The ultimate Christmas quest – finding travel gifts
I don’t envy my friends and family in their search for Christmas presents that are compatible with my nomadic lifestyle. A former over consumer turned minimalist, I have developed three important tests that I apply when I’m thinking about procuring more items:
1. Do I need it (and no, ‘need’ never applied to that extra pair of shoes or shorts).
2. Can I afford it – i.e. is it more important to me to have x item than it is to see x city/natural wonder.
3. Remember: I have to carry it.
More often than not, number 3 can put me off a purchase even if I I get the green light on 1 and 2.
With such a high test for determining if I need something new, my family and friends have a daunting mission each December and I wouldn’t blame them for taking me off their Christmas shopping list altogether. Fortunately they don’t and they manage to pull great gifts out of the bag time and again. The consumable gifts are always popular (and not least because they never cause an issue under rule 3 above) but of the inedible presents here are some of the travel gifts that I found in my stocking this year (in no particular order).
Travel Gifts in my Christmas Stocking
1. Pop up travel wine glass
It’s bad enough buying the cheapest plonk out there while you’re trying to stick to a travel budget on the road, but pouring it into a half chewed plastic beaker with Winnie the Pooh characters on it just adds insult to injury. No more! Not now I have my handy Pop Up Wine Glass. Protected in its own tiny case, the glass (made of robust plastic) quickly pulls out to form a chalice to be proud of. Even better, the case doubles as a receptacle for nibbles. This was the perfect travel gift for my wine drinking ways.
2. Kindle Paperwhite
Two novels, three guidebooks and a Spanish dictionary – at one point during my trip last year I was packing a mini-library and even though I’m a die-hard traditionalist when it comes to paper versus electronic books, I realized that the time had finally come to go digital. Although I hardly need another gadget of value to carry around, there is no denying the travel convenience of an e-reader. As well as being super lightweight, able to carry more books than my backpack (and arms) ever could, the Paperwhite Kindle includes a light meaning I can indulge my night owl instinct by reading on buses/in a dorm after midnight. But, most importantly, I’ll never have to endure another 18-hour boat ride from Barcelona to Rome having picked up the hostels only complete book: Debutante Divorcée by Plum Sykes. For that reason alone, it is the travel gift that will keep on giving.
3. Amazon gift vouchers
Not only can I use my vouchers to load my new Kindle with anything not by Plum Sykes, Amazon is my go to resource for all of my travel gear. Oh, where to start – a new travel towel (not light pink this time), a new wash bag (carrying wax strips around hot countries is conducive to compartments sticking together), that travel hammock I have been coveting for some time, new Moleskine notebooks, a new travel watch (mine is currently held together with a hairband)…the options are endless. Not everyone likes giving vouchers, but they are one of the best travel gifts you can give a global wanderer.
4. Lip balms with a flavorful twist
Spend more than five minutes in a room with me and you’ll notice me put lip balm on at least five times. I confess, it is entirely habit, but nevertheless one I seem unable to break. Sun, wind and cold increase the propensity of my lip balm needs and one thoughtful relative got me an upgrade on the standard vanilla flavor – vanilla Coke to be exact. The collection genuinely taste like their soda counterparts and, courtesy of indulgence over Christmas, have been tested and approved for wear with vodka! Small, tasty, practical and the tin will double as storage for my medicine kit (two travel gifts in one!). Perfect.
5. SAS Survival Guide
As someone who gets herself into more than a fair share of sticky situations, this was the ideal travel gift. Palm sized, the book is filled with survival tips for ‘dire circumstance where the safety of individuals is at risk’. With tips from telling which mushrooms are edible to how to abseil down a sheer cliff, I will be doing my homework before I set off on my 2013 adventures. Hmmm, I wonder if there are any tips for avoiding Hawaiian tsunamis? I do know that setting the wrapping paper on fire while I was opening this gift was rather ironic.
Of course, I received a large number of ‘body cleaning’ products, which have come in handy and lovely thick socks to see me through England’s winter. However, the lotto ticket I would like to return – as thoughtful as it was with the potential to fund my travels forever, it did not have the winning numbers.
Did you receive any travel gifts in your Christmas stocking? If you have any suggestions for my family and friends next year, I’ll be sure to pass them on.
Main image by: soapylovedeb.