GIFT IDEAS FOR TRAVEL JUNKIES
"Tis almost the season! As an avid globetrotter myself, I am always on the outlook for things that will make travelling more comfortable and memorable, as well as small pieces that will inspire me or help cherish those memories when I am back home. From most practical to purely sentimental and aesthetic items, here is my list of 20 gift ideas for travel enthusiasts that won't cost a fortune.
MOBILE LENS KIT
For travellers who prefer to travel light and take pictures only with their smartphone, lens kits will take their mobile photography to the next level. Such kits usually include fisheye, wide angle and macro lenses that come with a clip that works with most phones and tablets, even in front-camera mode. Take a look at this kit or this one to get a better idea.
I cannot count the number of times my foldable backpack came in handy! If you already have a big piece of luggage for all your belongings but need a smaller one for a short hiking trip or just a walk around town, a foldable nylon backpack is a perfect solution: it fits neatly into the included pocket so you can always pack it away if need be. I got mine from Urban Outfitters years ago (it looks similar to this one), but there are plenty of other options like this or this backpacks.
If you are familiar with the Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo, you probably know that they are famous for the signature lightweight, waterproof jackets that fold up into a storage pouch. These jackets are particularly convenient for long-term travel, because even if you are staying in tropical places you might need to put on an extra layer of clothes a couple of times. Such windbreakers are also perfect if you live in a rainy climate and cycle to work: for example, the Dutch department store chain HEMA recently introduced a line of foldable rainwear which is, without a doubt, in popular demand among locals. Check out Uniqlo's designs or take a look at other retailers like this or this for more models.
Customisable pocket maps are "journey souvenirs to be filled in, coloured, and annotated with memories" of one of the 9 destinations such as London, Berlin, and New York. Every map comes with a 52 cm x 38 cm paper poster and 12 stickers. You can also find a set of colouring postcards to send to your friends or a larger poster to hang on the wall at home.
Pinch Provision's Minimergency kits can be a real lifesaver as they are (you might remember them from this blog post), but recently the company introduced a gold hologram version for travellers. This pouch contains 18 travel essentials that will you keep you feeling stellar at any point of your trip including an eye mask, a set of earbuds, stain remover, and a phone/tablet stand. I've had my kit for about 3 years now and have nothing but great things to say about it (I've adjusted the contents to my needs though).
This Gentlemen's Hardware Camping Cutlery Tool makes a great gift for anyone who enjoys outdoors and camping trips, ladies included: it's part spoon, part fork, part knife, part bottle opener, part corkscrew that can be locked as one unit when folded up but separates so you can have a fork in one hand and a knife (or spoon) in the other. Classy and convenient at the same time!
Not all places in the world can offer tap water that is safe to drink. For these cases, keep LifeStraw's on hand: this Time Magazine Invention of the Year winner takes only 3-5 seconds of sucking to start the flow of water through the filter and weighs only 57 gr/2 oz. This compact gadget removes minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and it does not filter chemicals, salt, viruses, heavy metals, taste. Visit the company's website (it offers free shipping within the US) or take a look at sellers in your area here.
FOLDABLE JOURNAL MAP
Don't like to carry around a traditional paper journal? How about one that can be crumpled, squashed, and balled up, but then still make a great souvenir upon return? The Journal Map is a world map made of a writable, waterproof, and tear proof material that you can write, draw, and spill your coffee over. Also check out the company's Map of Love, Bucketlist Map, and other cool things.
PORTABLE EXTERNAL CHARGER
When it comes to travelling, your phone might be the only connection to the outer world or your only camera, so having a full battery is important. For that reason, external chargers make a safe gift - they come is all shapes and sizes, so it is easy to find one suitable for you. According to Amazon, this charger and this one are some of the most popular among their customers.
FIRST AID KIT
Sure, this is a kind of gift you rather want your friend not to use, but better safe than sorry! Pictured above is my very own emergency kit that I bought a couple of years ago from the Dutch chain Xenos, but you can easily find one in a pharmacy, here (contains 31 different first aid and medical products) or just make one yourself.
ANYWHERE TRAVEL GUIDE
This deck comprises of 75 cards to awaken a sense of adventure with funny, unexpected and original assignments. For example, Anywhere will ask you to 'write down what you like about this city on a small piece of paper and leave it where someone else will find it later' or to 'find or make a souvenir that represents your experience of this day'. One of the cards even prompts you to 'buy a coffee for a stranger'. So, this guide encourages you to explore not only new places but also your own neighbourhood and hometown in a different way if you are up for it.
