Is a friend, family member or coworker about to retire from a long career? If they love to travel, you have plenty of ways to surprise them with a thoughtful retirement gift — even if they’ve been around the world. For someone who enjoys traveling, being retired means they’ll have a lot more time to tackle their ever-growing bucket list.
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In this post, we’ll share retirement gift ideas for travelers to help you bid farewell to a retiring friend or congratulate a loved one for entering a new stage in life.
Best Retirement Gifts for Someone Who Loves to Travel
Since retirees no longer have to clock in 40 hours a week, they have plenty of time to engage in a favorite hobby, such as traveling. The best gift to give a retiree who loves to travel is one that makes their journey even better or encourages them to follow their passion. To inspire your gift choice, here are some ideas:
To someone who loves traveling, looking at a map delivers an instant dose of joy. Maps can make lovely wall art, and they also serve as inspiration. You might give the retiree a unique, scratch-off world map they can hang on the wall in their home office, bedroom or any space they use for dreaming.
With a scratch-off wall map, the recipient can mark every country they’ve ever visited. Every time they return from their journey abroad, they can look forward to adding new colorful marks to their map.
There are also scratch-off maps of the United States available, which may be ideal for retirees who hope to visit national parks during their golden years or other domestic treasures. You can easily find a variety of scratch-off maps for sale online.
If you want to give your retiree something they can curl up with on the couch, consider offering them a beautiful world atlas. They can flip through the pages, add bookmarks to their favorite spots and let fantasy carry them away.
2. Travel Journal
A travel journal can help your friend capture and preserve memories, thoughts, feelings and pretty much anything they can’t catch with a camera. They might record fascinating conversations they had with fellow travelers or describe the taste and scent of a regional dish. They can also decorate the pages with photos, menus, ticket stubs and other items they collect during their travels. Your friend can use their travel journal to relive their experiences or share stories with others — and they never have to forget those magical, fleeting moments travelers are bound to encounter.
You’ll find tons of travel journals for sale online to suit the retiree’s personality or style. For example, a seasoned traveler might appreciate a gorgeous, refillable leather-bound notebook that they can use for the rest of their traveling days. If the retiree likes to sketch or paint, consider giving them a hardcover sketchbook they can carry with them everywhere. You can even find waterproof notebooks to suit the adventurer in your life.
3. Upgraded Travel Essentials
Experienced travelers often already have everything they need to pack their bags in a flash, and they might not bother replacing worn items with something new and more convenient. You can spoil your friend or family member with an upgraded version of a travel necessity and make them feel spoiled as they trek the globe. Some ideas include:
- Personalized passport holder: A personalized passport holder, such as a classy leather cover with a monogram, will remind the retiree of you every time they enter a new country. It will also help protect their passport from regular wear and tear. Depending on the type of passport holder you choose, it might also have slots to hold credit cards and boarding passes.
- Shoe bag: Does your soon-to-be retiree adore shoes and like to bring a variety when they travel? Consider giving them drawstring or zippered shoe bags to help them keep their favorite footwear separate from other items.
- Hanging toiletry bag: Most travelers already have some sort of toiletry bag — or any container that holds essentials like toothpaste and deodorant. However, your friend or family member may not have a hanging toiletry bag, which keeps items dry and organized. The retiree will appreciate the convenience of a durable hanging toiletry bag, which they can use every day as they travel.
Globes can double as nice decor items and a way to track one’s travels. For example, you might give the retiree a cork globe, which they can use to mark their adventures with pins or thumbtacks. They can use various colored pins to represent places they’ve already been and locations they plan to go.
If you want to offer something a little more extravagant, consider giving them a globe cabinet. A globe cabinet looks similar to a regular floor globe, except it opens up and provides space for a wine bottle and glasses.
No matter how many places your retiree has already been, they should always be prepared to snap photos as they travel. There are so many different cameras available, but you don’t need to get anything too complicated to help your loved one take stunning photos.
For example, if the retiree likes outdoor adventure, consider getting them a GoPro camera designed to take action shots. GoPro cameras can also snap photos underwater — perfect for snorkeling excursions.
Polaroid cameras make a fun gift, too, and bring instant joy. Your retiree can catch unique moments while on the go, immediately print the photos and add them to their travel journal. They can also use their Polaroid camera for special occasions when they return from their travels. If your friend has grandchildren, for example, they can enjoy taking and instantly printing pictures as a family.
6. Noise-Canceling Headphones
Noise-canceling headphones can make a journey much more enjoyable. These high-quality headphones can help block out noise on planes, trains, buses or other public spaces and let the wearer listen to soothing music as they try to nap without having to turn the volume up too high. If a traveler wants to stay energized during their journey, they can use noise-canceling headphones to block out white noise and listen to their favorite music instead, keeping themselves from feeling sleepy.
Unlike regular earbuds, noise-canceling headphones require batteries to power their circuitry. When you buy noise-canceling headphones for your traveler, consider battery life so it can last them for the duration of their journey.
