Photo: Kite_rin/Shutterstock

5 Gifts For The World Traveler Who Needs Nothing

by Miriam Anderson Jun 22, 2007
When buying gifts for a seasoned traveler, one tends to get stuck on all the things they don’t need.

It’s almost the traveler credo to shun worldly possessions (fancy clothing, DVDs, cutlery) just as they shun society’s expectations of a ‘normal life’ (regular income, stability, white picket fence).

The truth is, all travelers need the odd useful gift now and then. Here are 5 gift ideas to get your creativity flowing.

1. Socks

Put yourself in their shoes…and buy them Wind River Ultimate Adventure Socks. Who wouldn’t want to receive a pair of socks with a name like that? You can never have too many pairs of socks, as they tend to get wet, stinky, and dirty very quickly on the road.

These particular magical socks have a moisture control system, are odor resistant, and have friction free yarn to avoid feet with blisters. Really these are the socks to buy; for anyone, but especially a traveler.

2. Face Wipes

Next put yourself in their position. Imagine you are standing in line at a bus stop off the beaten path, and you know it will be crowded, uncomfortable and very dusty. You’ve been up all night traveling, and are ready to transfer if only the blasted bus would come.

What would you like right now? (No, not McDonalds). What you should have said was a face wipe. Yes, a cool wet face wipe would be nice — and just think how refreshing it would be to have a clean face.

Check out inexpensive the face wipes from Nivea: 3 in 1, or Biore Daily Deep Cleansing face wipes. (Note: they can be used all over the body if one is in need, making them doubly useful.)

3. Electric Adapter

Find out if your traveling friend owns a UL- Approved electric adapter/converter and if not, consider buying them one.

There may come a day somewhere in the world when they find themselves sprawled flat on the floor, eyes tightly shut, repeating a single phrase over and over in their minds: Should have bought an adapter. Should have bought an adapter. I should have bought an adapter.

(And you could have saved your friend from a calamity…or at least a battery dead iPod).

4. Umbrella

One thing most people wouldn’t think to give a world traveler is an umbrella. A small thin umbrella can be very useful, as it tends to rain while you are traveling, and these handy things prevent you from getting wet.

But don’t be safe and buy the standard black. Buy them a fun umbrella instead. Everyone has a black umbrella, black doesn’t say: I care enough about you to spend some time finding you just the right thing. It says: here is a black umbrella, I hope you do not get wet.

And who wants to say that? No, buy them a colorful, patterned, interesting umbrella and they will thank you when they have to find it in a stack of other drying umbrellas.

5. A Good Book

You can never overestimate the value of a good book. Especially one as entertaining and fresh as the Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbooks.

Recommended for the traveler: Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Travel. (Obviously.) The book is full of realistic to humorous/bizarre scenarios and the wide range of choices that can be made in each one.

For example: they advise “earplugs are useful when you want to sleep in a battle zone” which leads into the next section “How To Survive A Hostage Situation.” An entertaining read for anyone. (Just don’t let them see you have read it before you gave it to them).

Gift To Avoid: A Clock

One note: many people believe it is handy to buy the traveler a clock.

But part of the fun of traveling is forgetting the normal constraints we live by at home: clocks, pagers, cell phones etc. That’s why the clock idea did not make it onto the list.

Though if you are going to buy one anyway, please make sure it doesn’t tick loudly (there is nothing worse) and be sure to include them a stash of extra batteries.

What are some gift ideas you’ve found for travelers?

Discover Matador