Top 10 Gift Ideas for the With-Pet Jet-Setter or Minimalist Traveller!

It’s December 16th and that means gift-giving season is in full swing for many friends and family in the globe-trotting community. As my friend Gigi pointed out in her post on this topic, those who are not minimalists, travel-lovers, or with-pet travellers might be uncertain what gift to get those who spend most of their time on the road with nothing but a carry-on. And since Gigi asked if we had anything to add to her list, I figured we’d jump on the bandwagon and provide you with our thoughts on the subject. Besides, options are always a good thing, right?

So here it is: the Montecristo Travels’ Top 10 Gift Ideas for the With-Pet Jet-Setter or Minimalist Traveller! Our ideas are not all pet oriented, but they are all pet-friendly. So here goes!

1. Flytographer Gift Certificate

The absolute first thing that popped into my head was this amazing idea. We love it so much we wrote an entire post on our experience. In a nutshell, Flytographer is a service of pre-approved, on-location, all-over-the-globe photographers. With Flytographer, you choose, pay for, and book your very own on-location photographer. Professional photos are so much better than selfies. Give your traveller the gift of perfectly captured travel memories like this:


You just can’t get this kind of photo with a selfie stick! (Dubrovnik. Photo by Božo Radić for Flytographer.)

Bonus? Digital format takes no luggage space at all and Flytographer allows you to use the images as you see fit. Best idea ever! If you are going to get a gift card, please use this link to do so. Enter the code #FLYFAN and get $25 off! You get a discount and so do we for our next purchase. Win, win!

2. Photo Storage

Photographs are possibly the most important souvenir any traveller accumulates. Whether professionally taken shots or simple photos taken with an iPhone, the photos are all that remain to jog your favourite globe-trotter’s memory after the trip has ended. And memory is such a fickle thing. If, on top of all that, your friend is also a blogger, then the photos are extra important because they are needed to illustrate.

So, how do you back up photos on the road and safely save them for months and years to come? Sure, you could buy your travellers a little extra hard drive or … you can pay for a yearly membership with Forever.

Forever keeps your photos safely stored at full resolution. No compression and no data mining. The photos are yours to share only with those you choose. You can access your photos from anywhere in the world online or with your smart phone app. The photos are also protected and stored for generations. You can organize, edit, share, and print your photos or make albums with your Forever photo galleries. Everything from one permanent home.

My sister-mom Dawn gave us this gift last year and we love it!

3. G Adventures Gift Card

We favour G Adventures for group travel because they are a Canadian company and, even more importantly, they have always allowed me to join in on the fun! We have taken two sailing trips so far: one in Greece (Santorini to Santorini) and the other in Croatia (Dalmatian Coast – Dubrovnik to Split)!


Sailing in Greece was awesome!

No matter where in the world your travelling friend or family member might be, there is surely a great G Adventure option! Why not add to your traveller’s fun: Staying in Turkey for a month? Give them the gift of sailing the Turkish coastline! Budget travelling in Cuba? How about a catamaran trip to see the less visited and pristine islands?

There are other adventure groups out there, so you could ask to find out if your intended gift recipient favours another company. However you go, you will provide your globe-trotter with the best gift of all: a thrilling experience, and one they might not have enjoyed if someone like you had not helped things along.

4. Thing Charger

We travel light. But even then, we have a lot of electronics. People who are “location independent” for work also share the same digital nomad issues.

Laptops, iPads and iPhones, cameras, e-readers and tablets are all great and wonderful space devices, but what a mess the chargers can be! And to complicate things further, digital nomads often have a host of manufacturers to deal with as well — Blackberry, Sony, Apple, Samsung … . You get the point. The mess and nuisance that multiple chargers create often nullifies any space-saving provided by the digital device.

Introducing the best solution we have found: the thingCHARGER! We use it at home as well and, man-oh-man, it’s the best. On the road or at home, when all you have is one plug and multiple items to charge, this is gold! And, liberated luggage space! Yahoo!


