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BY ALISSA MILLER
Holiday gift guide for every traveler on your list.
When the holidays roll around, everyone starts making a list and checking it twice, trying to come up with the best gifts for all of the special people in their lives (naughty and nice). Chances are, you’re already planning out your holiday shopping, and maybe you’ve even bought a gift or two by now.
If there is a traveler on your holiday shopping list (and there probably is), there are tons of great travel-related gifts for every type of traveler, and to fit every budget as well. The biggest factor in helping to narrow down the right travel gift is what type of traveler you’re buying for. From avid adventurer to beach bum, here are five gift ideas for every travel personality on your list.
For the beach bum.
Do you know a traveler that loves tropical, warm vacations and prefers to spend the bulk of their time relaxing at the beach or pool? If so, then consider buying one of these five beachy gift items for the beach bum on your holiday shopping list.
1. Quick-dry beach towel.
A regular terrycloth beach towel can take forever to dry after each use — and even worse, it can get all grainy with sand. A quick-dry beach towel solves both of those problems easily. Generally made of microfiber (which stays sand-free), a quick-dry towel is absorbent, dries rapidly, and folds up nice and tiny into a little carrying case that will easily tuck into your suitcase or carry-on.
2. Waterproof phone case or pouch.
Everybody takes pictures on vacation, but not everybody takes pictures under the water on vacation. Help the traveler on your list to snap some amazing selfies while swimming or snorkeling by giving them the gift of a waterproof pouch or case for their cell phone. A little research will help you determine the right one to fit your traveler’s phone.
3. Floating sunglasses.
The glare off the water can be brutal on sunny days, and it can be tempting to keep your sunglasses on in the pool to protect your eyes. If they fall off though, retrieving them from the bottom of the pool can be difficult. The solution? Floating sunglasses are made of lighter-weight material than regular sunglasses, so they float instead of sink.
4. Water-resistant tote bag.
When you spend the day at the beach, stuff is gonna get wet. It’s just an unavoidable fact. A water-resistant tote bag provides a handy way of keeping things dry that need to stay dry (like your phone, wallet, and/or keys). You’ll find these come in an assortment of styles and patterns, so finding one to suit your particular traveler should be easy peasy.
5. Portable waterproof speaker.
Who doesn’t like a bit of music at the beach or pool? Music can lighten the mood and create an inviting atmosphere for everyone around. You’ll find Bluetooth speakers come in very small, travel-friendly sizes, and if you select a waterproof one, the traveler on your list won’t have to worry about a splash or two ruining the poolside tunes.
For the gadget geek.
Do you know a traveler that loves gizmos and gadgets and always has to have the latest and greatest technology? If so, these five travel gadgets are sure to put a smile on the face of even the greatest of gadget geeks.
1. Portable Wi-Fi hot spot.
The horror of finding yourself without internet is unspeakable — it’s the stuff nightmares are made of (just joking, sort of). You can prevent that monstrous situation from occurring by giving the traveler on your list a portable Wi-Fi hot spot. This will make sure they can always stay in touch with family and friends while on vacation, even if the unspeakable occurs.
2. Bluetooth luggage tracker.
Hundreds of thousands of bags are lost during travel every year, and it can be incredibly stressful to try and locate a misplaced suitcase or purse while you’re on vacation. Eliminate the risk with a Bluetooth luggage tracker — this enables the user to physically track items within a set distance, or use a tracking network if the tracker is out of range.
3. Instant camera. While most travelers take photos with their cell phones these days, there is something nostalgic about having a printed photo to hang on your fridge or put in your wallet as a memory of a fun vacation. An instant camera can turn that vacation snapshot into a printed photo in a matter of seconds. Just make sure to include plenty of instant film so they don’t run out on vacation.
4. Noise-canceling headphones.
Travel can be noisy, especially if you’re flying or taking some other form of public transportation, and it can be hard to relax and listen to music or a podcast if there is too much external noise happening. Noise-canceling headphones create a buffer for all that racket, leaving the listener free to tune out and focus only on their chosen sounds.
5. Portable charger.
A low battery can be such a downer when you’re traveling. It can be stressful to find a place to charge your phone, tablet, or e-reader in a busy airport or on the go in a new destination. A portable charger offers a quick solution to fully recharge your devices on the go, without requiring an outlet or cable. Some can even charge multiple devices at once — wowsa.
For the avid adventurer.
Are you shopping for a traveler that loves adventure vacations? Hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, camping, and generally exploring the world are pastimes that require gear. No doubt one of these five items would be extremely useful on their next adventure.
1. Waterproof boots.
Waterproof boots are one of those bare necessities (or is it bear necessities — cue Baloo) that every adventurer needs. Wet feet while hiking or camping are intolerable, and can actually lead to injury and even illness. Help keep the traveler on your list protected by giving them a nice, solid pair of insulated waterproof boots. They will thank you, and so will their feet.
