We are into the month of December and before you know it, the year will be over! I absolutely can’t believe just how fast this year has flown by. Real life sometimes gets in the way and has left me with not much time to update and care for this blog as much as I have wanted to. I hate being absent from the internet. As such, let’s get moving….
Since the holidays are just around the corner, I thought I might do a gift idea guide for those who love travel. This list is by no means comprehensive and is just meant to act as a starting point help you figure out what you may want to gift to others. My price ranges will be low, medium and high. Low typically is between $5 to $30. Medium will range from $30 to $75. High will be above $75.
Packing Essentials Gift Ideas
At the top of my list is going to be spare USB cables, external chargers and plug adapters. This may not be the most exciting gift, but time and time again travelers around the world forget phone chargers; they forget that when going to a different country, a different shaped adapter may be required to plug into the wall. On my trip to Venice last year, I had inadvertently packed the wrong adapter (UK instead of continental Europe) and can’t tell you how hard it was to find a store that sold European adapters when I arrived late at night. Prices range: low to medium.
Packing cubes…these little items are a game changer! When it comes to the art of packing a suitcase, few of us are able to fit everything in and are wasting space when it comes to folding clothes, pants and other items. Packing cubes help eliminate this problem by allowing you to see where everything is, and to make a much better use of space. It always feels so good to be organized! Most packing cubes come in a set and different sizes. They can be made from nylon or other fabrics and range from low to medium. Some packing cubes come with the ability to make them compressible if you need even more space.
Since the deals are the best this time of year, I’m going to include suitcases on my travel essentials lift. They come in carry on and rolling, soft shell and hard shell. You will need to ask yourself what works best for your style of travel. Do you prefer to roll everything? Do you want the ability to shove your bag into an overhead bin if space if tight? Carry your bag as a backpack? The only advice I have is to remember that if you buy smart luggage with the built in charger, remember it has to be carried on an aircraft and cannot be checked. Price range: low to high.
Airplane Essentials Ideas
On the airplane, on of my favorite luxuries is my own personal mini blanket and mini pillow. The temperature on the plane can greatly fluctuate, as you may have experienced yourself. I have found that I’m always cold and the blanket provided by the airline isn’t usually enough or it’s too big. I like a blanket that I know for certain is also clean. The same goes with my pillow. I don’t always need it behind my neck, but I like to have the flexibility of sitting on it or using it on my back. Silk pillow or pillow cases seem to be the new trend among travelers. Prices here can be low to high and all types of fabrics, shapes and sizes are available.
Noise cancelling headphones can make it feel as if you are a business or first class passenger even if you are flying economy class. They can make a long haul flight a lot more bearable if you plan to watch the entertainment than the airline provided ones (or if you plan to sleep). The over the ear ones are supposedly more comfortable then the headphones that go in your ears. Remember that if they come with blue tooth technology, fantastic! However it will only work if you are bringing your own device. Airline seats haven’t advanced enough, as of yet, to allow for a blue tooth pairing. Price range: medium to high.
For those who low to read and don’t have the space to accommodate books, consider gifting an e-reader. The largest two brands out on the market right now are Nook by Barnes and Noble and Kindle by Amazon. They come in a variety of models and sizes. I personally used to use Nook, but have found I prefer the ease of using the Nook and Kindle apps on my Ipad Mini (which is yet another option). Price range: medium to high.
Sightseeing Essentials Ideas
One item that can never be too handy is a guidebook. Before I go on any trip, I tend to buy one or at least borrow a book about my destination from the library. I like to have an idea about places I may want to visit, cultural customs, places to eat and sometimes, I even use the maps inside. Guidebooks are an investment tool more than anything else. As Rick Steves says, they are a “$20 tool for a $2000 vacation.” These books are ideal when you don’t have access to technology or just need a starting point. Price range: low to medium.
Sticking to the guidebook idea, phrasebooks or a handy travel or pocket dictionary can not be overstated. especially if you do not speak the language! I wished I had one when I was in Salzburg, Austria! I don’t speak more than 2 words of German and got terribly lost after taking the wrong bus in the wrong direction to my hotel.Thankfully, a very kind elderly women who was grocery shopping called her husband who spoke English and was able to send me in the right direction. My phone wasn’t working and I had only the hotel address. A phrasebook is an essential item for me, nowadays when visiting places I don’t speak the language in. Price range: low to medium.
If you are heading out for the day and planning to use more than a purse consider a small backpack or messenger style bag as a day pack. A lot of museums and other tourist sites will make visitors check their larges bags in. A purse or messenger bag that is smaller is typically exempt. Ensure you have a bag that can zip or snap closed to keep your items away from thieves, pickpockets and inclement weather. Price range: low to high.
Smartphone cameras have advanced leaps and bounds over the past few years and rival that of digital cameras, but in my opinion, the digital camera is still an item that is an essential. I am a huge advocate of having photos in multiple places just in case something happens. My phone happened to run out of memory on my last trip to Paris. I like to have selfies on my phone and landscape or other items of interest on my camera. Cameras are far better about capturing anything off in the distance and have better details and sharpness than phones. Cameras come at all types of prices points: low to high. If you don’t want to gift a camera, a spare battery, case or memory card also comes in handy!
The value of memories are priceless. One of the best ways to record memories are by keeping a journal from your trip. I always buy the soft cover Moleskine journals that come in a 3 pack for myself, but you may find a larger or smaller notebook works best for you. Price range: low.
I’m going to throw this in for honorable mention, but a money belt, travel wallet, or anything you will keep your spare credit, debit cards, cash, passport or other items of value on you if key! The hidden pocket scarf if becoming a thing now too! I hated money belts as a teen and in my 20s….it only takes being robbed or losing your passport once to have you change your tune. The more I travel and hear about people’s horror stories of trying to get these items replaced, but more I advocate for something light that fits under your clothes. Peace of mind will keep a vacation stress free over anything else! Price range: low to medium.
Other Ideas and Items
The gift card is always appreciated. Whether you intend to have a person buy what they need from a department store, want to pay for their airline ticket or accommodations gift cards exist for pretty much everything. If gift cards is not your cup of tea, maybe you gift your traveler a prepaid tour, museum ticket or experience in the city they are heading to. Price range: low to high.
Are you returning from a trip? How about turning some photos or memories into a photo album, book or having a favorite photo framed. The possibilities are endless. Price range: low to high.
There are an infinite number of items that can be gifted to a person who travels. These few short ideas are hopefully ones that will point you in the right direction and help you figure out where to go form here. Hope you have a happy start to your holiday season! Until next time, happy travels.