Holiday Gift Guide: The World Traveler

I attended my first holiday party this Sunday which can mean only one thing – I’m already way behind in my Christmas shopping!!!  If you’ve gotten started but you’re stuck on some of the harder to buy for people on your list, stay tuned.  We’ve got a week’s worth of gift guides coming your way!  Up first, gifts for the World (or frequent) Traveler!

Under $25

If your traveler is off to a particular destination, travel guides are an awesome (and usually inexpensive) gift.  I’ve always been partial to Lonely Planet, but they do tend to get outdated quickly and often miss some of the best off-the-beaten-path destinations.  Before you buy, I recommend doing a google search or two to see what people are saying about the guides for that particular area of the world.  More generally, Lonely Planet also makes some awesome world books – I have a huge hardcover Travel Book with gorgeous photos and a one page info guide on every country in the world.  Robyn recently posted about some fabulous travel books that are helping her dream up her next adventure.

If you don’t know where the recipient of your awesome gift is headed, or if they don’t have any particular destination at all, we’ve compiled a list of items under $25 that are great tools for the traveler, many which would be as useful at home as away!

1) Luggage tags save you the hassle of having to full out paper labels every time you travel and also help you distinguish your luggage.  These classic Moleskin tags come in four colours and the trusty hardcover and signature elastic strap are sure to keep them securely attached.

2) One of the drawbacks of traveling alone is returning home with a camera full of scenic shots or too-close selfies.  The flexible tri-pod by Gorillapod is super-light weight and allows you to attach your camera to just about any surface/object/etc. and take sturdy timed shots.  Tripods are available for all different sizes/models of cameras, including SLRs.

3) A classic Victorinox swiss army knife is pretty damn useful no matter what you’re doing, but it becomes even handier when away from home without any of the basic tools you’d usually have on hand at home.  They come in a whole variety of colours and complexities, with the classic red retailing for just $19.99 at Canadian Tire.

4) This world map is an awesome gift who anyone who has traveled a lot even if they have no plans to leave again any time soon.  This map lets you scratch off all of the places you’ve visited, revealing a colourful patchwork underneath (available online via Uncommon Goods, Urban Outfitters and other retailers).

5) With the luxurious days of traveling with multiple heavy suitcases free of charge far behind us, a portable luggage scale is a pretty handy device.  This one by Heys is apparently the world’s lightest, so after making sure you’ll be allowed on your plane out, you can take it with you to make sure the souvenirs you picked up along the way haven’t weighed you down.

6) Even if you’re not normally a journal person, unless you’ve got a photographic memory I would never get on a plane without some sort of notebook to keep track of the places you see, things you eat, and people you meet.  There’s nothing worse than coming home from an adventure with 700 photos and not being able to identify anything you captured.  The I Was Here version is an illustrated, guided travel journal that encourages users to explore and appreciate the easily overlooked details (available at Urban Outfitters and Amazon.com among other retailers). 

Under $50

Some of our suggestions for the next price category include ideas to help your world traveler choose his or her next trip, bring comfort and ease on the trip and remember dream vacations.

1) While not necessarily the sexiest of gifts, electrical converters tend to be one of those must-have gadgets that is a planning oversight and has us scrambling to borrow from friends and family days before vacation. Particularly as we depend more on our smartphones and GPS units when we travel, a converter set of your own is great to have. This set is from Mountain Equipment Coop and is pretty cool looking, as far as adaptors go! ($30.00)

2) Seasoned travellers know that the key to a starting out a trip on the right foot often requires a decent sleep on the plane right. While neck pillows are a dime-a-dozen, Lug makes a particularly luxurious travel blanket and pillow set. The pillow is inflatable, so it won’t take up precious packing space and everything is machine washable. You’ve got your pick of colours, too! ($26)

3) There are plenty of online retailers who let you upload your digital travel pictures and create a memorable and high quality album. As an example, this is one by Black’s. Gift a gift card to someone that has just taken a trip of a lifetime, or take the time to make a book for your travel partner as a memory of your trip together.  Prices vary depending on the size of the book, quality of paper and pictures and number of pages. There is certainly one for every budget.

4) Taken from the popular New York Times travel column, this book is packed with brief, offbeat adventures from London to Moscow to the Côte d’Azure.  The New York Times, 36 Hours: 125 Weekends in Europe ($40)

5) Hey’s JetPack is a portable packing shelf is genius! The shelves can be filled and dropped into your suitcase, making packing and unpacking a cinch. There are also handy pockets throughout the shelving unit. Especially for trips where you’re moving around a lot, the JetPack will make packing easy and fast. It’s lightweight and holds up to 70 lbs. ($39.97)

6) How a globe is the perfect gift for a traveller is pretty self-explanatory. This one is from Indigo, but antique/thrift stores are also great for older globes with character. ($89.99)

Splurge

If you’ve got a bigger budget, these gifts are sure to impress and please even the most savvy of travellers.

1) Luggage is the sort of thing no one wants to spend money on, but a great (read: lightweight & high quality) suitcase is the best to own. Precisely why luggage makes a great gift!  Consider choosing a colour that will make it easy to spot on the luggage belt. This suitcase comes in two sizes, one perfect for compact carry-on. (from $130)

2) A compact alarm clock combined with an iPod dock and speakers would be a luxury for any traveller. Some music in the hotel room makes getting ready in the morning or going to bed that much more enjoyable. ($129.99)

3) Help support your world traveller by giving the gift of language. Rosetta Stone are technology-based language lessons available in 30 languages. ($339)

4) Porter Airlines flies to great destinations that are perfect for a long weekend getaway. Gift certificates are available for sale in any amount if you want to subsidize or buy that special someone their next vacation.

5) The Drake General Store is selling this amazing vintage-inspired CBC bag in a size that’s perfect for a weekend getaway. ($130)

6) Capturing special moments and sights on vacation is crucial. While some tourists are happy with a basic point-and-shoot, the Canon Rebel is a great starter digital SLR that takes incredible pictures. For those who already have a great camera, consider gifting a new lens or other accessory that is compatible with their camera of choice. (from $500.00)

Stay tuned this week for our series of Gift Guides – coming up next, gifts for the Music/Film Lover!

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