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Perfect Travel Gifts for Women - for under $30 (2021 selection)

Women on the Road
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Each time Christmas or a birthday rolls around, the question of travel gifts for women raises its head. It's not easy finding something original, small and light (it has to be carried if you're taking it with you) and useful enough to make a difference when you travel − or at home before you go.

I've been known to buy all sorts of travel-related gifts so I've added them below, along with a few things I'd love to try because friends of mine rave about them. Each gift costs under $30 (or pounds or euros, wherever you live) and will bring you plenty of enjoyment or use.

PLEASE NOTE: Some articles on this website were written before COVID-19 emerged. I've done my best to keep destination articles updated but the changing situation has made it impossible to adjust the entire site to the realities of the pandemic or travel restrictions. You'll find updated information from the CDC about travel conditions by country but please check all appropriate sources before you travel as situations can change in minutes. 

packing aids

Packable Daypack

Has this ever happened to you? You're walking around sightseeing, you see something you'd like to buy, but you don't really want to have your hands busy with extra packages? I know it's happened to me, and I found the perfect solution: a lightweight (lighter than your phone!) backpack that takes up NO room in your luggage. Just slide it into your purse and if you need to carry anything around − purchases or a bottle of water or a sweater that's keeping you too warm − then just unfold it and you have plenty of extra storage (in fun colors).

Click here to buy on Amazon

Bagsmart Electronic Organizer

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I get frustrated when each time I need to use a piece of equipment, its cable is jumbled up with other cables. It's a silly thing but it's the kind of time waste I can do without. Plus, I'm not very good at untying knots... So I use a cable organizer, and I feel organized even before I start to work. It's that frame of mind − if I come to a task with clarity and organization, the task itself will be done better (at least that's what I tell myself). This organizer is perfect for all my regular travel needs.

Click here to buy on Amazon

Hanging Waterproof Toiletry Bag

This is a multi-use hanging bag which I find super useful. If I'm traveling with makeup and plenty of creams, which I do when I'm on business, this is the perfect way to store them. I get to my destination, and simply unfold and hang up. But sometimes I cheat! When I have too many cables and sticks and batteries, I use this bag to store everything and have it handy. Yes, I ALSO have a cable storage bag (see above) which I use for 'normal' travel, when all I have to worry about is a computer and a phone. But sometimes I need the extra space, and rather than have two cable organizers...

Click here to buy on Amazon

Hoyofo Cosmetic Bag

Here's a versatile little bag. If you take very few cosmetics or just a few travel-sized bottles, this is perfect. Or, if you take more stuff, you can buy several of these (they're incredibly cheap) and separate things into different bags, creams in one, makeup in another, hair products in another and so on.

Click here to buy on Amazon

BAGAIL 8 Set Packing Cubes

I don't pack without my packing cubes − ever! They're such a simple invention I can't believe I spent half my life without them. They help me organize what goes inside my suitcase, but once I reach my destination, all I have to do is pull out each cube and set it in the closet or bathroom - they act as 'instant drawers'. I have several sets: some are soft, others are more robust, like these, which provide more protection for my clothes (usually for when I'm off on business).

Click here to buy on Amazon

silicone luggage tags

So many bags look alike when they come off the carrousel that you're never certain which one is yours. These luggage tags will be visible from across the arrivals hall and you'll be able to spot your bag right away. Not only that, but the hidden card provides that little bit of extra security should your bag get lost after your flight. 

Click here to buy on Amazon

Vercord Purse Organizer

I have several of these soft pouches, in different colors, and when you travel as much as I do, it's hugely convenient to lift the pouch out of one bag and place it in another without having to empty everything each time you change your purse. 

Click here to buy on Amazon

travel-sized leakproof bottles

Traveling these days is hard enough, what with having to squeeze all our liquids and creams into the tiniest bottles. That's why I use these - and I've never had a leak. I simply refill them for each trip and can have my regular products with me when I travel. The perfect gift for the traveling woman!

Click here to buy on Amazon

portable luggage scale

In case you're planning on doing some extra shopping during your travels, you might want to know how much extra weight you'll be carrying back - especially if you're flying on an airline that charges you for every single little extra pound you're carrying, whether in the cabin or below deck.

