The holiday season is upon us! Christmas music is being played loud and proud in the stores, Amazon Wish Lists are being updated, we’re debating if wrapping paper inflicted paper cuts are worth the $3.99 savings of not having Amazon gift wrap for you (the answer is “no”), and if you are anything like me, you are stuck on what to gift to certain people in your life.
Travelers can be difficult to shop for. If we are on the go constantly, we either don’t have room to carry stuff, or aren’t home to enjoy it. I am pretty difficult to shop for myself, once you get past “Dunkin’ Donuts gift card” and “all of the cash, all of it.” I am a grown-ass woman, and I buy what I want, when I want. I keep an Amazon Wish List for my immediate family, but it’s mostly gift cards, a few books (yes, I occasionally still like to read hard-copy books!), and stuff for my cats. Chances are, you have someone in your life who travels a lot for business or pleasure, so I put together a gift guide to help you shop for your favoritest jet-setter, because I am nothing if not not super helpful.
Budget – Under $75
1. Packing Cubes: A carry-on only traveler’s dream. They give you a defined space to pack in, and you can organize your gear in whatever way works for you. Currently, I use a mix of Eagle Creek Specter cubes and various eBags cubes, but I do have the new eBags Ultralight set on my own wish list this year.
2. Cute, Low Profile Sneaks: Trying to look cute and be comfortable while walking miles and miles a day is a real struggle. An adorable pair of low profile sneakers, that can look good with dresses or leggings, skinny jeans, or trousers, may be like giving a unicorn to your favorite jet-setter.
3. Compression Socks: So necessary for those long flights. Especially those overnight flights where you won’t get up to move around as much. It’ll keep the blood flowing and the swelling down, meaning your favorite traveler will be able to hit the ground running at his/her destination. This pair of compression socks is on my list this year!
4. Passport Cover: They add a little flair to an otherwise boring set of paper, and adds a little bulk so it’s easy to locate in your travel bag. Pro Tip: Get an RFID passport cover and provide extra protection of sensitive information.
5. Sleep Mask: Sleeping on planes is really difficult for some people. A sleep mask will help block out the light on the plane. Sleep masks are also a wonderful item in hostels and guest houses, when you are going to be sharing rooms with other people and the lights are going to be turned on and off all night and day.
6. Smart-looking duffel bag: Duffel bags are great for quick trips and as personal items. If your favorite world traveler prefers to be a little most stylish when on the go, they will appreciate a duffel bag that doesn’t look like they just decided to hop onto an airplane straight from the gym.
7. Travel Journal & Pen: One of the best thing I was given when I moved abroad to study for a year was a nice travel journal. I filled the pages with all of my adventures from that year. I’ve moved to electronic journaling, but if you know a traveler who is more old school, a journal and nice pen would be an appreciated gift.
8. Travel-Size Toiletries From Their Favorite Brand: This one will take a little research, but the result will be worth it! Traveling is hard on the body, especially the skin, and a set of mini toiletries from one of their favorite skin care brands will let them keep up their skin care routine on the road. Good or bad, life is chaotic on the road, and having even a small semblance of “home” makes a huge difference.
9. Selfie Stick: The perfect gift for the solo traveler. When I lived abroad, a lot of my travel photos were missing one thing – me. Selfie sticks are a divisive topic, but super handy for solo-travelers. I wish I’d had one when I lived abroad, if only to do it for the ‘gram! (J/K, I lived abroad before Instagram was a thing.) Only gift these to those who can use them responsibly. Pro Tip: Make sure the selfie stick has a built-in shutter release button. Some come with a remote, which will just end up lost or dropped in a lake (not that I would know anything about that…).
10: Portable charger: Possibly the most necessary item of all time (#kanyeshrug) for a traveler after luggage and passport. Having your phone die when you are out and about is literally the worst thing ever. And you can never find a wall outlet when you need one. Portable chargers come in all shapes, sizes, and power levels. I have a larger one that will juice my phone, along with a second phone, 4-5 times before it needs to be recharged. It’s a little on the heavy side, but worth the extra weight in exchange for its convenience. Pro Tip: Gift along with a short charging cable for their phone model so they don’t have to carry around a 3ft-6ft cord that will inevitably get tangled up in everything)
Luxury – Over $75
For The Soccer Fan
1. Jerseys: Jerseys are a fail safe gift for your favorite soccer fan. They can start at $60 or more, so a person who travels for soccer may opt to save money by not buying jerseys for themselves. Surprise your favorite traveling soccer supporter with their favorite team’s jersey this Holiday season. Even better, customize it with their favorite player, or even their own name!
2. Gameday Gear: Every supporter has a different MO for gameday dear. Some wear the same thing every game, others like to mix it up. Soccer jackets are great for all types of dry weather, and a scarf and hat will make freezing cold matches much more enjoyable. A drawstring bag with their favorite team’s crest makes for a great gameday bag, while still being super lightweight.
3. Office & Travel Gear: For non-matchdays, when your favorite jet-setting soccer supporter is in the office, a nice watch watch or sweater (or both!) let’s them subtly support their team while still maintaining a professional appearance. I have a Liverpool sweater I wear to the office for weekday matches, and the above watch is on my shopping list for my February trek to Anfield. For when they are on the go, a tablet case or passport cover will let them display their love for their team while protecting their gear.
4. Home: Unless they are a long-term, nomadic traveler, soccer supporters have to come home some time! One of the classiest ways to display love for a team is to incorporate it into your decor. A map and some push pins will let your soccer supporter pins places they’ve been for matches, and countries they want to visit. Event posters are also a unique gift (I have the poster above to commemorate my trip to the World Cup in Brazil). If you are looking for a more budget friendly gift, a mug loudly displaying their team’s colors can never go wrong.
My Grown Up Christmas List
I already have many of the items listed above, so I can speak from experience that they will come in handy on the road. But I like to give my immediate family and close friends some ideas for gifts each year, so here are a few travel-related items on my wish list this year:
The owner of one of the dogs I sit on the regular has a Jawbone Jambox MINI Bluetooth speaker, and I have fallen in love with it. The speakers on my phone and tablet are aight, but these mini speakers really pack a punch. I’ve tested them out in the bathroom while I’m getting ready for the day, in the kitchen while I’m cooking (works great for both music and listen-watching The Daily Show/The Nightly show while preparing dinner), in my “home office” (I live in a minuscule apartment, so this is a slight embellishment) to watch things on my tablet while working, and even just watching Pride and Prejudice for the hundred millionth time in bed. I think they’d be great for traveling alone, both for work and leisure, when I don’t have to worry about bothering anyone.
Lonely Planet is my go-to for travel guides, and I love their compilation books. I’m not the type of traveler that follows travel guides to a T, but they provide a great starting point when planning your trips. I’m interested to see how many places I’ve been on this list, and possibly add a few more to my bucket list.
I have a push pin travel map, but it’s possibly the most ghetto thing you’ve ever seen. I love the vintage feel of this push pin map, the quality frame (mine is in a $10 college dorm poster frame), and the customizable label. At a base price of $119, this may be a gift to myself…