Travel Gifts for Graduates Taking a Gap Year | 2022

Find me a college freshman and I’ll show you someone who either: A) Wishes they’d taken a gap year, or B) Did take a gap year, and extols its virtues to every teen who’ll listen. Here’s what we’re gifting those lucky (and wise) enough to give themselves a break.

$ 25

Lanyards are so freshman year. Grads need not sacrifice design, or their newfound maturity, for a protected passport.

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$ 30

Provide peace of mind for a traveling graduate — and their nervous parents — with a personal alarm that’s TSA carry-on friendly (can’t say that for pepper spray) and lets off an attention-grabbing siren and a strobe light with the pull of a pin.

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$ 45

Airplanes, hostels, tents, trains — name one traveling scenario that could not be vastly improved by a packable pillow filled with actual down.

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$ 28

Help expedite the meeting-new-people process with a conversation-starting, PNW-repping tee from our favorite local gear brand.

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$ 200

The most crucial big-ticket item for a grad on the move? A big bag (that won’t add any more strain to their back than all those textbooks). Cotopaxi’s 35L travel bag features a backpacking harness with a removable hip belt, tons of organization and security measures, and carry-on-friendly dimensions.

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$ 18

Gap years aren’t all about physical exploration — they’re also a fantastic time for introspection. Renowned American poet Theodore Roethke, who taught at the University of Washington from 1947 until he died in 1963, shares wisdom (and woes): “I teach my sighs to lengthen into songs, Yet, like a tree endure the shift of things.”

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$ 30

Real Seattleites do not let a backpacking trip get in the way of their artisanal beans. Wallingford-based Miir’s pocket-sized foldable dripper makes a great gift for travelers with little space and lots of caffeine-related opinions.

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$ 100

Watches feel like a classic graduation gift, but the conspicuously expensive, wear-with-a-suit type won’t cut it for an intrepid adventurer. This simple recycled watch stands up to heat, water, and at least one gap year’s worth of serious living.

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