May 27, 2020

10 Wonky Gift Ideas For Travelers

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After questioning the usefulness of the items featured in’ s gift guide for travelers, I started thinking about the types of gifts I, as a traveler, would be interested in.

From there, I decided to come up with my own gift guide. I’m not a “labels” person, so the items on my list are more about substance than flash. Yes, that means that if you’re looking for a list full of Louis Vuitton clutches and Manolo Blahnik stilettos, this is not it.

So, without further ado:Gift Ideas For Travelers

1. A watch

Personally, I wouldn’t want a $3,000 diamond-studded Cartier watch to wear while traveling. What if I lost it? Or what if, as I did with my last watch, I drop it and break the face? No, I’d like a rugged glow in the dark watch with an alarm clock. That’s a traveling watch.

2. An MP3 player

Long flights, long train rides, long waits at airports, and train stations … these are all made so much better with some tunes. I also put a series of French lessons on mine to improve my language skills. What did we ever do without these?

3. Travel guides

I tend to lean toward the Eyewitness Travel guides (what can I say, I like the full-color pictures), but just about any guides will do for travel buffs.

4. A book about or set in the traveler’s destination

One of the greatest books I’ve ever read was “The Fatal Shore” by Robert Hughes. It’s an epic about the founding of Australia, and it’s fantastic. When I landed in Sydney and started touring around with my sister, she was amazed by everything I knew about her newly adopted country. Having a little background knowledge about a place always makes visiting there a much richer experience for me.

5. Over-the-shoulder bag

I’m pretty sure my Dad stumbled upon the black purse he bought me a few years ago, but it was perfect for traveling. It was big enough to hold the essential traveling items: passport, wallet, tickets, book, chapstick, etc., but not too big. Plus, the over-the-shoulder style leaves your hands free to deal with other things and not have to worry about your purse falling off your shoulder.

6. Luggage with good, sturdy wheels

I will never again travel with a bag that doesn’t have wheels.

7. Comfortable shoes

Frumpy? Maybe. But I’m not suffering from blisters. My friend Sunday gave me a pair of Dankso’s that were lifesavers, and my friend Jules swore by her Tevas. I’ve since gotten a pair of Tevas, and now I know what all the fuss was about. Comfortable shoes may be frumpy, but uncomfortable shoes can ruin a trip.

8. A pedometer

Ok, this might seem like a funny one, but it’s nice to see how far you’re walking every day when you’re traveling. It makes it a little easier to understand why you’re so tired and your legs hurt.

9. MoMA’s World Traveler’s plug set

OK, this one was on’s list, and it’s a great one. I’ve got plugs for the France, Italy, Australia … what a pain. This would be nice. Maybe I’ll send the link along to my sister, hint, hint.

10. A Blackberry

Yes, I think it would be nice to have a Blackberry, generic, or name brand. I’m addicted to my email, for starters, and the ability to stay in touch with your traveling companions when you get separated would come in handy. And although most travelers carry a pretty nice camera around with them, it’s nice to have a camera with you that can slip easily into your over-the-shoulder bag.

After reading this, I imagine your mental image of me is as a frumpy, tech-obsessed geek, and, well, that’s not too far off. But I’m a happy, traveling geek.

So, what’s on the top of your holiday wish list?

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