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Top 10 Graduation Gifts for Travelers

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Graduation gift time! If your favorite graduate is planning travel after graduation, finding a graduation gift becomes truly fun. Traveling high school and college graduates need some basics that make great graduation gifts, and you can really make your traveling graduate's world go 'round with some premium gift ideas. Tuck everything into a great travel bag (below) for a complete travel kit. Read on for all the graduation gift ideas for travelers.

1. Travel Journal and Cool Pen

Travel Journal and Trick Pen
Moleskine journals are much beloved -- combine one with a trick night-writing pen for a thoughtful graduation gift. The perfect gift just for graduating traveling gals: check out the Everywoman travel journal. Another graduation gift idea: combine a very sturdy travel journal or even two or three basic small spiral notebooks with a clip-on mini booklight for any-time journaling while your graduate travels -- wrap it up with a map for the world traveler touch.

2. Laptop Backpack

Laptop Backpack From STM
Having just been in Australia, we noticed how the Aussies love the phrase “purpose built” – one Australian company gives meaning to those words with laptop backpacks built by Bondi Beach hangers who needed a camo laptop backpack of their own that was protective, comfy, stylish enough, and very sturdy. Enter STM laptop luggage, purpose built for backpacker travel. Why do we love STM’s Loop laptop backpacks? They’re ergonomic, air conditioned, well padded, well made, water resistant, and they’ve got laptop compartments, sound ports and practical pockets aplenty without featuring excess stuff... (read more)

3. Water Bottle and Purifier, Plus Goodies

Purifying water abroad is way cheaper than buying bottled water -- check out a pretty cheap (but works!) water bottle with purifier that makes drinking sketchy tap water possible. A replaceable cartridge (25 gallons per cartridge) helps travelers avoid gut-wrenching encounters with the developing world's water. Tuck in a few add-water freeze dried food packets, too -- Backpacker's Pantry "Southwestern Smoked Salmon Pasta" is a hostel-cooking relief from ramen noodles.

4. International Cell Phones (Rental, Too), Phone Cards

Backpackers need a GSM mobile phone to talk 'round the world -- look for unlocked quad-band (850/900/1800/1900). Understanding why US cell phone carriers sell so few unlocked quad band GSM phones is for the more cynical to speculate upon. We just know we can't have the cool Skype phone in the US. In the meantime, we do have a few options for unlocked GSM quad band cell phones (learn why the phone must be unlocked) and we've learned to love Skype itself):

See international cell phone rental sources, too, or spend less but still get calls with a pre-paid European phone card. Or buy a Skype account (VoIP) for the cheapest international phone calls.

5. Green Tortoise Bus Tours Trip

Give the gift of adventurous group travel: Bus tour company Green Tortoise Adventure Travel bills itself as offering "Affordable Adventures With Extraordinary People." Sightseeing trips around the US (including Alaska) and Mexico are mostly inclusive (may need some food money) and travelers camp or sleep in beds on the bus. Most travelers are young or young-at-heart; some are international. Trips range from $150 for a weekend Yosemite getaway to $2150 for a 28-day Alaska tour.

6. Travel Books / Guidebooks for Student Travelers

It may go without saying that students and backpackers are traveling on a budget, so give your graduating traveler some planning help with a few budget-oriented guides to travel on a hiking boot string with a book or two from this list of the top budget travel guidebooks, or check out "MTV - Frommers Guides" or "Party Europe Guidebook" -- packed with practical travel info and they're fun; these are not your guidebooks. Just for women: women's travel books like "The Thong Also Rises" and "Rough Guide Women Travel." And for fun: the best travel books from 2008.

7. World's Best Shoulder Bag

Everybody buys graduates luggage as a gift, and travelers would largely rather pick out their own backpack or the current cool messenger bag, which varies by minute. For a luggage gift your traveling graduate will really like, think small and give the best shoulder bag out there -- Red Oxx's Gator, which can be tossed off chicken bus roofs or taken to class. Under $100.

If you want to go big, give a $200-300 REI gift card and let 'em pick the laptop bag or backpack they want.

8. European Train Passes

A Rail Europe youth pass is still the necessity today that it was for backpackers in your own college days: buy one for your graduating student traveler and know he or she will have safe, reliable transportation in Europe or the UK. Just choose the countries and choose a train pass -- spend from less than $100 for a single country pass up to several hundred for Eurail passes covering 20 European countries.

9. Talking Translator / Currency Calculator

This gizmo is awesome. Although it's main function is a language translator, it also functions as a currency converter - two cool tools in one. From the manufacturer: "It...translates over 200,000 words and 23,000 phrases...both orally and in writing in (ten languages). Includes a currency and metric converter, calculator, databank, and even gives the time in 200 cities." Earphones, carrying pouch, batteries (2 AAA), and excellent instructions included... See currency calculators.

10. Group Student Travel

Chances are good that someone in your area is planning a group trip with a student travel company this summer -- your graduate can grab a few friends and join up, or you can set up a trip yourself; it's remarkably easy and inexpensive (often under $2K). Trips usually cover the highlights of a country and come with guides, food and beds. Send your graduate on the trip of a lifetime with a company like EF Tours.

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