Lonely Planet staffers try out a lot of different gear on our travels, but there are just certain items we think truly make a difference in the life of an avid traveler. Whether it's a camera that makes our travels a little more whimsical, or something to help get that bottle of wine or olive oil back home without breaking, these items have helped us on the road.

If you're looking for the perfect gift for the on-the-go traveler in your life, look no further than our list of favorites. 

A rectangular white camera with rainbow stripes next to the lens on the right-hand side
Polaroid camera's give great keepsakes from a trip

Polaroid camera

Recommended by Sarah Stocking, Lonely Planet digital editor
From $100

This is certainly an extra item for a traveler's gear – it's just pure and simple fun. Its easy to snap photos of travelers you meet a long the way and share the print with them. Its also fun to have the print to add to your journal, incorporating art and words to really have a keepsake of your trip.

No spills when traveling with Wine Angels 

Wine Angels reusable bottle protectors

Recommended by Melissa Yeager, Lonely Planet senior editor

If you’re looking to bring home wine, spirits, olive oil or other liquids in glass from your travels, you need this. Pack the bottle inside and zip it closed. It’s now cushioned for the flight and if it happens to break, it won’t leak on the contents of your luggage.

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Matador backpack
Matador's Ultralight Technical Backpack is suitable for city breaks and adventure treks

Matador Beast28 Ultralight Technical Backpack

Recommended by Sebastian Modak, Lonely Planet editor-at-large

This is proof that packable backpacks – so often flimsy and uncomfortable – don’t have to suck. Extremely lightweight but with an ingenious suspension system that moves with your body, the Beast28 is just as useful for days exploring a city and weeks trekking through the backcountry. Somehow, despite its sleek featherweight form factor, Matador doesn’t skimp on any of the features you’d expect for a full-on technical backpack, including loops for carrying trekking poles, waist and sternum straps, and a hydration sleeve.

Fjallraven pants
Fjallraven Keb Agile Trousers work in even the most adverse conditions

Fjallraven Keb Agile Trousers

Recommended by Sebastian Modak, Lonely Planet editor-at-large

On a recent trekking trip through the Faroe Islands, one of nearly constant rain, wind, and cold, I brought three pairs of hiking pants to test in the field. By day three it was clear to me, I’d only be wearing one for the next week. I can’t say I generally get excited about pants, but these have me smiling every time I wear them, even in the most adverse conditions. Stretchy and pliable, light and flowy, with reinforced fabric in all the right places, these are meticulously engineered for any and all outdoors pursuits from the first days of spring to the final days of autumn.

Sonos Roam portable speaker has 10 hour battery life

Sonos Roam portable speaker

Recommended by Sasha Brady, Lonely Planet digital editor

Take your tunes on-the-go with this portable speaker from Sonos. It’s incredibly lightweight at a teeny 1 pound and was designed to be suitable for adventures in all sorts of landscapes — from the beach to the campsite and snow — with a solid dust and water-resistant IP67 rating. It has WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, sounds great and comes with a decent 10-hour battery life.

A travel adaptfor an bag.
No more multiple adaptors with a worldwide model

FSTravelP worldwide travel adaptor

Recommended by Fionnuala McCarthy, Lonely Planet editorial director

I know this is not sexy, and no one is going to shriek with delight when they unwrap it, but this will be appreciated by a traveler for years. It works in every country, is a neat size and you can charge multiple devices at once, also comes with a mini carry bag that might make it easier not to leave behind.

TYCKA Rangers 56in compact travel tripod, seen both folded up and expanded
TYCKA Rangers lightweight compact travel tripod

TYCKA Rangers 56" compact travel tripod

Recommended by Jasmine Alley, a Dallas-based travel blogger and photographer passionate about finding beauty in the world 

Whether you're photographing the stars or traveling solo, a tripod definitely comes in handy. I use this exact model because it’s user-friendly, versatile, lightweight and compact enough to fit in a carry-on when I'm flying somewhere. Most recently, I used it to capture the northern lights in Alaska. You could barely see them with the naked eye (they were just a milky glow on the horizon), but with my camera steady on this tripod and a 15-second shutter speed, you could clearly see green in the camera. It wouldn't have been possible to get the shot without it!

Aer's black cable kit, opened to show cords stashed in mesh pockets
Keep cables organized on the go with  Aer Cable Kit 2

Aer Cable Kit 2

Recommended by Alex Howard, Lonely Planet managing editor

Keep track of all your cables (we're not totally wireless just yet) while on the road with this durable nylon-face bag. There are multiple pockets to keep things nice and orderly and a padded interior for protection. 

Leatherman multi-tool
Leatherman Signal Multi-Tool will come in handy on the road

Leatherman Signal Multi-Tool

Recommended by Sebastian Modak, editor-at-large

You don’t realize how often you need a set of pliers until you start carrying one with you whenever you leave home. That, at least, is what makes Leatherman stand out in the crowded field of multi-tools. The Signal differentiates itself as a survival tool – perhaps not necessary for everyone, but perfect for the adventure-minded solo traveler in your life. Along with the usual blade and everyday tools, the Signal comes with a whistle, a fire-starting ferro rod and a built-in hammer for getting tent stakes in the ground or (and I speak from experience) cracking open crab legs at an impromptu beach feast.

A black LensPen NLP-1
LensPen lens cleaner a life saver for people who wear glasses

LensPen lens cleaners

Recommended by Erin Lenczycki, Lonely Planet photo editor
From $10

My camera lens and phone seem to always be smudged, and even if I pack thirty microfiber cloths, I never seem to have a clean one. So this little guy is a life-saver for me: it's tiny, cheap, and so much better than a t-shirt. I also use it on my glasses daily!

An aqua UV sun hoodie from Icelantic Skis
Colorado-based  Icelantic's UV Sun Hoodie

Icelantic Skis UV Sun Hoodie

Recommended by Gabriel Rovick, adventure photographer and founder of F4D studio

Icelantic is a Colorado-based, independently owned company that builds gorgeous skis right in Denver. But the brand’s outdoor-wear is equally amazing, and these sun hoodies are no exception. Comfortable for a day of paddle-boarding, hiking, sailing or any other activity you can dream up, these are built to withstand the hardest of players. 

Black men's bike shorts from Patagonia
Patagonia's padded ride liner shorts

Patagonia Endless Ride liner shorts

Recommended by Ben Buckner, Lonely Planet senior editor, sponsored content

These padded shorts – available in styles for men and women – will definitely save your butt. A chamois pad in just the right place takes the pressure off, but the nylon-spandex material elsewhere is light and grippy. You'll never go off road on a bike without them again.

More gift guides for every type of traveler

Travel gifts for under $25
Travel gifts for under $100
Luxury travel gift guide 2022
Sustainable travelers gift guide 2022

This article was first published November 2020 and updated November 2022

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