Does the retiree in your life keep talking about their upcoming birdwatching trip to Costa Rica’s Monteverde Cloud Forest? Or are they anticipating the chance to observe harbor seals and sea otters on a cruise to Alaska? If your friend or family member enjoys viewing wildlife as they tour the world, think about getting them a quality pair of binoculars for their retirement celebration.
You don’t have to get the most powerful binoculars ever created to help your retiree view wildlife up-close. The National Audubon Society recommends using binoculars with seven to 10 times magnification power for birdwatching. You might also look for binoculars that are fog-proof and waterproof, so your friend can keep their eye on the local fauna even when the weather is less than ideal.
A daypack is a small backpack that comes in handy for hiking, exploring and other outdoor activities. Every traveler needs a durable daypack to carry essentials such as snacks, binoculars, a water bottle and hand sanitizer. If you give your retiree a comfortable, high-quality daypack, they can use it again and again as they check off their bucket list.
The best daypack to buy for someone mostly depends on the type of activities they’ll be doing. For example, some daypacks have hip or waist belts to take some weight off the back, which might be perfect for a long day of hiking or biking. Daypacks also vary in how much they can hold. For example, a small, lightweight daypack can be great for short hikes, while some are large enough to hold extra clothing and gear.
No matter what sized daypack you choose for your retiree, make sure to select one with the following features:
- Hydration reservoir or water bottle pockets
- Water-resistant material such as nylon or polyester
- Adjustable, padded shoulder straps
- Padded hip or waist belts
9. Hard-Shell Luggage
If your retiree could use a new suitcase as they voyage into the golden years, consider giving them hard-shell luggage. Hard-shell luggage is protected by a layer of durable, lightweight plastic. Some luggage features an aluminum shell, which offers even greater durability, but more weight.
Hard-shell luggage can be an excellent retirement gift for travelers who enjoy collecting souvenirs. This type of luggage protects breakable items better than soft suitcases and won’t rip or tear as easily. Some might be zipperless, too, meaning they offer higher protection against theft.
Keep in mind that hard-shell luggage is not as flexible as soft luggage, so the traveler will have to resist overpacking before they take off and save room for bringing treasures home with them. If you think your friend or family member would prefer more flexibility, it may be better to surprise them with a new soft luggage set.
Regardless of the type of luggage you choose, consider selecting your retiree’s favorite color. A bright color will make it easier for them to find their checked bag when they land. If you think the retiree prefers black luggage, you might add a colorful scarf or ribbon to the handle to make it stand out.
10. Inspiring Travel Book
Your retiree may have a lot more time to read and enjoy a good book. Since they love to travel, you might buy them an illustrated travel book to give them ideas and inspire their next journey.
To start your search, consider books published by the National Geographic Society. For example, experts at National Geographic put together the book “50 States, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do,” which features colorful illustrations and recommended travel experiences in every state — including some unexpected trips. “Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World’s Most Amazing Places” is another gorgeous National Geographic book that’s sure to spark wanderlust.
If you want to help your retiree create a travel bucket list, considering giving them “The Bucket List: 1,000 Adventures Big and Small.” This book is filled with location-specific bucket list ideas and beautiful photos.
If you want to treat the retiree in your life to something unforgettable, consider surprising them with a cruise. A cruise is ideal for someone entering retirement because it’ll allow them to take a deep breath, unwind and enjoy stress-free travel to spectacular destinations. Cruises also make sure to pamper their guests with authentic and delicious cuisine, personalized service and relaxing activities like swimming or wine tasting.
A cruise is also perfect for anyone passionate about traveling and experiencing different cultures. During a cruise, your retiree will get to visit various destinations and check off multiple bucket list items at once. For example, if your friend or family member has always wanted to explore the ancient city of Ephesus and sample wine in Santorini, they may be able to do both on a Mediterranean cruise.
Even if your retiree has traveled extensively, they can find something different and thrilling to experience on a cruise. Some smaller, more intimate cruise lines, like Windstar Cruises, take guests to off-the-beaten-path locations in addition to popular ports, so any traveler can have new, immersive experiences.
Buying a cruise for someone else is a bit trickier than booking one for yourself, but it’s not impossible. You’ll need to know some details to book a surprise cruise for someone, such as where they’d like to go, how long they can travel for and when, and the type of cabin they’d choose.
If booking an entire cruise for your retiree isn’t an option, consider giving them a gift certificate to go toward their cruise fund. Or, if the retiree is your spouse or a close friend, you might decide to book the cruise together.
For someone who loves to travel, retirement is an exciting stage in life. Finally, the retiree will have time to satiate their wanderlust and go wherever they want, whenever they want. You can help your loved one embrace their retirement and get motivated to explore with a thoughtful, travel-themed gift.
If you’re considering booking a cruise with your retiree to celebrate their transition, we’ll be happy to plan every detail. While aboard one of Windstar’s small ships, you and your companion can expect an intimate, relaxed atmosphere, exceptional service, extraordinary excursions and a colorful array of destinations. We strive to make every guest feel completely pampered as we sail them to the most scenic and culturally fascinating places in the world. To learn more about our cruises, please contact a Vacation Planner or browse our itineraries today.