Every time my birthday rolls around, I get asked what I want and I each year it gets harder. Being a constant traveller, my focus has shifted and I need way less things than I did before. But what gifts for a traveller are actually good for me? Do I need portable tents or sleeping inlets? Not really. If travel teaches you one thing, it is to be independent and make do with what you have. If you find yourself struggling to find the perfect gifts for a traveller friend, read on. After some serious brainstorming I came up with pretty good answers. First hand from one notorious traveller to you.
Heads up: This post contains affiliate links of products I handpicked for you. If you click those, I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you. It will help me buy a coke so I can stay awake and work on my blog and social channels to keep you updated on all things travel.
I have been travelling in safe countries and didn’t have to think too much about safety issues but there might come a time when I have to. For instance, one of these days I might consider going to South America. Did you know that Brazil has many of the top most dangerous cities in the world? Good grief. Fear should be no obstacle, but preparation is key! A classic combination lock or reusable twist ties are essentials to keep the luggage closed. But that won’t do much good if it isn’t slash proof.
A bag is an essential item for a traveller. It doesn’t have to be a backpack either but consider smaller purses and sling bags but look into extra features. Are they sling proof? Do they block RFID to protect electronic data? Maybe an ipad, phone or camera cover to take underwater photos with? Heck, even a new selfie-stick? You could also consider buying your friend a torch or carabiner light (very handy in the outback!), a storm whistle or screaming device to use during attacks as pepper spray is often prohibited and can’t be taken onto planes anyway. Also handy is a.
Being limited to the stuff in your baggage and using it day in and day out, the wear down factor is high. Add to that the annoyance of things tumbling over one another, being exposed to different climates and not being taken good care of, these things all take their toll. So quality number one is quality: does it last, can it sustain rough handling, daily use, etc? It doesn’t have to be expensive, which might also prove a hindrance as it could trigger a guilt factor. I certainly wouldn’t want to carry around an expensive thing knowing how valuable it is and the way that I treat it.
Quality number two is practicality. Will you use it enough, is worth taking with you? Nothing worse than carrying around useless baggage and cramming it down the furthest corners of your backpack, knowing you could very well chuck it if you won’t use it. So know that you know how not to buy things, I have some concrete examples for you to give you an idea. How about a travel towel? It is smaller than usual, lighter and dries super fast. They are usually not fancy but you could invest in a cute one or even a Turkish pestemal towel. Other options include cute toothbrush covers and sanitizers, special hiking socks, an inflatable neck pillow, a printed sleeping mask or a water bottle with a filter.
Backpackers are essentially unvain when it comes to packing and the longer they’ve been on the road, the more their clothes have suffered and unnecessary stuff been discarded. So, fashion might not be high on their list. But then again your friend might be a flashpacker, which requires entirely different gifts for a traveller. Why not get a practical voucher for an outdoor shop or amazon, where travel gadgets and accessories can be purchased from all over the world? A note of caution, you might want to ask first, which shop would be best for them.
Why not combine practical with fashionable and put some thought into it? A scarf is a classic and timeless piece that is so versatile that you can use them for all different kinds of situations and it goes with different outfits, too. What’s more, you can completely create a whole new look with a scarf. Use it around your neck, as a head band or even as a skirt or dress! During flights, they can serve as a pillow or blanket and keep the freezing air con temperatures at bay. Just make sure it is not too light or heavy. Other ideas are a necklace with a travel related pendants, such as a globe, an airplane or the like and a simple bracelet where the traveller can attach pendants they collected from around the world.
When we have to take ourselves off the road at one point, it is a good to have something steady but that can get boring for a travel bug bitten person soon. Why not decorate their temporary home with nice things that make it more homely? It takes the mind back to amazing travels they experienced but also makes them itch for more coming. Possible gifts for a traveller decoration-wise could memorabilia as wall decoration, photos as posters or even prints on pillows.
I once got a photo album, which was half full to show what I had experienced so far with the rest being left for me to continue. A very nice gesture but it was so heavy and sturdy, I couldn’t possibly take it with me. Why not invest in a light frame, which you can decorate or have the receiver decorate with twigs, sand and shells collected on previous travels? A scratchable map to leve at home and return to with eagerness to scratch off one more country. If you need some more inspiration, I have created a https://de.pinterest.com/travel_brain/travel-decor/pinboard with great travel inspired gifts and decorations.
For those loving their life organized, you could also invest in packing organizers (forget compression bags – need a hoover, lose their functionality after a while and rolling is better), a passport organiser, a set of travel sized bottles for cosmetics, a small cutlery set, a mini iron, travel laundry soap, you name it. There are whole sops on just small travel gear out there to get a good overview. My fellow blogger from The Travel Accessory Shop regularly highlights new and practical gear from the travel scene.
In case your travel friend is all tech savvy and needs an arsenal of gadgets around them, you can find awesome gifts for a travellr friend in electronic stores. Here come products I recommend (you can use these affiliate links, they cost you nothing but I get a little commission to buy myself a can of coke to stay up working on this blog): noise-cancelling headphones, a solar charger, a portable charger or cute earphone cable holder and universal adapter that is usable all over the world? You can ever have enough of those – especially if you carry electronics with you and work from the road!
The Medi Kit
With all the planning, preparation and packing going on, it can very well be that a traveller forgets the simplest things. And like I said, some things they find not too practical or not worth buying but could be of great use later on. Things related to health and well-being fall into this category and therefore you could add something from this cateory as well as gifts for a traveller. How about water-proof or blister plasters in a little lightweight box? Plasters will become necessary but need to be packed away and reachable easily.
Other ideas include a hand sanitizer, sun screen, travel washing soap, dry shampoo, UV protect lip balm (nobody ever thinks of that!), hand lotion for harsh conditions and a mosquito bite gel? One friend even gifted me toilet seat covers, which I diligently carried around the whole year but actually needed to use on my last week. Thankfully they were light or they would have been gone much earlier. Just think of the country of destination and you will find some inspiration what might be needed.
There is always something you can find as a gift, even if you are not one of those crafty types that create an adorable hand-made card. I hope you are now more inspired and have a better idea what to get a travelling friend.