Minimalist Travel

Minimalist Christmas Gifts: What to get a minimalist traveller who doesn’t need anything

Last Updated on May 5, 2020 by queenie mak

I can’t believe it is almost Christmas! I’m sure most of you are already starting to think about the holidays and starting your Christmas shopping.

However, shopping can be quite stressful, especially during this time of the year. I’m not a great shopper myself, so I totally understand! The idea of walking through the mall and figuring out what I need to buy is already making my head spin already.

And how do you give mindfully this holiday? And what do you get for a minimalist traveller? The idea of buying presents for a minimalist person seems like an oxymoronic concept in itself.

As a minimalist traveller, I am pretty picky about what I buy. I seldom purchase anything because I really don’t need much. And whatever I do buy, it has to be practical, useful, small enough to travel with and durable.

So I’m going to help you out. I’m going to give you the ultimate list of gift ideas for a minimalist so you can get the best minimalist gifts for her (or the best minimalist gifts for him).




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How to give mindfully this Christmas

How do you give something meaningful to someone? And how do you give mindfully this Christmas?

Well for starters, mindful gift-giving can be tough. You really have to know the person and understand what the person wants. What is this person’s hobby? What does this person like to do? And what is this person drawn to? So many questions…

And you want to make sure the present is meaningful and purposeful.

For me, a mindful gift does not have to be something extravagant or expensive. And it can be anything from something small to share an experience together.

The perfect minimalist Christmas gifts would include experiences. I think the best thing you can give someone is your time. It can be as simple as sharing a meal together, spending the afternoon doing your favourite things, a short weekend trip, etc.

But, if you are participating in any holiday traditions of gift-giving or gift-exchange, it can be quite tough especially if you have to buy gifts for the minimalists in your life.

Which is why I put together this blog post to make your life easier.





Minimalist gift ideas: What to buy a Minimalist?

As a minimalist, I would rather not get anything. Doesn’t matter if its gifts for Christmas or birthday, I really don’t need or want anything. Perhaps it is years of accumulating things and having the urge to throw things away; I’m okay with not having a lot of “stuff.”

However, I do love traditions and the idea of people coming together to celebrate around the holidays. And I understand the long-established tradition of gift-giving during Christmas, so I am not 100% opposed to the gesture of gift-giving, especially if it brings joy to your life.

If you are buying a present for someone who has everything or someone who values the principles of minimalism, the actual task of coming up with the gift idea is quite tricky.

I honestly thought it would be easy to come up with a list of ideas for gift-giving for a minimalist traveller, but boy was I wrong! Having an understanding of minimalism and living the principles myself, I still had a hard time coming up with different ideas.

So after a lot of research, I came up with a list of Christmas gifts for minimalists. Feel free to use the list for other occasions like birthdays, events, or just because!




10 best gifts for minimalists


Reliable and durable backpacks

A reliable and durable backpack is the backbone for every traveller. It is one of the things you cannot skimp on. Having the right bag will ultimately enhance your travel experience.

However, a good backpack is not an inexpensive purchase, but you will get many years if you buy a quality backpack.


Osprey Backpack

One of my favourite backpacks of all time! The Osprey Talon 33 litre is the perfect size for any trip. I’ve had mine for over seven years, and I still use the pack. It doesn’t matter if I am solo travelling for a week or three months, it has all the space I need. It has proven to be reliable and durable after all these years.

Osprey re-branded their bags where the Talon backpacks are for men, and Tempest backpacks are for women. The main difference between men and women backpacks is that generally, women have a shorter torso. So the bag for women can accommodate women’s anatomy. Take a look at Osprey Tempest 30, which is similar to Osprey Talon 33.


Wanaka Adapt Backpack

When I am not using my Osprey backpack, I use my favourite minimalist backpack, Wanaka Adapt Backpack. I switch between the two packs depending on the type of trip.

