Good morning, fellow procrastinators! Did you wake up this morning and brace yourself to finish all your shopping over this final weekend before Christmas? Fear not — you can do so without so much as leaving the house. While I admit to starting my stockpile of gifts sometime in August, I always find that I put off someone’s present or some final touch until the very last minute. I just love to procrastinate — I even did it with writing this post! But I’m pretty excited… this is my first ever holiday gift guide, and I’m just plain jolly over how it all turned out.
As of today, unless otherwise noted, all items in this post will arrive by Christmas, and all can be ordered online. Because as much as I love shopping for my nearest and dearest, there’s little I’d won’t do to avoid stepping foot in a mall. The other good news? With prices from $3-$350, there’s something here for everyone and every budget. Also, every single item in this post is something I personally own and love or have already ordered for myself. Happy holiday shopping — from your couch!
Bite Toothpaste Bits
Fellow travel sustainability nerds, you’re going to flip for my latest find: organic, cruelty-free and plant-based toothpaste bites in plastic-free packaging. Best part? Bite Toothpaste Bits are a small passion project started by one of my creative, brilliant friends! Anyone who has read my review of solid shampoo or solid conditioner (and yes, a full review of these babies is coming soon) knows I’m a big fan of solids for travel — and for life. No more exploding bottles or tubes in your suitcase! Bites are simple to use — just wet your toothbrush, pop a bite on, and brush. They’ll lather up just like an other toothpaste would. But these ones come with a special goal: Less chemicals in our bodies, less plastic in our landfills.
While Lindsay experiments with new seasonal flavors (I kind of cried when my Fall Spice bottle was empty), get hooked on the classic Mint Flavor and Mint Charcoal Flavor. You can buy a single bottle or a monthly subscription in which refills will be sent to you every month at an affordable price in biodegradable refill packets made to pour directly into your bottle.
Pair with a bamboo toothbrush and a steel tongue scraper for the ultimate plastic-free – and stylish! – teeth cleaning kit. Bite orders made by December 19th will be hand-pressed with love in Los Angeles and arrive in time for Christmas!
I used to think these were kind of silly when I saw them in stores — until a friend gifted me the “Secretly a Mermaid” Summer Kit, the perfect present for the eternal sun chaser like myself. Itty bitty aloe gel? Teeny tiny sunscreen? A mini phone USB fan? There were so many things in here that were lifesavers to have in my purse for those unexpected summer oopsies. Shopping for more of a winter girl, or a seasonal gift? The “Frozen AF” Winter Kit comes with a mini ice scraper, a mini reusable hot pack, cuticle oil, and a ton of other teeny goodies.
Can’t choose? The “Airplane Mode” Travel Kit is always a classic.
Pool floats hit that perfect gift balance of being just affordable enough to buy for someone else but just indulgent enough that you might feel guilty buying them for yourself (not a problem I’m currently suffering with, clearly.)
Plus, you can find the perfect one for anyone’s personality. In the past year you may have seen me pose with an enormous seashell, a champagne bottle, or a gold swan, and I currently have bookmarked a pineapple float, an avocado (with removable pit!), a rainbow, a popcorn bucket, and a peacock! While it might not be the most traditional gift for a winter holiday — at least in the US — it’s never too soon to start looking towards summer… or your next tropical getaway!
Confession: my current Christmas tree is two feet tall and of the Charlie Brown Christmas variety: threadbare and a little pathetic (and, since I live in Thailand, very much fake.) However, I dream of someday returning to the lush pine-smelling real trees of my childhood, and adorning them with travel-themed ornaments! I already have two that I was gifted years ago, a dSLR camera ornament and a globe ornament that I love so much I keep on display in my childhood bedroom all year round.
Wanderer Sleeveless T from Encircled
One of my favorite discoveries of the year was ethical Canadian clothing brand Encircled. Once I got their soft, sustainably produced pieces on my body they rarely left it for longer than one laundry cycle. These are clothes you can feel good about investing in!
