This year has been an interesting one, and I don’t know anyone who can say they’ve spent much of it traveling. While we’ve all been stuck at home, travel has ground to a halt and for many it hasn’t really started back up again, at least not to the extent it was.
I have some great gift guides for moms who love to travel and kids who love to travel, but not all of those gifts are appropriate when we can’t actually travel. So if you’re looking for holiday gift ideas for travelers – who aren’t actually going anywhere – then this is just for you!
Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase an item after clicking on the link, I will receive a small commission from the sale. This is at no extra cost to you, and as always, all opinions and recommendations are my own.
Holiday gift ideas for travelers (who aren’t traveling!)
While it can be hard to make definite travel plans right now, there’s nothing to stop travel planning for the future.
A travel planner is a great way to start making notes of places you might like to go when travel does open back up.
I use mine to make notes on destinations as I come across them, add physical things like postcards or photos, and then make more specific plans when it does look like a trip is likely going to happen.
I use my planner to keep track of the trip itself once all plans are in place, and even add notes when I return that I can use on future trips.
Even with few concrete plans in place for travel in the near future, I still keep adding to my travel planner.
I’ve found that more people are posting photos from previous trips as they’re traveling less right now, and this has opened up some fun new trip ideas for my family.
I don’t know about you, but I have a huge amount of photos from my travels saved on my phone and on my computer. I keep saying I’ll get these photos printed out, but it always gets put on the back burner.
A scrap book is a great gift idea for a traveler. They can take the time during this travel lull to actually go through their photos and print out some from their previous trips.
Going back through these memories is always one of my favorite things to do, and I love seeing my photos as physical copies.
If you want to go for something a little extra, then you can buy accessories like stickers or other embellishments to go with the scrapbook. You can find packs with different travel themes as well as specific places like Walt Disney World.
Even as someone who almost totally relies on her cell phone for photography, I know that almost every traveler will want an actual camera at some point.
A cell phone can only take your photography so far, and there are so many amazing views to capture.
I have what I consider to be a fairly inexpensive and basic DSLR camera, which is perfect for those just getting started with photography.
If you’re buying a camera as a gift, a basic camera for a beginner is a great idea to allow them to play around with the settings and see how everything works.
If you know someone already has a camera they love, then an add on like a new lens or even gear like a tripod or a camera bag would make a great gift idea as well.
If you want to go all out, then buy them the camera and some fun equipment at the same time so they have everything they need to get started.
If you’re looking for something a little more unique, a waterproof camera is a fun gift idea for travelers. These cameras are usually relatively inexpensive and are great for taking on beach trips or any vacation where you might be in or on the water.
With all this free time a lot of us have, camera classes would also make a great gift idea for a budding photographer. There are classes for all levels of expertise and most can be done at the person’s leisure.
Staying at home is a great time to work on these photography skills so you’re ready to take all the pictures when we’re back out there traveling again!
You can look through my travel shop for more recommendations for cameras and other gadgets we use when we travel.
Personalized Interactive Map
I’ve really enjoyed spending this time at home looking back through past photos of the places I’ve traveled over the last few years (sometimes while sobbing into a glass of wine, but that’s not the point).
It can be so much fun to not only reminisce over past trips, but look forward to where I might want to go in the future. This is why a personalized interactive map can be a great holiday gift idea for travelers.
There are a few different styles of map that you can use to track the places you’ve been as well as the places you’d like to go in the future. There are push pin maps, scratch off maps, or even photo maps.
Push pin maps are my favorite because you can easily move the pins around without damaging the maps.
There are usually different colors of pins included (or you can buy different colored pins elsewhere) so you can track just where you’ve been, or where you and your partner have been, or where your whole family has been.
You can also use pins to mark where you’d like to go in the future. When I was marking the places I’d been, I was struck by the huge areas of the map with no pins because I’d never been to that part of the world – those were the places I put most of my pins for places I’d like to go in the future!
Scratch off maps are usually super colorful and it can be really fun to scratch off the places you’ve been. I’ve seen maps for both the US and the whole world, so you could buy either one or get both together.
Photo maps are really cool. There are a few different styles but generally you order a map that has spaces for you to insert photos that can be trimmed to fit into the state or country the photo was taken in.
The maps usually come with templates so you can make sure you’re cutting the photos to size, and the overall effect is super cute.
One of the things that brings back some of the strongest travel memories for me is the sense of smell.
The smell of the ocean reminds me of beach trips, the smell of a pine forest reminds me of National Parks in the Pacific Northwest, the smell of pineapples reminds me of Hawaii; scents can be strong triggers for travel memories.
You can buy candles designed specifically to smell like different states, or even different countries. If you’re a Disney fan, you can even buy candles that smell like different rides or the different hotels. We’ve used Magic Candle Company for Disney candles in the past and their candles smell amazing.
There are lots of different options, and they all make great holiday gifts for travelers who are stuck at home.
When I’m looking to research a new location, I get a lot of my information online. There are lots of online travel guides and even social media provides a great place for recommendations for places to go and things to do.
But every now and then, I really enjoy having an actual travel guide. I like sitting and flicking through them, but being at home for a longer period of time actually means being able to read them properly as well.
Travel guides are wonderful for planning upcoming – or not so upcoming – trips. I love looking at the pictures and making plans, even if I know those plans may be a way off.
If you don’t want to buy a specific guide, then there are books that will inspire dreaming of new places to visit.
Books with great road trip destinations, or the best beaches in the US, or even the most inspirational places to visit in the world, would make great gift ideas for someone who loves to travel but doesn’t know where to go next.
Travel Home Décor
I have a lot of little things in my house that are travel themed, and they always make me happy when I notice them. Nothing too over the top, but little touches here and there that remind me of a place I’ve been or would love to go.
Travel themed home décor could include things like pillows, blankets, bedding, art work, or other accents. If you knew the person well, you could choose something from a place they’ve traveled that you know they really enjoyed, or something a bit more generic.
If they’ve talked about wanting a fun way to display memories from past trips, then look through this guide for creative ways to display vacation memories for ideas.
Food and Drink Kits
A new trend that I am kind of obsessed with are snack boxes from different countries.
There are various companies that offer this, and it’s such a great way to try new foods and learn a little more about what kinds of things a country might be snacking on.
We tried this recently and it was a huge hit. We used Universal Yums but there are other companies out there that offer the same thing.
Our first box was from Columbia and we loved trying all of the different snacks. Our second box was from Italy, and it was great to see some of the snacks I remembered having when we visited the country.
Most of these companies offer subscriptions, which would make for a great gift idea. There are different sizes depending on how many people are in the family, and you can usually choose where the first box will be from.
You could also order a food hamper from a place you know they enjoyed the food, or a cocktail mixer set if they’ve talked about the great drinks they’ve had somewhere.
A cook book from a country they’ve visited would be another great idea so that they can actually learn to make the dishes they enjoyed while visiting.
If all else fails, then this should absolutely be the year of the gift card! It is so hard to predict what might happen in the future, but knowing you have the funds to get back out there and travel when the time comes can give you something to look forward to.
You could just give a generic gift card, or specific cards for airlines, hotels, restaurants, or even experiences. Travel gift cards are basically a way of saying “we can’t travel now, but we will again one day so use this money to make plans!”