Enhance your travel-loving grandparents' adventures with these must-haves for global romping

click to enlarge ALI BLACKWOOD ILLUSTRATION
Ali Blackwood illustration

Your grandparents are nearing the end of their lives and have some cash to blow. But they're the type who sure as hell aren't going to spend it on you. Instead, they're travelling the world with youthful enthusiasm, gleefully posting pictures of their latest escapade on social media with astonishing frequency and hitting all the spots that you with your meager bank account balance haven't been to (and likely never will). One "upside" is that you can live vicariously through them; seeing pictures of your relatives having a ball in Istanbul is basically the same as going there yourself, right? Another is that you always know what to get them for the holidays: travel gear! Here are a few suggestions.

EYEGLASSES STRAP (a)

Your grandfather has bad vision. He needs his glasses. But he also loves climbing volcanoes in Indonesia, peering over the steep Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, and strolling the windy beaches of the Netherlands. If he's travelling extensively, there's a high probability that those specs will go flying right off his face never to be seen again. Don't let him go blind. A strap for their eyeglasses is a highly practical and low-cost gift. And he's old so he won't give a hoot about criticisms that the strap isn't stylish. $4Eyeglasses World6029 N. Division St.

SONY MIRRORLESS CAMERA (b)

The Sony A6000 is a perfect entry-level mirrorless camera that is highly compatible with a traveler's needs: it's compact, lightweight, good quality and comes at a decent price point (it's been on the market for awhile). While it has point-and-shoot capabilities, it also has all the basic features of heftier DSLR cameras so photography enthusiasts can get technical. Sony also offers fixed lenses for their mirrorless cameras. It's a spendier gift, but your grandparents will appreciate a travel-friendly camera to document their adventures. $448Huppin's8016 N. Division St.

TRAVEL CRIBBAGE SET (C)

The image of seniors playing cribbage is something of a stereotype. But it's also a very popular game. And your grandparents will need something to do when they're riding the Trans-Siberian railway from Moscow to China. It's generally played with two players, but the set-up can be modified to accommodate more in teams. Plus the games industry offers a variety of small and compact cribbage sets that are perfect for travel. $10Uncle's Games • 404 W. Main Ave.

NECK PILLOW (d)

Every traveller could use a neck pillow. But since you're grandparents are off having way more fun than you right now and spending lots of time on trains, planes and buses, they definitely need one with a greater sense of urgency. Neck pillows are getting fancy these days — you can only source it online, but check out the goofy-looking Trtl Pillow Plus — but the classic models are abundant and inexpensive. That person sitting next to your grandmother on a long-haul international flight probably won't love it when she falls asleep on their shoulder. Get her a neck pillow. $42REI1125 N. Monroe St.

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About The Author

Josh Kelety

As a staff writer, Josh covers criminal justice issues and Spokane County government. Previously, he worked as a reporter for Seattle Weekly. Josh grew up in Port Townsend and graduated from the University of Washington. Message him through Signal @ (360) 301-3490.