As we’re writing this gift-giving guide from hot and sunny Costa Rica, it’s hard to believe that the holidays are just around the corner. So far all we’ve done to get ourselves in the holiday spirit is partake in an obligatory viewing of Love Actually, my favorite Christmas movie of all time. Luckily in one week we’ll be back in good ol’ North Carolina, at which time I fully plan to binge on cookie baking and carol singing. If things get really crazy, we might even make a gingerbread house. And if all that fails to get us festive, then we’ll have our NYC getaway over Christmas and New Years Eve to do the trick!
With Christmas shopping in full swing, we decided to join the blogging masses and craft a custom A Cruising Couple Holiday Gift-Giving Guide. If there’s a stylish adventure traveler in your life (or really any type of globetrotter you care about) then we’re sure there’s something on this list they’d be thrilled to receive!
Note: We were not contacted by or compensated for including any of these products in the list. Some links are affiliates, which mean we receive a small percentage of any purchase at no extra cost to you. We’ve only selected those items we would love for Santa to personally deliver to us.
For The Active Traveler
We’ve been lusting over all of the GoPros since we first began travel blogging. We’ve yet to invest in one ourselves, and we’re really not sure why. It’s an essential for any traveler who regularly finds themselves immersed in dirt, water or snow, but who still wants the ability to capture that once-in-a-lifetime adventure. GoPro has just released their new GoPro Hero 4, taking the already award-winning quality of the camera’s video functionality to a whole new level. Yes Please.
We’ll be honest—we haven’t used our travel hammock all that much since purchasing it over a year ago. But when interviewing fellow adventure travelers as to what was high on their Christmas wish list, it was easily one of these bad boys. Travel hammocks are great in that they are compact, easily tied up on a whim, and surprisingly comfortable. And I would much rather snooze in my hammock than in a sleeping bag on the ground. If you know a traveler that is planning on doing lots of camping and hiking, this is a great addition to their pack.
Travel Yoga Mat
There was no way that I could write a holiday gift guide and not include something yoga related! And with the popularity of yoga on the rise, it’s likely that I’m not the only active traveler who enjoys the convenience of getting on my yoga mat in the airport, in a hotel room, or wherever life takes me! I love my Manduka extra light-weight yoga mat; I can’t even tell that I’m carrying around the extra weight! Just be sure to splurge for the carrying case too. Nothing is worse than doing downward dog with all the grime attached from the bottom of the plane!
We wrote a whole blog post about our Scrubba earlier this year. And believe it or not, this is still a staple in our packs wherever we go. If you are doing a lot of active adventures outdoors, chances are you’ll be sweating through your clothes extra quickly. Rather than having to pack a lot more, the Scrubba allows you to easily clean your clothes with washing-machine quality in just 30-seconds. We’ve gotten tons of jealous looks every time we’ve broken out our Scrubba over the past year. You can read more about our whole review here.
(Note: The scrubba is a pain if you want to do a whole load of laundry in it. But if you are just trying to stay on top of your extra-stinky and sweaty adventure outfits, then it’s an absolute must have.)
Often the most adventurous of travelers don’t need more than the clothes on their back. Rather than splurging on gadgets they won’t use, why not purchase a memory or experience for their next trip? Find out where they are going and what is on their bucket list, and then fund the opportunity for them. This is how we made our honeymoon road trip possible, and we can tell you that the memories we created during that trip were much more valuable than any material thing we could have received. Why not send your favorite traveler on a zip-lining adventure in Costa Rica? That is an epic present that’s sure to be remembered forever.
For The Stylish Traveler
Casey wearing her Chrysalis Cardi in the South of France
When we moved from Taiwan, we shipped our suitcases of belongings back to the United States so that we could feasibly cycle Taiwan. Out of all the stuff we sent, naturally the suitcase that carried all of my clothing never showed up. When it came time to start replacing my wardrobe, I vowed that I would only purchase multi-functional clothing that made sense for my nomadic lifestyle. One of the items I bought was a Chrysalis Cardi. It was a bit of a splurge at the time, but now that I’ve easily worn it over a hundred times, I know I got my money’s worth. The Chrysalis Cardi is a piece of fabric that can be worn over eight ways, including as a shirt, a scarf, a dress, a cardigon and a poncho. I love the versatility, and I’ve worn it everywhere from Lapland to Costa Rica. Even better, it’s made form eco-fabric sewn in Canada!
I don’t really know why we travel with backpacks. Our adventures this past year have taken us deep into the Amazon and far into the Arctic, yet still, we don’t ever really find that we need to be toting our bags on our backs. In reality, it would be much easier to check into our flight with a portable rolling suitcase. We love the look of TUMI’s tegra-lightweight extended trip packing case in graphite. It’s pretty pricy, but it also looks pretty sleek.
I’m a packing cube fanatic. I use them to organize absolutely everything in my bag, from dirty clothes to undergarments to dresses. They’re like drawers for your backpack, and I literally don’t know how I ever traveled without them. They are also super inexpensive, coming in at about $25.00 for a pack of three cubes. In my opinion, no traveler can have too many of these!
For The Tech Traveler
Noise Canceling Headphones
I was pretty devastated when my noise canceling headphones were stolen (along with our laptops and tablet). I have yet to pick up another pair, but I know it will be the first thing I do when we are back home. Anytime there is a crying baby on a plane or an obnoxiously loud patron at a coffee shop, my headphones are the first thing I grab. Since we’re often juggling work with travel, these help me to tune-out distractions and focus at the task at hand. But even if you aren’t mixing work and pleasure, noise canceling headphones will help you keep your sanity when you need it most.
Thule Covert DSLR Camera Bag
Perfect for the traveling photographer in your life. This durable and water-resistant messenger bag doesn’t look flashy on the outside, but on the inside it keeps all your valuables organized for easy access. Not only can it fit a DSLR with ultra-wide lenses, there are also compartments for a 15” Macbook Pro and an iPad. Basically it sounds like it was designed just for Dan!
We love these gorgeous hand-made luggage tags from FunnyLuggageTags on Etsy. There are all sorts of fun designs to choose from, though the vintage map is easily our favorite.
Every traveler needs a good old-fashioned journal. We’re suckers for the original Moleskines.
Now you can ditch all of your cords for a carabineer-sized cable that charges all your gadgets with a USB. As the website says, “USB ports are universal, worldwide, and in basically every room. Not only are they on every computer, but they are also on most modern TVs, printers, keyboards, TV-boxes, stereos, game consoles, cash registers, cars, airplanes, and many more. So go ahead and forget that 3ft cable and that wall plug. This is all you really need.” Now why didn’t we think of that?
We love to give gifts, especially when we get to purchase special items for our loved ones from around the world. But at the end of the day, remember that if you don’t need it or it doesn’t give you joy, there’s no point in keeping extra stuff around! As you make purchases this holiday season, consider if you are buying something your loved ones really want, or if you are just guilt-giving—buying something because you feel like you have to. If it’s the latter, consider making a contribution to the travel fund of the traveler in your life. After all, memories and experiences really are the best gifts of all!
All of our fellow travel lovers out there, we would love to hear what’s on your Christmas wish list! Anything from above that caught your eye?