For everyone out there who loves to travel, it has been a tough year. Whilst we did get away with a staycation or two during the summer, travelling abroad has not been on the cards for many.
In this Christmas gift guide, I have gathered a selection of beautiful things that will help bring the concept of travelling a little closer, even if it’s only through the senses and not physically. Most of the gifts below come from small businesses that need our support now more than ever. As the owner of a small business myself, this blog, I know from experience how hard the pandemic as hit.
In this Christmas gift guide for travellers who can’t travel right now, I’ve gathered a selection of beautiful products that will keep us dreaming of the day we can explore the world again.[ez-toc]
Lonely Planet Ultimate Travel List
The Lonely Planet Ultimate Travel List is a perfect gift for everyone who is dreaming of being on the road again, as soon as it is safe to travel. The second edition of the already famous collection of must-see destinations includes 500 of the most thrilling and memorable places the planet has to offer, ranked by Lonely Planet editors, writers, and travel experts.
The Lonely Planet Ultimate Travel List is a great book to help you plan your next trip, and to give you inspiration for future travels. 2020 wasn’t our year, but we can always dream of the epic adventures 2021 is going to bring us.
The book ranks the Lost city of Petra, in Jordan, as number one out of the top travel experiences in the world. Jordan was on my travel list for this year, in April, where I would have spent 10 days travelling around the country, including three days exploring the Unesco Heritage site of Petra. The Galapagos Islands in Chile and the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in Australia follow Petra are the second and third best experiences.
The 336 page book can be bought directly from the Lonely Planet’s website for £19.99.
Tesalate Workout Towel
Many of us have turned to yoga and outdoor workouts, especially during lockdown.
I have been a fan of Tesalate beach towels for years now, I have two of these beautiful towels which I take with me every time I go to the beach. If you follow my Instagram, you will notice the gorgeous designs of Tesalate beach towels in my photos from Spain.
When I heard that Tesalate expanded and is now making fitness towels as well, I really wanted one for my daily yoga stretching.
The Tesalate workout towel is compact and lightweight, which means that it barely takes any space in the bag and it can be easily taken for a run in the park. It is also ultra-absorbent, with an anti-bacterial additive in the fabric to always keep it fresh. The towel also dries very fast and it has a convenience loop to hang it up with, when visiting the gym.
You can buy the Tesalate Workout Towel from the Tesalate website here, for £29. Delivery is free of charge.
An Esma Hammam Towel
Holidays are for relaxation, and what better way to end a day after getting hot running around, visiting places, than at the Hammam? If your best friend loves visiting Turkey, Southern Spain, Northern Africa, or any of the Arab countries, then they will love a Hammam towel as a gift for Christmas.
Living in Southern Spain for two years, I often visited the local Hammam for a good session of relaxation and a kessa massage. Each Hammam has its own rules, some will require you to wear a bathing suit, whilst others have a nude only policy. Either way, you must have a towel.
Harfi makes gorgeous Hammam towels that are lightweight, highly absorbent, and dry quickly. If you have been to a Hammam before you will know how humid it is inside and how classic towels get damp and never dry. When walking from one pool to another, you will want to wrap yourself in a dry towel which will remain dry for the entire duration of your Hammam visit.
The Esma towel is very soft and ethically handmade with sustainable cotton by an artisan cooperative in rural Turkey, about which you can read more here. Besides their great features, the towels are also gorgeous, with beautiful patterns and colours. Your friend can use the towel not just for a visit to a Hammam, but to any spa, or on the beach.
Tru Bamboo Thermos Flask
Every conscious traveller knows not to buy plastic bottles of water during their trip. A perfect gift for an environmentally friendly traveling loving friend is the Tru Bamboo thermos flask, which has a tea infuser inside.
The triple-insulated bamboo tumbler is perfect for both cold and hot drinks, maintaining the perfect temperature in either case for up to 12 hours for hot and up to 24 hours for cold. The Try Bamboo thermos has a capacity of 510ml, is slim, and fits most of the cup holders out there. The removable stainless-steel strainer is such a useful add-on to the bottle, facilitating making fruit infused water in summer and hot tea in winter. There is almost no heat transfer between the hot contents inside and the outside of the flask, making it safe to touch even if it has very warm water inside.
The Tru Bamboo tumbler is 100% eco-friendly, without any traces of plastic, BPA, or other toxic materials. The inside is made from recyclable stainless steel, whilst the outside of beautiful Moso bamboo – which gives each bottle a unique design.
The sun loving girlfriend, who’s found sipping a gin and tonic somewhere on a beach at the Mediterranean Sea or in the Caribbean, escaping the winter, will appreciate a bottle of Mermaid Gin. Produced in small batches on the Isle of Wight, Mermaid Gin comes in a 100% recyclable bottle, plastic-free, with delicate scales sculpted in the glass.
