Home Nomadic Lifestyle Boating

2018 Gift Giving Guide for RVers and Cruisers

And just like that, the holiday season is upon us again. And popping up on every RVer and boater blog, are gift giving guides full of affiliate linked ideas of stuff that keeps their travels going strong.

We usually get all sorts of great ideas from these lists.. so here is ours to add to the mix.

Whether you have a RVer or boater on your holiday list, or are a nomad yourself looking for ideas to suggest … this guide is for you.

We even have some tips this year for giving gifts to each other when living in a small space.

And this doesn’t just apply to winter holidays – gifting can happen all year long.

Quick Video Version (filmed last year):

Considerations When Gifting a Nomad

Giving gifts to full time RVers and cruisers can be a tricky endeavor – for they have so little space to store things. Most of us have painstakingly gone through everything we owned and purged most of it to be able to travel full time.

  • If there’s something we need, we probably already have it.
  • And if we don’t need it, we don’t have room for it.


Some of our past RV homes have been SUPER tiny.

Carefully consider any gift for if your recipient will have room for it? Is it breakable? Will it serve a needed function (or preferably at least two)? And most importantly, did they request it?

If you don’t have ideas for a useful gift, the nomad in your life will probably much more appreciate a gift card, act of service or a experience.

Note to our fellow nomads: You can also do your part by reminding your loved ones of your limited space and that you really do want less ‘stuff’. Offer ideas and consider sharing a wish list (we utilize Amazon’s Wishlist).

Gift Ideas for Nomads

So what are some things that a RVer might appreciate?  Here’s some ideas:

Practical Gear:

We’ll include some practical stuff below for consideration – but we strongly strongly urge you not to just click buy unless you KNOW what you’re giving is something your RVer or boater can utilize.

Just because something works for us, doesn’t mean it’s going to work of anyone else – but all of the below is stuff we love in both our RVing and boating lifestyle (and yes, they’re affiliate links).

But if you’re an RVer or cruiser, maybe you’ll get some ideas here. Most of this stuff is under $30.

Want more ideas?
Head on over to our Gear Center.

2018 Gift Guide


Minimal Space Stuff (eGifts)


Gifts that are digital make great gifts and only take up a fraction of hard drive space.

Digital Goods

Music, movies, apps and books in a digital format take up no physical space, and make great gifts!  Many stores that sell them allow you to pick out specific content to gift, or you can buy a gift credit to allow your recipient to choose what they want.  We love keeping iTunes credit on account for buying apps, movies, books and TV shows.

Movie Rentals

Gift credit to DVD rental services like Netflix and Redbox can be wonderful assets. Many Redbox kiosks are at overnight free parking spots at Walmarts or even in walking to distance to campgrounds & marinas. Uncapped internet sources for streaming video are a lot easier these days – so memberships to a streaming services can be super appreciated too.

Charitable Contributions

Perhaps consider making a donation in their name?  Of course, do your due diligence to make sure the organization meets your & their requirements for a ethical, well-run organization.


Memberships to various clubs, groups and resources can be of great value and take up no space while enhancing their travels.

Of course, you’ll want to check in to see what memberships they already have – because two is not better than one.

  • Did you know that your local zoo, aquarium or museum may be part of a nationwide network?  If you get an annual pass to your local organization, often times the pass also includes free or discounted access to the entire national network. US travelers get to benefit by increasing our exploration in new locations and you get to support a wonderful resource in your community. A win-win!
  • Some RVing organizations we recommend: Escapees/XscapersBoondockers WelcomeHarvest Hosts and Passport America. (Click to Learn more about RV Clubs)
  • Some boating organizations include: MTOA, Great Loop Association and Boat US
  • There are also shopping wholesalers (Costco, Sam’s Club, BJs, etc), massage chains and gyms that are nationwide enough that might be useful too.
  • And of course, there’s our own Mobile Internet Aficionados – the membership component of our Mobile Internet Resource Center. We help RVers and cruisers keep up to date on mobile internet options.

Intangible Gifts

A lot of things we appreciate most these days are not things found on store shelves.

Intangible gifts don't add clutter - and are greatly appreciated by nomads!

Intangible gifts don’t add clutter – and are greatly appreciated by nomads!


Do you have an idea of your RVers upcoming travels? Perhaps seek out experiences in the places they’ll be visiting and get them a gift certificate (or cash gift with a note of your intentions). Perhaps they’ve always wanted to go hang gliding, stand up paddle boarding or there’s a concert in town they’d love to attend? Or attractions along their route, a night out on the town, a local craft brewery or a trip to the spa.

Acts of Service

Do you have a special skill? Maybe you’re handy with wood, appliances, plumbing, technology or mechanics? I bet the next time your loved one passes through town they’d love some help with a project.

Keeping in Touch

Make a point to reach out to them – they may not be on your daily radar because they’re not always nearby, but knowing you’re thinking about them really is appreciated. Most likely, they’d love to get a non-Facebook version of what’s up in your life and an opportunity to share back.

Edible Gifts

Gifts that can be consumed – like food and booze – also can make great gifts. They’ll take up space at first, but if it’s something yummy that problem won’t last long. As with any food gift, make sure you know of any food restrictions before gifting.

Stocking Stuffers

img_9580Small stuff can be a lot of fun to give, doesn’t take up  much space and can be quite affordable!

Roll of Quarters – $10

Seriously. For those without laundry machines, a quarter can be worth its weight in gold.  Why?  It’s the only currency some laundromats will take.  One quarter can make all the difference between clean underwear and not.

