If your mom is a van dweller, deciding on the perfect Mother’s Day gift can be a challenge. After all, road warriors usually avoid keeping superfluous possessions in their small traveling home. Luckily, there are still plenty of ways to spoil a van life matriarch.
This year, forgo typical Mother’s Day offerings like flowers or bulky gift baskets and show your mom how much you care with a thoughtful present that’s tailored to her unique lifestyle. To give you inspiration, we’re sharing 11 creative gifts for adventurous moms.
Whether she’d appreciate a sentimental trinket, practical purchase, or unforgettable experience, you’ll find an option on this list. Plus, our suggestions range from $10 to $250 to accommodate every budget. Ready to find the perfect present to make your mom smile? Read on.
The Best Gifts for your Van Life Mom this Mother’s Day
Harvest Hosts Membership
Details: Van dwellers always appreciate beautiful campsites and making memories. Provide both with a yearly membership to Harvest Hosts. With this membership, your mom will be able to van camp at over 4,000 interesting locations including farms, wineries, and breweries. Staying overnight is free with the expectation that you’ll purchase something at each destination. Kicking back with a glass of wine and an incredible view–unlocked!
Portable Solar Panel
Details: If your mom is into camping off the grid and doesn’t already have solar panels on her van, consider splurging for this practical present. The high-quality folding solar panel harnesses the sun’s rays to keep all of her essential devices charged while exploring roads less traveled. If your mom doesn’t boondock often but likes to go on long hikes, you can also opt for a smaller, cheaper solar phone charger that she can easily carry along.
Faux Succulent Van Charm
Details: If your family opts for smaller gifts for Mother’s Day, you can still brighten your mom’s day with a whimsical charm that hangs from her rig’s rearview mirror. Choose between four boho designs–a camper van, llama, sloth, or mushroom–each adorned with a life-like plastic succulent. While no one would argue that this gift is practical, it won’t take up any shelf space and it provides the beauty of a plant without the upkeep. Plus, she’ll think of you every time she sees it.
Details: Another small gift that packs a punch is this embossed vegan leather travel journal. The page-a-day format works perfectly for van life, allowing your mom to record all of the amazing places she’s visited without spending too much time writing. Thoughtful travel-centric details like a pocket for mementos, durable rounded corners, and an elastic band to keep it all together set this journal aside from your average notebook.
Details: Looking for a gift your mom will always remember? Book her a class, a tour, or another type of experience on Airbnb. Just figure out which city or town she’ll be in on a certain date and browse the company’s impressive collection of experiences. Kayaking in remote sea caves, learning to cook local delicacies, and going on unique architecture tours are just a few examples of the fun that could await your giftee.
Van Shower Organizer
Details: A clutter-free van is a happy van. Help your mom streamline her daily routine with this clever handmade bathroom storage system. Unlike regular shower caddies, this innovative design has a space-saving flat profile that can adapt to a variety of small items. Plus, you can customize the organizer with almost limitless color combinations for a look your mom will love.
Details: Provide your mother with an enjoyable activity for evenings and rainy days in the van with a good book. Specifically, consider the travel genre, which is likely to appeal to free-spirited van lifers. Looking for recommendations? Check out “10 Inspirational Travel Books” and “10 Adventure Books to Read on your Summer Road Trip.” If you can, support a local bookstore with your purchase. IndieBound can help you find independent booksellers in your area and online.
Details: The Contenta dress lives up to its name thanks to its happiness-inducing multifunctionality. The breathable technical fabric and relaxed fit make this dress perfect for outdoor adventures, while the modern cut renders it equally at home in a nice restaurant. The removable belt means style-savvy mothers can get two silhouettes from the same garment. Oh, and did we mention that it has pockets?
Details: Give the gift of entertainment on long drives with a Spotify Premium gift card or subscription. Nothing makes the time fly by faster for solo van travelers than ad-free music and podcasts in a huge array of genres. As a Premium listener, she’ll also be able to download all of this content so the tunes don’t have to stop when she’s out of cell service. Add a sentimental touch to this gift by creating a playlist for her.
Phone Camera Tripod
Details: If your mom is traveling solo, she probably sends you plenty of photos of scenic destinations and very few photos of herself. Consider purchasing her a tripod so you can see more photos of your matriarch as she travels–and yes, this is as much a gift for you as it is for her. This particular phone camera tripod is perfect for van dwellers because it is multifunctional, moonlighting as a selfie stick and desktop phone holder.
Details: Speaking of sentimental, make your mom’s heart melt with a custom locket. You can add an engraved initial to the front and a teeny-tiny photo inside for maximum personalization. This delicate necklace will take next to no space to store in the van, but we have a feeling she’ll never take it off. When you are on opposite sides of the country, this gift will keep you feeling close.
Pair the present of your choice with a handwritten card to make your mom’s day. For gifts that are ideal for van life dads–which also work well for nomadic moms–take a look at our guide. For the story of a road warrior mom who often travels coast to coast visiting her adult children, check out our interview with Jasmine W.