Tag Archives: holiday gifts for travelers

Last Minute Holiday Gift Ideas for Travelers

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Creative Commons Photo / Phil Roeder

Are you doing some last-minute Christmas shopping? If you have a traveler or two or more on your list, there’s still time to find a present for them at the store or online. Here are some general gift ideas of items that are available through multiple vendors and can range from fun ideas to practical usage.

Scratch Off Map (or Just a Regular Wall Map and a Container of Pins)

Know someone who travels a lot? A map is a great way for them to remember and mark off where they been, and see where else they have to check off their list. Scratch off maps can be fun in coming across a different color when rubbing off the top foil layer to show their progress. Or go another way with a standard full-sized wall map with a pack of pins that get a bit extra work involved in marking their destinations.

Portable Battery Chargers

Cellphones are more for talking; who really uses it for conversation anymore. Our Android or iPhone acts as a messaging device, a directional guide, a camera, an app service and a portable office. And all of this can get up a lot of your battery, leaving someone you know in a search for an outlet. A portable battery charger can save them in a pinch; all they have to do is fully charge it ahead of time and they’re good to go.

Pickpocket Proof Clothing

Travelers always have to keep their valuables in check; there’s clothing that can help with that. For men and women, there are scarves and pants with hidden compartments that can help hide extra cash or passports. Granted, it’s best to know what your traveler’s sizes are. Not sure? These companies offer the option of a gift card; suggested vendors include Clothing Arts, which centers on pants, or Clever Travel Companion, which extends to tops and bottoms.

Personal Safety Devices

As another concern about personal safety, there are various pocket alarms and devices that travelers can take with them. There are wearable alarms that produce a noticeable sound when activated through the pull of a pin or pressing of a button. One that I suggest is Robocopp, which works by having its pin get pulled out and then letting off a bird chirping sound. Another is Revolar, which is described as being activated with a click. Or consider GE’s Personal Security Window or Door Alarm Kit, which encompasses a key chain, door stopper and window/door alarm.

Wall Plug Adapters

Outlets in hotel rooms or just about every public building outside of the U.S. incorporates the local wattage, wall plug adapters, or also known as convertors, are a good idea. I’ve had a set by Travel Smart for a few years now, where I take the one(s) I need for my destination; the only downside is that I can only plug in one item at a time per adapter I’ve got. There are also all-in-one adapters that can be adjusted to plug in more than one device at one (usually up to three).

Luggage Tags

Even the littlest thing can mean a big deal as a present. And one of them can be a secured bag tag. You can have some fun with selecting one for someone that can be monogramed or engraved, or have a fun pattern. I would say to look for one that has a good strap that can be firmly secured onto the bag’s handle. I bought a faulty one that fell off somewhere in my checked in bag’s journey.

Packing Cubes

As another item that is best for a suitcase, these cubes make packing much stuff in a small bag easier. They’re designed to compartmentalize items or compress clothing for better optimum usage of space. They’re a self-storage necessity and work great for carry-ons. Try brands like Eagle Creek or Flight 001, known for their packing cube sets.

Subscription Box Services

These themed monthly services can bring the world to your doorstep through foods or other items sourced from all over the globe. Each month, Try the World boxes up a culinary journey tied to a specific country with two different subscriptions involving snacks or food staples. For interior design fans, GlobeIn searches for and sources from artisan craftspeople.

What would you buy a traveler as a holiday gift? Let me know in the comments section.

8 Holiday Gift Ideas for Female Travelers

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Flickr Creative Commons photo / nathanmac87

Have a gal pal or relative who loves to travel on your holiday shopping list? Get her a gift that helps her along her journey.

While gift guides might feature items that seem out of your price range or too high tech or fancy, there are tried and true gifts that can suit any female traveler. They’re even safe bets if you don’t know where she’s heading next. As a help, I put together a number of gift ideas involving general products that can be bought through multiple vendors and easy to find in-store or online. Here are eight recommendations to get you started.

Portable battery chargers
A traveler’s phone is her personal assistant, her Gal Friday. It’s her go-to for getting directions, picture taking, private messaging, calendar scheduling, or acting an overall point of contact. And the more she uses her phone, the more the battery decreases. Plus, finding an accessible plug can sometimes be a journey in itself. So, it’s a godsend to have a readily charger on hand to plug in your phone and keep on going.

File hosting services/external hard drives
Back again to our phones, travelers often like to take photos, but eventually they run out of space. Or even the memory card on our digital camera has its limits. Thanks to online storage sites like Dropbox, users can file their pictures away and avoid having to delete them. Basic level accounts are free (I know so for Dropbox) but if you need more space, you have to pay. So having a paid subscription can be a load off your traveler’s mind. If your gift recipient is a bit tech savvy, an external hard drive is also a good way to have your friend’s back when she’s backing up her photos (forgive the bad humor).

Outlet adapters
Outside of the United States, electrical outlets take on a different meaning. Particularly in how they’re fitted. If you don’t know already, voltage overseas can vary. So, unless you/your traveling friend already knows this, plugs that can be easily fit into a wall socket here might not do so in Europe, Asia, or the South Pacific. The solution: outlet adapters. A decade ago, I bought a multi-pack of adapters from TravelSmart that still works well. I just take out which one(s) I would need for my destination.

