Useful Last Minute Gift Ideas For Travelers

Shoot, you did it again. It’s five days away and the only Christmas gift you’ve purchased so far is $20 worth of Scratch & Win tickets for a Secret Santa gift. Um, good job!? If you’re looking to get something useful for a friend or family member that likes to travel, here are some useful last minute gift ideas for travelers.

Your Guide to Last Minute Gift Ideas for Travelers

E-Book Reader

Why carry one book when you can carry over 1000? Sure, a lot of people like the feeling of reading physical books. The smell, too, is nice. But if you’re constantly on the go and trying to pack light (see Chris’ post on minimalist packing), an e-book reader is the way to go. They have a backlight so you can read in poorly lit or dim places and the battery can easily last for 3 weeks. Or more, for someone like me who doesn’t read much.

My recommendation: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite.

lonely planet guides make great last minute gift guide for travelers
My friends hadn’t discovered the beauty of a Kindle back when we were backpacking in India.

Lonely Planet E-Book Guides

Speaking of e-books, the Lonely Planet e-book guides make excellent last minute gift ideas for travelers. When you don’t have wifi or you’re on a plane, the guides are a great way to get familiar with a new city.

Get them online here.

lonely planet guides make great last minute gift ideas for travelers
Lonely Planet E-Book Guides – super useful (that is, if you have an e-reader)

Travel Towel

Another last minute gift idea is a lightweight travel towel. I find them extremely handy for the beach, hostel or even on those cold air-conditioned buses. Chris likes to wear them on his head, under his hat, on hot sunny days. These microfibre towels dry extremely fast and can pack into a small pouch. Perfect for traveling light.

They’re available at REI, MEC, or at any travel store.

Airbnb Gift Cards

Give the gift of travel, with an Airbnb gift card. In $25 increments, you can give your travel friend something they’ll actually use. Sure, you can give them cash but this is a much better way to do it. You need an Airbnb account in order to send someone a gift card. Don’t have an account? Sign up here with this code.

Purchase your Airbnb Gift Card here.

airbnb gift certifcate useful last minute gift idea for travelers


Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

Whatever they enjoy listening to (music, radio, podcasts, etc.), everyone needs a pair of wireless headphones. They’re particularly useful for travelers because they last between 6-8 hours on one charge, and never get tangled while traveling or doing sports.

If you’re like me and have problems finding headphones that fit, I recommend the Backbeat Fit from Plantronics. They go over the top of your ear so there’s no way they will ever fall off, even if you’re doing a handstand. They’re also water resistant which comes in handy for those who sweat a lot, or have a tendency to fall into puddles.

wireless headphones one of the greatest inventions and perfect gift idea for travelers

Dictionary App – Ultralingua

Have you ever said you were pregnant (embarazada) when you meant to say embarrassed (tener verguenza), in Spanish? Save your friend or family member from a potentially embarasante vergonzoso situation with a dictionary app. I use Ultralingua and I like it because it gives me multiple definitions and sayings, as well as conjugations. My Spanish/Engish Ultralingua app is probably my second most used down here in Colombia (after Google Maps) and is handy since it doesn’t require Internet.

Lululemon Gear

Lululemon makes some great gear. Sure, it is very expensive but there are a few pieces I think are worth the money.

For women, I love the Speed Up Tight  and the On The Fly pants. They dry quickly, have smart pockets, can be worn on the plane or for workouts, and are overall, very versatile pants.

Chris swears by his Place Breaker shorts with liners (he has 3 pairs), as well as the ABC Pants—lightweight, stretchy cargo pants with without the bulk. Check out the Lululemon gear in full use, with our workouts here.

Lululemon makes great last minute gift ideas for travelers
Waterfall swimming (up to my thighs), mud, and spider webs…my Lululemon Speed Up pants held up just great in Jardin, Colombia

They Won’t Even Know It’s Last Minute!

Hopefully one of these gift ideas will earn you some brownie points from the person you’re buying for. And, if you have any other ideas and suggestions, please let me know (let’s just say I might need some…).

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