Ho, ho, ho, my friends! And welcome to the 7th annual Angie Away Holiday Gift Guide!
Anyone else feel like we literally time traveled from January to now? The first three months of the year are historically slow for us. Work is pretty chill, I’m usually on a diet so I don’t go out much and my travel schedule is down to a minimum as I build to a wild Q2 & Q3. And then it’s the holiday season. I don’t even know what goes on from April to October. It just happens so fast!
I also always plan to draft and add to my holiday travel gift guide all through the year. And then while everyone else is taking a nap after Thanksgiving dinner, I’m usually putting the finishing touches on this annual post. Nothing would ever get done around here if not for procrastination!
Past Gift Guides for Even More Ideas
On that note, can we just collectively thank the Lord for online shopping? I haven’t gone “Christmas shopping” at a brick and mortar store in about 10 years, and having just experienced the traffic at Jacksonville’s biggest shopping complex, I’m not going to start. ONLINE SHOPPING is where it’s at, so get a head start on your list with these travel-themed goodies!
G-RO Rolling Carry-On with Battery
You might recognize the big wheels on this carry-on size rolling suitcase from last year’s gift guide, and here’s why. The G-RO holds up! After a year of airports, curbs and getting chucked around by baggage handlers, mine is still in like-new shape. I love the built in combination locks and have come to depend on the removable batteries. Who ever thought up USB power chargers IN a suitcase is a genius! And if you buy on Black Friday, there are big deals up to $200 off a set.
Kusshi Makeup Bag
Packing is the bane of my existence, so the easier I can make it for myself, the better. I use the same makeup bag at home that I do while I’m on the go, and I just started using the Kusshi makeup bag. It opens on three sides and has spots for every little gadget – eyelash curlers, sponges, blending brushes. You can zip in a Kusshi organizer if you’ve got lots of goodies. I love that Kusshi bags are machine washable – makeup bags get filthy fast.
We bought our first dry bags for our Windstar cruise around the Caribbean earlier this year and it was such a good purchase! It kept the drone, multiple phones, cameras and wallets dry and was as easy to cart around as any other bag. The set we use comes with a couple different sizes so you can customize based on the day’s activities. A must for water babies!
Personalized Luggage Tag
There’s nothing so touching as a personalized gift, am I right? It’s nice to know someone thought about you in advance of the holidays instead of snagging up the first thing they could find at the CVS on the way to your house. (Ahem. Dad.) A personalized luggage tag is a wonderful traveler gift, and there are tons of options on Etsy. Like these cute leather ones. While you’re there, get one for yourself! I recommend you order early so the creators have plenty of time to fulfill.
An Angie Away gift guide staple! My GoPro is the one piece of camera gear I bring with me no matter what. From mountain climbing to scuba diving, from first class to cruising the Caribbean, this little buddy is always in my bag. I have a GoPro Hero 5, but the newest version, the GoPro Hero 7, is said to be as smooth as if you had a gimbal. That’s just crazy.
The latest addition to my GoPro accessory arsenal is the GoPro dome, a unique lens with a handle that helps you take a photo both above and below the waterline at the same time. For any traveler who spends time in the water, this is a must.
I was not a watch person until the day I wandered into the Apple Store to browse new laptops. Instead of a laptop, I left with a sick iPad and an Apple Watch. I’m a sucker for a good sales pitch, and now I love them both. I especially like that you can change the look of the watch just by getting a new band or customizing the watch face. There are tons of bands on Amazon. And furthermore, now I know exactly how many miles I’ve walked since purchasing… so even though I’m hardly more fit, I still feel like a champion.
CLOTHES, SHOES & ACCESSORIES
Comfy Travel Shoes
I’m on Year 2 of having happy traveling feet – finally! I bought two more pairs of shoes from The Walking Company this year after writing a rave review about my first few pairs last year. I’m not exaggerating when I say that unless I’m on TV and absolutely need to wear heels, these are the only shoes I wear. If you gift these to a wanderer in your life, I promise they will never stop thanking you for their happy feet!
Stainless Steel Straws
My big-hearted friend Alex in Wanderland has brought such an awareness to my life about plastic! I don’t use straws at restaurants anymore – now that I think about it, I can’t imagine why I’d need one. But if you do need one, there are a zillion options to bring your own and save a turtle or two. It’s a super easy lifestyle change and the little gestures add up over time. If you have the chance to make a difference at little cost to you, why not?
Ultimate Journeys for Two*
Written by my pals Mike and Anne of HoneyTrek.com, who are on an extended, multi-year honeymoon, this book is a RTW trip for your coffee table or for that newly engaged couple who loves to galavant. Published by none other than National Geographic, Ultimate Journeys for Two features gorgeous photos of adventures and tips on every continent from Beaches & Islands to Snow & Ice. Rick and I are bookmarking all our favorites for future travels. First stop: Page 68.
This is My South*
Yes, all my friends are writers! Caroline Eubanks is a fellow Southerner and she’s just published her first book, This is My South. This is a must-have for anyone with an interest in SEC football, the blues, seafood and friendly hospitality. No idea what any of that is? Then you especially need to read it.
EXPERIENCES & FUN
Scratch Off Map*
“Travelers tell stories, our maps tell yours.” Rachel and I met Alfred from Landmass at TravelCon and were so inspired by his creativity. Scratch-off maps, world maps, USA maps and custom city maps are available – and the only problem is finding enough wall space for all of them. We love that in addition to scratching off the country, some maps also have country flags to scratch off. BONUS SCRATCHING OPPORTUNITIES, people. I can’t think of anything more satisfying, other than that a portion of Landmass profits go toward study abroad grants.
Did you hear we LOVED our Flytographer experience in London? I highly recommend the experience to capture the best travel memories. I would be grateful for endless Flytographer gift certificates, because I want a photo shoot everywhere I go. Buying for a traveler? There’s a solid chance Flytographer is already in their next destination. Sessions start at 30 minutes and one location for around $250. Click here to read our review or here to book a session for $25 off.
Travel insurance isn’t always top of mind, especially for younger travelers (like Rachel!) who think everything is for the future version of themselves to worry about. But I used travel insurance during my two years on the road and I still book short term policies for Rick and me when we go abroad. I’ve seen things go pear-shaped more often than I care to talk about. You just don’t forget someone without travel insurance DYING while holding your hand, know what I mean? That got dark.
All I’m saying is, if you know someone who doesn’t think about safety and risk management, think about gifting them travel insurance. You could literally save their life!
Vintage Travel Calendar*
I can’t get enough of vintage travel ads. Does that make me basic? I don’t even care. Give me all the classic Amalfi Coast and Hawaii posters and hush up. This is a great gift for a former nomad now working out of a home office. (HINT)
Shutterfly Gift Card*
The one thing that lives perpetually on my to do list? DO SOMETHING WITH ALL THOSE PHOTOS. It could be as simple as turning them into prints, or cozy blankets with your face on them, coasters or decorative plates. I have all of those, and always have room for more. We’ve got those Flytographer photos from London burning a hole in the hard drive and just itching to become a canvas on the wall. Trust me, you won’t go wrong with a gift card like this!
Stuff is cool, and I couldn’t travel or work without the help of lots of it. But one thing I love to receive is experiences. Tours and gift cards for experiential travel are always appreciated, especially by nomads and those without a home base.
But where to start? How about a Game of Thrones adventure in Europe or a Viator experience in NYC for New Year’s Eve? Maybe a Jane Austen tour of England with Intrepid Travel? Maybe a CityPass for the next big trip?