Great Gift Ideas for the International Traveler in Your Life

The holiday season is known for many things, but the top two in my mind are gifts and travel. Unfortunately, the travel that many of us do around November and December isn’t exactly my idea of a good time. Instead, I look forward to when my wife and I can explore new cities overseas, experience new cultures, and enjoy some new adventures.

In 2017, I was blessed enough to embark on three international trips (Hong Kong, Paris, and Toronto) and, with each, I was mindful to take notes about what items proved the most helpful and what we might need to take along the next time. I bring this up because it occurred to me that some of these various items might make for some great gifts. So, whether you’re a bit behind on giving out Christmas gifts or you want to have some ideas for next time, here are a few gifts perfect for the foreign traveler(s) in your life.


With devices like laptops, cell phones, and of course cameras becoming more and more essential when traveling, one of the first go-to ideas is to ensure your loved one has enough power while abroad.

If they don’t already have one, a universal power adapter is a must. These clever contraptions will allow them to plug in most of their devices into almost any outlet configuration around the world. In terms of price, you can get a standard adapter for fairly cheap these days, but you can also upgrade to adapters with extra USB outlets and other handy features.

In the same vein, it’s always a good idea to bring an external charger or two when you’re exploring new cities. Therefore you can bet that your traveling friend will appreciate getting a powered case or other portable chargers as a present. Once again, these can range in price, allowing you to find a nice gift that meets your budget.


If you have more to spend and want to get them something that will last a long time, two other great gifts are spinner suitcases and messenger bags.

Now, of course any traveler is going to already have a suitcase, but that doesn’t mean they love what they’re working with. For example, it was only a few months ago that I learned what a difference having a four-wheeled spinner bag made and how much easier it was to travel with one. From navigating twisty airport lines to passing through subway train turnstiles, believe me when I say these types of bags are practically essential. I’d also recommend a nice carry-on sized one so they can save money on checked bag fees.

Speaking of carry-ons, I swear by having a messenger bag with me on my travels, which I can stick under my plane seat and use daily once at my destination. Specifically, I’m a fan of something called the Man-Pack. Despite the name, this bag is great for travelers of any gender. First,  the bag’s entry flap covers up the zippers for the main pouch, making it much harder to access. Another thing I like about this particular bag is that its design allows you to easily move the bag to the front of you, again making it harder for pickpockets and thieves to get to your goods. And, while it’s relatively small, it still manages to fit my laptop and other necessities.

Pocket cash

Finally, for those travelers who already have everything they need, you can always get them some thoughtful gift cards or currency to use on their trip.

One simple solution is to get gift cards for Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, or other travel-centric services. Additionally, if you know which country your recipient is headed off to next, you can give them cash in the local currency. Typically you can order foreign cash through your bank or by services like Travelex, although the latter tends to be a bit pricier overall.

If you really want to go above and beyond, you can also do some research on activities or dining you think your friend or loved one will enjoy on their trip. Then you can either arrange their visit yourself by buying tickets or making them a reservation or just let them know what the money is for. In fact, this is a great way to take what might be viewed as an impersonal gift and instead turn it into a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

For those who love to travel, any gift that either makes their trip easier or allows them to do more on their adventures is a win. Although the main gift-giving holidays may be over for this year, these ideas are evergreen and something to keep in mind for future birthdays, anniversaries, or just because. Happy travels!


Kyle Burbank

Kyle is a freelance writer and author whose first book, "The E-Ticket Life" is now available on Amazon. In addition to his weekly "Money at 30" column on Dyer News, he is also the editorial director and a writer for the Disney fan site and the founder of

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