As a world traveler, I find it can be difficult at times to buy gifts. I don't want things, as things just bog me down. As well, folks buying gifts for me know that I will probably just give it away when I next move or go on the next big trip. Because the traditional gifts aren't as desired by myself and many travelers, I have compiled a list of gifts for travelers, much like myself. This list is ideal for parents, friends and family members looking for a gift for their traveler.
Buy the gift of travel safety by investing in your travelers health. You can buy quality travel insurance that will cost $100-300 USD for a 6 month trip. Obviously rates depend on the countries visiting and duration.
This is a great gift for your traveler because it is one of those added expenses that most backpack travelers don't budget for. Unfortunately for them, it is also the thing that can completely change your trip, should a situation arise that requires insurance. If they are not covered, it could mean an early end to the trip that they have been planning and saving up for years for.
If you are in that financial position to buy them good insurance, than go for the kind that will cover, not only medical, but their personal effects if they were to get stolen. Check out these True claims stories to see what the gift of travel insurance could help protect your traveler from.
In the unfortunate event that your traveler does get into medical trouble or they get all of their possessions stolen, your thoughtful gift of travel insurance will always be remembered as the gift that saved their adventure abroad, or maybe even their life. As well, it would be wise to familiarize yourself with the Government Travel Warnings to help you decide what level of protection your traveler may require.
For travel insurance I suggest going with a provider which you are already comfortable with and use. Otherwise if you want travel insurance specifically for that backpacker, WorldNomads.com provides insurance for people around the world. It is easy to sign up and get a quote online to see how much this travel gift will cost you. I have personally used this insurance, and while I never had to make a claim, I can vouch that it offers quality at a respectable price.
This is the best gift for a traveler who already knows where they are heading and are a couple months away from leaving. Find the nearest currency exchange in your town or city and purchase cold hard cash as a gift for your travel. Money is a "one size fits all" option, and the fact that it is money for a country that they are about to be traveling in makes it that much more special.
Giving foreign money as a gift for a traveler is a win-win in that it will get them as excited for their upcoming adventure. As well, it keeps them from getting a terrible exchange rate at the airport currency exchange booths. The money you gift will be the first thing they spend when they arrive to the country. It can pay for that first taxi ride from the airport to the hostel, or to the nearest ATM. It will buy their first meal as they head out into an unfamiliar land. That gift of foreign money will be just the ticket they need to get settled in as they get their travel pants on.
Buy the gift of knowledge for your traveler. Knowledge in the form of a guidebook or travel literature about the destination which they are headed. With Lonely Planet and Rough Guide being the most commonly used guidebooks by backpack traveler, you have an excellent selection of almost every country in the world.
If the traveler in your family isn't leaving for their trip for a year or more, why not buy a subscription to a travel magazine that fits into their style of travel? This is a very cost effective gift as it will run you $20-30 and provides a year worth of enjoyment.
For the travel backpacker, buy a subscription to Wanderlust or Afar Magazine . The luxury traveler might be interested in Passports, Luxury Travel Advisor or National Geographic Traveler. If it's adventure travel that you are going after then buy National Geographic or Adventure Travel Magazine.
Yup, I did it, I combined the word technology with the word knowledge. Since many of these books and magazines are available on digital devices like the kindle and the iPad, you can get all those travel reading material as an e-version. For example, a gift combo would be a Kindle Paperwhite with a subscription to Passports (Kindle Edition). This is the perfect gift for your traveler as it allows them to receive their favorite travel magazines no matter where they are.
The Kindle is still the best
e-Reader for travelers going abroad.
As well, I have personally only jumped onboard the e-book bandwagon when I started traveling. I, like most long term travelers, always have a book with me so I can read while I'm on the bus or train or beach. Why waste all that valuable backpack real estate with bulky books, when I can get over a thousand books on a device barely bigger than a cell phone.
The Kindle is still the best e-Reader for travelers going abroad. The Kindle is less flashy and less expensive than an iPad, making it less likely to be stolen. I like those odds. As well, if your traveler is planning a trip that includes lots of sunny beaches, the shiny and glossy screens of the iPad will be less than desirable. Finally, the reason to go for this Kindle over the iPad as a traveler is that the Kindle is durable enough to withstand my 14 months round the world trip. And even it it did break or get stolen, you can always buy a new device and since you bought the books, they can all the books replaced. Ahh, the beauty of e-Readers.
This is another cost effective option when buying a gift for a traveler, and that is the gift of food. If your traveler is a self described "foodie", than find the most authentic restaurant that serves the cuisine of the country they are going. As you likely already know, most every restaurant has a gift certificate program.
If they are going to Italy, don't get a gift card for Olive Garden. If they are going to Mexico, don't go to Taco Bell. For the gift to really have that genuine praise, you must get a gift certificate from a truly authentic restaurant. If it is truly authentic, then it could run you a bit more than that magazine subscription, but it will definitely get you points in the "you're so thoughtful" category.
I find that when buying gifts for a traveler, you are somewhat restricted from the "normal" presents which most people give and receive during the holidays. If you branch out a bit and think about what they will need on their upcoming trip, it can be a lot of fun buying gifts for a traveler.
If you're a traveler who knows of some more great gift ideas, we'd love to hear them.
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