Thursday, February 29, 2024

The 18 best Christmas gifts for the travel-obsessed

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An experience

Get a taste of ‘vanlife’ with Camplify.Credit: iStock

You know what travellers love most? Travel. Experiences. Thrills. So why not give the gift of travel this year with a voucher for the likes of RedBalloon – which specialises in memorable though easily accessible experiences – or maybe Camplify, which allows travellers to experience “#vanlife” by hiring out someone else’s van or caravan.

An actual airfare

Of course, if you’re feeling particularly cashed-up this year (or you have a lot of making up to do) you could give the real gift of travel and splash out on an airfare for your loved one.

Lounge passes

Plaza Premium lounges will offer those with a guest pass access to free drinks and a buffet.

Plaza Premium lounges will offer those with a guest pass access to free drinks and a buffet.Credit: Plaza Premium

Some people travel a lot, though still not enough to bag free lounge access at the airport via their frequent flyer status. For those people, consider a Plaza Premium Lounge Pass, which can be purchased with as many lounge-pass vouchers as you like, and allows access to all those free drinks and buffet meals in airports across Australia and the world.

Travel wallet

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a stylish, sturdy and useful travel wallet. I have a Valante Premium, which is RFID protected, water-resistant, looks good enough, has plenty of space, and retails for under $50 on Amazon.

Phone stand

Watch videos on your phone with this packable stand.

Watch videos on your phone with this packable stand.

Those who fly frequently on budget airlines will appreciate this nifty gadget: a foldable stand upon which to balance your phone while you watch videos on board. The Nulaxy Foldable Phone Stand is only $19, it packs down small, and does everything you need.

Bluetooth transmitter

Here’s another essential item for those who spend a lot of time in the air: a Bluetooth transmitter which you can plug into the plane’s entertainment system, and then connect your wireless headphones, which is a total game-changer for onboard movies and TV shows. You can spend a lot or a little on one of these – I like the Sennheiser BT-T100.

Everpress garment

This website allows artists and small business owners from around the world to sell merchandise, in the form of T-shirts and jumpers, while allowing people like you to directly support them. Opt for businesses based in countries your gift recipient really cares about. As examples, I’ve got a T-shirt designed by a Lebanese street artist, a jumper from an interior design firm in Palestine and another jumper from a restaurant in Rome.

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Your own amenities bag

Pull together a bag of goodies to replicate the business-class travel experience. So, we’re talking mini-toiletries such as moisturiser, hand-sanitiser, toothpaste etc, plus an eye-mask and neck pillow, and a nice bag to put it all in.

AeroPress coffee maker

AeroPress coffee maker

AeroPress coffee makerCredit: iStock

Australians have become incredible coffee snobs and are often disappointed by the dodgy offerings in foreign countries. The remedy is to travel with an AeroPress, the on-the-go coffee-maker that produces a seriously high-quality cup. The AeroPress Go is designed specifically for travellers, and has a mug with a silicone lid as part of the kit.

Global eSIM

Give your travelling loved one the gift of not being able to ghost you when they go overseas, with a global eSIM. These products work with most phones and allow plenty of roaming data and talk time across the world, for a reasonable price, with no bill shock. And you can never lose the card because it isn’t a physical product. There are plenty of brands out there, though Airalo is one of the most popular.

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Luggage tracking tile

Most travellers by now are across the necessity of putting a tracking tile in their checked luggage, given the regularity with which that luggage is “mishandled”. Bluetooth tiles such as the Apple AirTag are eternally popular, though Tile Mate is also good.

Lifestraw Go water bottle

Most of us are trying now to cut down on single-use plastics, and what’s one of the most regularly used? Water bottles. So many water bottles. One of the solutions is the Lifestraw Go, an insulated, stainless-steel bottle with a filter that protects against bacteria, parasites, microplastics and chemicals such as chlorine. The filter is good for 4000 litres of water.

Fujifilm X-T5 camera

Though many travellers move around with just a mobile phone camera these days, those who are a little more serious about photography will absolutely love the Fujifilm X-T5. This is a mirrorless camera that is packed with features and takes incredible photos, though it’s still quite small and light compared to many other DSLR bodies.

Le Creuset waiters friend

For your wine-drinking traveller, a truly beautiful waiter’s friend.

For your wine-drinking traveller, a truly beautiful waiter’s friend.

You know, I was going to say a Leatherman here, one of those multi-tool knives that make you feel like Bear Grylls. Truth is, however, that I’ve had a Leatherman for about a decade now and have basically only ever used the corkscrew. So why not just cut out the middleman and buy your wine-drinking traveller a truly beautiful waiter’s friend, like this one from Le Creuset?

Photo book

If you’ve shared a memorable journey with someone, this is such a nice way of commemorating that experience, while finally finding something to do with all those millions of photos you have on your phone. Design your own photo book, using a platform like Shutterfly, and they will have a high-quality memento of travels past.

*The writer paid for all his own products, though received a free experience from RedBalloon.

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