Gifts For Travelers: Holidays 2019 Edition
Celebrating five years of thoughtfully curated, world inspired, holiday gifts for travelers with the 2019 holiday gift guide!
What do the sandy shores of Hawaii, the steaming kitchens of Malaysia, and the textiles of Ethiopia have in common? Why, you’ll find goods from these destinations and more on the 2019 holiday gifts for travelers! Traditionally a two-part series, this year, I’ve put all the recommendations in one jam-packed post overloaded with 50 gifts for travelers that support small businesses, give back to communities, drive sustainability, and make traveling all the more simple. Discover gadgets that help you stay connected on the road, creative ways to honor your travel memories, cultural pieces to add to your wardrobe, and ethically and sustainably made designs that do the world some good. I
If you are not a fan of buying “things,” please support the Global Dreamers Foundation, a nonprofit started by my friends and fellow bloggers, The Awkward Traveller and Joelle Riding. This foundation is dedicated to making international travel more accessible for underrepresented Americans by sponsoring the cost for new passports.
DISCLAIMER: This blog receives a commission for Amazon affiliate links shared with you in the post. The money gained from Amazon commissions support the maintenance and server costs of the blog. Thank you for your support in advance!
❄️ TRIP ESSENTIALS ❄️
The Christmas Pack by TropicFeel
One of the best holiday deals of the season. Hailed one of the top travel shoes on the market, these amphibious shoes were made to be used on both land and sea, so you can take your adventures to every corner of the earth. The lightweight, quick-drying fabric is made from recycled plastic bottles and has been treated to be completely odorless. Holding up airport lines will now be a thing of the past. It comes in two designs: the Monsoon shoe and the Canyon shoe. See all the ‘Christmas’ pack deals below:
- SOLO – For the curious solo travelers out there. Purchase 1 pair of any Tropicfeel sneakers, and we’ll gift you a pair of Havasu flip flops and a Cruiser Backpack for free.
- COUPLE – Treat yourself and your partner with the best gear for your 2020 adventures. Purchase 2 pair of any Tropicfeel sneakers with 15% off, and we’ll gift you 2 pairs of Havasu flip flops and 2 Cruiser Backpacks for free.
- FAMILY & FRIENDS – Make travel memories together with your loved ones. Purchase 3 pair of any Tropicfeel sneakers with 20% off, and we’ll gift you 3 pairs of Havasu flip flops and 3 Cruiser Backpacks for free.
Buy Now: €89 EUR or $98.40 USD, tropicfeel.com
Luzon 18L Backpack – Del Día Surprise Pack by Cotopaxi
This bag is on the top of my wishlist this year, combining things I love (ie. The Philippines, unbridled creativity, and social good) into the product I love buying most (ie. backpacks). Cotopaxi’s “Do Good” mission is embodied in Del Día Collection, travel gear made from the repurposed fabric of their Teca windbreakers. No two bags are the same; the fabric is handpicked by the Luzon-based employees, who can choose any fabric of their liking, and then are sewn together to create one-of-a-kind, upcycled bags. Each bag also is stamped with the sun of the Philippine flag, and the word ‘Luzon,’ which is the island where I was born and raised.
Buy Now: $55 for a surprise pack, cotopaxi.com
Tribal Premium Turkish Towel by The Moc Moc
From Turkey by way of Tulum. The quality is undeniable the moment you put your hands on the fabric. Each quick-dry towel is made from 100% Turkish and is extremely soft, durable, and highly functional. You can use this as a beach towel, or repurpose it as a shawl, picnic mat, and even a travel blanket (which is what I mostly use it as). Comes in pink, orange, and marine blue.
Buy Now: $44.50, themocmoc.com
Lifetime 4G LTE Mobile Wifi by Keepgo
Stay connected on the road with a portable travel wifi hotspot that fits in your pocket and turns on at the push of a button. Each device comes preloaded with 1GB of data, can service up to 16 devices at a time, and has secure networks in 120+ countries. Read my full review for the hotspot here.
Buy Now: $99, use the code: NEXTSOMEWHEREBLOG for a 10% discount, keepgo.com
Power Luggage Tag by Calpak
Never lose your bag on the airport carousel OR be without power again with this handy device. This vegan leather luggage tag has a removable battery pack that discreetly tucks into the folds of one of six designs (4 of which can be monogrammed) and can power you up if ever you get stranded at the airport with no available outlets to charge up.
