I spend 10 months of the year overseas. For months at a time, I live out of a suitcase, working full-time from my laptop while traveling internationally. And the following items are the ones I depend on to make it not only manageable, but also easy and fun.
The following gifts fit any budget, ranging from $10 to $300 and more. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or someone else, be sure to use a travel rewards credit card so can rack up some free travel for yourself in the bargain.
Enjoy these 28 travel gift ideas for the globetrotting man in your life. If you’re also shopping for a travel-loving woman, fear not; we have a companion guide with 28 travel gift ideas for women.
Travel Gifts for Under $20
You’d be surprised by how much travel gear falls under the $20 bar. These great low-cost, high-functioning travel gifts won’t break your bank.
1. Lightweight Portable Luggage Scale
Whether you travel light with just a carry-on or check several beast-size bags, you need to know whether your bags make weight – which means you need a luggage scale.
Baggage weight limits have increasingly become a problem for travelers as airlines have layered on the extra fees. When they started charging for checked bags, passengers predictably began carrying on their bags to save money on flights. Airlines, not to be slighted their fees, responded by reducing weight limits on carry-on baggage in an attempt to force passengers to check their bags and pay the accompanying fee.
Know the weight limits for checked and carry-on baggage for each flight and pack accordingly with the help of a trusty luggage scale. Make sure you buy one that’s light and small so that it doesn’t add to the problem. Try this digital luggage scale from Travel Smart.
2. Universal Adapter
I have a dozen adapters from all over the world cluttering my closet, and it’s annoying. Fortunately, you don’t have to be that disorganized.
Instead of a dozen adapters, pick up one universal adapter that can handle outlets anywhere in the world. This universal adapter includes two USB plugs for your phone and other devices, plus a surge protector.
Note that an adapter is not the same thing as a converter. An adapter only includes prongs so that you can insert your plug into a foreign outlet. But outlets in other countries often have different voltages and current strengths, so to change them, you also need a converter. Try this adapter and converter kit if you’re traveling with mechanical devices such as hair dryers. (Electronic devices such as laptops and phones have built-in converters, so you don’t need a converter for them.)
3. Slim RFID-Blocking Wallet
Don’t want to wander the streets of Paris with a Costanza-size wallet bulging on your backside? Pick up a slim wallet that can still hold your crucial cards and IDs. This affordable RFID-blocking leather wallet from Travelambo has four card slots, a cash compartment, and a transparent ID slot.
In today’s world, most credit cards include chips in addition to magnetic strips. Those chips can be read from a short distance using radio frequency identification (RFID); it’s why you can simply hold your card up to a reader and have it process your payment.
Whether you’re worried about criminals using RFID readers to steal your credit card information or not, it doesn’t cost extra for an RFID-blocking wallet, making “better safe than sorry” a no-brainer.
4. Cash Security Belt
Unfortunately, pickpockets and thieves, digital or otherwise, are a risk when you travel. Hiding your money inside your belt is an easy way to deter them. This simple nylon belt from JASGOOD comes in a range of colors and includes a zippered pocket underneath the belt where you can store your cash.
5. Passport Travel Pouch
Your cash and credit cards aren’t the only things at risk for theft when you travel; so is your passport.
As a third travel safety tactic, wear your passport and other valuables under your shirt when you travel. This passport travel pouch includes several zippered and Velcro compartments with enough room to store all of your credit cards and cash to boot. It also includes RFID-blocking technology to prevent digital theft of your card information, and it has a neck strap so that it hangs around your neck underneath your shirt, invisible to the public.
Whether you’re traveling the streets of Rome or the hitting these inexpensive countries in South America, keep your most important documents out of sight and under your clothes.
6. Resealable Bottle Bags
There was a time when if you want to bring a bottle or two home with you in your suitcase, you just wrapped the bottles in your dirty clothes and prayed they didn’t break. Those days are mercifully behind us.
Someone brilliant invented resealable bottle bags that cushion bottles against breaks with strong bubble wrap and a hefty ziplock seal. In the worst-case scenario of your bottle breaking in transit, at least it won’t leave your clothes drenched and covered in shards of glass. So go ahead and bring back a taste of Bordeaux or bourbon for your friends unlucky enough to miss your trip.
7. Convertible Neck Pillow
For many years, I traveled with an inflatable neck pillow that fit in my pocket and weighed almost nothing. While I loved the concept, I’ve stopped traveling with these pillows because their lifespan just isn’t very long. They quickly develop gradual leaks, and you find yourself with a limp pillow and a miserable crick in your neck when you wake up.
