The Perfect Gift for a World Traveller!
What do you get for the keen traveller who doesn’t want to overload their backpack with “stuff”? Especially as backpacking around New Zealand or anywhere else in the world is all about living on the bare minimum and simply enjoying the here and now.
It’s a tough one, but as backpackers and world-travellers ourselves, we’ve come up with a few foolproof ideas to please your gift-receiver, whether they are your mate, family or a fellow backpacking buddy. Give them something useful for their travels – that way, they will think of you and thank you for saving their asses when they use your nifty travel gift!
So, take a look at our extensive list of gifts for backpackers and travellers below to find the perfect present!
1. A Quality Backpack
It seems like an obvious one, but there is no backpacker without a good sturdy backpack, whether it’s something for multi-day hikes or for carrying their life around the world. Choosing and buying a good backpack isn’t something that can be done quickly (or super cheaply). Check out our buying guide How to Choose a Good Backpack for tips!
2. Cash: Good Old Cash
Backpacking is essentially budget travelling, so the gift of extra cash is a sure winner. Before your gift-receiver goes travelling, give them some local currency of the country/countries they are visiting (it’s like a taste of their destination before landing). For New Zealand Dollars, Euros or US Dollars are easy enough to exchange in New Zealand, so that will do as well.
3. A Scratch-Off World Map
The travel bug is hard to shake off! Chances are that the person that you are sending across the world is not just going to travel New Zealand. They might stop here, there and keep on travelling for a little while. With a scratch-off world map, they can visualise how far they went!
Check out this Scratch-Off World Map on Amazon.
4. A GoPro
The little action camera that took the world by storm can turn everybody into a hero, and isn’t it what a backpacking trip is all about, being your own hero? Plus in return for that gift, you’ll get to see some awesome videos and photos all year long. Try to not get jealous.
Check out the GoPro Store on Amazon!
5. Your Air Miles
If you are not using all your air miles, a backpacker surely will. These little points might massively reduce the price of the next plane ticket or even make it totally free. Trust us, there is nothing sweeter to a backpacker’s ears than the word “free”!
6. A Travel Journal
It seems like writing down your adventure is of another age, when everybody today has a blog or social media, but it is the second most popular way to document a trip!
Be inspired! We love that great-looking Maleden Refillable Spiral Daily Notepad on Amazon.
7. Hiking Socks
The traditional boring Christmas gift takes a whole new meaning for backpackers and travellers. Not only you hitting the hiking aspect with your gift of socks, but laundry can be particularly challenging when travelling, so the more socks, the less they have to worry about it!
We like the sleek designs and durability of Darn Tough socks on Amazon.
8. A Soft Water Bottle
During long hikes or at night, having a water bottle close by is always handy but the big bulky ones can take up a lot of space in a backpack. Luckily, some kind of genius recently invented (or just popularised) soft water bottles. They’re easier to pack and carry. Backpackers go nuts for it!
Make sure to get a good quality soft water bottle, like the Hydrapak as the cheap ones don’t last long.
9. A CamelBak
If even a soft water bottle is too much of a hassle, the world-famous CamelBak (or other branded versions) is a practical solution for the active backpacker who needs to keep hydrated. They are great for hiking, as they fit comfortably in a backpack and a tube coming from the pack means you don’t have to rummage for water.
Pro Tip: If you are already happy with your backpack, go for the Camelbak Reservoir only and slide it into your backpack.
10. Travel Insurance
If you’re that boring but practical member of the family, ensure you stick to your caricature by gifting travel insurance! Did you know that it is mandatory to have medical and travel insurance with many Working Holiday Visas around the world, including New Zealand? For New Zealand, we recommend OrbitProtect as their insurance plans are designed for backpackers and are based in New Zealand.
11. Reusable Earplugs
Every now and then there is that guy horrifically snoring in the dorm. Travellers would do anything for a pair of earplugs then! Be a backpacker’s saviour and get them supplied!
We suggest going for the less wasteful option of Loop Earplugs, it makes a world of difference!
12. Passport Cover
The most precious asset of any traveller is his/her passport, especially as it is one of the three valid forms of ID in New Zealand. Keep it fashionably protected under a thick layer of leather i.e. a passport cover. Most of them come with a matching luggage tag. Alternatively, some wallets include passport pockets.
We love the colourful options from the Melsbrinna Store on Amazon that keep your passport open on the right page!
13. Personalised Leather Luggage Tags, Passport Covers, etc.
Speaking of passport covers, add a touch of class to your gift with a personalised version. PEGAI make a range of travel accessories made with soft-touch rustic leather with your chosen fire-branded initials. Choose from passport holders, luggage tags, toiletry bags, phone cases and much more.
Check out the PEGAI Store on Amazon.
14. A Six-Pack
This is one for the backpacker-gifting-the-backpacker. You’ll find that a good beer is a social catalyst needed to get out of the shy shell and help break the ice when meeting the inevitably many people during a trip. So if you want to treat your fellow backpackers in your hostel, a box of “goon” or a pack of beer should do the trick.
