Buying the best gift for backpackers

Travellers – and particularly backpackers – are tricky people to buy for. They’re usually flitting off to beautiful places full of exotic trinkets to buy themselves, or they generally pack light; not ideal if you’re looking to buy them a gift! So, what should you buy the intrepid traveller? We’ve got the perfect gift guide for you, a curated list of the best gift for backpackers!

And, because you shouldn’t just trust us, we’ve asked the best of the best: 18 other travel bloggers who tell us the number one gift they’d love to unwrap for a birthday, Christmas or whatever occasion.

Read next: Should you get a travel drone and if so, which one?

In brief: The best gifts for backpackers

Don’t feel like reading ahead? Here’s a handy list of the best gift you can buy the backpacker or traveller in your life!

  • Solid shampoo
  • Electronics organiser case
  • Rechargeable headlamp
  • Headphone splitter
  • Turkish Towel
  • Travel Passport Wallet (with RFID technology)
  • Travel Board Games
  • Packing Cubes
  • Packable Backpack
  • Portable coffee press
  • Diaper bag backpack
  • Lightweight rain jacket
  • Filter water bottle
  • Portable Bluetooth speaker
  • Anti-theft purse or handbag
  • GoPro Hero 7
  • Noise cancelling headphones
  • E-reader (like Amazon Kindle)

Best gifts for backpackers under 20 USD / 16 GBP

Electronics Organiser Case

Alex from The Wayward Walrus

Embarking upon a year of travel and constantly being on the move meant that organisation was going to be key for this trip. One of the best products for a traveller to stay organised is an electronics case that can keep all your cords and accessories neat, orderly and easy to find!

The double-layer design with two-way zippers keeps things compact and easy to grab what you need, without having to sift through everything just to find one item. My technology organizer has been a game changer for the flexibility to work on the road.

The best part is that it has pockets and straps to fit everything perfectly. This means I’m able to keep my wireless mouse, charging cords, external hard drive, graphic design tablet, SIM cards, camera charger and other small accessories all in one, easily accessible place on the road.

Price Range: 10 – 25 USD / 8 – 20 GBP

Find the perfect electronics organiser here.

Travel Board Games

Submitted by Penny from Globe Trove

Whenever someone asks me what would make a great gift for a traveller, my mind immediately heads to travel board games. There are so many advantages to carrying a board game when you are on the go.

It helps pass time on those long journeys and it definitely breaks the ice when it comes to making friends at hostels which is why we really love them.

When you choose a travel board game make sure you choose one that is portable. Also consider how many people travel together, that way you can check and see that the board game involves all the people. There are a couple of games for solo travellers and couples too.

Price Range: 5 – 35 USD / 4 – 28 GBP

Pick the best travel board game gifts here.

Rechargeable headlamp

Submitted by Ed and Jennifer from Coleman Concierge

If you’re looking for a great gift for travellers anywhere, you could do worse than a rechargeable LED headlamp.

Whether you’re looking to complete a packing list or just reading at night in your hotel or hostel, you will want a good torch. They’re perfect for night trips to the bathroom or turning around backwards to make sure cars see you walking home.

They’re light, convenient, and last all night long. You can also recharge them all around the world.

Batteries included means never having to search for AAA batteries at a corner bodega. Who knows what adventures you’ll uncover when you pack a decent headlamp?!

Price Range: 8 – 30 USD / 6.50 – 25 GBP

Buy them a rechargeable headlamp.

Headphone Splitter

Submitted by Seanna of Seanna’s World

Often travel gifts are extravagant, but sometimes it’s the simplest things that make the biggest difference to people who are on the road a lot.

My go-to gift for people who are going travelling is dirt cheap, useful and will certainly improve the quality of the receiver’s journey. It’s nothing more than a headphone splitter – a little jack you can plug into your laptop or phone that allows you to plus two pairs of headphones into the same device.

We’re all familiar with long and boring train journeys where all you want to do is pass the time by binge-watching films or TV series. Well that experience is so much more enjoyable if you can share it with your partner or travel buddy by listening through a headphone splitter. Great also for hostels, cafes, and anywhere you can’t have audio blasting out, this little gift while go down a treat with any traveller.

I’d love to receive a headphone splitter, as although I travel solo a lot, it would be a great way to bond with the people I meet on my adventures, enjoying a film together after a good day of exploring.

