Gifts for the Budget Traveller

From a bed in a bag to anti-pickpocket undies, BBC Travel has picked five perfect presents for the value-minded backpacker for any holiday season.

1. An awesomely versatile flashlight

Sleepless in your hostel bunk with only snorers for company? Escape into a book using the tiny BugLit flashlight. A powerful, hands-free and highly packable LED lamp no bigger than a stag beetle, the diamond-shaped gizmo’s tough polycarbonate body sends out a surprisingly strong beam while its bendable legs can be posed into handy positions or wrapped around a promontory to create a useful side lamp (we suggest the nose of a nearby sleeper). Function and performance perfected, the versatile light – with several beam settings, seven body colour options and a useful clip for attaching it to key rings or zips – is ideal for tossing in your backpack until required.

An awesomely versatile flashlight

2. Glasgow’s train station tour

Possibly the best £10 you’ll ever spend in Scotland, the behind-the-scenes Glasgow Central Station tour has been a runaway success since launching in autumn 2014. A great reason to miss your train, the 90-minute guided weave wanders the hidden nooks and crannies of Scotland’s biggest and busiest railway station, a handsome, glass-roofed Victorian edifice opened in 1879. Hard-hatted participants poke around the station’s subterranean brick-built tunnels and old boiler room while listening to tales evoking the building’s sometimes spooky past. And as for that 48,000-panel glass ceiling – reputedly the largest of its kind in the world – if the weather cooperates, you’ll be ushered up there for a peek as well.

Glasgow’s train station tour

3. Road-tested travel tips

A problem-solving consumer travel advocate for publications such as USA Today and National Geographic Traveler, Christopher Elliott has accrued more than a few tips on how to find the best travel deals. But the road-tested wisdom distilled in the book [How to Be the World’s Smartest Traveler (and Save Time, Money, and Hassle)](–and-save-time–money–and-hassle-) isn’t just about cutting costs. In addition to advice on flight sales and car rental fees, there’s also a backpack full of common sense on everything from choosing travel insurance to resolving trip complaints without blowing your top. Sprinkled with letters from frustrated readers – plus the solutions Elliott sent them – this handy volume helps everyone from newbies to frequent-fliers navigate the ever-complex world of travel planning.

Road-tested travel tips

4. Bed in a bag

Tony and Lisa Clark originally created their portable Backpack Bed for homeless people needing a safe and comfortable way to sleep outdoors. But when their clever design attracted the attention of campers, they also started selling to individuals – with the profits funding beds for those in need. It’s a win-win social enterprise. The lightweight bag unrolls into a waterproof shelter with a built-in sleep mat, mosquito net windows and a lockable inside pocket, making it an ideal option for snoozing under the stars wherever you find yourself.

Bed in a bag

5. Anti-pickpocket (under)pants

Visiting a destination reputed to be a larcenous pickpocketing capital? One solution is to stuff your valuables in your underwear. But an even better answer (if you don’t want them falling from your trouser leg) is to slip your goodies into a pair of anti-theft “smart undies”. Specially designed with zip-able front pockets, Clever Travel Companion’s natty range of security skivvies for men and women is perfect for stashing cash, passports, your parents’ credit card or that precious faded photo of your partner back home. Just don’t forget to empty your pockets on laundry day.

Anti-pickpocket (under)pants


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