I can tell you that my desire for travel hasn't diminished.
Dreaming of places far-and-wide has helped keep me sane throughout 2020. So much in fact, that I've put together the ultimate gift-basket selection for the travelers in your life.
A little bit of practicality, a lot of fun, these mix-and-match items include a range of budget-friendly options and a few splurges to make every traveler in your life happy, even if they have to enjoy the world's beauty from the comfort of home a little bit longer.
How much or how little to include is entirely up to you. Have fun with it, and get inspired. The inspiration may be the real gift, after all.
First get a basket...
Think about how you're going to arrange the gifts inside. Decide on how many gifts you're planning to include, and how you'd like the finished basket to look.
Prefer everything to be on full display, and then wrapped together nicely in cellophane with a bow? Or would you rather place each gift alongside each other, into an open top rectangular box that tucks neatly up for shipping?
FYI, Pinterest is a great place to find inspiration for making your gift basket as eye-catching and droolworthy as possible.
Select the main items
Remember, although you're creating a gift-basket with travelers in mind, not all of its items have to be things someone would necessarily take with them. Get ready to start mixing and matching!
Especially at a time when travel is sketchy at best, consider filling it with things they can use in the present. Think city-themed coloring books (and colored pencils to match) and regional food boxes. Travelogues by authors like Anthony Bourdain and Stephanie Elizondo Griest can also inspire weary minds.
Here's a range of items for every type of traveler on the list.
Homesick's selection of natural soy wax blend scented candles includes all 50 U.S. states, as well as countries like France, Mexico, and Brazil. There are also city candles, too.
Nashville includes notes of musk, cedarwood, and tobacco, while Miami calls to mind beaches and blue skies with hints of lavender, coconut, and suntan lotion.
For instance, the New Jersey candle doesn’t smell like Superfund sites or Turnpike restrooms, but more like cranberry bogs and saltwater taffy. This holiday, this is how I’m bringing my childhood home to San Francisco.
These bracelets are handcrafted in Bali out of upcycled materials, and can be customized with the coordinates of a favorite location (I have one with the coordinates of Altamura, Italy). You can choose among carved wooden beads and woven colors. The bracelets are also adjustable.
COST: $26 and up
For all those stamp collectors, these are the gifts to zone in on. It's another way to wear the world and keep it close by.
The Wander Club's engraved tokens can be touted with the names of national parks,states and countries. They can even be customized with a favorite or home airport (like SFO or PHL) or roadway (eg. Route 66). Get as many as you like.
Then consider a “token holder,” such as The Wander Club's colorful keychains or necklaces, for displaying.
COST: Tokens start at $6; keychains run $25, necklaces $20
Snack Crate handpicks snacks for deliver from a different country monthly, like a box of Russian treats including Soviet Alyonka chocolate and salmon-flavored croutons, or a German box filled with fruity “dragon tongue” candies known as Bunte Drachenzungen and Nic Nac’s peanuts coated in BBQ flavoring.
Boxes come in mini, original, and premium sizes and each includes its own music playlist.
This one can slip into the gift basket easily, since all you need is a card saying that a monthly gift subscription is on the way.
And everyone can use a few snacks these days whether its for the WFH or digital nomad life.
COST: Starting at $9.99 per month
There are some great noise-cancelling headphones beyond Bose. My absolute favorite, for both their discount price and features, are Anker SoundCore Life Q20 Bluetooth headphones. They come with their own travel case, and the noise cancelling works so well that I often wear them to sleep. Seriously, at only $69.99 on Amazon, these are an absolute steal.
For other recommended brands, Shure is always a reliable buy. For a budget option, these Panasonic ErgoFit ones at under $10 aren't quite noise-cancelling, but they are cheap enough to never have to worry about them and deliver exceptional value when it comes to sound delivery.
A good journal
Everyone can use one of these, whether to write in, sketch in, or simply jot down a note here and there. While there are tons of different styles and designs of journals out there, a perennial best is undoubtedly Moleskine. I mean, it's the successor to the notebooks used by Ernest Hemingway and Vincent Van Gogh.
Moleskine are available with lines and without, specifically for drawing or as use as smart planners, and their website even sells matching pens.
COST: Ranging from $9.95 to $44.95
German game and toy company Ravensburger offers everything from challenging 2,000 piece world map puzzles (you're literally covering the earth, one inch at a time) to slightly easier 1,000 piece offerings, include one detailing 99 Beautiful Places on Earth.
Not only are they engaging and therapeutic, but these puzzles can provide a needed bit of social interaction, even it's just with your partner.
If your traveler is anything like me, they likely end up buying another travel adapter nearly every time the get on the road. This may be because they buy them piecemeal, meaning each new continent or region they visit might require something entirely different. Or they are just absentminded.
Stop the madness with a universal adapter like the Epika Universal Travel Adapter. It has four plugs to cover most countries, and several USB ports to charge multiple devices at once.
There's almost nothing more rewarding than marking off the places you've been, whether it's a national park or a customized bucket list. These scratchable travel maps from Etsy seller Kuulys are as fun to frame as they are to take a fingernail or penny to (you know, to reveal what's underneath).
(For another option, check out this oldie but goodie review on this Luckies of London Scratch Map.)
Moment smartphone camera lenses
Moment is a one-stop shop for smartphone lenses (think macro and fisheye), cases, and one of the best accessories by far: wrist-strap attachments that tie right onto the cases, so that you almost never drop your phone.
I've been using one for years, and it's changed the way I travel, adding a layer of security that's so welcome when running from place to place. COST: lenses run between $32 and
$130; cases start at $20; and strap attachments at $9.99
Remember being envious of the person on the plane that always brought a blanket? I do. Thankfully the Cabeau Fold 'n Go Travel and Throw Blanket is soft, affordable, and comes with its own compact case. This means it can even double as a pillow.
National park guidebook
Road trips remain the way to go for many travelers at the moment, so why not get them a guide they can use?
Published in October, Moon USA National Parks is a guide to all 62 U.S. national parks, including favorites like Glacier, Yellowstone, and Joshua Tree. It also provides details on the best scenic drives between them.
The stocking stuffers for a final flourish
In our opinion, its often the finishing touches that make it..
Its impossible to go wrong with hand sanitizer, Wet-Naps, and travel-themed face masks like the handmade cotton masks by Etsy users MasksbyAnna and TyMoreByBaltimore (ranging in price from $6 to $12).
This tiny, handy Droplet Dry Bag ($15) by Matador fits right onto a keychain but expands into a three liter bag ideal for storing wet gear, protecting dry items from becoming mildewy. Gross!