Home Featured Travel Gifts for Couples: Holiday Gift Guide 2019

Travel Gifts for Couples: Holiday Gift Guide 2019

by Bonnie

It is that time of year again… time for holiday gift shopping. Many people find joy in shopping for the right gift for family and friends. Unfortunately, gift shopping can also be frustrating. We’ll do what we can to reduce some of that stress with these travel gifts for couples.

We know not everyone is a frequent traveler or part of a couple. As such, we’ll cover ideas for men, women and couples. And, don’t worry, most of these items are great for the occasional traveler or even for use at home.

Everything on this list is something we use and love. So, if you have questions about any of the products, please ask!

Grant geared up to go to Isle Royale National Park.
Grant geared up to go to Isle Royale National Park.

We tried to sort everything by price point, but with all things, it depends on what’s on sale and sometimes certain colors and sizes are more or less expensive.

(Disclaimer: When we link to places you can buy our stuff or places we stayed, we are using special codes which earn us commissions on the sales at no additional cost to you. Please see our Review Policy  for more information.)

Price Range: Less Than $30

Amazon Basics Cables

Let’s be honest, electronics are a part of our everyday life now. And keeping them charged is important! We use Apple products and we live by Amazon Basics cables because they work just as well, for a fraction of what Apple charges for their charging cables.

The quality is great… we have never had to replace one and we’ve been using these almost exclusively for many years. Instead, we just keep buying additional cables to keep in the truck, RV and portable charging station so that we don’t have to remember to pack the ones we keep at the house.

And, if you’re not an Apple user, you can probably still find an Amazon Basics cable that will work at a fraction of the cost of a branded cable.

Portable Charger

You’ve got your charging cables, but what if you don’t have electricity? We picked up this Jackery Bar External Battery Charger a couple of years ago and we love it! It will provide two or three iPhone charges and can also charge an iPad. While it may not hold quite as much juice as other external batteries, it also doesn’t cost nearly as much! You can also get one with charging cables built-in!

Dual USB Car Charger

Being able to charge your electronics is essential. Being able to charge two devices at one time…even better! In terms of travel gifts for couples, something both parties can use at the same time is always a win.

While many newer cars have built-in USB chargers, like our F-150, if you’re still rocking an old school charging plug (or even a cigarette lighter), you’ll need an adapter.

The two port USB charger and Amazon Basics Cables we use to keep our devices charged while driving.
The two-port USB charger and Amazon Basics Cables we use to keep our devices charged while driving.

This inexpensive dual car charger, along with a couple of Amazon Basics charging cables, makes for the perfect mobile charging station!

Money Belt

Lots of travel-industry folks will suggest using a money belt when traveling to hide your cash. We like this one, from Eagle Creek, that is actually a belt. Traditional money belts hide under your clothes and pretty much require you to undress to access.

While this one will not hold your passport, etc., it will hold emergency cash and it’s a belt! An actual, functional, comfortable belt!

Wallet

If you’re looking for a traditional wallet for your cash and credit cards, check out the men’s and women’s wallets from Joseko. I recently received the Joseko Muti-Slot Long Wallet to check out and am pleasantly surprised at how well it holds everything.

The long version of this wallet has space for 11 cards plus a protected ID slot. There are also three interior slots for bills or other items and an exterior zippered pocket. The cards slots grips cards well and nothing is slipping out. If anything, cards stick just a bit, though I expect that will change with use. I will admit, the protected ID slot is very difficult to get a card in and out of. You could easily just put a picture there, though, and use one of the normal slots for your ID.  

A red wallet with plenty of storage for credit cards and cash.
Joseko Multi-Slot Wallet

This wallet is attractive and reasonably slim. That said, when the card slots are filled to capacity the wallet is just a bit bulky. Still, the snap closure holds well even when full. The zippered pocket can hold coins or additional cards and includes a key ring tassel. I’m not a huge fan of the keyring, but the tassel does make the zipper easy to use. My favorite feature of this wallet, other than the card capacity, is that there are three different places to “hide” cash so it is not easily visible.