I’ve since started traveling with snappable, convertible neck pillows. They fold inside-out to form either a square pillow, cylindrical pillow, or wraparound neck pillow. When in wraparound form, they have a convenient snap to lock around either your neck, backpack strap, or roller bag handle.
They’re light, comfortable, and can hang off your bags, making them more easily accessible than if they were packed inside. I don’t travel without mine now.
8. Cord Tacos
I like corded headphones (more on those shortly) because you don’t have to worry about charging them. Charging all your various electronics gets hairy when you’re traveling, and who needs the extra stress?
Still, all those cords can quickly turn into a tangled mess in your suitcase. Enter: the cord taco. It’s a tiny little leather pouch that holds your cords perfectly wrapped. And it looks like a taco.
Being organized never hurt, especially when you’re living out of a carry-on suitcase for two months.
9. Lightweight Travel Towel
For outdoor adventure travel, you need a towel, but not a heavy terry cloth one that will take up half your backpack.
Instead, pick up a slim, lightweight, microfiber travel towel. This travel towel from ECOdept folds into a pocket-size square to keep your bag light on the go.
10. Lightweight Telescoping Tripod
If you bring a digital camera in addition to your smartphone and want to do any serious low-light or long-distance photography, you’ll need a tripod – specifically, a lightweight, compact, telescoping tripod that won’t take up your entire bag.
No need to go crazy on spending here, although you can. Amazon’s lightweight 50-inch tripod is affordable, folds down to 16.5 inches, and weighs only 1.25 pounds.
Alternatively, if you use a heavier DSLR camera or need 60 inches of height, you can opt for Amazon’s sturdier, larger tripod. The extra size and sturdiness come at a cost, though; this tripod weighs 2.72 pounds and folds down to 24. Inches. That’s not a trivial addition when every pound and inch of space counts, but it’s often worth it for serious travel photographers.
11. Travel-Size Toiletries
If you like practical gifts, you can’t go wrong with travel-size toiletries. Keep each bottle under 3 ounces or 100 milliliters and pick up your recipient’s favorite shampoo, conditioner, shaving gel, and cologne.
Here’s a 20-count men’s necessities kit to cover all the bases. It may not make the sexiest gift, but it sure is useful.
12. Books to Fuel Wanderlust
If the man on your list loves reading, here are a few books especially well-suited to inspiring travel:
- “The Alchemist” by Paolo Coelho. Written in simple yet poignant language, this mystical fable of a novel is about the power of following your dreams. Young Santiago feels the call of his destiny, leaving the Spanish hills where he tends sheep to travel northern Africa in search of treasure and adventure. What starts as a treasure hunt evolves into a journey of self-discovery, wisdom, and learning his true calling in life. It’s a book everyone should read at least once.
- “Shantaram” by Gregory David Roberts. Although it’s a novel, “Shantaram” has the gritty feel of autobiographical reality and truth to it. It’s the story of a young Australian man named Lin who escapes from prison and flees to India, where he gradually drifts deeper into Bombay’s underworld. While its long page count may deter some readers, it’s wildly entertaining as a tale of adventure, crime, romance, and ultimately rediscovering meaning in a shattered life.
- “The Historian” by Elizabeth Kostova. It may not reach quite the same heights as the two novels above, but this book makes for a spirited romp across Europe. A young woman scrambles to find several missing people, yet her search increasingly leads her back to one storied name: Dracula. Part supernatural thriller, part mystery, and part travelogue, it’s a fun read guaranteed to get anyone excited about touring Europe.
Travel Gifts $20 to $65
Looking for a mid-range gift for the worldly man? Try these ideas on for size. Many are durable, long-lasting gifts that you or your recipient will still be using years from now, despite the affordable price tag.
13. Expandable Toiletry Bag
Sometimes you need more toiletries than others, and size is always a factor when traveling.
An ideal toiletry bag is, therefore, expandable so that you can go compact for quick, light travel or pack in all your favorite colognes, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, shaving cream, aftershave, toothpaste, and razors. A good toiletry bags also ideally hangs from a hook to avoid precarious placements on small hotel sinks.
Try WANDF’s expandable toiletry bag for a manly black bag you can compress or expand as needed.
14. Travel SIM Card
There’s nothing worse than trying to get around in a foreign country with no mobile data.
Most of my wife’s and my worst travel moments stemmed from not knowing what we needed to know because we didn’t have local data. We once spent four tense days driving around the country of Georgia lost and perpetually confused by the foreign alphabet, which would not have posed the same navigation problems had we merely had the benefit of Google Maps.
