Just five minutes ago we were closing out 2014, and ushering the New Year in with plenty of alcohol and cheer. Yet somehow, in that time, 11 months has elapsed and December is here again.
The 12th month of the year is one of the busiest times for shoppers leading up to the 25th, which we all know is Christmas.
Now Christmas is unlike someone’s birthday (unless the two fall around the same time), because not only do you have to find presents for one person, but several, which can be especially hard if there are people in there who are hard to buy for.
But if you are stuck buying for any keen travellers amongst family, friends or that secret Santa work colleague you were hoping not to get when picking names from a hat, then here are some suggestions that they just might like.
1) Money belt
If you’ve ever seen The Inbetweeners 2 before, then recollect the scene where Will pays Katie for a trip to the water park. He undoes his belt, pulls it out from the loops on his shorts and turns it to the inside where there’s a zip he undoes to reveal a store of money.
Behind the slight cringe worthy factor and lack of coolness, is a practical solution to keeping money safe when away.
It’s probably better to use for cash reserves, because it’s going to be a lot of effort, and probably look like you’re undressing in public, every time you pay for a transaction.
Where? Gap Year Travel Store
How much? £4.99
2) A different type of money belt
If you don’t want a traditional belt and you want something to store bits in like a mobile phone, or perhaps a map, then there is another type of money belt that is available.
Like a belt and bum bag hybrid, the money belt can be worn either under or over clothes, and is a great way to prevent being pickpocketed as it is worn on the body and up front.
Where? Go Travel
How much? £5.99
3) Luggage padlocks
You’d be surprised at how many people don’t bother to lock their suitcases or hand luggage before heading off to the airport.
It’s becoming an increasing problem, especially on Ryanair flights where only the first 90 passengers are allowed hand luggage on board.
We didn’t realise this before we headed to the airport on a recent trip to Budapest, and one of my friends actually had money taken out of his hand luggage which he ended up having to put in the hold and wait for at the other end because we were towards the back of the queue.
Buying a set of travel padlocks can be a way to make sure all your valuables remain safe throughout transit.
For travellers going to America, you’ll need Transportation Security Administration (TSA) standard locks, which allows the authorities access without the passenger being present. For security reasons, of course.
How much? £4.99
4) A scrapbook
A scrapbook can be a great way for anyone to document their travels and have a keepsake to remember it by.
There are plenty of cheap ones out there, but chances are if the scrapbook is more substantial it will last longer and preserve those all-important memories.
The 50-page Kraft A3 scrapbook is ideal for sticking pictures, ticket stubs and other mementos in, and provides plenty of space for annotation.
How much? £12.00
5) Mini travel bottles
With the regulations on liquids in hand luggage – containers aren’t permitted to hold over 100ml and require them to be in a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag which holds no more than a litre – mini travel bottles will come in handy.
The alternative would be to buy specific bottles of travel essentials (Lynx shower gel, or Nivea moisturiser, for example), but mini travel bottles are universal and the recipient can put whatever they want in them.
How much? £2.50
6) Sun cream
Yes, the weather’s terrible in the UK right now, and yes, it probably won’t improve much come the summer. But for those hitting the beach, or perhaps going on a break to a hot city such as Budapest or Split next year, it’s the perfect travel essential.
Superdrug sell the Malibu range at reasonable prices, and because you’re buying in advance of next year’s holidays, the prices will be a little lower.
How much? £2.99-£3.49
7) Luggage scales
With every airline offering some sort of baggage weight restriction these days, it is important that you stay within the boundary if you want to avoid additional charges.
One way to do this is to buy a luggage scale, which works by holding it upright and lifting up a bag or suitcase using the metal hook on the end and the digital reader can then calculate its weight. This way you can remain safe, not sorry.
How much? £6.99
8) Selfie stick
The ultimate annoyance to some, but an unbelievable photo opportunity for others, the selfie stick is on the rise in the travel kingdom.
There are plenty of different ones out there, but the ones with the Bluetooth shutters work well (as opposed to the button-operated ones with wires on the end).
Plus there’s no need to go for the expensive ones, as the cheap selfie sticks do the trick.
How much? £4.99
9) Nordic Grip mini ice grippers
With winter underway and the potential for ice and snowfall, Nordic’s mini ice grippers could come in quite handy, especially if who you’re buying them for is off to a cold country and are likely to be exposed to adverse conditions.
The bands come in different colours and will fit most shoes. They’re easy to use and slip right on and off when required.
How much? £8.00
10) A short break
If you’re buying a present as part of a secret santa, then you’ll probably want to dismiss this one pretty quickly. But otherwise, it can be a great gift for any friend or family member – and it doesn’t have to be that expensive, either.
Use Ryanair or easyJet’s fare finders to get cheap flights, and Booking.com, Hotels.com or LateRooms are bound to have somewhere cheap to stay. Follow the rest of my tips on keeping the cost of travel low, and you could give one of the most exciting presents there is – the gift of travel.
Where? Any good travel provider
How much? Depends on personal budget