Amanda’s 2013 Holiday Gift Guide for Travelers

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Last year, I put together a little wish list after spending time thinking about the sorts of things that I, as a traveler, might like to receive under the tree. Since last year's post went over quite well, I decided to update it with a 2013 version.

I'm trying not to repeat anything from my 2012 gift list. Even though I still recommend and LOVE things like my anti-theft daypack, my world map shower curtain, and my packing cubes, I feel like I've already covered those. (Though, please feel free to check out last year's list, too!)

Here, then, is my 2013 Gift Guide for Travelers!


1. Kindle Paperwhite


I'm one of those former paperback devotees who has since been converted into a Kindle addict. I LOVE being able to fit my entire (and continually growing) book collection in my purse. Last year I had a Kindle Keyboard on this list. This year, I'm upgrading to the new(er) Paperwhite. It's smaller, and has a backlight — perfect for reading in hostel dorm rooms or on buses/trains/planes after dark without disturbing the people around you.

>> Buy a Kindle Paperwhite on Amazon.


2. Olympus micro 4/3 camera


I often get asked what kind of camera I use to take the photos on my site. The answer is that I've been using some version of an Olympus mirrorless camera for the past two years. I started out with the Olympus E-PM1, and now use an Olympus E-P2. From my experience, any of these Olympus models would make a great travel camera. The best part is the interchangeable lenses (I have a 14-42mm kit lens, a 20mm pancake, and a 40-150mm zoom lens, all of which usually fit into my travel handbag).

>> Buy an Olympus camera like mine on Amazon.


3. Mophie Juice Pack battery case


As phones get fancier, it seems that what you gain in cool features you lose in battery life. When I'm traveling, I'm using my phone constantly — taking photos, sharing things on Facebook and Instagram, sending texts to people at home to make them jealous, and using Google Maps to figure out where the hell I am — which usually drains my battery in record time. To combat this, I now travel with a phone case that doubles as an extra battery. It does add some size and weight to my iPhone, but that extra full charge is SO worth it.

>> Check out Mophie.


4. Wrappz phone covers


When I'm not traveling (which, believe it or not, is actually more than half the time), I don't feel the need to carry an extra battery around with me. I've had a few different “at-home” phone cases over the last year or so, but my favorite by far has been the personalized iPhone case I ordered from Wrappz. It's made of nice sturdy plastic, and features a photo I took in the Greek Islands (no, not pictured above). It's functional (hugs my phone without adding any extra bulk), pretty (the photo quality is great), AND personal — things that any travel-lover wants.

>> Check out Wrappz.

In the Bag

1. Hidden-pocket scarf


I love me a good scarf, and I have way too many of them in my closet to prove it. But now the talented bloggers behind Beers and Beans have come up with the ultimate travel scarf — one with a hidden pocket! There aren't many left for sale on Etsy, but if you can snatch one up I think it would make a cool gift for any traveler. (My only complaint is that they are made from heavier material, meaning that they wouldn't be suitable for hot climates. … Still want one, though.)

>> Buy a scarf like this on Etsy.


2. Custom TOMS


Ohhhh the things you can find on Etsy! I found a shop that does custom-designed TOMS shoes — including ones with a travel theme. I'm almost tempted to ask Santa for a pair myself, as this pair features multiple things that I love: a map, a compass, and a Tolkien quote!

>> Buy a pair of custom TOMS.


3. Passport stamp t-shirt


I really should have just labeled this section “cool stuff from Etsy,” because this bit of travel-inspired clothing can also be found there. It's a comfy-looking t-shirt with passport-style stamps all over it! I love the look of it, and think it would make a cute shirt to wear both at home and abroad. (Sorry, this one is just for the ladies, though!)

>> Buy this shirt.

For your house

1. Map wall decal


Last year I suggested a world map shower curtain to add to your home décor. This year, why not a vinyl wall decal? There are a lot on offer all over the web, of varying sizes, colors, and quality. I like this one found on Etsy because of the 50 vinyl “pins” that come with it so you can show where you've been. The map doesn't look exactly accurate shape-wise, but it would still look great on any wall. (It also comes in just about any color you could want.)

>> Buy a vinyl map decal.


2. Cool clocks


clock 1

Another thing I really love are clocks. And I love cool clocks even more. I found both of these on Amazon — the first globe-like (with cute airplanes on the hands) and the second with a world map and multiple clocks so you can display different time zones. I had to include them both because I can't decide which one I eventually want to buy for myself yet!