You can buy a SIM card for any of over 170 countries at TravelSim. Just make sure your phone is compatible with foreign SIM cards and data networks. As a bonus, the price is flexible based on how much data you want to purchase.
15. Noise-Canceling Earbuds
I have a big pair of over-ear headphones that I like for normal laptop usage, but when you’re traveling light, you don’t have room for those monsters.
For tiny earbuds with not-so-tiny sound, try these BYGZB noise-canceling earbuds. If you’re looking to spend a little more, consider these TaoTronics noise-canceling earbuds. They fit in your pocket and don’t add any weight to your luggage.
There’s no need to spend a fortune; I rarely pay an exorbitant amount for earbuds because they break too easily. That goes doubly when you’re traveling with them and constantly yanking them in and out of pockets, bags, and compartments.
16. Portable Charger/Power Bank
Charging all your devices can get stressful when you’re on the move. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to carry backup power.
Avoid the temptation to go for the cheapest option for a power bank. A good backup charger combines maximum power storage with minimum weight and size.
For a good example, check out Anker’s PowerCore 10000, which includes roughly three full phone charges but is slim enough to slide into your pocket – or the power bank slot in your Victorinox carry-on roller (more on that in the “Over $65” section).
If you want to go green in your travels, try the Hiluckey Outdoor Portable Power Bank. It includes four folding solar panels and banks two and a half times the storage capacity of the Anker PowerCore 10000. That comes at a cost, though; it’s also several times the size and weight. Still, it has a USB input option for charging through a wall outlet and several USB output plugs to charge several of your devices at once. Combined with an emergency flashlight and waterproof design, that makes it great for outdoor adventures.
17. Tech Pouch
Smartphones, tablets, cables, memory cards, power banks, chargers, cameras – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve rifled through my suitcase trying to find that one tiny but critical piece of tech I needed.
Solve that problem with a compact tech pouch that keeps everything organized for the gadget-loving man. Check out the quick video showing just how many tech components can fit in this small tech pouch from Peak Design.
18. Wicking Antimicrobial Underwear
When you’re backpacking or visiting outdoor adventure destinations, you often don’t have the luxury of a fresh pair of underwear for each day. And while no one likes to admit it, the same sometimes goes for other types of travel too.
Outdoor clothing companies have solved this problem with moisture-wicking, antimicrobial underwear that can go for days without getting grody. Try these Icebreaker Anatomica boxer briefs made of merino wool, which naturally kills bacteria and other microbes.
You can buy similarly functional underwear in briefs or boxers, per your preferences.
19. Scrubba Wash Bag
Speaking of adventure travel, there’s no laundromat when you’re hiking at 20,000 feet. And you can only fit so many clothes in your backpack. Which begs the question of how to clean your sweaty, dirty clothes, wicking underwear or not.
I recently discovered this awesome little laundry bag from Scrubba that folds up to fit in your pocket. You put your dirty clothes in along with cleaning liquid and water, seal it, deflate any remaining air, and then rub the contents against each other. The interior lining is covered with little nodules that scrub your clothes clean.
As a bonus, it doubles as a dry bag to protect electronics and other items you don’t want to get wet in a thunderstorm or riving fording.
20. Rainbow Sandals
I bought my current pair of Rainbow leather strap sandals eight years ago, and I’m only now thinking about replacing them, despite wearing them nearly every day for years. To the beach, to the pool, to work – these tough flip flops are my go-to footwear in the hot climate where I live. The word “indestructible” comes to mind.
They are worth every single penny and then some. I used to buy cheap flip flops and replace them every year, but I will never buy a different brand of flip flops again. Rainbow sandals that good.
21. World Travel Scratch Map
I’m almost embarrassed to admit how fond I am of my scratch map.
Think of scratch-off tickets with a silver or gold coating that you rub away with a coin to reveal what’s underneath, except that this is a giant map of the world that you hang on the wall. When you visit a country, you scratch it off the map.
I love this “Antique Edition” world scratch map from MyMap. It has a fun old-timey vibe, is colorful without being gaudy, and separates each state within countries.
Yes, it’s the ultimate vanity item for frequent travelers. But you can’t help but get a kick out of scratching off another country as you see more of the world. It also serves as a visual summary of your past travels – and your future adventures to come.
22. Tile Pro Tracking Devices
Misplacing important items such as passports, phones, and wallets is bad enough at home, but it can be catastrophic when you’re traveling abroad.
To solve this problem, Tile makes a series of tiny Bluetooth-enabled tracking devices that you can slip in your wallet, phone case, or passport sleeve. If your item is lost or stolen, you can locate it via the GPS on your smartphone or remotely set it to ring out loudly. It’s yet one more way to protect yourself against theft and losses while traveling.
