To get into the spirit of the holidays, I thought I’d put together a list of awesome gift ideas for the world traveler in your life. (This list can also be subtly known as ‘a list of awesome gifts for Ashley—wink, wink.) But seriously, this list contains some practical gifts and other thoughtful/unusual gifts you can give this Christmas to your wanderlusting loved ones—or any other time of the year, for that matter! Giving doesn’t have to be limited to Christmas! 😉
For the person who carries his life on his back: An antitheft backpack.
It’s water-repellent! It has a built-in charger! It has hidden, zippered compartments! It’ll help you stay organized! And it has “illuminating safety strips” so you don’t, you know, get run over by a car or trampled by a heard of gazelles when you’re journeying across foreign lands!
Or, for the woman who would like an anti-theft purse: This anti-theft purse from Travelon.
It comes in a variety of colors and two different sizes, the cross-body bucket bag and the smaller messenger bag. They feature locking zipper tags, interior RIFD blocking slots and pockets for money and credit cards, several different compartments including two expandable side pockets for beverages or umbrellas, and slash-resistant straps and bodies. It’s also waterproof, which is a huge plus! Your valuables won’t get drenched if you’re caught in the rain! They’re also pretty good-looking for such a practical and useful travel item!
For the person who could really use a nice carry-on suitcase: An Away carry-on.
If you’re independently wealthy and feel like being generous, gift one of these awesome carry-on bags, which retail at $225 for the carry-on size. Not the cheapest luggage on the market, I’ll grant you that, but people seem to love the things—look at that 4.9 rating! It’s hard-sided so nothing inside gets squished (yet it’s still lightweight), it’s got 360-degree wheels, a built-in combination lock, and a built-in battery so you can charge your phone (the battery is also easy to remove, as airlines like American begin to not accept smart luggage unless the battery can be removed if the bag needs to be checked).
For the person who totes 30 pounds of electronics while they travel: A travel cord roll.
It’ll keep your cords from becoming a jungle, and it rolls up tidily so it doesn’t take up too much room in your luggage. Currently, I use an eyeglass case to hold my various cords while I’m traveling, but this is so much more attractive!
For the light packer: A set of packing cubes.
I’ll admit I have not tried these before (though I’ve been tempted to), but a lot of articles I read about light packing list packing cubes such as these as essential to achieving that task. These travel cubes not only help compress your goods but also keeps it all organized so you’re not always rifling through your suitcase trying to find that one thing.
For the carry-on lover: A TSA-approved toiletry bag.
Do you know how many trips I went on where I tried fitting all my liquids into a quart-sized Ziploc bag? Too many! And I could not fit nearly as much in that sucker as I can into this toiletry bag. It’s a full quart size and square, so you don’t lose all that space where the zipper gathers at the top. I can seriously fit like eight or more bottles of stuff in this thing. It’s a miracle! (I’m one of those suspicious, catastrophe-fearing people who fear their checked luggage will get lost en route to our final destination, so I like to bring some of my essentials in my carry-on bag even if I have checked a larger bag, so this comes in handy even for long hauls.)
For the person who likes to keep all their important shit together: A leather passport cover and wallet.
Keep all your most important docs, along with your credit cards and money, all in one handy-dandy place. Plus, it’s just so cute and whimsical! And it’s named after Amelia Earhart!
Or, for the person who is paranoid about their information being stolen (and rightfully so): This RFID Blocking Passport Holder and Wallet, available in a variety of colors.
I tend to just carry my money and wallets around in a little coin purse, with the credit cards in one of those RFID-blocking sleeves, but this is just so much more attractive—and I imagine it’s a little more organized than having to root around for stuff in a tiny little coin purse—just sayin’.
For the Tech-Loving Traveller
For the person who likes to be always be connected (or at least have the option to be connected): A WiFi Hotspot.
I always rent a WiFi hotspot from Tep Wireless when I travel abroad. It’s way cheaper than adding international coverage to my cell phone plan, and it’s unlimited. But if your loved one is a really frequent traveler, it may make sense for them to own a WiFi hotspot and simply pay the daily rate when they use it. I can’t tell you how handy it is to have WiFi at your fingertips when you’re abroad! I use it for directions, to keep in contact with Airbnb hosts, to keep in touch with loved ones back at home, to find nearby restaurants. But you can also turn it off and be disconnected, which I appreciate. I really only have it on when we absolutely need to use it, but even still we go through a few gigs of data per day. There are other pocket WiFi companies out there, of course, like Skyroam, but I’ve used Tep multiple times now and have zero complaints.
For the avid reader: A Kindle.
I’ve read as many as six books while on vacation. How much space would six books take up in your suitcase?! Too much room! Which is why I don’t go anywhere without my Kindle. I’m not limited to how many books I can bring with me; I just make sure they’re downloaded to my device before we depart, and then I can read as many as I want! It’s light, it’s small (fits easily in a purse), and the Paperwhite in particular holds a charge for WEEKS (plus it’s back-lit but can be easily read outside, which I love). If you do happen to run out of books to read (BLASPHEME!) while you’re on vacation, if you’ve got WiFi, you can buy another book and continue living in bibliophile bliss, no problem!
For the person who likes to read but also likes having the option to watch TV shows and movies while vacationing: A tablet.
