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.
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.
Corkboard map to display travel memories.
Eye-catching luggage tag from Bombay Duck.
Magazine subscriptions, either print or digital editions.
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.
Travel adaptor from Flight 001.
A favourite cup of tea.
Bright and bold Lego Bag Tags.
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.
A Moleskine journal is perfect for recording details of your trip.
A bright kikoy works as a towel, beach mat and cover up, shawl and emergency clothes on wash day.
Sturdy yet squashable, the Vapur anti-bottle takes up little room in a backpack.
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?
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