Gift Guide: Best Graduation Travel Gift Ideas

young girl traveler




It's that time of year—caps winging through air and recent graduates are looking ahead to life beyond. This is a major milestone for your them, so if you know a student graduating high school or college, don't slip a gift card or a check into a card (boring!). Instead, buy that person a present that he or she will truly love (and use!): travel gear!

Millennials are traveling more than any other generation (though Gen-Z is hot on their heels), which means it’s a safe bet to think your recent graduate loves to travel and is planning to log some miles out there in the world. 

To make things easy for you, we surveyed the hottest new presents around and plucked the top more than a dozen gifts that are worth considering. No matter your budget, you're sure to find a perfectly unique travel gift they’ll love and use for years to come.


A Better Backpack

If your graduate thought dorms were bad, wait until he or she tries living out of a backpack. Make the transition as seamless as possible with a new backpack that works just as well for commuting to classes or work as it does for travel—the  Wayfinder Backpack ($129, and comes in Women’sor Men’s fit) will fit their new life trajectory to a T. ? The organizational pack boasts multiple safety features (like a hidden tech pocket on back panel), a padded 17” laptop compartment with additional tablet sleeve, plenty of storage space, and lockable, self-repairing zippers. Oh, and your millennial will love knowing it’s also made from Bluesign® approved fabrics and recycled materials harvested from landfills.


A Lightweight Library

There's more to read on the road than just guidebooks. A  Kindle Paperwhite e-reader ($130) will take up a fraction of the space of a single paperback, and ensure that your favorite graduate has an entire library at his or her fingertips.


An Unusual Deck of Cards

It’s hard to transition from the rigid world of academia to the rules-free world of travel. Ease the globe-trotter into it with the  Anywhere Travel Guide ($13), a whimsical deck of cards that contains prompts such as, “Ask the next person you meet where his/her favorite street is. Go there.” Another: “Write down what you like about this city on a small piece of paper. Leave it where someone else will find it later.” Now that’s what we call fun homework!


Solid Shampoo & Toiletry Kit

There are few things more annoying than arriving at your destination, only to find that your liquid shampoo has leaked out of your toiletry kit and coated every item of clothing in your bag! That's where  Lush solid shampoo bars ($11 and up) comes in as an excellent alternative. Not only is the bar form leak-free, it’s also lightweight and eco-friendly (less single-use plastic in landfills!)—oh, and they smell phenomenal, too. If you’re springing for one of these, pair it an upgraded toiletry for your graduate. The  Pack-It Specter™ On Board ($46) is made with a durable, water-repellent, silnylon ripstop material which will last the for many years of travel to come.


A Quality Watch

Now that they have a college degree, it’s time to clue them in to a professional’s best-kept secret: There are non-ringing devices that actually tell time! Introduce your graduate to a real wristwatch as they enter the real world. The anti-scratch face of the  Nautica Chronograph Watch ($155) transitions seamlessly from the hiking trail to the cubicle.


A Tech-Enhanced Travel Wallet

If there’s one thing the majority of college graduates have in common, it’s debt—and uncertainty over how to get rid of it. While taking on that student loan payment may be just out of your gift budget (by a few zeros!), a bit of fun money is a gift universally appreciated by college grads. Stash a green surprise away in an  RFID Bi-Fold Wallet ($25) or  RFID Wristlet Wallet ($35)—just make sure they know it’s in there!


A Portable Phone Charger

Getting lost is an important part of any journey, but with a  portable smartphone charger ($17), your grad can always find his or her way home again. Less than ten ounces, this pocket-sized power pack won't feel heavy in any bag.  


A Set of Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are the single best way for your grad to keep organize themselves while they travel (and in their dorm rooms too, if your high school grad is heading to college!). Gift your grad the  Pack-it Original Cube Set ($28) to start their collection—it comes in several fun colors and prints and will certainly upgrade your graduate’s travel experience.


A Waist Pack

You didn’t read that wrong, fanny packs are back and your grad will dig the versatility of the  Wayfinder Waist Pack ($30 and up), which will hold their smartphone while their out adventuring and keep their wallet and important items from getting stolen!


A Travel Journal

As your graduate ventures off to the next exciting chapter, make sure they are keeping track of their adventures. Not only will keeping a journal help them remember this time in their life, but will help them keep track of their day-to-day adventures, emotions, successes, and challenges. This  leather-bound travel journal ($35) will last even longer than those student loan payments.


A Filtering Water Bottle

 Gift the  LifeStraw Go ($45)—a high quality filtering water bottle—if your grad’s travel adventures will take them far off the beaten path. To take the gift to the next level, stash the water bottle in side pocket a  Global Companion backpack ($159 and up, comes in Men’s and Women’s fit), which is a backpack sturdy enough to see your grad through years of round the world adventures.


The Ultimate Travel Sleep Set

Sleeping in hostels—on uncomfortable beds, surrounded by strangers who can come and go and turn the lights on and off at any hour of the night—is not easy. Neither are increasingly cramped plane rides. Help your grad get better zzz's while traveling by giving sleep essentials like a  Memory-Foam Neck Pillow ($30)  Travel Ear Plugs ($9), an  Sandman Eyeshade ($16), and the cozy  Cat Nap Blanket ($31) for low-temperature locations.


While there’s still no comprehensive how to guide for the “real world” for a college grad, these unique gifts will help them transition from “students” to “alumni.” If you’re looking for other gifts for those who love to travel, check out our  Ultimate Gift Guide: 25 Best Gifts for Travelers .


Related Products:

In-Flight Gear Kit

Wayfinder Backpack 40L

Pack-It Specter™ On Board


Related Links (from Eagle Creek blog):

20 Gifts Perfect for Millennial Travelers

Best Travel Gifts for Men

Best Travel Gifts for Women


By Alexandra Baackes on May 22, 2019

Alexandra Baackes is a traveling writer, designer, and underwater videographer. She is currently in her fourth year of living as a full-time nomad—follow along at!