The Vagabond Gift Guide for Travellers

Dark winter evenings have been drawing in, the afternoons getting colder, and mornings feeling crisper. Oh my gosh! There’s only one month left until Christmas. How did that happen? I suppose its time to start thinking about presents, so I’ve compiled a selection of useful, offbeat and inventive ideas for the travel-lovers in your life.Lights 1

The part-time traveller:  Spending the everyday 9-5 working for a living can leave these travellers dreaming of exotic locations, daring adventures, and exciting activities. Feed their wanderlust with the following suggestions.

Subscription to a magazine like Wanderlust, Lonely Planet or National Geographic Traveller. With gorgeous photos and informative articles, they’ll be able to dip in and out of destinations and plan future travels, as well as getting a little escape from reality each month.  A digital subscription lets them take it on the road, and works for long-term travellers too.

Corkboard Map by Luckies of London. A series of pinboards in the shape of the world’s continents, perfect for displaying favourite photographs, postcards and mementos from recent trips.

Luggage tag. A quirky bag tag can make luggage easier to find and travel less stressful, especially important if your time is tight.  I love this Lego Brick Bag Tag, whilst this Vintage Letter Tag is a bit more sophisticated.

The nomad:  Gifts for a long-term traveller must be able to cram into a stuffed suitcase or be completely intangible. Either way, the following gifts are useful enough to earn their place in these travellers’ affections.

An e-Book reader like the Kindle Paperwhite or the Fire HD 7. A library that fits into a handbag, without exceeding any baggage weight allowance. Already have one? An Amazon Gift Card lets them choose new titles, whether it’s the guide book for their next destination, a poolside read or something taxing to tackle on a long journey.

A Universal Travel Adaptor like this one from Flight 001. Most of the rest of the world doesn’t use the standard UK 3-pin plug. Strange. Hopping back and forward between Europe, Asia and the Americas is made simple with one of these devices, and everyone needs to charge gadgets.

A reminder of home. A jar of Marmite, a box of tea bags, biscuits that you just can’t get abroad.

The first-time tripper:  Facing your first trip alone can be a daunting prospect, so gifts that offer a little reassurance and support can go a long way to make an experience unforgettable.

Rosetta Stone language course. Available as a CD-rom, download or online course, for both regular or business use, it comes in 24 languages as diverse as Irish, Hindi and Vietnamese, as well as French, Spanish and English. Learning the local language could inspire your traveller to explore further, take a travel job or even find romance.

Skype credit. Nervous travellers will appreciate the opportunity to keep in touch with loved ones back home, with calls to landlines and mobiles, and the ability to send text messages worldwide.

Moleskine Journal. Keep track of your important information and make notes of memorable events on your trip. Other journals are available, but Moleskine are the classic travellers brand, available in a range of sizes, with either lined, plain or squared paper, for writers, sketchers or doodlers.

The bargain backpacker:  These travellers have to carry everything they need in their backpacks; through the streets, on and off public transport, up and down flights of stairs in hostels and bunkhouses. Multi-purpose goods and lightweight travel items are the real winners here.

Travel towel. The most important item a traveller can have, according to Douglas Adams. But, as a rule, travel towels are rubbish. Slightly less absorbent than aluminium foil. However, a colourful cotton sarong or kikoy does the job, dries far faster than a real towel, and doubles as a beach cover-up, or emergency clothing on wash day. Try Kisiki or The Pink Gecko for a selection.

USB Multi Charger. Just checked into the hostel, and need to charge all your gadgets urgently? Only power socket in the room being guarded jealously by another backpacker? This device is the answer to your prayers. Offer spare ports to others, and you’ll make new friends too.

Vapur Anti-Bottle. A folding re-usable water bottle. Saves space in your bags, saves money from buying bottled water, and saves plastic waste. These can be frozen to make an ice pack, or to melt slowly and give you chilled water all day. It can even take hot liquids, although it isn’t insulated and these will cool quickly.


I hope this gives you some good ideas for family members and friends with the travel bug, or even for yourself. Or you can check out my gift ideas for outdoor enthusiasts. Why not share this list on Facebook or Twitter and drop a hint?

Note:  This post contains affiliate links.  If you follow them through to buy a product I recommend, I receive a small payment (enough for a coffee, not for a yacht) from the company, at no charge to you whatsoever.  It helps keep my blog up and running.



14 thoughts on “The Vagabond Gift Guide for Travellers

  1. Suze November 23, 2014 / 19:00

    wonderful ideas 🙂 I just added a few things to my Christmas wishlist, haha! 😀

  2. Capt Jill November 23, 2014 / 20:14

    Lots of great ideas! I LOVE my Kindle. I don’t go anywhere without it and a power adaptor like the one you mentioned.
    I would add an unlockable phone too, it’s great to be able to use your phone once you get to where you’re going without spending a fortune. Just get a new chip from where you’re at and you can call around all your new friends for cheap. 🙂

    • vickyinglis November 30, 2014 / 20:31

      Great suggestion Jill, thanks. I never get round to sorting out a phone for travelling and always end up paying a huge bill once I get home,

  3. Zofia Bałdyga November 26, 2014 / 08:54

    Great list. I think I need to make my fam and friends read this post.

  4. Richelle November 26, 2014 / 13:35

    This is such a great list of ideas. I especially love that cork board map!

    • vickyinglis November 30, 2014 / 20:30

      Me too. I’m hoping it might turn up under my tree on Christmas Day.

  5. Hanna November 26, 2014 / 16:05

    Now I just need to print it and give to my husband. And tell him to keep it forever so he will never again excuse himself that he didn’t know what to buy. Oh, what a wonderful plan! 😀

  6. Inta (CuriousCatExpat) November 27, 2014 / 11:40

    Great ideas for Santa! I definitely need the USB multicharger – I had no idea they sold one with the plug adapters too, perfect! Happy holidays!!

    • vickyinglis November 30, 2014 / 20:28

      Glad that you found the list helpful.

  7. brmsimmons November 29, 2014 / 18:25

    Fantastic ideas, I especially love the corkboard map.

    • vickyinglis November 30, 2014 / 20:27

      I think its my favourite thing on the list.

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