Buy Now: $32, calpaktravel.com
Eyescape Eye Mask by Urban Undercover
I discovered this brand randomly while waiting for my flight at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport—my favorite US airport, might I add—with its cute airport kiosk parked right outside my gate (G11, G12, G13 in Terminal 1). Along with a sustainable travel clothing line, Urban Undercover has designed accessories especially for frequent fliers. Let your mask do the talking and never worry about being woken up by harsh airplane lights or flight attendants prodding you awake for a meal service.
Buy Now: $25, urbanundercover.com
Ultra Slim Powerbank by Q
I honestly don’t know how I ever lived without this powerbank. I’m amazed by how powerful this external battery pack is despite its sleek, lightweight build. There are three built-in cables (an iPhone, Android, and Type C cable) that fold neatly into the body, as well as a built-in wall plug so you can charge your powerbank directly from any wall outlet. Biggest perk: the Type C cable also can charge the latest models (2018 higher) of the Apple macbooks.
Buy Now: $41.99 for red model on Amazon Prime, amazon.com
On The Fly 7/8 Pant by Lululemon
The struggle with what to wear on a flight is so real. Luckily, Lululemon has taken the guesswork out of airport threads and created pants so breezy and flexible, that you’ll actually look forward to wearing pants on a flight for once in your life. The medium rise fit comes in 9 colors and has a drawstring belt that is very forgiving once the bloat sets in at 30,000 feet.
Buy Now: $98, lululemon.com
Getaway Passport Holder by Bando
Get your invite to the best type of party out there… a traveling party! With 3 card slots, a loud design, and leatherette finish, you’ll be the talk of the immigration line when you pull out this passport holder. There is a full line featuring this design on the website, including a clutch, luggage tag, and a toiletry bag.
Buy Now: On sale for $15.99, bando.com
❄️ FOR HER ❄️
Polaroid Tee by Serengetee
*Click, Click.* Take only pictures, leave only footprints. A graphic tee made from soft-spun cotton featuring the best kinds of souvenirs: those captured through analog film. The fun-loving apparel brand was started out of a college dorm room by two men with zero fashion background, who simply, were excited by the wealth of textiles in African and Asian markets. Drawn by artist Jessica Kircher, 10% of all profits from this shirt goes to planting trees.
Buy Now: On sale for $16 (originally $32), serengetee.com
Mini Fold-Up Backpack by Paravel
2019 was the year of reusable bags. Compact without compromising comfort or style, this mini backpack folds flat and is also made from 10 recycled plastic water bottles. You can order this bag in four colors: Scuba Navy, Safari Green, Derby Black, Bebop Red.
Buy Now: $45, tourparavel.com
Serena Two-Strand Upcycled Necklace by Cambio & Co.
Dress up a plain shirt with this statement piece by En Route Handcrafted Accessories, a small business that helps Filipino female artisans from Davao achieve financial independence through the avenue of sustainable fashion. The thread is upcycled from secondhand t-shirts.
Buy Now: $18 CAD, shopcambio.com
GO Travel Dress by Kosan Travel
Every since they blew their Kickstarter goals out of the park, Kosan Travel has produced a multiverse of travel gear, with everything from backpacks to rain jackets that work hyper efficiently to reduce the need for lugging more “things” on the road. The sweat-wicking fabric also has UV protection, is wrinkle resistant, and if you want to go from a day to night loo, the dress can convert into two lengths. There are also a number of pockets built into the dress, and said pockets even have zippers! They’ve just released new colors, which are available for pre-order and will be shipped late March 2020.
Buy Now: $136 CAD, kosantravel.com
A modern day take on the classic saying, “wear your heart on your sleeve.” If your heart is a city, why not wear it around your neck? The jewelry line is designed by an Israeli jeweler who has called many different places “home,” and wanted to honor places missed through minimalist design. How I found out about the brand: I actually stopped a stranger on the street wearing this necklace because it was simply stunning. After you generate your map, you can transform the honed in location into a brooch, ring, or necklace in either silver or gold.
