By Trudi Mehew on 23 February 2015

What do you buy that special someone who’s always jetting off to a far-flung destination? Tricky question, no?

Buying presents for your nearest and dearest is always a struggle (will Grandma like her socks? Will Uncle Terry object to a cheeseboard for the third year running?), and travellers are no exception. So what do you buy for someone who’s always on the road, and living out of a suitcase? Hang on, that’s an idea...

DON’T buy a traveller a designer handbag. Thoroughbred handbags tend to not travel well, and will make them a target for criminals as it will suggest that they’ve got a bit of money. Plus, have you ever tried to stash a falafel sandwich, sunglasses, sun lotion, water and some painkillers in a designer handbag? More often than not, they hold very little.

DO look at getting them a sturdy suitcase or rucksack that will take a battering at the airport and still come out on top. Although they’re still fashion-minded, any good traveller knows that substance outweighs style when it comes to stashing your bag on the top of a rickety bus. You need something that can be tied on with ropes, receive a soaking, and still be good to go.

DON’T buy them top-end perfume or make-up. Do you know how long an expensive compact will last on the road? About ten minutes. And pricey perfume in glass bottles is destined to be smashed on the pavement during a particularly-frantic rush for a flight.

DO buy them sun protection in stick form. It can’t smash, dribble out, or leak and destroy their bag. If you’re looking to spend a bit more, plenty of luxury brands sell sun protection in sticks or bars. Trust us - they’ll use this far more than a blusher or a lipstick.

DON’T buy them chocolates, a bottle of expensive fizz or a jar of uber-expensive chutney. These are wonderful gifts, but they won’t be much good at 3am when your tired traveller just wants some sugar, fast.

DO put some thought into your gift, and put a pack together for them containing chewing gum, chocolate bars, water sterilisation tablets, energy gel, hydration powder (for if they get tummy troubles... that’s all the detail we’ll give you) and a small bottle of ultra-strong squash.

DON’T get them a massive cuddly toy. Because we’ll warn you now, there’s a large chance that their new furry friend will be living in the back of their wardrobe for the foreseeable. Travellers tend to pack as little as possible, and only the essentials. Is a cuddly toy essential? Please don’t answer that.

DO get them something that’ll give them just as much comfort when they’re away from home. Songs and playlists that they can download to their iPod, books for their Kindle, a letter that they can read and re-read on the plane or even just a paperback that they can cram in their rucksack will be greatly appreciated.

DON’T get them vouchers for the theatre or a restaurant in their home country, even if they last for a year. ‘I’ll be home in six months’ can often turn into, ‘Er, so I’ve met someone - and I’ll be home next year. I think.’ Trust us, anything that involves them being at home to appreciate it is a bad investment.

DO give them a prepaid travel money card, or some travellers’ cheques. Although many people hate giving cash, as it’s seen as ‘cold’ and they worry that it looks a bit thoughtless, it’s every traveller’s dream. Cash is fairly useful when you need to get a taxi, a hot meal, and a hotel in a hurry. It may not have any sentimental value but it certainly does seem to open a lot of doors.

What's the best (or worst) travel-related gift you've received? Is there anything you'd never give a traveller for Christmas? Let us know on our Facebook page.

← The ten best-kept secrets of an awesome road trip

The ultimate travel snacks for train plane bus or ferry trips →