Happy Holidays Wanderers! I’m so excited to release my annual Holiday Gift Guide for the Traveler! This year I chose to feature some cool, new travel gear that I’ve found as well as some things that I personally have used and love. I broke everything down into a few categories including Traveling in Style with everything from fashion, stylish luggage and other gear. Next are Practical Gifts for the traveler with everything from beauty products, sunglasses and who doesn’t need a carry-on cocktail kit? Then, I’m sharing some secrets about what’s in my travel bag and the products I love. Last are just a few of the items that are on my travel-gear wish list!
So if you are shopping for the travel bug in your life, or you’re looking for must-have items to add to your travel bag look no further than the Holiday Gift Guide for the Traveler from A Wandering Heart!
TRAVELING IN STYLE
Whether you’re on the road or wandering around your own city, you want to be stylish with both your clothing and accessories. While I wouldn’t necessarily wear this London T-shirt from Jcrew on a trip to London, I’d definitely wear it stateside. But if you’re going to London, you should definitely wear this NYC T-shirt and the locals will love it. I love the artwork and drawings of all the signature landmarks, there’s something about hand drawings that gets me every time!
How cool are these cute travel Travel Stickers from Michael Kors?! Not only are they so sleek, but they are made from leather! That’s right, they’re leather! I love these mostly for that reason alone. You can get a pack of 6 with travel-themed designs like a globe or backpack, or there are city-themed stickers like New York or Japan. I don’t think these will last until Christmas so go get some quick!
Passport Covers are essential when traveling internationally, but also have a very important job – to protect your passport! Did you know that if your passport cover is damaged or even pages bent that you can be refused boarding or entry into a country? Yep, so be sure to protect your passport with a cover at all times. There are also amazing covers that double as a travel wallet or can hold other documents like boarding passes or train tickets. Some of my current favorites this year are stylish, sleek and a little bit fun! Kate Spade always has really cool passport cover designs, and this year there’s an entire collection of Magic Bunny-themed accessories. I love that this cover is a little bit cheeky with the bunny ears coming out of a sparkly top hat, so cute!
For the gentlemen, stay sleek and stylish with this black Henri Bendel leather passport cover. It also has a built-in wallet inside for credit cards and a shiek black & white striped lining. Also a classic choice is this Tiffany & Co Passport cover in their signature Tiffany blue!
Oh-la-la, talk about stylish! I am in love with this classic white luggage from Raden! Not only is it fashionable, but also is smart too. There are built-in sensors with Bluetooth to locate your luggage, the handle doubles as a scale to weigh your bag, and it’s also equipped with a charger too. How clever! Since I beat up my luggage pretty bad, I’m typically purchasing new luggage each year. I have always preferred soft-sided but I’m loving the look and functionality of the Raden. It’s exterior shell is a lightweight poly-carbonate with amazing, and durable materials for the wheels, handles and zippers. I am considering purchasing one of my own, and call my crazy but I love the white! However, I’d probably get the black. For all those stylista’s out there, it also comes in silver, gold and bronze finishes!
You may have to limit your liquid carry-on items to 3.4 ounces or less, all to fit in a quart-sized plastic bag…however did you know that you can technically take liquor through security? Oh yes, as long as they’re under 3.4oz you can bring them through. Apparently the airlines don’t really like when you bring these on the plane, so be discreet and then mix away with this Carry-On Cocktail Kit! You’ll have everything you need except the mixer.
I just discovered Cleansing Sticks! What an amazing idea, especially for the traveler who might be short on space or only bringing a carry on. I haven’t tried them yet, but have received tips that these are some favorites including the Charcoal Deep Pore Cleansing Stick from Boscia, the Belif True Tincture Cleansing Stick in Chamomile and the Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick from Memebox. The other great thing about these is you can bring them in your carry-on without worrying about the liquid rule!
No matter where I’m going or what the temperature may be, I always have a pair of sunglasses with me when I’m traveling. Always bring something sheik and classic that you can wear with anything like these Ray Ban Aviators.
Probably the best gift for a frequent traveler or wanderer is a subscription to a travel magazine. We are always dreaming up new trips and adventures and these magazines usually spark my wanderlust and help me research for my travels. Even if your gift recipient isn’t a frequent traveler, if they are interested in traveling or trying to decide on their next vacation a travel magazine filled with eye-candy! Some of my favorites are Travel & Leisure, Afar & Conde Nast Traveler. You can typically spot me reading these in…you guessed it, airports and on planes!
In addition to Cleansing Sticks, I have also recently discovered Solid Perfume. What an amazing idea! A small compact or tin with your favorite scent for traveling. Genius! A popular one is 34 Boulevard Saint Germain fro Diptyque, and one of my favorite scents from Tom Ford, Black Orchid! Ohh-la-la!
IN MY BAG
I didn’t realize how much useful gear & traveling hacks I had until I recently traveled with some colleagues who commented on my resourcefulness. One of my favorite purchases have been these Compression Packing cubes from Eagle Creek. Unlike regular packing cubes, you pack them, zip the top and then zip them again all the way around the edges to compress everything. It is far better than the regular packing cubes because it doesn’t leave any space in the bag. Plus, they fit perfectly into your suitcase stacked on top of one another and you can squeeze in some extra socks or shoes around the edges.
