Buying gifts for people around the holidays can be fun or very stressful. If you want to buy something that they will not return or regift, you need to understand what type of person they are and what stuff they will like. As a wanderlust, I could care less for fancy jewelry, but I love handmade jewelry made by women in Africa or another third world country where I know the money is going to support the makers. Wanderlusts are quite easy to please if you know they aren’t your typical consumerists. They aren’t easily impressed with material goods, but love unique hand-made things. Here is a list to help you shop for your wanderlust friend, family member, or significant other this holiday season.
- Books: Wanderlust’s love to read about other cultures or people traveling around the world. So, you can find a book for them in the travel fiction or travel non-fiction aisle. Guide books are also a big hit if you know some of their dream destinations. Some of my favorite books have included “Wild,” “Under the Tuscan Sun,” anything by Bill Bryson, “Eat, Pray, Love,” “Into the Wild,” “The Alchemist,” and “On the Road.”
- Jewelry: Instead of getting your girl some blood diamonds from Zales, get her a unique handmade necklace made by women in Peru who get the money directly for their work. Visit stores like Ten Thousand Villages Jewelry or The Good Trade-Fair Trade Jewelry or National Geographic’s Store- fair trade goods. These are just some examples. Wanderlust’s have seen the world and the beautiful people in it and would much rather support a local person in need of help for their hard work than receive diamonds that Africans were forced into slavery for. A lot of cities have local shops like Ten Thousand Villages that sell fair trade goods like alpaca sweaters from Peru, hand-woven bags from Africa, or earrings from SE Asia. Wanderlusts love to wear stuff with a story behind it. Pictured below is a company called Bead for Life that helps Ugandan woman gain a living wage by making handmade jewelry from recycled materials Beadforlife.
- Take them on an adventure: If you can’t afford to send them abroad, plan a fun adventure in your state. Surprise them with a getaway to a cabin in the mountains, a beach house on the coast, or a tour in your own city. Take them white water rafting, rock climbing, trekking. Get them outside! Make staying local an adventure. A wanderlust will appreciate you showing them a fun time locally, because they oftentimes forget that there is plenty of fun to be had at home. If you take them sledding, skiing, or snowshoeing they will be pleased as a peach. They love being active and value adventures way more than material possessions.
- Get them gear: Wanderlusts who backpack always need gear. I’ve had my Osprey backpack for 6 years now and would love a new backpack. If they travel often then their gear is probably worn out, but they don’t have the money to buy new gear so they just patch it up and keep going. So hit up REI and get them backpacks, sleeping bags, camping stoves or backpacking stoves, tents, pretty much any gear would make them happy. Or get them a gift card for REI and they can find what they need.
- Electronics: There are certain electronics that wanderlusts would love. Although most love actual books, a kindle or e-reader is helpful when traveling for a long period of time to cut back on weight. A camera or go-pro is always nice so they can snap the best pictures on the road. Make that camera waterproof and it will be extra useful. They would probably also love noise canceling headphones for those long train and plane rides. Check out these sites for ideas of the latest tech for travelers: Essential Tech Gadgets, 20 Best Tech Gifts for Travelers or Coolest Travel Gadgets by Travel and Leisure.
- Travel Accessories: Beyond gear, there are some great new travel accessories out there like wallets for your passport, bras that act as a hidden wallet, a funnel to help you pee like a man, etc. These are great stocking stuffers. New headphones, earplugs, a swiss army knife, flask, a compass keychain, and the list goes on and on. REI or Amazon are great places to find this stuff. Anything that makes traveling a little bit easier is perfect for the wanderlust.
- A Journal: Every dedicated traveler needs a journal to write about their adventures in. Yes, there are online blogs now for this, but when you don’t have wifi a journal comes in handy so you don’t forget what you did that day. I always bring a journal even though I blog. It helps me remember everything I’ve done and when I get to a computer I can use it to write my blog from. Find something with a decorative cover that fits their personality and maybe add in some nice pens to go with it. You can never go wrong with a journal.
- Foreign Language classes or books: Most likely if they are leaving the country, they will need to learn a new language unless it is an English speaking family. There are some great books out there for learning new languages like Rosetta Stone. A foreign language dictionary or phrase book is also handy. If you really want to help them out then paying for a language class would be extra helpful.
- Plane tickets or a tour: If you really want them to love you, help them purchase their flights abroad or give them some of your miles. This will surely help them on their journey and they will love you forever. Even booking them on a tour for 10-days abroad would be the best gift ever!! Or surprise them Christmas morning or Hanukkah with a trip as a family. I always loved waking up on Christmas morning to not find gifts, but our suitcases by the tree ready to go to Jamaica or Disney World. That surely trumped any gift we could possibly get. This way you can enjoy the gift with them on vacation.
- And last but not least- CASH! We all know that one thing most wanderlusts are constantly lacking is cash. They need money to make their travels worthwhile and make them happen in general. So, if you are really stumped just write them a check or stick some cash rolled up in their stocking and they will never complain about that.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL MY WANDERLUST FRIENDS!
Published by Melissa Gittelman