I can’t believe it is already December! Only 23 days until Christmas. Vancouver has been under a cold snap the past week and we even saw our first snowfall of the season. Winter is most definitely here as is the holiday season.
Have you started your holiday shopping? I definitely haven’t. I don’t want to leave the warm comforts of my house! For those of you who need a little inspiration on what to get for your traveling friends, here are my top picks for gifts for $50 or less. I’d be happy to receive any of this under the tree this year (friends – hint hint nudge nudge!).
Making Life Easier on the Road
Hidden pocket scarf
Anyone that knows me, knows how much I love scarves. In the winter months, I pretty much always have one on me. I’d wear them in the summer too if it wasn’t so hot! The perfect accessory when travelling, a scarf can be used as a blanket to keep warm on train rides, to cover up when visiting a religious site, and as what it was designed to do. This scarf takes it a step further and allows you to hide important things in it. A definitely win! I’ve heard rave reviews from this Etsy store which allows you to customize your scarf. A slightly cheaper alternative are these scarves from Sholdit.
I have a couple sets of packing cubes which I absolutely love. You can isolate certain items into each cube making it easier to find what you’re looking for. Plus, all you have to do is stack them inside your bag for easy packing. It’s extremely useful if you’re constantly on the move, like on my road trip earlier this year. These ones from eBags come with rave reviews and I also have this set from Eagle Creek.
Traveling Spice Kit
For your traveling food loving friends give them a gift to help on their journey. One of the best ways to save money is to cook as you travel. Often hostels and Airbnb rentals don’t have a well-equipped spice cabinet and a little bit of seasoning can make a meal go from just okay to fantastic. Give them a Traveling Spice Kit. While I find that prepackaged one a good idea, it’s a bit bulky. Instead, make your own kit, personalizing it for your friend. The spices you include doesn’t have to be too fancy – salt, pepper, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, etc. Anything your friend likes.
Technology & Gadgets
I recently scratched this one off my “to buy” list during a Black Friday sale on an Anker battery pack and I already LOVE it. My cell phone is constantly running out of battery when I’m on the go between me using Google Maps to navigate, updating all my social media accounts and snapping photos. With a battery pack, I’ll be able to charge my phone and other electronics on the go and not have to worry about running out of power. Recently in Hong Kong we got locked out of our apartment and of course, my phone was on its last bit of juice with the charger safely behind the closed door. What I wouldn’t give to have had this with me then!
A Back-Up Service
Okay, hear me out on this one. It may seem like a strange gift, but most travelers probably wouldn’t think of this until it’s too late. It happened to me when my computer was stolen from my office while living in Budapest. Everyone tells you backup your files, but when you’re traveling it can be easy to forget to pack up all those precious photos. That’s where a back up service does. Once installed onto a computer you it will automatically back up everything on the computer. So simple. I’ve tried CrashPlan, but there are many other back up services like Backblaze and Carbonite.
Bonus! For the next 72 hours, you can pick up Backblaze for only $25 – that’s 50% off! Check it out here.
The only item I have on here that doesn’t fit under the $50 mark, however with current sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, prices are dropping! A Kindle is too good of a gift for a traveller to not include on this list. Every traveller is always trying to downsize and no one wants to be carrying around heavy books. A Kindle gives a traveller the ability to read easily anywhere and anywhere. Pick one that comes with a backlight for even more convenience.
Less stuff, more memories
Is your favourite traveler heading out on an adventure soon? Perhaps considering gifting an experience during their travels. If they love food, perhaps pay for a local food tour. An adventure junkie? Supply an opportunity to go bungee jumping or white water rafting for example. Or if they don’t have a major trip planned, encourage them to play tourist in their hometown.
Microloan in their name
One thing that travel has taught me is that I really don’t need much to be happy. Life is so full of things and I’m constantly trying to downgrade and minimize my life. Consider giving a microloan to someone in a developing country in a friend’s name. Perhaps your favourite traveler has returned from a life changing experience in Cambodia. Find someone to lend the money to in that country.
For the Home
Scratch off map
One of my ingenious friends bought me one of these for Christmas a couple years ago and I completely love it! This map of the world allows you to scratch of countries as you visit them, turning the once gold surface, into a colourful map highlighting all the places you’ve been. Great for your country hopping friends or those who love the accomplishment of a good scratch off ticket. For a smaller, more travel-friendly version, there is this travelogue that comes with a travel journal as well.
These days when people travel, photos are sure to end up on social media, especially Instagram. Take these digital Instagram images and turn them into magnets with Sticky 9! . I’ve been a long time fan of Sticky 9 and have amass a small collection of these magnets. Whenever I travel, I take a lot of photos and many of them end up on Instagram never to see the light of day. This is a great way of making something digital into something tangible. Who doesn’t want to be reminded on their fridge of their fabulous time backpacking through Europe?
Bonus! If you’re going to be ordering some of these use this code to get 15% off your first order: FRIENDVAE1 (I will also receive 15% off for my next purchase as well.)
Disclosure: Some of the above links are affiliate links. That means that if you buy an item from Amazon through any of these links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. These affiliate links allow me to continuing traveling.