Favorite Gifts Under $100 for Travelers

by Shannon

Can you believe we’re approaching the 2020 holiday season?! It’s been a wild year, nothing like I planned it to be- three European trips cancelled, plus several across the US. However, it’s had its perks too- fully remote work and more time with my husband. I am optimistic we will travel again in 2021. There’s no better sentiment to cheer the travelers in your life than this, plus a travel inspired holiday gift. So, here are my favorite gifts under $100 for travelers in 2020 (or would that be 2021?)! These are items I’ve purchased myself or received from friends and family, so this is a tried and true list of gifts for travelers by a traveler.

Travelon Bag

This is the Fort Knox of bags! From slash proof straps, to locking zippers, to RFID blockers, Travelon bags offer a secure way to keep your goods. They sell everything from wallets to duffel bags. I purchased a purse for myself and a backpack for my husband prior to our Italy trip last year. We were so pleased with the bags, and felt secure even in crowded spaces.

I can’t caution travelers enough about security. Alot of it is just common sense and awareness, but added protection can’t hurt. These bags offer layers of security, one less thing for you to think about when traveling.

Scratch Map

A scratch map is like a trophy case for the travel addict. With glee you scratch off another state or country after each trip, watching your map expand. I hung our map at the top of the stairs, in a homemade frame. It hasn’t grown too much in 2020, but alas, maybe next year. There are dozens of scratch map companies out there, but I have a Scratch the World map. It was a gift from my sister, and it’s been great.


A portable, mini blender, Blendjets are perfect for travel! Whether its an office commute or a remote camping trip, the Blendjet is very convenient and a great way to stay healthy. In the company’s own words, “Be anywhere, blend everywhere”. It makes one smoothie per use, and the charge lasts for about 5-7 uses. With a USB port, it’s easy to recharge too. It completely dismantles for cleaning- handwash only, don’t put it in a dishwasher.

I used this daily when I was commuting into the office, but it would work great on any trip. An easy, affordable way to make a healthy smoothie! Or, checkout the recipes on their page- from unicorn smoothies to vodka slushies.

Travel Scarf

I’ll admit, all my lady travel companions got one of these! When I found them, I loved the idea. With a zippered pocket hidden within the folds of an infinity scarf, it’s a safe way to carry cash or credit cards, or just an easy way to stow lipstick or a phone without lugging a purse.

There are a variety available online, from Etsy to Amazon. I purchased these, based on reviews and the price. They work out great, and can easily hold small items. My smartphone will fit, but it’s tight. If you’re crafty, try sewing one yourself. I’ve been slowly learning the sewing machine, attempting masks, and have my sights set on this too.

Traveller Collective Rings

When I first discovered the Traveller Collective, I became obsessed. It’s another example of a traveler’s trophy case! The collective produces hammered metal rings- for necklaces, keyrings, etc.,- stamped with city, state, country or continent codes. While collecting a ring for each destination visited would be a bit much for many of us, it’s a great way to commemorate special trips or favorite destinations.

Plus, Traveller Collective is very conscious of the global community. They have a whole page devoted to the work they’ve done- from supporting clean water initiatives in developing countries to financing a long dreamed of trip for a woman who had never left her village. This is one product you can feel good about purchasing.

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Multi-Country Plug Adapter

This may seem like a no-brainer, but a multi-country plug adapter is a must have. Why bother with 3-4 separate units, when you can use just one? I won’t recommend mine, as it’s actually no longer on the market! It still works perfectly, though, so that should tell you something. Look for one with multiple prong settings and USB inputs. When you’re traveling through Europe, this is particularly helpful, as you’ll find different plugs between the countries. In some, like Italy, you may find various configurations between your accommodations! And of course, the US has its own setup, as does Asia!

You can never have too many of these, especially if you’re traveling with other people. They make great stocking stuffers!

Dual Voltage Mini Straightener

If you’re taking a flat iron internationally, be sure to check the voltage! The US operates at 110v, but most of the rest of the world ranges from 220-240v. Some straighteners, and other electronics, have dual voltage which is perfect for travel!

So, how about dual voltage and mini sized? The BaByliss Pro Mini Straightener is perfect for travel. It’s half the size of a regular flat iron, and operates on dual voltage. It doesn’t pack as much of a punch as full sized devices, but it worked for me and saved valuable packing space.

Mini Straightener

The Travel Mat

I discovered The Travel Mat at the Chicago Travel and Adventure Show earlier this year. It caught my eye when I saw attendees carting what appeared to be a bedroll around, throwing themselves on the floor, and stretching out on the seats. What was this all about?!

The Travel Mat is an inventive alternative to neck pillows. Everyone claims to offer the best neck pillow, but I’ve been through at least a dozen. My most comfortable one was $5 at Home Depot! So, I was intrigued- what made The Travel Mat so special? For starters, it’s just that- a mat, not a pillow. It has versatile neck support, but also provides back support with about 2 inches of cushion between you and the airline seat. It rolls up like a sleeping bag, so you can easily carry it atop a suitcase or backpack.

What sold me though were two other benefits. I’ve been stuck in an airport or two over the years, and a sleeping mat would’ve been really nice. Not that I’m planning for lengthy delays, but if you do get stuck, the mat provides a nice alternative to the airport floor! Additionally, in today’s world, we are more aware than ever how germy airplanes are! The mat provides a nice seat cover, and is washable.

UV Toothbrush Holder and Sanitizer

So, following through on that germaphobic note- a travel sized UV toothbrush holder and sanitizer is a godsend for any germ nerd traveler! I include myself in that group, so no offense intended. I’ve always hated the plastic toothbrush travel cases, they just scream yuck to me. I also don’t really want my toothbrush laying around on the bathroom counter either. Well, hello UV toothbrush holder and sanitizer!

