While visions of 2014 travel plans dance like sugar plums in your head, you’re likely also thinking about what to pack to make your journeys comfortable, stylish, easy and safe.
Behold the Angie Away 2013 Holiday Gift Guide featuring a few of my favorite items for your Dear Santa list!
Print it out, address it to the North Pole and wait under the tree for the goods. (Or check out the links below on Amazon.com and add directly to your wishlist.)
Last year I fell in love with my ExOfficio StormLogic jacket and use it on every cold weather trip I go on. It was perfect for Alaska in the summertime!
This year, I found a new ExOfficio product to brag about, though this one is more suited to my current residence, Florida, where mosquitoes swarm like the salmon of Capistrano. I’ve been spending quite a bit of time fishing, both in Jacksonville and the Florida Keys, so I needed something lightweight, cute and insect repellant to keep me bite-free in muggy Florida weather. Cue the BugsAway Lumen Hoody!
The repellant Permethrin is woven into the fabric, but it’s invisible and odorless so you never smell like a can of bug spray. The fabric is lightweight and made with an open mesh weave, so you can wear it on a warm day for both sun and bug protection without melting. And there are thumb loops, which I just refuse to live without in my hoodie wardrobe these days.
The repellant lasts for up to 70 washes and also keeps away ticks, no-see-ums, chiggers, ants and flies.
I love this piece of clothing. If you’re heading to a malaria endemic region (or you know, Central Florida), don’t leave home without the BugsAway Lumen Hoody!
This robe-and-towel-in-one is a must have for hostel-dwellers! How many times did I get dressed half-wet because I didn’t want to parade back to my dorm in my petty square of a travel towel?
The RobeTowl is super lightweight and packs up into a tidy flat zip bag – adding next-to-no weight or bulk to your luggage. It dries fast because it’s made of a superabsorbent fabric, and it’ll soak up to four times its weight in water and wring out almost completely dry. What?!
The robe is a modest calf-length to ward-off creepy peepers, it has a cozy hood to help with hair drying and it has pockets for all your shower accoutrements, too. It also could be a cute costume on Halloween if you find yourself in some far-flung locale with no access to your costume drawer. (Please tell me I’m not the only one with a costume drawer!)
It’s no secret I’m a big fan of Tieks by Gavrieli, the multicolored, foldable leather ballet flats. (One of my post popular posts ever is my Tieks review.) I won’t belabor the point here, but these well-crafted leather ballet flats come with me everywhere. I fold them up, toss them in my bag and I’m ready to go. I now own 3 pairs and I bring them on almost every trip.
Electronics, Luggage & Accessories
“Hey, smell my watch!”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said this to confused friends over the past few months, only to have them get a whiff of my coconut wrist candy and ask immediately where they could get one, too. Introducing the lolly watch!
Like the fragrant (and hopefully non-toxic) scented markers of our childhoods, the Lolly Watch Juice Collection comes in 8 colors with corresponding fruit scents including orange, apple, pineapple, black currant, grape, blueberry, coconut and strawberry. I chose coconut-scented white watch and it rocks. It goes with everything and now I don’t have to constantly check the time on my iPhone like some kind of social media addicted jerk.
Made from a sustainable polymer, the water-resistant Lolly Watch is hypoallergenic and biodegradable. For each watch sold, a tree is planted in its honor. If you’re at all concerned about how your purchases affect the environment, Lolly Watch is a cool company to support.
If you’d like to buy your own lolly watch, use offer code angieaway20 for $17 off.
Airports without free WiFi are the worst… and yet I always seem to get delayed in them! That’s where my subscription to Boingo Wireless comes in, keeping me connected everywhere I go – in airports, on planes and in 700,000 hotspots around the world. I could not keep up with my clients in 5 different time zones while globetrotting without my Boingo access!
For the truly nomadic, the Boingo Global Wi-Fi plan offers 2,000 minutes of access with no roaming fees for up to four devices (laptops, phones, etc.) at 700,000 hotspots around the globe. Boingo is up to 3 times faster than 3G and offers 24/7 customer care. It’s an absolute game-changer and must-have for the world traveler. Also check out the Mobile plan for $7.95/month!