Gift Cards

Since I hit the road, I’ve found I actually rather appreciate gift cards now. They take up no space, and allow us to choose what fits in our space when we need it. We keep an active Amazon Prime account, which gives us free 2-day shipping on anything they stock – so Amazon gift cards are something we’ll always make use of. And a pre-paid fuel card? Oh yeah, that’ll make any RVer’s heart sing!

Gifts for Dreamers

Great for those gearing up to RV – RV Love’s new book that goes over EVERYTHING!

If you have someone on your shopping list who is currently in the preparation phase of hitting the road, it may be even more difficult to shop for them.

Unless they have already purchased their RV or boat and are actively stocking it – then they don’t even know what their storage space is yet, or what accessories they’ll need.

Any technology purchased now could most likely be obsolete by the time they hit the road.

Any membership purchases would likely be expired by then.

My suggestion would be things that help their life while they’re preparing, but yet do not add clutter to their purging chores.

Books or resources to aid in their preparation can be quite useful. Some suggestions:

Maybe gifts to help relieve stress during the prep process, such as gift certificates to things they enjoy locally – spas, massages, movies and dinners.

If you’re local, perhaps experiences together to share quality time before they hit the road – tickets to a show, a local attractions or promises of time to help them run errands while they prepare.

If they’re far away, perhaps ‘to be redeemed’ experiences for when they visit during their travels. Or perhaps the gift of promising their treasured items happy new homes to help make their purging easier emotionally.


Tips for Nomads Doing the Gifting

There's no doubt who these gifts came from!

We wrap in old maps. There’s no doubt who these gifts came from!

Giving gifts as a nomad can also be challenging. We don’t have the space to store and assemble many packages, so we have to think carefully about what we’re giving. Of course, having things shipped directly to our recipients is fantastic (thank you Amazon Prime!).

But as travelers, we love gifting our loved ones things that share in some of our adventures.

Some of the things we’ve done in the past:

  • Photo gifts of our travels are usually appreciated. We’ve made personalized calendars, canvas prints from favorite photos and even gifted regular Postcards from the Road.
  • We try to pick up unique items in the places we travel that we can easily carry with us until gift giving time.
  • We use old maps as wrapping paper, which is a great way to re-purpose them and make no doubt who the sender is.

Gifting Each Other

Last year I got a folding bike for my birthday... on paper. It took a few months for us to shop to find the right ones.

A couple years ago I got a folding bike for my birthday… on paper. It took a few months for us to shop to find the right ones.

And then of course, living in a small space with the person we love the most – our travel companion, is also a challenge. It’s near impossible to surprise each other when there’s no where to hide something special.

Some of the things we’ve done for each other:

  • Put together unique adventure scavenger hunts exploring our new location that ends up following clues to the gift (perhaps a special restaurant, or theatre performance.)
  • Designed out a gift coupon for each other to redeem later.
  • Gift upon delivery – since we don’t have the space to hide a gift, we usually just give once it arrives. After all, it’s not the day that matters, but the thought.
  • Since space is at a premium, we sometimes just shop online together and pick out what we want, or treat ourselves to a local event.
  • And sometime we just agree.. no gifts. After all, our life on the road together is the best gift of all.


We are sending you lots of warmth this holiday season, and urge you to keep the important stuff in focus. Quality time with loved ones is where the memories that last a lifetime are created.

That’s our favorite kind of gift.

And join me today in an extra special celebration – Chris’ Birthday!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links, so, if you click on the link and make a purchase, we receive a commission. Note that all opinions are 100% our own and we only link to products we personally use and absolutely recommend! Technomadia is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

12 Comments - Still Plenty of Room for Yours!

This blog is fueled by YOUR enthusiasm. Your comments help inspire the next post.. don't be shy!

  1. How long does the discount for the hangers last? They are a bit pricey somsaving $20 *might* push me into the Buy Zone but I didn’t see any discount when Imadded the, to my Amazon Cart. Great list, thanks

  2. Hi Guys, always enjoy reading your blog. Great and useful gift list above. I homed in on the wireless borescope as I know someone who may have a lot of use for this gift. Do you know if it could be used to inspect the interior of an RV’s gray and black tanks. Would appreciate your answer. Thx

  3. I agree with the last item you posted – no traditional gifts!! Hubby and I gave our 4 teenage nieces an envelope last Christmas with instructions for them to pick any place in the USA for all of us to go on vacation….they thought about it for an hour or two and came up with the SE part of the US (we’re from Minnesota). Two of them had never seen an ocean, so that was high on their list.

    So we planned a trip to Amelia Island, FL, Savannah, GA and Charleston, SC last June. We had the best trip and most importantly – memories to last a lifetime!!

    The only problem – now they want to go on a road trip next summer in an RV!! I think I may have started a tradition but that’s OK since they’ll be going to college in the next few years and then good luck finding any time to be with them….

    Happy Holidays to you and your fellow boaters/RVers!

  4. We have the older butane Thermocell plus the Thermocell Backpacker (gas canisters). And they are fantastic! But – –
    Did you see that Thermocell now has the Thermocell Radius? It uses a rechargeable battery system, so you don’t have to carry the (expensive) butane cells or gas canisters. More expensive to buy at first, but cheaper in the long run, and looks so much more convenient ! (You will still need to carry the repellent “pads” with you.) Plan to get one in near future.

    • Unless we’re leaving something outside most of the time, we’ve found solar powered gadgets to not be overly useful in our travels. We keep our flashlights inside – so prefer ones that recharge off the house systems or have replaceable batteries. We have flashlights and stuff in the gear center.

  5. We’ve been using Thermocell products for several years and couldn’t boat or RV without them. Lot’s of videos on how to refill the butane cartridges on YouTube. Love your videos and how to info. Happy holidays to you both.

Add your comment now!