Whether it be Christmas, a birthday, or just being a good friend, it’s always nice to get your special someone a gift that they’ll not only use but enjoy. That goes double for a friend who travels a lot. Below, you’ll find a list of travel gifts that’ll definitely put a smile on their face.
1. Packable Day Pack
There are few items that are as useful as a stuffable daypack. Going on an indefinite sabbatical? You’ll need a daypack while you leave your belongings at the hostel / Airbnb. I recently just bought the Tortuga Setout daypack and it’s awesome. It’s compact, sturdy, folds down to the size of my hand, and looks pretty cool too. A favorite amongst some of my traveler friends is the Osprey Ultralite. It looks cool, comes in two different sizes, has enough storage space to get you through the day, is as durable as they come, and comes in vibrant colors. Unwrapping a daypack will absolutely make your travel friend smile.
2. Cord Burrito
Cord and burrito are two words you normally don’t combine, and for good reason. This, however, is no ordinary burrito. It’s a cleverly (and deliciously) disguised cord management system. It helps keep all of your chargers, USB cables, and even headphones tidy and in one place. Just be careful not to eat it on accident.
3. Passport Holder
If a friend of yours is constantly traveling to different countries, why not get them something to protect their most important document? There are a multitude of different styles, ranging from sleek and minimal to bulky and feature-packed. Some even have RFID-blocking technology. I go for simple and thin, but there are a multitude of options to keep you or your friend’s passport secure.
4. Rain Jacket
Even if you’re a hardcore pluviophile like me, most of us don’t enjoy getting caught in the rain unawares. Finding a waterproof jacket that looks good and fits well is a difficult process, which is why it helps to go for jackets with brand recognition (like Tommy Hilfiger, Columbia, etc). There are many reputable jackets avaialble online, just be sure to check the reviews to see how they fit.
5. Good Hiking Socks
As I mentioned in my Hiking Boots post, a good pair of hiking socks is one of the most important travel-quality-of-life purchases you can make. They protect you from the cold (or heat), keep your feet dry, and reduce the risk of pesky blisters. I bought a bunch of pairs of Darn Tough socks for my trip to Iceland and I lost count of how many times I thanked myself. Be sure to get socks that are at least partially wool. It’s softer, warmer, and dries faster. In fact, I’m wearing a pair of my Darn Tough socks as I’m writing this because they’re just that comfortable.
6. Touch-Capable Gloves
Having cold hands suck. It makes everything more difficult, from opening a door to using your phone. With touchscreen-capable gloves, you can have the best of both worlds. Keep your hands toasty and still be able to pull out your phone for every photo op. These Columbia Thermarator Glove kept my fingers functional while I stomped around Iceland. As with the hiking socks, go for wool. It’s much warmer and dries faster than other materials!
7. Pocket Notebook
Physical journaling seems to go hand-in-hand with travel and adventure. While it’s all well and good to use your phone to take notes, there’s something special and almost romantic about jotting down a thought. Pocket-sized, flexible notebooks tend to work the best, in my experience, and Moleskin always makes quality notebooks. Plus, you can order them in 3-packs!
8. Water Filtration System
A squeezable water filtration system is not just handy for an outdoorsman and backpacker, it’s essential. The bags come in a multitude of sizes and can roll up to a compact size. I have them because, although I haven’t gone on any hardcore wilderness excursions yet, the filtration bags are much more useful than a water bottle. The bags can often hold more water than a typical water bottle and, when drained, fold up to a tiny size. That’s without going into being able to drink pretty much any water you find. Neat, right?
Whether it be a bustling hostel or the thrumming engine of a red-eye flight, there always seems to be some amount of noise to keep you awake. That’s where a good pair of earplugs come in. You can even get ones that are form-fitting and reusable, that way the plugs take up a minimal amount of space. Your friend will thank you for your gift after a full night of sleep abroad.
10. Proof Sunglasses
As a native Floridian, I know the importance of a good pair of sunglasses. I’ve worn Proof sunglasses for about six years now and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. If you’re traveling anywhere tropic, you’ll need some sunnies. Proof Eyewear makes sustainable wooden or aluminum sunglasses. Their mission is to provide sustainable eyewear by using products made from FSC-certified wood, cotton-based acetate, and repurposed skateboard decks. They support the idea of doing good around the world, so why not support a wholesome company?