Travel is an awesome gift, but if you can't afford a $5000 trip to Bali, give the next best thing: Gadgets! Give the globetrotter on your list any one of these fun gadgets and tools to make their next trip all the more enjoyable.
The Nomad Leather Wallet
Phone chargers don't take up a lot of space — that is, until you pack a carry-on and need all the space you can get. While not super bulky, chargers can be kind of a pain to keep on hand while you travel. Plus, they're easy to lose.
The Nomad Leather Wallet ($US120 [$163] for the slim model, $US150 [$204] for the bi-fold) is actually a battery and iPhone charging cable built directly into a beautiful leather wallet. It uses a thin Panasonic 2400mAh lithium-ion battery and an Apple MFi certified Lightning cable to charge your phone. Our own Patrick Allan tried it out and vouched for its effectiveness as both a charger and a wallet. Unfortunately, there's no Android version. The CHARG is a decent alternative and it charges just about anything since it uses a portable battery and USB connection, but you'll have a hard time getting it in Australia.
Of course, the downside is you then have to carry around a USB to microUSB cable, but you can find a short one that doesn't take up much space.
Packing cubes keep all your travel essentials organised so you can easily find stuff when you need it. The cubes store clothes, shoes, jewellery and anything else you'd shove in a suitcase in neatly contained boxes. Those boxes make packing a lot easier so you can optimise every square centimetre of space in a carry-on or suitcase. They're pretty affordable, too. You can find a them at various retailers, including IKEA and Bagworld.
A Good Mobile Hotspot
Wi-Fi access doesn't always come easy when you're on the go. If you travel frequently, you might want to invest in a good 4G hotspot, like Teppy. It's a great backup option if you're travelling and in need of internet access (and you don't want to eat into your phone's data plan). If you know a digital nomad, or someone who just works and travels frequently, it's the perfect gift. Just remember to do your research, and make sure that it covers the area your giftee is travelling to.
The Grid-It Organiser
The Grid-It is another great gift for wrangling gadgets, devices and chargers — just about anything, really. The Grid-it is basically a grid of elastic bands that are interwoven to help secure stuff and keep it in place. If your gift recipient has a habit of losing stuff at the bottom of a bag or backpack, this is a perfect, simple solution. They come in multiple colours and some include neoprene sleeve. Best of all, they're cheap: You can find a basic Grid-It for $15.
A Mobile Battery Pack
If the Nomad isn't in your budget, or your frequent traveller isn't a wallet person, here's another option: A mobile battery pack.
When you're on the go and your phone, tablet or other device is dying, an external battery pack can save the day. It's a single gadget that can charge anything you plug into it, so it's convenient and versatile — perfect if you're travelling light. You have a whole slew of options to choose from, so think about your giftee's specific needs.
A Portable Laptop Lock
If you're shopping for a digital nomad or travelling businessperson, give the gift of protection (er, for their laptop, that is). This Kensington Portable Cable Lock ($50) will keep any laptop or device secure with a simple but powerful four-wheel combination lock. You simply plug it into your laptop, hook it around something secure, then lock into place. It sports a strong, self-coiling steel cable that can stretch up to 1.8m but shrinks down to a convenient 8cm. No need to ask a stranger to watch your stuff while you get up to pee!
A Cable Shortener
A pair of headphones or an unnecessarily long laptop charger can wreak havoc and become a tangled mess in a backpack. Frequent travellers typically live out of their backpacks, so this can be a mildly frustrating problem. The Applecore Cable Wrapper is a cheap way to save the day. Prices start at just $US1.99 ($3) and it's basically a small cable shorter shaped like a spool. You simply wrap your cable around the spool, and you're good to go.
Trakdot Luggage Monitor
If you've ever lost your luggage, you know how much of a nightmare it is. The Trakdot Luggage monitor gives travellers peace of mind for under $US50 ($68) as they can keep track of where their baggage is while in transit. You simply toss it in your bag and you can monitor your bag's location. It sends travellers a text message or email when they land notifying that their luggage has landed, too. It does require a subscription to work, but it comes with a free year and has a $US50 ($68) lifetime subscription you can choose, too.