Find the perfect present for someone who travels a lot, someone about to go travelling and someone who travels for work. After years on the road, in each of these situations, here's what I'd recommend
So whether you're looking for inspiration for a business traveller, long term traveller or just want to treat someone to a well-deserved weekend away, here are my suggestions.
What it is: A beautiful voucher-style gift card that you can use instead of a home-printed IOU or (worse) a voucher that ties people into a place, hotel brand or date that might actually make life more difficult for them.
How it works: as the world's leading hotel gift card brand, the cards can be redeemed in over 110 000 hotels in over 170 countries. The program covers more than 140 different brands, including independent and boutique hotels as well as the bigger chains.
You pay the amount and the recipient gets to use the card through the Hotelgift website. You can either ask for a physical gift card or an e-version if you have left things to the last minute (as if anyone would...)
Using Hotelgift Card
The delivery options are:
I tested it out and it's really, really easy to use. And what I love about it, as I mentioned above, is that it's so flexible. No more surreptitiously trying to track down dates or panicking that you can't rearrange schedules to accommodate what was supposed to be a lovely, thoughtful gift!
Just the bit you wanted (the lovely gift) without giving someone a headache. Love it.
Somewhat smaller than the images suggest, this turns out to be a good thing for a practical travel diary. Who wants to cart around something heavy and awkward? This is slimline and light and yet just as gorgeous in your hands. A travel diary your recipient may actually use while they travel!
Inside, find a few structured pages including maps, journey times and things to meet, try, learn and celebrate but mostly this is a diary for freeform writing and doodling.
Buying travel guide books can be tricky on a gift basis because the chances are someone's already bought the book if they've already bought the ticket.
Enter this gorgeous coffee table book, Where to Go When by Lonely Planet which breaks down the world into seasonal recommendations based on your personal tastes.
If it wouldn't be considered offensive to some people, I'd be calling it my bible... £19.99
Yes, scarves are useful for travelling with anyway. You can use them as a sarong, loop together broken handles on a suitcase, swaddle a baby, build a tent and even use them to keep your neck warm if the AC gets over ambitious.
But these beautiful hand-made scarves from Speakeasy Travel step it up a notch. How? With their hidden zippable pocket, that's how. Passport, room key, cash. Hidden in the scarf.
WAY more comfortable than those down your pants money belts. And more stylish too. $49.99 (Made in America.)
I've no idea why I battled with so many bags for so long! I love using my Samsonite SCure. It rolls easily, I can stack bags on top of it and everything inside is secure (perfect for when you can't check in to a room and you've a pretty good idea that your suitcase, complete with laptop and lenses, will be at the bottom of a colossal suitcase heap.) Costs £99 - 199 - find them here.
The Osprey Transporter combines a tough, on the road duffel with a tough, handle anything wheelie system. You can read my review of the largest size (The Osprey Transporter 120 over here.)
Of course, if you're buying this as a gift, make sure they don't already have a suitcase that they love. It's expensive and difficult to store otherwise!
Let's face it, a lot of these gizmos aren't essential and some just get in the way. That said, here are the ones that really help me pack in record time, keep my belongings safe - and help me find things while I'm on the road.
Essentially, these are zip mesh pockets that come in different sizes. Lightweight and slippery, they slide easily around a case and the mesh let's you see what's inside (in case, ahem, you forget.) Ideal for T shirts, socks, underwear and bedding.
Lightweight with removable, washable covers, these envelopes are perfect for clothes that need to stay folded, like shirts, dresses and blazers.
These are basically packing cubes for your electronics and all their gadgets. Before I found these, I used toiletry bags but because these have been designed with the job in mind they work far better. Available in different sizes, they have a crush resistant case that's still lightweight and inner meshes, zip pockets and elastic ties to keep cables organised and power banks safe. They also slide easily into an airline mesh pocket so that instead of scrabbling around when boarding a plane, you can just pull out this and your laptop. Sorted.
Size or weight an issue? Either for you or for the person you're thinking of? (In the travel sense of the word, of course!) Luckily, travel-related gifts are often light and easy to carry because, well, that's half the battle! Cast your eyes over the suggestions above but then drill down for stocking filler ideas below:
Now here's a gift idea I spotted over on D Travels Round. It's the only one I haven't tried out myself (yet) but the idea is soooo good that I have to share it here. The idea is that each locket has a different aromatherapy smell - perfect for when you're on a crowded tube, train, plane, automobile with someone or several someones who, well, are in need of a shower and a change of clothes...
And a longer life expectancy... Blame it on the doctor in me but we all need to protect our skin when we travel. Skin cancer's on the rise and while the application of said screens may not make us look as beautiful and blissed out as the girl in the photo, they may just keep us alive. Trouble is, as we all know, sunscreen can be gloopy and greasy and bring us out in spots. Not much of a price to pay when it comes to fending off cancer (and even wrinkles!) but annoying nonetheless. So, my happy discovery this year was Ultrasun which lasts a long time, feels nice and dry and is designed for those with sensitive skin. Costs £5-30 - find them here.
However hard any of us work, to be able to travel anywhere or even have the luxury of electricity and an internet connection in order to read this post involves privileges most of the world can only dream of. Some charities, such as Oxfam, offer the chance to "buy a goat" and have an e-card to send your friend or relative on the big day. Others, such as the Red Cross and Crescent simply accept straight donations. Then, there's the WWF Shop that offers everything from holidays to soft cuddly toys in order to raise funds. It's just a thought, particularly if you've read all of the other suggestions and nothing seems to fit.
Love travel, love photos but don't love lugging around a full DSLR? (Or, ahem, does the person you're buying the present for think that way?)
Mobile phones are fantastic for snapping images on the go but more and more people are using them to create high quality videos of their travels or taking the chance to conduct a live broadcast while on the road.
The Monoshot tripod is the best I've seen so far for making that leap from quick holiday snap to serious image contender. It folds up neatly for travel but assembles quickly on the road and even has a bluetooth timer to help you activate your phone camera remotely. There's also (ahem) a selfie stick and a spike to help in muddy or sandy ground...
Swaying motion ruins most video clips because it makes viewers feel seasick. Enter the Smooth Q3 Gimbal which lets people shoot quality videos by smoothing out the bumps. I can' tell you the difference this has made to my video clips - and by the number of people who approach me on the road and ask about it, if you know a travel photography enthusiast, they'll love this.
What do you think?
What's the best present for travellers you've heard of?
Disclosure: Some of these items I paid for myself, for others I was sent review samples. All of these items made it onto the list because I believe they'd be great gifts for travellers. Clicking on some of these links may earn me a little bit of cash if you then go on to buy...but not the charity ones obviously ;-)
Abigail King is an award-winning writer and author who swapped a successful career as a hospital doctor for a life on the road. With over 60 countries under her belt, she's worked for Lonely Planet, the BBC, National Geographic Traveller and more. She is passionate about sustainable tourism and was invited to speak on the subject at the EU-China High Level summit at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.Here she writes about food, travel and history and she invites you to pull up a chair and relax. Let's travel more and think more. Welcome!
Please log in again. The login page will open in a new window. After logging in you can close it and return to this page.