Price Range: 4 – 10 USD / 3 – 8 GBP

Find them an affordable headphone splitter.

Solid Shampoo

Submitted by Rohan from Travels of a Bookpacker

Solid shampoo or other toiletries make a super practical and affordable gift for travellers. There is a huge range available these days including lots of yummy smells and natural ingredients.

Solid toiletries are perfect for travel because they are light and last forever so they take up less space in your backpack. They are also easy to take in hand luggage as they are solid and aren’t limited to 100ml like liquid toiletries.

Using solid shampoo is also a great way to travel more sustainably as you can minimise the number of plastic bottles you’re using and avoid the mini plastic bottles provided at hotels.

Solid shampoos are usually made from natural ingredients which are perfect if you’re travelling to places with limited or no wastewater system or if you’ll be camping near natural water sources. Formularbeginn

Price Range: 6 – 20 USD / 5 – 16 GBP

Find your favourite solid shampoo here.

Turkish Towel

Submitted by Breanna from Chalkie and the Chippy

The ultimate gift for any sunshine or beach loving traveller is a Turkish towel. Turkish towels are made from Turkish cotton, a quality cotton with long fibres that are just as absorbent as conventional towels but are lightweight and quick to dry.

Anyone who travels frequently knows that packing a lightweight and quick to dry towel is a necessity. Due to the Turkish cotton, Turkish towels are thin and can roll up into a small ball nicely.

This is perfect for packing, as they do not take up too much room nor weight in your luggage or beach bag.  For budget travellers, many accommodation options do not provide towels. So, packing your own quick to dry towel is easy to use in the bathroom and to take to the beach the next day.

In addition to being a convenient travel item, Turkish towels also have basic patterns with bright or neutral colours which makes them suitable for all genders. For this reason, they can double as a beach sarong, a head scarf for visiting temples or even a picnic mat! Anything that is stylish, convenient, lightweight and versatile will get any traveller’s tick of approval!

Price Range: 15 – 25 USD / 12 – 20 GBP

Choose a Turkish Towel for that special someone on Amazon

Travel Passport Wallet (with RFID)

Submitted by Patti from The Savvy Globetrotter

A travel gift that I would love to receive is a RFID blocking travel passport wallet. No more fumbling around my bag for what I need. A travel wallet is a great way to carry and organize my travel documents and many of my essential travel items including my passport, ID, boarding passes, money, credit cards, keys, pen etc.

The RFID blocking material is a useful feature because it protects personal information from identity theft. The travel passport wallet I have my eye on is not only stylish but it also comes in many cute colours so everyone can find a colour they like!

Price Range: 10 – 20 USD / 8 – 16 GBP

Buy them a RFID-blocking travel wallet here.

Best gifts between 20 – 50 USD / 16 – 40 GBP

Packing Cubes

Submitted by Disha from Disha Discovers

In my two years of full-time traveling, my favorite travel gear is my packing cubes. They have seriously changed the way I travel.

They help keep my belongings more organized and helps keep them more compact. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them offer extra compression zippers, which I personally love. Some even have two sides where you can separate your clean clothes from your dirty clothes.

Packing cubes can also minimize wrinkles versus just rolling your clothes and throwing them in your bag. Instead of emptying your entire bag upside down to find one little thing, you can easily pull out your packing cube.

Lastly, packing cubes will help you maximize space in your luggage since you’re compressing your clothes. Once you use packing cubes, you won’t look back!

Price range: 20 – 40 USD / 16 – 33 GBP

Buy the Eagle creek packing cubes here

Packable Backpack

Submitted by Adam from Cartagena Explorer

I know this is a great gift a frequent traveller will love, because I recently got one and love it!

I like carrying a backpack whether it’s to go sightseeing, to the beach, hiking, whatever.  I can stash a book, my camera, my towel, some snacks, sunscreen, bug spray, a water bottle, a jacket, or whatever else I might need or decide I want to pick up along the way.

It can however, be a hassle carrying a backpack en route, particularly if you are using a backpack as your main luggage.  That’s why when I stumbled upon the Roam Packable Backpack, I had to have it.

Since getting it earlier this year, I’ve taken it on several trips and have been even happier than I could have imagined.  It folds up to the size of a small sweater, holds quite a bit, and is sturdier than I expected.  I especially appreciate the easy access front pockets and the two side pockets for water bottles.

