Buying travelers gifts they can actually use can be daunting, especially on a budget. But with a little research and creativity, you can pick a gift that will make your traveler friends happy.
Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a gift for travelers:
1. What’s their travel style? This is easier to answer if you have traveled with them – you might have seen how they move, what items they bring, and what they might still need. Perhaps If you have not traveled with them, a little social media sleuthing can also help. You can also ask their travel buddies.
2. Go for useful or inspiring. Buy something they can actually use or something that will inspire them to keep traveling or to aim for their dream destination.
3. Don’t limit your options to malls. There are online shops selling great products, too – and, sometimes cheaper. And don’t forget tiangges (flea markets)!
Below is a list of gift suggestions which covers all budgets:
1. The Headware
The Headware is a nifty and versatile accessory that can be used as a bandanna, head band, sweat band, dust mask, eye mask, scarf, and even a tube top – perfect for both men and women.
Watch how to wear the different styles of Headware here.
Price: P395 for regular designs, P455 for limited edition designs with longer cloth
Get this at: See Headware’s partner retailers here. You may also buy online.
2. Travel container set
This is a classic and practical gift for light packers, and also takes into consideration the 100 ml limit for handcarried liquids on flights. Buy a set travel kit with containers for liquids and creams, or buy containers separately and put them together in a travel kit.
Price: P95 for the travel set, individual containers P20 onwards
Get this at: Beabi branches in malls like SM and Ayala malls. Beabi has a wide range of travel-sized bottles and other containers.
3. Packing cubes
Help your traveler friends easily organize and separate different clothes through packing cubes. With their clothes organized in cubes, they won’t need to take everything – or many things – out of their bag just to find one item. Packing cubes can also be used to separate clean and dirty clothes.
Price: Regular packing cube sets start at P450. Individual packing cubes as low as P110.
Get this at: Paccube online store
4. Luggage scale
This is especially useful when they are going home and need to check if their souvenirs and pasalubong do not go beyond the baggage limit, or when they want to check if their luggage is within the handcarry weight limit.
Price: Can go as low as P300 online, and can go higher than P1,000 especially for established brands at travel stores
Get this at: SM Department Stores, The Travel Club, Quirks Novelties & Curiosities, other travel shops, and online stores like Lazada
5. Anti-theft travel bag
With a slash-proof body and straps, zipper pullers that prevent thieves from digging into the bag, and even RFID-blocking pockets that protect against identity theft so that passport and credit card details are not easily stolen, Pacsafe bags are great for travelers keen on security.
Price: Anti-theft travel bags start at P2,990. Cross-body bags are at P3,790 and P3,990. Backpacks over P5,000
Get this at: Pacsafe partner retailers like Bratpack, The Travel Club, ROX, and SM Department Stores
6. External hard drive
For frequent travelers especially, photos can easily take up space in memory cards and laptps, which easily makes an external hard drive a very useful gift – after all, as long as travelers keep traveling, more photos will be added to their data banks.
Price: May be as low as P2,500 for 500 GB storage, P3,500 for 1 TB storage, and over P6,000 for 2 TB storage
Get this at: Computer and electronic shops like SM Cyberzone and shops at Gilmore, Quezon City
7. Monopod (selfie stick)
With two of the Philippines’ cities recognized as the selfie capitals of the world, this monopod a.k.a selfie stick just has to make this list.
Help your traveler friends easily take photos of themselves during solo travel, or take group photos without having to ask others to do it.
Price: Usually as low as P300 in gadget stores in malls, and even as low as P150 in tiangges (flea markets)
Get this at: Gadget stores in malls (e.g. SM Cyberzone), tiangges, and online shops
This unique map is for travelers to scratch at each time they visit a new place in the Philippines. As their scratching reveals the color of each province, they will be inspired to visit more places in our country.
There is also a world map version of the scratch map, which will be available on the week of Christmas Day.
Get this at: Quirks, Novelties & Curiosities branches at Power Plant Mall, SM Megamall, SM Aura Premier, and Shangri-La Plaza Mall, and partner retailers like Bratpack. See complete list here.
9. Travel-themed notebooks and planners
Look carefully at some mall’s department stores and you will find notebooks with inspiring words, as well as photos or illustrations of destinations. Travelers will be happily reminded to keep traveling or planning their dream destinations whenever they write on these notebooks.
Or, you can get not just a notebook but a travel-inspired planner. The NAVI planner has colorful illustrations and nice reminders to “travel curious” and “have a worthwhile journey.” READ: 26 Beautiful (and useful) planners, journals and diaries for 2015
Price: Notebooks start at P24.75. NAVI planner is P598.
Get this at: Landmark and SM Department Stores for the notebooks, and National Bookstore, Powerbooks and Fully Booked for the NAVI planner. Click here for the complete list of branches where the NAVI planner is available.
10. Travel-inspired wall and desk decor
Give traveler friends a constant reminder about the beauty of travel in their rooms or offices through wall and desk decor with words inspiring adventure.
Price: Small wall decor starts at P89, while the small desk decor with easel starts at P149.
Get this at: Papemelroti branches. Click here for the complete list.
11. Books or e-books filled with tales of travel
Let your traveler friends be awed and inspired by other people’s great adventures. Lonely Planet’s collected travel stories like Better Than Fiction: True Travel Tales From Great Fiction Writers and A Fork In The Road (on travel cuisine) are usually crowd pleasers, but you can also buy novels like On The Road by Jack Kerouac and Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer. See this list for some of the greatest travel books recommended by travel site Matador. Just make sure the book you buy fits your friends’ taste.
Price: Depends on book, but usually travel e-books on Amazon are $10 or up
Tip: Many current travel books like the Lonely Planet one are not readily available in Philippine bookstores – they have limited stocks or are by special order. For hard-to-find book titles, an e-book gift may be your best choice. Amazon, for example, offers an option to buy books as gifts, whether you or the one receiving your gift has a Kindle device or not.
12. Gadget wire and plug organizer
If your friends carry different gadgets like a phone, camera, and power bank while on their trips, packing and keeping wires and plugs organized can be a challenge. With a gadget organizer, the task might not be such an ordeal.
Price: Bag with four compartments at P215, bag with six compartments at P265
Get this at: Beabi branches in malls like SM and Ayala malls.
Vintage travel background from Shutterstock