It's that time of year and travel lovers can be hard to shop for, because what they really want is to travel. If a plane ticket is a bit out of your budget, here are some ideas to help you pick out something they’re sure to love. Fantasizing about new places to explore is half the fun for travelers, so head to your local independent bookstore and the armchair travel section. Two of my favorite picks in this category, are Sarah Midda’s South of France, A Sketchbook for something more visual and drool worthy, and Turn Right at Macchu Picchu by Mark Adams for a good read. Adams follows in the footsteps of Hiriam Bingham’s original journey along the Inca Trail and his “discovery” of Macchu Picchu. For the traveler often found with a far off look in the eye while gazing at a good map, this dry ease wall map is a fun option.
There are many travel shows out there these days, but a lot seem to be variations of the same theme (watch me eat!). For something different, watch the Canadian series, Departures, where three friends drop everything for a year and travel the world. What makes this series worth watching is the incredibly gorgeous photography, worthy of pausing the DVD to gaze at a shot. It’s also a show about the friendship of these guys, how they travel around the world, (often thanks to friends of friends or friendships made in one city that they look up later) and one guy's transformation as his eyes open up and travel changes him.
Next up, GEAR! Travelers love it almost as much as plane tickets. Here is a roundup of some of my favorite must haves.
From Flight 101, a 4-in-1 Adapter. One plug, 150 countries, lightweight and easy to pack. No more worrying, every plug for every country is in one adapter. Also from Flight 101, the Go Clean Shoe Bag to keep your luggage and its content clean. Also, a pashmina scarf, an absolute must have for your carry on and your trip.
For a stocking stuffer, no traveler should be without a small luggage scale to avoid surprises at check in that could cost a lot in extra baggage fees. Little pouches are useful for all kind of things, from cords, to jewelry, to a back up camera battery. My favorite is this handmade one from Craftland, in downtown Providence, to remind me of home. (You can also tuck a gift card in there.)
As for luggage, handbags, day packs, those are hard to buy, since they’re so personal, but it would be hard to go wrong with this bag from Eagle Creek that can go from messenger bag to backpack. PacSafe also has a line of bags with security features that help you feel secure in crowded touristy areas. Even in some of the safest cities, pickpockets can be a problem by major tourist attractions, and this secure camera strap will keep camera (and most importantly your photos), safe and secure.
Lastly, if they really are the traveler who has everything, why not a subscription to a travel magazine, like Afar? This magazine is worth it for the gorgeous photography and layout alone, with topics that cover everyone’s different travel tastes.