For the frequent traveller, especially backpacker, it makes a great gift as a day pack they can use without having to worry about carrying it on planes or buses.

Price range: 20 – 50 USD / 16 – 48 GBP

Get the Roam Backpack here.

Aeropress portable coffee press

Submitted by Daniel from Layer Culture

Do you know someone who likes to travel and drink coffee? Meet the Aeropress, the perfect travel companion for any avid coffee drinker. The greatest feature of the Aeropress is its ability to make a full-bodied barista-style coffee in just a few minutes.

Literally, all you have to do is to add the best coffee you can find on your travels, add hot water, and stir. You then filter the coffee by slowly pressing down the plunger and you’re done. It’s that simple. Another cool feature that makes the Aeropress so unique when compared to other travel coffee makers is how easy it is to clean.

The art of brewing coffee is a tall order for most, and we tend to leave in the hands of others. With the Aeropress, you can be in control of your brews whilst on the road and it takes up hardly any room in your backpack or suitcase.

Price Range: 25 – 35 USD / 20 – 28 GBP

Buy the Aeropress portable press.

Lightweight rain jacket

Submitted by Sean from Living Out Lau

Nothing is more annoying than getting wet while you are travelling, well unless you are going swimming! But if you are strolling around the city or going on a hike to see some of the amazing nature your travel destination has to offer, then you want to avoid the rain as much as possible.

Bring an umbrella? Yes, you can, but I wouldn’t recommend it. An umbrella is just too bulky and takes up too much space in your backpack. And if there is any sort of wind that comes with the rain? You might be better off holding a french baguette!

That is why when I travel I always bring a lightweight rain jacket. One that can be folded up and put into a small traveling daypack. I cannot count the number of times a lightweight rain jacket has saved my life on my hikes in Huaraz, Peru. There is nothing that can go wrong with a rain jacket!

Price Range: 25 – 75 USD / 20 – 60 GBP

Find the ideal lightweight rain jacket here

Filter Water Bottle

Submitted by Sarah from A Social Nomad

We all need water and the world needs less single-use plastic.   As a traveller to places where the tap water isn’t safe to drink, a filter water bottle is not only a nice to have, it’s essential.

Sure there are some places where hostels and hotels provided filtered water refills, but I prefer to have control over my own health and safety.  A filter water bottle lets me avoid buying bottled water and gets all the germs and bugs out of the water.   I can also use my filter water bottle when I’m hiking – and top up from a stream or a river and feel safe with my water intake.

Filter water bottles also help save money – no expenses for bottled water means I have more money to travel with!  And if the traveller in your life already has a filter water bottle you can buy them a spare filter so they can keep on saving in the future!

Price Range: 20 – 35 USD / 16 – 28 GBP

Checke out the best filter water bottles here!

Diaper Bag Backpack

Submitted by Diana from The Elusive Family

As a mother to two girls, traveling with babies and small children is an experience in itself. There is another whole human or two who requires extra items beyond clothes.

One of the best investments I have made when I travel with my youngest is to invest in the best backpack diaper bag that fits our lifestyle and travel preferences. There are a variety of different diaper bag backpacks, which range in style, functionality, price and material.

It’s important to know what someone may need it for besides traveling (such as bottle storage), and whether they need a specific type of material or size. It is truly one of the best gifts moms can receive when traveling with littles! Check out Diana’s complete guide to the best backpack diaper bags to help you decide which one is best.

Price Range: 30 – 60 USD / 25 – 48 GBP

Find the perfect backpack diaper bag for travelling here.

Best gifts between 50 – 100 USD / 40 – 80 GBP

Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Submitted by Mitch from Project Untethered

People always complain that I’m hard to shop for because they can’t think of good gift ideas for travellers. Well, let me make it easy. Here’s what I want—a quality Bluetooth speaker.

But not just any Bluetooth speaker. I want it to be a ‘travel proof’ speaker. In other words, something lightweight (yet powerful), waterproof, and sturdy enough to take a beating. More specifically, I want the JBL Flip 4.

After travelling with a friend who had the Flip 4, I’m convinced it is the best Bluetooth speaker for travel: Great for beach days, hikes, or simply playing music in your hostel/hotel. The best part is, it’s rugged. I wouldn’t have to worry about getting it wet or crushing it in my backpack.

Price range: 90 – 120 USD / 73 – 97 GBP

You can find the JBL Flip (and similar speakers) here.

