It’s that time of year when everyone and their mother, especially their mother, seems to be spending every spare moment shopping. Finding ideal gifts for friends, families and coworkers can be tricky. Buying for travelers can be especially complicated. Because often they’ve made experiences a priority over material things, and if they’re full-time travelers they don’t generally have a lot of space for stuff. And even if they have a permanent residence abroad and travel only occasionally, there’s the problem of different electrical currents and outlets.
So what to do? While cash is always a useful gift for everyone (not just travel junkies), it can seem cold and impersonal (depending on the amount, of course). Gift cards, one of the more popular alternative to cash aren’t always useful for globe-trotters, because stores don’t always exist everywhere and international shipping can be a nightmare. Luggage is always handy, but people that travel often generally know what they like, and use it. Bag tags and travel pillows can be great, but most travelers have no need for multiple multiples, especially now that your second bag on international economy flights isn’t included. I love books, but too many add a lot of weight to your bags. With that in mind, here are some of my best tips on what to buy that traveler or would-be traveler in your life, divided into section by price range.
Awesome Inexpensive Gifts for Travelers
- a paperback book or e-book for their e-reader
- a cd they can import to their laptop and mp3 player
- a dvd (if they have a DVD player on their laptop)
- brightly colored bag tags
- a small journal for writing and sketching
- make-up or toiletry bag
- travel-sized goodies (favorite toothpaste, shampoo, lotions, etc)
- natural fiber socks for comfortable travel
- a neck pillow
- an eye mask
- a travel guide or app for a destination they plan or dream about visiting
- a good book light or flashlight
- international electrical adaptors
- flash drive (for pictures, back up files,etc)
- lightweight quick-dry towel (doubles as a blanket in a pinch)
- satin pillowcase (to protect hair and delicate facial skin)
Midrange to Expensive Gifts
- jewelry (earrings, necklaces and bracelets for women, man jewelry, cufflinks and watches for men)
- iTunes giftcard for music on the go
- Amazon or Barns & Noble giftcard for ebooks on the go
- lightweight luggage in a bright color or pattern (black sucks, everyone buys black luggage, which means it’s terrible to find at the baggage claim).
- a pashmina or natural fiber oversized scarf–ideal for wrapping up in on the plane.
- comfortable walking shoes
- a gift certificate towards an experience, trip or travel insurance.
- a gift certificate for a spa date where they are now, or somewhere they will be soon.
- a digital subscription to a magazine or newspaper (note, with email not with Amazon delivery and web access, as international delivery on a kindle is expensive)
- a computer, tablet or phone case
- a spare battery (cell, laptop)
- airfare or accommodation for a trip to Timbuktu, or somewhere exotic
- an iPhone, or phone with a good camera
- spare laptop or phone batteries and chargers
- an iPad, tablet or laptop for work on the road
- a digital camera
- an e-reader ( I prefer the kindle, but I hear good things about the nook, and reading on the iPad as well)
- an Amazon Prime membership
- membership to an online computer backup system
- a go daddy gift certificate for a domain name and a year of hosting to start a travel blog.
- your spare airline miles or hotel points
- portable printer
- portable lightweight hard drive (usb power source is best as it doesn’t have to be converted).
- a laptop or tablet
Disclaimer: all links are affiliate links. Which means is that if you buy something, the price is what it would always be, but the vendor sends me a small (minuscule, really) commission for directing traffic their way.
Some specific recommendations from my expert traveler point of view:
For what it’s worth, for travelers I highly recommend four electronic products: A kindle (I have the 3G keyboard), a Macbook air (lightweight, fast and dependable), an iPod and an iPhone with instagram (great for backing up your pictures). And, yes, I’m a Mac girl, have been since Apple had the rainbow logo back in the day. I’ve gotten the best deals buying second hand, or refurbished stuff directly from Apple.
As far as luggage, I’ve had a lot of luck with American Tourister and Kenneth Cole Reaction, and Samsonite, and I’ve gotten the best deals during sales at K-mart, Dilliards, and TJ Maxx.
Giftcards: iTunes and Amazon are the best and most useful for media junkies like myself. Plus they’re easy to use from anywhere.
Websites: I have domains and hosting through both GoDaddy and 1and 1. GoDaddy is more expensive, but much more user friendly for newbies.