40+ Insanely Clever DIY Travel Gifts & Crafts To Try Yourself

Written by: Lara
Last update:
A collage of 8 DIT travel gifts
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Whether you are looking for a fun DIY travel craft to distract yourself when you’re not on the road, or you would like to surprise your favorite adventurer with a handmade gift, this is your place for inspiration!
We’ve spent hours on Pinterest browsing for the most beautiful DIY travel gifts and even got our own hands dirty on some of these ideas to find you the absolute best crafty projects. From super simple travel DIY ideas that even your 3-year-old niece can do, to advanced home projects that will keep you occupied for a day or two, there is a project for every level, budget, and occasion.

So grab your craft box and let’s get crafting.

Save these DIY travel gifts

Don’t forget to save these Travel DIY projects on Pinterest for the next time you need inspiration!

40+ best DIY travel gifts with an image of crafty items

Super simple travel DIY ideas

#1 Pillowcases or bed sheets

Two pillow cases with handwritten text on it
My pillowcases when studying abroad

This is actually one of the travel DIY projects that I did for my first-ever solo trip abroad when I went to study in the US. Though, technically I didn’t really “craft” anything. All I did was buy two pillowcases and ask all my friends and family to write something for me.

It was a great way to have a tangible piece of home and read all the heartwarming messages they left for me while I was abroad. It was the best pick-me-up I could wish for whenever I would feel homesick.

So whether you’re looking for a DIY travel gift or just a keepsake for yourself, buying a pillowcase or bed linen and asking friends and family to write you a message is a super simple and fun way to go about it.


#2 Clothing with messages or DIY decorations

The back of a white t-shirt with "Mallorca" handwritten
Our Mallorca t-shirts

In line with the previous idea of the pillowcase, you can actually apply that to any type of clothing.

It’s a travel craft that works both as a gift and for yourself (and make it a heartfelt gift for yourself).

Just buy waterproof textile markers, a shirt, a hoodie, or whatnot, and make sure you bring it when you’re saying goodbye to friends and family before a trip.

Another really awesome variation of this is to bring a blank piece of clothing and markers with you on a trip and ask the people you meet along the way to leave you a message. By the end of your trip, you will have a personalized and heartfelt souvenir. Me and my friends actually did this years ago on our trip to Mallorca and I still have this shirt to this date.

Not sure what items you could use? Here is some inspiration

  • Shirts
  • Hoodies
  • Beanies
  • Hats
  • Scarfs
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Shorts

#3 Decorate or personalize other travel items

A stainless steel water bottle
Turn a water bottle into a DIY craft with markers

Another really simple DIY travel craft is to buy something tangible and then decorate it.

The key here is to buy travel items that you (or the traveler whom this gift is for) will actually take on the journey. Then all you need are waterproof markers, a needle and thread, paint, or anything else to decorate it.

Here are some examples of typical travel items that you can easily decorate and turn into a DIY project. For some of these items, there is also a more advanced DIY option down below. But I figured we would start really easy before getting to the hardcore project.

  • Water bottle
  • Tumblers
  • Sleeping mask
  • (Sun)glasses cases
  • Fanny packs
  • Toiletry bags
  • Makeup bags
  • Packing cubes
  • Luggage tags
  • Neck pillow

#4 Money in a bag

Mini vacation in a bag
Photo courtesy of Custom Sentiments 2020

Now, I actually saw this idea on Etsy when I was crafting my funny travel gift guide, but honestly, you could just recreate this at home.

All you need is some sand, shells, a paper umbrella, a plastic bag, and a funny tag that you can easily make yourself.


#5 DIY money gifts

A suitcase and two airplanes origami from cash
The suitcase and airplanes I made for my friend

As boring as it may sound, money is actually the best gift for travelers. But since most people don’t enjoy giving cash, I created a list of 76 epic ways to give money.