A buff is an everlastingly popular piece of multifunctional head and neckwear beloved by outdoorsmen and women of all ages. Buffs are usually made of lightweight, breathable fabric, and are stretchy so you can use them to keep your head, neck, and face warm and dry, and also for protection from the sun. Bonus — they come in every color and pattern imaginable.
3. Satellite communicator.
Outdoor adventures sometimes take travelers far off the beaten path, and that often means no cell service. Although being off the grid can feel peaceful, it comes with a potential risk factor — no cell service means no emergency assistance if needed. A satellite communicator removes that risk by allowing messages to be sent and received even from the middle of nowhere.
4. National parks annual pass.
Visiting a national park requires the purchase of an entrance pass, and for frequent adventurers, the cost can quickly add up. An annual pass grants access to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites, including the more than 400 national parks across all states and territories. An annual pass offers unlimited access, and includes the driver and all passengers in the vehicle.
The great outdoors are full of amazing things to look at, but sometimes the coolest sights are too far away to see clearly. How can you see the eagle perched at the top of the tree while you’re hiking in the mountains? Binoculars, that’s how. A small set of high-powered binoculars can make all the difference and turn a fuzzy far-off into a detailed close-up.
For the bookworm.
Does the traveler on your list always have their nose in a book? If they are the type of person who just loves to read, chances are they’d be thrilled to find one of these five reading-related gifts under the tree this year.
1. Book light.
In addition to bulk, one small downside to traveling with physical books is that reading in the dim light of the evening or at night can be a strain on the eyes, especially while journeying from place to place. A book light really comes in handy for lighting up the words on the page, without lighting up the entire space and disturbing other travelers with an overhead light.
2. Subscription to an e-book or audiobook site.
An e-reader is handy for reading on vacation, but it doesn’t just magically grant access to every book in the world. If your traveler uses an e-reader (or if you’re giving one as a gift), consider giving a subscription to an eBook or audiobook site. This will give the recipient access to a set number of downloads (or borrows) each month, so they’ll never run out of reading material.
There’s no doubt about it, books are bulky and can be cumbersome to travel with. An e-reader can lighten the load considerably, freeing up space in carry-on bags and allowing your traveler to bring a whole world of books with them on vacation, all in a nice lightweight package (sans book bulk).
4. Custom bookmark.
There is nothing worse than losing your spot in a massive tome of many hundreds of pages. A bookmark is the perfect solution, and yes, anything can be a bookmark, including a napkin or receipt in a pinch. But a custom bookmark is a thoughtful way of showing you care, and you can order one with special photos, designs, or even etching or engraving.
5. Paperback copy of a book on their reading wish list.
For the traveler who prefers physical books to e-readers, you can help them save space in their carry-on bags by choosing a book from their reading wish list and gifting them a paperback copy instead of a hardback one. Paperback is much lighter weight, and they won’t feel bad about leaving it on the lending shelf at a coffee shop when they’ve finished it.
For the gallivanting gourmet.
Is the traveler on your list a gourmet cook who loves to prepare their own meals from the comfort of a cozy condo kitchen while on vacation? If so, consider giving them one of these five items that are the perfect addition to a traveler’s kitchen.
1. Kitchen multi-tool.
The kitchen in most resort suites is equipped with the basic tools needed to prepare a meal, but for a gourmet cook, more may be needed to create a masterpiece meal. A handy kitchen multi-tool is a 12-in-1 apparatus that has things like a corkscrew, peeler, and garlic crusher — basically everything but the kitchen sink. And it’s small enough to easily tuck into a suitcase.
2. Travel spice rack.
Much like the oils and sauces, certain dishes require certain spices — i.e. you can’t make curry (the dish) without using curry (the spice). It can be very expensive to go shopping and buy multiple bottles of high-quality spices just to prepare a meal on vacation, so a travel spice rack (basically a collection of small stackable jars that can be filled from home) may come in handy.
3. Silicone travel bottles.
There are certain sauces and oils that most good cooks can’t do without, and it’s much easier to bring ‘em than buy ‘em. A set of TSA-approved silicone travel bottles can be used to pack oils, sauces, and condiments in small quantities that the gourmet can use to prepare a world-class meal while gallivanting away from home.
4. Reusable food storage bags.
One thing that the kitchen in most suites won’t include is much in the way of food storage. You won’t find snappable lidded containers or cling wrap to help you save your leftovers. A gift of reusable food storage bags can really come in handy, and they’re flat when empty so they take up virtually zero space in a suitcase.
5. Travel bar set.
After a long day of exploring a new vacation destination, sometimes an in-suite cocktail is just the thing. But to create certain cocktails (or mocktails, if preferred), certain tools are needed. A travel bar set is compact enough to fit in a suitcase, and generally includes useful items such as a shot glass, muddler, jigger, shaker, and strainer. Tequila sunrise, anyone?