Besides a free trip, which would be the best gift ever, I'd love to get the next best thing ... a travel gift certificate! Sites like bedandbreakfast.com and hotels.com offer gift certificates for globetrotting loved ones. It would give me an excuse to plan another trip!
Also, I think a charitable donation in the name of your recipient to an international cause makes a great gift for travelers. Does anyone have any suggestions for international charities that they give to around the holidays?
Metravellongtime asked for suggestions for international charities that could be contributed to in honor of a person. Here are some (certainly not an exhaustive list): Nothing but Nets ($10 buys a mosquito net), Mercy Corps which now has various kits that can be purchased for educational and other purposes, Oxfam, Doctors without Borders, Heifer International which allows you to buy various kinds of animals, Unicef which allows you to designate which country you want your donation to benefit. One of my favorite charities is a Christian organization--Compassion International--which is a child sponsorship program primarily but there are other aspects of the program that you can make one-time contributions to.The other charities I listed above aren't religiously affiliated (at least, I don't think they are) so if you are non-Christian, you would probably prefer to donate to one of those. I think they are all reputable charities which do much good.
The best gift will be some which stays in our memory for long time like getting a gift of this Ten-Language Talking Translator could be a lifesaver because while traveling to non english speaking country it will be very helpful .
There are all kinds of things you could throw together for a thoughtful sending-off package. You didn't mention how he is traveling so I don't know how much room he would have to carry this around, but some small useful things for a trip might be disposable camera, a roll of quarters to use at Laundromats, gift card for Starbucks/fast food restaurants on the road, stamps and postcards to send home, small snacks, a pack of cards, mini first aid/hangover recovery kit (home made), a travel journal...
A real cool luggage (very light), obviously a nice voucher or a Eurail pass maybe?
For girls, if backpacking one of those small irons are a nice treat when wanting to look nice in the occasional night out.
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