Do you have a travel lover on your holiday shopping list this year? Since the World Learning staff knows a thing or two about spending time on the road, we asked some of our most-traveled colleagues to tell us what they think are some of best presents for frequent travelers. Here are ten of their favorite ideas:
Portable Entertainment: Director of HIV/AIDS programs Blanka Homolova recommends e-readers and tablets like the Kindle ($69-179) or Kindle Fire ($159-499), which offer plenty of distractions while on a long plane/train/bus trip. SIT Study Abroad University Relations Manager, Midwest Region Louis Berends also suggests audiobooks (prices vary). He says “It’s a great way to spend time while in-transit and helps with the ever challenging work/life/travel balancing act.”
- Candles: Let’s face it, your traveler is not always going to be staying in a suite at the Four Seasons. Senior Vice President for International Development and Exchange Programs Carol Jenkins travels with Thymes Frasier Fir Candle Tin ($22.50) and says it’s perfect to “help freshen up those musty, smoky hotel rooms,” and the metal container means it won’t break in their suitcase. Jenkins likes the Frasier Fir scent, but it’s also available in other fragrances, such as Blue Spruce and Elderberry and Brandied Pumpkin and Chestnut.
Headphones: While on the go chances are the traveler will want to listen to music or at least tune out the crying baby three rows back, which is why quality headphones are a great gift. Jenkins likes Pajamas for Your Ears ($39.95), which she says are “the most comfortable headphones for sleeping or relaxing on the plane or in your hotel room.” Homolova also recommends general noise-canceling headphones. Bose Quiet Comfort Acoustic Noise Canceling Headphones ($299.99) is one of the most popular brands, but their silence doesn’t come cheap.
- Multi-use Tool: For the traveler who spends a lot of time outdoors, a multi-use tool can be indispensable. Senior Admissions Counselor for The Experiment in International Living Geoff Hunt uses a Leatherman, a brand which offers a variety of multi-use tools, ranging from key-chain-sized ($14.45) to over-sized ($184.65). Just remind them not bring it on the plane!
- Handheld GPS: Even though your traveler probably has a map app for their smart phone, there are times when it won’t be useful, whether it’s due to expensive roaming charges or a lack of reception. That’s where a handheld GPS device comes in handy for hikers, sailors, and the directionally challenged. Garmin has several popular models including the eTrex 20 ($169.53), which is waterproof, preloaded with a worldwide relief basemap, and can be customized with additional maps and other features.
- Rugged Watch: Being on time can be crucial while traveling, and no one wants to miss their train or have to chase down a bus. Hunt recommends a water resistant watch with a silent (vibrating) alarm, like his Timex Expedition ($45.69). It can withstand the elements for the more adventurous travelers and won’t wake others when they have to get up for that early morning flight.
- Camera: Travelers are always looking for ways to document their trips. The Kodak PlaySport ($89.99) is a great all-in-one camera. It shoots full 1080 HD video and takes 5MP still photos. It’s also waterproof and features in-camera editing.
- Artist Palette: For the more artistically inclined travelers, a portable art kit, like the Royal & Langnickel Keep N’ Carry Artist Set ($7.45) will help them capture the beauty of their destination. Senior Program Associate Rizwaan Akhtar says it’s a “nice way to take in the atmosphere” and helps him remember the sites “in a more engaged way than photography.”
- Foot Gear: If your traveler is hitting the beach or staying in a not-so-sterile hotel or hostel they’ll need something easy to slip on their feet. Jenkins likes to bring along these Victoria’s Secret flip-flops ($25). She says they’re “lightweight, very packable, and great foot protection from hotel showers and carpets; very easy to clean, plus they are bright and cheery.” For the guys on your list the Reef Men’s Fanning Sandal ($25.95-$59.99) are a comfortable and long-wearing option.
- Upgrades: Homolova suggests “unlimited upgrades” as the ultimate gift for travelers (we think she is mostly joking). While that might be a bit out of most people’s price range, many airline frequent flyer programs allow you to purchase miles as gifts or give someone miles you’ve accumulated. Any traveler would be grateful to have additional miles they can use for their upcoming sojourn, or a chance to travel in the comfort of first class. They might even bring you a souvenir from their next adventure.
What are you buying for your favorite traveler this year?
All images courtesy of Amazon.com