Mermaid Gin is distilled using 10 organic grown botanicals, among which are lemon zest, grains of paradise, angelica root, hops, and rock samphire. The latter is foraged from the cliffs of the Isle of Wight, known as the “Mermaid’s Kiss”, which is where the name of the gin comes from.
Mermaid Gin has a refreshing, fragrant taste, with peppery notes. The hops make it bitter and citrusy at the same time. Mixed with tonic, the sweet flavour of elderflower comes to life.
You can buy Mermaid Gin online on the Master of Malt website, or at Tesco, M&S, John Lewis of Hervey Nichols. A bottle of Mermaid Gin costs £40 (RRP).
Wentworth Wooden Puzzle
Puzzles are known to bring the family together and provide hours of fun around the table, while trying to recreate the image on the box. Wentworth has taken the puzzles a step up and created beautiful jigsaw puzzles out of wood from sustainable sources. As soon as you open the box, the smell of the forest is released into the room.
The puzzles are designed and sustainably made in Wiltshire. What I really love about them is that they are irregularly shaped, which makes the assembly quite difficult. A 250 piece Wentworth puzzle will take the same amount of time to complete as a 1,000 piece classic one.
Each Wentworth puzzle has specific pieces that are shaped to match the theme. For example, my beautiful snowy village jigsaw has shapes of a chicken, a cat, a horse, a tractor, a cart, a snowflake – and that’s only what I could find at a quick glance.
Wentworth has so many stunning designs, with a gorgeous winter collection dedicated to the holidays. This lovely snowy village jigsaw puzzle reminds me of the road trip I took around the Cotswolds – my staycation this year. The snow-covered village road resembles Lower Slaughter, which was one of the highlights of my trip.
A Wentworth jigsaw puzzle can be a fantastic gift for your father, who you remember driving your family around the country roads during the summer holidays, towards an exciting new destination.
You can buy a jigsaw puzzle for travel lovers by clicking here, directly from the Wentworth online shop.
Tru Bamboo Cheese Board
A cheese board is a fantastic gift for every gourmand who loves to travel. Does your friend always have the best cheese, brought for her travels around Europe? The Tru Bamboo eco-friendly board is made entirely from durable Moso bamboo, having a thick surface to cut on the hardest of cheeses.
One thing that makes this cheese board special is its size. Larger than the usual board, it can be a nice centrepiece for any cheese and wine party with friends, ensuring that everyone can reach it. It comes with four specialist pieces to slice, cut, spread, and serve the cheese, made from durable stainless steel, with bamboo handles. The cheese toolset is hidden in a drawer below the board, easily accessible by pulling the metal know.
Another great feature of this cheese board is the anti-bacterial surface, free from any chemicals, toxins, or plastic. In fact, did you know that bamboo is a natural repellent for bacteria?
For the boyfriend who always raves about Bali and Indonesia, a bottle of Bobby’s Gin is a perfect Christmas gift.
What many people don’t know is that between the Netherlands and Indonesia there are 150 years of shared history. Around 25% of Dutch people have family links with Indonesia. Bobby’s Gin was born after the brand founder’s grandfather missed his home country so much, he started distilling his own gin with spices brought from Indonesia. His name was Bobby and, the recipe used in Bobby’s gin is his original one. The bottle is an homage to both countries, with a classic Dutch “kruik” shape and a traditional Indonesian “ikat” pattern.
Booby’s Gin has been described as “Dutch courage mixed with Indonesian spirit” because of its exotic taste and the spices used in the distillation process. The recipe includes cubed pepper, lemongrass, rose hips and fennel, which give the gin a fantastic citrusy fragrance with an aftertaste of spicy pepper. It is recommended to drink the gin with slices of oranges.
You can buy Bobby’s Gin online on the Master of Malt website, for £37.99 (RRP).
Urban Herbs Collection
For the mom who always talks about how amazing the food was in France or in Italy, a herb collection would be a perfect Christmas gift.
Grown in the Midlands by a foodie couple, Urban Herbs is a small business selling herbs and spice mixes from their own garden. Their herb collection in their online shop depends on the season. Currently, their Christmas range includes a classic herb gift bag with blends such as garlic and basil, sage and chives, herbs de Provence or bouquet garni, and a spicy herb collection with blends such as Thai spices, paprika and coriander, scotch bonnet and thyme, or naga hot mix.
They also offer a chili box with dried Kashmiri, cayenne, bird’s eye, Carolina reaper, and a few others which will test your spice endurance.
You can buy the herb collection from the Urban Herbs website for £8.50 each, plus shipping.
