Christmas Gifts for the Traveller in Your Life
· 15 min. read
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Is there a traveller in your life? Somebody who loves exploring new places, trying new foods, driving long distances for a picture and who will yammer on and on about their travels if you let them?
For the first time in Kenton de Jong Travel history I decided to put together a list of gifts you can get the traveller in your life. Many of these gifts I own, so I can testify that they are worth investing in.
Many of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means if you buy the products I recommend, I may get a little financial kickback.
If you can think of any other ideas, feel free to drop a comment and tell me about them too. I was thinking this would be a fun, annual article to put together each year. Let me know your thoughts!
A Scratchable World Map
I love this gift so much I own two of them. I find it very satisfying to come home after a long drip, drop your luggage off at the door, walk over to the poster and scratch off a country. It's even better when you visit somewhere big like Russia or Australia and you can go to town and scratch away a large portion of the map.
The map is also very humbling. I like to consider myself a "worldly" traveller, but there's a lot of my map that haven't been scratched off yet. When I was scratching off the map with Jessica one day, I stopped and said, "That's it" and put my coin down. Jessica looked puzzled until she realized, as much travelling as I do, I've only been to a handful of countries. As much travelling as I've done, there's many, many more places left for me to explore.
Fujifilm Instax Instant Film Camera
The first time I ever heard of this quirky camera was via a contest I had on my blog about three years ago. I forgot about them until I travelled to the Maritimes with Ford Canada and they had us use these "renaissance" Polaroid cameras. After using a DSLR and my use phone for several years, to go back to a clunky, awkward camera with a small view finder was a fun challenge ? and it was super exciting when the film came out! I've always rolled my eyes at the "film versus digital" debate but the anticipation of waiting for the image to display on the printed-out photograph was as fun as actually taking the picture.
Last Christmas my girlfriend got me one of these cameras too, and it came with different colour lenses and film. We burnt through the film in a single night, but I've been meaning to buy more.
For those who don't want to invest in a Fujifilm Instax Instant Film Camera, you can also buy a Fujifilm Instax Mini Link Smartphone Printer which prints Polaroid-like images directly from your phone. Either of these are a blast at parties, weddings events and are perfect for scrapbooking.
A Portable Mobile Phone Charger
Imagine this: you are half-way across the world, trudging through a radiation drenched city. You're dirty, tired and having the time of your life. You've been snapping pictures on your phone all day. You know that there's going to be the perfect Instagramable wall or structure around any corner, so you keep your phone camera close.
But you forget to put it on airplane mode, and there's no service. As you've been walking around all day, your battery has been slowly killing itself as it tries to find cell coverage.
Finally, when you find "the shot" and go to take the a once in a lifetime picture, your phone is dead.
You have spent thousands of dollars getting to where you are right now. You will never come back, and this shot will never be taken again. Sure, you'll have the memory of "the shot", but you won't get those sweet, sweet Instagram hearts.
This has happened to me again, and again, and again, and again. It happened to me so many times my parents got me two portable mobile phone chargers. Then it happened again and now I make sure I carry them both with me whenever I go out.
Don't be like me and get yourself one of these handy gizmos.
A "Bunnyhug" Bunnyhug
If you're from Saskatchewan this needs no explanation. If you're not? a "bunnyhug" is like a hoodie, only it's better. One of my blog sponsors is FLAT Clothing and they make super comfortable bunny hugs with bunnies hugging on them (of course). I've worn mine around campfires, on road trips and on cold nights. It was a life saver when I was in an Airbnb in New Brunswick and the heat wasn't turned on. It was so cold that summer that it was snowing in Prince Edward Island that night!
FLAT also sells toques, t-shirts, and tank-tops, offering clothing for both women and youth. You can get shipping for free if you buy three or more items, and you can get 10% off if you use the coupon code "KENTON".
LifeStraw Go Bottle
Water is essential to life, but sometimes water can be deadly too. When I travelled to Prince Albert National Park earlier this year, we had planned for a 40km canoe trip. However, when we got to the dock, we realize we were missing something very important ? our canoe!
