Is someone on your gift list planning a trip in the coming year?  Do you have a sister, brother, cousin who seems to log more miles than George Clooney in “Up in the Air”? Are you looking for inspiration so as to avoid giving them ANOTHER iTunes card?  Here is my list for some great gifts that will not only enhance their trip but will make you a rock star in their eyes.  Seriously, who doesn’t want to be the one who gives the BEST gift??

Portable charger – picture this – you have just climbed the 463 steps to the top of the Duomo in Florence. The sun is setting and the sky has turned shades of orange, magenta and purple as you gaze out over the Tuscan landscape.  You HAVE to document this  – a photo, a video, a text to a friend.   Out comes the phone with the black screen.  You push the home button (several times for good measure) but nothing happens…. the phone is dead.  With a charger, you will never miss a phot , a call or be left without GPS to find your way to that little restaurant.  Doug bought me one from Jackery before my last trip to Italy and I must say, it was a godsend.  We can get into a discussion about how we are too dependent on our phones at another time.  For now, know that this is a must have piece of equipment when traveling and a gift that will be greatly appreciated.

Passport holder/travel wallet – this may seem lame to some but I completely disagree.  I think items such as this make wonderful gifts. It’s something that you would never buy for yourself but there is nothing more satisfying than feeling completely put together when you are venturing off on a big adventure.  Passport covers and travel wallets come in so many styles and range from very basic to very luxurious (with prices to match).  The great thing is there is something to fit every individual’s style and budget.  Here is one of my favorites that I found recently.

Books  – Guide books are fine, but with everything under the sun available on your phone or iPad, there really is no need to carry a slew of cumbersome guide books.  When I know someone who is traveling to a certain destination, I purchase a book that is set in that area.  The recipient can read it in preparation for the trip, while zipping through the countryside on a bullet train or even when she returns home and is nostalgic for the place.  Here are a few of my favorites that are set in Italy:

1.     The English Patient (Tuscany)  – Michael Ondaatje

2.     1st Man in Rome  (a series set in ancient Rome) – Colleen McCullough

3.     Commissario Brunetti  – (series set in Venice) – Donna Leon

4.     The Sixteen Pleasures  (Florence) – Robert Hellenga

5.     A Room With a View (Florence) – E.M. Forester

A large scarf or wrap – it never ceases to amaze me how cold it can get on a plane.  A large pashmina is a multipurpose item that will be useful right from the beginning of a trip.  Use it as a pillow or a blanket while traveling then as a fashion item to dress up a basic black outfit (keeps packing to a minimum – see my blog post on the importance of packing light).  In a pinch, it can also be used to cover your shoulders when visiting a church if that is required.

A trip –  of course, this seems indulgent and it may not be in your price range but if it is, consider a trip.  Giving experiences, rather than things is truly the most precious gift.  The beauty of it is that the reaction is long-lasting.  The planning, the anticipation and then the moments shared throughout the adventure. There is great reward in sharing an adventure with a loved one.  Our family has embraced this idea – read about our Christmas present from my parentsthis year on the blog.  Your trip does not have to be long – a weekend escape or even an overnight.  It’s about experiencing new things together and spending time together and it is what friendship and family is all about.

What are some of your favorite travel-related gifts?  Leave a comment below.

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