So if you are looking for a practical DIY travel gift that the recipient will actually use, then pick one of the unique cash projects from that list. The ideas range from super-duper simple to highly creative (and time-consuming) options, so pick whatever suits you and the occasion.

For one of my friends, I actually made this suitcase and airplanes because she was going on a long-term trip.


Practical DIY travel ideas to take on a journey

#6 DIY packing cubes

A blue packing cube with clothes
Packing cubes are super practical travel gifts

Packing cubes are super handy bags that help you to organize your luggage in such a way that you can actually find it and that it fits neatly in a backpack or suitcase.

But did you know that you can just make them yourself?

Pick a nice fabric or your favorite color (or the recipient’s) and follow Melly Sews’ instructions to make your own packing cubes.


#7 Passport cover

A passport holder
A passport cover

Protect your most important travel document in style with a self-made passport cover!

Now, it is made with leather which adds a little extra layer of difficulty because of its sturdiness, but if you follow Lovely Indeed’s instructions you should be able to work it out just fine.


#8 Camera strap

An embroidered camera strap
An embroidered camera strap

Nothing beats a handmade gift, especially if it’s a beautiful and practical one, such as a camera strap. It’s the perfect travel DIY idea for photography lovers, that will allow them to carry a bit of home around their neck whenever they take their cameras out.

There are two beautiful DIY options here, one made with cotton webbing and another made with a scarf. They’re about the same level of difficulty, so just pick whichever design you like best.


#9 Various bags

A blue small string bag
A simple string bag for travelers

You could probably make about a thousand different DIY bags for travelers, so I am not going to list them all here. Instead, I selected three awesome sites with instructions for the three most practical bags for travelers; string bags, pouches, and tote bags.


#10 Jewelry roll

A colrful jewelry roll for travelers
A colorful jewelry roll

Learn how to make your own jewelry roll and transport your precious accessories safely on the road with Haber Dashery Fun!

I would say, it is a bit more of an advanced travel DIY idea, but if you’re willing to properly sit down and take your time for it, anyone can make this at home. 


#11 Sleeping mask

A pink silk sleeping mask
A sleeping mask

We discussed the simple DIY version of a sleeping mask above; buy a blank one and decorate it with textile markers or paint.

If you’re looking for a more crafty version, check out Martha Stewart’s DIY sleeping mask tutorial.


#12 DIY travel neck pillow

A neck pillow for travel
A neck pillow can easily be made at home

A neck or travel pillow is an essential travel item for those who often take long-haul flights, buses, or trains. If you want to catch some sleep, this is a must.

And there is nothing better than sleeping on a DIY travel neck pillow!

So check out Instructables for a tutorial on how to make one yourself. One little extra tip from me before you start, don’t be frugal with the stuffing. It’s the sturdiness of your pillow that will determine how well you will be able to sleep with it.


#13 Travel toiletries wrap

If you are looking for a cute DIY travel gift idea, then a toiletry roll with travel-sized toiletries is a fun option. 

There are two options that I select for you, one with and one without sowing. I think they are equally nice, and (if you know how to sow) equally difficult.

However, if you’re not great with a needle and thread, the Instructables no-sew option is probably the best for you. Otherwise, check out The Yellow Bird House for a beautiful sown travel wrap.


#14 Scrunchies

A blue and a white scrunchie
Scrunchies are great for girls of all ages

Scrunchies are super cute DIY travel gifts for little girls, teens, and grown-up women. You can vary with the type of fabric and colors you use, depending on who the scrunchie is for.

Check our Hey Wanderer Blog for the full instructions


#15 DIY travel wallet

A red passport wallet
A DIY travel wallet

A DIY travel wallet is a slightly more advanced project, but with Instructables free printable, and a step-by-step guide, it’s doable for any level crafter.

Pick a color or design you like, and you will be able to keep your passport and money safe in style! 


