The gifts that I love the most usually are the practical gifts. I received a traveling Thermos mug from my classmate eons ago. I never thought much of it at a time, but I ended up using that mug almost everyday for seven years. Long or short road trips I take that thing with me.
Now that Christmas is approaching, are you thinking about some practical gifts for the special someone who love to travel? I love traveling—I’ve been to 25 countries and still have 200 to tackle. I also love domestic traveling too. Essentially if I am getting out of the house, I am happy. So based on my experience, there are certain practical items that I would love to receive as gifts. Here is the top-ten list:
1. Portable GPS
These days not many people are buying a separate GPS. After all, a smart phone really can do everything. You can simply tell Siri, “Get me to the closest gas station.” Without typing a word, you are directed, turn-by-turn, to wherever you want to go. Sometimes I feel that I am dumber that I have Siri do everything for me. I no longer need any sense of direction (not that I had very good sense to begin with).
One little package of a phone can do so much more, so why on earth would you need a separate GPS anymore? Well, if your friend is travel internationally, a separate GPS is extremely useful. To use her phone overseas, she would have to a separate international plan with her provider. And the provider is of course charging an arm, a leg and her first-born! She would still be able to use the Wi-Fi on her phone, but that is not sufficient if she needs direction in a foreign country where nothing is familiar. It will also be useful if she likes to travel to far-flung places within the country where reception is unreliable or non-existent.
The units usually come with the US maps preloaded, but if she travels to a foreign country, then she’ll need to get a map for that country.
A GPS unit exceeds your budget? Then get her a compass. No, I am serious; it is still quite useful. At least she knows whether the taxi driver is driving in circle to cheat her the taxi fare!
No matter where she is going, she will be able to get clean, safe drinking water free of viruses and bacteria with a water purifier bottle. Whether she is going to backcountry or foreign country, this bottle will be a super little gift.
Also, nowadays we can no longer allow take beverages pass security checkpoint in airport; she can still bring the bottle with her and fill it out inside the terminal. She no longer has to pay for the astronomically priced water at the airport, and she also doesn’t have to beg for water on the plane where she can only get a teensy little cup at a time. There are several versions you can choose from–Sawyer Water Treatment Filter Bottle and CamelBak All Clear Water Purifier Bottle.
When traveling, it is handy to have a backpack—it can accommodate various essentials like a small umbrella, sunglasses, makeup case, passport, maps, guide books and phone while leaving her hands free to take pictures. However, it’s important to have a sturdy backpack to prevent theft, not only from a physical theft standpoint, but also from an electronic theft standpoint.
Nowadays theft can use RFID readers to retrieve her ID and credit card information from a distance. That’s why they invent anti-theft backpacks. These backpack blocks identity scanners from retrieving her personal information. They also have slash-guard panels to provide protection against knives and blades. They even have tamper-proof zippers and compartments that lock or latch on to a spring-loaded metal clip thwarts pickpockets.
What else is better to the gift of safety and peace of mind? She’ll love the backpack and your thoughtfulness.
I am sure that as a traveler, she has a pretty good camera to capture and preserve her experiences to enjoy for a long time. One of the practical yet inexpensive gifts is a lens cleaner kit. Inevitably there is dirt and fingerprint that need to be wiped off the camera, and using anything other than proper cleaner will make things worse. A lens cleaner kit is small and easy-to-carry. There’s not even liquid to worry about carrying on the plane. And it can even be used as sunglasses cleaner. Kill two birds with one stone!
Talking about taking travel photographs, no one should live without the GorillaPod. It is light, yet so flexible and allows her to secure her little camera on essentially anywhere she wants. The GorillaPod is especially useful for taking selfies without looking like a lollipop. Plus, it can give the stabilization she needs when light is dim—in other words, plain awesomeness.
Sitting in the plane for hours with close contact with other human beings with plethora of germs, it’s easy to get sick. Help support her immune system with a blast of Vitamin C plus 13 vitamins minerals and herbs. This is not a gift for birthday or anything, but definitely a show of your thoughtfulness before she jumps on the plane.
These days, airlines charge every luggage you check in, so the art of packing light becomes even more important. Plus worrying about keeping track of your 10-piece luggage fleet is not the way to go when traveling. One dandy item is packing cube. These packing cubes make the best possible use of valuable packing space. They are great for socks, tees and underwear, as well as separating the clean clothes from the dirty ones. You can see on eBags.com that these packing cubes have over 4,000 reviews! Four thousand review with 4.7/5.0 rating. Holy smoke. Along the same line, this Pack-It-Flat Toiletry Kit is also awesome. One toiletry bag can accommodate all her makeups, skin care and other items.
Most women are constantly cold, especially on the plane. It would be very nice to have a personal blanket (one that does not stink) on the plane if space were not an issue. But space in fact is an issue when traveling, that’s why it’s useful to have an oversized scarf to keep her warm and looking fabulous. Travel clothes are usually simple and versatile, so that she can wear the same thing to the beach and then to a fancy dinner. Having a good scarf does help to spice things up and transform an outfit. All in all, a warm, good-looking scarf is a win-win.
Charging all electronic devices is serious business. When she gets back to the hotel every evening, she would have to charge every single device she has. However, it still doesn’t guarantee that battery wouldn’t run out during the day. Some devices are battery hog. You wouldn’t want her to run out of battery on her phone/camera/tablet/GPS, right? An external battery charger is a great practical gift for her.
10. Skype credit
Sometimes calling home from overseas is just not that easy. Forget about using a hotel phone or using roaming on her cell phone—they are going to cost her dearly. Why not give her a good way to call home and report her safety with a pre-paid calling card? Using providers like Skype, she can use her smart phone (with only Wi-Fi on) and tablet to call phone via an app. She can even do text or video messaging. Rates are awfully reasonable. You can even get a whole month of unlimited calling to the US from anywhere in the world for $2.99. That’s essentially free. But what a great gift to say, “I care.”
Comments? Any suggestions? Tell us your experience? Do share!