It's a great feeling watching someone open a present that they absolutely love. Of course, coming up with gift ideas can often be harder than it seems. To kick start your festive season shopping, we've scouted out all the best travel gifts - a Christmas wishlist for anyone who's a traveller at heart.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
It doesn't matter the situation - flying, travelling by car or just being at home - these headphones mean that, when you want to, you can escape into your own world without being bothered or disturbing anyone around you. Listen to your choice of audio entertainment without having to blast the volume and if you want to put the sound way up then you can - the foam surrounding the ear piece prevents almost all of the sound from escaping.
Of course, with so many brands to choose from it can be difficult to decide which one to pick. It's best to try them out in-store, but since this isn't always possible, I've done it for you. The three most effective were the Bose, Panasonic and Lindy headphones. Considering price, the best buy out of these three were the Panasonic RP-HC700 headphones at £153.99. They weren't too bulky, were exceptionally comfortable and, most importantly, I couldn't hear the people around me, and they couldn't hear me. The easiest way to get a pair is to order them online.
Embrace Sleep Collar
Sleep... a traveller’s dream when covering long distances, especially if you're stuck between two people in standard class. Enter the upgrade of the neck pillow - the neck collar. Its memory foam insides make wearing this sleep assist an enjoyable experience, while the firmer cushioned outer layer, which supports your neck and head, ensures that you remain properly aligned and wake up without feeling stiff.
The Embrace sleep collar was designed by Designs in Progress and can be ordered directly from www.sleepcollar.com or on Amazon.
Glamping has become a popular style of camping in the UK. It's a way of being outdoors without having to get your hands (or manicured nails) dirty. To do this, a collection of glamping accessories is required. Luckily the Glam Camping Company has saved the day by giving us the collapsible kettle. With its silicone body and stainless steel base it's convenient to use and really easy to store. For more information go to www.theglamcampingcompany.com.
If you are not staying at a glamping site, or your glamping site does not have the bathroom facilities you desire, why not take your own Sea to Summit Pocket Shower? Leave it hanging up during the day to experience a lovely warm shower, as the black exterior fabric will absorb the heat from the sun. You can get yourself one of these glamping essentials at Nomad Travellers, found at www.nomadtravel.co.uk.
Ideal for any board game lover and a brilliant stocking filler, travel games are always a winner. They are perfect for long anythings – train trips, flights or car journeys. Small and compact, all of these games are easily transportable. As for the pieces flying all over the place when the car goes over a bump or turbulence rattles the plane - they won't. In travel sets the pieces are all magnetic or clip-in. Most online game stores and major stores stock popular games such as Scrabble, Monopoly and three-in-one packs, in travel form.
A New Language
Possibly one of the best gifts to give or receive, is the ability to converse in different languages. This is one of the most useful tools when you're in a foreign country. It not only means easier travels, but also for a better understanding of the culture and people.
Language schools or online learning courses are usually the best way to go as they allow you to practise - making learning a little easier and a lot more fun. The Rosetta Stone online language learning centre offers a choice of twenty different languages. They also offer online support through coaches that speak the language as their native tongue. You can practise your skills in real-life scenarios and in chat groups, while online games prevent learning from becoming boring. The best thing about the courses being online is that it doesn't matter where you are or when you want to practise - it is always available to you. You can find more information on www.rosettastone.co.uk.
Maps of the World
Maps are a fantastic way to track your travels. You can mark where you have been and the places you are planning to go next. If you are shopping for an avid traveller, then why not surprise them with a most unusual travel map, the Scratch Map? Every time a destination dream becomes a reality, the gold foil covering can be scratched away to reveal a bright colour and the name of the country visited. A cork map with pins to mark places travelled is another take on this idea. It means you can pin photos and travel trinkets. You can find both of these maps at www.luckies.co.uk.
Coffee Table Books
Inspire your friends and family this Christmas with a coffee-table book full of travel photos. The book is fantastic way to visually explore the places most of us only dream about visiting. Or it could be a memento of places visited - the scenes that you didn;t snap because you were too busy absorbing the actual experience. Frances Lincoln Publishers offer a variety of photo-led coffee table books such as the beautiful and enchanting photo-book Antarctica, Secrets of the Southern Continent by David Mc Gonigal. Get yours at www.franceslincoln.co.uk.
One of the many incredible things about hot air ballooning is the chance to discover new things about a countryside that you thought you knew so well or, if you are visiting a new place to take this excursion, it will surely show you the hidden beauties that very few people, locals included, get to see. Go Ballooning has the biggest fleet of balloons in the UK and over 100 launch sites. Take a look at their online Christmas deals at www.goballooning.co.uk.
The experience of cruising, even if it just to one destination, is an unparalleled one. It’s like being on a great big floating hotel, but better. I often find that one of the greatest things about travelling is that it doesn't always matter where you are going, but rather the way you get there that can be the most enjoyable part of the trip. Cruise118 offers some amazing deals on cruise getaways to enjoy this holiday season.
Travel By Train
There is something enchanting about train travel, why not share it? Seeing the world pass by while sitting comfortably in a plush compartment, enjoying the first class cuisine and service is a luxurious way to travel. If you don’t have the time for a long trip and just want to taste the experience of train travel then a trip aboard, the Pullman Express can be a great gift for a loved one. Have high tea or lunch on board one of their trains and admire the countryside as it passes you by. For more information go to www.orient-express.com.