Click here to buy on Amazon

technical gadgets

COMPASS ROSE International Travel Power Adapter

Every world traveler needs an adapter at some point. This all-in-one version makes powering up easy and uneventful - it keeps you connected in more than 150 countries, and can charge up to 3 devices at once at high speed. And it's red, so it won't get lost in your luggage!

Click here to buy on Amazon

gorilla pod mobile phone tripod

Whatever your mobile, this tripod will grip it tightly to allow you to shoot professionally (far better than resting your hand on a stone wall!) You can stand it up as you would a regular tripod, or use it to grip another surface, like a branch or a fence if no wall happens to be available. 

Click here to buy on Amazon

mini bluetooth travel loudspeaker

If you hate the sound of music on your phone because it's tinny and flat, you'll love this little travel speaker.  It's small and light and comes with its own little case (you can attach it to your purse with its metal ring). Just stick it on the counter wherever you go and enjoy the sound. 

Click here to buy on Amazon

PERSONAL gifts

Solid Argan Shampoo and Conditioner

No mess, no fuss, no worries about spilling everything all over your clothes. These are completely vegan and cruelty free and because the bars are concentrated, you'll need very little each time, ensuring it lasts longer. Recyclable packaging, too, so no guilt. If you've ever been to Morocco, you'll remember seeing the argan trees with goats munching IN the branches...

Click here to buy on Amazon

YETI Rambler Stackable Mug

When I was traveling across Africa, I carried a mug with me. Its name was Kermit (it was THAT color) and I used it for everything. Sometimes, in really remote areas, I used it as a plate or soup bowl. Normally though, it was for brushing my teeth (I often stayed in places that had no glasses) or for drinking, always nice to know I had my own recipient.

Click here to buy on Amazon

Memory Foam Neck Pillow

I don't have one of these − but I have been eyeing it. What attracts me is the memory foam, because I usually find these pillows uncomfortable. Having a memory foam pillow at home, this is one that just might do the trick! I particularly like that you can squish it to half its size and put it in a little bag, and that the cover is washable, after pressing against that airline seat for who knows how many hours.

Click here to buy on Amazon

Trio Travel-Sized Face Mists

travel gifts for women - face mists

For serenity on the road, these three plant-based face mists will help you keep calm and moisturized. This Rose Essence Hydration Mist, Blue Lavender Tranquility Mist and Fruit Essence Exfoliation Tonic will keep your skin healthy the natural way, without chemicals. Buy them as a set or individually.

Click here to buy on Etsy

World Travel Fabric

If you like to sew your own... anything, here's a fun fabric to make you dream of travel. Made of cotton and polyester, you can order this in various widths and quite a few types of fabric, depending on what you're making – from quilt to blouse to masks or curtains.

Click here to buy on Etsy

Headband Wireless Headphones

Sometimes you don't want to wear ear buds – perhaps because you're going to sleep and worry about losing one. Or when you're running, or if it's cold and you're out in the garden... This is a comfortable headband which lets you adjust the position of the earphones so they fit right over your ears. Drift off to sleep with an audiobook, music or meditation without a care in the world.

Click here to buy on Amazon

Premium Compression Socks (and cute!)

You know how ugly compression socks can be, right? Well, here's a set that's actually fun! These are of course for flying, but also for situations in which your legs and ankles need that extra support. They're latex-free and made of 70% nylon, 25% elastane and 5% spandex.

Click here to buy on Etsy

Globe Pendant

It's a lovely symbol of the world, of openness and diversity and sends a signal that we all belong to the same humanity. This pendant is plated in one of three metals – gold, silver or rose gold.

Click here to buy on Etsy

Personalized Travel Journal

Heading off on a trip and need a journal to write things up? Here's one you can personalize with your own words on the cover. What's fun is that you can get a traditional journal with white paper, but you can also get it with black paper, if you're partial to having fun with metallic colors!

Click here to buy on Etsy

thailand food map

This is only one of a range of food maps, totes and T-shirts designed by my lovely friend Jodi Ettenberg, a superb food travel blogger who has stopped traveling due to ill health. Her fun creations are perfect gifts for travelers, and each purchase also helps Jodi get back on her feet.

