Are you wondering what gifts to buy the travellers in your life this year for Christmas? It’s probably a harder year than ever to come up with just the right gift since everything surrounding travel is just so uncertain. This year it’s all about dreaming and inspiration, as well as items that can be used at home or on the road. Trips are not planned and booked like they usually are, so there’s no ready list of things that are needed. So what do you get that your traveller will really like? I’ve tried to come up with a few things that are not on every list. Here are some Christmas gift suggestions for all budgets that will be loved for years to come.
1000 Places to Go Before You Die 2021 Calendar
I love this! I was given a similar calendar a few years ago and had forgotten all about it until I sat down to write this list and thought of the cool things I had received over the years. I really like the page-a-day desk calendars, but there are wall calendars available too. I love that there, on my desk, I can get a small piece of travel inspiration every day, This will be on my wish list again this year (hint for any family reading this!) so I can spend each day dreaming about a new destination while I count down to visiting those distant lands in person.
Custom Stuff from Travel Bible
For the traveller that has everything how about getting something custom made? There are all sorts of things to choose from on the Travel Bible website, from phone cases to passport holders, coffee mugs, even face masks! There are also lots of ideas for items that are ready to go, like maps, bed linen, watches and wall hangings. Travel Bible deliver all around the world, so this is a great option if you are buying for someone in another country.
Fold-Up Tote Bag for Bringing Home Extra Goodies
Even though I am not a big shopper, a few times over the years I have gone on holidays, and ended up either posting items home or buying another suitcase – always when travelling with my family! A couple of years ago I bought a light tote bag that can be folded down small and stashed in my suitcase, only coming out for the trip home. It has been an absolute godsend at times. I suggest getting one that can be used as carryon so that you do not have to check in another bag. This bag is also perfect for quick weekends away instead of taking a suitcase, or for camping trips, where suitcase are, well, weird.
While I haven’t been able to find the exact bag I have – it has probably been superseded by new versions by now – it is very much like these Samsonite bags. Lightweight, but sturdy enough to protect your items during travel.
Socks with Zipper for Stashing Cash
I think these are a fantastic idea! When you are out and about in a far flung city, having an extra place to stash a little cash and an extra credit card can go a long way towards feeling secure. I also use mine at home when I’m hiking or walking and don’t want to carry a purse but still want to stop for a quick coffee along the way
Hanging Toiletry Bag
This is another one that is on my list – I have a very old version of a hanging toiletry bag, but it has seen better days and I have been looking for a new one! The idea is that you can unfold the bags and hang them in grungy hostel or Airbnb bathrooms to keep your gear off the floor but still accessible when there are no shelves etc. These are not only great for international travel, but also for local travel when camping or caravanning too.
My only gripe with them is that they can sometimes become very bulky, and I am personally all about keeping my luggage as minimal as possible. This bag above is perfect I think. Enough storage for the basics I would need in the bathroom without being too big. it comes in various colours and patterns too if beige is not your thing. It can be purchased through Amazon US. For all my Australian readers, I unfortunately could not find this exact one on Amazon AU, but if you are happy to pay postage, it is possible to order this one from the US. I will include a link below for a similar bag on Amazon AU for comparison.
This is one thing that absolutely goes with me whenever I am out and about. Yes it’s great for travelling, but it’s also good when hiking in my local area, or even if I know I am going to be taking lots of photos on my phone. My go to for battery packs are the Anker brand. I have bought others in the past only to have them stop working or fall apart after only a short time. I’ve had an Anker now for over a year and it is still going strong. It’s always in my bag or backpack everyday, just in case I need it.
This one is a smaller version – there are ones available that will charge a lot more times if you need more charging power – but I find it charges my iPhone 11 twice which is plenty to get me through the day. it also comes in red, white and blue if you would like a different colour to the usual black.
I am an unabashed physical book lover! I love to hold a book and read, I love the smell of new books, I love having something to pass on to a friend. But even I have to admit, a Kindle is so much easier to travel with! While I tend to stick to normal books for day to day, a Kindle can become an everyday item used on your commute to work or for reading over lunch, as well as the perfect companion for all those trips away.
This new version of Kindle is now also waterproof, so laying by the pool or relaxing in the bath while reading is back on the cards. No more worries about dropping your book in the bath right as you get to the good bit! That sounds so tempting that perhaps you won’t buy this as gifts for the travellers in your life, you’ll just buy it for yourself instead!
Tripod with Remote
If you are buying for a millennial, then a tripod is almost as important as the phone for those perfect selfies, whether they are travelling or creating the best Insta updates from home. We have this one in our house, and while it was bought by one of the millennials, I have to admit to using it occasionally too. I like that it is quite small in size and therefore can be easily tucked in a day pack or bag while I am on the go, and that it is bendy, so can be attached to a multitude of things when flat ground is not available or a good option. While it’s perfect for phones and small cameras, I have even found it can be used with my DSLR if I am in simple locations with it. The remote is also a convenient option, easily operated with a phone app.
Phone Camera Lens Kit
This is another thing on my Christmas wish list. With phone cameras now such good quality, I am finding I rarely take my heavy DSLR with me except for times when I particularly plan to do some photography. The only times I really wish I had it with me are when I want extra zoom. I was recently out with a friend who had one of these cool lens kits for her phone and it was leaving me for dead in the photo stakes. I have a much better phone, supposedly with a better camera, but with the zoom she was getting much better photos.
This is the brand my friend was using and recommends. This particular set included multiple lens including zoom, macro, wide angle and fish eye as well as a small tripod. I am looking forward to picking it up for myself and giving it a go.
Buy Experiences, Not Things
Just because we can’t travel doesn’t mean you can’t share the excitement of travel. Why not buy a voucher or experience for something in your own town or city? If your recipient is anything like me, they’ve travelled all over the world, but not yet done some of the amazing things that there are to offer close to home. After all, they can be done any time, right? Well, now is the perfect opportunity to do some of those things.
Of course sometimes choosing an experience can be difficult, so there are some options.
Get Your Guide has the option to buy a gift card. They are valid for three years and can be used on thousands of experiences all around the world. That gives your recipient plenty of time and a wide range of options too.
Many of the big booking sites also have implemented a process where nearly all of their activities can be changed or cancelled up until 24 hours beforehand. So should you choose something that isn’t quite right, its at least not set in stone. These are the three booking companies I use the most to book my own tours and activities. I like to check all three because sometimes one has a specula deal or is slightly less that the others.
Reusable Coffee Cup
We always hear about packing a good water bottle to travel with so that we don’t have to buy single use plastic water bottles during our travels, but what about coffee cups? Takeaway cups are generally not recyclable and not all that eco-friendly in general. I don’t know about you, but I seem to indulge in takeaway coffee more when I travel because I want to be out exploring, not drinking my coffee sitting still. I like eco-friendly, bamboo coffee cups, and these ones are lightweight too, so won’t weigh your luggage down.
When All Else Fails – Buy a Book!
We all have a friend or family member who is difficult to buy for (for me it’s my Dad!) and the never-fail item that always seems to go down well is a book! Even those travellers who are not readers would be happy with a travel guide or a beautiful coffee table book to inspire their next trip. Otherwise, choose a popular new release from a favourite genre, a bestseller of the year, or a biography of someone who has been controversial this year – and I’m sure we can all find a few of those people!
Josie is a forty-something budget traveller. She only discovered travel in her late thirties, but since then has travelled extensively including taking an adult gap year. She is now based in Australia and loves sharing all she has learned about travelling on a budget but with the comforts a Gen Xer requires.