I would love to give you a list of the cutest adventure themed gadgets, maybe painted with globes and arrows, the best calligraphy claiming “never stop adventuring” or “not all those who wander are lost.”
But anyone who has ever studied abroad or taken off for an indefinite amount of time knows that living out of a suitcase means living without the flowery calligraphy. We agonize over packing and it only hurts our hearts more when we realize that that thoughtful travel themed gift we got last Christmas is either going to have to stay in a box in our parents attic or end up at a garage sale.
Obviously when searching for a meaningful gift it is impossible to avoid striking out every time. Here are some alternative solutions, something to consider when gifting traveler friends and relatives.
Some companies and organizations have subscriptions one can purchase that either allow full use of the service or just allow for discounts and added benefits. WorkAway, a group that coordinates traveling volunteers with hosts who provide room and board, charges $30 as a one-time yearly fee to connect with hosts. WizzAir charges $29.99 to join their “Wizz Discount” club, a title that can chop the price of each flight in half as well as allow for free luggage and seat selection.
Depending on which services and opportunities your traveler takes advantage of, Couchsurfing charges a location- dependent fee to “verify” an account. This verification serves as another safeguard to make sure the person using the account truly is who they say they are. If couchsurfing is a concept your traveler regularly makes use of, this is a one-time fee and can help them find hosts more easily. It’s not the only site that offers verification — the ride sharing service BlaBlaCar does as well!
In the digital age, plastic cards in physical sleeves are a thing of the past. RyanAir Airlines (a budget airline in Western Europe) offers digital giftcards that can then be put towards their super cheap fares. With a giftcard in almost any amount, it’s possible to finance an entire round trip (really, flights between Brussels and Hambourg can get as low as 5 euros)! Airbnb, the room-renting service that is taking over the hotel industry, also provides this service and again, your giftcard could mean the difference between an extra night in an incredible place or having to cut a trip off early.
If your loved one is spending an extended period of time in one location, check out the opportunities for their favorite activities in that place. While a gift card to a cinema in their home town won’t do them much good, a ticket to a concert or movie in their new home-away-from-home will give them an experience they’re sure to love. Look for gym memberships, yoga classes, famous theaters, concert halls, ballets, movies, expensive museums, special tours — anything that is typically in the life of your loved one but that typically wouldn’t fit in their tiny travel-budget.
In addition to these, the average backpack, water bottle, external phone battery and empty journals make us smile as well. No matter what the gift, the thought is loved and appreciated. But for those of us who live in a plane and out of a suitcase, sometimes the best gifts received are the ones that allow us to continue our adventures unimpeded.