#16 DIY travel cable organizers

A black travel cord organizer
A travel cord organizer

If you like to keep stuff organized, or if you travel with a bunch of cords, cables, and earphones with cords, DIY travel cable organizers are a fun project for you.

There are quite a number of different DIY travel cable organizers online, so I’m going to leave it up to you to pick the best one for you from DIY Candy’s list


#17 Luggage tags

A plain black leather luggage tag
A plain luggage tag can easily be decorated

The easiest way to make a DIY luggage tag is by decorating a plain one. However, you can also get a lot more crafty and make one from scratch. The Spruce Crafts gathered the 16 best DIY luggage tag ideas, so have a look and choose whichever one you like best (or whichever one you think you can make yourself).


#18 Sunglasses case

A green pot holder
Fold a pot holder in two to make a sunglass holder

Now, before you start with this DIY travel craft for your expensive high-quality sunglasses, let me give you a fair warning.

This is not the most sturdy case, and it probably won’t provide the very best protection for expensive sunglasses. So if you are looking for a high-quality case to properly protect your sunglasses, I would advise you to buy a hard case and decorate it to make it your own.

But if you are like me and often travel with a cheap pair of sunglasses too, this is a fun travel craft idea to protect them a little more.

Here is what you do.

Buy a square-shaped potholder, fold it in two, check if your sunglasses actually fit inside, and sew the bottom and the sides. You can vary the size a little bit by sowing more closely to the end or a bit more inward, which will make your sunglasses fit more loosely or tight.


#19 DIY coupon book

DIY vouchers for people
DIY coupons for my parents

This is one of my favorite DIY travel gifts, in fact, I made a coupon book like this for my parents when I left for another one of my long-term trips. But it works as a gift for travelers as well as for those staying behind.

Simply come up with a list of cute favors and then check out my full guide on making your own coupon book.


DIY travel accessories & jewelry

#20 Necklaces

A woman making a necklace
There are many different DIY necklaces to try

Whether you’re looking for the best necklaces to make for yourself or to give as a token for a traveler, there is an endless amount of options out there.

And because I could not possibly choose between all these amazing DIY travel accessories, I’m just going to let you pick yourself. Head over to DIY Joy’s list of 31 unique necklaces to make at home.


#21 Bracelets

A collection of selfmade bracelets
The DIY options for bracelets are endless

The same can be said for bracelets, which is why Pillar Box Blue’s list of 51(!) different homemade bracelets is by far the best source of inspiration if you are looking for a DIY bracelet.


#22 Rings

A woman making a ring herself
A DIY ring is a great gift for travelers

Looking for a unique ring for travel lovers? Then DIY Craftsy’s list is your go-to source.

They’ve gathered the 45 most beautiful DIY ring ideas for you to try at home.


#23 Earrings

A set of selfmade earrings
You can beautiful earrings at home

Regardless of whether you’re looking for cute homemade earrings for yourself, or to give to a traveler to take on to their next destination, you will find a beautiful (and doable) design on I Always Pick The Thimble.


#24 Keychains

A selfmade keychain from rope
The options for DIY keychains are endless

The last DIY travel accessory may not be as exciting as necklaces, rings, and bracelets, but they are practical nonetheless.

With a DIY keychain, you can give a small personalized, and heartfelt keepsake that any traveler can take on a trip. Whether they’ll attach it to their suitcase or backpack, with your homemade keychain they will always have a piece of home with them.

Check out The Creatives Hour for a whole range of different DIY keychain ideas.


Travel DIY ideas for your home

#25 Clocks

A deck of travel guides
Turn old travel guides into a clock

I know, in the mind of a traveler it’s always travel time. But on the odd occasions that you need to know the actual time, what better way to show the time than with a DIY travel-inspired clock?

My favorite one by far was a clock made from travel guides by Instructables. Because honestly, my bookshelf is filled with old guidebooks that I probably won’t use again, but that I love too much to throw away. So this is a unique way to put them to practical use.

