Top Gifts for Travelers in 2018

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Are you shopping for gifts for people who love to travel, and you’re not sure what to get? Here are the top gifts for travelers in 2018; a collection of items ranging from less than $20 to over $100.

Included this year is custom sandals/insoles (also for men and women) – that changed my life(!), tripods, passport wallets, and even a collection of travel experiences that will definitely be remembered by the avid traveler in your life.

(And if you’re anything like me, you’re reading this post as much for yourself as you are looking for gifts for travel lovers. That’s okay, I won’t tell.)

How did I pick these items from the enormous selection of unique travel gifts and gear available? From personal experience, is how.

Every year, I test-drive a variety of travel-related products and services. Most of them I receive for free or for a discount, and the best of them (or most noteworthy, for better or worse!) I review here.

Below is a collection of everything noteworthy that I tested out in 2018. In a few cases, if you click through and make a purchase using the links here, I will receive a small commission. It doesn’t affect your cost, but it certainly does affect my life and livelihood, and my ability to continue to produce high-quality content for you, for free. Thank you in advance for your support!

On with the show! Happy shopping.

These best travel gifts for 2018 include custom sandals and insoles, an adventure backpack, passport wallet, gift collections, tripods, and clothing! #FullTimeTravel #TravelPlanning #TravelTips #TravelWebsites #TravelGifts #GiftsForTravelers #TravelTips #TravelGear #Shopping #Sandals #AdventureBackpack #TravelBackpacks #Tripod #PassportWallet #GiftIdeas #Wiivv #Tinggly #GobiGear #WesternRise
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Wiivv custom made insoles changed my life!

FitMyFoot was the find of the year (and possibly the decade) for me. After months of suffering from plantar fasciitis followed immediately by fallen arches, every single step of every day involved varying degrees of pain. (And when I’m on the road, I’m all about discovering my destination by walking it. So this was the kiss of death). Luckily, just before succumbing to expensive and clunky orthotics, FitMyFoot “stepped in” to save the day.

There’s so much I can say about these puppies. Let’s cover the basics:

  • After using their app to take pictures of your feet, FitMyFoot digitally maps your feet to 200 points and 3D prints your custom sandals/insoles.
  • The sandal straps are seamless, cushioned, and adjustable, and the toe thong is soft-knit instead of hard plastic. I normally chafe or blister with new sandals; this didn’t happen.
  • You can select your custom colour scheme/design. (They even print your name on the sandals and insoles; it’s super cute).
  • The arch support is unreal. (It actually takes some getting used to, but now….omg).
  • The deep heel cup stabilizes your heel and absorbs shock.
  • They are free to try for 30 days, and there’s a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty.
  • FitMyFoot’s close-loop recyclable footbeds mean they don’t have to end up in landfills/oceans. Wear them out and send them back to be made into future sandals. Yay for the environment!
  • FitMyFoot makes sandals and insoles for both Men and Women.

I could go on. In fact, shall I? I shall. Here’s why FitMyFoot’s technology is important for you and your feet:

  • Improperly supported feet lead to not only foot fatigue and other foot-related problems, but it triggers a chain causing further pain and complications in the ankles, shins, knees, hips, and back. It all starts with the feet.
  • Suffer from plantar fasciitis? FitMyFoot insoles and sandals just might be the antidote.
  • Wouldn’t it be nice to finish a big day of travel involving miles of walking without having tired achy feet? Yes, it is nice.
  • Got flat feet? FitMyFoot’s Biomechanic Smart Filters identify flat feet and map a supportive arch to help you better align and reduce uneven loading/pressure.
  • High arches? FitMyFoot has you covered here too, providing weight distribution and pressure across your entire foot’s surface.

If it’s sandals you’re specifically interested in (and you’re not convinced yet), I encourage you to read about some more specifics in my epic Travel Sandals post (like, a guy actually ran the Boston Marathon in them).

But sometimes you just have to put on actual shoes, and that’s what FitMyFoot’s insoles are for. I got the 3/4 length insoles so they can fit into absolutely any shoe, from heels to runners.

So between my sandals and insoles, I have a new spring in my step…..literally. They saved me from debilitating foot pain, and from having to get expensive custom orthotics. As long as I have my insoles, I can wear whatever shoes I like! Not a day goes by when I’m not grateful to have FitMyFoot’s custom sandals and insoles, on the road and at home.

Want to see FitMyFoot in action? Here’s a video I created: 

Click here to watch the video directly on YouTube (along with other travel gear reviews and useful Vlogs on my channel). 


Tinggly Gift Collections - a great travel gift in 2018

If you’re not sure what to get the traveler in your life, but you want something that will make an impact, then head over to Tinggly. They’re not in the travel gear business, so much as travel experiences.

It’s a unique way to provide a travel experience for somebody while still giving them the ultimate choice to pick their perfect experience and location. Tinggly currently has 19 gift collections (with more added regularly), each collection containing hundreds of experiences available around the world. From diving with sharks, to the world’s highest bungee jump, to the world’s oldest yoga retreat centre, to a gondola ride in Venice, there’s something for every type of traveler.

All you have to do is order one of these collections to be delivered as a physical gift box or e-voucher. Then, the recipient can choose whatever experience within the collection they want to do!

While it does seem to me that some of these experiences are a wee bit overpriced, that’s what you get for providing somebody with a travel experience in some far flung destination without actually being there to book it. It’s not like you could scour the streets of Thailand to personally find the best cooking course. So….all things considered, Tinggly provides good value, and great gifts.

