Every year I’m asked for my top holiday gift recommendations for the traveler. Fortunately, between new travel apparel, gear, books and luggage innovations, I always have several new items to recommend to readers. From stocking stuffers to high end items, this list of top 10 holiday gifts for the traveler should satisfy the globe trotter, as well as the armchair traveler.
Etymotic mk5 Isolator Earphones offer high-definition audio with an in-ear secure fit at an affordable price. According to an independent laboratory accredited by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Etymotic’s earphones have the highest noise isolation of all earphones. Personally, I liked the earphones for their low profile fit, allowing me to wear the earphones under helmets and hats when I’m traveling or commuting. The earphones seal the ear canal, allowing musical lovers to enjoy the details in your music and block out the outside noise. Currently listed at $59.00, check the website for current pricing.
For the foodie
My family heritage is Norwegian on my father’s side and Welsh on my mother’s side. Remember when you brought a regional dish to share with your classmates at school for global heritage day? Lutefisk, the traditional dish of many Nordic countries is a dry, salted whitefish with lye. Needless to say, I was not thrilled to share this part of my Norwegian heritage. I was saved by the Welsh Cake! A cross between a scone and a biscuit, the Welsh Cake is a treat that you may purchase pre-made or enjoy at home. The folks at Copper Kettle Bakery in Massachusetts make the easy to prepare mix in chocolate chip, cranberry and currant flavors. The cakes are delicious with the mail order mix retailing for $8.99.
For the wine connoisseur
In its second edition, The Wine Bible, by Karen MacNeil, is a book for the wine lover, as well as the reader new to wine tasting. Whether you have an experienced palette or are anxious to learn more about terroir, varietals and regional wines, this book will age gracefully, as your wine knowledge grows. Suggested retail $24.95.
During my travels, I often find myself in unfamiliar (to me) destinations. As I specialize in insider tips for the traveler, I like to get a lay of the land from a local. One of the best ways to learn a new destination is with a city tour. On a recent trip to Vancouver, Canada I arranged a morning food tour of Granville Island compliments of ToursByLocals. The company asked what I was looking for in a city tour and then matched me with Jenn Potter for a customized tour of Granville Island. I love that Jenn met me at my Vancouver hotel and we took a water taxi to Granville Island. Jenn was pleasant, professional and very knowledgeable sharing her inside tips as only a local can do. The company offers private, custom tour experiences in over 130 countries.
As a travel writer, I’ve traveled by train, float plane, cruise ship and on horseback, among other forms of transportation. A highlight for me this year was a train trip in the Canadian Rockies with Rocky Mountaineer. I chose the First Passage to the West, an iconic route for the railway buff or those wanting to sit back, relax and enjoy the ride – and the scenery! This is a great trip for the solo traveler and couples.
For those with itchy travel feet, the 4EurSole clog offers a light weight shoe ideal for the stream-lined traveler. The Ohio-based company originally designed these shoes for those on their feet all day – think nurses – but then realized that the traveler would like them, too. I love that they are stylish, colorful and comfortable and can be worn several ways. The versatile clogs retail for approximately $139.99, as always, check the website for pricing. I’ll be putting my Women’s Western Embellished Leather Clog through their paces on a trip to Germany.
Biaggi foldable luggage
We want our luggage to be durable, yet stylish and lightweight. What if I told you of a luggage collection with all of these attributes that it didn’t take up much space in the closet? Biaggi Contempo Collection is a durable four wheeled spinner that folds for easy storage. Perfect for the college student or those with limited closet space, Biaggi luggage unique fabric and construction is an ideal travel companion.
For those who like to journal, the Moleskine notebooks are legendary. I consider the Moleskine notebook as important as my passport. Imagine my delight when the folks at Moleskine sent me a travel tote to try from their new travel collection. I brought the purse with me to Canada, as well as on a cruise in the Caribbean and it held up well. With its padded handles, deep pocket and zipper closure, the classic tote is ideal for digital devices up to 13″ and fits inside my portable backpack and carryon bag. The black bag is made of water resistant polyurethane material with a hard structured base. I use the two external side pockets for easy access to my glasses or a water bottle. The Moleskine Classic Tote is priced at $99.95, but as always, check the website for price.
Armor gear for your iPhone
What is it about boys and dropped phones? Both my husband and son have cracked their smartphones because they didn’t have a protective case on them. Enough already. I’m stuffing Urban Armor Gear in each of their Christmas stockings this year. The UAG case is featherlight, impact resistant and offers easy access with glare-free flash, skid pads and protective screen surround. This particular case, priced at $34.95, is designed for the iPhone 6, but the company offers armor for a wide array of Surface and Samsung products, as well.
Those of you who follow the What a Trip blog know that I recently had my second hip replacement. Thankfully, my two bionic hips have not slowed my adventurous travel spirit. I was back on a horse three months post hip replacement surgery. At my surgeon’s suggestion, I purchased travel protection insurance before my recent cruise to the eastern Caribbean. Afterall, I planned to swim with horses and you never know when you might need evacuation insurance. With that in mind, I purchased peace of mind with Allianz Global Assistance.
Disclosure: On the What a Trip blog, I receive products, travel apparel and gear that has been sent to me for review purposes. Some of items listed above have been purchased by me, while others are received without charge. All of these holiday gifts for the traveler have been tested and are recommended and approved by me.