If you don’t carry quite as many cards as I do, there is a short version of this wallet. There are also MANY other wallet styles available for men and women, all at very reasonable prices. Overall, this is a great wallet for the price.

Save 15% with the code 15offwallet when you order from Joseko.

Sunglass Croakies

Whether you are at home or away, being able to easily slip your sunglasses on and off is essential! I got my first pair of Croakies many, many years ago and they have been a staple of my life ever since. Grant now regularly uses them, too.

While Croakies are useful every day, they are a lifesaver while traveling. Being able to slip the sunglasses on and off quickly and easily as we move in and out of buildings is fantastic. One may say that they look a little silly. But, if it prevents me from losing my sunglasses, it’s worth it!

Travel Towel

A good travel towel is essential, especially when backpacking or camping. We used similar towels from REI when tent camping because they dry quickly. They also roll up fairly tight, thus not taking up a lot of room in your luggage.

Having a towel when traveling is great just in case you need to shower at a train station or if you get caught in the rain and just need to dry off. Plus, if you plan on visiting the beach, you’ll generally want a towel!

Luggage Scale

Nobody likes overweight baggage! Check your weight with a luggage scale BEFORE you get to the airport. If you’ve ever tried to weigh luggage with the bathroom scale, you know it’s not as easy as it may sound. Plus, this is easy enough to pack with you so that you can make sure all that shopping you did while on vacation doesn’t put your bag over the weight limit.

If you’re a backpacker, you can make sure you don’t load your pack so that it is too heavy for body weight. Believe me, that pack will feel A LOT heavier after 45 minutes than it does whenever you first pick it up!

Travel Power Adapter

If you are traveling internationally, you will need an adapter plug. Sometimes you will need a converter but, usually, just an adapter will do. Since every region is different, we have this Flight 001 4-in-1 Adapter. It covers 150 countries and fits into one small easy-to-pack cube.

Headlamp

Headlamps may look silly, but the functionality can’t be beaten. Our Petzl headlamps have lasted us for nearly 10 years.

We recently got a USB rechargeable headlamp from UCO in a Cairn Box. We love that with this headlamp we don’t have to worry about batteries while we are traveling.

Maybe you are navigating streets without streetlights or changing a tire on the side of the road. We’ve needed the headlamps to set up our tent and RV when arriving at the campground after dark.

Heck, Grant even got his out one night when the sun went down before he was done mowing the grass! Yes, that is just one reason why we now live in a condo!

Packable Daypack

For anyone on the go, having an extra small bag is never a bad thing. We love this Eddie Bauer Stowaway Packable 30L Pack. It packs into its own pouch so you can easily pack it in your main bag. At 30L it is big enough for a full day out and about. Grant even used it for our overnight trip to Isle Royale National Park.

We each have one of these packs and take them with us just about every time we travel.

Read more about choosing the right daypack and all the various packs we use when we travel.

Price Range: $30-$50

Scratch Off Map

So, we got the Landmass Goods Travel Tracker Scratch Off map hung and now we are hanging one picture from every trip surrounding the map.
So, we got the Landmass Goods Travel Tracker Scratch Off map hung and now we are hanging one picture from every trip surrounding the map.

The Landmass Travel Tracker Scratch Off maps are a great way for any traveler to record (and show off) where they’ve visited. Available in a World map or United States (with National Parks), any traveler will love this gift! This easy to scratch off map is a great display of where you’ve been and where you still need to explore.

A fun map and conversation starter!

Also available on Amazon.

Travel WiFi Router

One of the key parts of our road trip tech: charging station and travel router.
Our portable charging station and portable router set up and ready to use.

We take this small (2.2″ by 2.2″ by 0.7″) WiFi Router by TP-Link with us everywhere we travel. Combined with a retractable Ethernet cable, we can both use just about any wired ethernet connection at a hotel. Admittedly, it doesn’t always work, but when it does, we get a boost in speed and not as much “congestion” as we would on the hotel’s router. Plus, it’s more secure.

Amazon Fire Stick

We have gotten to where we almost always travel with an Amazon Fire Stick. It is small and easy to pack and allows you to stream just about anything you want to, provided you have the subscription.

