Having an avid traveler for a daughter, my mom would be the first to tell you it’s not always easy to buy Christmas gifts for me. Although money is always a nice gesture, gifts have a special touch to them.
After spending four Christmases away from home and carrying my life in a 60 litre backpack for 6 months of travel at a time, I’ve come to appreciate a few travel items that I always pack with me. So if you’re like me and don’t have all your Christmas shopping done yet, here are a few gift ideas for the traveler in your life that I personally use.
1. A Scratch Map
Although they can’t take it with them, buying a traveler a scratch map to keep track of the countries they’ve visited is a wonderful gift. Most travelers I know like to have one in their home when not on the road so they can look at it and dream about their next vacation destination.
2. A Journal
Whether for writing down directions or ideas, a small journal is the perfect gift. I always carry one with me as I often find it easier to collect my immediate thoughts on paper than on a computer. Leather-bound or moleskin journals are always a beautiful choice as are journals with inspiring messages in them.
3. Dry Bags
If the traveler in your life is going to a beach destination, a 5 or 10 litre dry bag might be a great gift idea. I use mine when going diving or when I’m on trips where the weather is expected to be rainy. It’s saved my expensive tech gear more times than I can count.
4. Compression Sacks
With limited space in my backpack, I like to separate my clothes and pack them into two compression sacks. This allows me to carry a few extra pieces of clothing while leaving more space in my backpack for other items like running shoes or my diving gear.
5. Money belt
When traveling on overnight buses I like to keep my passport, documents and extra cash on my person in a money belt. This way if your backpack gets stolen, you’ll have your most important items with you. I personally own an Eagle Creek belt but this Lewis N Clark product is just as good.
6. Lonely Planet Guidebooks
Although there are several different brands of travel guides, I prefer Lonely Planet and have carried one with me on every trip. Guidebooks are especially great for travelers who prefer to plan on the go and don’t always have access to the internet. If traveling to multiple countries, the shoestring guidebooks are best.
7. A laptop/tablet case or camera bag
Traveling can be rough on expensive tech gear so it’s important to keep it well protected as well as discreet. Camera bags can be easy targets so carrying a messenger bag is stylish yet practical as you can pack extra items in the bag for a day out.
8. Collapsible water bottle
Staying hydrated is the most important thing when traveling. Paying money for plastic water bottles every day isn’t environmentally friendly and also eats away at carefully saved funds. Collapsible water bottles are great because they are cheap, save space and can easily be tucked away when not being used.
9. A high quality backpack
One of the most important decisions to make before heading out on a trip is deciding how you want to carry your gear. Some people opt for rolling luggage while others prefer to carry their belongings on their back. I also like to carry a small day bag that holds all my tech equipment but can be used for multi-day overnight treks or trips. I spent a lot of time researching for the perfect bag and am in love with Deuter’s 26 litre Trans Alpine pack. It also comes in a variety of colours.
10. Travel towel
A must-have item is a travel towel that is lightweight, dries quickly and doesn’t take up a lot of space. They come in a variety of sizes and colours.