Have you got a friend or family member who is about to set off on a long-term, overseas adventure? Is Christmas or a birthday just around the corner and stuck for an idea on what to buy your friend or family member? Want to buy them a going-away gift but have no idea what to buy for them? You’re in luck! We have compiled a list of gift ideas for backpackers which would be ideal for anyone about to jet off to a faraway land!
(NOTE: All price are an estimate and are in Australian Dollars)
$20 and Under
• Stainless Steel Water Bottle ($10- $20)
We have found stainless steel water bottles are the best. They are eco-friendly, durable, rust free, safe and do not contain any harmful chemicals. Best of all, they can save money on the road by allowing the traveller to buy water in bulk or refill the bottles. You can pick one up at you local adventure store or even from a supermarket. Make sure it is good quality. Aluminium is also a good choice.
• Diary ($2- $15)
It is great to have a diary when you are travelling. I write down what I have done everyday so I remember names of places and attractions. Writing down contact details of the people you meet is also important. A small pocket diary is best and you can pick one up from your local news agency or super market.
• Cosmetic Travel Bottles ($10- $15)
Cosmetic travel bottles come in handy. You can store any creams in them and they are reusable. These days with the liquid allowance on planes set at 100mls and under, they make it possible to take them on a flight. You can pick them up at your local adventure store and supermarkets.
• Sewing Kit ($5- $20)
At anytime, you could lose a button or get a hole in a piece of clothing. A sewing kit is great to have. You can get compact ones that are light or if you have items at home make up a homemade gift. You can pick up one just about anywhere.
• Manicure Kit ($5 – $20)
Great for your nails, eyebrows, splinters and whole lot more. These days they come in small kits with everything you need (including scissors, which are extremely useful) for a reasonable price. I have had mine for over 8 years now. You can pick up these up at any department store. When you are purchasing, just check the quality of the items. You don’t want to cut your first nail and have the clippers break!
From $20 – $50
• Packing Cells ($20- $30 or there are deals 3 for $25)
These are brilliant. We can’t believe we waited so long to purchase packing cells! Makes packing and unpacking your suitcase/backpack a breeze. They have made it so much easier for us as we both have top loading backpacks (meaning our only entrance is from the top). You can divide up your contents, so pants/sweater in a larger one, shirts are in a medium one, and underwear in a smaller one. That way if you need one thing in particular, you aren’t pulling everything out of your bag just to get a pair of socks.
• First Aid Kit ($30- $50)
Every traveller needs a first aid kit. I have found getting it from your local ambulance service has been the best value for us. You can add things to your kit later on. Items we would suggest- cotton tips, painkillers, diarrhea tablets, anti-inflammatory pills, (a lot) more band aids, hydration satchels, disinfectant, anti-septic and various creams. It might even come in handy if you end up in a bus crash!
• Waterproof (Dry) Bags ($20- $50)
These dry bags come in different designs and sizes. We have a couple and they have saved our valuables on countless occasions (especially during Thingyan). We keep our passports in one as this is our most important possession. When you are out on a boat or kayaking you can put your iPhone/camera in a clear dry bag to take photos. You can pick these up at your local adventure store.
• Camping Plates/Cup ($20 – $50)
Surprisingly these have been very useful for us quite regularly. We bought kits that have a plate, bowl and cup but flatten out and fit into each other. Very compact and lightweight. You can chop up fruit, have cereal in the mornings and have a tea or coffee. Some street food stalls serve take-away food in little plastic bags, so having something to serve it up in is a necessity. Also buy a fork/spoon/knife utensil.
• TSA Approved Travel Padlocks ($20- $50)
These padlocks are great to have. They act as a deterrent for any would-be thieves who might want to get inside your bag. If you travel by air, airline security can open the lock with a universal key so they won’t break it open to gain access. Some cheap hostels also don’t have door locks so you have to rely on padlocking your door when you leave. Consider getting a larger, heavy-duty one as well.
• Quick-Dry Clothing /Underwear ($30- $50)
The cost of laundry adds up on a long trip. Being able to wash your clothes in the shower or sink, hang them up over night and have them dry to wear in the morning is very handy. It takes less than 5 minutes and becomes a part of your daily routine, just like brushing your teeth. Also some places will hold onto your clothes for 24 hours in order to clean them, and who wants to wait around for that? We use Ex-Officio underwear. Also we suggest Ice Breaker merino wool clothes. Highly recommended!
• Mini Speakers ($25 – $40)
If you are travelling for a while, they are very useful for those times when you just want to chill out. We use ours regularly as we both love music. You become the life of the party when everyone is sitting around having a few beers and you can provide the tunes! It isn’t really a necessity, but ours weighs in at 100 grams and you can recharge it via USB, so we barely even notice they are in our packs. You can also pick up Bluetooth mini-speakers which eliminate all those messy cables.
From $50 – $100
• Gorilla Pod ($30- $90)
These great Joby Gorilla tripods are perfect to take travelling. They will vary in weight depending on the type of camera it is required to hold. Small tripods designed for point and shoot cameras will be about $30 but if they use a SLR where the weight of the camera is more you may be looking at $90. If the person is into photography this is a great gift to keep those night shots steady, taking selfies and shooting video. They wrap around any pole and stand on any uneven surface. Find them in your local camera store.
• Mini MP3 Player ($50 – $70)
Our mp3 players get used each and every day. Whether it’s walking around the city, passing time on public transport or providing atmosphere for evening drinks, these are a must! They are small and weigh nothing. Plus you’ll be surprised how often the opportunity to exchange music with fellow travellers comes up!
• Multi-Purpose Tool ($70- $100)
The miraculous, all purpose tool could possibly be the most useful item in anyone’s luggage. Fixing zippers, cutting fruit, tightening nuts on old scooters, you can do so many things with one! Either the Leatherman brand, or the famous Swiss Army Knife are great purchases that will get the traveller out of more pickles than you can count! I’ve had my Leatherman multi-tool for years and would be lost without it.