15. A Good WiFi Connection (for Once)!
We don’t know how you are going to wrap this one, so good luck to you… Internet is like oxygen for a backpacker, stay offline for too long and it feels like a deep dive. Sadly, many destinations including New Zealand are a bit behind in terms of free WiFi spots. So, if you happen to know a good spot with good WiFi where video calls will not be a nightmare, share the love! A good place to start is with our 10 Free Wi-Fi Spots in New Zealand Where You’ll Actually Have a Good Connection.
16. A Travel Adaptor
There is nothing worse than running out of battery. Phone, tablet, laptop and camera: these are all pretty useful to the keen traveller. We are dependent on them to keep in touch with home, share our adventures, and find out where to go next. Having a good reliable travel adapter (with surge protection as a bonus) is a must!
17. A Plane Ticket to Anywhere
It can be as simple as that. This is the backpacker’s dream:
Dear [insert name here],
Just let me know where you would like to go and I’ll take care of your flight!
Love your favourite person as of now.
18. A Thick (Yet Travel-Friendly) Sudoku Book
Some domestic planes have no inflight entertainment and most buses have no WiFi at all. A Sudoku book will help travellers kill boredom and keep their minds sharp, so they can rock the next hurdle that navigating a foreign country throws at them!
With over 400 Sudoku, this Travel-Sized Sudoku Book will keep a backpacker entertained for days!!!
19. Earphone Organiser
Tangled wires are a nightmare, and sometimes, we just don’t have the time to take on that kind of challenge. It becomes more of an issue when constantly moving from place to place.
We love this small and cheap handmade earphone organiser from Tophome on Amazon.
20. A Good Book
The obvious choice for New Zealand would be The Lord of The Rings trilogy or The Hobbit. But you know that person better than we do, so pick a book that they will love to read on a plane or a beach on the other side of the world.
21. An E-Reader
So you just figured out that they actually LOVE reading?! Multiple books are big, heavy and not travel-friendly. Get an e-reader, like the nifty Kindle, in the hands of a backpacker and they’ll have thousands of books for the weight of half of one. The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit are also available in E-Books you know…
The Kindle is by far the most popular e-reader out there but if you want to save them carrying an extra gadget get them the Free Kindle App with Kindle Unlimited for well, unlimited books, magazines and audiobooks. The first 30 days are free then you can pay a small monthly or yearly fee.
22. Selfie Stick
Almost every traveller is walking around with a selfie stick hanging from their backpack! Get a telescopic one so it does not take up too much space in the bag.
There is even an option to get Tripod + Remote-enabled Selfie Sticks!
23. Travel Pillow
Get that traveller in your life the most comfortable travel pillow out there with the Ostrichpillow. Sure, travel pillows are nothing new but they’ve never been exactly that comfortable either. Well, Ostrichpillow has finally cracked it with its innovative shape and high-density memory foam. The pillow fits into a travel bag that’s half its size and has a machine-washable sleeve so you can use it trip after trip!
Check out the Ostrichpillow on Amazon.
24. A Good Pair of Hiking Boots
This is not something that should be bought on the cheap. Hiking boots or shoes need to be of high quality backpackers are likely to wear them constantly on their travels; not just for hiking. To make it easier, we have made a complete buying guide on How to Choose a Good Pair of Hiking Boots.
25. A Multi-Tool
The new kind of Swiss army knife is incredibly useful when travelling around. From untying wet shoelaces to opening a can of baked beans, a multi-tool always comes in handy.
Not sure where to start? Leatherman is a strong player in the multi-tool market.
26. Phone Camera Lens
This nifty phone accessory turns any phone camera into a wide-angle, fisheye or even macro lens. It is the perfect small and lightweight companion for any traveller who wants to appear as a photographer but just isn’t.
Amir is a brand that offers high-quality wide lenses compatible with most phones.
27. Bluetooth Item Locator
When bag, phone, keys, wallet or other valuables decide to go walkabout, find them with ease using a Bluetooth item locator. The most versatile option is Tile, with Bluetooth locators in all shapes, sizes and bundles and can be used with both an iOS and Android app. Alternatively, Apple does a similar thing with the Apple AirTag.
28. GPS Fitness and Adventure Watch
Help your backpacking buddy or family member keep on track with a GPS watch that captures their steps, active minutes, distance, calories burned and sleep. The watch also retraces steps and finds new routes! GPS watches like Garmin offer peace of mind when out hiking, as well as provide fun data even for a day of sightseeing. Plus, travellers can look back on their trip knowing that it wasn’t all about sipping cocktails but marking a new page in their fitness lifestyle!
Check out the Garmin Store on Amazon.
29. Tours and Experiences
Sometimes, travellers would rather have experiences than a bunch of useless tat. If you think that might be the case for your gift-receiver, consider booking them onto a tour or experience at their destination – or, better yet, a gift voucher to redeem an experience on their chosen date.
If you’re looking for a gift for New Zealand, check out the 101 Things to Do in New Zealand: The Ultimate List.
