Eight travel-inspired holiday gift ideas for anyone who misses travel in 2020.
There’s no doubt many people are sorely missing travel this year. But while exploring all corners of the globe may be off the table for some time, you can still use this holiday season as an opportunity to incite the spirit of travel while we wait for this pandemic to reach some level of sanity.
There are many ways to give the gift of travel that don’t involve immediately hopping on a plane—you just have to get creative. Below, eight gift ideas for the travel lover in your life, from thoughtful trip itineraries to VR headsets.
Make a Meal Inspired by a Destination
Food and dining are some of the main reasons people travel, so if you’ve been honing your chef skills in quarantine, now is the time to put them to the test for your loved ones. Plan and prepare a meal inspired by a place you know they want to travel. Did your nephew miss a backpacking trip to the Philippines? Try this recipe for Coconut Milk Chicken Adobo. Did your sister have to cancel her honeymoon to Italy? A three-and-a-half hour Coda Alla Vaccinara (oxtail stew) might do the trick—the more laborious the better.
If you won’t be gifting in person, you can order a gift of specialty ingredients, like this Masala Dabba kit of single-origin Indian spices from Diaspora.co. You could also select wine, a cookbook, and/or an apron based on a particular location. Unique kitchenwares, like this care package from the iconic Wing on Wo and Co. in New York’s Chinatown, also come to mind.
Plan an Itinerary for a Future Trip
Just because you can’t travel immediately doesn’t mean you can’t plan to travel at some point in the future. Whether you actually make reservations or simply construct a thoughtful itinerary you know your loved one will be psyched on, your careful consideration will go a long way. Pull out your crafting skills to make a decorated itinerary of all the sites, restaurants, and activities you’d love to explore together (or make an extremely detailed spreadsheet, depending on your fellow traveler). There’s even evidence that just having a trip to look forward to is good for your mental health—a gift for the both of you.
Get Something to Get Outside
The pandemic has caused a flurry of first-time adventure travelers hitting the campsites and hiking trails. While long-distance travel may be on pause, it’s still possible to explore the great outdoors in your own backyard. Get your favorite traveler a set of hiking boots, a tent, or any other outdoor adventure accessory.
Everything beginners need for hiking and camping→
Score Awesome (and Practical) Travel Accessories
This may seem a little on-the-nose, but you’d be surprised how often experienced travelers overlook necessities like a passport holder. That said, the best kind of travel accessory is the kind that fits well into your everyday life, like this leather tote from Away that fits on the back of a suitcase. It never hurts to help the travel lover in your life gear up.
Gift Cards For Future Travels
Gift cards are a simple but solid solution to the halt on all travel plans. There are gift cards for anything travel-related you can think of—airlines, hotels, restaurants, spas, and more—and at any price point. The more specific you can get to a particular destination or activity your giftee loves, the better. It’s also a great way to support small businesses during this difficult time.
It’s Unofficially the Year of the VR Headset
Equally as enchanting for tech enthusiasts as for well-seasoned travelers, consider gifting a VR headset this year. With a host of tours covering a large host of exciting locales—from the cityscapes of Tokyo or New York to the literal vastness of space—this is the perfect way to finally have that special adventure you may have missed out on in 2020. We were skeptics once, but take it from us: You’ll be utterly in awe of how easy it is to forget you’re at home on your couch and not actually wandering the streets of your dream destination. The Oculus Quest 2 dropped on October 13, 2020, just in time for the holidays.
Plan a Virtual Experience
It’s true that nothing can replace the real experience of travel, but in the meantime, virtual experiences from comedic Irish history tours of Dublin to leopard safaris in Sri Lanka can serve as inspiration for future travels—or as a small makeup for a trip your giftee missed out on this year. Other ideas include online language courses and cooking classes.
Frame an Old Travel Photo
Some of our best travel memories grow stale in an iPhone photo folder. Breathe life into those special moments by printing a physical copy of that iconic Sacred Valley hike photo your giftee is so proud of, and put it in a frame worthy of the experience. Companies like Frame It Easy or Framebridge make this process super seamless online. If your loved one misses being behind the lens, you could even accompany the photo with an online photography class to up their Instagram game once it’s safe to travel again.