More Than 50 Gifts for Nomads

//More Than 50 Gifts for Nomads

More Than 50 Gifts for Nomads

Travelers, nomads, and future nomads can be tough to shop for.

Many of us are in the process of paring down our possessions, or keeping them minimal, or we’re already living out of a backpack or suitcase, so we’re averse to acquiring more stuff.

We’re often on the road, so it might not be possible give us gifts in person. And if we’re moving around a lot, or staying somewhere without reliable postal service, it might not be possible to mail us something, either!

So what are the best gifts for nomads and travelers?

I asked experienced travelers, nomads, expats, and future nomads to share their suggestions. Their names are provided in parentheses, and the list also includes some of my own ideas (many of which are things I own and use and/or that I’ve actually received from friends and family).

If you’ve ever struggled with what to buy for the avid traveler or nomad in your life, this is for you.

NOTE: Please be sure to check with your favorite nomad before buying them any physical items! Many of us have our packing down to a science and may not have space to add something new, no matter how handy or beautiful it may be.

And if you’re tired of your family and friends complaining that you’re difficult to shop for, just send them this post.

Note: Links with an * are affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission or other benefit if you purchase using this link. As always, there’s no extra cost to you!


Travel Goodies and Essentials

Gift card for local travel/outdoor store such as MEC, REI, or EMS (Tammy Perry)

Essential travel items:

The Scrubba is a great solution for anyone who travels (Jill Sessa)

Foreign currency to the country where a person is traveling (Lynan Saperstein)

Cocoon organizerCocoon for cords and gadgets (Lynan Saperstein)

A little foldable backpack and a water bottle* (Akira Morita) (Amy says: I love this backpack!)

Travel coffeemaker, like an Aeropress(Kristen Youngs)


Gadgets and Tech Stuff

External battery pack* for smartphones, ereaders, and other small electronics

Extra-long USB cable*. Sometimes a plug where I sleep is a long way away or charging a phone at a train station may require plugging in behind vending machines. (Paul Strobl) (Amy says: Make sure it will work for their phone/devices!)

All-in-one travel adapter plug*

An iPad Mini (Lynan Saperstein)

A Kindle.* I LOVE my Kindle Paperwhite. I can read it on dark planes and while sitting next to the window on trains. If I’m traveling for less than a month I don’t need to bring my charger. It’s small and lightweight enough that I carry it everywhere. And I can read for hours without eye strain. I also really like the travel case I bought for it. At first I was disappointed that the case is bigger than my Kindle, but now I love it because it’s a very handy organizer! Just enough room for my Kindle, my little notebook, a pen, and a couple other things (my BritRail Pass, passport, etc). (Cate Johnson Brubaker)

Noise-canceling headphones*. I could not do without these on planes, buses, trains. (Beth Sheldon)

Roost laptop stand* (Amy says: be sure they have an external keyboard and mouse to go with it!)

Amazon Fire TV stick(Kristen Youngs)

Combination selfie stick/monopod/tripod(Nancy-Lynn Hoffman)


Clothes and Accessories

Foldable reusable shopping bag (something like this)

NapAnywhere: it supports your neck so you can nap anywhere. I backed this from Kickstarter and the quality is surprisingly good. I look forward to using it to nap anywhere when I travel. (Brian Kwong)

Scarf with hidden pocket(Shannon Moore Martin)

Icebreaker* clothes: you can wear them for quite some time and they do not smell. Lightweight, wrinkles come out quickly. They make just about everything you need to wear! (Sarah Cook)

Jackets, pants, and other things from SCOTTEVEST. They are designed mostly with travelers in mind: thinking of being able to carry things while traveling by air. Lots of little pockets, and some very big pockets, so you can put things right in your clothing, instead of having to carry bags. (Linda Eskin) 

High-quality outerwear and shoes (Shannon Moore Martin)



A Moleskine journal (and a good pen) (Akira Morita)

(Here’s a great selection of travel journals.)


Enjoying this post? Click to Tweet: Great gifts for the #traveler, #expat, or #digitalnomad in your life from @nomadamyscott:

Keep Them Healthy and Safe on the Road

resistance band setExercise bands* or a resistance band set*

Travel yoga mat*

Yoga Paws*

Subscription to YogaGlo, which offers a wide variety of online yoga classes (and they make gifting a subscription really easy!)

Inflatable lumbar support pillow(Kristen Youngs)

SteriPEN water purifier(April Lee)

Collapsible silicone food storage containers*. Having these in my “travel kitchen” has been a lifesaver. (Beth Sheldon)

Door stop alarm (I’ve never used one, but they’re often recommended for solo female travelers)

(Give them some extra tips on how to stay fit on the road here and here.)