>> Buy the “Around the World” globe clock on Amazon.
>> Buy the “Worldtime” time zone clock on Amazon.

For the food lover

1. Try the World subscription


Finally, I was contacted a couple of months ago by Try the World, which describes itself as “A Taste of the World in a Box.” It's a cool concept — you receive a gourmet box from a different country every 2 months; boxes containing everything from artisan jams to signature tea blends to candies to spices. Cities like Paris and Tokyo and Rio are some featured by Try the World, with each box containing both treats and little cultural tidbits like music playlists or lists of top local films. It's a neat gift idea, especially if the travel-lover in your life is also a bit of a foodie when at home.

>> Check out Try the World.


Whatever Santa ends up leaving for you in your stocking this year, I hope you have a great holiday season!


Will any of these items end up on YOUR wish list this Christmas?



"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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32 Comments on “Amanda’s 2013 Holiday Gift Guide for Travelers

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  1. I saw those pocket scarves in Skymall and wanted one immediately. It’s cool that etsy people are getting in on that action too. WANT!

      Pocket scarves are such a great idea, aren’t they?? I totally want one, too.

    I think I want ALL of these things. That travel scarf is ahh-mazing. As someone who has been mugged, sneaky clothing is wonderful. I could hide things in my sports bras AND my scarf. I also have a headband that folds up and can hold cash, too. I’m so glad that alternatives to money belts exist!

      These days there are all sorts of cool alternatives to money belts – it’s so great!

    love that scarf, I have been meaning to get that for a while

      I don’t think there are too many of them left, so you’d better snatch one up quickly!

    Awesome collection of travel goodies! I agree with everyone else, that scarf is awesome and I will be sure to purchase one if I get to travel again!
    Thanks so much for featuring my TOMS. 🙂


      There’s so much cool travel stuff out there! It was really hard to create this list, let me tell you!

      Happy to feature your TOMS, though – they are awesome!!

    Omg I love all of these! We must have similar great taste 😉

    Now if my mom wouldn´t have already mailed my christmas package! DARN!!

      Awww darn! Well bookmark your favorites for your birthday! Lol.

    I’m a total scarf person and the hidden pocket is genius. What an awesome gift!

    The Taste the World gift also sounds really cool! I’m a big foodie and this year I decided all my gifts to others will be homemade desserts from a country or culture they love (luckily I’m not giving too many gifts this year or else I’d be in the kitchen for a week!)

    It’s been a lot of fun so far putting this together. I am familiar with traditional desserts from some places.. Paris is an easy one; others I’ve had to do research on and hunt down or make up my own version of the ingredients. A bit of work but it’s fun and creative and a unique gift for travelers and non-travelers alike!

      Aww that is such an awesome idea for Christmas gifts! Sounds like the Try the World thing would be right up your alley!

    This gift guide is ‘dangerous business; indeed – I’m now coveting everything you’ve mentioned 😉

      Haha. Well I suppose it’s lucky there’s still time til Christmas! 😉

    I’m going to add the the enthusiastic chatter about the pocket scarf. That is one of the cleverest and unique travel ideas I’ve seen in a while. Congrats to the designer!

      That scarf is definitely the 2013 holiday favorite, it seems! I agree that it’s a brilliant idea.

    Hi Amanda! Awesome list and thank you so much for putting my scarf on the list! So exciting to see and to see that people like it so much. 🙂 We do have some lighter weight scarves (the hot pink was lighter) but they sold out. But don’t worry, for spring I am launching a set of lightweight ones just for warmer weather. 🙂

      Happy to include it, Bethany – it’s definitely the favorite item on this list! And good to hear about the lightweight scarves – put me down for one!

    The advantage of giving a loved one a kindle is being able to borrow it, hehe.

      Haha. Unless your loved one is like me and takes her Kindle everywhere with her! 😉

    Great list! I don’t have Christmas wish lists anymore, but if I did, I would ask for an external battery for my iPhone and laptop!

      External batteries are great to have on the road! I really should get a super-duper one that could charge all my devices.

    Pretty cool list Amanda. Gonna have to check these out especially that Olympus camera.

      Thanks, Ed! If you’re looking for a compact camera that still takes great shots, a micro 4/3s is definitely worth looking in to.

    that phone battery …is pretty cool…i def could use one of those…maybe i should tell my mom and dad i need xmas gift early lol

      It’s been a lifesaver on more than one occasion! I never travel without it now.

    These are some great items. I love my carry on bag, not even sure of the brand but it is relatively small but fits a ton.

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