I was asked the other day what I could recommend as a work leaving present for someone going travelling, as well as a present for a friend going travelling.
It took me a while to think about it as there are so many different ways people travel.
I’ve come up with the following useful gifts for travelers. They are useful travel gifts for men or women whether they are backpacking, cruising, sipping champers on a balcony overlooking the Amalfi coast, or riding buses in SE Asia.
I decided to focus on useful travel gifts as, for many travellers, space is tight and you want everything you have to work for you. Plus, sometimes these are the sorts of things you know you need – but you don’t want to spend your own money on!
If you’d like other gift ideas to get someone who is going travelling, check out my post on ways to reduce plastic use at home and abroad, there are lots of good travel gift ideas in that post.
1. Silk sleeping bag liner (even if they’re not going anywhere near a sleeping bag)
I’m not talking bulky cotton or polyester sateen here. urgh…static! No. I’m talking a real silk sleeping bag liner. I’ve had mine for over ten years (sorry, can’t remember the brand) and it always travels with me. It is so, so useful.
The best silk liner is incredibly light-weight, stuffs into a little sack and barely takes up any room. It also dries quickly if you’re hand washing, or prone to wetting the bed.
I use mine for a myriad of things. They are useful:
- when you’re staying in places that…shall we say…are a touch on the unsavoury side *cough* Budget Chinese Tourist Hotels *cough, cough*
- when it’s hot and even a cotton sheet is too much but you need some protection from one or more of the following: whirring fan, blasting air conditioner, buzzing mosquitos
- ditto the above when you’re on a bus or train as well
- as a sarong
- as a towel, if you really have to.
I like the look of the JagBag Deluxe Pure Silk Sleeping Bag Liner
Love the colours but mostly I love it because it has a slip section for your pillow AND the top cover comes high so you can scrunch it round your neck – if that’s your preferred sleeping style! Plus it will help keep mosquitos away from your neck.
I’m a big fan of the Rab down sleeping bags and the Rab Silk Sleeping Bag liner is also a great choice. It doesn’t come in a huge range of colours and doesn’t have the pillow cover, but if size and weight is a concern (of luggage, not the person) this could be a better option. You can get a double sized version too.
I’ve used my normal rectangle size in a mummy sleeping bag with no issues. They are so light that you don’t notice the excess fabric when used in a mummy-style sleeping bag but you are grateful for the extra width when using it in a hotel. I never travel without my ultralight sleeping bag liner.
2. Ultra Lightweight nylon dry bag
I know. Boring; but oh so practical. I have the Exped Fold Dry Bag Ultralight and it’s been used nearly every day I travel. It’s incredibly lightweight and packs up really small. It’s worth paying more for the ultralight dry bags. They are in a class of their own.
An ultralight dry sack was super useful during the monsoons in India as I could slip it over my Pacsafe bag and still have the bag crossed over me and was confident everything in it was protected.
Twice recently I’ve seen damage occur to iPads and computers when bottles of water have leaked into backpacks. So I always protect my tech gear in a zippered, padded laptop case, and then slip that into the roll top dry bag. Then it all just slips neatly in the back slot of my day pack.
This item is good for general use, not just travelling, and they come in lots of different sizes and colours. I’ve been really impressed by this bit of kit and have them in a range of sizes. Great for keeping sand out of cameras as well. And stuffing dirty laundry in them, wet swimming items and I’ve even used it for soaking really muddy items as pre-wash!
3. Pacsafe Travel Safe
I know. Another deeply unsexy gift idea. But stay with me on this one. I have this Pacsafe Travelsafe 5L Anti-Theft Portable Safe (what a mouthful!) and it’s not a beautiful gift but trust me, it’s something that can be used everyday and gives peace of mind and it’s a great road trip gift idea too.
In this portable travel safe I can fit my 11″ MacBook Air (out of it’s soft cover), passport, wallet, compact camera (Sony RX100, since you asked….fantastic camera – highly recommend. Now THAT is a beautiful, possibly even sexy gift to give, but I digress). And probably other small bits like watch, iphone etc.
It has a slashproof mesh lining and a tough steel cable you use to attach to items that don’t move. Many thieves are opportunistic and it’s about making your stuff that bit harder to steal in the time available.
I get into the habit of using it all the time. Even at home. Great when travelling on public transport too – especially overnight buses and trains. It is a perfect road trip gift idea as you can lash it under the seat of your vehicle. If you’re on a cruise its a good gift ideas for cruise travelers so you can safely store items in your cabin.
4. L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand cream
This, people, is the best hand cream I’ve ever used.
It soothes dry hands and sinks in quickly without leaving a greasy residue that smears your iPad. The smaller size is only 30ml, ideal to bring away and the perfect sized travel gift.
Granted, it seems pricey for a small tube, but it works, and hey…we’re talking gifts here!
Men and women could use this shea butter version, it smells a bit like baby powder. But in a nice-ish way.
A little goes a long way too so it will last a while and they’ll think of you whenever they’re slathering their mitts. Great to use on legs too if they get particularly dry and parched if you’re in super dry conditions, like a safari or a desert. If you’ve been over doing it with the anti-bac alcohol rub it’s great for soothing dry hands, and not everything that’s useful has to be practical and dull!
5. Gift cards
I know these are often seen as a cop out but hear me out. If you know the person is travelling with Apple equipment, an iTunes gift card might be a good option.
I got given some before I went away and enjoyed being able to purchase new music, TV programmes and films when I didn’t have money to spend on such luxuries at the time. Plus, as I’ve written previously, loading up the iPad or computer with films can be a great way to get through a long flight.
They can also be used to buy apps, and there are loads that are really helpful when you’re travelling.
Please note: I chose these products because I like and use them. Links contained in this post are affiliate links and if you chose to purchase something I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps pay for the upkeep of this site.
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