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15 Useful Gifts for FIRST-TIME Travelers 2024

Looking for travel gifts for first time travelers?

You’re in luck!

If your loved one is about to take their first adventure overseas, there’s a BUNCH of new gear they’ll need. That means plenty of gift ideas for you!

When I set off on my first adventure, I went CRAZY ordering stuff on Amazon (a little bit too crazy…at the last minute, I realized only half of it fit in my backpack 😳).

If you’re able to squeeze in your gift before your aspiring traveler goes on their own shopping spree, you’re golden.

In this list, you’ll find all the essentials that ALL first time travelers will need. If you choose one of these items, you can be sure it’ll be something they’ll use on a regular basis!

And if you want to see some of our personal favorite travel items—things we take with us everywhere we travel (that would make perfect gifts), check out this video:

Can’t find what you’re looking for on this list? Never fear! I’ve got TONS more travel gift ideas for you right here.

#1.) The Standard Luggage Carry-On

Standard Luggage Co. 35L Travel Backpack for Air Travel | Carry-on Sized, Flight Approved, with a Laptop Pocket

If your travel rookie is planning on traveling light with just a carry-on bag, this is the bag they’ll want to use (it’s the one I currently use!).

They also have other accent colors, in case you don’t like the orange. I removed the colors altogether because I like the all-black look.

Standard Luggage Co made a super quality bag that rivals some more popular brands, yet it costs way less. Totally underrated.

They’ve also invented some clever add-ons, like packing cubes that velcro together into a hanging closet (another great gift idea, by the way!)

(Check price on Amazon)

#2.) Osprey Farpoint 70 Backpack

Osprey Farpoint 70L Men's Travel Backpack, Tunnel Vision Grey

While the Nomatic bag is probably one of the best minimalist travel bags out there, they don’t offer anything larger than carry-on size.

So if your traveler needs more space (most do), I recommend the Osprey Farpoint 70 backpack.

A high-quality backpack is a long-term traveler’s best friend. It’s literally their “house” and needs to be strong enough to take endless beatings. (Imagine lugging a heavy load around the world with a broken strap…not fun).

Before switching to carry-on only, I used the old version of the Osprey Farpoint 70 for over 6 years of rough use. It has proven virtually indestructible.

#3.) Shacke Pak Packing Cubes

Shacke 5 Set Packing Cubes for Travel Lightweight Luggage Organizer (Aqua Teal)

Traveling without packing cubes can be an organizational nightmare. It’s one of the biggest rookie packing mistakes.

If you’re looking for a great gift for someone traveling abroad, especially if that someone has never done a big trip before—these packing cubes will save them loads of frustration and headaches.

#4.) Eagle Creek COMPRESSION Packing Cubes

Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Packing Cubes for Travel S/M - 2 Durable, Lightweight, Water-Resistant Ripstop Fabric Suitcase Organizer Bags, White/Strobe

An alternative to the traditional Shacke packing cubes above are the new Eagle Creek COMPRESSION packing cubes.

I have yet to test these out myself, but from the looks of it, they’re like packing cubes on steroids.

Not only do you get the organization of regular packing cubes, but now you can compress everything down to save space in your bag…brilliant!

Plus, Eagle Creek is one of the top names in the travel organization space, so you know you’re getting quality.

#5.) eBags Pack-it-Flat Hanging Toiletry Kit

eBags Classic Pack-it-Flat Toiletry Kit (Denim)

A toiletry bag might not seem like a very unique travel gift…but the key here is HANGING toiletry bag.

This will make your traveler’s life so much easier. 

When I first started traveling, I had a regular non-hanging bag, and let me tell you…it sucked!

Turns out, many bathrooms have nowhere to set your bathroom stuff. So unless you want to set your toothbrush on the grimy floor, you have to set it in the wet sink…or balance it on your knee…or tuck it under your chin. You might think I’m exaggerating, but the struggle was real!

After I bought a hanging toiletry bag, everything changed. As long as the bathroom has a doorknob, towel holder, or shower rod—you have somewhere to put your stuff. (Plus it’s super slim and easy to pack!)

#6.) EPICKA Universal Travel Adapter

EPICKA Universal Travel Adapter One International Wall Charger AC Plug Adaptor with 5.6A Smart Power and 3.0A USB Type-C for USA EU UK AUS (TA-105, Grey)

If you need a good gift for someone traveling abroad for the first time, a universal travel adapter is a great option.

Many newbie travelers forget about the fact that other countries use different types of outlets. Without an adaptor, they won’t be able to charge anything! 

A basic universal adaptor would make a so-so gift, but most only let you charge one device at a time – not very practical.

That’s why I recommend the EPICKA Travel Adapter, which has 4 USB and 1 USB-C charging slots, all in one compact adapter.

#7.) Quick Dry Microfiber Towel

Rainleaf Microfiber Towel Perfect Travel & Gym & Camping Towel. Quick Dry - Super Absorbent - Ultra Compact - Lightweight. Suitable for Trip, Beach, Shower, Backpacking, Pool

Do not let your rookie traveler leave home without one of these towels. Seriously, DON’T DO IT!

If you haven’t traveled much, you won’t appreciate the difference between a regular towel and a microfiber travel towel. But trust me, the difference is huge. 

A good microfiber towel packs down to half the size of a normal towel, dries 10x faster, and takes longer to start smelling like butt.

To choose the perfect microfiber towel, you need to think about size. Small towels are nice because they don’t take up much space in your bag. Big towels dry you better and are great for the beach.