30. A Starter Pack
Get a Starter Pack or Working Holiday Program to help your travelling buddy or relative kickstart their New Zealand gap year! Check out the comparisons on Working Holiday Starter, which includes more than 20 services to support backpackers. It is a great way to start a trip stress-free and make the most of travel, work and living in New Zealand.
20 More Gifts for Backpackers and Travellers…
If you still haven’t found the perfect gift for that backpacker or traveller in your life, then here are a few more ideas to get the cogs turning:
Gifts for Backpackers into Photography
Remember to consider the specific needs and preferences of the backpacker you’re buying for, and ensure that the gifts align with their camera equipment and style of photography.
- Compact Camera – Look for a high-quality, lightweight camera with good image stabilisation. Options like the Sony RX100 series or the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III are popular choices among backpacking photographers.
- Travel Tripod – A lightweight and compact tripod is essential for capturing stable shots in different environments. Consider brands like Manfrotto, Joby or MeFoto that offer portable and durable options.
- Solar-Powered Charger – Help your backpacker keep their camera and other devices charged with a solar-powered charger. This is especially useful when exploring remote areas without access to traditional power sources.
- Camera Backpack – Choose a backpack specifically designed for camera gear and outdoor use. Look for features like customizable compartments, weather resistance, and easy access to the camera without having to unpack everything.
- Lens Cleaning Kit – Dust and dirt are inevitable when backpacking, so a compact and comprehensive lens cleaning kit will help them keep their camera equipment in top condition.
Gifts for Backpackers for Multi-Day Hiking
When selecting gifts for multi-day hikers, consider the specific needs and preferences of the individual, as well as the climate and terrain of the locations they plan to explore.
- Ultralight Backpack – Invest in a durable and lightweight backpack with ample storage space. Brands like Osprey, Gregory and Arc’teryx offer excellent options for multi-day hiking.
- Quality Sleeping Bag – A compact and lightweight sleeping bag suitable for various weather conditions is essential for backpackers. Look for one with a low-temperature rating to accommodate different climates.
- Ultralight Tent – Consider a lightweight and easy-to-assemble tent that provides adequate shelter during overnight stays. Brands like Big Agnes, MSR and REI offer high-quality options.
- Portable Water Filtration System – Ensure access to clean water during the journey with a compact water filtration system. Products like the Sawyer Mini or LifeStraw are popular choices among backpackers.
- Ultralight Stove and Cookware Set – A compact and efficient stove, along with a lightweight cookware set, allows backpackers to prepare hot meals and beverages on the trail. Brands like Jetboil and MSR are known for their quality products.
Gifts for Backpackers on a Gap Year
Remember to consider the specific interests and activities your backpacker may pursue, as destinations offers a wide range of outdoor and cultural experiences. Tailoring your gifts to their preferences will enhance their gap year adventure.
- Travel Guidebook – Provide them with a comprehensive travel guidebook for New Zealand (or their chosen destination), offering insights into the culture, attractions and practical travel tips.
- Multi-Functional Travel Adapter – A universal travel adapter with multiple plug options will ensure they can charge their electronic devices no matter where they are in New Zealand.
- Local SIM Card or Portable WiFi Device – Ensure they stay connected by providing a local SIM card or a portable WiFi device. This is essential for navigating, staying in touch, and sharing their experiences online.
- Merino Wool Clothing – Merino wool is well-suited for New Zealand’s diverse climate. Gift them lightweight and moisture-wicking merino wool clothing for comfortable and odour-resistant wear.
- Reusable Shopping Bags – Lightweight and foldable reusable shopping bags, handy for markets and stores, as New Zealand is environmentally conscious.
Gifts for Backpacking Couples
Tailoring gifts to enhance their shared experiences and adventures will not only be practical but will also strengthen the bond between couples during their travels.
- Matching Travel Gear – Consider matching items, such as matching backpacks, travel towels, or even custom t-shirts. This adds a fun and personalised touch to their journey.
- Couples Travel Journal – Gift them a shared travel journal where they can document their experiences, memories, and thoughts together. This makes for a wonderful keepsake.
- Portable Hammock – A lightweight, packable hammock is a great way for couples to relax and enjoy scenic spots together. It’s perfect for leisurely breaks during hikes or simply hanging out in beautiful locations.
- Dual-Person Sleeping Bag – For camping adventures, a double sleeping bag is a cozy and practical gift that allows both friends to share warmth during chilly nights.
- Compact Travel Games – Bring some entertainment to their journey with compact travel games like card games, travel-sized board games, or a portable chess set for evenings in hostels or campsites.
More Gifts for Backpackers and Travellers
That’s it for our list of the best gifts for backpackers and travellers but if you can’t get enough of all those handy tools and gadgets for travelling, we have a lot more where those came from:
- 15 Best Presents for Travellers
- 65 Best Travel Gadgets & Accessories
- 10 Best Gadgets & Accessories for Camping
Finally, if your gift-receiver is specifically travelling to New Zealand, take a look at our Full New Zealand Packing List to see if any items inspire you!