Last Minute Travel Gifts

Last Minute Travel Gifts

So you procrastinated and procrastinated and now here we are, a few short days from Christmas and you don’t have any good gifts for the special traveler in your life. If this is you, fear not- we’ve got gift ideas to help you out! Looking for travel related gifts before Christmas? Here’s what we suggest!

If you’ve come this far, it’s because one of two things:

  1. Shipping is out of the question.
  2. Battling the chaos of other procrastinating holiday shoppers at local stores is even more out of the question.

And so plain and simple- looking for meaningful gifts that can be obtained instantly.

1. Airline or Hotel Gift Card

I know, gift cards are SO boring right? But here’s the thing- to that travel nerd in your life, the right gift card can mean a lot. Here’s what you have to do to get this right:

  1. Be intentional about what airline or hotel you get a card for. Does that special someone really prefer to fly Virgin America? If so, a Southwest Airline gift card is cool, but nowhere near as cool as matching the card to the preferred carrier of your loved ones. Same for hotels- if you know your loved one really likes Starwood properties, get the right card!
  2. Consider elite status. This is why I think gift cards are great- as an American Airlines frequent flyer, if someone gives me an AA gift card, it essentially is free money that still helps me qualify for elite status. And so you might find a gift card boring, I find it a cost-effective way to get one of the things I love the most, holiday season or not- elite status!

Thinking about transferring or buying miles for someone. A word of caution: It’s usually very expensive for very little return. To transfer miles from your account to someone else is a total scam- the airlines charge you A LOT to give what’s already yours. Instead- consider telling a loved one you’ll book a flight for them using your miles. And while it’s not as bad with buying miles (and sometimes there are actually good deals to buy miles or points), it usually is cost prohibitive. And many airlines, American being one, charges processing fees of $30-$40 just to buy the miles in the first place. So 9 times out of 10, avoid gifting miles and instead give gift cards!

2. Books for an e-reader

OK, this should be an obvious one. In a pinch, shipping is out of the question and so what better gift for the frequent traveler than a book for their Amazon Kindle or Nook. And this being a travel blog, I’m not going to just recommend any old book. No, we’re going travel themed here with some of my favorite travel books I read this year!

Art of Stillness by Pico Ayer. I’m obsessed with this little book. Pico is a great travel writer, and after a particularly hectic year of travel, this book spoke volumes to me. To appreciate going out into the world, one must equally appreciate going deep within your own world. This book is a form of meditation in itself, and a good quick read on or off vacation!

3. An Amazon Prime Membership

If the traveler in your life doesn’t have Amazon Prime, it’s time to pull the trigger. And while the two-day shipping and all that jazz is nice, Amazon Prime has a couple nice features for travelers in particular:

First, and most importantly, the Amazon Prime video library. Tons of TV shows and some good movies are available to stream, similar to Netflix. But here is where Amazon stands apart from Netflix- you can actually download episodes and movies to your electronic devices. Translation: Free entertainment on flights, no wifi required! This is huge to me and during the peak of some crazy travel, it saved me some serious cash and rescued me from serious boredom as I’d just download episodes of shows and watch them on the plane!

Next, the lending library. You get access to a number of free books because of Amazon Prime. So get that membership- it’s worth it!

4. Munchery Meals to Go for the Jetlagged Amongst Us

Jetlag is a pain in the butt. And when I come back from a crazy international trip, or even a long domestic one, sometimes the last thing I want to do in the world is cook. Enter Munchery, a service I can only describe as healthier and better tasting take out. Munchery works like this: You select from a wide variety of meals, sides, and desserts you’re interested in. Select the hour you want it delivered and then when it arrives, pop it in the oven for a few minutes, and you’ve got a tasty meal ready to go. But our like about Munchery goes beyond just tasty food. They donate a meal to the LA Regional Food Bank for every meal we order. The packaging is biodegradable. And the menu is seasonal and changes weekly.