7 Interesting gifts for your traveller friends

One thing I hate about malls is that everything looks the same. No matter what stores you go to, everything is probably produced in the same factory somewhere in Asia. This is especially bland when you’re trying to do some Christmas shopping, and you’re forced to sort through rows of generic looking sweaters to buy, wrap and gift.

Usually when I’m abroad, I love browsing quirky shops and clothing boutiques and buy things and find interesting and fun things to give friends and family on birthdays or for Christmas. I was pleasantly surprised the other day however when I discovered this Diesel Surplus boutique that sold not just Diesel, but also Tom Ford, Marc by Marc Jacobs and G-Star in this small but really trendy shop relatively close to home, where I was able to finish my Christmas shopping. It’s kind of nice when you discover a nice hidden place like that, isn’t it?

Anyway, with only a few days left until Christmas, here’s a few interesting gift ideas for your traveller friends, for those who are in need of some ideas.

1. Vintage maps
I love maps and I love vintage things, so why not vintage maps? Like most travelers, I always find maps to be an endless source of possibilities as it’s great for planning trips, and reminiscing on past trips. If your friend already has a world map, subway or transit maps also make for a great present, especially if it’s a city that brings back fond memories. Make sure you obtain these maps legally though! I remember when I was living in Chicago, stealing maps from the subway became a pretty big issue…

2. A Scrapbook
With the popularity of digital cameras and Facebook, I feel like hardly anyone ever prints out their photos anymore. It’s sort of a tradition in my family to browse through our photo albums during Christmas, and I still remember the excitement of looking at my photos after I get them developed from a trip. A scrapbook, put together with a collection of photos and captions from a backpacking trip across a country or continent would be something I can see being cherished forever.

3. Calling cards
While the idea of giving calling cards as a gift seems a bit boring, we all get a bit homesick on the road, and sometimes those calling cards can feel like they’re heaven sent.

4. eReader
I much prefer reading paperbacks, but with publishers such as Lonely Planet creating travel books for the eReader, an eReader seems like a good alternative to lugging around heavy travel books. Especially with the Kindle or the Kobo reader costing only around $100 these days, it seems like a reasonably priced method of always having books to read on the road while avoiding overweight luggage fees.

5. Moccasins
They’re light, comfy and great for walking. Plus who doesn’t want to channel their inner hippie?

6. Travel journal
While a journal seems like an obvious gift for a traveler, it is something that definitely won’t be sitting in their closet collecting dust, like for example, a hand-waving disco Buddha. I always bring a few journals with me on the road, and they always get filled up by the end of my trip. Try looking for journals that are eco-friendly, hand-crafted or with lots of side pockets or storing photos, ticket stubs, or (more excitingly!) love notes.

7. Polaroid camera

These are possibly the greatest invention on earth. They’re fun…instant, and therefore guaranteed to bring instant fun. It’s a must have for travelers who especially can’t be bothered to painstakingly edit through all their photos and great for capturing “in the moment” moments. And developing those pictures make us want to shake it, shake it, shake it like a polaroid picture.
image source: www.viator.com



  1. December 22, 2011 / 4:07 am

    Vintage maps- I love that!

    You should post "The traveler's perfect Christmas stocking!"

    I did one for my husband, it included flashlight, power bars, a new pocket knife, I made little bags of trail mixes (he is a hiker).

  2. December 22, 2011 / 6:50 pm

    I love everything from this list. Specially the vintage maps and the Polaroid! Hope you have a magic Christmas. 😉

  3. December 23, 2011 / 6:17 am

    Great list! Now … how do I send it to all my friends without them knowing I sent it??!!

  4. December 26, 2011 / 5:57 pm

    so true about #3! I travel a lot and really love receiving scrapbooks, it is so fun to make. A Polaroid would be nice too!

  5. December 30, 2011 / 10:40 am

    Helen, your blog is truely inspiring! I love your gift ideas, especially the eReader, although I missed it this Christmas, will definitely get one for my dad's b-day – can easily replace his library!

  6. Lizeth
    February 14, 2012 / 8:39 pm

    Ditto! I would love to receive a vintage map from my friends. Well, first class airline tickets would do as well. Just kidding!

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