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18 Travel Gift Cards for a Flexible Last-Minute Gift – 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

Looking for a last minute gift? Or a more versatile gift? These travel gift cards might be what you're looking for.

By Jason Barnette | Travel writer and photographer with 15+ years of road tripping experience

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my Affiliate Disclosure here.

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Sometimes, buying a gift for someone who loves to travel can be downright frustrating. You need to know their favorite color, shoe size, preferred destination, and whether they’re Team Android or Team Apple. Gift cards have always been a safe bet – especially for a last-minute gift – but did you know there are almost two dozen fantastic options for travelers?

I’ve compiled a great list of all the physical gift cards you can buy that will directly benefit someone who loves to travel. Airfare, hotels, shopping, and services. These would also make excellent stocking stuffers!

2021 Holiday Gift Guides

Before you can buy the perfect Christmas gift, you have to find it. Each year, I publish a series of Holiday Gift Guides to help you find fantastic travel gear, accessories, unique gifts, and awesome items to put under the tree.

No. 01

Southwest Airlines

Southwest “consistently ranks” as one of Travel & Leisure’s top domestic airlines. Their flights can take people all over the country to amazing destinations at a low cost. One of these gift cards will go a long way toward giving someone a vacation.

No. 02


Did you know the further in advance you buy an airline ticket, the cheaper it can be? Help someone plan their next trip with a Delta gift card. Delivered via email or UPS, these gift cards are easy to redeem same as cash for flights with Delta.

No. 03

American Airlines

“The whole wide world, it comes in a card.” American Airlines offers digital or physical gift cards to help someone plan their next getaway. Go big or small, you can set the amount on the card that can easily be redeemed.

No. 04


Trains, planes, and automobiles – Amtrak is a favorite way for some people to travel. The Amtrak gift card could go a long way – pun intended – toward helping someone plan their next getaway on the railway.

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No. 05


The popular ride share app has become a staple for getting around destinations as people travel. The Uber gift card – physically delivered – can be redeemed easily through the app.

No. 06

Carnival Cruise Line

Cruising is rising again in popularity, making the Carnival Cruise Line gift card a good choice. Easily redeemed through the website, the gift card is physically delivered and gives you something to put under the tree or stuffed in a stocking.

No. 07

Now owned by Expedia, is one of the better apps for quickly and easily booking hotel rooms. Competitive on pricing, the greatest advantage of the free account is collection of “reward nights” – after spending 10 nights booked through the app, 1 free night is available equal to the average of those nights.

No. 08


Know anybody loyal to staying at Hilton properties? When picking the Hilton gift card you can choose between three designs, add any amount you like, and have the plastic card physically mailed just in time for Christmas.

National Park Week 2024

Learn about the annual celebration of the National Park System and read my travel guides to national park units across the country.

No. 09


Marriott went a little overboard with their gift cards and it’s wonderful! Choose from dozens of designs, add custom text to the plastic card, include any amount you like, and have the physical card mailed and placed under the Christmas tree.

No. 10

Best Western

At Best Western, they called their gift card the “Travel Card” because of the versatility. Add amounts in USD, CAD, GBP, or EUR denominations for use around the world and thousands of properties.

No. 11


Airbnb has become well known for the unique lodgings around the world. Buy someone a few nights at a comfy cottage, unique house, or outstanding apartment in their favorite destination.

No. 12


The Visa gift card is the most versatile, accepted at almost all locations around the world. No account is needed to begin using the gift cards. Pay for lodging, gas, food, or attractions, the Visa gift card can go a long way toward someone’s vacation.

No. 13


Smartphones, tablets, headphones – Apple makes a lot of great tech to make travel safer and easier. Fortunately, Apple’s designs have finally expanded from the sterile white to include a variety of colors. Get someone an Apple gift card if you’re not sure what particular item to get them for Christmas.

No. 14


Without a doubt, the most useful gift card you could get a traveler for Christmas would be from Amazon. Easily redeemed online, these gift cards will allow anyone with a free account to make purchases for a wide arrange of travel items. The gift cards are physically delivered in adorable boxes ready for a bow to be placed under the tree.

No. 15


With coffee shops around the world, a Starbucks gift card could go a long way toward fueling someone’s next adventure. With a free account through the app, patrons can redeem the gift card and begin collecting stars toward rewards in the future.

No. 16

Barnes & Noble

One thing in abundance on most vacations is time – time that can be spent catching up that novel series or diving into something entirely new. The Barnes & Noble gift card might be a great option for the book nerd to let them choose their own wordy adventure.

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No. 17


Recreation Equipment, Inc. has been a premier resource for outdoor gear and clothing since the company was founded in 1938. Help someone get their next pair of hiking boots, climbing harness, or backpacking tent with an REI gift card. Available in dozens of designs and loadable with up to $1,000, the physical cards can be mailed just in time for Christmas.

No. 18

Best Buy

From GPS navigation to noise cancelling headphones, a Best Buy gift card can help purchase a lot of travel tech. Order one of their physical cards, load it with a selection of amounts, and it comes wrapped in a box ready to be put under the tree.

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Do you have a question about travel or road trips? Are you a CVB or DMO interested in working with me? I typically respond to emails within 24 hours. Quicker if you include a good riddle.
Do you have a question about travel or road trips? Are you a CVB or DMO interested in working with me? I typically respond to emails within 24 hours. Quicker if you include a good riddle.

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