As for the 24 litre pack, I like the minimalistic aesthetics of the bag. It only has three compartments, with minimal straps and very lightweight. It comes with an inflatable airframe and an insulated camera bag (or use it as a cooler). The pack is small enough for any airplane overhead compartment but big enough for packing all my clothing and toiletries for any city trips of more than three months while weighing under 7kg.


Fjallraven Re-Kanken Backpack

An excellent everyday backpack made with recycled polyester from eleven plastic water bottles. The efficient 16-litre Fjallraven Re-Kanken backpack is durable and functional. I love it because it can fit my laptop and enough clothing and personal items for a few days. Well, that’s because I use packing cubes. More about the cubes in the net section.


Herschel Backpack

A spacious and collapsible backpack. Sometimes I use my Herschel Backpack as an everyday bag. And I’ve even used this backpack for a big trekking trip. It has proved to be a super durable and reliable travel bag for different occasions! And when I don’t use it, I fold the bag into a pouch inside, and it keeps it tidy and neat.






Organizers for all your essentials

Staying organized is one of the many characteristics of a minimalist. There is a place for everything!

When it comes to travelling, I like to keep my clothing organized in packing cubes, toiletries in one compartment and technology in another compartment. Organizers are essential to any minimalist traveller!


Packing cubes

Having a set packing cube that can store all your clothing for any trip is essential! It is especially useful if you travel with a top-down backpack where it is difficult to stay organized. I use two packing cubes to keep my minimalist wardrobe organized. The durable, water-resistant and lightweight packing cubes are also great for other items in your backpack.


Compression packing cube set

If you like the regular packing cubes, you might want to try the compression packing cubes. It is the same idea as regular packings cubes where you can compartmentalize all your belongings. But the compression zippers squeeze out all the air out of the pack to make the pack even smaller. That means you can pack more items in your backpack (if you need the extra room).


Hanging toiletry bag

A hanging toiletry bag is essential for every type of traveller, especially if you are a backpacker. It keeps all the contents together, and you can hook it somewhere in the bathroom if there isn’t a whole lot of counter space. Since changing to the hanging toiletry bag many moons ago, I haven’t used anything else. And I will never leave home without it!


Cable organizer

If you travel with many gadgets that require charging, then you know how annoying it is to keep all your cables together. The cable case is big enough to hold a wireless mouse, and it has separate mesh compartments and elastic loops for wires and cables.





RELATED POST – DIY eco friendly toiletries


Power & technology

For someone who is travelling, having the proper equipment is essential. And if you are an entrepreneur working on the road and living the digital nomad life, you will know what I am talking about!


Battery power bank

A battery power bank is excellent for charging smartphones and other smaller electronic equipment. Typically, battery banks are quite heavy. But this is only 1.3 lb and is small in size (almost the same size as an iPhone). It has eleven days of power, where you can charge your iPhone seven times or Android phone up to six times. And it can charge up to three devices at the same time, and it comes with charging cables and a carry pouch.


Solar power bank

If you spend a lot of your time outdoors, it might be great to have a solar power bank strapped to your backpack. It harvests solar energy while you are outside and is an excellent source of emergency power. Talk about renewable energy! The device itself is compact, waterproof, and lightweight. Your mobile phone can be charged via the micro USB port or Type-C port, or place your phone directly onto the device.


Universal adapter

The all-in-one device will charge anything you want. It comes with four international plug adapter and dual USB ports. Unlike the old-school universal adapter, the new and improved adapters are super lightweight and small.


External hard drive

I love my Seagate portable external hard drive! It has a slim profile, super light and easy to use. I plug in my external hard drive to my laptop, and it automatically backups all my files. Simple as that! The hard drive is a must-have accessory for any digital nomads!






Travel gadgets

Travel lovers love gadgets! And there are a ton of travel gadgets on the market. The right kind of device can really enhance any travel experience. I’ve collected a whole bunch of gadgets over 16 years of travelling and here are some of my favourites.


Microfibre Towel

Any avid backpacker would love to get a practical gift like a microfibre towel. It is fast-drying, absorbent and antimicrobial. Great for camping, beach, swimming and backpacking. And it is small enough to tuck into your bag and light enough that it will not add too much weight to your backpack.



