Don’t Travel, Give Gifts

This week I have one word of travel advice: DONT. At least not if you live within one hundred miles of Asheville. And if you do have to go anywhere stick to the interstates or main highways. Avoid the little road I usually recommend. From November through February I usually stay put. And this week is a good reason why.

It has been a brutal weather week in western North Carolina. I would have taken some photos but it was too cold to take my camera out. On Saturday night we got four inches of snow. By the Grace of God the power stayed on and the roads were passable. Last year was a nightmare. There are still icy spots and snow on the ground, but the roads are still clear and by the Grace of God the power is still on. But the temperature is brutal. Today got up to the 30s(or was supposed to). I suppose that’s one reason this blog is coming out on Wednesday instead of Monday.

So right now instead of traveling I’ve been busy stay warm and planning on presents to give to other travelers on my gift list. Lets look at a few presents that you can give to those on your list.


Technology is amazing(when it works)(and I’m typing this on a blog—that’s a joke). If you have a printer you can use the photos you have taken in greeting cards, calenders, paperweights, or any of a hundred projects you may already have included in applications on your computer. And if you don’t you can go to a local print shop or office store and get them to print the same things. here are a few projects I like:

  • Laminate a travel brochure or ticket stub as a bookmark.
  • Use contact paper or just plain glue to attach photos, brochures or other memorabilia to the front of a regular notebook.
  • On your trips take panoramic shots(or just stand there and turn in a circle taking photos) and glue them inside a folding card to create a panorama.
  • Have a child draw pictures of where you’ve been in the past year. Laminate these and give them as gifts.

Your imagination is the limit on these.


If your recipient likes to travel there are things any traveler could use. Depending on your budget and the type of travel they’re doing the sky is the limit. A few good items are:

  • travel toiletries
  • travel luggage(Not just big stuff, I’m also talking about little toiletry bags or such. A small bag to carry little stuff on your person is always useful)
  • cameras, film, batteries, memory cards, etc.
  • notebooks, pens, paper(especially if they are themed or unique)
  • tickets(either to get there with or after you get there)
  • travel books(language books, ethnic cookbooks, books about attractions)
  • maps
  • collections (Even if the items are cheap—$1 or less— if you assemble several of them in a travel bag it makes a great gift.)
  • sunglasses and a nice case
  • travel games could be a good idea


This is stuff that you either bought while there or relate to a destination–past or  future. This includes t-shirts, sweaters, hats but also larger items.


Today technology has opened all sorts of doors for us. (I may have already mentioned this.) And its amazing what you can just do on a regular word processor,  spreadsheet or image editor. While your imagination is the limit, here are just a few ideas that I really like:

  • luggage tags
  • ID tags
  • itinerary
  • packing list
  • a map with the places they’ve been marked on it
  • recommended sight seeing list
  • You can print out sheets of paper with special designs as stationery, use a hole punch on them, then put them in a three ring binder. This is a great way to make a travel organizer. And heaven knows we all need to be more organized on trips.


This is for those of you who like to knit, sew, woodwork, metal work, screen-print etc. You can make your own travel bags, organizers, or other travel items. Although your imagination is the limit, here are a few more ideas:

  • Knit or sew a travel bag.
  • Screen print a t-shirt for a destination your recipient went to. What if they go back wearing a t-shirt no one else has?
  • Give them an organizer to keep things in while they travel.
  • Screen print a t-shirt with a map of where they’ve been.

The most important thing about the gift you give is not the price. It is the fact you are acknowledging this person likes to travel. They will appreciate the fact you recognize this part of their personality.

So here are a few projects of my own I like.

  • Take a small cooler(I have a nifty $1 collapsible one) and fill it with travel sized toiletries. This will come in very handy.
  • Take a small cooler and rig it up as a camera bag. Glue zip-loc baggies on the sides. Make a nice cushioned pouch in the middle.
  • Take a plastic shoebox (Rubbermaid makes a nice one.) and fill it with stuff people use on trips. Refer to last week’s blog for ideas.
  • Take a small cooler and fit out a first aid kit.
  • Depending on your relationship to the recipient a shoebox with undershirt, underwear and socks is not a bad idea.
  • Your local dollar store(Dollar Tree, Mighty Dollar, Dollar General, Family Dollar) are a great source for small, inexpensive items. (Did I mention hand-held fans and LED book-lights) Just buy enough of these so you’re comfortable putting them in a small container(travel bag, collapsible cooler, small cooler or plastic shoebox) and wrap it up.
  • For stocking stuffers a collection of tourist brochures and maps would not be bad. Most of these are free.(However, they also take time to get here, so this might work for next year unless you can stop by a local tourist brochure rack and collect them.)

There is something I want to tell everyone out there. Over half the time, over half the people are going to end up on Christmas with a pile of clothes, toys, etc. and nothing to do.   Not that those are bad gifts, they’re not. What I’m saying is that a one dollar travel book or even a stack of free travel brochures could be very welcome on the holiday. Naturally some people are going to be chatting away with relatives, but there are others who will appreciate something they can do on Christmas morning. So never underestimate the value of a little something. Yes, you may get criticized by someone for your “cheap” gift, but usually someone out there will appreciate it.

Now its your turn. What kind of travel gifts do you like to give. What kind of ideas do you have? Let me know. Make a comment.



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