Buy Now: $149, Take 10% off using the code: STORYJEWELRY, taliasari.com
Drifter Tote Bag by Salt Atlas
Upgrade your run of the mill beach or gym bag to this durable and practical tote that makes the transport of sandy or sweaty gear such a breeze. Some of the tote’s greatest features include: a waterproof lined interior, multiple pockets and pouches, a separate zippered storage compartment, a concealed key clip, and a luggage sleeve so you can travel with ease. The bag comes in two tropical themed prints: Blue Lily or Island Green.
Buy Now: $99, saltatlas.co
Wahine Moonstruck Tee by Dolkii
Inspired by my travels to Maui this year, the Wahine Pride cotton shirt donates a portion of its proceeds to the Women’s Fund of Hawai’i, a nonprofit that supports female empowerment initiatives in the state of Hawaii. “Wahine” is the word for female in Hawai’ian and what better way to represent the diversity and culture of “The Rainbow State” itself then with this polychromatic type shirt?
Buy Now: On sale for $39.99, dolkii.com
Travel Icon Coin Purse by Rifle Paper Co.
The iconic illustrated maps of stationery purveyor Rifle Paper Co. have made their way to these adorable, square-shaped coin purses that can handle everything from wads of cash to receipts from all your business expenses, and every metro card imaginable. Available in Paris, London, New York, or a travel icons print.
Buy Now: $24, anthropologie.com
Cleansing Duo by Then I Met You
Meet your freshest face with this dreamy skincare line, inspired by the Korean cultural concept of jeong (정), or a deep emotional connection to others. Charlotte Cho had the hopes of cultivating a more caring, unhurried, mindful skincare routine, and worked with top South Korean chemists to create the double-cleanse regimen. Step one: the balm breaks down makeup and heavy face products, like sunblocks. Step two: the water-based cleansing gel washes all the residue on your face away. Ideal for visits to heavily polluted areas.
Buy Now: $68, thenimetyou.com
30ml Istanbul Eau de Parfum by Gallivant
Smells have been scientifically proven to tap into the emotional parts of our brains and draw up memories. This triggered response is the premise behind Gallivant, a perfume brand dedicated to conjuring up places through scent. Their Istanbul perfume, with notes of bergamot, cardamom, sandalwood, and amber, instantly evokes East meets West: bustling bazaars filled spices in the air, freshly brewed teas cooling down, crossing the Bosphorus at twilight. Other perfume destinations include Amsterdam, Berlin, Brooklyn, London, Los Angeles, Tel Aviv, and Tokyo.
Buy Now: $85.26, gallivant.com
Custom Name Necklace by Nominal X
What’s in a name? For someone with an Arabic birth name (fun fact – my legal name is Ismaelle), the sentiment behind Nominal X’s best-selling Arabic name pendant is all the more powerful. My mom is the owner of a similar pendant that she picked up during her time working in the Middle East and for as long as I can remember, I’ve always admired the beauty of the script that carries her whole identity in it. Nominal X is a brand that creates intentional jewelry, highlighting the visual poetry of the Arabic language. 18K Gold Plated, Rose Gold, and Silver.
Buy Now: $49.99, nominalx.com
❄️ FOR HIM ❄️
The Mover by Everlane
Converting your backpack into a duffel bag has never been more seamless thanks to the Mover Bag. With top and bottom handles, a designated shoe compartment, and interior mesh pockets, bulky packing is now a thing of the past. I support Everlane’s transparent pricing (re: you know exactly what the cost of labor and materials are) and you can grab the bag in either Black, Dark Green, or a Dark Gray Crosshatch.
Buy Now: $78, everlane.com
The Costa by Paka Apparel
Made with one of the world’s most sustainable materials, alpaca wool, this insulated, cozy sweater is a great investment for the outdoorsy types in your life. The raglan 3/4 sleeves and tapered sides make this shirt extra breathable and give wearers full range of motion. The brand was born out of a traveler’s gap year through South America, who realized the potential of a Peruvian product (the alpaca wool sweaters) as a means to empower women weavers. Each sweater is signed by the woman who created it.
