It pays to get ahead with buying presents, especially when the person you’re buying for is a travel addict and can be hard to pin down! Travel fans may have their pick of the holiday souvenirs, but I’ve tracked down some great home-grown gift ideas they’ll love.
Practically Perfect Packing
Packing doesn’t get any less frustrating and fiddly if you’re off on a grand adventure – in fact, the more far-flung your trip, the harder it gets (how do you cram all those Antarctic layers into your suitcase? And how much is too much for a month in Australia?). It might sound boring, but travellers will really appreciate anything that makes packing easier: enter the vacuum bag, which compresses clothing so you can fit more in your case.
The Holding Company offers a set of two bags for just over a fiver, and you don’t need a vacuum cleaner to make them do their thing (now that’s a relief, because who actually carries a vacuum cleaner on holiday?!). Another good bet are the packing cubes and travel bags from Muji. They’re super useful and minimalist; important if you’re living out of a suitcase or just sharing a room with limited wardrobe space.
To give your present more impact, add a packing essential like a pashmina or a comfy hoodie, both of which are worth their weight in gold to tired travellers! They double up as pillows for a crafty nap on the train or plane.
National Geographic Traveller is one of the UK’s best travel magazines and I’ve found it to be miles better than its international rivals (try picking up the super thin Conde Nast Traveler in the USA and you’ll see what I mean). There’s also a good dose of realism in the magazine from its columnists, like Dan Millar, who reports every month from the USA. Recently he wrote about the good, bad and surreal points of a trip to Las Vegas.
Whilst some big-money trips are always covered in each issue, such as Chile and New Zealand, there are cheaper city break ideas as well, so you get to know the best bars in Lisbon or the best shops in Rome. Of course, you don’t have to follow their suggestions down to the letter, but you’ll get some great insider tips. One of their recommendations from the 2017 Cool List is Finland’s capital, Helsinki, which I can confirm is perfect for a weekend adventure – think cafes, Scandi fashion and super-cool modern art.
A gift subscription to National Geographic Traveller (currently on special offer, £31.50 for 10 issues) gives your friend or relative their dose of holiday inspiration for a whole year, as there are two double issues. Being a blogger, I also enjoy reading the magazine’s blog recommendations, as they introduce you to new writers whose blogs you can follow when you’re on the road.
Chargers and Cases for Failsafe Technology
Carrying tech essentials is standard these days, but it’s easy to forget to charge your gadgets, so a power boost is a great present for a traveller. Many of the latest power banks are multi-purpose (CHJDG has a snazzy bulldog design on its UltraCompact system; the Griffin Survivor is hard-wearing and rainproof; a company called Ocnathon even makes a power bank that doubles as a selfie light!).
Seasoned travellers will appreciate any kind of power supply, but a solar charger is ideal for sunnier breaks because you don’t even need to plug it into a mains system; Mobile Solar Chargers offers a fold-out waterproof option that can power two devices at once.
You could also throw in a case for your recipient’s phone or tablet. There are loads of travel-related designs on the market, but you can also personalise a case with photos from their adventures, making it totally unique. Most supermarkets and online retailers will have photo-based phone cases or tablet cases on sale, as part of their photo printing range, for around £20-30. To top it off, add a waterproof pouch from any good travel shop, such as Stanfords, so your traveller can keep their gadgets free of water, sand and dust.
Now you’re all set to create your travel fanatic’s perfect birthday present, you might well have got the travel bug yourself. Maybe it’s worth putting a National Geographic Traveller subscription on your own birthday list this year…
This is a guest post via the magazine.co.uk blogger network.