This video does a great job of explaining it all! If travelling overseas, you will need to add a converter to the mix. And that leads me to …

5. A Lightweight Converter/Adapter

This is an especially good gift for those about to start on their travels. A converter/adapter is often forgotten, then bought in a panic once on location for four times the price. The converter/adapter for all the electrically powered gear you brought with you is, well, kinda key.

There are a few options on the market and by all means, do your own research. The option we like so far is the Hi-Lo Converter/Transformer we found on the Walk About Travel Gear website (fourth one down on the page). It’s small and compact, and the pouch keeps everything in check. And it doesn’t matter where we are going, we are covered!

Alternatively, you could also get your traveller dual voltage items. Many phones and tablets today are already good to go and you can also find travel hairdryers, flat irons, curling irons, and more. The option is up to you. Either way, your traveller will be grateful!

6. Rebtel Voucher

One of the biggest challenges when you have friends or family who love to travel is staying in touch with them. Free Wi-Fi isn’t always an option. But there are many options for getting them to sit down and chat with you. You could get a good old-fashioned international calling card. Send one inside a greeting card with a note that says, “I miss you and want to hear your voice.” It’s such a nice idea. Often, however, you don’t actually get the minutes you thought you would out of long-distance cards, so another fantastic option is Rebtel.

Rebtel offers a unique, cheap international calling service that can be used from any phone. After signing up, your globe-trotter simply adds your number to their Rebtel contact list and Rebtel will assign an alternate local Rebtel number. Your globe-trotter saves the local Rebtel number in their phone (no card to loose!), then uses the local Rebtel number to call you. No long distance or roaming charges. Since Rebtel works perfectly with all kinds of phones and operators, your globetrotter can call you from any type of phone, landline or mobile.

7. e-Reader and iTunes!

The bipeds love to read. At home, they still use books. Once the books are read, they go to the library to be stored and shared with strangers. On the road, however, things are different.

Now, you might think that an iPad would be the best way to go, but the bipeds have found that the glare from the screen and the speed at which the battery drains are a problem. Enter the e-reader. There are options; the Kindle and Kobo come to mind. Do your research (here’s a link to a very detailed article, if you wish) and pick the e-reader that best suits that special someone. Oh, and yes, the Montecristo Travels to Pisa book will soon be available in that format!

(pic of an e-reader?)

Your traveller may be into music more than books. Or podcasts. Or recorded books. You can give your traveller the gift of melodies as they spend hours waiting in line at airports or in transit. People tend to have players on their smartphones these days, but good sound-cancelling earphones are always nice to tune out those airplane sounds. And iTunes gift cards give the gift of new sounds. But do check to see what music service they prefer. Your traveller may use Google Play or Spotify.

8. Gift Cards for Accommodations

Everyone has their favourite place to stay. Some like a particular hotel chain; others like Airbnb or Flipkey. Whatever the preference, remember that the gift is for that special traveller in your life, not for yourself. Get what your traveller wants. For example, we are cautious about using Airbnb because of the tax evasion debate currently underway. But we also understand that for those on a tight budget, Airbnb might be their first choice. Remember that the gift should make the receiving party happy, so go with that.

Putting a roof over someone’s head or upgrading their stay while on the road? Priceless.

9. Carry-on and Carrier

We have done a lot of travelling in the last 5 years. With that has come a good understanding of what works for us. Case in point: we are not fans of backpacks anymore. We much prefer the soft-case carry-on. Of course, this has to be what your globe-trotter wants as well. So let me just say that if your traveller is climbing the Himalayas or is more into hiking national parks than travelling across Europe and staying in B&Bs, then stick to the backpack. We can’t recommend a backpack if that’s what you are wanting, but there are loads of blog posts and YouTube clips on how to choose the perfect backpack.

