It’s that time of year again. You know, the month where visiting a mall is an act of bravery (*cough* Amazon Prime *cough*), and you’re allowed to eat Christmas cookies as a part of breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s also the time when we get to shower the ones we love with gifts. Here’s 2016’s best gifts for travelers.
Headphones are like socks: you could always use another pair. As a traveler, they are indispensable. I listen to a lot of podcasts when I travel. I also tend to always forget them at home and buy them on the road. I have now accumulated enough headphones to keep in all my bags. I know there is a deluge of high-end, high-priced headphones out there, but they are often misplaced (just like socks!).
A Quality Wireless Speaker
Another travel must-have that’s great for home, too! I love my bluetooth-enabled speakers to bring a little warm music to bland hotel room, and it doubles as a white noise machine when you download this app (the premium version is worth the $0.99) and hook it up via bluetooth. Brilliant!
At home, I’ll prop one up on side of my tub as I take a long, hot soak. I turn up the tunes and lock the door to drown out the sounds of invading children. Make sure you know the dimensions of the speaker as they can get rather large and you want to just throw this into your luggage. That’s why I prefer Symphonized’s Walnut Bluetooth speaker, and Triple C’s BluCube speaker.
Travel Essential Kit (TSA 3 in 1 liquids bag)
There are very strict rules regarding the amount of liquids thru airport security and onto a plane. This Travel Essentials Kit takes all the guess work out of knowing just what that amount is.
I can’t clean up your whole life, but with these packing cubes, I can help you eliminate suitcase chaos!
You should always bring your own comfort on a plane. My faux leather wrap keeps you cozy and gives you a little bit of a “don’t mess” attitude.
My younger sister always hand makes her gifts. Dried oranges for cocktails, or a lavender filled eye mask that you can heat up for even more comfort. Alas, not all of us have the DIY gene. If you don’t, I highly recommend the well-known provider of artisanal goods on Etsy. I’ve ordered many things from different venders and have never been disappointed.
Type in “Travel Gifts” in the search bar and scroll through all the great offerings. Some of my faves are a gold compass necklace from Bellazamia (all come in a gift box and have a couple different options for quotes like “And so the adventure begins!”) and a push pin map from MapRebublic.
Any book by Bill Bryson
Oh, okay. A Walk in the Woods.
I’m not going to sugar coat it: 2016 was a pretty difficult and violent year –here and elsewhere. I’ve made it my mission to appreciate the smaller and simple things in life, as well as laugh a hell of a lot more. That’s why I love this man. There are the great travel writers like Jan Morris and Paul Theroux, unparalleled in talent observation and expression. Of course Jack Kerouac remains the quintessential travel memoir, but this year I just want to freakin laugh.
Travel Photo Book
I love photo albums. But in this digital age, I am so guilty of taking a million photos… then never doing anything with them! Make someone you love a book with photos from a recent trip. So many websites make this a snap to accomplish. Montage and Mix Book are favorites. You can even easily upload photos from Facebook/Instagram as well as from your camera.
A Travel-inspired Cookbook (plus Ingredients!)
Scents and flavors transport us like nothing else. Give your favorite travel companion a cookbook from a place you visited, or maybe a place you plan on going in the future! Bonus points if you make the receiver dinner from said cookbook.
Spices are another way to play this angle. Penzey’s has awesome spice collections, like flavors of Mexico/India/BBQ. They also make extra small jars of spices, which is a great to experiment with new flavors as opposed to committing to a full jar. A pinch of berbere anyone?