Figuring out what to wear and what to carry to World Travel Market in London was a tricky prospect. You don’t want a bag that’s too big, because you’re on your feet eight hours a day (at minimum) speaking with PR reps and catching up with bloggers. You don’t want one too small either because you may need to carry your laptop or tablet, pens and an inhuman amount of business cards.
I found the perfect bag for WTM, folks! It’s BlueFlame The Pack, a padded, yet compact top-loading backpack ideal in size for a MacBook Air and/or tablet and with plenty of space for business cards, accessories and a few extra gadgets. The backpack is shiny and sleek on the outside, with a pretty teal lining, so it evokes a more “pro” feel than say, a regular, school-appropriate backpack. And since it’s a backpack, your hands are free for active and emotional storytelling, just in case someone wants you to recount that Kenyan plane crash or the fact that you haven’t had hot water in your London apartment rental for 6 days. (Don’t even ask.)
The Pack has some heavy-duty zippers and a magnetic flap that keeps electronics easily accessible but still safe & secure. There’s a front strap pocket for smaller valuables and lots of hidden nooks for other items you might just need to have. (I’m obviously thinking about lip gloss.)
After lugging a rather large, heavy pack around the world the past few years, I’m sticking with BlueFlame The Pack for all small trips in the future!
Speaking of classy ways to transport your Macbook Air – check out this sleek, Dutch-designed Mujjo case I’ve been using on my daily work trips (ok, pathetic excuses for chai tea lattes) to Starbucks. It’s nearly as slim as a folder and works perfectly when I don’t need the whole shebang but I do want to protect my laptop from scratches en route to meetings around town.
I ordered the tailored, handcrafted white Macbook Air sleeve made of wool felt and leather. The case is water repellant which always comes in handy when your water bottle leaks in your bag… not that it’s ever happened to me every single day of my life, but whatever.
The Mujjo case is both functional and pretty, with it’s one-button closure on a simple leather flap. I like how the snap & rivets are designed to keep your electronics from touching anything but soft materials, and there’s a storage compartment inside to store earbuds and papers, too.
New hotels are starting to ensure there are enough plugs to charge all your electronics, but the majority of hostels and older properties are seriously lacking in the outlet department. If you bring your own Accell power strip, you’ll never have an issue! I take my Accell Powramid Power Center with me on almost every trip, because I can charge my Kindle, iPod, iPhone and laptop, all while wanding my hair. I couldn’t get through day-to-day travel without it.
This particular Accell power strip is even more special than your average surge protector, because it automatically stops conducting electricity once the device is charged, eliminating the risk of zapping your thousands of dollars worth of electronics. And, I love that there are traditional electric plugs and USB ports, too. It’s a lifesaver when I need to stop and charge everything I’ve got for a long flight.
Miscellaneous Travel Fun
Do you know a traveler with thousands of photos just languishing on a hard drive somewhere? I was that person up until a few weeks ago, when I worked with Shutterfly.com to turn my travel photography into one-of-a-kind souvenirs. There are so many options from throw blankets to pillows, plates to mugs, custom photo books to calendars featuring your very own beautiful shots – the tough part is choosing which photos and which projects.
I am in love with the Moroccan coasters and plates I designed because every time I look at them, I am reminded of what an amazing trip I was on this time last year. A Shutterfly gift certificate is a perfectly thoughtful way to show an independent, photo-snapping traveler that you care!
Subscriptions to AFAR are inexpensive and since they arrive 7 times a year, your recipient is reminded of your thoughtfulness for months to come.
AFAR annual subscription, $20
Now down to the business of being Santa Claus!
I’m giving away almost $1,000 USD worth of goodies from this year’s gift guide to one lucky winner. It’s super easy to enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.
May the odds be ever in your favor!
Occasionally companies will get in touch with me to do reviews of their products. Some of the ones I liked most from 2013 appear here in the gift guide with my honest opinion; others get returned to sender if they’re not up to snuff. Rest assured, I only include the ones I personally approve of and use!