Digital/Virtual Gifts

Udemy online courses—here’s how to gift a course (Kristen Youngs)

An iTunes voucher! That way I can buy more books when I need them, more music, movies, etc. and it takes up no space. I really don’t want more objects when I’m traveling. (Sharon Gourlay)

Skype credit is something I’d like as it would show interest in keeping in touch with me. I think generally the idea would be to buy something you know for sure the person actually uses, e.g., if they use Skype to contact you, then you know they need Skype credit. (Kate Voyage)

Amazon gift cardAmazon gift cards* (Lynan Saperstein)

Kindle Unlimited membership* for access to Kindle books, audiobooks, and more

We like to give Kindle books* (and also request them as gifts for ourselves!). You can set it up so they are delivered by email on a set date so it’s still a surprise to “open.” (Bethaney Davies) (Note: You can easily create a Wish List on Amazon and share it with friends and family.)

One year of an online backup plan (Amy says: I use Backblaze*; you can purchase a gift subscription here.)

Subscription to take online classes, such as with CreativeLive*.


More Personal Gifts

Handmade “coupons” accompanied by cash for something specific: a special dinner out, a city tour, cooking classes, language classes, spa day, hotel stay… (My family has been doing this for years and I love it!)

Videos/slideshows of family (Tammy Perry)

Make plans to meet them somewhere in the world (Lynan Saperstein)

If they’re staying in one place for a while, maybe shipping some hard-to-find goodies, toiletries, or other things from “back home.” Something they might miss, like their favorite flavor of gum, or the toothpaste they can’t get where they are now. (Linda Eskin) 

Donation to a favorite charity

Offering to host them in your guest room/on the couch (Lynan Saperstein)


Help Them Visualize, Plan, and Create Their Ideal Life

Show your support for all their crazy dreams!

The Destination: Nomadtopia ebook is jam-packed with beautiful photos from all over the world along with case studies and powerful questions to help them identify what their ideal lifestyle looks like.

If they’ve recently returned home and seem to feel a bit out of sorts (or are apprehensive about an upcoming return home), Dr. Cate Brubaker’s Re-Entry Roadmap* is a great resource to help them through the re-entry process, which can be more difficult than we might think!


Inspirational Items for Those Who Haven’t Left 

(or have a home base where they can leave things!)

vintage travel poster calendarA calendar of vintage travel posters, gorgeous scenes around the world, a dream destination, daily inspiration, or to learn a language ( has all of these and more)

1000 Ultimate Adventures*

Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Greatest Trips*

Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World’s Most Amazing Places*

Oldies but goodies: Material World: A Global Family Portrait* and What the World Eats*


What are your favorite gifts to give or receive? Share your ideas in the comments.


If you liked this post, won’t you please take a moment to share it using the buttons below? Thanks so much!


Note: Links with an * are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission if you purchase the product using this link. As always, there’s no extra cost to you!


Linked to the My Global Life Link-Up at in 2013.


This post was originally published in 2013 and I’ve been updating it ever since. If you happen to find any outdated links, please let me know!

2018-12-06T19:57:52+00:00December 6, 2018|Nomad Life|25 Comments


  1. Kristi {} December 14, 2013 at 12:01 am - Reply

    Great post Amy!

    I traveled over 100k this past year, and on my wish list is a Cashmere Eye mask. Divine! Take note friends and family 🙂

    • Amy Scott December 14, 2013 at 12:43 am - Reply

      Ooh, that sounds luxurious, Kristi!

  2. Joanna December 14, 2013 at 12:05 am - Reply

    Great post. Fab ideas in here. When you move a lot, you really don’t need lots of stuff, so it is hard when it comes to Christmas. Thanks!

    • Amy Scott December 14, 2013 at 12:45 am - Reply

      Thanks, Joanna! Yes, exactly, it’s tricky when you don’t want to keep adding stuff to the pile (and maybe even try to make the pile smaller!).

  3. Kerry Murray December 14, 2013 at 1:52 am - Reply

    Frequent Flyer miles! My mom has gifted us with hers more than once and it made a difference in our being able to come back to the US to visit family i.e. my mom 🙂

    • Amy Scott December 14, 2013 at 1:55 am - Reply

      YES, that is a brilliant gift, Kerry! My parents have done that for us a few times too (can’t believe I forgot all about it when it came time to write this!). 🙂

  4. april December 14, 2013 at 1:02 pm - Reply

    fabulous post of resources, amy! i’m grateful to all who contributed. just wanted to say that i designed a geography/culture course a couple of years ago for my homeschooled teen based on the last two books mentioned (material world, what the world eats). very happy to see them on this list.