These abound in large sizes for home use, but there are few specifically for travel. Close the toothbrush head in, and a UV light sanitizes it for a few minutes. The holder keeps its charge for quite a while, but will have to be recharged periodically. You’ll find several on Amazon, but I liked this one the best. It has great reviews, has a USB charger, and thanks to its shape, can be stood directly up, keeping your toothbrush off the counter.

Oculus Quest 2

Ok, this not under $100 and I never thought I’d be recommending a VR gaming system- or gaming system of any kind! Back in the spring, when lockdown began, I wrote about 10 virtual reality experiences for the traveler. I mean, visiting virtually is better than not at all.

Well, my husband, the gamer, just purchased the brand new Oculus Quest 2. It’s just in time for the holiday season! Its backwards compatible to the the original Quest, and still offers all the travel experiences plus many more, that I outlined previously. Aside from travel experiences, it’s a fun distraction at home, and is perfect for socially distanced get togethers- you play from your house, I’ll play from mine, and we’ll meet somewhere online. Anyway, I thought I’d include it, despite being over the $100 limit. I mean, we can’t send our loved ones to Paris these days, but at least they can visit the Eiffel Tour virtually!

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Gifts for Travelers

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Lisa shehan October 30, 2020 - 6:07 pm

I love buying travel scratch maps for friends – it makes such a great gift!!

Shannon November 1, 2020 - 2:48 pm

Agreed! Thanks!

Sharyn October 30, 2020 - 7:39 pm

Great suggestions. Thank you.

Shannon November 1, 2020 - 2:47 pm

Thanks, hope it’s helpful!

Emma October 30, 2020 - 8:00 pm

Love the idea of the UV toothbrush holder, and the mini blendjet. Both are just the kind of thing I would have to put on my Christmas list. Also, we just got an Oculus too. My boyfriend is obsessed with it. I love the virtual experiences but we end up playing a lot of Beat Saber in our house. If you haven’t played it, check it out. You’ll be as addicted as us.

Shannon November 1, 2020 - 2:47 pm

That’s great! My husband keeps showing me Beat Saber but I haven’t played it yet!

Albi October 31, 2020 - 3:09 am

Love the ideas, I already have the scratching map, two of them actually, but I think I would enjoy the collective rings as well

Shannon November 1, 2020 - 2:46 pm

The maps are great to remember all your travels, while the rings are perfect for favorites or special trips.

Sarah October 31, 2020 - 5:35 am

Great suggestions! I love my scratchmap and it’s the focal point of my office! I’m going to have to check out the UV sanitizer for toothbrushes – that’s a terrific idea! I’ve been eyeing those travel collective rings for a while, too!

Shannon November 1, 2020 - 2:44 pm

Thanks! A travel themed office is perfect!

Ada October 31, 2020 - 9:32 am

This is a great list. I totally agree: some travel related gifts are just what we need to feel a little more optimistic about 2021 (2022?!) travel! I really want the scratch map and like you, I’ve spent one too many nights sleeping in airports, so that sleep mat sounds amazing!

Shannon November 1, 2020 - 2:44 pm

Thank you! One night stuck in an airport is one too many!

Bettina October 31, 2020 - 10:23 am

This is such a great guide! I actually have a scratch map and love it and I already put the mini blender on my list for this year! It would come in so handy for vanlife!

Shannon November 1, 2020 - 2:43 pm

Ah, the Blendjet would be perfect for vanlife!

Gian October 31, 2020 - 2:16 pm

The travel mat is genius!

Shannon November 1, 2020 - 2:42 pm

It’s like a two for one. 🙂

Caroline @ PACKTHESUITCASES October 31, 2020 - 4:53 pm

Dual voltage stylers are a must! Although I have to admit I’d struggle with a mini one – I have the wide GHD styler, bulky but faster! 🙂

Shannon November 1, 2020 - 2:42 pm

Agreed, the mini takes awhile for me, with long and curly hair, but every bit of space counts.

Nina October 31, 2020 - 5:12 pm

I’ve never heard of Blendjet before but it sounds awesome! Definitely going on my Christmas list

Shannon November 1, 2020 - 2:41 pm

Perfect! It’s worked so well for me.

Katie Diederichs October 31, 2020 - 5:13 pm

Great roundup! I have the same scarf!! (Different color, but it is so handy!) I’ve never heard of the travel mat before, but dang do I wish I had one of those for the many long and unexpected layovers over the years!

Shannon November 1, 2020 - 2:40 pm

Thanks! Lots of color and design options on the scarves, I liked the black one because it reminded me of stars.

Julie October 31, 2020 - 6:02 pm

I need that travel bag!! Love how functional it is. Thanks for the list, so helpful!

Shannon November 1, 2020 - 2:38 pm

So glad you found it useful, thank you!

roshni October 31, 2020 - 7:20 pm

never even seen those UV toothbrush cleaners! I want one now especially a travel themed one

Shannon November 1, 2020 - 2:38 pm

I recently discovered them as well- where have they been all my life?? 🙂

Jenny October 31, 2020 - 9:21 pm

I’ve always wanted on of those travel scratch maps! Lots of great ideas here. That travel mat is really interesting, I might check this out in the future.

Shannon November 1, 2020 - 2:37 pm

They actually have a ‘lockdown sale’ on the mats right now.

Mikaela Musa November 1, 2020 - 7:16 am

Great list!! I want to have the travel mat and blendjet. Hopefully someone will give me a present, but buying it for myself is an option, too!

Shannon November 1, 2020 - 2:35 pm

Thank you! Lol, if all else fails, buying yourself gifts works too! 🙂


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