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.
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:
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.
Minimal Space Stuff (eGifts)
Gifts that are digital make great gifts and only take up a fraction of hard drive space.
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.
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.
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.
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/Xscapers, Boondockers Welcome, Harvest 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.
A lot of things we appreciate most these days are not things found on store shelves.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
- Living the RV Life – RV Love’s brand new book is 256 pages of useful content for gearing up to RV.
- The Mobile Internet Handbook – Our very own book overviewing the basics of mobile internet for RVers and cruisers.
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
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
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!