5 gift ideas for your favourite traveller
Including things practical, pretty and inspirational, here are some present ideas for the wandering types in your life
1. FOR THE GALLIVANTING GARDENER
Enthusiastic gardeners know the feeling: when the excitement of a holiday is tinged with worry at the thought of the plants slowly wilting at home. Without a house-sitter to keep up a watering regimen, some plants can survive a few days with nothing but plans are needed for a longer trip. First, there are a few things owners can do to help, such as moving pots away from natural light -— the more light they get the more quickly they dry out — and grouping houseplants together (plants release moisture into the air, and so effectively can “water each other” if they are grouped together). You can also make a makeshift irrigator by poking a few holes in a plastic water bottle and burying it in the pot so the water can gradually seep out.
But here’s a good early gifting idea for your favourite gardening traveller: an automatic watering system. Gardena has a few different options for holiday watering, including the AquaBloom, a solar-powered set that can care for up to 20 plants and is perfect for balconies as it requires only the sun and a bucket of water. There are other options that will drip feed the plants using pumps connected to the main power system and household taps. See here.
2. FOR THE MAKEUP MAVEN
Pretty much anyone who wears makeup will know it’s a hassle to travel with — especially brushes and powders. Just a little bit of knocking about inside your bag and you can arrive at your destination to find a smashed up mess in your cosmetics case. Now a local company called My EasyGlow has gone some way to solving that with a nifty invention that combines a contour and highlighter powder plus two brushes all into one “wand”.
The powders come in little pots that lock onto the edges of the wand with a (seemingly indestructible) magnet and the two brushes tuck up inside the wand with a twist. So that’s four products snugly protected from damage and dirt in one compact unit that is perfectly portable. They also have a quiz on the website to help you find the right colour combos and a demo on how to apply. See here.
3. FOR THE BUCKET LISTER
They’re all over socials in time for Christmas, but we’re loving the inventions of a German-based company called Awesome Maps, which makes exactly that — not traditional maps as you may think of them showing countries, mountains or street names but delightfully hand-drawn, inspirational maps themed according to different travellers’ interests.
They have, for instance, a divers’ map plotting the world’s best dive sites; a hiking map highlighting 300 of the world’s best hiking trails; and a road-trip map that plots Europe’s best driving routes. The ultimate pick, though, has to be the Bucket List map, plotting 250 of “the world’s best adventures”. And while their maps appear on products from canvases to journals to bags, our favourite is the microfibre beach towels, which are large (170 x 90cm) but lightweight and quick drying.
Just be warned, though, that while the rest of your group are frolicking in the ocean on that next holiday, you run the risk of having the recipient of this gift lying staring at their towel, daydreaming about their next great destination. Visit their website here.
4. FOR SOMETHING PRACTICAL
If there's one thing all practical travellers want, it's connectivity. So while this is not necessarily the sexiest gift idea, it's surely one that will come in handy. Travel Connect is a local company whose product removes the need for buying a local SIM card in your destination — or hunting down Wifi.
Their global SIM — you can choose between a physical one or an e-SIM — purportedly works in “over 90% of tourist destinations worldwide”. The SIM itself is free, and you choose packages based on the number of days you need, starting at R349 for five days of unlimited data and local voice calls. You can also add international voice calling as well as extend the validity of the SIM (so you keep the same number) for up to a year. Perhaps a good stocking stuffer for parents of teens/young adults jetting off with their mates who want to ensure they can stay in touch? See their website here.
5. FOR THE TIRED FLIER
If you’re the sort of person who can easily nod off on a plane, congratulations — you won some sort of weird life lottery. For the rest of us, between the cramped spaces, the disturbing proximity to complete strangers and the constant whooshing noise, the struggle is real. Personally, I like to check out as much as humanly possible and barring access to an actual sensory deprivation tank, a hi-tech sleep mask is the next best thing.
This one is called the Sleep Mask Sound 3D. Velvety, padded and contoured to fit snugly over the face for a total blackout, it is from a local company called Sleep Zen. It’s not only super comfy but also has Bluetooth speakers sewn into the sides — flat ones, so you can lay your head against your travel pillow or the wall (or whatever surface you can find) and barely feel them, or worry about them falling off when you roll over.
So when the dinner detritus is cleared and the lights turned down, you simply decide whether it’s white noise, music, an audiobook or a podcast that will get you through, press play and zone out.
Sleep Zen has other shapes available too, including a headband, if that’s more your style, and if you like listening to things when falling asleep in general, they’re great in normal beds too. See here.