One of my favorite pieces is their Wanderer Sleeveless T, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the restock of the three pack that contains a white, black, and charcoal grey version. Heads up that these are in pre-order at the moment, but I can vouch they are worth the wait — and the “wrap a box with a printout of what you ordered” trick is rarely a disappointment if so.
A Kindle Loaded with Travel Reads
I admit it — I was anti-Kindle for a long time. But when my mom gifted me one a few Christmases ago, I was a quick convert. Mine went missing about a month ago and I’ve been lost without it! While the new fancy versions seem nice, I’m more than content to replace it with the basic $59 version again — though I might go for the snazzy white color.
To make this a really special gift, I recommend loading it up with travel reads! A few longtime and recent favorites of mine include We Flow Hard, my New York studio Y7’s guide to crafting your yoga practice on-the-go (be warned, it’s just in presale at the moment), a Lonely Planet guidebook for an upcoming destination, and The Worrier’s Guide to the End of the World, Torre DeRoche’s latest memoir that takes readers on a journey to Italy, India, and beyond.
Horrified by Kindle and looking for a hardcover? My favorite gift last year was this coffee table copy of Beaches by Gray Malin, my favorite bright and shiny travel photographer.
Journal and Pen Set
You guys often ask how I write blog posts about things that happened long ago — something I hope will be a thing of the past when I catch up with backlogged content in April — and the answer is I journal! Even if I wasn’t a full-time blogger, I can’t imagine not traveling with a journal to jot down notes, memories, to-do lists, contact info for new friends, and more. Yes, I do travel with a iPhone and a laptop, too, but I can’t seem to move away from pen and paper for some things.
Well, you knew I wasn’t going to write a gift guide without putting my new collaboration with Amy Jennifer Jewellery on here, right? We are so proud of our limited edition, sustainable collection of handmade silver. Each design is inspired by the ocean and the island we love and live on, and there’s a limited supply of each — get yours while you still can! And don’t forget, all production methods are sustainable, packaging is plastic-free, and we’re donating a dollar from each sale to the Surfrider Foundation. With three rings and two beautiful necklaces in this collection, there’s something for everyone — and like Encircled, it’s another purchase you can feel good about.
While these babies are shipped straight from Amy’s jungle workshop in Thailand and won’t arrive until after the holidays, I designed this nifty card that you can slip into a box and wrap up in the meantime — plus, it’s never too late to gift yourself.
No matter the length of the trip, I never leave home without a nylon laundry bag anymore. Why not upgrade to this cute map-covered version?
If it’s a short trip where I’ll be bringing my laundry back home with me, it keeps my sweaty gym clothes and dirty adventure wear from stinking up the rest of my suitcase, and if I’m on a longer trip, it’s something I can drop right off at a laundry service so I can avoid using plastic bags.
Tea or Coffee To Go
Ever since I bid my Diet Coke addiction adieu, I don’t leave home without enough tea bags to last my entire trip. While black breakfast tea comes standard in most hotels and hostels, I’m a bit pickier and prefer green tea or unsweetened but flavored black teas.
Have a tea addict in your life that loves to hit the road? Gift them a stock of destination-inspired flavors from Hawaiian Tea Company (my favorites are Pineapple Waikiki and Hibiscus Honey Lemon) or this Bangkok Blend from Harney and Sons. Know a coffee lover instead? Bundle a few gourmet instant packs with a cute travel mug for the perfect caffeine to-go gift.
Personalized Etsy Gifts
For the past few years, I’ve had a go-to wedding gift for friends who are getting hitched. Among other things (ya know, a check usually) I love to get lost browsing Etsy and find the perfect destination print from either their wedding location, their honeymoon destination, or another spot super meaningful to the couple. I ordered this print for a couple honeymooning in Saint Martin, this one for a couple heading to Italy, and a version of this beauty for a couple heading to Southeast Asia — along with metallic passport covers! Why not convert that idea to a holiday gift, too? You could go for their favorite destination, an upcoming one they are thrilled about, or home sweet home, the place the traveler always returns to.
