travel gifts

Travel Gifts – Your 2016 Shopping Guide for the Traveller on Your List


Need to buy some travel gifts for that wandering nomad on your list?  Forget the neck pillow and voltage converter, here is the list your vagabond pal hopes you read:

Don’t Get Luggage

Luggage is a very individual item that your traveller friend has already struggled over and tested.  If he/she is truly a travel junkie, they already have awesome luggage. OR they don’t even use luggage. With the rising cost of checked bags and the increasing popularity of minimalist packing, there’s a good chance they will not need or want your thoughtfully purchased, airport friendly, hard shelled, rolling albatross. Unless your adventurer pal has specifically mentioned the exact bag he/she is wanting (see below), stay away from buying luggage.

Selfish Hint –> I wouldn’t hate you if you bought me this.   For details, click here.

Get a Dry Bag Backpack

Unless your touring junkie is an avid kayaker, there’s a good chance he/she doesn’t own a drybag backpack. I promise you, one day your friend will be on a trip that will involve a zodiac or even a rainy day of touring, and this travel gift will take up no room at all in his luggage, but will be a god-send when it’s needed. Be sure it isn’t too elaborate with features so it packs up nice and compact.

Don’t get a Voltage Converter

I can pretty much guarantee all the electronics your globetrotter carries is dual voltage. Today’s phone chargers, laptops, e-readers and cameras will not require a big clunky voltage converter to work in another country.

Get Good Quality Plug Adapters

You’ll need to know where your rambler pal is going in order to get the correct adapter. OR you can buy an all-in-one adapter, but it’s bulky to pack, and packing real estate is valuable.  I prefer to keep an assortment of individual adapters at home, and just pack the one(s) I’ll need.  Here’s a handy guide to make sure you get the right one(s) for your next travel gifts.

adapter guide

And while we’re charging things, it never hurts to add a USB charger to your jet-setter’s stocking.

Don’t Get a Neck Pillow

Every travel section of every department store sells neck pillows. I’ll go back to packing real estate – they are not worth the space they take up in your wanderer’s carryon.  In fact, I have a really nice memory foam neck pillow. It always makes my packing list, but when it comes time to edit, it never makes the short-list. Ever.

Get Packable Rain Ponchos

Definitely not for trekking or serious hiking, but if the journey consists of casual touring of ruins and famous landmarks, a rainy day could really put a damper on things. No one wants to pack a heavy-duty rain jacket for just-in-case. A tiny packable rain poncho is an ideal travel gift for anyone’s daypack. I recommend the dollar store variety that can be tossed after one use.

Don’t Get an Electronic Luggage Scale

You’ll also find these handy gadgets in every department store travel section. Although super handy to make sure your adventurer friend doesn’t get dinged with over-weight charges at the airport, they’re useless when the battery dies. Mine died as I was packing to come home from a trip, so it added lots of stress on my way to the airport. Air France once threatened me with a $100 overage fee for a matter of just 3 pounds.

Get a Mechanical Luggage Scale

This luggage scale is cute, compact, and easy to use.

Don’t Buy a Tilley Hat

Tilley is a well-known travel outfitter for the well-to-do tourist. Their hats are famous for being the ultimate travel accessory. I have nothing against Tilley at all. In fact, if your gypsy explorer is getting up in years and you have lots of cash to spend on him/her, then by all means, here’s the link.

Buy a Merino Wool Buff

Merino wool will keep your trekker friend warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather. It can withstand days of use without smelling, and it’s so versatile.

Don’t Buy Travel Books

Travel books are awesome and I have a personal addiction to them. However, they are of little use on the road. Why? Once again, they are too bulky and too heavy to pack.

Buy an E-Reader

Any travel book you can buy your pioneer pal will be available on kindle. There’s a good chance your friend will already have an e-reader, most vagabonds do, but I don’t, so I added it (hint hint).

Don’t Buy a Fanny Pack

First of all, the very term “fanny pack” is very offensive to certain Europeans. Secondly, this style went out in the 80’s, seriously. Finally, all thieves know you’re wearing one when they watch you fumbling under your sweater to discreetly pull out some cash. Nothing says “hey I’m an inexperienced tourist, come rob me” more than a fanny pack.

Buy a Waist Pack

OK, I’m being a bit cheeky. They’re the same thing essentially. However I will staunchly defend this little travel gem. If you call it a “waist pack” you won’t offend our friends across the pond. There are so many styles, colours, sizes, shapes that you can find super cute ones (hey if Lululemon sells them, they must be cool). Finally, you no longer have to hide these under your sweater – wear them loud and wear them proud! As for thieves, Travelon and Safepac both make anti-theft waist packs with slash proof material, locking zippers and RFID protectors.

Waist packs are ideal for day-trips so your hands can be free for picture taking. Besides that, when you’re travelling, you’re out of your routine, and leaving a bag on a cafe table while you are captivated by the next tourist trap is all too common. Let the haters hate, be safe.

Don’t Buy a Water Bottle

Yes your excursionist buddy will need a water bottle. It’s ridiculous how much they charge you for bottled water at the airport, and you can’t bring your own water through security. Additionally, we all want to be eco ambassadors. So unless the drinking water is unsafe where your nomad is going, buying bottled water is just so irresponsible. But don’t buy your vagabond just any old water bottle.

Buy a Vapur Collapsible Water Bottle

The thing I love the most about mine is that it folds up nice and compact and slips into my jacket pocket when I’m not using it. When I am using it, there’s a handy carabiner to clip it onto my bag so it can be hands-free in transit.

There you have it, eight travel gift suggestions from someone who has done her fair share of hiking, flying, touring, sight-seeing and venturing. If your globetrotter buddy has all the essential travel gear he/she needs, then you can always fall back on the standard gift-giving staple: socks. However, all nomads, whether they hike on purpose or just wander around aimlessly, would appreciate good quality merino wool hiker socks. Well worth the investment.





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