Pick up a few Tile Pro devices for the travel lover in your life; it may mean the difference between “crisis averted” and “I’m canceling the rest of my trip and going home.”
Travel Gifts Over $65
For larger occasions, you need larger gifts. The following gift ideas aren’t cheap, but they sure are useful, and many have life expectancies measured in decades, not years.
Don’t hesitate to contact the sellers to ask questions before making these bigger-ticket purchases to make sure you’re getting exactly what you want.
23. Expandable Carry-On Roller Luggage With Garment Insert
Every man should know how to travel light with one carry-on suitcase only.
My wife and I own no fewer than 10 pieces of luggage, yet one of them wins hands-down as my favorite bag for its flexibility and sturdiness, and it’s the only bag I take on 9 out of 10 trips. It’s a Victorinox carry-on roller suitcase with a zippered expansion for flights with more generous carry-on rules. Critically, it includes a garment insert for suits, collared shirts, and slacks.
Other features include four additional zippered compartments, a laptop compartment, and a USB charging cable for a power bank (not included).
Victorinox also provides an outstanding “1+10 Year” warranty, with the first year covering nearly any problem with the suitcase and the following 10 years covering most wear and tear. I’ve owned my suitcase for over 10 years, have traveled to 30 countries with it, and it still works as well as the day I bought it. I plan to still be using it in another 10 years.
24. Bluetooth Travel Speaker
Headphones are great when you’re on a plane or saving money by traveling on public transportation, but sometimes you need to get loud.
When you’re on the road, that means a travel-size Bluetooth speaker. Try out the JBL Flip 4; it’s waterproof for all weather conditions, works for up to 12 hours between charges, and sports surprisingly loud sound from its dual radiator speakers, making it great for beach bonfires and hotel room cocktails alike.
25. Kindle Paperwhite
I tear through about 50 books a year. Which would not be very practical if I had to lug around physical paper books.
I’m the first to admit that when Amazon released their Kindle over a decade ago, I scoffed along with all the other bookworm purists: “Technology can never beat the feel of paper in your hands or the familiar smell of books!”
I’ve converted since then.
Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite is lightweight, slim, and can hold more books than you could read in a decade. And if your eyes aren’t what they used to be, you can adjust the text size to your liking. Best of all, the screen backlighting is optional, saving your eyes some extra strain. It really does feel the same – on your eyes, anyway – as reading a physical book.
And hey, it’s nice not to chop down so many trees or waste fuel on shipping physical books.
26. Smartphone Camera Lenses
I like my Canon PowerShot SX740 with its 40X optical zoom and pocket-size footprint. But if you don’t have a separate camera from the one on your smartphone, or you don’t want to bring it for whatever reason, you have another option.
Today’s smartphone cameras take outstanding photos, but they all suffer from the same limitation: a flat lens. Fortunately, that’s not an insurmountable problem. Check out Moment’s attachable smartphone lenses, which work for iPhones, Samsung Galaxy phones, Pixel phones, and other major phone brands. You can choose from lens types including wide-angle, fisheye, telephoto, and anamorphic.
These swappable lenses aren’t cheap, but they are small and light – the name of the game in travel.
Who doesn’t love action shots? From skiing to scuba diving, you can capture action videos and photos with a GoPro HERO7. It’s small, light, and waterproof – the holy trinity for travel.
GoPros make particularly good gifts for men who love adventure travel. They can capture the dizzying heights of climbing a mountain or the depths of the ocean. I last used mine while cage diving with great white sharks in South Africa.
28. Ray-Ban Aviator Sunglasses
Any man can pull off classic aviator sunglasses, and Ray-Ban makes the best.
Don’t get me wrong; I often travel with knockoff Ray-Bans to reduce the risk of theft, loss, or sitting on them (the latter admittedly happens far more often than theft). But when you want to look your best, nothing stands up to the real thing.
They’re not cheap, but real Ray-Ban aviators look and feel great, and every man can get behind the classic look. As a bonus, they’re polarized, which especially matters to fishermen who need to see beneath the glare of the water’s surface.
Regardless of your budget, there’s something fun above for any travel-loving man.
Most of the items above I use myself, and they’ve served me well over the years. And if you truly can’t decide on a gift, you can’t go wrong with a Lonely Planet or Frommer’s guide to whatever country your recipient plans to visit next.
And when in doubt, always go with the smaller, lighter option.
What travel items do you rely on most? What were the best travel gifts you ever received?