Another great option is to make a clock with travel photos. For that check out the It’s Always Autumn tutorial on how to make a clock with one photo.

Alternatively, head over to Wonderful DIY to make a clock with multiple photos. Their design is actually for family photos, but obviously, you can easily adopt that to travel photos.


#26 DIY travel wall ideas & photo displays

A wall with a photo display
There are many different DIY photo ideas

If you’ve ever wondered what to do with all your travel photos, check out It’s Always Autumn’s list with 20 different and unique DIY travel wall ideas.

I probably could have filled this entire list with a hundred or more ideas of DIY things to do with your travel photos, but personally, I think that It’s Always Autumn has done a great job at selecting the 20 most beautiful ones to try at home.


#27 Vacation jar with photo

Who couldn’t use a vacation in a jar?

Whether you’re treating yourself with these travel DIY projects or you’re actually looking for gift inspiration, everyone deserves a little holiday at home, and with a vacation jar and photo holder you can easily create that at home!

All you need is this guide from Left on Peninsula Road, a small jar with a cork lid, a cute photo, a paperclip, and some sand and shells to fill the jar with holiday vibes and you’re all set.


#28 DIY travel scrapbook

Our adventure scrapbook
Photo courtesy of Amazon

Are you looking for a way to organize all your travel photos, tickets, and other keepsakes in a way that you will be able to look back at it every once in a while?

 Go for a DIY travel scrapbook. It’s basically a photo album but with a little more creativity and freedom to add whatever you want to the book.

If you’re struggling to start from scratch or just want an example. Check out Martha Stewart’s list of scrapbook ideas, or buy the adventure book from Amazon. It comes with blank pages, but at least the cover is already done for you.


#29 Keepsake box

A wooden keepsake box
Photo courtesy of Amazon

Another fun way to store your keepsakes is in one of Marta Stewart’s travel box DIY projects.

Basically, you just need a wooden box like the one in the photo, some paint, and you can decorate your keepsake box in the theme of whichever country you visited.


#30 Planter with a flag design

Are you looking for a fun DIT travel craft idea to add more green to your home?

Then try Pretty Handy Girl’s flag planter box!

Her example is the American flag, but you could paint it in the color of any flag. Or just make multiple planters and collect the flags from all around the world to create an international green home.


#31 Food from a country they love

A pot of paella
A homemade meal from their favorite country is a great gift

Are you a great cook? Then prepare the recipient’s favorite international food and recreate the taste of travel right at home!

Whether it’s that special pasta they had in Italy, a curry from Thailand, or the best taco they had in Mexico, if you know how to make it right, they will be filled with delightful memories (and flavors).

Are you not much of a cook yourself?

Don’t worry, you can still give really awesome DIY food gifts for travelers, check out the two next options.


#32 Cookie jar mix

Three mason jars with cookie material fillers
Cookie jar gifts

Alright, so you may not be the star in the kitchen, but you can be a star in giving by creating a DIY cookie jar mix of their favorite international cookie or other food!

Whether it’s for Italian Biscotti, French Madeleines, or Dutch Speculaas, all you need to do is fill the jar with the exact amount of ingredients layer by layer, print the recipe, and tie it to the jar with a ribbon and you’re all set. 


#33 Travel-themed gift basket

A Christmas basket with food and Christmas ornament
You can easily make a gift basket at home

Gift baskets always make great DIY gifts for anyone, and travelers are no exception to that.

Now, I can imagine that you might struggle a bit with deciding what to put in a DIY travel-themed gift basket, so to help you out I wrote a guide filled with awesome travel-inspired gift baskets. Some are pre-made (in case you decide to ditch the whole DIY idea and just go for an easy and quick gift), but it also includes a list of fun DIY basket ideas that travelers will love.

And if you need help with arranging your basket, and making it look pretty, then I’ve got your back too! Check out my guide on how to make gift baskets at home.


