Every December (without exception) me and my mother do the annual pre-Christmas standoff in which she insists she must buy me something, and I insist that she doesn’t. It’s not that I don’t appreciate her gifts, its just that the spare room in my parent’s house looks like a graveyard of non travel-friendly items that have spent the last ten years gathering dust, and ultimately getting left behind.

– I’m sorry ceramic Hello Kitty money bank, but I’m at a place in my life where I can’t love you the way you deserve. One day, we’ll be together – but not now.

If you’re moving around a lot, a collection of possessions becomes limiting. And nothing truly puts things in perspective better than carrying around that 100% camel hair rug – you just had to have – for the next six months. Or how about those volcanic rocks with the googly eyes? Or the hilarious sombrero that may or may not be a health hazard after that unfortunate dive it took into an open drain in Calcutta.

This year, for the first year in absolutely ages, I’m going to be at home for Christmas, and so can only imagine what disastrous gifts I will receive now that I have no longer have excuses of space and weight. I’m no psychic, but I can tell I’m going to have to dust off a shelf as I see a lot of crap in my future! Thankfully, I’ve devised a smart list of travel-friendly (and mostly non-physical. Because; gift graveyard) ideas for you to pass on to moms, boyfriends and clueless aunties or to bestow upon the beloved traveller in your life. And although I may have no escape, perhaps you will find otherwise – you’re welcome.


1. The Gift of Airmiles

Is there any better way of saying “I love you” than paying to ship someone off to the other side of the world? Pretty much all major airlines offer air miles which can be earnt, bought or gifted. Ask your loved ones to gift you some from your preferred carrier or alliance. They can also simply be ones they’ve earnt throughout the year from spending. Prices for gifting miles start at around $60. Also, January is by far the most miserable month of the year so you’ll really be doing everyone a favour by relieving them of your presence immediately after the festive season ends.


2. Airbnb Credit

I persistently badger people in my life to buy me Airbnb gift vouchers, but as of yet, no one has. An ideal gift for all price ranges you can gift from $25.00 up to $500, depending on exactly how much you like the person. And the great thing about Airbnb vouchers is they never expire, so can be used now or whenever you finally work up the courage to take grandma on that canal-boating weekend, like you promised 8 years ago.


3. STA Travel Gift Voucher

Now I’m a thirty-something and can’t reap the youth-friendly discounts of STA I tend not to use them, but when I was a young whippersnapper, I used them incessantly. Particularly ideal for those under 26 (who can receive significant discounts), their gift card offers an all-access card that can be topped up to any amount and used for any destination. Valid across all their packages: flights, hotels, tours, round the world trips and more. But hurry, you only have a year to spend it before it expires. Rats, I guess you’ll just have to take that trip after all!


4. Lounge Buddy Access

Give the gift of luxe this Christmas and treat your loved one to lounge access at one of 420 airports worldwide (does that number sound suspicious to anyone else?) Available from $25+, buy some well-needed rest and relaxation. Plus, drink all the free Champagne! These gift cards come in e-format so great for sending to anyone who is already on the road.



5. Try the World Subscription

Okay so this technically is a physical gift, but I had to include it as its just so darned cute and perfect for any travellers who are settled in one place for a while. Try the World is a monthly subscription box that sends you authentic goodies from around the globe every month. Choose from the standard monthly box which includes a selection of goodies from 7 countries. Usually included are things like cooking ingredients, snacks, candy and weird sauces. You can also opt for a smaller “snack box” which contains 6 snack products alternatively. Probably the most cultural food fun you could have without leaving your sofa and ideal for anyone who’s taking a break from travel, but still wants to explore.


6. The Gift of Glamping

Like camping, but with extra glam! Their motto is “buy experiences, not things” and this is extremely poignant at the festive time of year when we are all slaves to capitalism… even more so than usual. So save the clutter and give someone an amazing glamping experience at any of the 700 accommodations offered within 7 European countries. Spend a week in a tipi, the weekend in a Shepard’s hut, or traverse the Scottish wilderness in search of your “bothy”. Available in any value and in both e-format and physical this is a super unique experience that can be tailored to all tastes. Many of the venues also allow dogs, so great for anyone with a furry friend.


7. Lonely Planet Magazine Subscription

With 9 different national editions available and shipping to pretty much any country worldwide, Lonely Planet Magazine is an excellent gift for those who are keeping stationary for the next year. Ideal for expats, university students, graduates away teaching English, and everyone, really. For just $50 you can pay for 12 issues which will be mailed to the recipient every month throughout the next year. Ideal for those looking for some travel inspo.



8. Amazon Gift Card

The failsafe; you really can’t go wrong with this gift card. Use it for travel guides, universal adapters, sleeping bags – or simply just to order those huge industrial-sized tubs of Haribo, if you like. And they say money can’t buy happiness? Ideal for the wild card in your life that you really have no idea what to buy for. Also compatible with Kindle-lovers, as they can use this against anything on the Kindle store. Available from $1+ and available to buy with just a click!


9. iTunes Gift Card

Give the gift of music! And apps, and film, and probably other things. Great for those already travelling so they can watch cheesy Christmas movies, download all those festive hits and travel-friendly apps that will help them no end. Available in physical and electronic formats from $10 and up.


10. Travel Funds

Because let’s face it, that’s what we all really want, and you can blame our fast-food culture for that. I’m sorry grandma, but socks no longer pass as currency in the current economic climate! Make it rain for your loved one this Christmas with the ultimate travel-friendly gift – cold, hard cash. If you’re going to give cash physically and you’d like to present it in a thoughtful way how about making your own travel fund jar with a cute sticker and some funds to start them off.


**Bonus option: Nothing!**

Extremely light-weight and affordable, perfect for that someone in your life who simply doesn’t deserve your love!

…Failing that, coal.