It’s gift-giving season and if you’re having trouble buying for people on your list, consider these travel items. We went straight to the source and asked our Alumni Ambassadors: What do you wish you had packed? What are the best travel gifts?
So, if you know someone who is going abroad next year, planning a trip, loves travel, or could use a push to get that passport renewed, check out our best gifts for travelers in 2016:
1. A good travel pillow
Being able to sleep even just a little bit on a plane/train/automobile can make all the difference, and can be worth lugging around a mini pillow. There are many options aside from your standard airplane neck pillow. This one (Lewis N. Clark Belle Hop Travel Comfort Set) has a strap that hooks on to your suitcase, and an opening so you can stick in a few more items while you are in transit.
2. International standard size carry on suitcase and Hard Shell Luggage
If you want to gift someone with a serious piece of luggage that will last their semester in Europe and beyond, look into some of the new options out there. We’ve been hearing about these carry-on suitcases from Away (below) which are practical and sleek, and also have modern amenities like a built in charger and a removable laundry bag.
3. Disposable Camera
These cameras are dying out, but a student in my program received a disposable camera and found that it was a lot of fun taking pictures, especially since you can’t edit them or even see them until all the pictures have been taken and you have developed the entire roll. It’s a cool gift and a great way to save memories and review them at the end of a trip.
4. A good sturdy notebook
Travel diaries are the best keepsake. (Below, Etsy)
5. Universal Plug Adapter
Get something with two outlets so you don’t have to choose between what you need to use/charge. Amazon sells a bunch of reasonably priced converter/adapter duos that will work in nearly every country you travel to.
6. A portable charger
My mom gave me a portable battery to charge my phone and anything else that uses a USB port (mine also had a flashlight) and it was a lifesaver! These are a godsend when you’re stranded in a strange place with only 2% battery left.
7. A Deck of Cards
Few things unite cultures like card games. A game of cards is a cheap and easy way to socialize and share different games and traditions across cultures. It’s also easy to pack and could serve as a gift for your host family if you buy one that has your town/state/school/etc. name on it.
8. A simple and lightweight backpack
A bag that zips and is just big enough to carry the essentials: wallet, phone, keys, water bottle and maybe a notebook. (Below, Herschel Supply Co. backpacks)
9. Selfie Stick
They may not be cool, but they can help you get that perfect shot! I wish I had a selfie stick during my semester abroad.
10. A Cute Passport Cover
Protect those important documents in style. (Below, Etsy)
11. A Reusable Tote Bag
Great for shopping at the local market or packing a picnic in the park!
12. Travel Size Toiletry Kit
My aunt gave me a fold-able toothbrush and life was never the same. For the jetsetter, pre-packed toiletries are super handy. A kit with the essentials (toothbrush, toothpaste and travel sized toiletry containers) that is ready to go will make life much easier. Check out the travel section at The Container Store for some great organizers and travel items.
13. A reliable watch
These days most people don’t wear a watch and instead rely on their electronic device for the time. But for the traveler, battery life is precious. A wrist watch is a great gift, no matter the time zone.
14. A Microfiber Towel
It’s compact so it’s great for travelling on weekends and it dries super quickly. Plus you don’t have to worry about buying/renting a towel if you stay at a hostel. (Below, Microfiber Towel By Rainleaf)
Thanks Elissa and Savannah for all of the pro tips! So start planning your 2016 travel if you haven’t already, and share your travel gift ideas with us in the comments!