TOTE BAG COLOUR YOUR WORLD
The travel blogsTraveling Dutchies and Ik wil meer reizen set up a joint gift shop where they sell their own merchandise that includes a tote bag 'Colour Your World'. It is a simple cotton bag with a world map print where you want you can colour in every country visited with a marker or a fluorescent highlight thus making it a customisable and special gift.
The Brewer's Passport is a "craft beer pocket journal for the modern day explorer & craft beer enthusiast". But it is not just a mere diary where you log every brew you have. Inside you will find a guide to beer tasting, glassware reference, beer colour and IBU charts, flavours and aromas, beer & food pairing ideas, and even a key to order a beer in 19 different languages. The two-page layout is about your geographical location, tasting notes of the beer itself. You can find out more about the project and order here.
A good travel journal is a staple among travel gifts and will never go out of fashion. There are so many variations to choose from - some are meant to be used as regular notebooks whereas others are thought to be turned into a scrapbook-like souvenir. For instance, Travel Stub Diary is designed to keep travel memorabilia in protective sleeves, whereas Swept Away by Wanderlust is a bucket list-style travelogue. If you are looking for something more classic, Moleskin offers its traditional notebook with a travel touch to it. If you are interested in something different, take a look at You Are Here: A Mindful Travel Journal: it 'guides you through a rich variety of exercises designed to help you thoroughly enjoy your gap year, city break, odyssey, holiday-of-a-lifetime, 'find yourself' journey or weekend away', as the synopsis claims. And judging by the many positive comments, it works.
Coasters don't quite sound like a typical travel-related present, but they can add that special touch to your everyday interior. Turn to Etsy for a wide range of country- and city-themed items or to Neighborwoods for a collection of coasters with primarily US cities. Keep in mind, that coasters do not necessarily have to be used as a beverage mat - they can also make a nice wall decor (click here to see what it looks like).
Colouring is often referred to as a great relaxation technique and a mindfulness tool, so why not combine it with famous beautiful landscapes? Choose whatever colours you like and channel your creativity into an imaginary trip around the world with the colouring books Dream Cities, The Great British Colouring Map: A Colouring Journey Around Britain, and Lonely Planet's own Ultimate Travelist Colouring Book that features 100 drawings and descriptions of each place.
Build a version of the world the way you have experienced it with this Corkboard Map. It is a self-adhesive world map that will allow you to create a unique piece by adding pictures, notes, and other keepsakes from your trips. Tip: get this one instead of a scratch poster because it looks a whole lot better in real life.
TEAR-OFF OR DESK CALENDAR
Tear-off and desk calendars are a fun way to count down to your holidays, to keep track of what you are up to day-by-day throughout your journey (especially if it's a long one), and learn something on the go. For some strange reason, there are hardly any travel-themed tear-off calendars in English that I see in Internet shops, When I was getting for my RTW trip, I really wanted to find one so I could take notes about each day of the tour on the flip side of the page, but ended up making one myself. This year, I have come across a few pretty cool ones: 1000 Places To See Desk Calendar, A Year in France, and Daily Desk Calendar by LP.
LONELY PLANET'S COFFEE-TABLE BOOKS
Every year Lonely Planet releases a great many books that would be a lovely addition to any travel junkie's coffee table or, if your friend is literally always on the road, that would make a fun e-book for a long bus ride. Topics range from World's Best Drinks and Epic Bike Rides of the World to The Kindness of Strangers and 50 Museums to Blow Your Mind. These guys sure do have a lot of work!
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Travel narrative is an interesting genre. The eloquent evocation of a journey is meant to engage the reader not only in landscapes and streets and cathedrals but also in the traveller's mental and physical experience of these surroundings for the first time in a relatable way. From my perspective, this literature is suitable for solo travel, when your introspective processes and awareness resonate with what you are reading. Some interesting travel reads include, but by no means are limited to, Travels with Henry James (by Henry James), Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe (by Bill Bryson), A Week at the Airport (by Alain be Botton), and In Patagonia (by Bruce Chatwin).
What is the best travel-related present you have ever received (or given)?
Happy travels x
Disclosure: This post is not sponsored, but it contains affiliate links. This means that if you buy an item through some links on this page, I will get paid a small commission at no extra cost for you!