The best part about the Fire Stick is that it has the ability to log into Web-enabled internet portals, found in most hotels. This makes it the perfect device for streaming Netflix, etc. while on the road. That’s right, no more fighting over ESPN or Lifetime; couples can just stream whatever shows they enjoy together at home while even while traveling!

Looking for the perfect gift for the frequent business traveler in your life? Look no further!

Therm-a-Rest Compressible Travel Pillow

We first bought these pillows for tent camping. They roll up into themselves, making them easy to pack and store while traveling. The pillows naturally expand in a reasonable amount of time to be comfortable while sleeping.

Our two pillows now “live” in the camper, as the perfect companion to our “normal” pillows on the bed. Recently, we bought two additional pillows to take with us on road trips without the camper. We just aren’t a big fan of the feather pillows we seem to find at most hotels these days.

Nike Dri-Fit Shirts

Grant and I both love Nike Legend Dri-Fit t-shirts. These shirts are light, wick moisture, breathe very well, feel good and are the most comfortable synthetic t-shirts we have found yet. You can get them with various logos on them, but I like the solid colors for travel. They are timeless.

Columbia Declination Button-Up Shirt

Grant Enjoying the Train Ride
Grant enjoying the eight-hour train ride and his 7th book (on his iPad Mini) of the Eastern Europe trip. The Columbia Declination Trail Shirt was super comfy!

Grant has been wearing the Columbia Declination shirts while traveling since our first trip to Italy. The shirt is lightweight, very breathable and the modal/poly blend resists wrinkles, no matter how tightly you roll it.

Women’s Columbia PFG Tamiami II Short Sleeve Shirt

If you want something nicer than a t-shirt, but still lightweight and quick-drying, this is a great option! I love this shirt for sight-seeing and light hiking. With moisture-wicking fabric and UPF protection, this is one of my favorite travel shirts.

Price Range: $50-$100

Packing Cubes

One of the best ways to make a small backpack or suitcase work is to use packing cubes. You will be amazed at how much more you can fit if you pack your clothes into these cubes. Packing cubes also allow couples who pack together in one bag to keep their clothes separated.

Once everything was placed in it's compartments, all I was left with was my clothes, camera, medicine, water bottle, travel pillow and small towel. the eBags packing cubes made quick work of packing my clothes.
The eBags packing cubes made quick work of Grant’s clothes for eight days in Italy.

We use eBags Hyper-Lite Packing Cubes. They come in a variety of sizes and colors, so you can get whatever size best fits your backpack, suitcase, or whatever you are packing in. They also sell multi-packs if you want or need a variety of sizes.

Women’s Convertible Pants

Convertible pants (which convert to shorts) may not be the most stylish, but they sure are convenient! One of my favorite styles is the prAna Sage Convertible Pants. They are fairly lightweight and roll up nice and tight for packing. The legs are easy to zip on and off or roll up to capri length. The shorts are a little longer than I generally like, but when visiting churches or museums, I usually find that is better.

Men’s Convertible Pants

Grant has been wearing Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pants since our Italy trip and he loves them. Yes, they are travel pants, but they are comfortable and very flexible. The pockets are pretty much perfect, with the sole exception of the zippered cargo pocket, which would be better on the right leg, not the left leg.

REI Flash 22 Daypack

This pack is lightweight and designed for small loads and use on the trail. It comes equipped with a hydration sleeve and 2 mesh side pockets, perfect for a couple of water bottles.

Grant and the Flash 22 daypack
Grant wearing his REI Flash 22 pack.

The inside and outside pockets allow you to keep items you may need easily accessible while on the move. This is Grant’s go-to bag for hiking and other day trips.

For more information, check out our article on choosing the right daypack here.

Osprey Packs Daylite Plus Daypack

I am now carrying the Osprey Packs Daylite Plus Daypack for a hiking pack. This 20L pack will hold an extra layer, snacks and all the essential hiking gear. It also has a large main compartment, a medium front pocket and a small pocket for keys or other small items. The stuff-it pocket on the front is perfect for stashing a trail map for easy access or an outer layer as temperatures warms up.

