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Gift ideas: 5 perfect travel presents

By Anita Isalska   21 November 2011 11:26pm Europe/London

With the holidays approaching faster than a speeding Rudolph, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and find the right gift for your loved ones. Choosing gifts for travellers can be tricky, but we have a sackful of suggestions whether you’re buying for jetsetting glamazons or perfectionist planners. Figure out their travel style with our handy list and uncover the perfect present.

Penguin parade. A great stocking filler for lovers of the Antarctic and woollen whimsy.

1. Gadget fanatic

A tablet or laptop waved in the air at all angles, to capture that elusive Wifi signal, is the calling card of the gadget fanatic. Whether pacing the packed streets of Tokyo or killing time at a remote Mexican bus stop, their precious kit will be glued to their hands or poking out of their bag to steal admiring glances (and perhaps get stolen itself). Tech fan travellers are well aware that flashing expensive items makes them vulnerable on the road, but they just can’t bear to leave behind that state-of-the-art laptop.

Perfect gift: Undercover sleeves for laptops and phones give gadgets the appearance of ratty old envelopes while their padded interiors keep electronics pristine. The disguise is so effective that you’d better hope they don’t get posted by accident.

2. Perfectionist planner

‘Better safe than sorry’ is the mantra for this clued-up globetrotter, whose expertise lies in detailed itineraries, malaria tablets and mosquito nets. This traveller can recite their travel insurance policy’s exclusions by heart, checks government travel warnings daily and has emergency antibiotics for a spectrum of ailments. How can your gift possibly make them any safer?

Perfect gift: Passport-concealing underwear. There’s no safer place to keep a credit card, cash and important documents than down under, but it’s so much easier with these nifty pants and their zip-secure pockets. And it’s a saviour from the waist-widening evils of travel belts and fanny packs, meaning the essentials are kept secure while the wearer stays svelte.

3. Wandering romantic

This traveller sighs on the bridges of Venice and swoons in the lavender fields of Provence, arm-in-arm with their soulmate (or a local lovely). You will know them from their album of arm-outstretched self-taken photos on Facebook.

Perfect gift: Personalised love-locks or pastel padlocks. Or perhaps a Grateful Dead-inspired lock (thanks Etsy). At scenic spots around the world, romantic couples scribble their initials on padlocks and affix them to bridges, hoping this symbol of their passion will last forever (or at least until the local council arrives with boltcutters). Love-locks are ideal for starry-eyed travellers, and maybe they’ll surprise you by tearing themselves away from their torrid embrace for long enough to secure their hostel locker or bike.

4. Glamorous jetsetter

There are no tatty Ugg boots in this traveller’s holiday wardrobe. This fashion-forward wanderer takes pride in immaculate grooming and perfectly applied lipstick from London to Lima. Their least favourite part of the globetrotting lifestyle? Tough journeys that make them as pale and gaunt as their dreaded passport photo, and on-board liquid restrictions forcing them to forgo the arsenal of beauty fix-its.

Perfect gift: A transportable beauty treatment is just the thing to stave off the punishing effects of long-haul journeys. This silk eye mask blocks out distracting light and calms weary travellers with the scent of lavender during mile-high naps. Or for a quicker fix, a dab of all-natural travel balm can soothe anything from air-con chapped lips to chilly red noses, allowing travellers to be photo-perfect as soon as they disembark. Ready for your close-up?

5. Travel chatterbox

This avid traveller would never boast about canoeing down the Amazon or dancing with the Masai of Kenya. But as their long-suffering dinner party guests know, they will leap on the chance to work their travel tales into the conversation.

Perfect gift: Throw this travel enthusiast a lifeline with the conversation-starting travel scratch map, which allows them to scratch away to reveal countries they’ve visited proudly on a world map. For a classier model, try a mahogany vintage-look map with colourful destination pins, a superb centrepiece for any traveller who is dying to hear the words ‘Have you really been to Ethiopia?’ Just ensure you plan your exit strategy as soon as they bring out the accompanying photo albums.


Still stuck? Check out these great gift ideas from Lonely Planet – there’s something for everyone from kids to grown-up adventurers!