Most keen travellers I know prefer to gain experiences over material things, but that’s not saying a physical present would necessarily go amiss. 😉 Why not theme your gift around their love for travel instead (and your love for them, of course!)?
With a month until Valentine’s, there’s still plenty of time to get something customised or ordered online. I’ve listed my seven favourite Valentine’s gift ideas for travel enthusiasts, though they work well for birthdays and anniversaries too.
The wall art: Luckies’ Scratch Map
Approx. £12-25 / €16-34 / $18-37
A fun addition to your decor and a handy way of keeping track of where you’ve been. The gold-foil map looks nice unscratched and becomes more colourful as you travel the world. I got this world map for Ash a few years ago and he still loves scratching off every new country he visits. It comes in several versions, including the United Kingdom, the United States, and Europe, so you can choose which one fits best. For a Valentine’s twist (especially if you’ve just moved in together) add a note that you’ll only be scratching off places you visit together.
The jewellery: Map pendant necklace
Approx. £10 / €13 / $15
Customised to show the map of a memorable destination, their hometown or why not your first shared home? I love long necklaces with pendants and got one of these from Ash with my hometown name in it. If you can’t settle on a destination, these subtle and beautiful world map studs also make a great gift. Skip a gift box and place it inside a travel jewellery organiser instead.
The book: Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist
Approx. £14 / €19 / $21
This book doubles as a to-do-list and a stylish book to display on a coffee table. Consider it a challenge, and aim to visit all 500. It’s fun to both check off the ones you’ve been to and get plenty of inspiration for future travels.
The budget: Luggage tags
A useful and sweet travel accessory which comes in all shapes, sizes and prices. Many high street shops stock them, but there are some lovely ones online too. Like these personalised couple’s tags , this handstitched heart-shaped one (pictured), and this dreamy one. If you want, add a personal note that they can bring with them wherever they travel.
The splurge: Samsonite cabin-sized suitcase
Admittedly quite the Valentine’s splurge, but truly a gift as durable as your love for them (see what I did there?). Over the last decade I’ve worn out a dozen other cases from various brands, but my trusted red fabric wheeled handluggage-sized case from Samsonite has lasted 15 years and hundreds of trips. I’d happily splurge on this case as it’s set to last. For a romantic touch, write a love note on a sticker and stick it to the inside.
The toiletries: Travel-sized toiletries
Show that you know your (travel) lover by gifting a set which can be taken on all those future joint adventures. With bonus points if you ensure the bottles are relatively easy to refill. Hard soaps and shampoo bars (Lush does a great range and sells metal tins for transport) are also great for travelling as you avoid spills and cabin liquid restrictions. If you want to buy perfume, add a handy refillable spray bottle for travelling. (I’ve got one of these myself and use it both for travelling and for carrying some extra perfume for a top-up.)
The memory: Trip together!
As a travel lover myself, this one is always my favourite gift. Don’t let budgetary restraints stop you! The trip can be as near or far as you like. If you can’t afford a big trip away, opt for a staycation. Even a staycation can involve a night in a fancy local hotel, or be as simple as sleeping at home but exploring the day as pretend-tourists of your own town. Fill a gift bag by grabbing a map and some brochures from the tourist office, read some blog posts or articles on your town (an outsider’s one if you’ve lived there a long time, or a local’s if you’re new in town), and write a nice card or letter explaining what the gift is and what you’ll get up to.
The key to giving a trip or joint experience is being clear on what you’re including in your gift. Is it the transport, the accommodation, or the whole shebang including spending money? Deciding this in advance and spelling it out (in a nice way) to the recipient avoids disappointment and sets expectations that you can live up to.
This year our shared Valentine’s and anniversary gift will be exploring Madrid for the first time. Sometimes people find it strange that we don’t buy any flowers or chocolates to mark the V day, but we’ll be enjoying plenty of treats and sweets in Spain the week after.
These are seven of my favourite ideas for Valentine’s. Anything else you would love to receive from your Valentine? Let us (and them) know!