Last-Minute Travel Gift Ideas for Christmas

by Global Viewpoint
Last-Minute Travel Gift Ideas
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The annual sprint-to-the-finish to find the best Christmas gifts

Have you waited until the last minute to buy Christmas gifts (again)? Are you THAT person who sprints down the aisles of Target on December 23rd? If you’re like me and fit the description above, rest assured! Instead of gifting knickknacks that will collect dust in the attic (been there, done that), here are some last-minute travel gift ideas that you can order just in time for Christmas!

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Ancestry test

Is your family member or significant other a curious soul? If so, an ancestry test kit is an awesome idea for a last-minute travel gift. Costing $60-$100, DNA tests allow you to uncover your family history. Not only do the results indicate which countries your family comes from, but also the specific regions within them. Perhaps you will even feel inspired to visit the places of your ancestors. Do you have an uncle or other relative who has far-fetched theories about your family heritage? An ancestry test will set the record straight!


If you’re looking for an unforgettable gift for the globetrotter in your family, consider getting them a drone. Not only are drones a fun toy, but they also capture spectacular landscapes and memorable moments. The only drawback is the price, with good ones costing at least $600. But they are definitely worth every dollar. My best investment was the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum, which I use to take aerial shots and videos during my travels. A more portable and cheaper alternative is the DJI Mavic Air. Both drones are very fun and easy to use!

Noise-canceling headphones

Have you ever had the unpleasant experience of sitting next to someone snoring on a plane? Not fun. Every once in a while, you’ll have the honor of flying alongside a world-class snorer who can be heard from 10 rows away. Oh yeah, and they’re also great for listening to music and everyday use. If you truly cherish your loved ones, be sure to get them a pair of noise-canceling headphones!

Hat and scarf

Unless your family lives near the equator and will not travel to a cold climate this winter, I recommend getting a warm hat and scarf this holiday season. Warm winter gear is definitely a good idea for that special someone!

Prague in the wintertime
Prague in the wintertime

Neck pillow

This isn’t the most exciting last-minute gift idea, but it’s definitely important for those who frequently travel. I recently bought a neck pillow, and it honestly changed my life. Nothing is worse than having neck and back pain during long flights. Having a neck pillow makes long flights and bus rides much more bearable (and even enjoyable).

Travel journal

My best life advice is to document your travel adventures wherever you go. I think that owning a travel journal is an excellent way to do that. You can find a nice one on Amazon for only $10-15. Many years from now, your family members or loved ones will thank you for getting them a travel journal. Who knows, maybe this gift will lay the seeds for becoming a travel blogger?

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World maps

Does your special someone have a favorite city or place that they’ve visited? I’m a big map person who has one hung up in each room (excessive, I know). If the recipient of your gift is an avid traveler, consider getting a map of the world or a specific city. I recently purchased a Barcelona map, which brings back fond memories of my favorite spots in the ‘Ciutat’. A framed picture of a particular sight, such as the Sagrada Familia is a great idea, too.

World Map

Travel backpack

A versatile travel backpack is a practical last-minute gift idea. I tend to gravitate towards Swiss Gear backpacks, which contain a lot of durable compartments and perfectly fit as carry-ons. A multipurpose backpack can be used for city trips and nature adventures alike.

Travel tips

Travel gift card

When in doubt, go with a gift card. That has always been my motto for holidays and birthdays. For millennial travelers in particular, I recommend getting an Airbnb or Uber gift card. These gift cards can be purchased directly in the app or online. If your family member or loved one has a preferred airline, an airline gift card is also a great option.

Airbnb is one of the top travel tips

An experience

Have you ever heard the expression “the best gifts can’t be wrapped”? Well, I think there’s definitely some truth to that (though a yacht covered in wrapping paper would be the gift of choice *clears throat*). Many people prefer experiences over tangible things.  A few ideas include an airline ticket, hotel confirmation, or tour receipt. My mom used to surprise my sister and I with a Christmas scavenger hunt, where we’d search for clues and ultimately find out where we’d travel to the following year. If you’d prefer to stay local, perhaps consider a spa day, wine tasting, or horseback riding lesson. The opportunities are endless, so be creative!

Aruba's beautiful beaches; top travel tips

Last-minute travel gift ideas for a special someone

I hope you found these travel gift ideas helpful. This list was not meant to be comprehensive, but to spur creativity and give you some new ideas. See you at Target on December 23rd? Hopefully not this year. Good luck, Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays to all!

Looking some more travel inspiration? Check out my latest blog posts below.


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