean and dirty clothes. The exterior measurements are 21.7 x 13.7 x 9 inches, and the interior measurements are 20 x 13.5 inches. When empty, it weighs only 8.15 pounds, and the capacity is 39.8 L (46.7 L after expansion).

  • Price: Starts at $199/night
  • Features: Unlimited mileage | Package includes camping gear and kitchen supplies | Free rebooking and cancellation 

Roadsurfer rents out fully-equipped RVs for a road trip or weekend getaway. Options start at $199/night for an RV condo with hot water, a spacious kitchenette, a stand-alone air conditioner, and solar panels. However, there's an added service fee of $109. 

The benefit to gifting a Roadsurfer rental is that the recipient has access to a brand new, fully-equipped class B RV with unlimited mileage, roadside assistance, and camping gear. The downside? It's currently only available from Los Angeles, with a drop-off point at either Las Vegas or San Francisco, and there's a $690 one-way drop-off fee.

  • Price: Depends on the property
  • Features: Tech that helps homeowners maximize profits CDC-standard cleaning services | 35,000+ homes managed through Vacasa

Maybe you want to find a holiday gift for someone who owns a vacation rental property. Vacasa is a rental management solution that can help owners earn an average of 20% more per year -- truly a gift that keeps on giving. Vacation homeowners don't have to be a plumber, housekeeper, or concierge for every guest. This solution markets the home, takes care of guest requests, and handles cleaning at a high-quality level. It's a one-stop shop for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to be hands-off about their vacation rental investments while also generating returns.

This means listings on Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com, all managed by Vacasa. It means 24/7 guest support, so the homeowner doesn't have to be awake at all hours of the night. The home itself will stay safe, clean, and stocked, and it'll be marketed effectively to millions of prospective customers. Vacasa prides itself on its tech and the data it uses to give clients more for their property. There's also a real estate side of their site for buying or selling investment properties.

  • Price: $35
  • Features: Made to order | Space for six journeys | Customizable hardback cover with silk finish

A travel notebook is a valuable gift for any globe trotter in your life. They can jot down important details, moments, and impressions in a beautifully crafted journal. There are plenty of travel notebooks perfect for gifting, but Papier's journal stands out for its customizability, made-to-order ethos, organization, and travel games, as well as space to plan budgets, packing lists, and itineraries. The notebook has a hardback cover with a silk paper finish and each 6 x 8.5-inch page "writes real nice" and is sourced from Forest Steward Council (FSC) certified forests, according to Papier. There are 96 leaves in each book. 

Plus, the notebook comes in recyclable plastic-free packaging, and you can add a free gift note at checkout (or purchase a Papier gift box separately). Inside the notebook, there's an About me page, a travel wishlist, space for six separate trip details (including transport, budgets, journaling, and more), a packing guide, a list of countries, and a map of the world to color. This notebook is the perfect gift for an organized world traveler.

  • Price: $13
  • Features: 360-degree rotation Strong clamp | Compatible with a range of phone sizes

If you're giving a gift to a frequent flyer, this inexpensive phone holder mount is the perfect stocking stuffer. Any phone between the size of an iPhone mini and an iPhone 12 Pro Max or Samsung Note 20 Plus can fit into this mount, which can clamp to any suitcase handle or object up to 1.5 inches wide. On a flight, that means this nifty tool can clamp to your tray so you can watch whatever you'd like or video call, or use your phone hands-free in general. 

The phone holder mount offers 360-degree rotation capabilities, so having it means more possibilities for using your phone at a variety of angles and orientations. Pair it with your favorite noise-canceling headphones, and you've got a comfortable airplane ride. The phone holder mount folds up small and is sturdy enough to keep your phone at a comfortable viewing angle, no matter where you are. 

  • Price: $21
  • Features: Headphones Bluetooth | Wireless

This eye mask can help any travelers in your life who suffer from insomnia. Not only does it reduce noise and light, but it also offers a wireless Bluetooth connection, so you can connect it to your device for relaxing sounds before bed. The mask has a 12-hour playtime, plus it's lightweight and comfortably designed. It takes 1.5 to 2 hours to fully charge. You can use it to take calls and talk to people through the built-in speaker and mic. If you're a side sleeper who doesn't want to put headphones on for music, this is the perfect solution.

The mask is made of a breathable memory sponge that puts zero pressure on your eyes while blocking out 100% of light. The speaker it uses is thin and of premium quality and it supports all devices with Bluetooth. You can take out the Bluetooth module and wires and wash the mask by hand with warm water. 

The downsides are that this mask isn't noise canceling, there's a voice that says power on or off, and there's a light that blinks when the mask is in use.

  • Price: $35
  • Features: Rolls up | Leakproof | 22 oz capacity 

Traveling and staying hydrated should go hand in hand. This water bottle ensures a small storage imprint, with its collapsible, rollable frame, and it can loop around your wrist or attach to your bag. It's tough, made of shatterproof silicone, and can survive drops. The leakproof twist cap covers the wide mouthpiece (you can add ice cubes and clean easily) and prevents leaks. The attention to detail with this water bottle makes it ideal for travelers. It comes in 8 colors: Gray, blue, green, orange, purple, red, vibrant blue, and white. 

