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Are you unsure what to gift that special person who likes to travel? Frequent travellers can be hard to shop for because they have such limited space in their bag(s) that only the bare essentials can go with them. Luckily for you, this gift guide is here to help you. I compiled the best and most useful gifts for that special traveller in your life.
As someone who travels regularly, I know what is important to have on a trip. In no particular order, here are the best gift ideas for a traveller:
Every traveller’s favorite part is documenting those experiences. So what better gift than a camera? Now don’t worry if you’re budget conscious. You can find some some very good cameras out there at affordable prices.
There are three types of cameras I’d recommend as a gift, and they are:
I’ve had my Fujifilm X-T20 with the kit lens XF 18-55mm for years, and I still love it to bits. It’s a relatively small camera that takes incredible pictures. I’ve taken it with me inside museums, markets, restaurants, and hiking. I even use it for food photography for my baking blog. It’s a very versatile, overall useful camera that makes a great investment.
Another reason I’d recommend Fujifilm cameras is because they have built-in color profiles, which makes photo editing a breeze.
If you know the traveller well and you’re familiar with the camera he/ she already has, perhaps a new lens would be more appropriate than a new camera. I’d recommend a pancake lens for their compact size, a zoom lens for their overall versatility, and a telephoto lens for wildlife photography.
Compact cameras are great for all travellers, but especially useful for those who enjoy street photography. They are small and inconspicuous and other people don’t really notice them. As a traveller with a small camera, nobody pays attention to you. But if you walk around certain parts of the world with a large camera around your neck, you might get labeled as rich tourist and attract some unwanted attention.
Those compact cameras with built-in image stabilization are also good for video making. In addition, compact cameras have a retractable zoom lens, which is great for taking pictures of objects you cannot walk closer to (such as a roof), while keeping the camera pocket sized. The image quality of the newer compact cameras is very good. I have even sold some stock images shot on older compact cameras. Now imagine what a newer model could do.
These fun little cameras have become very affordable over the years. If you’d like to gift a camera but you can’t afford one of the previous ones, consider an instant camera. Those little pictures that you get from them are great for scrapbooking, building a picture wall, or gift giving. Just like compact cameras, instant ones are small so they can be taken almost anywhere. Many of them also have built-in flash for taking pictures in the dark.
A small, foldable tripod that is light can be a very useful gift as well. Normally I never use a tripod when I travel to a city destination. However, they are incredibly useful for nature, wildlife, and even food/ lifestyle photography.
Many places in the world (such as a farmers market in France) will require to pay with cash, while other places (such as food halls in Scandinavia) will require card payments. For safety reasons I like to keep my main wallet (with the bulk of my cash and cards) well hidden inside a zipped pocket in my bag. I only take out this wallet in the safety of a bank or hotel room. I like to have a smaller wallet in my coat pocket with a little cash and one card. Should the little wallet get stolen, I least I will still have some cash, cards, and most importantly, my IDs safe and sound in the main wallet.
Make sure the interior zip pocket is big enough to fit a passport.
I have the Marc Jacobs Women’s Messenger Bag and it’s small enough to let me take it inside a museum, but roomy enough to fit my Fujifilm X-T20 (with the lens attached). For a bigger option, Marc by Marc Jacobs Natasha is very good too. It is both comfortable and practical. The zip around pocket is a great place to hide your main wallet while travelling. For a smaller option the Kate Spade Payton Dome Crossbody leather bag is great for both travelling and everyday life at home.
These are great to have while flying or working from a cafe. They’re especially useful if the traveller you’re shopping for has to work remotely but doesn’t have a dedicated quiet space to get that work done. A good pair of headphones can last many years.
Sometimes it’s not possible to charge devices on a plane. Sometimes the airport gets busy and all the outlets are already in use. Sometimes a long day of navigating a new city using the maps on your phone can drain the battery. Whatever the situation, having a portable charger can be lifesaving. This makes and incredibly useful gift for a traveller, and one that is affordable for you.
NOT to be confused with an adapter. An adapter changes the plug configuration, while a converter changes the electricity that flows to the device. Most devices today are dual voltage, which means they only require an adapter. However, plugging a non-dual voltage North American device into a European outlet without a converter will likely fry the device and create a fire hazard. European voltage is double that of North America. To be safe (and avoid fire hazards), I recommend a converter.
A case to neatly store all chargers and cables. This provides chargers with a little protection, keeps all the essentials in one place, and prevents cables from tangling. It is also a gift that will continue to be useful even when the traveller is not on the roads.
This is a great gift for a traveller that will be staying in hostels with shared bathrooms, or will go camping. In addition to holding bathroom essentials, if the traveller wears glasses, he/ she can also slip the glasses in there while taking a shower.
Speaking of camping, a portable espresso machine is another useful gift idea. This gift could also be great for someone studying abroad for a few months, and who will be living in a small dorm room.
Another gift idea for travellers who are going camping, or travelling in a van. Speakers can also continue to be a useful gift even when the traveller returns home.
A great, inexpensive gift for campers and van travellers. Also useful at home during a power outage.
Another gift that’s great for campers or exchange students living in small dorms.
A more unique cooking-related gift for camping enthusiasts. They can be quite pricy, so this is a gift more suitable for a spouse.
Give a camper the gift of relaxation.
In addition to being an essential item for outdoorsy travellers, a headlight can also be used when not travelling for fixing things around the house.
If the traveller is going to a colder destination, foot warmers are a great gift. This is something you never think to buy yourself, but when you have them they are incredibly useful.
A very essential item to have when going camping, or hiking. A good quality multitool can last a lifetime. So if you’re shopping for a nature traveller, this can be a very useful and thoughtful gift.
Regardless if passing through familiar airports, or travelling to unknown places, a filtered water bottle can be a lifesaver. Some countries don’t have drinking water fountains in public places, in many countries it is not recommended to drink the tap water, stores may be closed, or you may not know where to buy a bottle of water from. Whatever the situation, this is always good to have.
An affordable (and customizable) gift where the traveller can write memories that will last a lifetime. In an ever changing world, even memories from 2-3 years prior become nostalgic. Writing down a few notes here and there will be cherished in the future.
A face and body lotion in a tube is another useful gift. Having it in a tube is important to prevent contamination. Lotion is an important item for a traveller because you never know how your skin will react to flying or a new climate.
And lastly, books always make a great gift. I personally prefer coffee table books with great pictures of cities. I like to browse them from time to time and always notice some new and interesting details I hadn’t seen before. In addition, informative books on how to travel could also be a good gift.
How to Travel the World on $50 a Day, 1000 Places to See Before you Die, some nice picture books