Behind Bars is a fantastic gift for the brother who loves travelling to discover movie filming locations. While reading through the pages of the book, I remembered the time I went on a tour of the Hotel Nacional in Havana, to learn about that time when Charles “Lucky” Luciano organised a meeting of the mob there, at which Frank Sinatra also sang at.
Behind Bars is a collection of “high-class cocktails inspired by lowlife gangsters” written by award-winning mixologist and gin distiller Vince Pollard, and illustrated by Brooklyn based Shawn McManus who worked for DC Comics for over three decades.
Behind Bars creates signature cocktails for Hollywood’s most famous bad boys (and girls), from classic series but also from newer productions. Also featured in the book are Al Capone, Bonnie Parker, Tommy Shelby, Carlito Brigante, Mia Wallace, Tony Montana and, my favourite, Polly Gray.
You can buy the Behind Bars book published by Prestel online from major bookstores such as Waterstones or Blackwells for £9.99 (RRP).
Reusable face masks
As traveling will return in our lives, slowly, slowly, the rules of how we will be allowed to do it will be different. We already know that on public transport face masks are compulsory, and some popular holiday destinations such as Spain, require people to wear them everywhere outside their homes.
As someone who loves to travel, you can’t have enough face masks. So why not gift your travel-loving friend a set of ultra-light organic cotton masks? Five Emperors makes beautiful breathable masks that are soft to touch and adjustable, so they can fit any physiognomy. With adjustable straps and cute designs, the masks are covering the entire face and chin, offering comfort for long wear, especially when on a long flight or train ride.
The face masks are easily washable and reusable because of their high-quality material. You can buy them for only £4.99 each from the Five Emperors website.
A luxury Truffle Gift Set
The luxurious taste of truffle takes me back to Italy, to the autumn I spent in the hills of Tuscany. And it will do the same to everyone who has visited this beautiful part of the country, in autumn, when the truffle season is in bloom.
This set of truffle oil goodies from Sous Chef contains a selection of the most delicious products. The black truffle oil has an intense Earthy aroma, giving the dishes it is drizzled over a luxurious flavour. The Acacia honey with truffle doesn’t only taste divine but it’s also very healthy. It works so well drizzled over figs and blue cheese salads. The truffle and mushrooms salsa is a perfect toping for canapes, when you have friends over or, when you just want to treat yourself with some sensational flavours. The canaroli risotto rice with truffle is a treat for a special occasion, maybe a romantic dinner or a special celebration. It is so easy to make, delivering fantastic flavour.
You can buy this truffle oil gift set from the Sous Chef website, for only £19.90.
A Simply Cook Subscription
There is no better way to virtual travel to a place than through food, and your foodie friend knows this. Simply Cook brings flavours of different traditional dishes from all over the world, onto our plates. You can choose from a large selection of dishes, from Pad Thai to West African peanut stew, from Japanese seared steak to Moghul chicken korma, from Hungarian goulash to Malaysian laksa, from Sichuan Dan Dan noodles to Korean Bokkeumbap.
The way Simply Cook works is very simple: they send you the spices and sauces needed to cook the dish, and you buy the fresh ingredients. The recipes are easy to follow, with simple steps and an average of five ingredients per dish. The result is always delicious and full of flavour.
You can order the first Simply Cook box for £1, using this link. You can cancel the subscription at any time, without any difficulty, and you can skip deliveries as well. A Simply Cook subscription usually costs just shy of £10 a month and, with the promotion above, you can easily gift your travel lover friend a three-month subscription, which comprises of 12 beautiful recipes to try out.
A Jar of Jackpot Peanut Butter
For your friend who loves jetting of to the States every summer, to drive around the famous roads of America, a jar of Jackpot peanut butter will remind him of the sweet taste of his trips. One of the best-known American sandwiches, the peanut butter and jelly, has probably accompanied him many times as a snack, on the road trips he has taken.
Jackpot Peanut Butter packs in the jar not just a delicious recipe using only peanuts from Georgia and Virginia, rapeseed oil and salt, but also plenty of personality. The pots can be personalised with the receiver’s name followed by the brand’s slogan, inspired by the obscure 70’s rock song “Peener Budder Mudder Fugger”. In fact, Jackpot supports the UK music’s culture by donating £1 to the Music Venue Trust, for each jar sold.
You can order the Jackpot Peanut butter directly on their website by clicking here, for £5 or £7 if you choose the personalised version. To make sure your gift arrives in time to be put under the Christmas tree, order by the 21st of December.
Disclaimer: Some of the links on this website are “affiliate links.” This means that if you click on the link and do a purchase, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost for you. This helps me keep my website running and continue to share my travelling knowledge with you. I thank you for booking your flights or hotels using the links on my website. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.
This post contains PR samples which I have personally tried, and recommended if I loved.