Bonnie hiking with her new daypack, an Osprey Daylite Plus.
Bonnie hiking with her new daypack, an Osprey Daylite Plus.

For longer hikes, there is a hydration bladder sleeve. For shorter hikes, there are two mesh side pockets for water bottles. There is even a padded compartment for a tablet or small laptop if you wanted to use the bag as a carry-on.

For someone who likes to stay organized even when on the trail, this is a great pack!

Charging Station with Battery Pack

Whatever electronics you use, you will need to charge them! Rather than carry around several different cords praying that you have enough outlets, we suggest this Aviiq Portable Charging Station.

You can charge up to four devices at a time, all with one wall outlet – or none at all! And it keeps everything in one place and tangle-free. We each have one so we can charge our iPhone, tablet and Apple Watch at the same time, plus another cable for charging things like our rechargeable headlamp, wireless mouse or portable battery pack. Seriously, this thing goes with us EVERYWHERE we travel. Being able to use it on the go is a wonderful improvement.

With four charging outlets, it’s one of the best travel gifts for couples because they can both use it at the same time!

Packable Raincoat

Having good rain gear when traveling is essential. At the very least, take a packable raincoat with you in case of the rain rolling in. We each have a couple of raincoats that we use for different purposes.

Alaska cruise in Glacier Bay
Bonnie using her Eddie Bauer Rainfoil Jacket as a shell layer.

Grant hates hoods, so he always goes for jackets with a hood that packs into the collar or zips off. He has a Glennaker Lake Rain Jacket from Columbia he got several years ago. It packs into its own pocket and doesn’t weigh that much. For casual use, it’s great and it stays in the truck most of the time. For travel and backpacking, he recently got a Rainier Jacket from REI, which weighs a bit more but is far more robust and has pit zips for ventilation. He wore that coat at a very soggy Army football game and loved it. Were he not averse to hoods, he would certainly be interested in the men’s version of my Eddie Bauer Rainfoil Packable Jacket.

I have two raincoats, one designed to be packable and one I have used a stuff sack with. My newest raincoat is an Eddie Bauer Rainfoil Packable Jacket, which works really well. It has kept me dry every time I have used it. My other jacket, a Marmot PreCip, was actually a wedding gift from Grant. I have had it for nearly 10 years and it is still a fabulous raincoat. The only reason I don’t travel with it is that it does not pack down as well as the one from Eddie Bauer.

Price Range: More than $100

Laptop Backpack

Grant bought and loves this eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack.

This laptop bag has a ton of smart features. With several compartments, an AC adaptor “garage” and a water bottle pocket, this bag has it all! It converts from a backpack to a briefcase and will slip over suitcase handles. In our eyes, this bag is perfect for any kind of travel.

Laptop Tote

I use this Travelon Quilted Anti-Theft Tote to carry my laptop and important papers.

This tote bag has a separate slot for a 15″ laptop and the main compartment will hold a small binder, notepad or other items. The front compartment holds smaller items such as pens or a wallet and has several smaller pockets and zippered pouches inside. There is a traditional shoulder strap or you can wear it as a cross-body.

Best of all, the zippers have anti-theft locks, so you can feel confident your stuff is secure. A side pocket unzips to securely hold a water bottle. There’s even a “pass-though” for strapping the tote onto the handle of a roller bag. This is a great tote bag for women that is functional, secure and stylish.

Suitcase

While we rarely travel with a suitcase, there are times when that is just the best way to pack. We mostly use a suitcase when cruising or going to a resort… basically, any trip that involves unpacking just one time.

Buying the right suitcase for your needs is essential. It needs to be sturdy, yet lightweight. Wheels and a handle are a must. The size that you need will vary, so think about that before you buy one.

We each have a hard-sided Samsonite, similar to this one. Four wheels allow it to spin and pull easily. It has a built-in TSA lock. The size allows us to easily pack for more than a week. And it’s expandable… essential if you typically do a lot of shopping while on vacation!

