So what if you can’t afford to get the traveller in your life the trip of their dreams? Here are 11 creative travel gifts that will make their next adventure even better.
The old fashioned travel guidebook will either innovate or go extinct. By trying to list everything, like a phonebook, they’re full of boring info you don’t need. Enter Herb Lester, a pioneer of the new school of travel publishing. Lester’s books and maps just highlight the good stuff, focusing on a creative theme like London pubs or how to live the good life in Copenhagen ($7, Herb Lester).
With all the emailing, texting, mapping, and Instagramming, batteries go fast. Plus in airport security, you now need to be able to turn on your cell phone or laptop to be allowed to bring it on the plane. A portable charger is a lifesaver for travellers. Mophie’s Juice Pack Powerstation ($80, Best Buy) is one of the lightest and most effective, ideal for shoving in your purse or rucksack.
Whether you opt for subdued leather or an eye-catching design like the one above ($40, J.Crew), a passport holder has a few benefits. It tags you as a savvy traveller. It protects the most important travel document. It helps you find said document in your bag. It keeps fellow travellers from assigning you national stereotypes when you wait in the border control queue. Downside: like your jacket, you often have to take it out of the holder at checkpoints.
Big ideas come when you shake your life up. Travel is that spark. Whether you’re a travel blogger, on holiday with your special someone, or flying solo, you’d be surprised how fast the insights and observations come when on the road, and how easily they go. A classic Moleskine journal – get unlined if your someone likes to sketch – is the best solution. We recommend the three-pack ($16, Chapters). It’s that easy to fill one up.
Fact: travellers have map fetishes. The Scratch Map ($32, Amazon.ca) is a personalized map wherein you scratch off the foil for the places you’ve visited, revealing a bright pop of colour underneath. It’s good-looking home decor, and the more you scratch the prettier it becomes. Unusual tidbits on geography and oceanography along the bottom make it more than your average pretty face.
You’ll feel a bit 007 when you stick this game-changing tech tool in your luggage. Essentially, your luggage will never go missing again. The Trakdot device ($145, Trakdot.com) doesn’t use GPS because GPS doesn’t work in airport baggage areas. But it does emit a signal that you can trace with your phone so if your luggage goes missing, you can give the intel to the airline. It’s ideal for long-haul flights with luggage transfers.
Image: GritsNHokum Etsy
Earbuds get tangled. Save yourself time and an elbow wrestle with the stranger seated next to you by keeping yours in a tidy with a holder. There are a lot of earbud holders out there, the version above ($12, Etsy GritsNHokum) gets bonus points for an extra grommet, which keeps the jack steady.
Already banned in Korea, the selfie stick (prices vary, Amazon.ca) has the world’s positive and negative attention. If you can handle being teased by friends, you’ll reap the benefits of never have to ask a stranger to take your picture again as well as being able to fit a bunch of friends and a couple of mountain ranges into the photo frame.
Celebrities appear in airports in cashmere capes and blankets. We see the appeal but can’t swing the price. Instead, try the sensible, stylish Icebreaker merino bliss wrap ($145, Icebreaker). You can wear it three ways. It looks good as daywear and workout gear. It’s warm and easy to care for. For men, check out the Icebreaker’s merino rover zip hoodie ($180).
Image: Big Picture Press
Intended for kids, but way too cool for adults to overlook, Maps ($25, Chapters) is an illustrated guide to the culture of all the countries in the world. From celebrities to historic sights and traditional foods, the drawings are clever and fun. Whether you keep it on your coffee table or in your loo, you won’t be able to resist flipping.
When it comes to pioneer style with solid craftsmanship and a reasonable price tag, we turn to BC’s very own Herschel. The select settlement backpack ($90, Herschel) is made from sturdy cotton canvas, has vintage-style brass zippers, and comes with an extremely useful nod to modern day needs, an internal media pocket for your tablet or laptop.
Feature image: Eduardo Zárate