It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… Thankfully for us in Canada, the requisite tons of snow haven’t made their appearance yet, but the store fronts have been decked out in snowflakes, twinkle lights, all kinds of metallics, sparkles, the odd illuminated reindeer made out of reshaped twigs. While I officially get on the Christmas bandwagon (sleigh?) once December rolls around, I have to admit that all the tinsel, ornaments, and predictable made-for-tv Christmas movies have got me thinking of getting the yearly Christmas shopping out of the way. Confession: I’m not a gift giving guru. I often default to gift certificates when I’m out of ideas, mostly because I love receiving them (it’s the gift of shopping!). What I *do* know is what’s on my wish list, and since they’re all travel-related, here we are. I present to you the traveller’s ultimate holiday gift guide!
For the documentarian
One of my favourite things to do while travelling is to write a (semi) daily journal of things I saw, stuff I did, and moments that tickled my fancy. How else would I recall the time a tanned guy walked by me in the middle of Hvar Town wearing a pair of flip flops, a Santa hat, and a red, Borat-inspired, mankini? That true story was brought to you by my 2012 travel journal!
The modern day take on the old “stick a pin in a map” requires a coin, key, or your favourite sharp implement and a block of time set aside to scratch it, lottery style. There’s some dispute over how much to scratch: some people scratch the part of the country they visited while others scratch the whole country. I fall into the latter category, and grab some star stickers to mark the cities I visited. Either way, it’s a fun way to keep track of how many places you’ve been in this beautiful world of ours!For the fashion-conscious
One of the major challenges of today’s baggage-fee world is to keep our style options open while staying within the limitations airlines force on us. Enter: the Sseko ribbon sandals. These sandals can be done up in lots of ways so you don’t have to feel like you’re wearing the same shoes over and over again. Best of all, the Uganda-based company hires girls who recently graduated high school and allocates their earnings toward their college education.No travel packing list is complete without a scarf, and no scarf is as pretty as this one! A scarf is the most versatile item you can pack along for any trip, from a fancy addition to a casual outfit to a warm blanket on a chilly evening. Of all accessories I’ve taken with me around the world, the scarf is the one constant that’s accompanied me on every adventure I’ve been on. For the foodie
We all have at least one friend who knows the latest gastronomic hot spot in town, and I’ll bet they have some recommendations for a corner bistro in a city on the other side of the world. So why not give them a medley of treats from around the globe? Try the World will surprise them with a snack they’ve been craving from their latest trip or (even better) give them something they’ve never even heard of! Giftee:1. Giftor: 1.Another way to “try the world” is to crack open a cookbook and get cooking! One of my favourite things to do to keep the post-trip buzz going is to recreate the food I ate while travelling. 1000 Foods to Eat Before You Die, the newest member of the bucket list favourite 1000 Places to See Before You Die, takes you around the world in 1000 meals. The foodie in your life will likely pack their bags, spin a globe, and point at their next culinary destination.
For the pragmatic wanderer
Most travellers are dreamers. Some are also practical. If you’ve been on a trip lately – be it long-term or short escape – clothes can be a challenge to handle abroad. Without the comforts of your washer/dryer (or local laundromat), laundry can be a chore… of course, when isn’t it? But I digress. The Scrubba portable laundry wash bag is so quick (max 3 minutes of squishing your clothes against the flexible washboard) and convenient (you can use any type of soap on hand), you can forget about waiting around for the spin cycle to finish and focus on exploring the outdoors!
There is a secret trick to mastering the carry-on packing game: packing cubes. Your most organized – hell even your LEAST organized friend will love the tiny compartments that will not only compress your clothes into a few pieces, it will also allow you categorize your clothes for easy access! Ok, so that might be on another level of pragmatic, but you can’t deny how similar the cubes look to Tetris pieces. Game on for a packing win.
For the bookworm
There’s nothing like a good book to occupy the hours of transit time, from the plane to the layover to the taxi from the airport and every bus in between. If you’re a bookworm like me, one just isn’t enough. I’ve been known to lug around 3-4 books at a time, something that my back and arms do not enjoy. Enter: the eReader. Packing over a thousand books and weighing less than a single hardcover, you won’t struggle to lug your eReader around. The eInk screen feels closest to the typography of a paper book, and comes with a backlight option for nighttime reading. So why have I included two? The debate seems be to raging between the Kobo and the Kindle so it’s up to you to pick your poison!
For the photographer
We all know that for as long as people have been travelling with easy to carry cameras, there have been vacation photos. After several iterations, the world of photography has arrived at 4K: 4,000 pixels of horizontal resolution resulting in the crispest images you can see today. What does that mean? Let’s put this in perspective: our TVs are 1080p, and high resolution video tends to come in the ultra HD (UHD) world. 4K beats UHD.Both the GoPro Hero 4 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-Fz1000 shoot in 4K, with minimal differences. The GoPro has a better video capture (240fps vs. the Lumix’s 120fps) and is tiny, making it ideal for capturing video. The Lumix has a better sensor (20.1MP vs. the GoPro’s 12MP). Your outdoorsy friend might appreciate the portability of the GoPro, while your city slicker friend might prefer the 25-400mm Leica lens of the Lumix. Either way, they’ll love you for the stunning gift of 4K!
Now with that guide you have nothing stopping you from shopping early and perhaps snagging some Black Friday deals while you’re at it! If you do, make sure to pick a little celebratory gift for yourself (I know I will)!
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