Last week, in Part 1, we looked at some of the best Christmas presents for nomadic friends. We explored the importance of lightweight, small presents that preferably don’t need to go in the post. In today’s post we are going to look at some more presents for different travellers.
For the Active Traveller
These guys come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from rock climbers to cyclists to hikers. I’ve met loads of active people on the road, full of energy and on their way to the next challenge.
I’m always surprised by the number of cyclists on the road. Just last week I met two couples, the first had cycled from Germany to Laos, the second from Sweden. Pretty impressive, right? These guys are even more weight conscious than other travellers, and more space poor.
If they’ve been on the road a while they might appreciate a new jacket: clothing gets pretty grubby on the road! wiggle.co.uk have loads of great gear. I like this bold thermoactive jersey for guys, and this windproof jacket for gals.
For something a little more fun, send your friend a fly6. This great little gadget is a rear light with an added video recorder, meaning your mate can re-watch the highlights of the trip. If you’re a terrible person, like me, any (minor) accidents will also be captured for your viewing pleasure.
For stylish and practical gifts, take a look at Full Windsor’s multi tool kit. Packed with great features, including a bottle opener for the end of the day, and folded away under the saddle. This little cycling accessory is genius. Lilac Coast also have a great little tool kit for fixing punctures, which are a reality of long cycling trips.
From snow boarding to rock climbing, there are endless adventure travellers with a helmet strapped to their backpacks, off to find something adrenaline filled to do. A nice way to spice up their helmet is to send them a funky helmet cover. The guys at Breckonridge hat company have loads of fun hats, I particularly like “da bomb” helmet cover, for adventurers that are exploding with energy… Yes, I regret the cheese of that sentence instantly, but hey, the hat’s cool. The sentence stays.
For those travellers that like to get really off the grid, they likely find themselves completely unreachable. Whilst this means they will have to delay posting selfies in front of incredible mountains or lakes, which is a living nightmare in itself, their friends and family being unable to reach them is teamed with their own inability to contact, say, park rangers in a crisis. GoTenna have created a device that connects wirelessly to your smart phone, allowing connectivity in even the most remote of places. This piece of kit could mean the difference between life and death for an adventurer, but hopefully it’ll just be an annoying bit of extra weight that never gets used.
Now, your friend has hiked to the top of a remote mountain in Peru, wearing his dashingly accessorised helmet, checked in with you to let you know they made it safe and sound, now what will they do? How will they reward their hard work and relax for the evening? Well, with a beer of course! But Charlie, I hear you ask, how are they going to carry such heavy bottles all the way up there? That, my friend, is a great question. And the answer is, they’re not. I know, how cryptic! The oh so clever boys and girls at Pat’s Backcountry Beverages have created a water flask that hibernates any beverage you like. And, in the interest of ensuring anyone can have a beer, any time and any place, they have also created concentrates: pale ale and black hop. Check out their video for more info.
Other Active Travellers
So, here are a few ideas for other travellers that like to keep in shape, but I haven’t found as many great Christmas present ideas around any one particular activity or group.
Lots of travellers love yoga, and with so many classes available in so many places around the world, it’s easy to see why. So with that in mind, perhaps a cool yoga mat bag, made with upcycled saris. Beautiful, environmentally friendly and practical; what’s not to love?
And for the swimmer out there, this pace watch is perfect for keeping track of your progress in the water, wherever you might be.
And, of course, all active travellers share a common problem: every time they open their backpack they are greeted by the floral scent of old sweat. Tasty. Give them an anticrobial travel bag to isolate that smelly bacteria from the rest of their stuff. The bags are pretty cute, too.
The Not Currently Travelling Traveller
Ah, yes, the not currently travelling traveller. We have entered the territory of the travellers that do actually have a postal address, and what a relief that must be! Whilst researching this I slipped into a haze of maps, vouchers, books and quotes.
Let’s start with a movie, or rather, a trilogy. Ethan Hawke shares the story of two travellers who meet on a train in the first film of the trilogy, Before Sunrise, and continues their journey and the themes of love and travel in the following two parts, Before Sunset and Before Midnight. The films capture the varying cities the couple meet in with effortless beauty that is sure to fill the heart of your travel loving friend with yet more wanderlust.
Or help decorate their walls. There are so, so many inspirational quotes, atlas prints, quirky paintings and so much more that my head was spinning when I came out of my search. Personally, I really like this framed quote, but there are so many out there you’ll be able to find one your friend will relate to.
If you are more interested in helping them to get planning their next trip, and what a friend you are, then this cork globe is amongst the best things I’ve seen! For me, one of the hardest parts of planning my trip was deciding where to go and when (of course, all my planning went out the window and how…). With this globe your friend can pin information to the globe, like the weather at different times of year, or do like the picture and add string to plan your trip. And if they’re already back from a long trip, they could do the same thing with the trip they’ve just finished.
If you’re looking for something a little chic, LUXE have a lovely range of city guides. They include all the most fabulous, romantic and stylish spots in each city. Perhaps not an ideal gift for a backpacker, but for someone working full time looking to feed their wanderlust bug at the weekend these are perfect!