Buy Now: $99, pakaapparel.com
Archer 5 Panel Hat by United by Blue
Let the stars guide you home with this 5 panel hat, made ethically in China. One of my favorite companies to support, United by Blue is on a mission to clean up Earth’s most precious resource: its waterways. For every item you buy, the company removes one pound of trash from oceans and rivers and they currently have removed 2,242,224 pounds of trash thanks to the support of their customers.
Buy Now: $28, unitedbyblue.com
Lagoon Wave High Tops by BANGS Shoes
Make a splash on your next trip with these sage green high tops that bring nothing but good tidings. The unisex shoes have reinforced heels to keep them sturdy on future tramping to be had. With every purchase of these embroidered pairs of shoes, Bangs then invest 20% of their profits to a budding business, thanks to their loan partner, Kiva.org. As their tagline states, “your adventures help others find theirs.”
Buy Now: $70, bangsshoes.com
Personalized Leather World Traveler Dopp Kit by Felix Street Leather
When it comes to personalizations, there’s a fine line between tackiness and tact. This striking leather dopp kit is for sure the latter, with the focus more so on the high quality of the leather, heavy brass zipper lining, and subtle tribute to adventuring found on the inside lining. Best of all, its roomy interior also holds a second zippered inside pouch. Customizable options include size of bag, leather coloring, and an embroidered or branded monogram on the outside lower righthand corner.
Buy Now: $92.99, etsy.com
Nevis Jacket by Roark
Roam the Isles of Skye with the Nevis utility jacket, an artifact of adventure, named after the highest peak in all of the British Isles. Roark’s latest collection, Vol. 17, Songs of the Scuttled, is an ode to Scotland—with axeman jackets, warm knits, and a Harris Tweed capsule collection. The Nevis Jacket, with its sherpa wool lining and waxy cotton exterior, was designed to withstand all the elements of the Highlands.
Buy Now: $159, roark.com
❄️ FOR FAMILY AND FRIENDS ❄️
Protect Our National Parks 2020 Wall Calendar by Parks Project
Welcome the new year and decade with an aesthetically-pleasing wall calendar that helps keep national parks clean, removes invasive plants, and maintains public trails, while keeps important dates in order. All the artwork is embossed and printed on the calendar are the birthdays of all 61 US National Parks, as well as eco-friendly tips to be mindful of when visiting these fine places of leisure and recreation.
Buy Now: $19.99, parksproject.com
Travel Anywhere (And Avoid Being A Tourist) by Fathom Away
I’ve been a long time fan of travel media outlet, Fathom Away, and they just released their very first coffee table book. It’s the website come to life. ‘Travel Anywhere’ is an anthology of their best travel advice neatly neatly categorized into chapters focusing on places to explore, timeless destinations, trips for foodies, and hotels with personality, for starters. This is a resource for those who like to go into trips armed with a strong idea of where to go, what to see, and how to travel deeper.
Buy Now: $13.38 on Amazon Prime, amazon.com
Personalized Wood Cut City Map by Uncommon Goods
Celebrate the places that mean the most with this laser-cut wood map mounted on corkboard. At the heart of this canvas is none other than a special address, but it also comes with 6 extra heart-shaped metal pins to designate other important areas in your favorite hood. Can be customized with specific names. Perfect for newlyweds who have strong ties to a certain location.
Buy Now: $175, uncommongoods.com
Bon Voyage Journal by Compoco
One of my resolutions this year was to begin bullet journaling, and nothing made me more excited to start the endevaor than this faux leather journal by the Israeli stationery company Compoco. Compoco was started by two sisters who wanted to inspire others through the magic of design. Along with holographic edges, dotted ivory pages, and premium paper, the embossed cover embossed with an airplane window surrounded by various travel line icons is nothing short of magical.
Buy Now: $21.00, compoco.com
Bucketlist Scratch Map by Awesome Maps
All the adventures, all in one place. The bucketlist scratch map is the ultimate vision board and family activity, with over 204 bucket list items to tackle in a lifetime! Surfing with hippoes, kayaking Patagagonia, take a scenic road trip on The Great Ocean Road. And best of all, the artwork is completely hand illustrated, with nothing but pen and paper. All maps are made and shipped from Germany.
