21 Gift Ideas for Adventure Travelers
Gift giving season is upon us. If you have a budding adventure traveler in your life, and are looking for affordable gift ideas, this list has exactly the suggestions you are looking for. The gift ideas on this list aren't necessarily sexy, but they all provide valuable infrastructure for adventure travelers and on-the-fly functionality. Bonus? Many of these gift ideas are less than five dollars. All of them fall into the category of affordability. So grab a stocking and start stuffing!
Flat rubber sink stopper
OK, so this isn't exactly the sexiest of gift ideas. But if you're looking for an affordable stocking stuffer, these offer a ton of flexibility and cost savings. Many budget hostels and hotel rooms abroad come sans drain plugs. The disc-style sink stoppers fit virtually any sink or tub drain, allowing hand laundry and bubble bath options where there would otherwise be none.
Whether to save money, or stay a little longer at a remote location, eventually it's necessary to do some hand laundry on the road. Having a compact travel clothesline expands travel options without taking up large amounts of pack room.
Having a couple of these on hand creates on-the-fly hanging storage on mall restroom doors and hostel shower rods. This comes in handy when you want to keep your purse or day pack from resting on less than sanitary floors. Ikea has affordable multi-packs available.
Door wedges provide additional security in cheap hotel rooms when wedged underneath closed doors from the inside. These come in multi-packs, allowing for more than one stocking stuffer gift per purchase.
Dirt cheap and available in a variety of colors, there are a variety of travel uses for bandanas. Dish washing and picnic support are a couple that come to mind.
These are one of my all time favorite pieces of travel gear. Multiple uses and low on weight with loads of color options, lots of travel needs are met with sarongs. Wrap around skirts, quick drying towels and makeshift hostel room curtains are a few of the ways I use them most often.
There are many on the market, but the one that my husband and I have settled on is the Petzle E+Lite. It's extremely compact, has multiple brightness settings and both white and red light options. The red light options come in handy when you don't want your night vision disturbed or want to make a lower light impact. Reading in a group dorm or astronomical observing are two examples of where we use the red light option.
Zipper pull compass and thermometer
These are small as gifts go, and can be attached to the zipper of a coat or pack. Not exactly professional gear, but it's occasionally nice to know the temperature, and you'd be surprised how often you want to know what direction your facing when visiting one sun temple or another. Zipper pull compasses are a fun little gift that can be picked up affordably as an add-on and tied on to another package with ribbon.
Travel sized sewing kit
Packing the kitchen sink isn't necessary when it comes to sewing supplies, but you should have a few items at your disposal to mend gear and tighten buttons. Travel sized sewing kits are affordable and practical items to add to your adventure traveler's gift list.
Safety pins in assorted sizes
They provide transitional support for wardrobe malfunctions, keep bra straps in place and affix sarongs into skirt mode on a windy day. Safety pins come in multi-packs of assorted sizes and are low on space and weight.
First aid kit
Having a reasonable selection of basic medial supplies is always a good idea on the road. This fact makes streamlined first aid kits a fantastic small gift idea for adventure travelers in the making. Pick one up that suits the person you're shopping for and tuck it in their stocking or gift bag.
Small stainless steel nail clippers
Even if seamless manicures aren't your thing, rips and hang nails happen sooner or later to everyone. This makes a small set of stainless steel nail clippers a great travel themed stocking stuffer for both men and women.
Professional teasing comb with steel prongs
In my opinion, if a girl can only carry one hair grooming tool, it should be a professional teasing comb with steel prongs on one end. These provide basic combing and detangling support, teasing capabilities for lift and body and a makeshift hair pick for perms and curls.
OK, to be honest I likely would never have explored these if I hadn't been married to a military man. But he brought one home from the supply store one day, and after he showed me the different ways you could wear it and use it on the road, I was hooked. I have one in black. He has a few in different colors. Recon wraps are great during dust storms, in between showers when traveling distances without water access, and make helpful ear warmers on cooler nights in hostels with limited heat.
Having your country of residence displayed for travelers and local service staff in the customs area to see isn't always the safest way to go, depending on your nationality and chosen travel destination. It can also cost you more money if people in your part of the world are believed to have more money than other tourists on average. Generic passport covers are an affordable security measure.
Women are blessed with an extra spot to safely store small valuables and extra cash: the inside of their bra. You could whip up a fabric pouch and safety pin it in place, but that risks inconveniently timed and painful pokes. Years ago on a trip to Egypt, a friend turned me on to a product called a bra stash. It holds cash and other small valuables, and hooks on to your bra strap without sharp pins. If you are feeling like you want try out a bra stash for yourself, they are available at Amazon.
Waist security pouch
Both male and female travelers tend to find this particular item helpful. A waist security pouch straps on to your waist and provides a large wallet-sized area to hold cash, documents and more.
Many people don't mind skipping these, but in my opinion they eliminate a fair amount of what I like to call the yuck factor. Ultimately, it's the call of the individual traveler, but I think toothbrush covers provide a service I don't like to go without.
You don't have to be a rock climber to find carabiner clips helpful on the road. They provide closed loop hanging support for packs on hostel beds, tuk tuk bars and more. Carabiner clips are also helpful in securing other items to various loops and handles on travel bags.
I recommend going with a minimum of four rows of bristles. Six if you have the room. The ultra mini nail brushes with only two rows will leave you with a brush that does one thing — scrub nails. While I realize that's the main purpose of a nail brush, I like to use them for laundry support as well. A soft to medium strength bristle lends not only great personal grooming support, but also allows for the scrubbing of socks, tee shirts, underclothes and more. A large scrub brush isn't realistic and is too rough for many clothes anyway. But a medium sized nail brush? It's one of my main travel items of choice.
Picking up high quality, affordable street art on the road is a great way to build an international collection. If you buy it unframed, it's not only more affordable, but much easier to transport home. Simply roll up sketches, water colors and similar pieces and tuck into an affordable art tube you can attach to your backpack. This keeps your souvenir stash compact as well as on budget.
Related Readings: 10 Universal Travel Skills, Purchasing Travel Items from the Hardware Store, How to Travel Light and Low Budget, Going Green on the Road, Eating Cheap Abroad, Green for Girls and DIY Passport Photos.
Music Pairing: Shane Alexander's Amsterdam, from the CD The Sky Below. Listen to it for free by visiting Shane Alexander Music online. A great tune to rock out to at the keyboard or pop in during a road trip.
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