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The Best Holiday Gifts for a Food & Travel Lover

It is that time of year again! Time to buy some holiday gifts for friends and family and hmmm...what to get? Find below some of my favorite gifts I have received and given over the years, listed from affordable to splurge-worthy.

1. Travel Sized Lux Toiletries

Travel-sized Kiehl's, Summer Fridays Jet lag: this is always a fun and affordable present for me. Head to Sephora, Target, even a CVS, and put together a bag of some of your favorite products in travel size. I love some travel Le Labo lotion, Living Proof hair products, and even makeup samples. Having some products that help you feel fresh and clean during long travel days and weeks is a travelers dream!

2. Carry-All Travel Wallet

My favorite! Nowadays domestic tickets are pretty standardly on your phone. But, there are plenty of internationals that still require a hard copy ticket, not to mention, your passport! I love this affordable wallet that can fit cards, tickets, your passport, and more, for those disorganized airport days.

Bonus: I repurpose it as a cute dinner clutch on my trip!

3. Codeword Airport Swag

I stumbled upon Codeword a while back and I did some posts for them, but have continued my love them waaaay past those days. Some airport swag is always fun for a traveler, I have a cute DCA crop sweater that’s sooo cozy and screams “I’m (not so) patiently waiting for my next flight!”

Bonus: Codeword gives 30% of all of their proceeds to food banks across the U.S., through the Feeding America Network.

4. Silky Lunya Eye Mask

My dream mask. I’ll say, I’ve tried MANY eye masks in my day as an active long haul economy flyer. Lunya masks are so comfortable, I often wear them to sleep even when I’m home. They are perfect for flights, but also come in handy when your hotel curtains in a big city aren’t quite doing the trick. They are so silky AND machine washable.

5. Yummy Food Box Subscription

Okay, let’s get back to our roots: foodie traveler. No secret here, I love to travel to new places and try foods around the world. But what about those months when you can’t get in a good trip? There are plenty of food boxes (and monthly subscription boxes!) that send you cheeses from France, snacks from Japan, and wines from California.

I love this present idea!

5. Dagne Dover Toiletry Bag

Many people haven’t heard of Dagne Dover, but I’m here to tell you: it’s one of the best bag companies out there! Last year, I got both sizes of their toiletry bags. The material is sustainable, strong, and stretchy, allowing you to fill it up and wash if needed. I use one for my main toiletries and one for my makeup. Highly recommend!

6. Allbirds Shoes

You’ve heard of Allbirds- it’s not all hype! My mom bought a pair for each member of our family one Christmas a few years back, and I’ve been wearing them ever since. To me, they are the perfect travel sneaker. Washable, supportive, light. I can easily smush them into my bag, and comfortably wear them for a full day of walking around a new city. Plus, they come in a ton of cute colors.

7. Travel Fashion Accessories

Speaking of clothing, let’s talk accessories. A cute bucket hat for sunny vacations, a soft shaw for nice dinners AND an extra blanket on those frigid flights, or, one of the best gifts I’ve received, a nice pair of sunglasses to pack along to all those sunny adventurous trips. I love a good travel accessory! They make good presents or stocking stuffers.

8. Lululemon Align Leggings

I resisted Lululemon for many years, I’ll be the first to admit it. They can be expensive - are they really that much better? Not sure about the other styles, but the Lululemon Align Leggings are the absolute best bottoms I’ve found for long haul flights. Extremely soft and breathable, super thin without being see through, and still warm. Not only that, they can roll into the smallest ball in your suitcase/bag. I wear a pair during long hauls, and then throw an extra pair into my purse just in case I want to freshen up. They take up no space and last for years, if cared for properly.

8. Soundproof Headphones for Flight

All hail soundproof headphones. Sometimes I wear mine on flights even when I’m not listening to music, simply to prevent headaches with the constant airplane buzz or to help quiet the plane when I’m trying to fall asleep. Finding the right pair is everything, I like the in-ear Bluetooth, so I can easily rest my head. Plus they don’t have to break the bank! My favorite pair I found almost 8 years ago was 40 dollars and are still working great! Prices can get high though, so do some shopping around for your price point.

9. Warm & Compactible Patagonia Jacket

Had to put this in here, because I’ve had mine going strong since 2014.

Plus, you can roll these Patagonia down jackets into the smallest ball and throw it into any bag for those unexpectedly cold nights. So light, I even throw It into my suitcase when I visit Florida, for nighttime beach walks. They can be a bit pricier, but boy, do they do the trick. Especially with wind breaking.

As a Chicagoan, my Patagonia has never failed me!

10. WSET or Cooking Class

This wins best present I’ve ever received. My dad graciously surprised me by paying for a level of WSET, to become a sommelier. It can be very pricy, but level 1 is a bit more affordable depending on the school you attend. If that’s out of budget or a little too much of a time commitment, what about a cooking class? Spending an evening learning how to make homemade pasta, dumplings, cakes? This is the perfect gift for the person who always says they prefer to receive *experiences*.

11. Away Carry-On

Another company with a lot of hype. But, I am a part of this cult. I’ve had a LOT of rolling suitcases in my day, none had allowed me to fit in as much as my Away Bigger Carry-on. When I first purchased mine, my handle felt a little stuck/broken (manufacturing issue) right before I was about to use it for my trip to Europe. I was SO disappointed, so I messaged them and they sent me a new one within days.

How about that for customer service? Since then, it has lasted me for years.

12. Jet Set Candy Jewelry

Okay, I actually don’t have anything from Jet Set Candy, but HELLOOO who wants to get me something? I’ve been following this company forever and they are a bit out of my personal price range, but the perfect gift if you’re looking to splurge a little. They have charms, bracelets, necklaces or the most adorable airport codes and passport stamps. If you’re someone who loves a cute charm bracelet, this is absolutely perfect. Or, just get one charm of their favorite place to visit/travel memory and make it a cute pendant necklace! I think this is an excellent, personalized gift for a significant other or loved one that loves to travel.

Bonus: Airline or Marriott Gift Card

As a Marriott employee, I have to give at least one shout out. Although we say gift cards aren’t personal, let’s admit it, we all love a good gift card. What’s nice about this is that you can put in as much money and you want, and it can be used in any way / place they want. Easy peasy!

Happy Holidays!


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