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I kicked off 2020 in Mexico City, fulling expecting a year packed with international and domestic travels. Welp, as with many other travelers’ plans, mine didn’t happen. As the holiday season comes around, make sure to keep the travelers in your life in mind and send along a little quarantine gift as a pick-me-up. Here are my picks for the best travel gifts during this pandemic.
Like my previous gift guide for travelers, this 2020 special edition includes options for different types of travelers and at different price points. Gift away!
Best travel gifts for those wanderlusting from home
Due to the circumstances around COVID, more of us are at home more than ever. But being at home doesn’t mean you can’t satisfy your wanderlust.
Consider the following gifts to provide some daily travel inspiration.
Edit: Wondering where #1 is? I previously had Serengetee shirts in the top spot on this list but can no longer recommend them. Their customer service is absolutely horrid if you ever have an issue.
2. Scratch-off maps
Before we went slo-madic, we had so many maps of the world around the house. I’m thinking of getting a new, slightly more interactive one whenever we decide to put down roots again.
One of the ones I’ve found interesting thus far is this scratch-off map. It is gorgeous and incredibly detailed — it even includes New Zealand! (Kiwis and travel addicts will understand this!)
For U.S.-based travelers, consider ordering the slightly smaller version of this map as it also comes with a bonus United States map.
3. Destinations of a lifetime
Or, give them some inspiration with National Geographic’s Destinations of a Lifetime book.
This gorgeous coffee table book is one of our favorites. I’ve been to a good chunk of the 225 places highlighted in the book, but there’s always something new that I discover each time I flip through it.
Best travel gifts for foodies
For me, food is a huge part of traveling. Be it in Mexico City, Peru, Italy, or elsewhere, food is essential to the experience. If your loved one is like me, consider one of the following holiday gifts to let them travel with their taste buds.
For the friends and family members who are wanderlusting from home but also huge on food, consider something that allows them to explore the world from their kitchens.
1. In Bibi’s Kitchen
All good cookbooks have some element of storytelling, but the best ones take me to the place where the food originates or where the author first experiences it.
This new cookbook caught my eye with its subtitle: “The Recipes and Stories of Grandmothers from the Eight African Countries that Touch the Indian Ocean.”
I can’t wait to dive into my copy of In Bibi’s Kitchen over the Thanksgiving holiday and test some recipes!
2. Airbnb experience, or gift card!
One of the wonderful COVID-pivots in the travel world has been online experiences, which allows us to explore the world without even leaving our couches.
Airbnb has the widest selection of online experiences, and a good chunk of them are food-and-drink-related. I’ve done the Sangria with Drag Queens experience with friends as well as this Secrets of Japanese Whiskey one with coworkers. Both were lots of fun!
You can book one of the online experiences for both you and your giftee and enjoy a fun activity together while you’re physically apart.
Alternatively, get them Airbnb gift cards so they can choose their own experience. (The gift cards work on lodging as well! P.S. If you or your loved one has never used Airbnb before, this link will also get them up to $65 off their first stay.)
3. International food & drink subscription
If cooking isn’t of interest but eating and drinking are, indulge in your family and friend’s wanderlust with an international food & drink subscription.
There are so many options out there, from those that specialize in the delicacies of one country to ones that surprise your giftee with flavors of a new country with every delivery.
Best travel gifts for those exploring the great outdoors
For those venturing outside their homes, there’s no easier adventure to be found than right in our own backyards, especially in the great outdoors where social distancing is easier.
We’ve been doing tons of day hikes in California and Oregon, as well as a few multi-day camping trips, including camping in the middle of nowhere. If not for our pup being too young to go camping while the weather was good, we probably would’ve camped even more this year.
1. New camping gear
So first up, camping gear!
Whether your loved one is a budding camping enthusiast that needs to round out their gear or a veteran who needs some replacements, you can’t go wrong with a gift card to REI.
If giving gift cards isn’t your thing, here are some fail-safe camping must-haves to choose from:
- A Jetboil set for quick camping cooking
- A comfy sleeping bag rated for down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit
- A fun and functional camping mug
- A versatile headlamp (we also use ours to take the pup out to pee at night!)
- Camping chairs for everyone in the fam
2. Athletic gear from Fabletics
If there’s anything I’m consistently wearing these days, whether I’m outdoors or at home, it’s workout clothes. And one of my favorite brands for that is Fabletics.
Be it for hiking, cycling, or running — or just new athleisure wear for every moment of the day — Fabletics has options for both women and men. There’s always a special offer for new customers, so check it out and find something to gift.
3. A National Parks Annual Pass
There is literally no better time to get a National Parks Annual Pass if you reside in the USA.
Not only does it give you access to the world-famous national parks of the United States, but the pass also provides access to national forests, monuments, and other federal recreational lands.
Best travel gifts for road trippers
Besides camping trips, road trips are also more popular than ever during this time of COVID. In fact, so many people are hitting the road in Sprinter vans and RVs, there’s a nationwide shortage!
Whether you’re buying for someone who’s just dipping their toes into road trips or gifting a friend who’s now living the van life, pick presents that make sure they’re equipped and ready to go on the best adventures of their lives. No Wally World mishaps, please!
1. Yeti cooler
Yeti’s are THE brand when it comes to insulated gear. Roadtrippers are going to need some great insulation for their adventure snacks and drinks, so springing for a Yeti cooler is sure to make you their favorite person.
If Yeti’s are too pricey and brands don’t matter much to you, consider getting a RTIC cooler instead. RTIC products are known to be very similar to Yeti ones, but at much lower prices. Their tagline is literally “Overbuilt. Not overpriced.”
2. Audible subscription
Besides snacks and beverages, car games and playlists are quintessential to great road trips. In recent years, I’ve also found podcasts and audio books to be great additions for variety’s sake.
An Audible membership gives access to millions of options and comes in 1-, 3-, 6-, and 12-month options. Personally, I prefer non-fiction when it comes to audiobooks, but I’ll take recommendations for fiction titles that are well-read!
3. Multi-use tool
Latly, when you’re on the road, a million different things can come up. A versatile multi-use tool makes sure your giftee is prepared for whatever happens.
My partner is a Leatherman sort of guy, while I’ve got a soft spot for the Victorinox Swiss Army options that I grew up with. Both brands offer a number of choices with varying types of tools, so take a scan and find the best one for your friend or family member.
And that’s all for this COVID-edition of the holiday gift guide for travelers. Pin it to share it!