Gift Suggestions for a Van Dweller or Other Tiny Home

Christmas is just around the corner, and friends and relatives may be wondering what you can possibly buy a person who lives in a van, car, RV or any small home.

If a person lives in a van, car, RV or another form of a tiny home, they generally live simple lives. Their needs are usually specific, and excess baggage is something they don’t have room for. Space is tight, and even one extra, small, thing that isn’t needed, can get in the way and be a nuisance rather than a pleasure. Additionally, many folks who live on the road don’t have a regular place to receive mail, so sending packages isn’t always feasible.

Here are a few suggestions:

#1 The number one thing I would suggest is money. I know, I know, boring….uninventive, etc. but I think that for many Nomad’s, it is the most useful thing. If someone is a wealthy Nomad maybe this wouldn’t be the right choice, but for those that are living on a strict pension or a tight income of any kind, this is probably the best gift you can give them.

It could be given to them directly through PayPal (be sure to check the box that says it is a gift, so PayPal fees are not deducted from the total) or in some other form. Another idea is to set up an emergency savings account for them, (arrange it with them) in their credit union (or bank) and label it Auto Repairs/Maintenance, or whatever, so that they will have a little bit of something to fall back on if they have a breakdown of some kind. This account could have money added to it each year, and if they don’t need to use it, it could grow in size ready for when that inevitable breakdown occurs. Another idea is to pay for someone’s auto insurance for 6-months or even 1-month. I know some folks that only live off social security, and its tight, even when living with no rent. In this manner, family and friends could get together and each put a little something towards it. With any luck, the Nomad won’t need to delve into it for anything serious, but as you know all vehicles need maintenance, and insurance is unavoidable. For a person who needs financial help more than stuff, this is a gift that is bound to be appreciated by many.

A security net of some kind is a wonderful gift for someone on a tight budget, it offers peace of mind and less stress, and we all know that the less stress we have in our lives, the happier and healthier we will be.

Paying one of their annual bills is another idea. For example; I have a SPOT search and rescue device, and the annual fee can’t be paid with pocket change. If a friend or family member were to contribute to that annually, it would be a wonderful gift. In that way, my friends would be contributing to my safety when I hike alone and drive in remote areas on dirt roads, where my auto insurance doesn’t cover towing. If I needed to be rescued in an emergency, they would have quite possibly saved my life. That is far more valuable to me than any amount of stuff.

I know that these kinds of gifts take the fun out of gift-giving a bit, but for the receiver, it may be a huge worry taken off their shoulders, and ultimately it’s all about what is best for the receiver of the gift, not the giver.

#2 – Yep, another boring and obvious suggestion; gift certificates, but there are a lot of options that would be great for a Nomad. This allows them to purchase what they want or need, and therefore the giver is ensuring their money has not been wasted and the receiver gets what they need. I feel there is so much waste at Christmas, with people buying gifts for each other that the person doesn’t need or want, just for the sake of having something to open. Van-dwellers live simple lives and don’t have room for excess, they only have room for things they need and use regularly.

Many nomads use Amazon to make their purchases. They can have items shipped by general delivery to whatever town they are currently in, and this way they get what they need. If they need a new solar panel, auto parts, new tires, stove, repair kit, drain, heater…whatever! they use the gift certificate to help with the purchase. Amazon gift certificates can be purchased digitally and delivered digitally, how easy is that.

#3 – If you want to buy your Nomad something a little more light-hearted and fun, then why not buy them some entertainment.

Being stuck in a van during a dust storm or snowstorm that goes on for days, can cause van-fever. If they have a laptop, smartphone or tablet, you could buy them a gift certificate or annual membership to NetflixVUDU, or Flixter. They can then download movies to their laptop, smart pad, or phone and watch them even if they don’t have WiFi or enough data at the time. I have a number of videos on my laptop, and they have saved me from total brain-numbing boredom a number of times. It’s probably a good idea to find out which service they use to ensure they get just what they need. This also applies to music downloads from Amazon or iTunes. There aren’t too many people out there that don’t like music and these days a person can download just one track from an album, therefore getting just their favorite song and making the $$ go further.

Should your particular road warrior be wealthy or an outdoor enthusiast with a sense of adventure, maybe they would like to experience a guided canyoneering trip or a parachute jump? I know I wouldn’t be disappointed with either one of those. LOL.

The options for gift certificates are endless. If they are in a specific town or visit a place regularly, perhaps you’d like to treat them out to dinner, or a day at the spa, or maybe even a gift certificate for a grocery store so they can treat themselves to something the wouldn’t normally buy. You know what you’re particular Nomad would appreciate the most, and a visit to their favorite hot springs might just be the best gift you can offer.

Gas cards are another great gift certificate. I cannot describe how wonderful it feels to have a tank full of gas and a new horizon in my view. I get goosebumps at the thought.

#4 – Some other ideas would be annual expenses. If they have a dog, how about paying their annual vet bill for shots, auto insurance is another, or their phone bill, or a backup service for their laptop so they don’t lose all their stuff if their laptop dies. I use Carbonite, I think it costs $71.99 a year, knowing that all my photography and writing is backed up has been such a relief when my laptop has died in the past. There are other cloud backup services available, all varying in cost and the amount of data they cover.

#6 – Many traveler’s use their Nook or other smart pad or phone to read books on. It’s an obvious choice because we can own 400 or more books, and they don’t take up any space in our vehicles. Smart pads and phones have a lot of uses, I like to play solitaire on mine, as well as read and watch movies without having to fire up my laptop every time. So if they have a Nook App, a gift certificate to Barnes and Noble would surely be appreciated, if they use a Kindle App then it would be Amazon. If they don’t have a smart pad or phone, maybe they would like one.

#7 – Inevitably, there is probably someone reading this post who has a friend that has it all. Perhaps they are financially comfortable and can afford anything they want and there is nothing they need. For them, I would suggest donating some money to their favorite cause or charity. Perhaps it’s environmental, wildlife, child abuse, or health or some other cause. Donating some money in their name is a very generous gift and one that the giver and both receivers can feel good about. It takes up no room, but it helps someone else, and that is truly one of the most compassionate things a person can do during the season that is known for spreading goodwill. Here’s a suggestion for you if you don’t have time to search Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.

#8 – And if none of these seems appropriate for your particular Nomad, there is one final suggestion, just ask them. Your phone call, text or email asking them this question just might be what they needed most at that moment.

A bonus to buying these kinds of gifts is that none of them contribute (or contribute very little) to the excessive amount of consumerism in this day and age or the ever-growing size of landfills and destruction of our natural resources. So when you purchase a service for someone, you are not only helping your loved one, but you are also helping your beloved home, the planet.

I hope you like these suggestions. I know I haven’t covered everything here and that there are a lot of other options, but my intention with this post is to get the ideas rolling in your head, you know… get the juices flowing a bit.

If you have any ideas you’d like to add to help people out, please put them in the comments section below and I’ll approve them as soon as I can.

Thank you for reading this, if you know someone who might benefit from this post, or you just enjoyed it, please feel free to like and share it in any manner you choose.

Until next time ~ Have fun gift-giving…and Happy Holidays to You All.

Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature

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