Last Minute Gifts for Travelers

Buying for traveling / nomadic / minimalist friends can be especially difficult (SORRY!), because you want to buy them something that:

A) they’ll actually use
B) won’t be a huge hassle to carry around as they either travel from place to place or move frequently

If you’re anything like me, you’ve procrastinated both on sending out your Christmas list and on purchasing gifts for friends and family!

But have no fear – Amazon is here and you can order now and still have the gifts in time for Christmas (without the hassle of fighting Christmas crowds)…

Here’s a peek into my very own Christmas list (no, I definitely don’t expect to get all these, but hey a girl can dream), I’ll let you sponge off my ideas and use these last minute gifts for travelers to check some items off your own holiday shopping – for friends, family, or even for yourself!

Last Minute Gifts for Travelers



Compression bag

My first ever compression bag was a secondhand gift from a dear friend leaving Thailand, and I used it without fail for over 3 years. On my most recent trip to Costa Rica, it finally popped. Time for a new one – and I’m going to go with an Eagle Creek compression bag just like my last one that served me so well.

This multipurpose miracle bag squeezes your clothes down into an itty bitty size, saving precious bag space, while also keeping your pack organized and clean clothes separate from dirty.





Waterproof Bag Cover

When traveling to wet and rainy regions (and during Thailand’s Songkran), I’ve always cheaped out and just used a garbage bag or super sized plastic bag as a rain protector for my backpack.

Considering I carry my laptop, backup hard drive, phone, and important paperwork – I’ve decided it’s time to bite the bullet and spent the extra few bucks to get a real backpack rain cover.





Pac Safe Bag Protector

As a “value” traveler (somewhere in between budget and luxury, I try to get the most value for my time and money while traveling), and sometimes I stay in adorable yet security-negligent guest houses. Traveling with my dinosaur notebook was no problem and I felt comfortable to leave it unprotected (if you can carry this heavy thing – you can have it!)… but if I get a few of the electronic items I’m asking for (hint hint – that MacBook Air), I won’t be able to leave it out while I’m about so flippantly.

I definitely won’t be changing up my accommo preferences anytime soon (I love family-owned places with personality, even if they don’t have a safe), so I need to make some changes. Namely – investing in a PacSafe 55, which can be connected and locked to any fixture in the room, and is also great for bus and train travel.



Eye Mask

I’ve been on one too many flights lately where my annoying seatmate has blared their reading light at 3am (seriously?!). As any of my roommates (including my fiance) can attest to – I’m a girl that values, prioritizes, and NEEDS her sleep. I’m a nap nightmare if I haven’t had enough shut eye, and I think it’s especially important for traveling.

And yet, to this day, I haven’t ever purchased an eye mask – but that is changing this season. My ability to sleep is apparently inversely proportional to my ability to sleep (and my need for it!) so it’s high time that I start doing what I can to make it happen.



Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones

Ear plugs weird me out, but I’ve had seriously bad luck with screaming kids on planes recently. I’ve got to do something.

A well reputed source confirmed that while these Bose headphones may be grandpa-level comfortable (is that a bad thing?) they’re strong enough to block out everything from annoying seat mates to nagging wives.


Clearly Filtered Water Bottle

After 3 years of not being able to drink the tap water, I’m ready to invest in a Clearly Filtered Water Bottle. While my home has filtered water, I avoid buying disposable plastic bottles if at all possible, as they’re both expensive and super bad for the environment. But sometimes I can’t bring enough filtered water for the whole day with me from home – it’s inconvenient and heavy. This water bottle has a built-in filter and is perfect for my active lifestyle!




I’m a super minimalist traveler, and like to pack as light as possible and only multipurpose items. I’ve never invested in a raincoat because they’re pretty singular-purposed and they tend to be ugly, hot, and sweaty. But on my recent trip to Costa Rica, I really regretted not buying and bringing one, and even overpaid for an ugly plastic poncho.

If you travel in wet weather or plan on trekking through rain forests – don’t make my mistake of trying to “tough” it out… Just buy a raincoat, especially a pretty one like this (I want it in Mint), and even better than water resistant, it’s waterproof! So have no fear if you like to keep your iphone in your pocket.



Though I get teased sometimes for their strange look (and I definitely don’t don them for a trip to the mall or out to eat), Vibrams are unbeatable in wet and slippery conditions.

Especially for night hikes when you can’t see your feet or the ground very well, I wouldn’t trade my Vibrams for anything. They also came in particularly handing when waterfall rappelling and hiking up rivers. It doesn’t matter if they get wet, as you don’t need to wear socks (there are few things in life I hate more than wet sock feeling), and they dry out super quick. They were by far my best item in my bag for Costa Rica. Now – I want a new (slightly smaller – I’ve realized my first pair are a bit too big) and more rugged pair.

Lush Solid Toiletries

I’ve made the decision to go cruelty-free in all of my cosmetics and toiletries in 2017. Lush is an awesome brand committed to cruelty-free products (they even fight animal-testing industry wide with their own Lush Prize for alternative testing technologies). Coincidentally (and luckily!) the brand offers some great travel products, including Lush solid conditioner and Lush solid shampoo, perfect for beating airline liquid restrictions for carryon bags, and preventing any shampoo spillage.


13″ MacBook Air

I’ve complained enough about my dismal experience with PC notebooks, especially Lenovo and their shit customer service. I had two crap out in a year, though the Dell dino I’m currently working on is about 4 years old and going strong (my fiance apparently has much better luck than me… or treats his comps a lot nicer?).

Anyway – 2017 is going to be the year of the Mac for me, and I especially want the 13″ MacBook Air, with 8GB and 2.2 GHZ… though I have no idea what those numbers mean. They sound nice.

I’m thinking this will be my gift to myself this holiday season…

MacBook Protection

Since Macs don’t come in teal or turquoise (WTF Mac? Get some better colors…), I’ll definitely need to get a colorful protective cover, in addition to a protective sleeve. For the cute color, of course, but mainly because I tend to drop things. A lot.




Now that I’m getting serious about improving my photography, I definitely need to invest in a tripod, especially for selfie shots and for stabilization in longer exposure low light conditions.

I want something that is sturdy, pretty portable, and can hold my mirrorless camera (the Nikon 1 AW1).

I’ve heard great things about the GorillaPod, so I’m going to have to go with it!


My camera takes awesome photos, but sometimes I yearn for something even lighter and more flexible. While traveling around Costa Rica, I was super envious of the awesome GoPro shots that many fellow travelers had. They could hook their handy little camera right up to the helmet for awesome POV ziplining shots, and get great wide-angle action shots rappelling down waterfalls.

I really, really, really want a GoPro Hero 4 Silver – I think it’ll be the best bang for my buck!





What’s on your holiday wishlist this year?


A short vacation in Thailand turned into a life abroad with a canceled ticket home. Nearly a decade later and after living in Bangkok, Rio de Janeiro, Puebla, and Puerto Vallarta, Steph is on to her next adventure and living back in beautiful, cosmopolitan Mexico City. She is living, traveling, and working (both as an expat therapist and an international health insurance representative) around the world to find the beautiful, inspirational, and interesting while sharing it with you!

Find me on: Web | Instagram | Facebook


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