For me, XL is the perfect size (30 x 60 inches). Not too small, not too big.

#8.) Passport Holder

RFID Passport Holder Cover-leather Anti-theft Travel Wallet Card Case Document Organizer with Pen for Women Men(Black)

When traveling abroad, your passport is your life. It’s not something you just throw in your bag willy-nilly. It needs to be protected from both physical elements, as well as digital thieves.

That’s why a passport holder is a great gift idea for someone going traveling for the first time. There are tons of different designs and styles., so you might want to poke around Amazon to see which your traveler would like best. 

I personally prefer compact passport holders (like this one) that are easy to fit in my pocket.

Whichever you choose, make sure it has RFID-Blocking technology so hackers can’t scrape the data embedded in your passport and steal your identity.

#9.) Osprey Packs Daylite Plus

Osprey Daylite Plus Commuter Backpack, Black

If your traveler’s main bag doesn’t have a detachable day pack (like the Osprey Farpoint 70 recommend above), they’ll need a separate day pack.

This is the backpack they carry around sightseeing (while their bigger bag is stored in their accommodation). 

The Osprey Packs Daylite Plus is one of the best day packs on the market—a useful travel gift your little explorer is sure to love.

#10.) Travel Laundry Sacks

HOMEST 2 Pack XL Wash Me Travel Laundry Bag, Dirty Clothes Organizer, Large Enough to Hold 4 Loads of Laundry, Easy Fit a Laundry Hamper or Basket

Your traveler is going to need a way to separate clean clothes from dirty clothes within their backpack/luggage. 

The best way to do this is with a dedicated laundry sack designed to prevent dirty clothes rank from seeping out into the “clean area” of their bag. 

Friends don’t let friends travel wearing ranky clothes. So if you need a great gift for friends going traveling, this is it.

#11.) Money Belt

VENTURE 4TH Travel Money Belt - RFID Blocking (Gray)

While I think there are definitely better ways to hide your money while traveling (which I’ve scattered all throughout this list), a classic money belt is a travel staple that is bound to come in handy. 

This one sports RFID-blocking technology, is water-repellant, and has a few extra pockets to help keep things organized.

#12.) Hydration Fanny Pack

WATERFLY Fanny Pack Waist Bag: Fannie Pack 2 Water Bottle Holders Lumbar Belt Hiking Walking Running Jogging Camping Large Woman Man (Bottle Not Included)

I used to think fanny packs were just for fashion-challenged dads visiting Disneyland with their family.

Boy was I wrong.

These things are AWESOME. They totally transformed the way I traveled, and now I recommend EVERY new traveler use them.

They let you whiz through airports with all documents organized (and are basically like a free extra piece of luggage).

They’re perfect for carrying essentials when you don’t want to lug around a big backpack.

And best of all, thanks to me (and other savvy travelers), the style is catching on—now it’s uncool to NOT be wearing one of these 😎

#13.) Lonely Planet Travel Guide

A lonely planet travel guide—one of the best gifts for travelers—sitting on  a table overlooking Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Planning my next stop after Guatemala.

With the internet giving us instant access to anything we want to know, physical travel guides are becoming less and less popular.

That said, there’s something romantic and adventurous about putting the phone away and following a good ‘ol travel guide. 

#14.) Pocket Language Dictionary

Merriam-Webster’s Pocket French-English Dictionary (Pocket Reference Library) (Multilingual, French and English Edition)

Yes, there is an app for that. You can look up anything you want to know on your phone. 

But when traveling, there are many times when pulling your expensive smartphone out isn’t the best idea.

A handy pocket dictionary will help your traveler pick up the local language whenever their phone isn’t available. 

#15.) Leather Travel Journal

Leather Travelers Notebook - 8.5x4.5in - Wanderings® Refillable Travel Journal - Hand-Crafted Genuine Leather Journal for Writing, Poets, Travelers, as a Diary or Life Planner - Blank Inserts

My travel journal is hands-down one of my most prized possessions. 

I’ve carefully recorded all of my favorite travel memories, and one of my favorite things to do is sit back with a beer, crack open the journal, and relive those memories. 

That said, it wouldn’t be the same if it were written in a normal notebook. The feel of a high-quality leather journal in your hands makes the experience more magical. (Make sure to pair this cool travel gift with a waterproof pen).

Gifts for First Time Travelers Recap

If I were about to leave on my first trip, these are the exact items I would have LOVED as gifts. (Unfortunately, my b-day had passed, and I had to scrape together money to buy it all myself…)

Many of the items I bought on this list I still use today, 5 years later, almost every day.

That means if you choose something from this list, you can be sure your loved one think of you during their adventures around the world for many years to come.

And that’s the whole idea, right? 😉

Need even more gift ideas? We’ve got ya covered. Choose the type of traveler you’re shopping for below:

Mitch's Travel Recommendations:
Travel Planning Resources - Everything you need to plan your trip on one convenient page.
Going Cheap Flights Newsletter - Get flight deals from your airport up to 90% off sent straight to your inbox.
Safetywing Insurance - This cheap travel insurance has saved me over $15,000 in medical bills. - Book accommodation without adding your credit card (in case you need to cancel).
Trusted House Sitters - Take care of pets in exchange for free (sometimes luxury) accommodation.
Flexjobs - Find remote jobs without having to sift through crappy ones.
Skillshare - Free trial to take unlimited classes that teach digital nomad skills.
Wise - Send and receive money abroad cheaply (great for freelancers).


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