The water bottle is free of BPA, BPS, PVC, phthalates, lead, and latex, and is dishwasher safe. You can put hot or cold beverages in it, or even freeze a beverage. The standout feature is that this bottle is leakproof, which any traveler will appreciate. The bottle is sturdy enough to stand on its own without water in it. You can bring it with you, empty and rolled up in your bag, and save a few bucks by filling it at an airplane water fountain while you wait for your flight. 

  • Price: $25
  • Features: Gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and vegan Blueberry lavender flavored | 10 sticks in a pack

If the motto of a company is "Fueling life's adventures" then you know that they'll have good stocking stuffers for any adventurers you know. The three popular Liquid IV products that I've seen or purchased are the blue hydration electrolyte drink, the orange immune support, and the purple sleep multiplier. When you just can't get to sleep, you might need some melatonin, L-theanine, and valerian root -- and those happen to be the active ingredients in Sleep Multiplier.

To use this product, open the travel-friendly packet and pour it into an 8 oz glass of water. You mix or shake it, drink it, and go to sleep faster. 

The Sleep Multiplier is non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and vegan -- plus, it tastes like blueberries. For every purchase you make, Liquid IV. donates a serving to places around the world that need it most, including disaster zones and hospitals. 

  • Price: $300
  • Features: Infrasonic technology Safe, with no electric currents | Engineered in the UK based on 30 years of clinical practice and 5 years of research and development

No matter how many times you go on a plane or head off to a new adventure, you might feel the fight-or-flight response of stress. If someone you know is afraid of flying, they would benefit from Sensate. This expensive but highly-rated device can help with job stress, insomnia, and anxiety with a simple vibration pattern, set in sync with accompanying music. 

All you do is place the large, stone-like object on your chest. You pick a track from the 13 tracks that you're given, download it to your phone within the Sensate app, and then play the track from your phone or headphones. The Sensate vibrates in time with the music, whether you choose a nature, space and time, sacred spaces, or breathe track. Focusing on the vibrations of the Sensate, ideally when your eyes are closed and covered with an eye mask, can help you feel calmer and more at peace. It can help you sleep or get into a meditative state.

  • Price: $10-$58 depending on the brand
  • Features: Organizational compartments

Vitamins are essential to take on the road, because it isn't always possible to get optimal levels of sunlight or nutrition. And if the traveler in your life takes medication, it's essential that they don't forget to take it wherever they happen to be. Gifting a fun or classy pill box shows that you care about the health of the traveler in your life -- and they're sure to appreciate a way to organize meds or supplements amidst all the busyness of packing. 

The best travel deals

Below are five travel deals I found happening right now.

How did we choose these travel gift ideas?

I chose vacation package deals and cool relaxation devices -- travel gifts span such a wide range of budgets and needs that I wanted to select a diverse range of gift ideas to match. My little sister is the traveler in the family, and I remember how hard it was to shop for her last Christmas. I looked through item after item trying to find the perfect gift, and I ultimately ended up going with a Tinggly gift box, because it gave her the most freedom to choose her experience at a reasonable price point for me. Her reaction when she got the gift, and whenever it comes up, made the search worth it.

However, if I had more money in my gift budget, I would have gotten her an all-inclusive vacation. If I had less, I would have gotten her a travel notebook or accessory that she still would've appreciated. The main thing with gifting is showing the people you love that you listen to them and care about their interests, enough to gift them something meaningful. As I went through countless items to narrow down the best ones for this list, I kept thinking, would someone who travels a lot or wants to travel appreciate this? If the answer was a yes, then I could recommend it. 

What's the best gift for a traveler?

All of the options on this list work, but there are other gift ideas that could work better for your intended recipient. For example, is the person into travel photography? If the answer is yes, a camera is a good gift for that individual. If they'd prefer taking pictures on their phone, maybe they'd prefer a durable phone case or a portable phone charger. Travelers might also appreciate noise-canceling headphones, quality sleep masks, comfortable shoes, anti-theft backpacks, and neck pillows. Just think about what would make their lives easier on their next adventure.

How do I give a travel gift?

You can give a travel gift in person, mail it, or send it through email if it's a gift that is compatible with that platform. For example, with the Tinggly gift box, you could email the voucher to a friend as a gift or mail them a gift box. You could also choose to give a gift card to an airline, cruise line, hotel, or Airbnb. Treating someone to an all-inclusive vacation would be very generous, but is oftentimes impractical. A gift card would cover a portion of expenses and maybe even spur the recipient to take a vacation or travel in the first place.

What can I gift my friend who is going abroad?

A friend traveling abroad would appreciate an item on this list that suits them, but they could also like a free gift, like a travel playlist or a travel journal that you make and decorate yourself. You can also put together a scrapbook, create artwork, or write them a letter telling them how much they mean to you. 

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