A waterproof LED headlamp with various settings. I’ve used my headlamp many times, including camping, outdoors and even just going to the bathroom in a hostel! Truly one of the best inventions ever!


Travel blanket

The nylon and polyester blanket can be used for a picnic or at the beach. The water-repellent backside is super durable and really compact when it is folded back into the pouch.


Dry sack

The ultralight nylon dry bag will keep all your belongings dry. The waterproof bag is so thin that when it folds back into itself, it is tiny and compact. I’ve used the dry sack for my laptop and other electronics when I was on a boat for a few days. I like to make sure my equipment stays dry. Ha!




RELATED POST – Minimalist Toiletries




Equipment to capture memories

I don’t know about you, but I have a pretty bad memory. So I take a lot of photos to remember the places I’ve been to. And I don’t have a fancy camera, but I do rely on my smartphone to take amazing pictures.



Most people travel with their smartphone because it has so many useful functions. Not only can you use it to navigate a new city and check emails, but it can also replace your camera and make your backpack even lighter.

I love my new Samsung Note 10+ smartphone. The latest Samsung Note series has a set of pro lenses with many photo functions. All the photos taken by my Samsung Note 10 are crisp and don’t require too much photo editing. And the phone has an S Pen, which you can use as a remote for taking photos. Any solo traveller will benefit from having the remote control!


Selfie stick and tripod

If you travel alone and want photos of yourself, this might be your solution. The device can be used as an extendable selfie stick and doubles as a tripod. And it is compatible with any smartphone. It is a life-saver when it comes to taking photos of yourself, so you don’t have to rely on strangers taking pictures of you.


Mobile phone camera lenses

If you want to have some fun with your smartphone camera and take photos with different lenses, try one of the 11 types of lenses for your mobile phone. It makes photography a whole lot more fun!






Technology for entertainment

We all need to relax and unwind, especially if you are travelling for the long-term. There are lots of gadgets in the market that will help make your relaxation time a bit more enjoyable.


Wireless Display Receiver

A small device that plugs into any TV with HDMI port. You can watch Youtube, Netflix and anything else on the TV. Simply connect the device to the TV and cast the show on your mobile phone. The wireless display receiver is quite small and light and easy to travel with. Sometimes when I am in an Airbnb apartment, I would cast either Netflix or Youtube videos to the television and watch it on the bigger screen.


Blue Tooth Speaker

A small and compact portable speaker with fantastic sound. It is water-resistant, wireless and great for anywhere. A single charge can play up to 24 hours of music! And most of all, it only weighs 12.6 ounces. And a blue tooth speaker is great if you want to have music in the background or you want to have a dance party (on your own! Ha!)



Music is essential for every trip! This is an excellent set of headphones and is compatible with Samsung and any Android devices. And it comes with a protective case.


Wireless Headphones

One of the smallest true wireless earbuds with a compact charging case. Connect to your Android or iPhone via Bluetooth. The small headphones come with a mic too!






Water bottle

Water is life. We need water to sustain ourselves. But we do not need to create more garbage by purchasing water in plastic bottles. By reusing a water bottle, we can help the planet by minimizing plastic waste and be a responsible traveller.


Travel mug

A collapsible travel mug made with food-grade silicone and free of BPA. You can use it for coffee, tea, or even use it like a small bowl. The mug is lightweight and has a heat sleeve. Bring the cup to the local coffee shop and asked to use this instead of paper cups.


Soft water bottle

The soft water bottle holds 500ml when it is fully expanded. When you are not using it, it folds up neatly to save space. Furthermore, the water bottle is eco-friendly. When you no longer use the water bottle, bury it into the soil, and it will naturally decompose.


Hydro flask bottle

The double-wall vacuum stainless steel flask keeps hot drinks piping hot up to six hours and cold drinks cold for 24 hours. It comes with a leak-proof lid and super durable. And it fits in any car cup holder and bicycle bottle rack.


