min read- August 19

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DIY Travel Gifts

Do you need a gift for an upcoming event: birthday, wedding, or anniversary? Lucky for you, we have a few ideas up our sleeve. Maybe your friends and family are still raving about their last vacation or are already daydreaming about their next destination. We have some great gift suggestions for you to impress your nearest and dearest ─ many of which are DIY travel gifts!

Anyone can grab a gift from the store, but DIY travel gifts that are crafted with a specific person in mind allow you to stand out with creative and heartfelt ideas. Many of our suggestions can also work as group gifts if intended for more than one person. An added bonus is the fun you will have while putting the gift together.


A photobook is a great gift option to help the receiver reminisce about the best moments from their last trip. This allows them to remember all of the fun that they had while simultaneously enabling them to share their experience with friends and family. This gift is a classic for any traveler.

In the age of smartphones, people rarely go to the effort of getting their photos printed and put in albums. This makes it the perfect surprise for your friends and family!

We suggest coming up with some sort of pretext for organizing their travel pictures to make sure that they don’t catch wind of it. Maybe try asking someone who went on the trip with them for pictures or tell them that you’re looking for inspiration to visit that destination in the future. You might even get some additional information along with the photos, which is ideal for making the photobook special.

While this may not sound like a demanding task, photo albums often involve a lot of effort. There are a number of online resources that allow you to make albums much more easily, such as Vistaprint and Shutterfly. You can also make the experience an easier one by making the album a group gift ─ meaning that you will not have to complete it alone. Compiling an album may make for both a fun afternoon and a wonderful gift.

How do you design a photobook?

You may have the skill of creativity and already know how you would like the album laid out.  We always recommend stickers, funky patterns, and plenty of colors! Including 3D pop-up elements in the book can add another layer of intrigue. Many of the artistic techniques these albums require are easy to master and can be quite effective. Your gift will end up truly memorable!

For those who aren’t as creative, there are countless websites for designing photo albums ─ such as the two mentioned above. While this method may seem less personal, it ultimately achieves the same result. It’s a good solution for people that aren’t into arts and crafts and offers a smooth way to make the perfect DIY travel gift.

We certainly aren’t trying to stop those of you who are eager to get busy with a glue stick; however, we would not recommend printing photos from an in-person store, seeing as the costs are often higher than those for online printing. Because of this, you cannot wait until the last minute to create your photobook – plan everything in advance!

When laying out the photobook, we suggest keeping the photos in chronological order ─ seeing as this prevents confusion. However, if this is contrary to the emotional effect you want the book to have, you obviously have the artistic license to organize the photos in whatever order seems best.

If you are looking to add bonus information to the album, ask their family and friends about some stories they told once they returned. This might provide you with some behind-the-scenes perspectives.  You could even leave some space for the gift recipients to write their own comments, which would simultaneously save you some work! Another thing to keep in mind is that the photo album doesn’t have to be completely full. This also suggests that they will have other fun adventures worth photographing!

Photo frames

As we’ve already mentioned, photos are pivotal in keeping the memories of a wonderful trip alive. If you don’t have time to make an entire photo album but want to use photos in your DIY travel gift, you could decorate a picture frame.  This allows you to pick the best photos and make them the focal point.  It could be a single photo or a whole collage – ultimately, it’s up to you. Regardless of what you pick, you can design a frame that complements the subject.

We suggest picking out a highlight or two from the trip and to design the frame based on that. For example, say the last holiday was by the beach. One idea would be to decorate the frame with real sand and seashells to evoke a seaside feeling. This will give the picture(s) you picked out a special effect.

Also, if you already know the next destination your friends or family are heading to, you can help them get excited about the trip by designing a frame in advance!

Travel vouchers

Some people rave about the endless adventures they would like to experience during their travels. However, once they arrive, money often presents an obstacle. A gift that can help your friends and family to avoid this issue is a travel voucher. This is particularly suited for activities such as skydiving, bungee jumping, or diving. Make sure to give vouchers for activities that you are certain loved ones will enjoy. This will prevent them from feeling obligated to do something they don’t want to do on their vacation. This is also a great way to get your friends and family to try something new or that is outside of their comfort zone.

You can also give vouchers for flights and accommodations if you are uncertain where they will go and what they will do for their vacation. You will be on the safe side with this – no one is going to complain if you help them out with the unavoidable costs!

While you may be thinking that gifting a piece of paper will make for a boring present, there are ways to avoid this. One solution would be to design the voucher yourself or connect it to some kind of game. What about decorating a surprise box with an assortment of personal touches? Or maybe filling up a suitcase with hints about the voucher?

“Open when” cards

We think that another fun idea for a travel gift is “open when” cards for them to take with them on their trip. These DIY travel gifts require minimal effort while still being a fun and thoughtful present. You can include pictures of you and your loved ones from past trips, favorite memories, destination suggestions for the future, or motivational quotes to make your loved one smile.

Of course, there doesn’t need to be a loving message for every single card – they can also be filled with money, objects, or pictures. The important thing is to include whatever will bring them some joy.

How does it work?

Gather some slips of paper to decorate with the above-mentioned items ─ the amount can also vary depending on how long the gift recipient is going to be away traveling. Once you’re happy with your messages you can pop them into envelopes.

Your next task is writing different titles on the outside, such as “open when you’re sad”, “open when you’re happy”, or “open when you’re nervous”. Following the same pattern, you can write as many messages as you like. We think this is a great present and we’re sure that your loved ones will be delighted too!

Cash gifts

While cash is not a unique gift, everyone loves it! It is versatile and allows them the freedom to do whatever they please with it. This is especially helpful for travelers, seeing as traveling is expensive and a cash gift helps to alleviate some of the financial stress. Additionally, a cash gift gives them the freedom to be spontaneous and to pursue whatever sounds exciting and fun as they travel.

You also don’t have to gift money in a plain card. Tuck it in an envelope with some of your favorite pictures together or in a postcard of your loved one’s dream travel destination.


A fun way to gift cash or help your friends and family start saving for a trip could be to gift them a piggybank. You should pop in some money of your own to start them off, seeing as your goal is to give them some joy and not just more work.

You could pick out a classic piggybank or design one yourself. This could look like decorating a mason jar, buying a transparent box, or having a custom bank made. Or pay a visit to the nearest souvenir shop to look for small travel figurines and add cute details to the savings box.

World map

Another DIY travel gift that we really like is a world map with money hidden in it. We suggest putting it in a picture frame and filling the back with dollar bills. Of course, the amount is up to you. Then place a world map made of cardboard or paper over the back. It is best to cut out the outlines of the continents so that the underlying money is also visible.

Another idea that is very popular currently is a scratch-off map. This allows you to scratch off the continents you have traveled to ─ each one revealing a different color. This is a viable option for those looking to spend more money on their DIY travel gift.


DIY travel gifts might take a bit more effort than just buying a gift. It will all be worth it once you see the joy it brings your loved ones. In our opinion, you can’t go wrong with photo books or commemorative gifts. Cash gifts also never hurt but have the potential to seem a little impersonal. That’s why we’ve given you some tips to spruce up your DIY travel gifts! Gifts can have incredible sentimental value – a simple letter or motivational message can become the best present in the world. Hopefully, you now feel equipped to handle the next upcoming birthday and are ready to make the best possible presents for your nearest and dearest. Give some of our ideas a try – we promise they’ll love it!

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