2021 Holiday Travel Gift Guide

Last year I didn’t publish a holiday gift guide because it didn’t feel right.  The pandemic was at its peak and travel was still a distant dream with the uncertainty of winter in front of us.  It had never been more important to shop and give locally, keeping our dollars in local communities until the idea of travel was once again a reality.  This year many industries, including the travel industry, are still on the mend and I think there’s a way to gift responsibly for the “new normal” while helping people prepare for the return to travel.  Know someone who is finally planning a trip in 2022 that’s been put off for the last year or two or more?  This holiday season is a great opportunity to help them get ready for their next adventure, and perhaps even find thoughtful ways to add to the experience by supporting a restaurant, tour company, activity or other local business at their destination.  You may be pleasantly surprised to find that a little creativity can go a long way.

Here are a handful of fresh gift ideas for the travel lover on your list.  Be sure to check out the link at the bottom of this article to past gift guides too.  Happy gifting and happy traveling, whenever you’re ready.

1. Passport Wallet with Vaccine Card Holder
File this under the “new normal” but our post-pandemic packing lists have now come to include things like hand sanitizer, face masks and in most cases, proof of vaccination.  That’s where a combo item like this comes in handy for U.S. travelers.  Available in multiple colors, this foldable leather passport cover includes a clear plastic sleeve that fits a CDC white vaccination card.  As a bonus it also comes with a separate plastic card protector with a detachable lanyard if you need to carry your vaccination card separately.  If you’re not using the holder for a vaccine card you can also use the pocket to store things like credit card and money, keeping your important travel items safe and in a single place. amazon.com

2. Corksicle Insulated Tumblers
Reusable drinkware is always a good idea and my favorite insulated tumblers have been getting their fair share of use lately.  Corksicle has a variety of stylish and functional stainless steel products that are great for any season.  I’ve found the stemless 12 ounce cups to be the most versatile but there’s a handful of sizes and styles to choose from, ranging from tumblers and mugs to bottles, in a variety of different colors and patterns.  They can keep your cold liquids cold for up to 9 hours and hot liquids hot for up to 3 hours, which make them perfect for everything from beach days to backyard gatherings, road trips, vacation rentals and more. corkcicle.com

3. Cadence Capsules
No one likes to open their suitcase to find leaky cosmetics, and it’s hard to know what bottles will stand up to the test of travel until you actually take them on the road.  Enter the Cadence capsules, a system of leak proof, refillable bottles made from recycled plastic that magnetically snap together to organize and store your cosmetics.  Build your own “honeycomb” of 2 to 20 capsules, which can be completely customized for your individual travel needs.  Small but mighty and thoughtfully designed, each capsule will hold about a week’s worth (give or take) of creams, serums and gels or dry items like vitamins, pills or even jewelry.  The lids also come with a come with customizable and interchangeable magnetic labels so you’ll always know what’s inside.  keepyourcadence.com

4. Dare to Roam Prodigy Backpack
Backpacks may just be the new tote bags, and the Dare to Roam Prodigy Backpack is a great option.  Designed for both comfort and versatility, its stylish and clean look makes it perfect for multi-tasking, whether you’re commuting or using it as a carry on.  It features one large main compartment with a separate padded pocked that can fit a laptop up to 15 inches with a handful of other organizational features.  The Prodigy Backpack is also water-resistant and antimicrobial and comes in a variety of colors from basic black and midnight blue to statement-making halogen green and pearl pink, plus you can also mix-and match other Dare to Roam accessories like lunchboxes and the mini Alpha Org Pouch, or personalize with a custom-embroidered monogram.  daretoroam.com

5. Travel-Inspired Art
One thing that many people may be able relate to is that pandemic gave us a different perspective on and appreciation for the places we call home.  Surrounding yourself with memories of the destinations you love or dream of visiting might be just the cure for those with perpetual wanderlust.  Whether it be photos from past travels or gorgeous prints like these (which I personally fell in love with), you may just inspire a future trip, home decorating project or both.  etsy.com

6. Virtual Cooking Class
Last year also made us realize the benefit of video conferencing platforms to help us stay connected with family and friends, near and far.  This also led to a surge in “virtual” travel-related activities online.  For example, Airbnb began offering a variety of online experiences with local hosts including cooking classes, cocktail making, magic lessons, wine tasting and more. When we were unable to plan a big trip or plan a party for my husband’s 40th birthday, we instead booked a virtual cooking class with the incredibly charming and entertaining Luca and Lorenzo in Italy.  Not only did we learn the secrets to making homemade ravioli from the comfort and safety of our own kitchen, we were able to celebrate and connect with more than a dozen other friends across different states.  airbnb.com

7. National Geographic Travel Books
Thanks to 2020 people around the world began thinking differently about how we travel, whether it be discovering the treasures in our own backyard (sometimes for the very first time!) or finding creative ways to spend the weekend.  In the United States for example, there was a huge surge in road trips and visits to National Parks, shining a brighter light on some of our country’s most important natural and historical wonders.  The National Geographic 50 States, 5000 Ideas book is the perfect gift for those who seek to dig deeper into all the country has to offer.  It features a state-by-state guide to highlights and hidden gems, providing detailed travel information and other fun facts along with the gorgeous photography that National Geographic is known for.  For those looking to make the most out of their weekends (or add to an existing trip itinerary), the brand new book 1,000 Perfect Weekends: Great Getaways Around the Globe is another great pick.  It features an inspiring collection of innovative quick-trip ideas in more than 40 countries, “from sunny beach retreats to lush mountain idylls, exotic city sojourns, and wild adventures around the world” divided by theme and interest.  amazon.com

8. Little Passports
It’s never too early to start inspiring a love of travel and curiosity for the world and the Little Passports subscription boxes are a great gift idea for aspiring adventurers.  Each month kids receive a themed box that’s designed to ignite curiosity and explore new ideas, places and cultures through hands-on activities, games, stories and more.  The boxes grow with your child, featuring age-appropriate options including Early Explores (ages 3-5), World Edition (ages 6-10) and USA Edition (ages 7-12), plus STEM-based Science Junior (ages 5-8) and Science Expeditions (ages 8+) boxes.  littlepassports.com

Want more ideas?  Check out gift guides from other years here.

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