10 Gifts for Wandering Grads

Fuel Their Wanderlust

New graduates often have some wanderlust and want to see the world on their own two feet. Whether the grad in your life simply enjoys walking and hiking or wants to go off in search of adventure, here are some items to make them happy wanderers.


Every walker needs a little tool kit, and the Swiss Army Knife puts it all into a small package. This model includes a large and small blade, bottle opener, corkscrew, tweezers, toothpick, scissors,wire stripper, small and large flat-head screwdrivers. You can find these at outdoor stores or online.


A grad can keep her smartphone secure in her pocket or pack while listening to tunes or answering those almost-extinct voice calls with wireless headphones. A great pair of headphones is a gift she will use. With the new iPhones requiring Bluetooth headphones, get ahead of the game.
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For grads who want to go traveling, this Eagle Creek Switchback pack is a two-fer. You can check it as luggage or wear it as a backpack. The straps hide away and it has a side carry handle. A day pack zips off to use along the way. It has lockable compartments. Perfect for packing light and seeing the world.​
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With all of the devices we travel with today, you need a charger that will maximize the outlets you find on the road. This charger will ensure your connected grad won't fall off the grid.
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"Don't panic, and carry a towel." That sage advice for travelers from Douglas Adams in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy can be passed along to your grad with this quick-drying towel. It is compact and ultra-lightweight so it takes up little space in your pack or luggage yet is large enough and thirsty enough to work as you need it. Then it will dry quickly to be ready for the next job. It comes in handy whether you are walking the Camino de Santiago, couch surfing with college friends, or camping off-grid.​
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A well-built day pack is essential. If the graduate is going to go off touring, this high-capacity day pack will let him or her take along everything needed. You need water, a snack, a light jacket or cozy wool shirt to go from morning to night, sea level to mountains. You never know where you'll go a-wandering.

Smart Phone

Traveling with a Smart Phone
Traveling with a Smart Phone. Petar Chernaev/E+/Getty Images

You can lighten your pack considerably by taking along a smart phone rather than separate electronics and paper maps and books. Choose one with a great camera, apps for travel and translation, and that can be used worldwide. Don't forget the data plan, either!


Rick Steves has been preaching independent travel for decades. He updates his travel skills handbook for Europe each year. Your grad will gain priceless tips on how to be an independent traveler as they are off to see the world. Find his books at every bookstore or online.
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Colin Fletcher wrote this classic book on how to hike, trek, and walk. Generations have learned how to find the right clothes, food, boots, and tents for backpacking or day hiking or a 1000-mile walk. He also teaches how to walk and hike responsibly and nurture the environment. Read this book before you venture into the wilderness.​
Publisher's Site


The first thing my husband did when he turned me into a walker/hiker was to take me to REI and make me get a membership. He then opened up the world of quality hiking and walking gear and clothing. My parents still give him an REI gift card each Christmas. You may want to choose Eastern Mountain Sports instead. But if you are uncertain about exactly what to buy, this is a gift that will send them in the right direction.



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