Typically, searching “[destination name] print” yields the best results. Along the same lines and also widely available on Etsy? Zip code pillows! My sister got my mom some for our house in Martha’s Vineyard a few years back for Christmas, and they are still a hit to this day.
Sephora Collection Masks
Looking for a fun and colorful stocking stuffer? This summer I became totally addicted to these Sephora Collection masks — and they aren’t just for your face! I’ve tried the Lip Masks, the Hand Masks, the Eye Masks, the Face Masks, the Hair Masks, and the Foot Masks — there’s event a special seasonal edition of that one, and it’s so cute! At $3-6 a pop, I just can’t resist grabbing one when I’m at the checkout counter — and they’ve been the perfect way to unwind in the midst of a stressful trip or get some pampering in on-the-go.
Honestly, whenever Ian and I stay in a nice hotel, we tend to purposely plan a night in to lounge around in our robes and do DIY spa treatments. These couldn’t be more perfect — we both did the foot and face masks before attending a big wedding in Chicago this summer.
Pack This! List
I don’t remember where I got it or how long I’ve had it, but I’ve had one of these Pack This! pads that I’ve literally been working through for years. When I’m leaving on a really big trip — as in, returning to Asia for the year, or heading to a new continent for a long-term backpacking trip — it helps me stay focused and make sure I’m not missing something that I’ll later face palm over. Mine is so old it still lists “traveler’s checks” as a must bring — don’t bring those, guys — but I love the new edition!
Outside of travel they also have some silly jokey lists, too, but my other favorites are also the super useful ones like the All Out Of shopping lists, the What I Ate diet tracking sheets, and the surprisingly poignant Make a Decision pads.
Destination-Specific Scratch Maps
Whole world scratch maps are soooo 2013. (Just kidding. I have one in my childhood bedroom and I literally love scratching off the new countries I’ve been to every year when I go home to visit.) But this year I also swooned when I found a Thailand scratch map in Bangkok which I’m slowly scratching the different provinces I visit off of! While sadly I haven’t been able to find it available online anywhere that ships to the US, I did find one for the United Kingdom, one for Europe, another for Europe, one for the United States, one for North America, and one with small, frameable versions of every region on the planet.
My tip for scratch maps? Don’t use a coin as advised, which can damage the map and look yuck — use a clean, soft eraser instead for a super smooth finish.
An Innovative Sleep Mask
It’s a rare travel gift guide that doesn’t include a sleep mask, and for good reason – they can make or break a night of sleep for me, especially in tough travel conditions like sleeping on a plane or train or even just an unfamiliar bed.
But this one is unique: the SeatDreamzzz sleep mask is designed to give you the best night of sleep possible while sitting upright on an airplane. How? It wraps around the independent headrest on your seat to prevent the dreaded head-bob that’s particularly tragic in aisle and middle seats. As the many “hilarious” videos my friends have recorded of me over the years reveal, this is an issue near and dear to my heart. This product is still in production and funding its Kickstarter, so while you won’t have the mask in your hands right away, you will sleep easy knowing you’ve helped kick off an entrepreneur’s dream.
Playing Santa for someone? The DJI Spark is the gift for when you need to pull out all the stops — though this year the elves are in luck as the price has dropped since Black Friday.
The price for this punchy little drone is as low as $350 for some colors — a full $150 cheaper than when I purchased it in September! If you’re on a tight budget, learn to fly with hand controls (I’ve yet to try that but I’m so excited to) or with your iPhone. Personally I’m relieved I splurged on the remote controller package — which is now available for $460 — as the remote makes me feel much more in control when I fly! I went with the Spark over its more popular and more expensive sibling drones the Mavick and the Phantom mostly due to size and weight concerns, as this is now like, the seventh camera I travel with. But I’ve been thrilled with the resulting images and videos as I cautiously learn to fly — and it’s a nice bonus that I’m able to learn on something a little less gut-wrenching to replace if I were to have a crash.
From the reaction of pretty much every person when I pull this baby out, there’s no way someone would be disappointed to unwrap this!
Merry Christmas from Thailand! Tell me what’s on your list!