View Full Version : For those of you who have done LONG trips..
11-28-2005, 07:32 AM
I know there are a few of you on here who have done extended trips and I was hoping you could help me out. My brother and SIL are going on an 8 week trip next year. 6 weeks in Europe, then 2 weeks in Africa. They have not yet planned their itinerary.
I was wondering if there was anything "extra" that you used on a long trip that you wouldn't have used on a shorter trip that would make a good Christmas present. Was there a book that helped with the planning or something you took along that you normally would not have? This is just a stocking stuffer type gift, so $20-25.
Right now, the only thing I have come up with is getting them a journal to keep track of their pictures and experiences. A friend suggested a "travel bear", which basically you get a small stuffed animal and take them whereever you go and get a picture of them in different places.
But I thought I would see if any of you had a great suggestion as well...
11-28-2005, 07:49 AM
International calling cards maybe?
11-28-2005, 08:00 AM
Honestly, if the trip were that long I would get them a GSM tri-band cell phone but that's kind of out of that price range. They could buy pre-paid sim card in each country (you can usually get them at newstands) and just pop it into the phone. That way they'd always have a way to call in an emergency or be reached in an emergency.
Another thing that is out of the price range (sorry!) is a small portable hard disk that they can download their photos onto. I actually just saw an attachement for an ipod that lets you use it for exactly this purpose (which I'm getting for my trip to Africa).
What about an all-European travel guide (Frommers, Rick Steve's, Fodder's, Let's Go, Lonely Planet, etc.)? You know, I really love the mini Rough Guides. They are like the bigger versions only so much more backpack friendly.
11-28-2005, 08:00 AM
A journal is a good idea - the Moleskine (http://www.moleskineus.com/pocket.html) brand is the best (IMO) because it comes in a nice small size. It has an elastic band that keeps it closed, and there is also a pocket in the back cover to hold things like ticket stubs or other small memorabilia.
For a book suggestion, The World Awaits (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1566912431/103-5475945-4870220?v=glance&n=283155&n=507846&s=books&v=glance) is pretty good and is one of the books I read before taking a long trip.
A good book on traveling through Africa is Dark Star Safari (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0618446877/103-5475945-4870220?v=glance&n=283155&n=507846&s=books&v=glance)by Paul Theroux - he went from Cairo to Cape Town almost entirely overland.
We had a puppet that was the same idea as the travel bear - that was a lot of fun, especially in developing countries because we would use it to play with the local kids. It was the puppet from the pets.com commercials -
Since they are going to be in Europe for most of their trip, a membership to Hostelling International (http://www.hiusa.org/membership/join.shtml) might be useful (if they are planning on staying in hostels). That is $28 for an annual membership.
Other small things I used are:
calculator (for figuring out exchange rates)
deck of cards
small map of the world
small travel towel/hair towel
pre-paid phone cards
Eagle Creek Pack-It Cubes (http://www.eaglecreek.com/packit_cubes.html) to organize their bags (we used these for EVERYTHING, the half size and regular size)
I'll keep thinking! :)
ETA - I think a GSM phone would be cool but to be honest I would be worried the entire time about it getting stolen. That probably wouldn't happen, but for me it would just be something unnecessary that I wouldn't want to deal with. You can keep in touch via email every day with internet cafes if you want to (definitely in Europe, and I would guess in the more touristed parts of Africa as well).
Ki Ki Marcus
11-28-2005, 08:46 AM
Believe it or not... disposable cameras.
We bought a new digital camera when we went to China for a month. It was smaller, more powerful, and lighter. But there were times we went someplace that I was afraid to use my digital. Like if we wanted a picture of the two of us. We weren't about to hand over our digital camera. So we would hand over the disposable. That's how we got all of our couple shots.
You can also get disposable cameras that take wide angle pictures - the kind of pictures that are extra long. (Those were perfect at the Great Wall.) I will always take one of those with me on trips from now on. We got a lot of use from those over the course of our trip.
Also, for the plane ride... a small spray bottle of evan. It's for refreshing your face. The air on a plane is just amazingly dry and we used an entire bottle each way. It was nice just to spritze to keep our mucus membranes (gross, I know) from completely drying out. -- You can usually get these at makeup counters.
A really good moiturizer, not just something that smells nice but something that really works. Being in different areas with different climates, and different water types, and using different (chaper) soaps all the time: my skin took a beating. I was really glad I took the super-dooper moisturizer with me. Save me from peeling like a lizard.
Same thing with hair conditioner.
Anti-bacterial hand wipes. You can get a boz of them that are individually wrapped. I kept 5-6 on me at all times. You never know when you need to clean your hands and not have soap and water around.
Pocket tissue. Traveling stresses the body out making it avaible to all kinds of bugs and flues. I found we walked around needing to blow our noses a lot during the end of our trip. It was nice to have something on hand all the time.
That's all I can think of right now.
11-28-2005, 10:09 AM
I thought of a couple more things -
- a small bag to carry stuff for daily excursions (camera, sweater, sunscreen, books, etc.). I used a small backpack and my husband had a messenger bag, and both worked fine.
- small combination locks to secure zippers on bags, and a combination lock with a retractable wire/cord to lock bags to stuff (overhead racks on trains, beds in hostels, locking the bags to each other, etc.)
11-28-2005, 10:15 AM
Ladies, you have given me some great ideas. Here's what I am thinking.
For my SIL bday (Dec 23rd), I'll get her the spritzer and journal. Then for Christmas, I'll get them a packing cube, The World Awaits and disposable camera (kiki, I never would have thought of that). They actually travel a lot, so they will be able to use them more than just for that trip. I might throw in the travel bear just to be cute.
My brother is actually a programmer for Motorola, so he has easy access to a GSM phone..but that's a great idea for other travelers. (Now I want one...)
Thanks a bunch ladies...off to shop!
Something that I would have loved to have that's in your price range: toilet seat covers.
If you and your family want to get together and splurge: DH and I rented a satellite phone when we travelled. It was great to be able to call hotels from the road.
My ILs got a membership in an emergency medical air company for when they travel to underdeveloped countries. What it basically is is that if you become ill or injured and need serious healthcare, this service will come get you and transport you by air (plane or helicopter) to medical care and then get you home ASAP.
11-28-2005, 01:54 PM
ejs, whe said toilet seat covers, I immediately thought of that Friend's episode where Ross & Joey get stuck on Christmas and buy the gifts from the drug store...I think someone got toilet seat covers :)
Belkin battery pack for the ipod, if they have long flights or bus rides. Eye masks and ear plugs, for the aforementioned long trips.
12-02-2005, 11:23 AM
I saw this article (http://www.cnn.com/2005/TRAVEL/ADVISOR/12/02/holiday.gifts.ap/index.html)on CNN and thought it might be useful for you.
12-02-2005, 01:06 PM
Great article Tiffany. Thanks for the link.
Leia, thanks for your ideas too. I'll be keeping them in mind for other gifts.
12-02-2005, 02:08 PM
This website http://flight001.com
has very cool travel accessories.
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