    • Amy Scott December 14, 2013 at 1:48 pm - Reply

      That’s so cool, April! Great idea; there’s so much to learn from those books.

  5. Anja December 14, 2013 at 3:43 pm - Reply

    Thanks, Amy!
    Loads of inspiration here! I’ll bookmark this post!

    • Amy Scott December 14, 2013 at 7:23 pm - Reply

      Thanks and you’re welcome, Anja! 🙂

  6. Valerie Conners December 15, 2013 at 12:20 am - Reply

    I read this in the nick of time! My boyfriend’s birthday is just days after Christmas, so it’s hard on any given year to have many creative ideas, but couple that with living out of a backpack again come January, and it becomes a real headache! This certainly helped jumpstart some ideas – thanks!

    • Amy Scott December 15, 2013 at 9:36 am - Reply

      You’re so welcome! Yes, it’s especially tough for those with birthdays close to Christmas, isn’t it?

  7. Diane Leigh December 15, 2013 at 5:09 am - Reply

    A train ticket!

    • Amy Scott December 15, 2013 at 9:39 am - Reply

      Ooh, good one, thanks Diane!

  8. Courtney December 16, 2013 at 11:54 pm - Reply

    Hi Amy — love the post! Happy to have found many of the same items I recommended as well in my gift guide series [For the Backpacker; Functional gifts are definitely the best route to go, especially for necessarily space-saving travelers 🙂 I’m pretty excited to have found the NapAnywhere via this guide…that is awesome. Happy holidays!

  9. Lisa Sonora December 21, 2013 at 1:07 am - Reply

    What a beautifully curated list, Amy.

    I especially love receiving stuff from home when I’ve been away a while: usually these are health food store supplements, emergen-c packets – stuff that I can’t find abroad or is very expensive.

    Consumable items like this are great. Also – personal care products…like special shampoos or soaps. I always ask people to bring bars of Dr. Bronner’s soap – the only thing that doesn’t dry out my skin and it’s a soap that can be used for everything: including laundry.

    Finally: a lot of nomads I know are on a budget, so one nice luxury item is a great treat. Probably everybody has one thing they’d love to have but are waiting to make a splurge. I want to replace my fancy Bose noise-cancelling headphones (disappeared on a trip in Mexico City), and find an awesome cashmere wrap about the size of an airline blanket. 🙂

    • Amy Scott December 21, 2013 at 11:36 am - Reply

      Great suggestions, Lisa; thanks!

      I’m meeting up with my parents next month and some of the things you described are on the list.

      Love the idea of a luxury item, too. The cashmere wrap sounds lovely. 🙂

  10. Kylie Bevan December 15, 2015 at 4:56 am - Reply

    Great list Amy! Now there are actually a few things I’d like for Christmas! Had not known of the door stop alarm, the scrubber or the NapAnywhere, awesome! I’d add really good ear plugs (my hubbie swears by, a wool wrap like Lisa also suggested, and a multi-tool (swiss army style).

    • Amy Scott December 15, 2015 at 6:17 pm - Reply

      Great ideas, thanks, Kylie! It’s true, I never travel without my earplugs or my Swiss Army knife (but not in my carry-on, of course!).

  11. Amanda December 2, 2016 at 10:56 pm - Reply

    An e-subscription to a newspaper is also a great gift- to stay on top of news from home, learn about the place you’re going, or just generally stay informed about the world.

    • Amy Scott December 4, 2016 at 1:00 pm - Reply

      Great idea! Thanks, Amanda.

  12. Vanholio! December 6, 2016 at 3:43 pm - Reply

    Awesome list. I may have to come up with one for vandwellers. I want a Scrubba!

    One thing great for nomads in North America is a Jitterbug phone. Seriously! The safety features they came up with for seniors work great for nomads, especially solo travelers.

    Here’s the skinny:

    • Amy Scott December 6, 2016 at 4:41 pm - Reply

      Looks interesting, thanks for sharing!

  13. Catherine December 5, 2017 at 2:16 pm - Reply

    Great list! The Icebreaker stuff looks sweet — and seems like a good gifty options for a prone-to-be-cold boyfriend who is relocating to the PNW soon 😉

    • Amy Scott December 11, 2017 at 5:40 pm - Reply

      Yes! Icebreaker stuff is great—we both have one of their tops.

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