The Gifted Blog

June 18, 2010

Reader Question: Have Gift, Will Travel

"This summer I have the dilemma of 'have gift will travel'. An international trip and two long distance weddings means that I have to have a fun way to gift wrap that
1. won't get ripped or doesn't mind getting folded or crushed

2. is quick and
3. looks nice.
I like the Japanese scarf idea, but are there others? Thanks a million!!!"     --Erin

Erin, great question! Since you've already read my enthusiastic endorsements of furoshiki, might I recommend raffia as a travel-friendly wrapping supply? There's pretty much no way you can mess it up, whether you take it along loose or already tied onto your gift.

Readers, what do you say? Erin and I would love to hear your ideas for how to wrap a gift to take on a trip.

(And if you have a question, don't be shy! Ask away right here.)


  1. I think fabric is pretty much the only way to go. Maybe a vintage tablecloth and napkins with ribbon? They could be ironed at the hotel right before you wrap it. The hubs and I are rather fond of giving picnic backpacks as wedding gifts and we just tie it up in a really thin vintage blanket they can use to sit on. Kind of tough to travel with though.

  2. I generally bring wrapping supplies with me that can travel easily and then do it at my destination. I'm not very creative so usually this is a gift bag and a little tissue.

  3. Excellent contributions. Keep them coming!!

    kimberj - Hey, great idea to consider making even the gift (not just the gift wrapping) easy to pack! And I like the idea of taking advantage of what's available at the hotel.

    Kelly - That makes a lot of sense. And since gift bags come flat anyway, how easy is that for packing? Thanks for your comment!

  4. I'm a fan of wrapping at the destination. You can do frabic or paper. If you do paper use one that can be folded into a square and then put between magazine pages.

    However I think the best thing you can do is wrap it beatifully, put it in a box with good packaging and then send to the person. This keeps you from dealing with traveling with the package. In this day I think a lot of people also appreciate getting things sent to their home. I know when I got married it was easier this way. Less stuff for the couple to pack (and unpack) into a car.

  5. @beautifuliving - Thanks for sharing! Putting the wrapping paper in a magazine - something you'd be taking along anyway - is smart. Also, a good reminder that someone's going to have to transport all those gifts when the wedding's done!

  6. I agree with beautifulliving to giftwrap on site. I travel quite a bit and value traveling lite and unless it's a must that I give an item in person to a couple, I either mail it, buy the gift there, or give cash. Buying wrapping supplies in an international setting can also be a really fun experience.

  7. @Hanna - Ah haaa. Buy your gift and/or gift wrapping on site. I totally didn't think of that. I'm such a plan-ahead lady that I think this would be personally challenging, but I really love the idea of scouting out new materials in a different country!

  8. There's one more thing: Not all things wrapped will be wrapped when you get to your destination. Since a few years, security has gotten real tight on international flights. I had even some books unwrapped (and not carefully either)

    Therefore, I always gift wrap, when I get to where I'm going. If it is a meaningful gift it will also travel with me as hand luggage.

  9. Woah! Thanks for the ideas... actually, one of our favorite gifts was a picnic basket and recently, we gave a similar gift to friends. I like the idea of raffia and fabrics... I'd better head over to the craft store and thrift store and begin shopping!!!

  10. Okay this may sound tacky since it is a wedding but what about picking up a newspaper the day they are getting married and wrap it in that with the date showing on top and you not only have wrapping paper but they have a keep sake of what was going on the day of their wedding. Just a thought. You could always adorn it with a beautiful white ribbon and a beautiful white bow just to kick it up.

  11. @annekata - Thanks for sharing from your experience. It would be such a shame to put one of these ideas to use only to have it dismantled at a security checkpoint!

    @twofourone (Erin) - I'm so pleased to see this outpouring of creativity and wisdom on your behalf! We'd love to see what you come up with for your upcoming wedding gifts.

    @The Real Me - Love it. I usually associate newspaper gift wrapping with more casual occasions, but with the sweet thought behind this, it would be very appropriate!

  12. I almost never prewrap gifts (the paper just gets all scuffy in my bag, even if I hand carry the item - I'm afraid I'm not a very careful traveler!)

    In the past, I've usually either brought my wrapping supplies (for a small gift, paper that can be folded and placed between flat objects in a ziplock, and fabric ribbon) or bought some when I've arrived. I've been lucky that most of the weddings I've attended have been in Northern California, where I went to school - so I know where to go to get wrapping supplies (Daiso is a great source!). Another option might be to bring ribbon and (folded), sturdy paper like kraft paper and then use the hotel iron to give both items a quick press before you wrap the gift. I've seen that technique used before to get the creases out of grocery bags when they're being used as recycled wrapping! I've also found that a packet of tissue paper still encased in its plastic sleeve travels nicely. A simple white tissue wrapping (using several layers of the stuff) with a beautiful satin bow and maybe a decoration like a tag or silk flowers can be quite elegant looking, so long as you take care to crease the tissue at the edges after the gift is wrapped for a crisper look.


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