9 Terrible Gifts for Travelers This Christmas

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Today is the first of December, and the push is on to get everyone from Aunt Edna to Mummy the perfect gift. Knowing that someone is a frequent traveler brings to mind all kinds of “travel” related gifts you can get them. Somewhere between wanting to show how much you care and getting overwhelmed by all the hoopla, some gifts start to look better than they should especially after an extra glass of eggnog or shot of buttered rum.

Back by popular demand is Magic of Miles’ 2016 curated list of terrible travel gifts you just shouldn’t give this year (and hope that you don’t find them under the tree). If you are curious and missed last year’s funny list, you can click to find it here.

9. Mildew scented perfume


Demeter’s Mildew perfume comes in a TSA-friendly 1 ounce size. But it is described as smelling “not at all pleasant” by more than one reviewer, and scents inside long metal aircraft tubes seem magnified. Certainly there can be worse smells onboard a plane, but there is no need to smell like you just came out of a musty old basement. Ewww. That means no Earthworm scent either, and you might want to stay clear of perfume/cologne in general.

8. Luggage with your picture on it


I can’t think of anyone that would use luggage with their own picture on it, except for maybe a tiny tot. Imagine that you’re waiting at baggage claim, and as your bag comes out it instantly seems to scream, “look at me!”. Lined up in front of the concierge desk at the hotel too. Rental car shuttle? Someone will be staring at your bag and wondering who the narcissist is that put their own face on their suitcase. And really, luggage is a bad idea in general. Most seasoned travelers know exactly what works for them already. This could work as a gift to embarrass someone though.

7. Gold chain world necklace


You too, can look like Mr. T with your very own heavy gold chain necklace covering most of your neck. Unisex, and all travelers like to show off that they travel a lot, right? Give one to a friend and keep one for yourself. No word yet on if this heavy bauble will set off the metal detectors at airport security.

6. Christmas with Kićo CD


Christmas tunes in Croatian, sung by a guy that had legal troubles in the 1970’s, and hilarious CD cover artwork to boot. Barely anyone can even play CD’s anymore so it doesn’t make any difference if the songs are in English – any CD you give probably won’t get listened to on any trip and will be headed straight to the re-gifting pile.

5. Another passport cover


David Bowie, Anime, tiny mosquitos…it doesn’t matter what travelers love but they probably don’t want it plastered across their passport cover. Chances are they’ve already got at least one cover anyhow, and you do realize that passports have to be removed from covers before going through passport control anyhow, right?

4. A weighted vest


I’m all for getting in shape while on the road but any sort of workout gear might be viewed warily by those who think it to be a thinly-veiled hint. With a clever tactical look, good luck explaining this particular vest (did someone say suicide?) to security at the airport. Even wearing it to the gym or to the grocery store would get some uneasy looks. Perhaps this is something best encouraged to use behind closed doors. Better yet, don’t buy one at all and stick with Westin’s $5 workout gear loaner program when traveling.

3. Guidebooks


Thoughtful is the person who gives a guidebook, but technology now makes it easy to read books digitally so luggage doesn’t get weighed down. Plus, unless someone is planning a trip to somewhere specific they’ll wonder if you want them to actually get lost in Kyrgyzstan or if that was just the guidebook on sale.

2. Polyester fleece throws


Nothing says you care like a grocery story polyester fleece throw for under $5 that doubles as a shawl, in the enchanting shade of puce green. Travelers just may be tempted to accidentally leave it behind while on a trip or stash it underneath the seat on the plane.

1. Bathe & Brew portable shower coffee maker and soap dispenser


Finally, a great way to take cooking in your hotel room to the next level. Ok, so this last one is actually a prank. You buy just the box, and fill it with your own gift. Genius, and even if they don’t like the gift, the laughter over the box will be real. Other prank boxes include an earwax candle making kit and a crib dribbler, to feed babies like hamsters.


Are there any gifts you are thinking of giving a traveler and aren’t sure if they’ll be a hit? On the flip side, what gifts have you received that were a total miss?

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