Great Gifts for the Digital Nomads in Your Life
It's not easy to shop for loved ones who live on the road.
The holidays are us, which means ’tis the season for packed airports, finding new ways to make eggnog even worse for you, and pulling a Thanksgiving all-nighter for Black Friday deals. It’s also the season for gifting, which means it’s time to show your loved ones how closely you’ve been paying attention to their subtle hints. Let’s face it, though: some loved ones can be trickier to buy for than others. Maybe they’re infamously picky or vague. Maybe they’re a regular re-gifter. Or maybe they’re living that digital nomad life.
It’s no coincidence that the recent uptick in digital nomadism has also led to a recent uptick in loved ones who are hard to shop for. That’s because digital nomads, more often than not, are itinerant world travelers, living maximally in terms of experiences but minimally in terms of possessions. But even though digital nomads don’t have a chimney for Santa to shimmy down—or a permanent address—they’ll still appreciate a thoughtful gift for the holidays. You may not want to load them up with too many possessions for their lifestyle, but there are still plenty of heartfelt sentiments that don’t take up physical space, are easy to tote, and express how much you care about them, no matter where they are or what they’re doing.
At the end of the day, there are always things that digital nomads may want or need, but are reluctant to purchase themselves. As a former digital nomad myself, I can attest to that engrained minimalism, and receiving gifts from family while on the road always invoked a much-needed sense of home. Whether it’s a small item that makes life easier, or experiential offerings you know they’ll love, here are 10 great gift ideas for the digital nomads in your life.
Traveling full-time has its perks. But there are downsides, too—like the inescapable din of planes, trains, and automobiles. Noise-canceling headphones offer a bit of welcome quiet in a world of omnipresent noise. These Bose QuietComfort headphones are a top-of-the-line choice for frequent flyers, prized for their various settings, sleek design, and comfort. You can use them for simple noise-canceling white noise, music, or a bit of both. Quiet and Aware modes let the giftee decide how much they’d like to let the world in, while custom modes allow for a middle ground.
A crucial aspect of efficient packing is organization—a sentiment that’s particularly pivotal for digital nomads, who live and die by on-the-go efficiency. This makes packing cubes a godsend. Conveniently foldable, fillable, and packable, they’re designed with efficiency in mind, to be effortlessly organized within suitcases and even used as makeshift drawers when unpacking in hotel rooms. The colorful options from Calpak are among the best out there, including this 5-piece set comprising breathable mesh cubes and labels for easy organization.
It can be hard to regularly get a good night’s sleep when your bed is often an airplane seat. And since it’s not feasible to pack a mattress in your carryon, the next best thing is the Frequent Flyer travel set from Slip. Containing a plush travel neck pillow, silken pillowcase, sleep mask, face covering, and carry bag, it’s got all the fixings for a restful sleep—even if you’re in a middle seat in coach.
Digital nomads choose to live on the road (and in the sky), so it’s no surprise that many prioritize a life of adventure and experiences over physical possessions or routine. So what better gift than that of experience? GetYourGuide is a Europe-based online company and app that curates travel excursions, tours, and adventures—all hosted by locals. Think of it like Airbnb for cultural experiences, albeit often more affordable, and you have the opportunity to meet like-minded travelers along the way. While the app is still expanding in the US, it’s got quite a presence all over Europe, allowing travelers to partake in guided cicchetti tastings in Venice, mosque tours in Istanbul, bike rides around Paris, and much more. Rather than pick a specific outing, you could purchase a gift card in any amount, which can be redeemed wherever and however your giftee would like.
Reading a real page-turner has always been one of the best ways to spend time on a train, plane, or bus. But rather than turn physical pages, digital nomads will love the convenience of the Kindle Oasis, a sleek, state-of-the-art 7-inch tablet that ticks all the boxes for easy reading. It’s got adjustable light settings, access to millions of books, compatibility with Audible and Bluetooth, and it even boasts e-ink technology to replicate the sensation of real paper. With so many perks, and near-infinite e-book options, it’s frankly a steal.
If there’s one recurring headache for international travelers, it’s electrical outlets. All over the world, outlets and plugs run the gamut, and I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to scramble to snag a new adapter at the last minute. So if you want to stay digital as a digital nomad, a universal travel adapter is the ultimate necessity. And this one from SublimeWare even comes in a few different colors! It’s got a four-port USB charger that works with outlets in more than 150 countries, so you’d be hard-pressed to find someplace where this doesn’t work.
Sometimes, the simplest things can make all the difference. Even something as lightweight as a pillowcase can take a hotel room from sufficient to sensational. Especially when said pillowcase is made of 100% silk. An easily packable gift for any nomad, these hypoallergenic pillowcases from Blissy offer the comforts of home no matter where they are, and they’re specifically designed with wellness and rest in mind. They even come in a variety of colors.
You may not be able to gift a redwood tree or a rocky mountain, but an annual pass to US national parks is the next best thing—and far easier to pack. The America the Beautiful pass is an excellent gift that’ll grant your favorite digital nomad free entry to any of the National Park Service’s 425 units for an entire year. From biggies like Yosemite and Zion to smaller historical parks like Antietam National Battlefield or Lake Mead, it can wind up saving a boatload of money over the course of a year, especially considering it’s just $80 for the standard pass.
For professional travelers, life is about collecting moments and memories. A diary or travel journal is good, but a book designed with memorable moments in mind is even better. Journals from Quotebook are specifically made to collect quotes while traveling, enabling nomads to really cherish the places they’ve gone, and the people they’ve met along the way.
For digital nomads who frequently cross international borders, passports can accrue a considerable amount of wear and tear. That’s where a stylish, leather-clad passport cover comes in clutch. Not only is this Leatherology option sleek and convenient, but it’s also fully loaded with credit card slots, side pockets, and fabric lining, with personalization available for an added fee. It’ll keep a passport secure and safe, and as a digital nomad who once had to replace his passport after his dog chewed it, I can attest that the price tag is well worth it.