A Holiday Gift Guide for Minimalists, Travelers, & the Globally Minded

by gigigriffis

(Psst, this post may contain affiliate links, which means if you purchase something through one of my links, I get a commission at no extra cost to you.)

Well, it’s that time of year.

The gift giving season.

It seems like everyone and their mom has a holiday gift guide for you, so I usually don’t do them. But this year I wondered: is there a gift guide out there for people like me? People who travel extensively. People who live a minimalist lifestyle. People who value experiences more than things. People who have simple needs.

And I haven’t seen a guide like that. So I thought I’d attempt to make one.

Here, then, you’ll find a handful of gifts that I wholeheartedly love because they’re high quality, experience-valuing, and also beautiful.

Without further ado, then, my picks for the gifters among us:

Sleepypod Air Dog Carrier

Luna in her Sleepypod

Know someone thinking about traveling with a pet? I adore our Sleepypod Air and Luna does, too. We had our first Air for about three years. It went to Mexico and San Diego, Switzerland and Spain…on trains and planes and in cars. And it held up exceptionally well. I had to replace the floor padding (which Luna dug through when we got stuck in the London airport for a bazillion hours) once, and when I finally replaced it this past summer, the only wear and tear it showed was a couple tears in the inside lining. I sold it to a Swiss family for their pup and Sleepypod was kind enough to send me a second Air in exchange for a review here on the blog.

Now we’ve had our second Air for about six months. It’s done five flights, more train rides than I can count, and a mini road trip (and I was so glad I had it for that, as the Air actually attaches to a seatbelt in the car and is high-ranking for safety).

Airbnb Gift Cards

Airbnb rental

As you know, when I travel I like to rent apartments. I love living in local neighborhoods, being able to make my own food in the kitchen, and having all that space and privacy that hotels don’t generally have. And I pretty much always start my apartment search with Airbnb. So when I saw they had gifts cards, I was pretty thrilled. A great gift for your favorite traveler.

(And if you’ve never used Airbnb before and you’re going to sign up? Use this link and both you and I get a credit.)

Sony A6000 Mirrorless SLR

Thinking about getting someone a new camera? I’m enjoying my Sony A6000 so far. It’s pretty easy to use and the photos come out well even on the automatic setting.

A Good Book

Love with a Chance of Drowning

Earlier this week, I answered a reader question about my favorite books. Any of them would make a spectacular gift (and, in fact, they’re my own gift-giving go-tos).


If you’re buying for a true minimalist, a full-time traveler, or just someone who “has it all,” consider giving them an experience or, even better, an experience plus some of your time. An evening out, a nice dinner in their favorite type of restaurant, a food tour in your own city, a massage, a spa day, a spa weekend, a trip, or even an invite to your home for a homemade meal featuring their favorite type of cuisine…every single one of these is something the person will probably long remember and really appreciate.


There are a lot of tough things happening out there in the world. And the fact that we can afford to give each other gifts is an incredible privilege. Another gift I know that myself and my fellow bleeding hearts would love? A donation to an organization doing something important and good, like the UN Refugee Agency.

Now, to you: any other suggestions? What are you buying for those difficult travelers, bleeding hearts, and minimalists? 

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Montecristo Travels (Sonja) December 10, 2015 - 11:28 am

Great ideas! I have a different carrier to recommend, Monte likes way more visibility than the sleepypod provided and I prefer FlipKey since Airbnb is a tax evasion company and that irks me. But yes!! I would add an amazing gift Flytographer session! Best thing ever! And any GAdventure tour is fabulous so gift cards for them!!

gigigriffis December 10, 2015 - 11:54 am

Thanks for the suggestions! The reason I don’t use places like FlipKey is that they don’t have the monthly pricing option, which means they’re much more expensive for longer stays. But I didn’t realize Airbnb was evading taxes…? If that’s confirmed, wouldn’t they be in trouble with the IRS?

Elena December 10, 2015 - 11:48 am

I would suggest a nice backpack as a gift, comfortable for your back and light-weighted )

Montecristo Travels (Sonja) December 10, 2015 - 5:11 pm

I will track down the info. Can’t remember how they are doing it but I recall being dissapointed. Ubber is doing the same. But I see your point!! At the end of the day you got to do what works for you!

Gigi December 11, 2015 - 7:54 am

I looked it up. It sounds like what they were worried about was hosts not paying taxes, but that must be bad/old info because I was a host last year and Airbnb required us to enter our tax info and such. So perhaps some hosts aren’t paying taxes, but that’s not Airbnb’s fault. They are telling people that they may owe taxes on that income and giving info on how to report.

Montecristo Travels (Sonja) December 10, 2015 - 5:13 pm

Another great idea is an e-reader!

Chanel | Cultural Xplorer December 13, 2015 - 9:41 am

I use AirBnB quite frequently, so I love the idea of AirBnB gift cards! :D

Kathryn December 14, 2015 - 12:14 am

Just a note — Airbnb vouchers are only available for US users (boo hiss!). I found that out after I’d told everyone to get them for me.

Amazon vouchers are great. I’d never buy a paper book for a traveller.

My sister got me a panda for Christmas. Well sponsored one, I don’t get to keep it. And we got my other sister polio vaccinations for kids in developing countries. When you have enough stuff, it’s good to get something that helps others.


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