Christmas is just around the corner. Are you going to get anything for your loved ones, including those special people in your life who love travelling?
Although you don’t necessarily have to give travel-related Christmas presents to the special travellers in your life, it would be great to do that since they’ll be able to relate to the presents. If you’re still not sure what to get, here are 14 things you can consider as Christmas presents to the travellers in your life.
1. A travel journal
One of the best places to keep travel memories is on a travel journal. There’s so much a travel journal can do for the avid travellers — from keeping important travel tips and guides to keeping track of their daily expenses.
I already have a travel journal and I use it to keep my travel contacts, jot down the purchases I make during my travels, list down the names of places I visit and the food I eat, calculate the total prices of the things I might spend on, write about my travel experiences, and the list goes on. I believe many travellers out there use their travel journals for some of these reasons, too.
A travel journal will also come in handy whenever there are language barriers between us and the people with whom we’re trying to communicate. If you’re unable to use words to deliver your messages, draw them instead! Size wise, I recommend a medium. A small travel journal might just be too small, while a big one might just be too big!
2. Passport holder
I just got a passport holder for Christmas. It’s something I’ve always wanted, and when my friend Eric saw how excited I was to find Craft Factory, a craft shop in Mid Valley, KL that makes custom passport holders and many other cool crafty things, he got it for me right away. Do you know why?
That’s because giving others something that means a lot to them is always the best thing you can give them. Give them what they want, what they love, or what they’ve always wanted, just as long as the gifts are realistic and are not beyond your reach.
3. Water bottle
One of the things travellers will definitely need while travelling is none other than water. A water bottle makes a wonderful gift, too. Why not give it to the special travellers in your life for Christmas? Giving them a water bottle is a great way to show them that you care about their health. As Leonardo da Vinci quoted:
Water is the driving force of all nature.
Perhaps you can also give them a nice bottle holder/pouch to complement the water bottle you’re giving? Although I don’t personally carry it with me while I travel, especially when I need to save more space in my backpack, I don’t mind carrying one if it’s lightweight and easy to fold.
Currently, I have one by Quechua, which I take to work with me 5 days a week. The good thing about it is it’ll protect my stuff from getting wet whenever I have a cold water bottle in my bag. A bottle holder/pouch will also be useful during jungle trekking and hiking.
4. External hard disc
This present is lot pricier than the stuff I’ve recommended earlier, but it’s definitely cheaper than a brand new mini laptop.
Have you ever heard of people telling you sad stories about how they lose their travel memories when their phones or cameras got lost or stolen? I did. In fact, I’ve also heard about people who only backed their data in one place, and when that space got corrupted, they lose everything. What if they had an (or an extra) external hard disc?
First, they need to instill the habit of regularly backing up their data. Even if you have 5 external hard discs, you’ll still lose your precious data if you don’t back it up.
You might want to have a small greeting card to accompany this gift, where you can write a reminder to the recipient to back their data, always! Pick an external hard disc that has a good storage capacity — and the lighter the external hard disc is, the better!
Back then, smartphones were bloody expensive. Today you can get one for as cheap as U$50! Their prices may vary by the kinds of functions they offer. Smartphones with built-in GPS, camera, instant messaging, email, and data storage are good enough.
I know many long-term travellers who carry mobile phones with basic functions only, while some don’t even have a phone. They have either lose it and never bothered to get a new one, or they just never travelled with one since they started their journeys. If the traveller in your life doesn’t have a smartphone, perhaps you can get one for him/her for Christmas.
Some travellers don’t have a smartphone simply because they don’t need it. Even if the traveller in your life has the same point of view, he/she will most likely still accept it if it was a gift from you. Why not?
To make things simpler, you can be straight-forward about your intention and just tell the traveller in your life that you’ll be giving him/her a smartphone for Christmas!
If the special travellers in your life love to read, a kindle will make a perfect gift! I never knew what kindle was until I saw my friend Francois using it when we were at one of the temples in Malaysia.
Whenever I travel, I will always see travellers reading books at the bars, beaches, guest houses, and many other places where reading is possible.
Yes, physical books are wonderful because you can take them everywhere with you, but they can add lots of weight to your baggage. A kindle, on the other hand, is lightweight and more practical. You can keep hundreds of ebooks in it! I believe that any bookworm travellers will be happy to have the world’s library at their fingertips. I recommend you to get the Paperwhite version.
