Leaving on a trip large or small is a huge deal for travelers and though many travelers embrace minimalism, there are some things that either make it easier or more fun to travel. None of these are essentials, but after more than seven years as a long-term traveler, I have embraced the fact that friends and family want to buy me things to use on my travels. So, this list encompasses the range of products I use, have found through others, and generally just love. Anything listed here is something I would gladly receive for Christmas, birthday, or bon voyage party.
Gifts for the Fashionable Traveler
Adorable Silver Travel Bracelets: Love the Zenned Out store on Etsy. If you buy the sterling silver you can easily use on the road without worrying about showering with it on, but still look cute and class-up that wrist of traveler bracelets all long-term travelers seem to collect.
Speakeasy Travel Scarf: Love that this stores your passport and a few valuables, while being super fashionable. Would come in handy on travel days, and you need to pack a scarf anyway, so this is a double win!
Gorgeous travel themed necklaces: I love this compass necklace (adorable, fashionable, and could perhaps pass for practical?) and I bought myself this antiqued plane charm necklace, this globe is stunning, and I completely geek-out for this solar system necklace.
Gifts for the Traveling Book-Lover
Moleskine Voyageur travel journal: I mean, holy gorgeous! I’ve used a regular moleskin for my notes and journaling but I adore the travel theme on this one, as well as the extra pocket for various tickets and travel stubs.
Travel books: Navigate to various regions of the world to find books themed to that country—both fiction and non-fiction—and considering giving your traveler a physical copy for the plane ride (and for hostel book exchanges) or an e-copy for their e-reader.
Amazon Prime: A weird choice until you realize that an Amazon Prime account allows you to participate in the Amazon book lending program for Kindle. They have a huge range of books that are able to be “checked out” like a library. You rent them on your Kindle, read them, and it’s all included in the annual subscription price. Would be great for an avid reader on a yearlong round the world trip.
Audible: Does your traveling friend love to listen to books on tape? Then they might love a year of Audible. I used this the year I homeschooled my niece from Southeast Asia and she and I both listened to books on bumpy bus rides where there was no chance we could read a paperback book, but we could surely listen to them!
Gifts for the Travel Photographer
Panasonic GX7: This is a kickass travel camera. And it doesn’t hurt that National Geographic named it one of the best travel cameras of 2014. It’s not cheap, but my dad upgraded me to this for my birthday and it was a gorgeous way to photograph Africa and beyond. My full review is here. Basically, you can’t go wrong with this slim series of cameras.
Artifact Uprising’s gorgeous hardcover photo book: Ideal for the traveler who just returned from a journey and has hundreds of travel stories to tell with their photos. I have used other cheaper services and they work well, but this would make a beautiful gift of something that is high quality and lasting for a traveler you love.
Olloclip Lenses for Smartphone: If you’re traveler is hooked to their smartphone, this clip is a fantastic fun gift they will love to play with on the road.
Practical Gifts for a Long-Term Traveler
Spotify: The premium version of this music software works anywhere in the world both online and on your mobile device. I have dozens of custom playlists crafted to fit every travel situation—one for “long bus rides” and another for “exploring new towns on foot.” It’s a great gift for long-term travelers who will be out of the country and unable to stream a lot of their favorite tunes.
Belkin Power Strip: I carry one of these all over the world and I love it. It’s something they might not think to buy for themselves, but it’s incredibly handy for charging all that gear we carry.
Holiday Gifts for a Techie Traveler
Kindle: If you’re looking for a reasonably priced gift for someone leaving on a trip who also loves to read, you can’t go wrong with a Kindle. I have the cheaper Kindle 3, but I deeply covet the Kindle Paperwhite (priced just a bit more) because you can read in the dark with the back-lit display.
Mophie smartphone charger: A close travel friend has one of these on his iPhone and I coveted it while we were hiking in Africa and my phone could hardly last a couple hours, yet his chugged on for the whole hike with this slim battery case. They make them for a range of popular smartphones. I did end up getting one and it was invaluable on my Mexican road-trip with my nephews, where we used it to navigate, book AirBnbs, and all sorts of things.
Anker Astro backup charger: If the traveler in your life is not taking a smartphone in need of a Mophie, this very un-sexy but very useful backup battery is handy. A friend got me one of these for Christmas two years ago and it still has a permanent spot in my bag. Go with either the mid-priced and compact Anker Astro, or the higher-capacity Anker charger, which is more expensive, but several prominent tech magazines gave it great ratings.
Gifts for a Traveler with a Home
Cork Globe or Chalkboard Globe: Both of these are an incredibly cute and fun take on a globe. Instead of a pin-up map, this is unique and I’d love to have one in my future living room one day. I’m partial to the chalkboard one, but both are rad.
Leather Luggage Tag: Gorgeous, travel inspired, and whimsical, these tags on Etsy are fun for any piece of luggage.
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