Non-sexy but practical gifts for the travel lover in your life

Josh Martin is a London-based journalist who writes about business and travel related topics.

After two Christmases where it made no sense to buy your loved ones a faint reminder of the world beyond New Zealand’s borders, travel gifts (no, necessities) should rightly be put back on the wish lists.

Travelers and jetsetters might be considered hard to buy, perhaps – we like to travel for “stuff” and visit airfare websites more frequently than Amazon or TradeMe – but we’re actually very easily satisfied for two reasons.

First, we spend a greater proportion of our revenue on experience rather than hardware, leaving the door wide open for you to rediscover the best travel gadgets and technology for us.

* Sorry Kiwis, there is no competition with the cold, dark and snowy Christmas of the northern hemisphere
* I can’t think of anything worse than living in an airport
* Too exclusive for all-inclusives: Why are Kiwis and our hotels and resorts allergic to all-inclusives?

Second, and probably more likely, is that while we appreciated the added extras, creature comforts, and latest travel tech, it was likely lost, stolen, or left on the floor of a B&B. , of an indefinable inn or wagon.

With all the rushed packing and unpacking, there’s a chance you’ll end up without your new “can’t be without” item. And so, I present to you, a festive yet year-round gift guide for travel lovers, AKA my Christmas list.

Today, travel cannot be separated from technology.


Today, travel cannot be separated from technology.

Mega Adapters & Power Banks

Very boring and unsexy lifelines. How many times has that last 2% of your battery saved your bacon? For all the spontaneous, off-the-grid notions or urges to travel, travel these days cannot be separated from technology. And this technology needs batteries, cables and sockets adapted to local requirements.

Frequent travelers and backpackers would do well to choose the brick-shaped multi-country adapter, which contorts to offer plug options for North America, mainland Europe, UK and Ireland as well as Southeast Asia and Japan. Likewise, the trusty USB cord adapter clips mean your brick can connect to charge a variety of brands of smartphones, cameras, speakers and other devices. A stocking stuffer for the well stamped passport holder in your life.

turtle pillow

Yes, the recipient of this gift will obviously look nerdy when dozing in airports, train stations, airplanes and boring exhibitions and shopping mall tours. But they will also be well rested, while others will fade with jet lag.

Part neck, part turtleneck, part crushed-velvet support structure, the Turtle Pillow ties you in and supports your head so you can fall asleep in transit without doing that weird knee jerk of a head collapsed every two minutes.

bags within bags

Packing cubes can be a lifesaver for checked baggage and hand luggage. If you only go there in carry-on, they are priceless. On long trips, they can help separate clean and dirty clothes. When packing, these zippered soft-shell cubes can be divided by their contents, labeled, and stacked for easy packing – and never again will you boil over an exploded shampoo bottle through your pocket book, your battery or your vacation purchases.

Lounge Subscriptions

The hesitant restart of air travel in 2022 has been marred by massive cancellations, crew shortages and very long delays. It is therefore quite easy to argue in favor of airport lounge access cards.

While airline status lounges reward loyalty and spending on airfare, you can travel to similar oases with the flash of a card. The Air NZ lounge is fine until you go beyond the airline’s network of lounges or, gasp, choose another carrier. Companies like Priority Pass and Lounge Club offer prepaid membership packages and don’t care who issued you the plane ticket, with most lounges offering food, drink, Wi-Fi, showers and, above all, free space.

Apple AirTag allows you to track the location of your bag using an iPhone.


Apple AirTag allows you to track the location of your bag using an iPhone.

Baggage trackers

Those same delays and cancellations also mean there have been a busy few months for baggage handlers and an above average number of lost baggage issues. Big names, such as Apple AirTag, Tracki and Tile are making headlines and have their own synced apps, but there are also plenty of cheaper options that can use GPS and Bluetooth to help you find your stuff faster. and can mean less expensive and tedious. calls to airlines.

When in doubt, the vouchers

Why hit Boxing Day sales with your bundle of Christmas gift vouchers when you can go online to websites like Airbnb, Flight Centre, House of Travel and big hotel companies like Accor to book a getaway in 2023 thanks, in part, to your good sense buy Santa Claus. And not a rammed mall parking lot in sight.

Chances are your family member or frequent-traveler friend has already started their next adventure and may already be sitting on some Covid-era travel credits, so they will gratefully receive any top-ups and will be thinking of you when they enjoy a Singapore Sling at Raffles, visit the museum after hours or upgrade to a room with a sea view.

Comments are closed.