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November 26, 2010

Gift suggestions for travelers

A flower vending machine in Takayama, Japan. Photo: Kat Klay / Flickr Creative Commons

With Black Friday upon us, shoppers are lining up in force to take advantage of discounts. What do you buy for a traveler, though?

The New York Times came out with a shopping guide called, Holiday Gifts for a Globetrotter.  The writer made a good point of emphasizing that travelers can be picky, because we’re trying to lighten our baggage, not add to it.

One key attribute travelers love is anything that has multiple uses. I’ve heard many female backpackers wax poetic about the wonderful sarong.  It can be used as a dress, a skirt, a scarf, a blanket, a pillow, the list is endless.  Here is one ode to that wonderful garment: The Many Uses of the Simple Sarong.

As a bit of a gadget geek, I love having a phone I can use internationally. In China, I picked up an unlocked GSM dual-band phone that worked almost everywhere in Asia.  The one exception was Japan, which uses a different network.

Having a phone to make local calls was a huge convenience. Easier to get in touch with friends, I could reserve ahead my accommodation at guesthouses that didn’t offer online booking, and call a guesthouse if I got lost (which happened often).

My World Phone is one outfit that sells unlocked phones.  I’d say go for quadband phones, since they will work in the most countries. Most phones like this use prepaid cards, not monthly plans. So you’re not paying for it if you’re not using it.  If you have a friend who goes abroad all the time or planning a round-the-world trip, a global phone might be the perfect gift.

What have you given or gotten for travel gifts in the past?  Please share your suggestions in the comments.

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Category: Notes from the collective travel mind, Travel Gear

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