After a brief bit of confusion and panic, we discussed hiking to our destination. Kevin had brought a massive jug of water for the trip, and we would need to take it with us to survive, but it was too large to carry. It would have slowed us down and potentially cost us our lives if we had taken it with us? but we also couldn't leave it behind.
We were able to find a canoe after a few hours and finally start on our way. The next day we were canoeing to our destination and saw a boy by the shore, pumping lake water up a tube and into his water bottle. The pump filtered the water and made it drinkable. Had Kevin or I had one of these, going on the hike would have been a possibility.
The LifeStraw Go Bottle is like the system I saw the boy use, but without the pump. Instead, the straw filters the water and makes it drinkable. This is the perfect solution for somebody who wants to pack light and who isn't sure about the quality of water they will be encountering.
An International Power Adapter
There's a lot of strange and wonderful things about travelling the world, but one thing that people often overlook is electricity. Every continent handles electricity differently, with different styles of plugins and voltage.
When I went to Europe in 2011, I encountered three different kind of electrical plugins. One in the United Kingdom, one in mainland Europe and another in Switzerland. I had brought a large convertor to carry with me but the very first day of using it I accidentally blew it up! I was forced to buy a small plastic one, and it works like a charm. I took it with me to Japan a few years later, and then back to Ukraine and Poland in 2016 as well.
A Camera Lens Cleaner
Let me set the scene for you: I'm at a rodeo in Medicine Hat, Alberta, and I'm shooting barrel racing. Once the horse is done running around the barrels, they "barrel" past me and I snap their photo. For a moment everything is fine, but then a hurricane of dirt and mud rained down on me that the horse threw into the air. I had to clean up and get ready for the next horse? only to find a mud smudge on my lenses. I was covered in guck and couldn't clean it with my shirt, so I had to find some clean cloth elsewhere. I ended up finding a tap, unscrewing my lens protector and washing off the mud. I then spent the next twenty minutes getting the water spots off my lens protector by drying it on the grass.
Had I only had a lens cleaner, that ordeal would never have happened.
(Well, I still would have gotten muddy, but you know, besides that?)
I always buy a guidebook before I visit a new location, may it be Hong Kong, Italy or even just Saskatchewan. One of my good friends and travel blogger inspirations Jenn Nelson co-wrote "110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan" this year, which breaks down the many different places you need to explore in Canada's most central provinces. I found it very useful when planning my trips this year, and I also found it very useful to make trips to places I would have never considered.
On the topic of books, I also recommend checking out Frank Albo's "Astana: Architecture, Myth & Destiny". The book contains a secret that, when unlocked, wins the person a $30,000 trip to Astana, Kazakhstan. You really can't give somebody a better gift than that.
Credit Card Protector
If I'm not getting my credit card compromised at home, I'm getting it blocked while overseas. I could probably write a book about my credit card woes (beyond just paying it off, I think we all know that pain). I've never had my credit card compromised while travelling, but I know people who have. A credit card protector is a simple and affordable way to protect your money from being stolen from under your nose.
If you're really concerned about having it or your entire wallet stolen, I also recommend getting a travel belt for your waist. I had one of these my first time in Europe. You can store valuables in it, like your money, credit cards, passport and maps. This makes it much harder for pickpockets to ruin your trip and gives you the security knowing your money is always nearby.
A Travel Journal
I'm a bit of a hypocrite with journals. I used to use them every time I travelled and then when people started getting me journals, I stopped using them. For those who don't know, the first articles on my blog were actually journal entries.
If I use a journal now, it's to write down details I can't take a picture of, like a story, a fact or a conversation worth noting. I often use pictures from my camera as a chronological timeline of what I did in a certain city, not my journal.
I know some people really love journals, and really get into them when blogging. Some people put leaves in them for decoration, or put their receipts in them for safekeeping, or even use them as a place to hide extra currency. Some just use it as an agenda.
There's a lot of great uses for a travel journal and it's a companion piece every traveller could use.
Are there any other items you would put on this list? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below!
Don't forget to pin it!
Categories: Travel Tips