7. Travel adapter
Although the travellers in your life will likely have a travel adapter packed in their bags already, there’s no harm giving it as a Christmas present. Why not? Travel chargers will get broken or even get lost at some point, and sometimes travellers (like me) will forget to bring one when travelling overseas. Even after years of travelling, I still make this amateur mistake.
Your Christmas present can act as a spare charger for them. Not only are travel adapters affordable, but they’re also practical! Get a travel adapter that can be used anywhere in the world, and one that has multiple outlets and USB ports.
8. Travel towel
One of the travel essentials you’ll find in a traveller’s bag is a travel towel, which is definitely something I think will make a perfect Christmas present for the travellers in your life.
Since I lose my travel towel in Thailand, I’ve just bought a new one from Decathlon, which came in many sizes. Mine is an XL and I got it for RM19 only. Losing a towel while travelling is pretty common among travellers. I won’t be suprised if the travellers in your life have lose theirs, too!
Some travellers don’t like to carry travel towels with them because travel towels will only take the space in their bags that can be used for something else instead.
There are many ways to dry yourself without using a towel, and using a scarf or bandanna is one of the ways to do it. Not only can they act as towels, they can be used for other purposes as well. For example, for fashion or survival.
Use a scarf of bandanna as a face or head cover, a bag (like Tom Sawyer’s!), blanket, picnic cloth, belt, beach skirt, halter top, gift wrap, as a self-defense weapon, temporary wound dressing, pillow sheet, laundry bag, fever cloth, sleeping mask, neck cover, sling, pot holder, napkin, cordage, water filter, and a signal flag. They can also be used to make trails in the woods, or as a handkerchief when you’re having a cold. If it’s cotton, you can use it to make a torch!
Finally, you can use it as a toilet paper. P.S. I wouldn’t do this to my new scarf or bandanna!
10. LED head lamp
An LED head lamp makes an awesome gift for the traveller who enjoys to do adventurous things. If the travellers in your life spend a lot of time caving, jungle trekking and camping, give them an LED head lamp for Christmas.
I personally find this item as one of the most essential things to carry while travelling. What can we do when we run out of light?
One day, I was relaxing by the riverbank in Cambodia, and I saw the locals cycling around with a head lamp on their foreheads. It was already very dark at that time. I thought it was funny that they didn’t have any lights on their motorbikes. Instead, they were relying on their headlamps to light up their way!
Odd, but hey, that’s still practical! Yes, you can also give a flashlight for Christmas, but a headlamp still wins in terms of size and many other practical reasons.
11. Portable speaker
We don’t just use speakers at home these days. We take them with us even when we travel around the world. I don’t mean the big ones; I mean the portable ones, of course!
I highly recommend the one which is small and easy to keep. It should not be bulky, that’s for sure. If you can find one that also serves as a radio or an alarm clock, get that!
12. Selfie stick
If the special travellers in your life loves taking selfies, you obviously need to buy them a selfie stick. They’ll never have to stretch their hands anymore when taking selfies! You’re doing them a favour, aren’t you?
Apart from taking photos, a selfie stick can also be used to capture videos from many angles. Oh, it makes a wonderful self-defense weapon, too.
13. Travel pillow
I never carry one with me when I travel, but that’s about to change. Recently, I bought an inflatable travel pillow from Decathlon, which is pretty cool as it is so easy to pack. It doesn’t consume much space in my bag. Previously, I never felt the need to have it. After all, I haven’t really taken a long haul flight before.
I don’t mind receiving or giving it as a Christmas present. I’ve heard many travellers making fun of other travellers who travel with travel pillows and hang theirs at the back of their bags. So what?
A travel pillow can be comfortably used during camping, hiking, road trips, and when taking long hours on the plane. As much as others like to consider it as an unimportant travel item, it is useful when you’re taking a long-haul flight. The travel pillow which is placed nicely around your neck will help you have a more relaxing sleep on the plane.
If you happen to sit next to flight passengers who have their own travel pillows, you can at least be happy to know that they will not accidentally fall or drool on your shoulders!
14. Travel jacket
I love travel jackets. They’re so useful. You’ll find all kinds of travel jackets out there. They’re either used for a specific type of weather, or are suitable for any kind of weather. Get a fleece jacket if the traveller in your life is going somewhere cold. Get a rain jacket if he/she is going to Southeast Asia during the monsoon season. Whatever you decide to get, choose the one that is practical and durable.
In case you’ve never tried this, you can also use your travel jacket to act as your travel pillow. The sensation is, of course, different; but, it will still make you feel comfortable.