Have a traveling friend or family member and not sure what to get them? Looking for something to treat yourself to this winter? Planning a trip and just wondering what this long-term traveler with seven years of full-time digital nomadism carries around Europe?
You’re in luck. Because it’s that time of year, and, as usual, I’ve put together a list of a handful of travel gifts I love. Some are pricey (camera). Some aren’t. And all of these things are either something I carry myself or something I’m considering purchasing for myself in the near future.
So, without further ado, this year’s picks for fabulous travely gifts.
(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.)
All the photos on this blog? I take them with my little Sony a6000. I chose the Sony because one of my favorite professional photographers recommended it and because it’s super lightweight and small – perfect for someone who wants access to some of the bells and whistles of a professional camera, but who also happens to travel frequently and need something compact.
Photos taken with my Sony:
In case you missed it a few months back, my absolute favorite addition to our travels this year has been Luna’s K-9 sport sack. It’s a backpack meant to transport your dog on adventures and I use it constantly. To take Luna on trains and buses. Rolled up in my backpack during hiking trips in case I ever have to carry her out. To take her into spaces with no-dogs-allowed signs, like certain indoor markets or grocery stores in train stations.
I love that it rolls up pretty small in my main bag for hiking days. I love that Luna seems to enjoy trekking around on my back. And I love that there are so many contexts where it comes in handy.
It’s a great gift for your friends with small dogs who like to adventure with them. Read my full review here.
Speaking of dog travel, here’s our other favorite carrier. This one is for air travel (since you can’t take a dog on an airplane in just a rucksack, unfortunately). Luna loves this carrier. Everywhere we go, I set it up for her and it is her safe space, her introvert area. Hotel rooms, hostels, airports, train stations…wherever we are, she can curl up and hide away somewhere that feels and smells familiar.
If you have a friend who will be traveling with a small dog via plane, this is a great gift.
Forbes & Lewis backpacks
For city breaks in Europe, it’s always useful to have a day bag that is both A. functional and able to carry all you need and B. stylish, because Europe tends to be a stylish place and it’s nice to fit in.
Forbes & Lewis sent me a couple backpacks to try out this summer and I’m happy to say they fit the bill for stylish and functional. You can read my full review here, or check out their line of bags here. For travel, my personal pick would be the canvas backpack (it’s easier to roll up/store in another bag if needed during travel).
A VPN subscription
VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) are a tech tool that helps you keep your personal data safe while traveling and view content that might be behind a location-specific firewall (like your Netflix subscription or US sites that block EU traffic due to GDPR). They’re a really nice thing for a traveler to have and – bonus – they’re not super expensive. I use Express VPN. Subscriptions start at less than $9 per month and if you use my link to sign up, we both get a month free. Win, win.
This one has been on my personal wish-list for awhile. Since one of the blogs I run is all about food, I do my fair share of food photography these days. And anytime that food photography happens in a dimly-lit, atmospheric space during dinnertime, it inevitably comes out not nearly as well as I’d like.
I’ve been searching for a solution and a food photographer recommended a small LED light and a piece of blank white paper to bounce it off. So I’m hoping to buy myself something like this and get into that soon.
If you know me, you know I try to live a low-waste lifestyle. This means a number of things: converting to a safety razor rather than disposable plastic blades, re-using glass jars everywhere we go instead of buying bunches of tupperware, carrying a reusable water bottle.
One of the trickier problems I faced as a full-time traveler was this: how to use less ziplock bags. Particularly when I wanted to keep my toiletries from exploding all over my stuff on a flight or high altitude train ride.
The answer? Wet bags!
They’re made for diapers or swimsuits, but they’re a perfect way to transport toiletries as well. Bye bye ziplocks.
Finally, did you know that when you click on a blogger’s Amazon link, Amazon gives them a little commission on anything you buy (not just the thing they specifically recommended). There’s no extra cost to you and it’s a nice way to support your favorite bloggers during the holidays. So if you are going to make an Amazon purchase (or several), stop by your favorite blogs and give them a click-through on affiliate posts like this one and you’ll be giving them a little holiday bonus. (This is something I do frequently to try and give a little silent thank-you to blogs that have helped me out.)