Gift cards at major retailers
Yes, gift cards can seem kind of lame, but they are a big help in providing funds for  what a traveler needs or wants. And you’ll know it’s one gift that’s not going to waste. Outdoorsy girls might shop at REI or Patagonia, so perhaps she can get some new gear. If she’s always picking up a guidebook or loves reading travel memoirs, Barnes & Noble or Amazon is a sure thing. And if beauty buys are essential, Sephora has a nice selection of travel-sized products.

Magazine/newspaper subscriptions
Travelers like to keep up with what’s going on the world. So buy them a yearlong subscription to their favorite publication or perhaps one they might enjoy reading. While print has gotten some hard knocks, a number of travel magazines – AFAR, Lonely Planet, Conde Nast, Travel & Leisure, and Food & Wine – are still rolling off the presses. Publications are also building up their online presence, so a web subscription (think The New York Times or Boston Globe) could come in handy. Even periodicals like Food & Wine and Bon Appetit are delving more into travel-related topics.

Anti-theft devices
Of course, a traveler’s parents will worry about her safety. So give her a token that will give you – and her – piece of mind. In terms of availability and selection, the market in anti-theft products is definitely on the rise. For starters, you can find pickpocket proof clothing, security padlocks and bags that can be worn across your front. Ask her what might like most (you might find a money belt to be helpful; she may not) and then go with her decision. Try PacSafe for bags and Clothing Arts or The Clever Travel Companion for garments.

Her favorite (and TSA friendly) snacks
Buying food at the airport is expensive (we’re talking $4 for a yogurt). And now, we’re feeling additional wallet pain on board our flights, as included meals are changing over to ones we have to pay for! However, we can still bring a few pre-packaged snacks — even through airport security — to tie us over. If your friend is a fan of nutrition bars, perhaps get her a box or two of her faves to munch on. Candy is cool too. And a bag of specialty pretzels or chips will go quickly.

Girlie products
We ladies know that during certain times of month we have to prepare for a special visitor. Our choice of products in this area has become quite “advanced,” so to speak. They’re definitely beyond what you’ll find in the drugstore aisle. Aside from traditional pads and tampon packs, what’s trending (and working) are menstrual cups and period-centered undergarments like THINK and PantyProp. Though I have to admit that this kind of gift is probably best exchanged between serious BFs.

Let us know what you’re giving to the travelers in your life.

10 Basic Holiday Gift Ideas for Travelers

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Photo credit: m01229 via Flickr

If you have a traveler on your holiday shopping list, the best present to buy him or her is one that can help make the journey a little easier. From advanced trip planning, to last-minute preparation, here are some general suggestions for finding that perfect gift for the adventurous person in your life.

1) Portable Battery Charger
With cellphones now being used for snapping and posting travel photos instantly, it’s easy for batteries to go quicker. Having a portable external battery charger can help them out in a pitch. Consider getting a two-port charger, if your gift recipient also takes an iPad or another electronic device along, or even look for a solar-powered one.

2) All-Weather Purpose Clothing
Clothing is a travel necessity, but the lighter the weight, the easier it is to travel with. For example, a windbreaker is good for rainy days but its material should be breathable. Think durable but comfortable! If unsure what applies as a base layer or outer shell, head to an outdoor gear store and get solid employee advice.

3) Luggage Lock
Are they – or more so, you – worried about items being taken from their bags? A luggage lock can give piece of mind. From keys to combinations, these locks can encompass everything from including a cord to secure a bag in place to just keeping zippers from being opened. And in most cases, they are TSA friendly, built with a button that indicates if officials have opened up a bag for inspection.

4) Carry-On Luggage
With airline fees for checking in even one bag becoming more commonplace, travelers might consider using a suitcase that complies with carry-on standards. Though carrier restrictions on sizes can vary, carry-on limits are usually around 21 inches for height, 15 inches for width and 9 inches for depth, with overall weight not exceeding more than 20 pounds. Travelers can be good about watching space limits, and you’ll help them avoid potential add-on costs at the airport.

5) Small First Aid Kit
Aches, scrapes, accidents, and illnesses can happen while on the road. And finding a drugstore or pharmacy requires a trip of another kind. A good first aid kit should include at least a mix of bandages, antiseptic wipes, and pain/stomach relievers. Plus hydration powder and an antihistamine can be good extras.

6) Water Bottle
Buying bottled water can add up, so a water bottle can save on money and be reused. Aside from a BPA free design, consider getting one with a chemical-free filtration to remove potential waterborne bacteria and contaminants such as protozoa. Usually, these bottles are said to have continuous use before needing to be replaced.

7) TSA Friendly Toiletries
With 3-1-1 TSA rules still in effect, a traveler’s choice of beauty/grooming products is down to ounces. From shampoo bottles to toothpaste tubes, picking up travel-sized versions of his/her fave products or something a little fancy will enable your adventurer to pack them with ease. Head to the drugstore or places like Sephora that stock flier-friendly beauty products.

8) Headphones
From earbuds to on-ear models, a pair of headphones can block out any noise or for listening to tuneage while on a train, bus,  or plane. Plus, they might come in handy for getting the audio for that in-flight movie – if the airline’s headphones are so-so.

9) Packing Cubes
Some travelers swear by them, others might not. Found in stores and online, these cubes are actually various sized fabric containers that can aid in keeping clothing, toiletries or other items packed neat and tidy. If your gift receiver is very organized, this gift idea might be a winner.

10) Wrist Watch
A watch, you say? How seemingly outdated is that! Well, for starters, it’s a good alternative to relying on your phone for your clock. Plus it’s also easier to reset the dial to fit whichever time zone you’re entering or returning from.

What item would you give to a traveler as a holiday gift?