11 Unusual Birthday/Christmas Gift Ideas For Travelers

Each person has in their life a friend or an acquaintance who seems to be always traveling whether for business or leisure. Since I am one of those people who do travel a lot, and who never seem to get a gift that they can actually use on the road (read this, Mom!), I came up with this list of ideas for birthday or Christmas gifts to the travelers in your life. I have tried some of these products while others just seem pretty useful. Unlike previous posts, I will be embedding YouTube videos under every item to give you a better idea on each since some of them might not be too well known.

You can also follow my travels on Instagram at @gmr83.

1. Travelon Anti Theft Backpack: Travelon is a well known travel accessories brand and their anti-theft travel backpack is a simple but very effective option at a very reasonable price. This updated version includes RFID-blocking card and passport slots in the front business organizer pocket. This backpack has all of the other necessary security features too, like slash-proof chain-link construction hidden in the nylon shell, and locking closures for the main and front compartments. It is very versatile, as it can be used as a touring daypack or as a small carry on while flying. Get it here.

2. Scratch Maps: This a fun way of keeping track of your travels by, well, scratching them off the map. The scratched areas reveal information about the country or area you traveled to, and is fun to show to friends at a get together. Get it here.

3. Ollo Clip 4-in-1 Lens: This little gadget turns your iPhone’s built-in-camera into a Fisheye, Wide-Angle, or Macro lens (10x and 15x). Weighing in at less than 1 ounce, there’s no reason to ever leave home without it. Get it here.

4. Mophie power packs: This is probably for everyone not just for travelers who would appreciate more than others nevertheless. Since a power outlet can be a rare find while on the road, carrying an extra power pack for your phone or other device can be a lifesaver. There are also solar-powered chargers that don’t even require an outlet. Get it here.

5. GoDome: Ever wondered how these National Geographic-type photographers get these split shots of people under water and a boat above the water?  Wonder no more! Get it here.

6. Smart suitcase: There are suitcases, and then there are smart suitcases. This single piece of luggage is so smart, it all but packs itself. For instance, the Raden case eliminates the more annoying elements of travel — overweight luggage, dead cell phones, sad faces when baggage doesn’t turn up on the carousel. It comes in three sizes, carry-on, medium and large, with a built-in rechargeable battery that once fully juiced can charge one phone up to four times, or two phones two times since there are two USB ports. The case pairs with Raden’s mobile app and can determine weight ahead of check-in because the suitcase handle works like a scale. Get it here.

7. Lifestraw: I honestly knew about this just today! It is quite possibly the most portable water filter ever made, Lifestraw is not just compact and lightweight, it’s incredibly potent, removing 99.99999% of waterborne bacteria, taking out 99.8% of waterborne protozoan parasites, and reducing water turbidity by approximately 0.2 microns, meeting or exceeding all EPA standards for efficacy. It’s easy to use, too — just stick the contraption into a not-quite-sure-whether-clean water source (be it a lake, a puddle or a magical oasis in the desert) and start sipping through the straw, running water through the integrated tube straight to your mouth. Get it here.

8. GorillaPod: Probably one of the most useful gadgets that I have. Instead of carrying around a heavy tripod for your already heavy camera, why not get a small, super flexible tripod that you can basically fit in any backpack? Get it here.

9. Self-cleaning toothbrush: Mom, if you are planning to get me something for my birthday, please make it this one! The Violife travel-size toothbrush and sanitizer is contained in a case away from the germs in the carry-on, toiletries bag, or the hotel sink. It will also sanitize the brush to kill 99.9 per cent of germs including H1N1, E. coli, Staph, and Salmonella in six minutes by using a germicidal UV light technology. Get it here.

10. EyeFi SD Card: Although many cameras now have a built in WiFi feature to export pictures from your camera to your phone, many others don’t. Enter the EyeFi SD card, a memory card that allows just that. Get it here.

11. Wireless Range Extender: This baby is a life saver! Say you are traveling and your hotel has free WiFi, which is great, but for some reason your room gets one bar of signal unless you hang your laptop out the window and hold your tongue in just the right position! This incredibly small gadget plugs into your laptop and your WiFi woes are resolves. Get it here.