12/11/2012 06:18 EST | Updated 12/11/2012 06:33 EST

Travel Gift Ideas For The Backpackers And Road Warriors In Your Life


When it comes to shopping, travellers can be a finicky bunch, and with less than two weeks until Christmas Eve, there may just be an excursionist left on that Christmas list who's waiting to be crossed off.

Now, giving the gift of travel is the usual go-to solution in these kinds of scenarios but not everyone has the cash to buy a return trip to the Bahamas. More importantly, not everyone cares for a sandy beach vacation. Just like the different classes of plane tickets, there are different types of travellers, so figuring out the kind of trips your travelling buddy enjoys is the first step to picking that perfect present.

Do they throw caution to the wind as they make an 111-metre jump into a valley with nothing more than a bungee cord? Or is the only cord they carry a USB that's used to charge their smartphone while on business? Do they travel solo or are they packing a posse of kids and a spouse? While there's an endless list of factors, HuffPost Canada Travel's collected the ones that matter the most, and has come up with these five travel types (and some gift ideas for each) in the slideshow below.

What kind of traveller are you? Feel free to let us know on Twitter @HPCaTravel or let us know what kind of travel gifts you'd like this year in the comments.

Gift Ideas For The Traveller In Your Life. Slideshow text follows below for mobile readers.

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The Business Traveller

Business travellers are easy to spot, because they're dressed to the nines and sporting either a laptop bag, a mid-sized suitcase or perhaps both. Their line of travel is mostly work-related, involving short but frequent trips to wherever work takes them. That being said, here are some gift ideas for the business traveller on this year's Christmas list.

TSA-Friendly Laptop Bags

Travelling around the world sounds great on paper — until you realize it means you're in and out of airport security checks like you've made one too many poorly-timed bomb jokes. To speed things up, Timbuk2's Power Commute messenger bags are TSA-friendly, meaning the bag opens up and lies flat so there's no need to remove all your gears and gadgets. Speaking of gadgets, the bag also features a portable battery that keeps things like smartphones and tablets juiced so travellers don't find themselves on a 14-hour flight to Hong Kong with nothing to do.

Timbuk2's Power Commute Bag: $199.00

A Travel-Friendly Smartphone

Part of being a business traveller is always being connected, and that means the smartphone never gets left at home. But not all smartphones are created equal and not all cellular networks work the same way. In a nutshell, different countries run different cellular technology that may not always be compatible with your phone. One way is to bypass this is purchasing an unlocked phone and purchasing a SIM card from a local carrier after landing. Google's Nexus 4 Smartphone fits the bill, thanks to its ability to accept a wide variety of SIM cards. The phone has its flaws but also comes highly recommended for those who do a lot of globe-trotting.

Google Nexus 4: $309.00 for 8GB

Noise-Cancelling Headphone

The exhaustion that comes with being always on the go has its way of catching up with you. Sometimes all a business traveller wants to do is get some sleep while flying back home. However, if they're unable to snag a business-class or first-class ticket, then noise-cancelling headphones may be the difference between shut eye and listening to a baby cry for hours on end. In terms of make and model, there are a number that do the trick, but our friends at Tech Crunch like the Bose QuietComfort 15 headphones.

Bose QuietComfort 15 Headphones: $299.99

The Adventure Traveller

For the adventure traveller, the name really says it all. For them, the trip is not about the airport or the flight, it's about what's to be done once the plane lands. Bungee jumping, scuba diving and spelunking are just activities on day one of their itinerary. While material goods likely won't be of too much use, there are a few stand-out items they should still appreciate.

Travellers Insurance

It's always a good idea to have traveller's insurance on a trip, but a little extra coverage never hurts, particularly if your bungee cord snaps mid-jump. While certain credit cards offer enough coverage, there may be medical evacuation restrictions that leave travellers in unpleasant situations. Fortunately, there are third parties, like MedjetAssist, that offer medical transportation to hospitals when basic coverage can't cut it.

One-Year Term For MedjetAssist: $260 For Individual, $396 For Families

Water-Resistant Jacket

There's very little that will stop a determined adventure traveller from their next big feat and that includes the weather. Rain or shine, they will hike, climb and bike that next gorge regardless of what Mother Nature has to say. Still, that doesn't mean they have to be soaking wet when they do it. We suggest a weather-resistant jacket, like the JetStream Bomber Jacket from Nautica. It's water-repellant, affordable and good for those seasons when the weather's in transition.

Men's JetStream Bomber Jacket: $79.50

Flat-Pack Sunglasses

When it comes to adventure travel, hiking, biking or climbing can quickly turn from a fun leisure activity to a painful chore if the sun's rays are roasting your eyeballs. Thankfully, things can be remedied with a pair of flat-pack shades. What's unique about flat-pack shades are their swivel arms that can rotate 360-degrees to lie flat and slip comfortably in a bag or pocket without the frame bending out of shape.

Percy Flat-Pack Sunglasses: $310

The Backpacker

For the backpack traveller, the experience is everything. Hotels are traded for hostels, rental cars are shunned for public transportation, bikes and a study pair of feet. If these travellers wanted luxury they would have booked a cruise, but instead they're trading it all for a more "authentic experience", taking in the sights of many countries and cities over a longer period. Budgets are usually slim, and while cold hard cash currency will suffice, here's a few gift ideas that are more thoughtful.