If you aren’t quite ready to help inspire their next big trip but still want to give them something to whet their appetite, so to speak, this calendar (yes, I know calendars are dull, but bare with me) is packed with inspiration from different tables around the world. Your friend will be reliving their favourite travelling moments by remembering the great new food in different countries every time the month changes. Side bonus, you might be invited to dinner for home made Mexican food, too.
The Traveller Who’s About to Leave
Oh yes, this guy. It’s doubtful you’ve had a conversation in the past 6 months that doesn’t include saving, where they plan to go, or this amazing thing they just found out about this other awesome place. And you’ve no idea how a conversation about the bad food in the canteen at work ended with a much anticipated baboon adventure in Bokeo Nature Reserve, which you didn’t know where was and so lead onto a geography lesson. And now, whilst you try your best not to turn green, you’re trying to find a Christmas present for the little son-of-a…. Well, fear not, here are some great tips on what to get for someone that is about to start their adventure, and not all of them are as glamorous as travelling sounds.
A Scrubba wash bag is a great gift for someone taking off on their travels. Believe me when I say hand washing clothes is not fun. It’s also not fun when you decide to pay your hotel to wash them for you and they come back with more stains than they had to begin with. Your friend is about to learn all about this. With that in mind, the scuba wash bag takes much of the hassle out of hand washing your clothes, making it easy and quick. Perfect.
Another great product is this toiletries bag made using scrap material in tent manufacturing. It’s perfect for travellers – lightweight and water resistant, which is pretty much everything it needs to be!
Whilst we’re on with toiletries, have you ever tried solid shampoo? No? Well you’re friend might be keen to give it a try. Saving space, weight and the risk of an exploded shampoo bottle, these things are great. Lush have a pretty good range available.
When I was getting ready to leave for my travels people were endlessly sharing their opinions on the humble travel towel. A quick drying, light-weight, small towel. Some people were all about it, whilst others were adamant it was made by the devil himself. A kind of half way between the traditional beach towel and the travel towel is the Turkish Bath Towel. It’s light weight, quick drying, pretty to look at and soft on the skin. Although not quite as small as a traditional travel towel, it is smaller than a beach towel.
Keeping loosely with the bathroom theme, ahem, a decent supply of rehydration salts, or tablets, will be a great addition to any first aid kit or toiletry bag. Borocca also falls into this one. Should your friend make it on their trip without needing either one of these, I will eat my travel towel. It’s perhaps the dullest Christmas present anyone has ever given, but when they get food poisoning after eating a banh mi from a street vend0r in Ho Chi Minh City, they will thank you. See, I told you travelling wasn’t as glamorous as you thought. You can pick up rehydration salts and tablets at your local pharmacy.
The Traveller That Doesn’t Know They’re a Traveller, Yet
When I first met Graham he had no interest in long term travel. At least that’s my side of the story; if you ask him, he’ll tell you he was beginning to look for an alternative to his London job and longing for a chance to work on his own projects. Either way, he now loves travelling, but a little over a year ago he had no idea he was a “traveller”. So, what inspired him? Here are a few Christmas present ideas that could inspire someone, or at the least induce some intrigue, about travel.
There are loads of great magazines out there that are filled with inspirational stories and pictures of beautiful places around the world. Giving them a year’s subscription will, at the least, increase their knowledge of the world. It could give them new holiday destinations, and places they’d like to visit. Or, it could be the beginning of something a little bigger… Some great magazines are The National Geographic Traveler (obviously) Wanderlust Magazine and The Travel Almanac. They vary in subscription fees, publish at different frequencies and offer different incentives, for example, Wanderlust Magazine’s one year subscription can be paused and restarted to allow for the time their readers are away adventuring.
Books! There are so many life changing, belief altering, thought evoking, adventure instilling books written throughout time. So many that I hardly know where to start; it’s a subject for a post all on its own! Starting with a classic, Jack Kerouac’s 1957 novel, On the Road, explores America in the fifties and is sure to leave you wanting to hitch-hike your way around anywhere and leave you breathless. Have a read of the Amazon reviews, you’ll be ordering two copies by the time you finish. The Road Headed West shares Leon McCarron’s adventure as he cycles 6000 miles across America, from New York to Seattle. A wonderful adventure book that’ll have your friend hungry to explore. Another favourite, and one I read in preparation before leaving, is blogger Torre DeRoche’s Love With a Chance of Drowning. I found this book to be honest, charming, funny and relatable. As the name implies, it’s a romantic adventure book; I read it in November last year whilst snuggled under a blanket with a glass of shiraz, perfection. And finally, anything by Bill Bryson. During a flight from Tasmania to Melbourne I was reading his book, Down Under, and literally fell from my seat into the isle due to laughing too hard. When I had finally picked myself back up onto my seat and calmed down, the lady next to me (who must have been intrigued as to what could possibly be so funny and read over my shoulder) smiled and asked “Bill Bryson?”. She was a huge fan, too. Everything he writes is filled with comic genius and he turns even the dullest of topics into something exciting.
If you think your friend would prefer something a little more visual, check out a Long Way Round DVD, which records a journey with Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman race across the 12 on motorbikes in 115 days. The DVD has incredible scenes that will get even the most settled of people itching to explore something new.
And that brings us to the end of my two-part Christmas present guide for travellers. I hope you have found some useful ideas and inspiration.