What we can talk to you about is the perfect carry on. We have the PacSafe AT21. We love these for a million reasons. The no-tamper zipper is one reason. The soft side is another; when you sail you quickly learn that a hard case is not an option. We also love how lightweight the PacSafe is. Trust me, after climbing the thousands of steps in Dubrovnik, we were super glad to have lightweight bags. And the wheels are hard-core awesome. No breaking, no wobbling. Steady they go. PacSafes are the perfect size and we have had no trouble fitting all we need in them to spend a month in Europe. Yes, we travel light.


Our carry-on bags and my airline approved carrier!

As for me? Well I love my One For Pets Expandable Pet Carrier. I will do a video on why in more detail someday soon. But the main reasons are:

  • Expands once on board
  • Collapsible
  • Solid fabric and stitching
  • Lots of visibility
  • An opening on the top
  • Gender neutral design and colours

So if you know someone who is about to add a pet to their travel plans, we highly recommend this carrier. (No we are not sponsored by them!) Other options are the Sleepypod and Sleepypod Air — favourites with many. And if your traveller’s dog is a little larger, you may want to take a look at the Sherpa or Sturdibag.

10. The Devil is in the Details!

Following is actually another list, but a short list of little things we have come across and loved. You can put them together to make a little Globe-Trotter Care Package.

  • The stub diary. We love this idea for those who like to hold on to little bits of paper. It helps keep the notes all tidy too!
  • Is it a stuffed toy or a neck pillow? If you have a child travelling with you, this is gold! It can become a mascot. A neck pillow that becomes a teddy bear!
  • Some countries no longer accept passports as valid if they are damaged; for example, with a bent corner. That can cause a world of hurt when on the road. The solution? A nice passport cover. Choose one you know your travelling friend or family member will enjoy.
  • Great luggage tags are always a must! You can have some custom made or you can get security-style luggage tags. Ours are from Lee Valley. We like them because they do not advertise your location to anyone and everyone. A nice little security feature!
  • Speaking of tags, you may want to make sure travelling pets are also covered with a great ID tag (and microchip!). We really love blanketID because it’s light and doesn’t clang or rust. The tag also doesn’t advertise your location or name to anyone who peeks, but at the same time, gives the necessary information for anyone to locate a pet’s owner. No special scanning device needed: just access to the Internet. The ID comes with a web page for recording all necessary information, and the web page can be updated as often as needed, which is great for people who are always on the move!

Of course, being subscribed to my blog and getting my children’s illustrated travel guide are also FANTASTIC ideas! (Ahem!) And with that spirit in mind  …

It’s CONTEST TIME (NOW CLOSED)! If you have any other gift suggestions to add to our Top 10 list, do so in the comments below before midnight, December 23rd. Your gift idea must be for a traveller and lightweight, and you get a bonus for ideas that are pet-friendly! One winning idea will receive a free pawtographed copy of my illustrated children’s guide  Montecristo Travels to Pisa!





7 Comments on “Top 10 Gift Ideas for the With-Pet Jet-Setter or Minimalist Traveller!

  1. A few ideas that may help
    1) a scanning service so all important details of the trip (pet insurance, people insurance, copy of passport, itinery, emergency contact, etc) are all saved in a cloud service
    2) a GPS dog collar. A few are available on the market but we like Kippy which work in all of Europe and India. Another servixe does all of North and South America
    3) I like QR tags as they can be updated to an countries location
    4) car hire vouchers are always appreciated

  2. We have a bowl for Jack that folds flat: Outward Hound Port-a-Bowl. It doesn’t just collapse; it folds *flat* and is flexible and super light. It’s perfect to keep in my purse, in the car’s glove box, my jacket pocket … anywhere we need it. The bowl holds water or food. It’s a small item that would make a great stocking stuffer.

  3. I already bought my copy of Montecristo Travels to Pisa, so I do not need to be entered in the contest. I even reviewed it on my blog and you should totally buy it.
    If you want to stay in touch with someone else with a smart phone (like almost everybody these days), there’s a free app for Android and IPhone that’s pretty awesome for text, voice and I think, video calls. It’s called WhatsApp.

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