Gifts for the Gen X Traveler in Your Life

‘Tis the season once again for gathering of family and friends, gift-giving and holiday cheer. But too often people grumble and bah humbug their way through the season. For some, a big part of that is the gifts for holidays—not knowing what to purchase, what the receiver needs or maybe the receiver doesn’t really need anything. If there is someone on your gift list that travels frequently or perhaps is living out of a backpack or suitcase most of the time you might find yourself perplexed. You may ask yourself what can I give that is meaningful, useful, compact or all the above. Hopefully, this list will take some of the pain out of shopping for gifts, at least for the traveler in your life.

Gifts Under $100

Sandpiper of California Bugout Backpack I love this bag because it has tons of compartments and loops on the outside to attach things such as the Sandpiper of California Laptop Case (Black, 15x12x2.5-Inch) It is large enough to pack for several days away and small enough to fit the requirements for carry-on luggage. It is super versatile as it can be used as a backpack, slung over the shoulder or carried like a suitcase. A lot of bang for the buck.2015-07-26 06.14.16

This next gift is genius. No one likes to come home to a dirty house. Even a house cleaned before going away can accumulate dust quick and hard water can stain toilets if let stand an extended period. So, why not give a Gift Certificate for house cleaning service. It can be used just before coming home if there was no time to clean before leaving. I put this in the under $100 category but could be any amount. Thank you to Rob Taylor of for this stroke of brilliance.

Gifts Under $50

Scrubba Portable Laundry System Wash Bag will allow travelers to pack a little lighter as it provides a way to wash clothes anywhere. Furthermore it only weighs 5 ounces and doubles as a drybag.

Include the Travelon Laundry Soap Sheets, 50-Countand SDBING Home Style 5m Outdoor Windproof Clothesline and your traveler will have everything she needs to launder and dry whatever she needs in a pinch. Great for backpackers and campers.

The next two items come courtesy of Matthew Holmes of I may need to add these to my Christmas List. Anker PowerPort 6 (60W 6-Port USB Charging Hub) and Anker Astro E5 15000mAh Dual USB Portable Charger I do not have these personally but some of my friends have similar items and they all love them. I have tried theirs and have been impressed. Each runs in the mid-30 dollar range.

When I asked bloggers what they think makes a great gift for a traveler several said interactive maps, meaning you could use a sticker or marker to identify the places they have visited. One said a map that allows you to scratch off the countries. Here’s one example, Scratch Off Map – Best World Map Poster – Share Your Travel Stories If you are planning a United States road trip with your kids this Personalized Scratch-off Us Map the United States of America A4 Size Poster Travel Silver Layer would make a great gift for them to take on the road. You could give it to them as a way to let them know the cross-country tour is the primary gift.

No matter how we get from Point A to Point B the Daydreamer Neck Pillow – Luxuriously Soft Inflatable Travel Pillow for Sleeping on Airplane, Car, Train and Bus will make the trip a little more comfortable. I don’t travel without mine. The reason I love the inflatable is it doesn’t take up much space and if I clip it to my carry-on it is not using any valuable space. Furthermore, if it is attached to the outside of the carry-on there is no fumbling around to find it.

Gifts Under $25

Every traveler needs a map but they can become a nuisance. The folding and unfolding. Ugh, did I say the folding? The Crumpled City Map-Sydney is no fuss, no muss. Available for approximately 80 cities you are sure to find one for the traveler on you gift-giving list.

Travelers would like to carry their favorite shampoo and conditioner with them on every trip but it adds weight to their luggage. Then there are those TSA regulations that say all your carry-on liquids must fit in a quart-size bag. The solution is Lush Godiva Solid Shampoo with Conditioning Butters 55g/ 1.9 Oz . It stows in it’s own little Lush Shampoo Bar Tin. No worries about leaking or having too many liquid toiletries. Oh, I almost for got to mention the smell. Heavenly. And it comes in a variety of scents.

Most travelers document their adventures usually with pictures or journaling. This Old World Journal (Notebook, Diary) (Travel Journal) (Guided Journals) (Full Size Foldover Journals) is sure to please. But because most people don’t carry their journal everywhere, it would be too cumbersome there are the Moleskine Cahier Journal (Set of 3), Pocket, Plain, Indigo Blue, Soft Cover (3.5 x 5.5). Great to jot down brief notes to jog the memory when later transfering into the larger journal.

I bought the Cocoon GRID-IT Organizer (CPG10BL) for my nephew a few years ago while he was in college because I thought it would help him keep all his gadgets organized. When I received it in the mail, i thought, well that’s not real exciting. I think he thought the same when he opened his gifts. However, the next time I saw him he told me how great it was and he used it all the time. Travelers face this organizational dilemma all the time. If you want to take this gadget wrangler to the next level there is the Cocoon Innovations GRID-IT! 8-Inch Accessory Organizer with Tablet Pocket (CPG41BKT).

Gifts Under $15

When I travel I like to take something that is a reminder or token of the places I’ve visited. However, travelers, especially those who are on the road an extended period can’t collect big bulky print materials from every site or museum they visit. They can keep all their entrance passes organized in this Travel Stub Diary.

You are going to think I have lost my mind with this suggestion. So, let’s get it out of the way then I will explain. Nylon Cable Ties – 11″ – Multi Color (Blue, Red, Green, Yellow, Fuchsia, Orange, Gray, Purple) – 500 Pieces A friend of a friend who works for one of the airlines as a baggage handler told her not to bother locking her bags because if they need to open it they will one way or another. He said to use the cable ties, don’t pull them tight, leave them loose so they or any other official can peak in. And if they are going to open the bag all the way I would rather they cut a zip tie than cut off a lock that I will then have to replace or find some other way in. Additionally, cable ties are like duct tape, there is always a use for them.


I know it sounds cliche but this one really is priceless. It could save a loved ones life. Roadid is like a medical alert bracelet on steroids. The interactive version allows the user to enter all their medical information into a database for first responders to access. Even if your loved one doesn’t have any chronic medical conditions this is a great tool. It allows the user to input all their past medical conditions such as surgeries, any medication, allergies, physician information and more. If the traveler in your life is ever in a situation where they can not speak for themselves the Road ID Interactive speaks for them. Even when I am traveling with others I wear mine. It is peace of mind.


I hope this gift list helps make your holidays a bit less humbug and more joyous. If you have any great traveler gifts you would like me and others to know about please leave a comment with your suggestions. I’d love to know about them and I’m sure others who want to pull their hair out over the holiday shopping conundrum will too.

Susan Decoteau-Ferrier

Travel writer/blogger, photographer. Avid potter and wanna-be artist. Wife, Mom to 6 fur kids, gardener, coffee snob.


  1. I love the Sandpiper backpack. Brilliant gift idea… and I could use a new pack… just sayin’. And then a plane ticket to somewhere to test it out…. Again, just sayin’… 🙂

  2. Godiva shampoo! Yes please. Thanks for the great gift ideas.

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