Every year, we write a quick update about where we’re spending Christmas. This year, we’ll be home in the UK, wedged between longer trips to Ethiopia and Djibouti in Nov-Dec and Australia and New Zealand in Feb-Mar.
We’re excited about the travels ahead, but also looking forward to a few weeks at home. It’s not Christmas in Tahiti, but it’ll do just fine.
In another of our yearly traditions, we’ve put together our list of 10 Christmas gifts for travellers, perfect for long sojourns abroad or comfy Christmases spent at home.
1. Tinggly gift box, from £59 ($76)
Tinggly gift boxes are an ingenious Christmas gift for travellers. Instead of buying someone a specific experience, you can buy them a Tinggly gift box, a curated collection of experiences from which they can choose the experience they want most.
Collections are created around themes and hold hundreds of experiences from over 100 countries across the globe. For example, the Bucket List collection has over 600 experiences be it skydiving over the Namib Desert or hunting the Northern Lights in Iceland while the Key to Europe collection offers over 200 experiences including dinner and a concert in the heart of Florence or a sunset cruise in Santorini.
You simply buy the collection that most suits the recipient and they select the specific experience. With hundreds to choose from, you really can’t go wrong.
2. Kindle Oasis, £230 ($290)
Last year, I upgraded from the Kindle to the Kindle Paperwhite. I was pleased to gain backlighting and touch screen capabilities, but I did feel that there was a compromise on battery life and I wasn’t exactly enamoured by the loss of the physical page-turn buttons.
With this in mind, I was delighted with the arrival of the Kindle Oasis which combines all the best aspects of its predecessors with added functionality to boot.
Along with backlighting, touch screen capabilities, an extended battery life and physical page-turn buttons, the Kindle Oasis adds audiobook integration and, most importantly for travel, it’s waterproof! This is especially appreciated given that I ruined my original Kindle thanks to a massive unexpected wave on Tonga’s Ha’aluma Beach.
What’s more, the Kindle Oasis is offered in a wifi + free 3G version with Amazon footing the bill for 3G downloads. What more could a bookish traveller ask for?
3. Personalised map print, £195 ($255)
I love, love, love this personalised map print. Customers can create a bespoke print by specifying nine locations of their choosing. The prints comes in two sizes: 40.5cm x 40.5cm, or 53.5cm x 53.5cm and can be delivered internationally. (Delivery in the UK is free.)
The print isn’t the most practical of Christmas gifts for travellers since it can’t be used on the road, but it does serve as a lovely reminder of precious days abroad.
Now, which nine locations to choose…
4. Olympus action camera, £280 ($366)
We’ve been searching for a resilient action camera ever since the waterproof casing on our GoPro failed a couple of years ago. We’ve since used a Nikon and a Canon, but have been less than impressed with the film quality.
With this in mind, we were keen to try the Olympus Tough! TG Tracker. This 4K action camera is waterproof to 30m without needing external casing, freezeproof to -10°C, shockproof to 2.1m, and crushproof to 100kg. We’re not sure in what circumstances we’d need the last feature, but it’s good to know that this toughcam lives up to its name.
We’ve found the film quality to be excellent and will be testing the camera’s limits on our trip to Ethiopia and Djibouti where we hope to swim with whale sharks and trek to Erta Ale in the Danakil Depression, otherwise known as the hottest place on earth.
5. Personalised Compass, £65 ($85)
This personalised compass and sundial is one of the most charming Christmas gifts for travellers obsessed with maps, great expeditions and legends of yore.
Made with polished brass, the compass includes a fully operational nautical compass and comes with a protective pouch and a separate protective brass lid which can be personalised with a message of up to 60 characters.
How many do you think Bear Grylls has been given?
6. Packing cubes, from £40 ($52)
Peter has been banging on about stuff sacs and packing cubes for years and I’ve never heeded his advice – until my recent horse riding trip to Montenegro. More fool me. These have changed the way I pack and have made life on the road so much easier.
These packing cubes have changed the way I travel
I no longer find myself pulling out a pair of black leggings when I’m really after my black cardigan, or rooting around for a fresh pair of underwear. I use Eagle Creek’s Pack-It Specter Tech Starter Set in S/M/M to organise tops, bottoms and smalls while Peter packs Ultralight Packing Cubes in a seven-piece set from eBags to organise his clothes and photography gear (of which he has a lot).
Take my word for it: add these to your Christmas shopping list and you’ll change someone’s life forever.
7. MSC Power Stick portable phone charger, £9.95 ($13)
This USB charger is the size of a lipstick but provides enough juice to get a device or two back up to speed in an emergency.
The stick can be powered up via mains USB, PC or car USB prior to leaving civilisation and then used to provide a full charge to a variety of gadgets including all smartphones, e-readers and digital cameras.
The stick includes an LED display of the remaining charge, and is light and portable enough to keep in your daypack.
It has been invaluable on our many forays into the wilderness and is one our most highly recommended Christmas gifts for travellers.
8. Vintage globe, £50 ($65)
Peter bought a vintage globe for his father last year and plans to buy one of his own as soon as we have a more permanent base.
The globe works as a decorative accessory and as a reference point, but more than that it’s an excellent conversation starter. Our planet is clearly fascinating and house-guests will invariably comment on a surprising realisation, whether it’s the fact that the Pacific takes up nearly half the globe, or that there’s only one country between Finland and North Korea. Clearly, if you’re not travelling, the next best thing is dreaming about it.
Opt for a globe around the £50 mark for a decent level of quality.
9. Orei Worldwide Travel Adaptor, £20 ($26)
With over 1,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, the OREI travel adaptor is a clear favourite among frequent travellers. It works in over 150 countries meaning you no longer have to carry numerous adaptors on long trips abroad.
The different components slide in and out of the compact self-contained unit which means you won’t lose any vital pieces. It also doubles up as a USB charger, making it the perfect Christmas gift for the practical traveller.
10. Moleskine Travel Journal, from £10 ($13)
I add my notes and reminders to Evernote on my iPhone but Peter relies on his trusty Moleskine.
These beautiful notebooks are perfect for the traveller who dreams of distant lands, long overland journeys and the romance of a time long past. (Let’s face it: we all know one of those.)
Finally, there’s a whole range of stocking fillers useful for active travellers.
- Don’t Offer Papaya: 101 Tips for Your First Time Around the World
- Wrightsock hiking socks: these come with a patented double layer and anti-blister guarantee, ideal for hikers, runners and climbers
- Water-, dirt- and drop-proof smartphone case from LifeProof
- Hygienna Solo: a portable bidet ideal for anyone averse to public commode
- Foldable toothbrush
- Passport holder
- Head torch