Buy Now: $39 including shipping, awesomemaps.com
Travel Collection by Blink Box
Don’t let your trips be gone in a blink of an eye. This is travel scrapbooking and journaling made for a modern audience, with 32 interactive matte paper cards to assist in capturing and conveying your most compelling journeys. Of the 32 cards, 26 are cards are printed with pictures and questions about the trips to write and work through, while 8 are saved specifically for certain travel notes.
Buy Now: $30, blinkbox.com
Emroidered Skyline Pouch by Tomoko Maruyama
Artist Tomoko Maruyama whimsical needlework instantly captures the vibrant spirit of the city by the bay. Woven on 100% cotton canvas, you can carry one the world’s prettiest cities around with you wherever you go.
Buy Now: $16.95, tomokomaruyama.com
Geiger Beanie by The Great PNW
With perpetual downcast skies and a slight chill in the air, the ever-dependent beanie has become the ultimate accessory of Pacific Northwesters. Warning: you might be mistaken as a local with the geotagged apparel. Comes in red or white.
Buy Now: $22.99, thegreatpnw.com
The Grand Hostels by BudgetTraveler
Gone are the days of schlepping around dingy hostels. Today’s hostels are swankier than ever and thanks to Kash Bhattacharya, the “BudgetTraveller,” we now have a full-on resource packed with not only visuals of the world’s top budget stays, but also identifies unique features of each property like cooking classes, co-working spaces, and private room offerings. This is the perfect resource for location-independent family and friends who need cheap, but not *cheap* places to call home for an extended period of time.
Buy Now: $24.18 on Amazon Prime, amazon.com
National Parks Collection Smoky Mountains Travel Yoga Mat by Nomadix
Finding peace on your mat is all the more achievable thanks to this nature-inspired tribute capsule by Nomadix. Close your eyes, breathe a deep “om” and let your mind take you to America’s most protected lands, like Joshua Tree, The Grand Canyon, and Yosemite.
Buy Now: $39.95, nomadix.co
Here Magazine by Away Travel
Here for you, wherever you are. From the makers of the famous Away rolling bag comes a quarterly magazine dediated to inclusive travel storytelling. It’s about the movers ands shakers of the world—the locals, migrants, and expats who have found purpose in familiar and unfamiliar spaces, written from the P.O.V of the transient. One minute you’re reading up on how to beat jet lag; flip the page and there’s a story about a queer author’s drinking and dancing escapades through 1930s Berlin. Buy it in print or get it digital.
Buy Now: $10, awaytravel.com
European Tour Pack by Herb Lester Associates
Did you know? The Grand Tour was the OG Euro Tour, a coming-of-age trip for 17th and 18th century aristocratic men as a way to expose them to new ways of thinking. If you, or someone you know is studying abroad, give them the ultimate map collection, complete with 12 handcrafted, boutique guides of Western Europe’s most iconic cities: Rome, Amsterdam, Berlin, Hamburg, Bilbao, Madrid, Valencia, Copenhagen, Venice, Paris, Milan, and Porto.
Buy Now: On Sale $29 GBP, herblester.com
❄️ FOR FOODIES ❄️
Coffee Subscription by Driftaway Coffee
Never run out of coffee again thanks to this coffee delivery service that brings the beans of the world right to your doorstep. While there are various subscription tiers, I’m especially keen about the sampler subscription, which gives you 4-4 oz bags of coffee to try every month. Each compostable bag of fairtrade Driftaway comes with postcards from the farmers about their crop, and the coffee label even has the name of the subscriber printed on the tag.
Buy Now: $148.00 for a six month subscription of the world coffee sampler, 15% off with the code FLASH15, driftaway.coffee
Let’s Make Ramen by Ten Speed Press
A follow-up to one of my ‘Best Travel Books of 2016 entries, “Cook Korean,” “Let’s Make Ramen” is a visual feast on all the different ways to assemble Japan’s most iconic bowl of noodles, the glorious ramen. What’s the difference between shoyu and shio broth? What is the sacred cooking time for onsen eggs? Learn the secrets of the ramen-making craft, and its deep ties to Japanese culture, through easy-to-follow comic book illustrations. Chopsticks not included.
