8 Gift Ideas for Travelers

Have a traveler on your gift list and need help? It’s a tricky business, trying to give a useful present to compliment a hobby which requires light loads, self sufficiency, and careful planning. This guide, organized by type of traveler, is here to assist the more homebodied of us find something for the jet-setter in our lives.

Savvy Sabbatical Taker:

This traveler has planned their trip down to the minute, including the diversions. The pleasure is not simply from seeing the sites, but from practicing a precision that would make the worst OCD patient call them a control freak. This makes the Moleskin Weekly planner particularly appropriate. Small, stylish, and micromanaging-compliant.

Business Traveler:

Their sojourns are inspired by obligation and their expenses are covered by their employer. They may be airport weary. The best gift for them would be a reminder of home. If you’re creative, you could find the travel version of their home coffee mugs. Maybe help them bring a companion with an airplane grade pet carrier. A print-out of the jobs section of Craigslist may be nice too.

Tour bus Riding Roadie:

They are the hipper (and maybe hipster) variant of the business traveler, but their vocation perpetuates culture, not capitalism. Give them what they always could use: a black t-shirt.

Stressed-Out Parent with Child:

If taming the tantrums of the average two year old were not challenge enough, the echo of an airport makes it worse. A pleasant trip involves keeping their kid calm. They will be delighted with a pallet of pacifiers and boxes of Cheerios.

Broke College Student Heading Home:

Going home can be awkward. All that freedom morphs into concerned parental oversight and sudden accountability. Everyone has changed. Home might be where the heart is, but boy is it stressful. Help them keep their cool with a gift of Atavin (generic name: Lorazepam).

Hitchhiking Hobo:

A relic of the sixties generation that did not quite age or die out, their nomadic lifestyle takes advantage of kindness and the excesses of capitalism. Give them the only thing they cannot dumpster dive: a pre-paid calling card and a reminder to call their mother. Alternative gift: a night on your couch or use of your shower.

Time Traveler:

Let’s face it: You are not sure they are coming home for Christmas. Or which Christmas they are coming home too. On the off chance you find their Delorean in your driveway, you can be prepared with a blank Moleskin notebook*. Sleek, stylish, and to document their travels with whatever dates are applicable. *Assuming they still use paper. For the tech savvy time traveler, make sure they have a time capsule: mac edition.

Backpacking Traveler: 

For those who plan to backpack through Europe this summer, one of the most practical gifts would be a Eurail pass. It provides unlimited travel by train throughout Europe so you can ensure they won’t get stuck in some shady city or up in the mountains. Trying to scare them out of their trip? Just get them a copy of Hostel.

If nothing else, a suitcase, an over the shoulder bag, aluminum wallet, commuter rail pass, or a pre-paid visa card for emergencies, will do just fine. 

What do you think? Got any other ideas for a traveler?

Christine Slocum I am an imperfect person (though I prefer "work in progress"). In 25 years I have managed to become a graduate student in sociology, a Unitarian Universalist, vegan, social activist and the wife of my best friend. Originally from Syracuse, NY, I now live in Seattle, WA with aforementioned best friend and two dog-like cats.

View all posts by Christine Slocum

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