The absolute BEST travel hack and product by far that I’ve ever purchased is this Lenovo Portable USB Charger! I am really not sure what I did before this device. It is about the size of my cell phone and came with a felt pouch and small USB cord to plug into my phone. With 10,000mAh of power I can typically charge my phone at least 4-5 times all within my pocket, purse or backpack. No more running around the airport trying to find an outlet or going back to my hotel to charge my phone. Genius!!!
There are so many travel guides & books out there, but I have always been drawn to Eyewitness Travel Guides above all others. The guide books are full-color and impeccably designed with easy to read text, lists of must-see’s and also beautiful hand drawings and maps of different points of interest. I also love that these books discuss the history of each country/city as well as their customs, food and culture. I highly recommend these for your next trip!
Between the Portable USB Charger and my Travel Flat Iron, I’m not sure which one I could live without when traveling! Again, not sure what I did without this when traveling to Europe before but it is a must-have now. After several flat-iron and hairdryer disasters (FYI the voltage converters do not work!) I purchased this flat-iron from Sedu with a Type C plug, suitable for most of Europe including Italy and France.
*NOTE: This product is no longer available from the Sedu site where I purchased mine. Try to look around online, specifically Amazon to see if you can find one with the plug-type that you need.Noise Cancelling Headphones:
So many people ask me who I can travel so much and how I can stand being in airports all the time and on planes. Well, another secret to enjoying my airport experience are these: my Sony Noise-Cancelling headphones. I pretty much put these on as soon as I go through security and drown out the rest of the world. Plus who doesn’t enjoy skipping along and rocking out to Sia while wandering to your gate? Me, of course!
And what goes best with my noise-cancelling headphones and USB charger but Spotify Premium to keep the tunes flowing the whole day! A few years ago I got tired of purchasing so many mp3’s and saving them to multiple devices, moving files, it was a pain. Along came Spotify to solve all of my problems. What I love most is that with a Premium Subscription you can save songs or playlists to play offline while flying high in the sky, or in another country! Amazing, right? And, you can listen on any device that has an internet connection including your laptop or cell phone.
MEL’S TRAVEL WISHLIST
So, besides plane tickets what is top on my own personal travel wishlist? I have a variety of things this year that would be great for traveling, but also for reminding me of my adventures long after I’ve come home.
First is the Paris version of Jcrew’s travel T-shirt. I finally visited the actual city of Paris not once, but twice this year, instead of just a layover at the airport. Now, I dream of walking down the cobble stoned streets and over the Seine and into a pastry shop for macarons, french wine and cheese. Bliss! This little shirt would remind me of those fantastic adventures and I love that.
Keep your credit card information and Passport safe while you travel with these RFID Sleeves which will prevent thieves from scanning your cards within close proximity. These are great for traveling or while at home and how cute are these patterns?
If you want to know what my most-purchased souvenir is, it’s always food from all of the different countries I visit. I love experiencing new cuisines and tastes while I’m traveling and it’s always nice to bring a little bit home with me. But some things I can’t pack in my suitcase (though I’ll tell you in an upcoming blog post some packing hacks to get some of your treats home), so I like to have the option to buy them at a local shop or online to enjoy at home. Some of my favorites purchases while overseas are tea, coffee and chocolate! One great idea for your favorite world-traveler or foodie is the Try the World Box. It’s a subscription which sends you non-perishable items from different countries around the world. It’s typically themed to one-country per box with lots of goodies to enjoy.
Another favorite of mine is Eataly, which is an Italian emporium of tastes with restaurants a cafe, patisserie, butcher shop, cheese monger and more! You can purchase real, authentic products imported straight from Italy here – and I am pretty picky that these types of thing need to be authentic. There are so many fakes and fraudulent food items that claim they’re from a certain place, but they’re not. Rest assured that what you see at Eataly is what you see at the shops and markets in bella Italia! Some of my favorites are the Garafolo gluten-free pasta (it’s the best) and Baci Chocolates! Yum.
Anyone who knows me knows that my suitcases always have to be red, my favorite color. When I saw this amazing clutch from Michael Kors I knew it had to go on my wishlist! It combines a cute leather clutch with his cute travel-themed stickers mentioned earlier in my list for a stylish and cheeky bag to carry around anywhere. J’adore!
When in doubt, I can always use a Delta Giftcard to travel on my favorite airline or Skyteam partner overseas. The gift for the traveler that has everything! Better yet, get them a gifted membership to an airport lounge so they can rest and relax during their travels like this one from Priority Pass for only $99 per year! I still don’t have a lounge membership, and personally only think it’s really useful if you have layovers but I typically do direct flights. However, it would be nice and probably cheaper to get a lounge membership and eat for free and relax in comfy chairs instead of in the public boarding area.
My last recommendation for the perfect gift to give the wanderlust travel fanatic in your life? Of course one of my fine art prints to display in their home or office! These prints can remind you or a loved one of that trip you took to Paris or may inspire you to finally take that vacation to Italy. Whatever the case, explore all the destinations in my new fine art print shop L’Arte del Viaggio – The Art of the Journey. Printed on archival luster photographic paper, you can purchase individual prints or canvas-wrapped gallery frames with images printed and stretched on canvas. The perfect gift!
Happy Holidays and Buon Viaggio! Ciao!