Buy Now: $17.99 on Amazon Prime, amazon.com
Sweet & Spicy Gift Set by Auria’s Malaysian Kitchen
Elevate your condiment game with these jars of sambal and kaya, the savory and sweet spreads found in all Malaysian pastries. Sambal is a paste made with ground chilies and other aromatics that adds a deep layer of umami to any dish, while kaya is a sweetened coconut jam eaten typically on bread as a breakfast treat. The gift set comes with Hot Chilli Sambal,, Salted Caramel Kaya, and award-winning Lime Leaf Sambal and Pandan Kaya.
Buy Now: $49.00, auriasmalaysiankitchen.com
Blue Tile Terracotta Tagine by World Market
The secret of Morocco’s succulent stews lies in the terracotta cooking vessel known as the tagine. This stewpot-casserole dish hybrid can elevate any casual weekday dinner into a dining experience you won’t forget.
Buy Now: $29.99, worldmarket.com
Haku Smoked Shoyu by Umami Mart
Impress the Japanophiles in your life with a not-so-average soy sauce 250 years in the making. The Japanese have hundreds of soy sauce varieties, and this artisanal Kyoto smoked shoyu is made using a 250-year-old fermentation technique, known as the mushiro koji method, before being smoked with Japanese oak to achieve a powerful and complex taste. Umami Mart is a former food and drink blog turned Japanese kitchen stockist with an Oakland brick and mortar.
Buy Now: $26, umamimart.com
❄️ GIFTS THAT GIVE BACK ❄️
Philanthropy Cheek Shade – Elephant by Chantacaille
Wildlife conservation efforts never looked so good. Proceeds from this blush compact support the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and their efforts to foster baby elephants orphaned by the gruesome and illegal ivory trade. The ‘Philanthropy’ cheek shades aids marine biology conservation, wild horse rehabilitation, and the protection of bee and monarch butterfly habitats.
Buy Now: $40, chantacaille.com
Selah Baby Blanket by Parker Clay
Made in Ethiopia, with love. A very personal story is woven into the Selah baby blanket. When the Parker Clay founders traveled to Ethiopia to adopt their first child, they were so taken by Ethiopia’s rich artisinal heritage and saw a way to raise vulnerable women out of poverty through skills development. And thus, the Parker Clay lifestyle brand was born. The Selah baby blanket’s hand-spun Ethiopian cotton is so unique in that the more you wash it, the more it softens. Perfect for swaddling newborns with all the tangible TLC. Comes in pink and yellow.
Buy Now: $48, parkerclay.com
Blockprinted Drape Tote by Feed
Shop with a purpose. As you pick up this week’s grocery haul at a local Farmers Market, you can think of all the good that was achieved through the purchase of this bold tote. Each FEED bag provides school meals to children in the USA and around the world, while also enables fair wages for indigeneous artists. Designed in India through centuries old block printing traditions, the drape tote provide 25 school meals (FYI, the number printed on the bag indicates the number of school meals donated) and also comes in a lively indigo shade.
Buy Now: On sale for $88 (originally $118), Take of 15% using the code HELLOFEED, feedprojects.com
Zero Waste Giftbox by Earth Hero
Buy Now: $50, earthhero.com
Solay Sunglasses Case by Gifts for Good
Protect your sunnies from unwanted scuffing while fighting the orphan crisis in Haiti. When you buy this case, you provide two hours of dignified work through higher working wages to at-risk children. Fun fact: the word Solay is Creole for the word ‘sun.’ This combination vegetarian and natural cow hide leather case, constructed in Haiti, is available in either Dark or Cognac.
Buy Now: $25, giftsforgood.com
Chelsea Rain Boots by Roma Boots
A universally flattering rain boot style, made animal cruelty-free using only natural rubber? Why can this shoe get any better? Why, yes it can. Not only do the ROMA Boots come in several colors and fun finishes, for every purchase, a brand new pair of rain boots is given to a child living in poverty. No half-sizes so buy a size down, as rain boots tend to run big.
Buy Now: $69.99 in Mustard Yellow, romaboots.com
Check out the Holiday Gifts for Travelers Lists from previous years:
Love giving gifts? Do any of these gifts for travelers in your life really speak to you? Let me know what gift you would most likely buy or add to your holiday wishlist from the 2019 gifts for travelers list in the comments below!
Give me a shout-out on Pinterest pretty please?