A Digital Single-Reflex Lens (DSLR) Camera

The thing about backpackers is that their trips allow for some stellar photo-ops. The less travelled path may be grittier and more uncomfortable at times, but it's also more likely to be free of irritating tourists and would-be photobombers. Another thing that backpacking offers is the chance to experience a destination how they see fit. No groups, no schedules, just a chance to learn about a place and take a few photos as a keepsake. When it comes to finding an actual DSLR, Canon and Nikon are the two big names, though companies like Olympus and Song has released a few of their own as of late. For those looking for an entry-level rig that's capable of quality photos and video, we suggest the Canon T4i.

Canon T4i: $599.99 (Body Only)

Lost And Found Tags

Not everyone can drop a grand on a camera as a gift, so a more practical option for the backpacker is lost and found tags. They're not only handy at the airport should an airline lose your goods, but also at the hostel where the influx of patrons can easily lead to someone accidentally taking your bag. There are a few companies in the lost and found tag service, like Okoban. Those who sign up with Okoban receive a unique code that's attached to an item. The owner then registers it online, and if lost, the finder can input the code which sends the owner a notification that the lost item has now been found. The service relies on the goodwill of others, but is also free to track. Customers only pay for the tags.

Okoban Tags (pack of three): $19.95

A Backpack

It seems self-explanatory, but every backpacker needs a good backpack to make the trip. Things to keep in mind when it comes to backpack hunting are comfort and weight, followed by capacity and durability. Also worth looking into is how accessible the components of the bag are, as opposed to how many pockets it has. After all, what's the point of 17 places to store your toothbrush if you can't access it via your clothes and toiletries? With that in mind, picking a backpack is a personal choice, though the Gregory Baltoro 65 Backpack stands out as a solid option for its mix of ease of use, comfort and accessibility.

Gregory Baltoro 65 Backpack: $290.00

The Road Warrior

The Road Warrior isn't afraid of flying; they just prefer an open stretch of road to a piece of tarmac and day of the year. Whether the weather is bringing rain, snow, sleet or sunshine, the Road Warrior is ready for a trip so long as they have their trusty vehicle and a few of these gifts besides alongside them.


While most smartphones feature built-in global positioning systems, a standalone GPS can save your trip from turning into a nightmare in the Australian outback. A quick scour of the internet will reveal that Garmin and TomTom are the top two brands in the market right now. If price is no object, the Garmin Nuvi 3490LMT GPS receiver will meet a Road Warrior's GPS needs with all the bells and whistles like voice commands, real-time map data and a top-notch interface.

Garmin Nuvi 3490LMT GPS: $369.99

Satellite Car Stereo

Those road trips can get lonely — possibly even boring without some sort of entertainment. A standard radio will do the trick but there's a point when drivers will receive nothing but static. Most cars feature an in-line jack for MP3 players, but it's tough to argue with the versatility of a satellite car stereo. Whether the Road Warrior on that Christmas List is into rock, rap or stand-up comedy, there's a channel that'll liven up the car ride.

Sirus Starmate 8: $199.98 + Monthly Subscription

A Gas Gift Card

Whether the Road Warrior is a car enthusiast or a casual driver who likes to take their ride out for a spin for the annual road trip, a gas gift card is the next best thing to money. Major gas stations offer their specific gift cards, which can be used on fuel but also food. They're also available in multiple denominations ($10 to $100) which gives gift givers lots of flexibility.

Shell Gift Card: $10 - $100

The Family Traveller

Meet the family traveller. Whether they're flying to Orlando or boarding a cruise, the family traveller can expect their spouse and a kid or two to tag along for the ride. Family travellers are essentially professional multi-taskers on vacation, and to make their lives easier, here's a few gift ideas that might help them out.

An MP3 Player

Kids can add a great deal of enjoyment to a family vacation, but they can also ruin a trip if they're not occupied. To keep them occupied, an MP3 player loaded with their favourite tunes will keep them from singing their own rendition of the "Song That Never Ends". Speaking of MP3 players, it's hard not to recommend an iPod Touch, as it also doubles and an entertainment system thanks to Apple's expansive app catalogue.

16GB iPod Touch: $199

A Travel Adapter

Speaking of MP3 players and gadgets, a travel adapter will be necessary to keep those products running if travelling overseas. Those in the market for one can look for the Playful Travel Adapter. It's compatible with outlets in 150 countries, including China, New Zealand, Italy and Australia and at $25, it won't hurt the wallet too much if someone leaves it plugged in after checking out of the hotel.

Playful Travel adapter: $25

Comfy Footware

When it comes to travelling with kids, there always seems to be a part that involves chasing said kids either around the hotel, resort, deck of a cruise ship and so on. So if you're going to be trekking after the kids, you might as well be wearing comfy and lightweight shoes. If you're tired of Crocs, Otz cork-soled shoes may fit the bill, as they come in a number of forms like slip-ons, boots and trend shoes.

Otz Ladies Troop Shearling Boots: $299