Gift Ideas for the Traveler in Your Life

What do you buy the traveler in your life for Christmas?  Sounds like an impossible question.  It’s not like you are going to send them on a vacation, right?  Actually, there are plenty of gift ideas for the wandering soul.  Since travel gear tends to be pricey, there’s a chance an item or two on this list just might be what they are wanting.

Merry Christmas from the Gourmands!

Merry Christmas from the Gourmands!

Portable Luggage Scale – Exceeding luggage weight limits on airplanes can be expensive.  Going, it’s easy to determine luggage weight by setting the suitcase on the bathroom scale.  Most hotel bathrooms don’t have scales though, and the heft of souvenirs can add up.  A portable scale helps travelers know just how much luggage weighs.  If the suitcase is over, they can redistribute items or even leave old clothes behind for the maids (most make below living wages) before heading to the airport.  Luggage scales are light, tiny, and easy to pack.  E-bags has a nice variety to choose from.

Portable Luggage Scale

Portable Luggage Scale

Language Tapes – From Pimsleur to Rosetta Stone, there are plenty of options to help any traveler become conversant before leaving for their next international destination.  Being multi-lingual, I lean towards Pimsleur as the program helps the learner pick up key practical phrases easier than the more intensive Rosetta Stone. Asking “Where is the bathroom?” tends to be a bit more useful than reciting “The brown dog chases the red ball.”

“The brown dog chases the red ball.” A useful travel phrase.

Noise Reduction Headphones – It’s hard enough to travel with crying babies, chatty seatmates, and loud snorers.  Now the FAA wants to make cell phone usage permissible inflight.  Imagine the noise!  While expensive, noise reduction headphones will become essential for a peaceful flight.  Bose, always the audio leader, has plenty of good options.

Noise Reduction Headphones

Noise Reduction Headphones

Fitbit Watch – In Italy, I often wondered whether the walking balanced out the food and wine intake, or how many miles I actually walked while lost in Venice.  With a Fitbit watch, both calories burned and distance walked can be tracked.  Now if only there was a way to track those glutinous indulgences…

FitBit Watch

Fitbit Watch

Tablet Computer – Less is more is the motto for most globetrotters.  Some even brag that they can pack for two weeks in Europe with a carryon and a daybag.  Tablet computing allows us to compress many items that add both bulk and weight to our suitcases – laptops, books, travel guides, magazines, games.  All of which can be accessed on a sleek and slender tablet.  Best Buy is a great source to find just the right tablet with options from under $100 to the latest in technology.  While you’re at it, why not toss in a Zinio subscription to their favorite travel magazine?

Compression Bags – For the traveler that insists on fitting it all in the carryon, compression bags really do save space.  Ours are used and abused and need replaced every few years.

Compression Bags

Compression Bags

Pacsafe Purse / Daybag – Travelling can be dangerous.  Pickpockets and scammers target tourists.  Pacsafe bags come with plenty of technology from mesh metal linings to slashproof straps to secure zippers to RFID blocking to keep your wanderer and their belongings safe.  Plus, the designs are stylish, too.  Mrs. G. carries a Pacsafe purse (the Coach stays at home) and I have a Pacsafe messenger bag (or murse).

Packable Raincoats – Speaking of less is more, umbrellas are a pain in the ass to pack and lug around.  Many museums and churches don’t allow them inside either. Most of the time, they are left outside the front door and are forgotten or stolen.  Koppen (available at Dick’s Sporting Goods) makes raincoats that stuff into a little pouch through the side pocket that are easy to pack and carry in daybags when the weather is questionable.

Mrs. G Styling in her Koppen Raincoat and Pacsafe Purse

Mrs. G Styling in her Koppen Raincoat and Pacsafe Purse

Compact Camera System – DLSR cameras may take great photos, but they are heavy and often require a special carrycase (read, extra bag).  Compact cameras, also referred to as mirrorless cameras, snap comparable photos and are a fraction of the size and weight of the typical DLSR.  SamsungNikon, and Sony all make excellent options.  Want proof?  Check out my Italy posts, all photos were taken with my Samsung NX2000.  Feeling extra generous?  Throw in a gift card for a Shutterfly Photo Book to help turn those photos into coffee table books.

Compact Camera Samsung NX2000

Compact Camera Samsung NX2000

A Trip – Who says you can’t buy someone a trip for Christmas? When Mrs. G. asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year, I said Africa.  She laughed.  The next day I received an email from The International Kitchen.  They were hosting a trip to Africa – food, wine, and safari all combined into one.  I forwarded the email to her.  That night we decided to forgo our Christmas exchange and booked a trip to Africa instead.

What else can you add to this list of travel gifts ideas?

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15 responses to “Gift Ideas for the Traveler in Your Life

  1. Nice list – most of the stuff on the list I have and would recommend to any traveler. As for my DSLR, it is a pain to carry – but I got a few versatile bags that I can use dependent on the trip. Where in ZA are you going, Jo’burg, Cape Town? I’ve been to the latter and it was awesome.

    • Can you please share the brand and type of bags that you use to carry your DSLR? That might be a a good gift suggestion for readers.

      We will be in Cape Town staying at a vineyard for three nights. Then we head to Namibia for 7 days of safari. There will be cooking classes trown in.

      • Nice! It had been a long time since I was there, but I enjoyed walking the National Park are of the Cape of Good Hope (wish I had my current camera as there was a bunch of baboons near me). Stellenbosch, Paarl, etc. was like Napa – wineries all over the place. The one thing I do remember was drinking Castle and eating pizza for different countries in the World Cup (I was there during the one in Korea/Japan). Really enjoyed my few days there…

        Back to what would really be of value, the two bags I recently bought are both Lowepro bags. I enjoyed the Photo Sport 30L AW when I was in Europe. The camera takes up the bottom section, but you can take out the compartment to use as a backpack. It has a rain shield that comes out the bottom that “bungees” around the bag. I enjoy holster bags and this one has a slot where you can slip the bag on one shoulder pull out the camera and shoot. The camera compartment for room for another lens or flash and card. Additional storage areas include a top section where you can throw a few quick items (like glasses, passport, wallet, etc.) and a spot for a magazine up front (a tablet can fit there, but very little padding). When I used it, I easily had some clothes, my iPad, camera, toiletries, and a few other things. It also has a place to tie down things (I think it’s for a tripod, but I don’t have one that size) So I’d recommend this for a day pack for hiking or urban trekking.

        The bag I really enjoy and I get a lot of use lately is the Passport Sling (I think I have the II). This is a messenger bag and keeps the “holster” bag spirit (quick grab and shoot). Like the 30L above, you can pull the camera compartment piece out. The real value is these open side compartments, where you can put water bottles/travel mugs, boarding passes, napkins, even a pen and pad for easy access. I also smashed this bag down by taking the camera compartment out and packed it. I then took the camera compartment and put it a slight larger backpack (but smaller than the 30L). The Sling replaced the holster bag that came in a bundle with my camera. Both bags are great, but if I was buying one – I enjoy the Passport Sling.

        I bought them both at Peace Camera in Raleigh. So I’d recommend hitting a local place, as I was able to handle the bags and see if they would work or not (Lowepro’s site can only do so much).

        Hope this helps!

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