Travel Backpack

When traveling overseas, or anytime that we will be moving around a lot, we carry a backpack rather than a suitcase. If you have ever tried to pull a suitcase across cobblestone streets, you will understand why we love to travel with a backpack. Being able to have our hands free when getting on a train or walking through the airport is also great.

I use the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible and Grant uses the Lowepro Highline BP 400 AW.

The backpack may be a little bit and boxy, but it carries nicely and has great organizational features!
The backpack may be a little bit and boxy, but it carries nicely and has great organizational features!

With some careful packing, we can fit about five days’ worth of clothes, plus toiletries, electronics, and any other essential items. It does taking some creative packing and VERY careful consideration of what you actually need, but we have lived out of a backpack for more than a month at a time in Europe.

When we traveled to Italy in 2017, we actually managed to pack for eight days and both of these packs performed like a charm. Personally, I would rather take 5-6 days and do laundry but both of these packs impressed us on that trip.

You can read a full review of Bonnie’s backpack here and Grant’s here. If you think you can’t pack in just a backpack, read our tips on How to Travel Like a Professional Traveler.

Tablet (iPad or Amazon Fire)

I know not everyone is on the Apple bandwagon, but we are and that is what we recommend. The iPad Mini is our tablet of choice, allowing us to read books, work, or just catch up on the day’s news. Until recently, we both had iPad Minis. When the time came for me to replace mine due to a cracked screen, though, I opted for an Amazon Fire Tablet.

Bonnie reading a book on her iPad at the camper.
Bonnie reading a book on her iPad at the camper.

Both tablets are the perfect size for reading and they fit in the front pocket of our backpacks for easy access on the train or in the airport. Yes, the iPad Mini is a bit faster and lighter. It also communicates with our iPhones and MacBooks. The Fire Tablet was cheaper, though, and since we find ourselves mainly using the tablets to read, I opted to save a bit of money.

Whether you opt for an iPad or a Fire Tablet, anything that allows you to carry just about unlimited books while traveling is a great option!

Check out our list of books to inspire your travels.

Camera

While the camera on the iPhone is great, sometimes you just need a bit more. This is where the Canon SX70 comes in. It is lightweight, making it perfect for hiking or backpacking around the world.

Grant currently uses the SX40, a previous version and we have taken it on hikes, to Eastern Europe and twice to Italy.

The camera is light, has an AMAZING optical zoom and weighs about a pound.

Read more about all the gear that Grant keeps in his camera bag.

Can’t Decide on a Gift? Check Out Cairn

Cairn is a subscription box for hiking and travel gear. We have received more than a year’s worth of boxes and have gotten some really impressive gear. We are constantly amazed at how thoughtful the boxes are. The USB-rechargeable headlamp, in particular, is a favorite. We have also gotten a great packable water bottle, sunglasses and several different granola bars to try.

You can gift multiple months so it really fits any budget. This is one of our favorite travel gifts for couples. Opening each box together is tons of fun and we tend to be able to easily determine which one of us the various items are best suited for.

Looking For RV Gear?

Be sure to check out our RV Gear Guide for suggestions for the RV owner in your life.

Still Need More Ideas?

You can find many of these items and much more on our Amazon Influencer page. Check it out for additional gear suggestions.

Final Thoughts on Holiday Gifts for Travelers

Hopefully, we made shopping for the holidays just a bit easier! Every item is something that we use ourselves and feel comfortable recommending as travel gifts for couples or individuals. If you have any questions or are looking for recommendations on something we haven’t covered here, please contact us! We are happy to answer any questions about our recommendations.

Looking for holiday gifts for a traveler? Check out our travel gifts for couples. Includes gift ideas for men, women and couples of all travel styles.
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3 comments

Kellie Jo December 2, 2016 - 11:03 pm

Great post! I’ll steal some of these recommendations for my students on the trip we’re taking to Italy!

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Jean November 23, 2018 - 6:23 am

Allot of good ideas for the holidays. Thank you.

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Grant
Grant November 23, 2018 - 2:06 pm

Thanks Jean!

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