Have a wanderluster on your gift list? Here are some ideas for your family and friends – both practical gifts and those used to inspire future journeys. Shhhh… don’t tell my family, but everything on this list going to be under our tree.
Traveling with my young boys is one of my favorite things to do, but it can be a little stressful, particularly if we’re in a busy city like New York, Tokyo or London or in an airport trying to juggle tickets, money, passports and little hands. And, pockets are great, but the larger smart phones and passports don’t always fit deep down in them, and I always worry that they will fall out. At least once a trip (probably once a day), I have a panic attack because I can’t remember where I have put passports, phone or cash.
However, I found a great new fashion solution –the SholdIt, an infinity scarf that also has a zippered pocket built right in. It’s big enough to hold a big smart phone, credit cards, passports, tickets, cash – or a combo of a few of these items.
I love the concept. Hands-free is a big deal for me. So I put this inventive neck wrap to the test. A Thanksgiving morning tradition for the last 15 years or so, has been doing a 5k with my girlfriends. I was wearing my running tights and jacket, neither of which had room for my phone or car key in the pockets. The SholdIt kept everything in place and handy. I also used it on a cold night visiting a local Christkindlmarkt. With a heavy coat, toting around a big purse can be a pain, so I threw some money and my driver’s license in my SholdIt – it kept me warm, and I had a hand free to hold my Glühwein hot mulled wine. I can’t wait to try it out on our next trip overseas.
They come in a variety of colors, patterns and fabrics, and even have neck gaiters with the zippered pouch and other travel accessories. I had the chance to talk to the team at Sholdit (super nice people and company is based in Nebraska) when I was researching this article. I went with the scarf, but we are also going to try the neck gaiters when we go skiing this year. They are offering a promo code to our readers this holiday season. Use the promo code GOTRAVEL15 and get 15% off.
*Products were provided to We Said Go Travel for review.
Our current organization system for phone charger cords, headphones and international power adaptors basically includes a gallon plastic baggy and some smaller sandwich-sized ones for individual items. They still get tangled, bent and lost, and you have to dig down in the baggy to find the one you need. Using this was a game changer for us. It eliminates the spaghetti mess with zippered sections for jump drives, headphones and … and elastic separator sections for charger cords to keep them neat and tidy. I like the small one, but there are some that have room for a tablet and more pockets. An even more practical and useful gift would be to buy the organizer and hide a super-powered battery charger, cords, and power adaptor inside, so that your travel lover can just grab it and go.
Board games are a mainstay in our family, but we tend to stick with classics like Boggle and Scrabble. However, a board game that inspires travel? Sign me up. So many great things about Ticket to Ride – it’s a strategy and critical thinking game, great for two players or five, young, old and all ages in between. Based on the character Phileas Fogg from Around the World in 80 Days, the object is to complete contiguous train routes across the U.S. and southern Canada (variations from Vancouver to New York, Montreal to Miami and dozens of longer and shorter trips (Kansas City to Houston is one of the easier ones). Do you go for points or try to complete one of your three train routes first? Do you play nice or block the route between New York and Boston so that your husband has to divert his train via Montreal? We also love it because we talk about the cities and countries of the various train routes, and it has encouraged us to add new places to our “must-see” list. There are versions with maps of Asia, Europe, Scandinavia, Rails and Sails, and more complicated ones that include tunnels and ferries. It’s won numerous gaming awards since its release several years ago, but has just recently been appreciated by the masses.
My roots as a travel bug stem from my childhood and two specific children’s atlases – one about the world and one about the 50 states. I’d spend hours soaking in the maps, memorizing capitals and dreaming of places to visit. And I am trying to instill my inner geonerdiness into my kids. This beginner’s atlas is perfect for your junior journeyers with maps, lovely photos and factoids about the countries and continents. My 7-year old loves his, and he can identify the outlines of countries, identify flags and name capitals from his hours looking at his atlas. It’s also why he wants to go to Malaysia for vacation! For older wanderlusters, the Nat Geo Family Reference Atlas can help you plan your next trip in the palm of your hands instead of on a computer screen. Nat Geo’s stunning photography makes you feel like you’re on the other side of their camera, providing a glimpse into cultures, landscapes and landmarks. It’s also a great reference and coffee table piece for when your family is arguing over whether the capital of Croatia is Zagreb or Dubrovnik. What? You don’t have those conversations in your house?
I love the Earthabitats Scratch-off World Map because it is a daily reminder of all of our travels and inspires more adventures. I am actually going to get two of these maps – one that will scratch off places we’ve been to, and the other to mark places that are on our bucket list. I like this particular version because you can scratch off individual states, and it has a list of all of the country flags that you can rub off, too, which adds some interest and color to this unique and personalized piece of work. You can also personalize it, adding sticker icons like scuba diving and other activities that you may have done at different destinations. It’s another way to engage your entire family in trip planning, and is a great gift for kids who count the number of states they’ve been to, college students who want to backpack around Europe, empty nesters clicking off their bucket list and everyone in between.
Regardless of the physical present you choose for your travel lover, there is no better gift than that of exploring a new place and the memories created, whether in your backyard or far afield. Happy travels and happy holidays!