Click here to buy

Globetrotter Jigsaw Puzzle

This isn't one you'll take on a trip with you but when you're not traveling, this is perfect for those indoor days, especially if you happen to love culture and miss seeing the world. Relax with it on your own, or show off your skills with the family.

Click here to buy on Amazon

Scratch-off World Map

Know someone who is trying to visit every country on Earth? (Me!!) My map arrived safely in a nice, hard cylinder and it's the perfect inspiration for further travel. It reminds me of where I've been, but more so of where I still have to go. Perfect for the gap year student, job leaver, recent retiree... YOU.

Click here to buy on Amazon

1000 Places to see before you die

If you've ever dreamed of any place on earth, it's probably in this book, one of today's greatest classics and the ultimate creator of nostalgia. It has won countless accolades and after you leaf through just a few pages, you'll see why. The original edition was heavy on words and light on pictures, whereas this newest one is a page-turner, with brilliant photography on every page. If you love the world and dream of faraway places, you may find this book difficult to put down. 

Click here to buy on Amazon

portable wooden chopsticks

If you're headed to Asia and care about the environment, this is the perfect eating utensil. So many forests fall to feed our chopstick habit (20 million trees a year in China alone) and this is easily avoidable. Take these reusable lacquered wood chopsticks with you (in their lovely cherry blossom box) when you eat out in Asia.

Click here to buy on Amazon

Sholdit Shimmer Face Mask

the perfect gift: a shimmer face mask

Sholdit is one of my favorite companies (the inventor of the infinity scarf). Now it's branching out into other quality products, like this comfy and cute face mask, which also comes in grey. I especially like the convertible straps, so you can wear this mask behind your ears or loop the straps around the back of your head.

Click here to buy this mask

safety items

Multi-Card Organizer

This incredibly useful organizer holds up to 20 credit cards and comes with an unzippered billfold and and zippered section for coins or yes, a cellphone. That said, it is remarkably slim, yet there is enough room to pull cards out easily. Don't like red? No worries, it comes in more than 40 colors! This is an RFID wallet, so your cards are safe, and is made of leather, with a leather lining. 

Click here to buy on Amazon

clipa bag hanger

I love these – I have threeNo need to wonder where to stash your purse or backpack in a restaurant or a café. No hook? No problem. Just place the ring on the edge of the bar or table, and hang your bag on it. Do the same in a public restroom, or a railing or a ledge. This way, your bag won't get dirty and because it's within your sight, it won't get stolen, as it might if you placed it on the floor or across the back of your chair. The Clipa can hold up to 15lb (6.8kg). With several colors to choose from, this is an absolute perfect travel gift: light, practical and safety-conscious.

Click here to buy on Amazon.

Alpha Keeper Money Belt

Keeping your cash and papers safe is essential when you travel and sometimes, the best way to do that is with a money belt. I particularly like this one, which I own and used recently in West Africa. The RFID blocking sleeves are so useful I'm actually using them without the money belt, at home, to store my credit cards. It's very well made, and built to last. The back is breathable so even in the humid tropics my valuables were well protected and I wasn't sweating. Use it while you sightsee or on the plane, if you want to make sure your papers are on you, safely, at all times.

Click here to buy on Amazon

Safety Whistle

Do you ever feel uneasy or anxious when you travel, at night, for example, or somewhere that's not as well lighted as it should be? Or perhaps you're in a city with a lot of stray dogs and worried about being approached by them? Or going hiking where there might be wild animals? A good whistle can do wonders to distance you from unpleasant encounters. Chances are you'll never need to use it, but it does provide a measure of comfort.

Click here to buy on Amazon

One Month of VPN - Virtual Private Network

Here's one of the best gifts you can give a traveler in your life: a month's peace of mind when it comes to identity and data theft. Getting a VPN, or virtual private network, requires a simple sign-up and the download of an app – it should all take under five minutes and will prevent online thieves from stealing all that private information. Too many of us are a bit cavalier about online security – until we get hacked or attacked. Wouldn't it be better to prevent that altogether?

Click here to buy a month of VPN

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