Nomadic Life

7 Great Gifts for Globetrotters: No Shipping Required

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353/365: 12/19/2013. Red Bow!

How can you shower your traveling loved ones with affection when they won’t hold still?Even if you can navigate shipping and customs, what will you give? Anything you send a nomad has to be schlepped around the world on their shoulders. Luckily, there are some great solutions for gifting nomads, backpackers, gap year travellers, and overseas students. Here are some favorites.

Give some entertainment via Amazon

An Gift Card by E-mail is a great option if you want to drop $10 or $20 as a welcome surprise. A little Amazon top-up is always welcome, even in small denominations. Travelers get bored at times, and Amazon funds will let them download books, movies and music to their laptop or mobile devices. Curling up in front of a favorite movie is a welcome bit of home, and anyone who spends lots of time in airports and train stations will appreciate a steady stream of good books and films.

Travelers crave experiences

Viator Tours lets you treat your wandering friend to travel experiences she might not have splurged on for herself. The British-based company connects you with local English-language tours and classes around the world. Options for most cities include everything from bike tours to wine-tastings, cooking classes to extended jaunts around the countryside. In major cities you’ll find themed tours for history buffs, foodies, and other special interests. Viator also offers excellent customer service — in English — so you can book a gift experience on a specific date and trust that your friend can reschedule if necessary.

Junior suite with open bathroom - Junior suite avec salle de bain ouverte - Hotel de la Paix Geneve

Mmmmm. Pillows!

Spoil them with a hotel night

Lots of travelers prefer to bunk in hostels, or rent rooms on Airbnb, to get a genuine local experience. But after weeks of travel, a night at the Mariott can be a lovely break. Even if your giftee has already has a place to stay, they won’t mind leaving for a night to soak in a bathtub, swim in a sparkling pool, and sleep on fluffy pillows and crisp sheets. If you want to give a super-indulgent treat, spring for a massage and a nice dinner in the hotel restaurant, too. and are great sites to book international hotels.

When in doubt, Paypal

A cash gift is always welcome, especially if the paypal funds are earmarked for a treat. Instantly send $50 with a note that says “Take yourself out for a nice dinner” or $60 with a suggestion to book a massage. If your traveler is in a third world country, $50 could be lunch money for the month!

Giftwrap some security

Airbnb* offers gift cards in denominations of $25 to $500, so you can give the gift of lodging — or a lodging upgrade. Even a traveller who is rooted in one place, like a student or ex-pat, can use the gift toward a getaway weekend. You’ll find the “Gift Cards” link at the bottom of the page.
* If you use this link to sign up for Airbnb, you’ll get $20 off your first booking

Want something unique? Check Groupon for ideas

Check Groupon’s travel deals to line up a weekend getaway near your giftee — the site has great deals on resorts and hotels around the world. The travel section of the site is easy to use, but if you’re web savvy enough to manage translation and Paypal, you can also search Google for the word “Groupon” plus any city name and you might be able to gift a massage or a fine meal in a form they can redeem with their smartphone.

A gift that keeps on giving

If you want to offer a larger gift, consider a year of Amazon Prime or a monthly Kindle Unlimited subscription. Amazon Prime isn’t just about saving on shipping; a subscription gives access to lots of movies and music, plus unlimited backup storage for all those travel photos, plus a free monthly Kindle book loan. (Note that your friend might need a proxy server like ProxyDNS to view movies outside the US). If your friend is more of a reader, or already has Amazon Prime, then Kindle Unlimited will give them access to hundreds of Kindle book titles — to read on their Kindle, tablet, phone or laptop — for free.

Indie Travel Guru only links to products our writers use regularly and recommend wholeheartedly. This post contains affiliate links, and shopping through these links will help support the site.

Lauren Haas is a freelance writer who has been traveling the world since 2013. Read her personal travel blog at

Lauren Haas is a nomadic freelance writer. She has been traveling the world, living out of a backpack, since May of 2013. She loves to travel on a budget, learning about different cultures and cuisines.

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