We travellers are difficult to buy gifts for much of the time: we can’t carry many clothes in our suitcases and backpacks; we don’t like lugging around huge bottles of toiletries; and some of us have a habit of shunning material items in favour of “experiences”.
So what do you buy for the friend or relative who loves to travel?
1. Travel Journal + Stationary
I would generally recommend a blank notebook rather than a purpose-made travel journal (travel journals are restrictive and don’t allow much for creative thoughts and tangents.) I prefer size A6 but A5 is also good.
A travel journal will quickly become any traveller’s most prized possession.
If your friend isn’t much of a writer, leave them a note to write the one single best thing about each day. It could be a word, a sentence, a paragraph, or a whole page.
If you have a friend that loves to write, treat them to a Moleskin. This limited edition Hobbit Moleskin notebook is amazing! However, I have also been eyeing up this more affordable journal from Typo.
Choose a notebook with either a leather or plastic cover so that it is relatively waterproof, and be wary of spiral notebooks (they tend to get caught on things in the backpack and they take up more space!)
Tip: You can create a whole Travel Stationary Gift Set: include a stash of biros, an A5 plastic wallet for all their travel documents, a passport cover and a luggage tag.
2. Lush beauty products
I suggest Lush because they have a few travel-friendly products that I have been using ever since I stepped out onto the road. Their shampoo bars (also suitable for men) and their dry shampoo are must-haves, plus they have plenty of yummy-smelling soap bars to choose from. (Soap bars last longer and take up less space than bottles.)
Check out my blog post about which travel beauty products I love for ideas.
3. Travel-friendly makeup
By this I mean no powdered eye shadows and blushers (they always break). Why not create them the perfect travel makeup kit using my full Travel Makeup Guide?
4. Travel-sized toiletry luxuries
Many travellers end up living a less-than-luxurious lifestyle : cramped dorms, cold showers, and four-day hikes with no showers. In such times of need, a few miniature-sized toiletries will always make a traveller feel a little more human.
Luxuries that I greatly appreciate or miss when I travel are:
– Anything and everything by Soap & Glory. I would take the travel-sized Righteous Butter moisturiser.
– Leave-in conditioner. Herbal Essence is my absolute favourite, in particular Beautiful Ends.
– Perfumes/ colognes (preferably body mists in plastic bottles, but a small glass bottle of perfume or cologne would be OK.) I am currently in love with Victoria Secret’s Passion Struck Fragrance Mist.
Tip: Throw in a pair of fluffy socks, a sachet of face mask, and a bar of their favourite candy, and you have a luxury DIY Pamper Evening hamper. Instruct them to moisturise their feet and then pop the fluffy socks on – within a few hours, their travel-weary feet will feel clean and smooth.
5. Travel Towel
I’ve met way too many backpackers who overlook buying a travel towel, yet they are amazing! They’re lightweight and they dry super quickly.
Most people seem to opt for travel towels that are made of a felt-like micro-fibre material, but I find that they don’t really dry my body quickly and efficiently. Look for one made of a more fluffy towel-like material.
My absolute favourite is Mountain Warehouse’s Micro Towelling Travel Towel in the size Giant (always buy the big size!)
6. External Hard drive and/or some online storage space like Google Drive or DropBox
Travellers need to back up their photos and memories constantly. Unfortunately, many backpackers never back anything up only to find that their phones and cameras have either been lost or stolen, and it leads to a lot of heart ache.
Ask any traveller, the one thing that they couldn’t bear to lose is their series of travel photos, so give them the gift of securing this memories forever.
7. Selfie Stick
This is necessary for any traveller who is travelling alone.
Write on the tag: “For all of those awkward ‘I’m-travelling-alone’ selfies.”
8. Day Bag: small satchel with zipper
Every girl needs a small purse that she can carry around in the day time and wear out at night, but it needs to be as safe as possible from thieves and pick pocketers. The ideal design is a cross-body strap and a zip.
Remember to opt for dark beige, brown and black shades. Lighter ones will quickly be ruined!
9. Loose-fitting button down shirt
A smart-casual shirt that can be dressed up or down is a vital backpacking wardrobe necessity: they keep you cool in hot weather and protect you from nasty insects (I’m looking at you, mosquitoes!), but can also be dressed up when necessary. Versatile and stylish.
I prefer men’s shirts as they’re bigger and comfier so I love this blue plaid shirt from H&M, but I also found this affordable more figure-flattering red/white plaid shirt from Forever21 and this sleek-looking white washed denim shirt from Urban Outfitters.
10. Summer dress
Girly female travellers will appreciate having something to dress up in on occasion.
Ideally the dress should be light-weight cotton (so it won’t crease easily), easy-to-wear and not pure white (never buy a traveller white clothing as it’s impossible to keep it clean whilst travelling!)
I found a beautiful blue/green floral dress with cut-out back from Forever21, a flirty skater dress from ASOS, and a fun but formal black and white geometric-patterned dress from Lipsy.
11. Customised phone case
Worried that your friend or loved one will forget you abroad? Create a customised phone case so that you can be with them always. There are many good websites that offer this service, including Skinit.
12. St Christopher necklace or travel charm
It is customary for many travellers, both religious and non-religious, to bear the symbol of St Christopher the patron saint of travellers. My family bought me a necklace the Christmas before I went travelling. I really like this more oval-shaped pendant from Michael Hill.
Alternatively, you could give them a charm bracelet and some travel-related charms. Adding a charm to the bracelet at every destination they visit will be sure to create the most precious of souvenirs. Pandora is always a classic (albeit sometimes a little pricey!) choice for a charm bracelet. I picked out this elegant air balloon charm as well as this plain silver world globe charm from their range.
Another idea could be a locket with a photo of you together inside. I like this affordable silver heart-shaped locket from H.Samuel.
Tip: You don’t want to pick out anything too expensive. Things do get lost and go missing on the road. You also don’t want to make your friend or loved one a target for mugging!
13. Emergency Homesickness Kit
This is perfect for a first time traveller! Possible items could include:
– £10 for emergency Skype call credit.
– Favourite chocolate bar from home. (I miss Galaxy chocolate so much!)
– Tiny travel-sized soft toy.
– Picture from home.
– Letter of love.
Do you have any ideas of gifts for travellers? Leave some suggestions in the comments below!
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PS: Please note that I do not own the images on this page. They are posted on this page for review purposes only. All of the images used and their relevant websites are linked throughout the post.