#34 Refurbished vintage suitcase

I’ll finish the home travel crafts with the most advanced, but therefore also the most unique option; a vintage suitcase side table!

In theory, it sounds quite easy. But as with most DIY crafts, it usually takes longer than you initially expected, but it’s well worth the effort.

I mean, what’s cooler than having a refurbished vintage handmade side table?


Map-inspired DIY projects

#35 Photo map

 A map of the unites states with photo framses for US states.
Photo courtesy of Amazon

Of course, there is no list of travel DIY ideas without map-inspired ideas.

There is something magical about maps that makes them awesome for DIY projects and travelers.

The first option is a beautiful (and more advanced) DIY photo map, like the store-bought one from the photo. But to make it yourself, follow Cut Craft Create’s instructions. The example is a US map, but you could use it for a world map, or any country or continent.

One side note though, once you’re getting closer to completing the map, it might be a bit harder to cut the right shapes and fit them on the map. My advice is to cut the photos a bit smaller, in the end so that it fits more easily.


#36 Scratch maps

Scratch maps are the number-one maps for travelers. Nothing more soothing than scratching off all the places you’ve ventured before and dreaming about the ones to come.

But now, you can make a scratch map from scratch! (Sorry, couldn’t help the pun).

Check Instructables for a step-by-step tutorial. And I must say, this was actually a lot easier than I expected.


#37 Heart-shaped map

Photo frame with maps shape like a heart
Photo courtesy of Uncommon Goods

Heart-shaped maps are actually a super popular wedding and Valentine’s gifts and many people pay a significant amount of money to get one. But you can easily make them at home.

Check out House of Mahalo for the full instructions. In short, get a black cardboard the size of a photo frame. Cut out the shape of a heart, find a map of a place that has a special meaning to you or the recipient, and place it all in the frame.


#38 More heart-inspired maps

Looking for more heartwarming DIY travel craft ideas? (Yes, pun intended).

Then Welcome to the Mouse House’s heart world map is the perfect project for you.

It’s also a super fun activity to do with kids and infect them with the travel bug from a young age.


#39 Magnets

A fridge filled with magnets from around the world
DIY map magnets are great for those who collect them

Are you or the recipient an avid fridge magnet collector? Then add a DIY map magnet to the collection.

There are various different ways to go about it, but I selected two of my favorite ones. The first one is made with “glass rocks” and the second one with a miniature photo frame


#40 Globe-themed projects

An image of a vintage globe
Any DIY globe project is a great idea for travelers

Like maps, globes have a special attraction for travelers (probably because it’s the representation of everything they love), so any globe-inspired project is a fun DIY travel gift.

DIY Candy gathered some of the best globe-inspired projects from around the web, so check it out for inspiration


#41 Christmas ornament

Bring the travel vibes into the holiday season with these cute map-themed ornaments.

They are made from mason jar lids and are actually really easy to make.


#42 Map-themed lampshade

A lampcase made from a vintage map
A map-themed lamp-shade is a great DIY project

The last map-inspired DIY travel craft is a super awesome lampshade!

I’ll admit, it’s one of the more advanced options, and I would probably only recommend making this one for yourself and not as a gift, unless you add a lamp that actually fits the shade and you’re certain the recipient truly loves this style.


Save these DIY travel gifts

Did you save these DIY travel craft ideas on Pinterest yet?

Craft your way around the globe with 40+ epix travel-themed DIY ideas

Final note on DIY travel crafts

Whether you’re looking to surprise a globetrotting friend or spruce up your own travel gear, these 40+ DIY travel projects add a personal touch to every adventure. So, roll up your sleeves, gather your supplies, and get started on a journey of crafting and giving.

AUTHOR

Hi, I’m Lara, a 29-year-old travel-lover (but who’s not these days?). I love reading, puzzling, world-heritage sites, researching, and making lists, which comes in quite handy when you’re making lists of travel gift ideas!