I’m definitely someone who prefers to spend money on experiences rather than material items and for me that usually means travel. I imagine that’s the same for you and possibly for some of your friends and family. So what to buy for people who love travel?
I’m sure many would be grateful to receive a paid trip or flight or maybe a rail pass. While nice, that’s probably out of the budget for most people. So I’ve put together a list of great travel gifts which include affordable experiential gifts (tours and activities while on the road) and travel related gifts suitable for frequent travellers and armchair travellers alike.
Travel & Food Tours
If you want to get an experiential gift for the traveller in your life, consider the gift of a tour (if you know where they’re going) or a gift certificate. My favourite tour companies in Europe are Context and Eating Europe.
- Context run fantastic city walking tours which highlight specific interests, often around history, culture, food or architecture. Their neighbourhood tours are fantastic, giving a real insight into the local community.
- As the name suggest, Eating Europe offer delicious food tours in some of Europe’s most popular cities. A local foodie takes you around the city introducing you to local specialities, markets, cafes and restaurants. Make sure you start the tour on an empty stomach as a lot of eating takes place on these tours!
While browsing London’s famous Daunt Books a few weeks ago, it wall all I could do not to buy everything in sight. It’s hard to go wrong with an inspiring travel book as a gift for your travelling friends.
- How Not to Travel the World: Adventures of a Disaster-Prone Backpacker by Lauren Juliff – An entertaining and amusing read from the popular blogger behind Never Ending Footsteps.
- Drives of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Most Spectacular Trips by Keith Bellows – I skimmed through this while at Daunt Books a few weeks ago. It definitely inspired me to take more crazy road trips.
- Central Europe Travel Guide by Lonely Planet – I still love a good travel guide and Lonely Planet always top my list. The Central Europe guide would be a great gift for someone planning an upcoming trip.
Cameras and Accessories
If you know your traveller friend or family loves photography and if your budget allows, I highly recommend my camera of choice, the Olympus EM1. I’ve had it for 18 months and adore it. It’s the top of range Olympus and one of the best mirrorless cameras on the market. It’s great value at U$899. If you budget doesn’t allow for that, maybe a selfie stick would be appreciated?
- Olympus OMD EM1 – My travel photography camera. The image quality is incredible and it’s great value for money.
- Olympus 12-40mm Pro lens – Don’t forget a top quality lens to go with the camera. The 12-40mm f2.8 Pro lens is a great all-round lens for travel photographers.
- Selfie stick – As much as people complain about them, they do come in handy when travelling.
- Fitbit – I’ve been permanently attached to my Fitbit for years. It’s shocking just how many steps I do when travelling. No wonder I have sore feet all the time! The Fitbit is a great health and fitness tracker.
- Headphones – Essential when on noisy public transport or travelling solo. These Beats in-ear headphones are great quality and convenient when travelling.
I’ve gone through so much travel gear and luggage over the years which has convinced me the saying, “buy cheap, buy twice” totally applies to luggage. Top quality luggage lasts for ever. Buy the best you can afford.
- Rimowa polycarbonate luggage is brilliant quality. I’ve had my purple Salsa Air for more than 5 years of constant travel and there’s not even a dent in it. The only downside is they are ridiculously expensive. I was lucky to buy mine in Germany (where they are made) on sale so got a bargain. Totally worth buying when on sale.
- Ogon Designs – I’ve had an Ogon aluminium credit card holder for almost 10 years, since they first came onto the market in Paris. The hard cover makes them amazingly robust and the design is so unique. Back when I got mine there were only limited designs but there are so many now including the stylish passport holders.
- Luggage tags – Unique luggage tags make finding your own luggage so much easier. These bundles are very cute and easy to recognise as your luggage comes off the conveyer belt.
Gifts for Road Trip Fanatics
The three years I spent as a nomadic traveller was really just one big road trip. One of the things I love most about this kind of travel is the freedom you have to stop wherever and whenever you like. It’s especially fun stopping for a picnic lunch in the countryside or some random village. Last year I finally invested in a picnic basket so I can have a fancy picnic by the side of the road with whatever local specialities I mange to find.
- Picnic Basket – A small picnic basket won’t take up much room in the boot or your car and are super convenient.
- Travel Cutlery Set – If you’re not travelling by car, this cute, compact cutlery set will definitely come in handy.
These are all on my wish list, the Airportag pillows are especially cute. Today only (Black Friday) coupon code for Airportag: BLK20 for 20% off.
- Airportag make the best customisable gifts for travellers. You can remember a favourite trip with your name, airport or boarding pass details printed on a pillow or other gifts. There are so many fun gifts to choose from, printed with airport codes or your passport of choice. Check out all the designs here.
- Luckies of London Travel Scratch Map – This is a fun way to track your travels.
- Moleskin Voyageur Notebook – Moleskine are famous for their notebooks. I always carry one with me. The ‘Voyageur’ series is specifically designed with the traveller in mind.
This traveller gift guide isn’t just for Christmas, it’s great for all occasions for your travel loving friends and family. I’ll be updating this list over time as I come across new things which I think would make a great gift plus I’ll be adding more experiential travel gifts like cooking classes, horse riding and hot air ballooning.2