Squeeze water bottle

Typically, the squeeze water bottle is for cyclists where the bottle can be placed in the bottle rack. But I like it because it is lightweight and I can use it as a netti pot as well.





Coffee lovers

I love coffee! I can’t say I am a coffee connoisseur, but I really enjoy a good cup of joe. Depending on where you go, you might be able to buy a decent cup of coffee. However, if you bring your own device, you are almost guaranteed a great cup of coffee each day. This is definitely a luxury that I love!


Portable Espresso Maker

You can make coffee anywhere with this compact portable espresso maker. Simply put finely ground coffee into the filter basket and press. Super easy to use. It comes with extra filter baskets and a carrying case.


Coffee grinder

A sleek, manual coffee grinder to make ground coffee for your portable espresso maker.


Collapsible electric kettle

A foldable travel kettle great for any traveller who loves making coffee, tea, oatmeal, instant noodles, etc.







For a minimalist traveller who is always on the road, bringing a ton of books is not ideal!

I love reading, but I don’t often read much because I don’t want to carry heavy books in my backpack. Typically, I read e-books on my Samsung Note 10+ phone. But the device is still pretty small. Enters the Kindle E-reader!


Kindle E-reader

The all-new Kindle Paperwhite waterproof reader allows you to read all your favourite books while you are travelling. The waterproof device has twice as much storage as before, and a single charge can last for weeks. The sleek and thin e-reader is small enough to pack in any backpacks but big enough for you to enjoy all your favourite books. There are several Kindle e-readers on the market, but there must be one that will fit all your requirements.





Notebook or Journal

A journal is a great gift, especially around Christmas time. It is a time for celebrating the past year and planning for the new year ahead.

I started journaling in the past couple of years and have seen so many benefits from journaling. It keeps me on track on what I have to do regarding work and my healthy habits. Also, I practice morning pages where I write 750 words every morning when I wake up. It is about a stream of consciousness longhand writing, where you can uncover your creativity.

I find that the practice of writing helps me focus on what I need to each day. It feels like I am decluttering the mind so the mind can be clear and concentrate on creative things. I’ve been doing my pages on and off for the past 2.5 years, and I just love it!

If you want to try journaling or start a habit of writing, try one of these options. They are all pretty great!


Moleskin Weekly Planner

A twelve-month weekly planner for writing all your weekly notes. The classic planner comes in many colours.


Moleskin Classic Soft Cover Notebook

A large, softcover notebook with dotted pages that is great for journaling, bullet journal and sketching. It is a great notebook for any travellers.


Leuchtturm 1917 Medium Hard Cover Dotted Notebook

The best thing about the dotted pages is that you can write whatever you want, but the dots are there to keep (most of) your notes inline.


Leuchtturm Bullet Journal Notebook

Another excellent option for keeping all your notes in one place. If you haven’t tried the bullet journal method, try it in the new year and see how your life transforms.





If you are still not sure what to buy for a minimalist traveller, you can always get them an Amazon eGift Card, and they can select the gifts themselves.

However, if you are up for the challenge of getting a gift for someone who doesn’t want anything, then consider buying one (or more) of these items!

It wasn’t easy coming up with Christmas gift ideas for a minimalist traveller, I really put a lot of thought into it! I hope this was helpful to you in selecting the best mindful gifts this holiday season.

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About Author

Hi, my name is Queenie, and I've been a solo traveller for 18+ years and currently based in Hong Kong. Follow me on my adventures through Instagram and my blog!


  • Dee
    November 26, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    Wonderful post, especially if you’re like me and hate shopping! And it actually comes just in time because my parents have been emailing me lately asking about what I’d like for Christmas and I really had no idea.. But now that you mention it a water bottle and portable espresso maker sound very handy 🙂

    • queenie mak
      November 27, 2018 at 1:03 pm

      Me too! I’m not a fan of shopping but online shopping helps a bit. I’m glad you enjoyed my post. Have a hpapy holiday!! 🙂


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