The tablet is great because you can load eBooks onto it if you have the Kindle app, but apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime also let you download shows to your tablet for future use, which means you can watch them on airplanes or abroad without needing WiFi—wahoo! (For our upcoming Australia/New Zealand trip, for instance, we’ll be spending like 35 hours on airplanes, so I’m loading it up with episodes of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “Younger” for those long plane rides.)
For the wine lover: Wine Skins.
I once had a bottle of wine break in my suitcase—no lie. It was the white and not the red wine, thank God, but it still sucked to have everything in my suitcase soaked with wine and glass shards, in addition to wasting really good wine! So if you know someone who likes to bring home wine as their favorite souvenir, get them some of these Wine Skins. Not only do they protect the wine bottle from breaking, but also, if the bottle still happens to break despite the bubble wrap, it seals at the bottom so that your wine does not soak all of your clothes—how great is that! Plus, if the worst does happen to you (RIP wine bottle), you can open the Wine Skin and pour the wine through a coffee filter and still drink it! Win-win!
For the person who wants everything within easy reach: A sweatshirt or jacket that has 15 “amazing features” (as touted by their website)!
I actually bought my husband the sweatshirt for his birthday in preparation for our Canary Islands/Lisbon trip. I remember seeing the ad for these when they were doing their Kickstarter campaign and thinking to myself, Wow, that’s super cool—but is it really worth $200?! Well, now all of their apparel is on sale, so it’s a much easier pill to swallow. Plus, the hubs loved it—his headphones were easy to reach, there’s a built-in travel pillow that blows up in literally two blows (or maybe three, depending on your lung compacity), a built-in eyemask, a neat passport pocket, a tablet pocket—even a drink pocket!
For the person who is always vacillating between hot and cold: A blanket scarf.
It’s fashionable, but it also keeps her warm. It can be dressed up or dressed down. It can be worn as a scarf or a wrap if she gets cold, or if she’s, say, going into a church and needs to cover her shoulders, and it’s small and light enough that you can carry it with you in a purse or backpack without it weighing you down—so it’s always handy.
For the traveler who enjoys writing: Leatherbound travel journal.
Who knows, maybe you’ll be a famous writer someday, and when you’re dead, someone will happen across this really awesome leatherbound travel journal and will read about all your awesome adventures (wow, that got dark; I don’t know why, but Hemingway really comes to mind as someone who would have had a leatherbound travel journal). But seriously, if your loved one is one of those lovely travelers who clings to that pen-on-paper feeling, I guarantee you this is a quality and personal gift he or she will love.
For the foodie in your life: The The World Atlas of Street Food.
If food is your favorite traveler’s favorite part of traveling and they long for that authentic culinary experience, get them this book. It’ll help them avoid tourist traps, fast-food chains, and less-than-stellar food. Plus, I don’t know about you, but street food has been some of the most delicious food I’ve ever put in my mouth. (Food trucks—how do you do it? What’s your secret? Why is your food so amazing?)
For the person who is a nervous poo-er: How to Shit Around the World.
Or, I guess, for the person who wants to stay healthy while they travel. (Mostly, I just appreciate this for its name—it tickles me because I am essentially a 12-year-old boy who thinks poop is hilarious. Or, at least, that’s what got me to click on the link.) It tackles problems like traveler’s diarrhea, unhealthy water, and weird foods, just to name a few (or to name the first three in the TOC, if I’m being honest).
For the person who likes to travel AND decorate:
A world travel poster where you scratch off the places you’ve been, OR this fingerprint world map, which puts kind of a fun spin on a visual representation of all the places you’ve jet-setted to!
One of my favorite (personal) gifts the hubs and I got at our wedding shower was this world map, where we put pins into each country we’ve been to (it’s a little outdated). In case you’re wondering, the heart is somewhere approximating Paris, because that’s where the hubs proposed to me.
Anyhow, if you or your loved one are visual people like me, it’s pretty cool to have a visual representation of where you’ve been in the world, and the maps I linked to above are artsy, attractive ways to show folks just how worldly you are!
A custom map of your loved one’s favorite place in the world.
Personally, I love wall art like this—it’s abstract, it’s attractive, but it is still meaningful for the owner or recipient because it represents their happy place. Plus, you can get it in your loved one’s favorite color for an added touch of personalization.
Now, this might seem like a weird one, but I for one love unique pieces of jewelry—and if they speak to my love of travel, even better! I came across these when I was browsing on Etsy; they’re all rather unique, which is cool—the chances of someone else you know having it is slim to none (unless you’ve both using this gift guide anyway).
A paper airplane necklace with initial: This one just screams whimsy to me, while the initial makes it a little more personal.
An airplane necklace, gold with cubic zirconia accents: It’s not a stretch to say that airplanes represent global travel, so get this for the girl who loves cute, feminine jewelry and loves adventuring.
These world map earrings. How cute are they?
Etsy has no shortage of awesome and unique gifts for wanderlusters. Go to their homepage and check out the “Wanderluster” category (see bottom right-hand corner)—it’s where I found most of these jewelry pieces!
I know some people are of the belief that gift cards are not personal gifts. I respect that. I do. I’m just not one of those people. If you’re coming up empty on gifts to get your globetrotter, gift cards are a perfectly acceptable option—you can give Airbnb gift cards, or gift cards for their airline of choice, or even those gift cards that are essentially credit cards you can refill because then they can take it on their trip with them—and that, to me, is still a very personal gift, and one the world traveler will certainly appreciate! If your loved one values experience over material objects, short of paying for a trip for them, gift cards are the next best thing!