Do you want to be there in spirit with your traveling friend and give them something to remember you by? Then Tinggly might be just what the doctor (er….traveler) ordered.

This post has been financially supported in part by Tinggly. While I haven’t personally used their services, I think it’s a fabulous idea for a travel gift that will allow you to vicariously travel with your loved one(s).


Tripods for Travel, a great travel gift!

If you’re even remotely interested in taking high-quality photos, you need a tripod. This is common sense for anybody with an advanced SLR or mirrorless camera; but even point-and-shoot cameras and smartphones go to the next level with a tripod.

Personally, I have the kind of camera that also makes phone calls (a smartphone), and I also have a wee tripod that allows me to set up advanced shots including longer exposures, group photos, and time lapse. And for video? I wouldn’t know what to do without my tripod.

Because everybody travels with a different kind of tripod, and because I haven’t test-driven any travel tripods worth mentioning, I’m going to direct you to this most excellent collection of tripods for travel that cater to a range of budgets from under $25 to over $300.

Note: This post has been financially supported in part by Omnicore Agency. Many thanks to them for creating this great travel tripod resource, as well as helping The Professional Hobo to keep things operating efficiently.


Everybody needs a passport wallet! This one makes a great gift for travelers

I’ve been a fan of passport wallets for a long time, and I’ve tried out quite a few. Personally, I’m a fan of the neck wallet variety because it’s slim, lightweight, and easy to keep on me all the time on travel days by hanging it around my neck (and underneath my clothes).

I also keep a few extra things in my passport wallet, including any left over foreign currency, lounge passes (which I get with my travel credit card), and other things I may need on travel days.

Here’s what I look for in a passport wallet in general:

  • RFID Blocking
  • Lots of pockets, zippered for extra security
  • Adjustable strap so you can wear it around your neck, or crossbody as a sling
  • Lightweight, durable

If you already have a system you like for carrying your passport (like a special pocket), then as a bare minimum, I recommend this paper-thin RFID-blocking sleeve for your passport, since passports with chips are vulnerable to identity theft. Somebody with an RFID scanner in their pocket can simply walk by you and steal all your information!

For more about RFID technology and how to protect yourself, check out this video I made.

2024 Update: For the last few years, I traded in my neck wallet in favour of a more multi-functional option: the Pacsafe Anti-Theft Crossbody Tech Bag. It’s ever so slightly bulkier than a passport wallet, but it could still be tucked inside a shirt or jacket if you wanted to. Either way it’s super low profile and has all kinds of anti-theft features. On travel days, I wear it cross-body and I keep my passport, wallet, phone, and a few other small bits in it. But it’s also useful at my destination (and at home too!) if I want to go out with just a couple of things and I don’t have suitable pockets (as women rarely do). Check it out! It’s honestly one of my most-used pieces of travel gear, and has been for years.

See also: The Ultimate Guide to Traveling With Money (as in, how to carry it, access it, and use it)

WESTERN RISE Men’s Clothing

Given that so many of the clothing companies I end up reviewing are female-focused, I’m very pleased to introduce a men’s clothing company that uses some pretty amazing performance fabrics to combine style with functionality.

Their styles are designed to cover off a broad range of possibilities from outdoor hiking to office loitering.

Their clothing is very well made, and their attention to detail shows with sturdy seams and thoughtful design features.

Western Rise Best Sellers include the AT Slim pants, made of a specially-designed nylon canvas material that does everything; it’s lighter and more durable than denim, water repellant, stain resistant, flexible, abrasion resistant, and more.

Also, their Strong Core Merino Tee is a winner (my boyfriend lives in his), as well as the brand new (2020) Limitless Merino Button Down Shirt for a dressier look without any wrinkles or smelly pits.

For way more info on Western Rise, check out: The Best Travel Clothing for Men

Looking for more travel gifts ideas?

Check out my Travel Gear archives.

Plus, help yourself to these posts:

The Ultimate Packing List for Full-Time Travel

The Best Travel Accessories

My Search for the Perfect Travel Sandal

Travel Capsule Wardrobe, and the Best Wrinkle-Free Travel Clothes for Women

Checked vs Carry-On Luggage (and Why Checked is Best)

Best Travel Gifts for 2017 (The Ultimate Travel Dress, expandable packing cubes, Eagle Creek compression sacs, Chipolo tracking device, Fat Chick Goes Awol (book), and a global data e-SIM card)

Giant 2016 Travel Gear Roundup (Ultimate Travel Jacket, ROLO and TUO packing aids, Tieks, Revolve Dress, Anatomie designer travel clothing, Sudio Sweden wireless earbuds, RFID tools, J-Pillow, a VPN, and more)

9 Perfect Gifts for Travelers (2015 Edition) (Kinivo blutooth headphones, SteriPEN Ultra, Best Travel Pants ever, Ambronite, Hoboroll/SegSac packing tools, Encircled Flipside Leggings, and more)

Awesome Travel Gear, Gizmos, and Services (2014 Edition) (Ultralight filter water bottle, ion5 Solar Ionic Toothbrush, a VPN, Evolve Top, Compression Socks, and more)

Perfect Travel Gifts (2013 Edition) (Hoboroll, Passport Wallet, Adventure Towel, Travel Adaptor, Headlamp, Packable Daypack, Wheeled Backpack, Chrysalis Cardi, and more)

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3 thoughts on “Top Gifts for Travelers in 2018”

    • Hi Katie,
      Seriously – Wiivv rocks! I went for a few days without wearing my sandals, and when I put them on again I realized just how amazing they are for my feet. Best find ever!


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