Travel & Photography Gift Guide
We’ve put together this Travel and Photography Gift Guide with our favorite travel photography gear for taking pictures while enjoying outdoor adventure.
If you’re looking for the perfect gift for someone who enjoys travel and/or photography, check out this list of Travel gift ideas!
Through the years we have tried and tested various travel and photography items, and have determined the gear that works best for us.
We have gifts for travel, road trips, hiking, national parks, and photography!
Some of the links on this site are affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, we may earn a small commission – at no extra cost to you! Read the full Disclosure Policy.
Travel and Photography Gift Guide
Here’s our list of travel and photography gear we use and recommend!
We were hesitant to join in the packing cubes trend, but once we used them, we were immediately hooked. Packing cubes are amazing and make great gifts for anyone who likes to travel.
They keep everything organized and really do save space when packing your backpack, travel bag or suitcase.
→ We have 2 sets of the Travelwise packing cubes – a different color for each of us!
We never venture outside without our Buff headwear to protect us from the weather and insects.
The headbands can be worn 12 different ways and they dry quickly and wick away moisture.
I use it as a headband to keep hair out of my face or cover my ears or neck. Dave likes to make his into a cap for his head and another one to wear around his neck.
We also love the fleece lined Buff headwear for cold weather adventures!
Reusable Water Bottle
A reusable water bottle is the best practical gift for anyone who travels.
Staying hydrated is so important while traveling.
We use our refillable water bottles to avoid buying single-use plastic water bottles. Collapsible water bottles are nice to save space and avoid carrying something bulky. The Contigo metal bottles are a good choice if space is not an issue and you want to keep the water cold all day.
Compact Travel Cameras
Do you know someone (or YOU) who enjoys travel photography? A travel camera is the perfect gift for the person who likes to take pictures as they travel to capture memories as treasured souvenirs to share with family and friends.
A good travel camera should produce quality photos and be easy to carry.
We wrote a buyer’s guide to help you find the perfect compact travel camera for the traveler on your list.
Lightweight Travel Tripods
A sturdy tripod is the one thing that can dramatically improve your photos. Really!
A lightweight, compact tripod is a wonderful gift for anyone who likes taking photos while hiking and exploring the outdoors.
→ We always recommend the MeFoto Globetrotter Carbon Fiber tripod.
Use our buyer’s guide to find the best lightweight travel tripod suit the travel and photography needs of those on your gift list!
Camera Bags and Backpacks
A good camera bag or backpack is perfect for anyone who enjoys travel photography.
The camera bag should be comfortable and equipped with pockets and organizing sections.
We need our backpacks to carry a camera and some other stuff like a water bottle, jacket, etc.
→ Our three favorite backpacks are made by Peak Design – Dakine – LowePro. They are built to take the wear and tear of outdoor and hiking adventures.
One of the best practical gifts you can give a photographer is a camera cleaning kit.
Anyone who travels and takes photos outside (with a camera or phone) will need to remove dust or water from the lens at times.
It’s no fun to come home from a vacation to see dark spots on your photos because the lens was dirty! We travel with a cleaning kit and also carry extra microfiber lens cloths in our pocket as we hike.
There are many other camera accessories you can give to the photographer on your gift list.
Plug In Cooler
A plug in car cooler is the perfect gift for anyone your list that enjoys road trips.
The car cooler eliminates the need for costly stops for drinks and snacks.
We use plug in coolers for a few reasons.
1. It uses technology even more sophisticated than a home refrigerator to keep things at a consistent cool temperature. It can assume a vertical or horizontal position to accommodate your car.
2. Many coolers allow you to use an AC Adapter to plug in your hotel room as a second fridge (you do have to purchase the adapter separately).
A plug in car cooler should be at the top of your gift list for anyone that likes road trips.
→ Add some healthy road trip snacks as a fun addition to the cooler gift!
A road trip usually means listening to music, books, podcasts, etc.
A portable charger is a terrific travel gift to bring electronics devices back to life while on the road.
Simply charge it at night, then use it during the day when you need a quick boost.
→ We always use Anker portable chargers because they are fast and provide the best long-lasting, portable power we’ve found!
Traveler Road Kits
There should be a car emergency kit and a car first aid kit packed for any road trip.
Emergency and first aid kits are practical gifts for any traveler on your list.
Hopefully they’ll never need to use them, but if they do, they will be prepared for an automobile breakdown or personal injury that may occur on their road trip.
A fun gift item for anyone who likes road trip adventures is a waterproof picnic blanket.
It’s useful for pit stops since it has a waterproof bottom to lay on the grass.
The soft top can be used as a blanket when it gets chilly in the car. Be sure to find one that’s washable.
Hiking Shoes & Boots
After rolling my ankle while hiking, I learned the hard way the importance of a good pair of hiking shoes.
The result of me only wearing sneakers on that ‘easy trail’ was a small fracture and torn ligaments…. with weeks of recovery and physical therapy. I will always wear hiking boots with ankle support from now on!
We use and recommend:
- Merrell Moab Waterproof Shoes/Boots
- Oboz Hiking Shoes/Boots
- Baffin Boots are the best for winter outings – we love them!
Darn Tough Socks
Seriously, Darn Tough socks are the BEST for hiking. This is our FAVORITE item on this list.
Darn Tough socks are comfortable, durable (with an unconditional lifetime guarantee) and let your feet breathe.
We’ve had kids use them multi-day walking treks, and they never get a blister. They are worth every penny!
If you have anyone on your list that likes to hike, these socks are the perfect gift. Their feet will thank you!
Water is the number one priority for any outdoor adventure. When you’ll be hiking, use a hydration pack (instead of reusable water bottles) because it’s so convenient to drink from the tube that’s just ‘right there’.
Hydration packs are wonderful gift ideas for people who enjoy the outdoors.
There are many types of hydration packs depending on the outdoor activity.
→ Add Nuun tablets as a little something extra. They help replenish electrolytes from sweating.
Clothing Layers for Outdoor Adventure
Wearing layers is common practice for anyone who enjoys the outdoors.
Read our cold weather gear guide where we explain the various types of layers to stay warm for outdoor adventures in the winter.
Jackets, fleece, gloves and winter hats are fun gift ideas for anyone on your list who enjoys the outside, no matter the weather.
→We HIGHLY RECOMMEND the Columbia fleece jackets and Columbia insulated jackets with Omni-Heat thermal reflective.
If you have anyone on your list who enjoys outdoor adventure, especially at National Parks, we’ve found 100+ practical and fun national park gift ideas.
The US National Parks Pass would be an AMAZING gift! When you buy the pass at REI, they will donate 10% of sales to the National Park Foundation.
Now in 2020 you can add some masks for traveling ; )
True… we need to add that! Thanks for the suggestion.
Nice list, Jamie! I had never considered the versatile head gear. There are so many more things in your list that could make travel photography so much better. I think I know what I’m getting for my photography enthusiast husband’s birthday 🙂
I’m glad I could help give you some ideas. We LOVE the Buff headwear!
Great list! I need to try those packing cubes. I am so hesitant. What makes them so amazing?
I’m OCD and like everything organized 🙂 I use them by packing all my clothing in one cube, all my husband’s clothing in another cube, all our misc gear like hats, Buff headbands, gloves are in another one, etc. It’s just so nice to have stuff organized in the cubes and not just ‘in’ the suitcase/backpack.
So many great gift ideas! I 10/10 recommend the packing cubes – a decently priced gift, and they totally change the way that you pack!
I don’t know why I was so hesitant to get these cubes – they. are. the. best!