Anti-theft purse or handbag

Submitted by Maggie from The World Was Here First

If you’re looking for the perfect gift for travellers, then you cannot go wrong with an anti-theft purse or handbag.

When you are out exploring a new city, navigating a foreign public transit system, or are just visiting an area or neighbourhood that is well-known for pickpockets and petty theft, the last thing you want to do is to worry about the safety of your belongings. Having an anti-theft purse while you’re travelling internationally can really give you an immense peace of mind and allow you to more heartily enjoy a destination.

There are so many options for travel purses available on the market today and, contrary to the anti-theft bags of yesteryear, there are also some cute and fashion-forward options as well!

My personal favourite and the bag that I have used through numerous trips is the Pacsafe Citysafe Convertible Backpack. This comes in an array of colours, is chic-looking, has a myriad of anti-theft features, and is easily convertible between a backpack and a handbag depending on your needs for the day.

If you want to find a practical, yet stylish, gift for the traveller in your life, you really cannot go wrong with an anti-theft purse!

Price Range: 60-130 USD / 50 – 105 GBP

Check out the best prices for a PacSafe anti-theft bag on Amazon here.

Best gifts for backpackers over 100 USD / 80 GBP

GoPro Hero 7

Submitted by Delahaye of Hues of Delahaye

The Hero 7 is super lightweight, voice-activated, waterproof and can go virtually undetected when held in the palm of my hand. It’s hyper-smooth, portrait and has 4K video features which means that I can shoot and upload professional-looking videos to social media for my friends and family to see what I’m getting up to on my travels.

The GoPro’s wide-angle makes snapping the perfect group selfie a breeze, whether in portrait or landscape everyone fits in the shot.

I find the GoPro great for places where I’m afraid to take my larger DSLR camera in fear of breaking it, getting dust inside my lens or sensor. With my GoPro Hero 7, I know that it can take a battering and I don’t have to worry about dropping it or getting it dirty, as it’s easily cleaned with a little water.

Price Range: 200 – 400 USD / 162 – 325 GBP

Find them a GoPro, the ultimate travel camera here

And just in case you need a bit more persuasion on whether a GoPro is the right gift, we’ve done a full review on the GoPro and why it’s the ultimate travel camera here.

Noise cancelling headphones

Matilda from The Travel Sisters

Noise cancelling headphones are one of the best gifts for travellers. They cancel most background noise which makes them perfect for long plane, train or bus trips. No more worrying about crying babies or loud passengers, you can block out noise and get some sleep.

You can also use them to watch movies or listen to music and podcasts on your phone, tablet or laptop without disturbing your fellow travellers. Headphones also come in handy at hotel rooms or hostels to block out loud neighbours, construction, sirens and street noise.

There are quality noise cancelling headphones at various price points from under 100 USD / 80 GBP for some of the more affordable models to several hundred bucks for some of the

Price Range: 60 – 400 USD / 48 – 325 GBP

Find noise cancelling headphones in your price range here


Submitted by Emily from Wander-Lush

An e-reader is the perfect gift for travellers of all stripes. You wouldn’t carry a Discman and CD case around when you could load your entire music library onto your phone, right? In the same vein, an e-reader is pretty much essential these days if you want to read on the road without lugging heavy novels or thick guidebooks around.

The Amazon Kindle is the most popular brand of e-reader. The latest 2019 Paperwhite model is the top of the range, and features a built-in light (handy for dimly lit hotel rooms or reading on trains and buses), and 28 hours of battery life. The USB cord fits into any universal power adaptor, so you don’t have to carry a separate charger.

Admittedly, I’m not a huge reader when I’m at home. But when I’m travelling, reading is a welcome distraction during long journeys and a good remedy for jetlag. An e-reader tops my travel gift list because I’m a minimalist traveller at heart and I like to travel as light as possible.

The perfect accompaniment to a Kindle is a subscription to Kindle Unlimited, which gives you access to more than a million e-books, audiobooks and magazines.

Price Range: 100 – 350 – USD / 81 – 283 GBP

Buy your travel-loving backpacking mate an Amazon Kindle here.

Have any other ideas? Let us know in the comments or get in touch! And, if you’re embarking on a backpacking trip soon, go ahead and read our advice on the backpacking essentials you need to pack and our guide to staying healthy while travelling.

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