Gift Ideas for Your Cheapskate Travel Mates

Written by: Fran Tatman

We all have that friend who resents the expense of buying Christmas presents.

My younger brother is a firm believer that Christmas should be capped at £5 per head. One bumper year saw me receive an (unwrapped) bottle of car de-icer from the garage across the road. The bright yellow reduced price sticker was still attached. I didn’t own a car.

And while your friends undoubtedly have far better taste than my brother, they may still be similarly reluctant to part from their cold hard cash this holiday season.

Here are a few gift ideas the hardened traveller could request from their cheapskate loved ones or, if you’re the Scrooge, you could give your travelling pals.


Rudolph Christmas socks

Price: £3.50

From: Sockshop

Traditional Christmas stocking fodder, this gift is particularly handy on your travels, offering you the boon of clean socks when a llama pees on your shoe on the Inca Trail.

As an added bonus these ones depict a creepy Rudolph. Winner.

Duct tape

Christmas gift duck tape

Price: £3

From: Hobbycraft

Duct tape is the traveller’s best friend: it fixes backpacks, shoes and shuts up travelling companions. This Christmas, request duct tape for all your sticky needs.

As a special holiday treat ask for this patterned version, perhaps with super cute penguins or maybe a raunchy leopard-print (because nothing shouts sexy like animal-print duct tape).


Give a Shewee as a cheap Christmas gift

Price: £6

From: Shewee

At £6 this one is a bit of a stretch but really is the gift that keeps on giving. No more crouching in the woods trying not to splash on your favorite boots, hovering above encrusted public toilets or squatting over rancid holes till your thighs burn!

So ask for the gift of sanitary urination this Christmas!

Stainless Steel Collapsible Cup

Stainless Steel Collapsible Cup Christmas gift

Price: £1.76

From: Amazon

For every backpacking traveller who needs a drink on the go (and we’ve all been there – I’m looking at you 7-hour delayed flight) there are these great collapsible cups.

At this price you can even ask your miserly friend for two so you can toast the New Year and your low-priced friendship together!

Luggage lock

Luggage lock Christmas gift

Price: £5.99

From: Amazon

Keep your most valuable stash safe by asking for a luggage lock – this one has a handy flexible bar that means it will fit most luggage, keeping your laptop, camera and other expensive goodies safe.

Waterproof playing cards

Waterproof playing cards cheap Christmas gifts

Price: £3.99

From: Gap Year Travel Store

Get something you can both use and ask for these waterproof playing cards. No monsoon’s going to ruin your fun – also beer proof! Perfect for playing strip poker with that cute guy/girl you just picked up at the local bar.

Or Solitaire if things don’t quite work out how you wanted.

Water purification tablets

Water purification tablets cheap Christmas presents

Price: £4.26

From: Amazon

Nothing ruins Christmas quite like an upset tummy. Trust me. So why not ask your stingy friend for some water purification tablets? Small enough to pack away and save for a rainy day you won’t regret asking for them when faced with water that’s a little brown.

Waterproof matches

Waterproof matches Christmas gift

Price: £2.00

From: Amazon

No ‘silent night’ is complete without a candle or two. It’s easy to make the magic happen if you manage to find these waterproof matches waiting for you under the Christmas tree. No soggy, damp squib celebrations here!

Useful for any Bear Grylls-esque trips that include sleeping rough, beach fires or candlelit dinners. And here’s a bonus – your friend will get a lot of change from their fiver, so you’ll make their Christmas too!

*All prices accurate at time of writing

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