Struggling for some unique gift ideas for travelers this year? That seriously addicted world traveler on your list probably isn't interested in a tie or other inanimate objects that collect dust on shelves.
Instead, show your support for their expensive habit with fun things that they'll seriously appreciate.
No need to practice your kung fu or arm yourself for a foray into the malls during holiday mayhem; all of these gifts can be purchased from the comfort of home!
Still want something to wrap? These travel gift ideas are slightly more traditional and will make any traveler on your list jump up and down in glee.
ReturnMe is a service that allows travelers to attach registered labels to anything of value such as mobile phones, laptops, iPods, cameras, and ebook readers. You register the number on the label; whoever finds the lost item can both return it to your traveler -- with free shipping -- as well as claim a small reward.
Not all travel losses are the result of theft. Many times travelers come across a lost camera or iPod and have no way to identify the owner, even though they want to do the honest thing. ReturnMe offers various labels and protection programs for a low price.
Online Music for Travelers
Few world travelers venture into the wild without their favorite music coming along. Music from home can help keep sanity intact on long bus rides or while staying in budget hotels that happen to be strategically situated next to the loudest bar in town.
The best part: music weighs nothing!
Amazon.com, along with many other services, offer a music "cloud" where travelers can keep their music stored, download it, and play it in any place they find an internet connection. If their laptop or MP3 player is lost, the music is always still there.
Don't forget to check on audiobooks, another great way to make an 18-hour flight from the U.S. to Asia go a little smoother!
Airline Gift Cards for Travelers
As prices for airfare continue to increase, so does the blood pressure of world travelers every time that they check flight prices. Nearly all the major airlines offer gift cards, either in the form of miles or purchase credit. Check the terms of each program carefully; most expire within one year, and programs such as Delta's require that flights be booked in person rather than online.
If you can't find a program that will work for your traveler, consider just purchasing a prepaid credit card with instructions to use if for a flight purchase.
Airline Lounge One-Day Passes
Getting off a plane in Asia with red eyes after a long, trans-Pacific flight can certainly be a real butt-kicking experience. While prudent and budget-minded travelers would rarely indulge themselves with the luxury of an airline lounge membership, they certainly won't mind if you do it for them!
One-day passes can be purchased online for airline lounges in all major airports. There, a weary traveler can take a shower, get a drink, make calls on the free Wi-Fi, and stretch their legs out on leather furniture.
While a one-day pass is a bit costly at US $50 a pop, it may help loved ones enjoy their trip a little more upon landing. Passes will be extremely useful during long layovers in Tokyo or Seoul while waiting for transfers to Southeast Asia.
- Read more about purchasing one-day airline lounge passes.
An Online Presence As a Gift for Travelers
Travelers heading out for gap years or long trips may be interested in joining the millions of people who have started blogs. Hitting the road without a blog now days is akin to talking on the phone during a movie -- just not cool.
A blog allows travelers to share their experiences and photos without having to send out mass emails. Who knows, that simple blog they start could land them a writing contract one day!
Having your own name join the webosphere is exciting, not to mention easier to remember and share.
Domain names can be redirected back to free blogs, or a savvy traveler can set up and customize their own blog using intuitive interfaces.
A domain name can be registered for only US $12 per year; however, choosing one is a personal thing. Hostgator.com is a leading place to register and host a blog or travel website. See Prices.
- Learn all about setting up and maintaining a blog.
Charity Gifts for Travelers
Any world traveler cannot visit poor and developing countries without coming home with a burden for the people they met there.
Maybe this is a good year to balk the Christmas trend and take a stand against rampant materialism. Consider making a charitable gift to an international organization in your traveler's honor. Some charities send a thank-you Christmas card in exchange for your donation.
For something different, consider a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer calendar for $13.95. The calendars are filled with photos, quotes, advice, and international festivals that will make any traveler's eyes water.
Before giving, learn a little about how your money will be spent. Use this safe giving guide to make sure your donation doesn't wind up in a director's pocket!