The holidays are here again. Wish lists are being furiously written and shoppers are taking to the stores and Internet en masse. But what will you get the traveler in your life this season? With their specific tastes and needs for gear, books, toys and luggage, they aren’t always as easy to shop for. One of the greatest gifts you can give this season—the gift of giving through nonprofit organizations making a difference in lives across the globe. Learn about two top organizations to give to this season and a few gifts you can pop under the tree for the family too. I’ve asked a few of our contributors and friends to contribute to this year’s round up and of boy did they deliver with a batch of presents you might not have ever heard of.
Try the World. If you have friends or family members who dream of traveling the world to experience all of the culinary delights to be found, but they can’t get out as often as they would like, give them a year subscription to Try the World. These beautiful Tiffany Blue boxes will show up once a month filled with goodies from a specific country. The Holiday Box is ready to go out immediately to start your loved ones on a year of tasty treats. Cookies, jams, chestnut paste and sea salts are just a sampling of the items that await you. Then, when Paris comes, they can enjoy an evening in front of a French film and no need to go to the store for snacks. Each box contains enough nibbles for at least two people.
Kiwi Crate. If you are a busy parent, or just not that Pinterest-savvy, Kiwi Crate is the perfect gift for your family. Every month a box filled with themed craft activities will arrive for you to do with your child–if they will let you join in on the fun. Past boxes have highlighted shadow and light, colors and bugs. Additional DIY resources are available on the site for even more fun. A favorite feature: for an additional fee you can get extra supplies added to your crate so there are enough supplies for more than one child.
National Geographic Traveler. Photography lovers will never get enough of the imagery in National Geographic Traveler magazine. Traveler has been setting the photographic standard of excellence for years and you can bet their writers are always headed to the next hot spot before you. Whether they are planning or daydreaming, this subscription will certainly get your traveler inspired during those dreary winter months.
The Family Traveler’s Handbook by Mara Gorman. This book is a must read for parents planning adventures near and far with their kids, no matter their age.
Have Mother Will Travel by Claire and Mia Fontaine. Not all mothers and daughters travel well together, but when they do something magical can happen. As mothers age, so do their daughters. They grow and transition in their rolls in life, and a round-the-world adventure is the perfect place to examine those changes. At least Claire and Mia Fontaine thought so.
How Not to Calm A Child on a Plane (and other lessons in Parenting from a questionable source) by Johanna Stein. A hilarious look at parenting that will make you feel so much better about those sleepless nights and crazy daydreams in the first years of your child’s life. It may make you feel more sane.
The First 1000 Days: A Baby Journal AND The Next 1000 Days: A Journal of Ages Two to Six by Nikki McClure. Beautiful journals for new parents never go out of style, especially when Nikki McClure is illustrating them. Instead of the standard baby book, capture your child’s first few years on these delightful pages with plenty of room to jot down memories and illustrations as you all grow together.
Monsters Don’t Ride on Airplanes by Hilarye Fuller. Monsters don’t belong on planes, but children do. Mother of three and travel blogger Hilarye Fuller teaches children plane etiquette in a fun and useful way. The perfect gift for parents and kids who will soon take flight.
MAPS by Aleksandra Mizielinski. Embark on a tour across the globe without ever leaving your couch through Aleksandra Mizielinki’s entrancing illustrations. They will draw you into each country’s borders, introduce you to its sights and communities.
At the Same Moment, Around the World by Clotilde Perrin. Beautiful illustrations bring to life the idea that people are living their lives simultaneously across the globe. Some may be eating dinner while others are enjoying lunch. Understand time in a new way while learning the history of keeping time and time zones.
Need more book ideas? Read our best teens, cookbooks, children’s beach and city lists.
Toys and Games
6″ Handheld Brass Telescope with Wooden Box – Pirate Navigation. Pirates beware, there is a new buccaneer in town. Go on a hunt for buried treasure with this brass telescope and don’t stop digging until you strike gold.
Carry Home Dollhouse. Pack this foldable dollhouse and hit the road with a few less tears when your little one has to disconnect from her (or his) favorite dolls. Create endless stories around this “perfect for travel” set.
Handcrafted Wooden Tree House. Boys and girls will love creating their own adventures at home in this wooden tree house, while they wait for you to whisk them off on their next adventure.
Wonderworld City Skyline Glow Blocks. This building block set encourages young travelers to create their own city skyline. It entertains during the day and has a surprise in store once the lights go out.
Oskar & Ellen’s Landmarks – Journey Around the World Map. Grab your Journey Around the World Map and stick monuments where they belong. Let it open up conversations with your children as you explain where the Eiffel Tower can be found and dream of the adventures you might have there one day. There are also People and Animal sets that you can stick on the map. Great stocking stuffers if you have the map under the tree already.
Looking for Fair Trade toys? Read Fair Trade Gifts Under $25.
Inglesina Fast Table Chair. Not every restaurant you would like to visit will have a high chair. This easy-to-use seat attaches to almost any table.
OXO Tot Roll Up Bib. This bib can be stashed in your purse and be out for your baby to eat in seconds. The fabric guarantees your baby’s comfort while the plastic catches those nasty messes that pop up or dribble down.
The MamaCoat by Japanese Weekend. Keep warm and stylish while you are pregnant and protect your baby from the cold once the baby is born. This is the perfect coat for any mother looking for versatility in her maternity and post pregnancy wardrobe.
JJ Cole Agility Carrier. The breathable, soft cotton goes on like a vest, with an extra wrap for baby’s safety. Lightweight, strong and comfortable to wear, it can also be shoved into the baby bag when the little one is in the stroller or elsewhere – making it super easy to bring along or take off. It is not as structured as some of the other carriers, so long days of baby wearing can get tiresome for the back, but the reinforce back panel does offer some extra support.
Munchkin Snack Catcher. Keep these spill-proof snack cups handy in the car, hotel room and airplane for easy access without the big mess. Even older kids can use them. After all, just because you are older doesn’t mean you aren’t a messy eater anymore.
Ergo Baby Carrier. I personally used this carrier with both of my boys and it still looks brand new. It allows parents to get through airport security easily and keeps your hands free to deal with baggage. The carrier also gives great support to your back making it easier to wear your baby for longer periods of time. You can even hike a few mountains with your little one strapped on.
Baby Cargo Georgi Diaper Bag. Lightweight with tons of pockets and grommet holes so you can hang it onto stroller handles. This bag was built to last and can even double as a gym bag when necessary.
Need more gear ideas? Check out our Gift Guide for Travelers 2013.
LL Bean Boat and Tote Zipper Bag. A versatile bag that can take you from the beach, to the grocery store and into the city. Its durable fabric can take the pounding your kids and daily life bring. It continues to roll with the punches as you throw it beside you, filled with oranges and water, as you pick the kids up from soccer before your weekend road trip.
Bebe Au Lait Wet Dry Bag and laundry bag. These bags come in fun fabric designs that take the blah out of laundry and everyday motherhood messes. The Wet Dry bag can hold dirty cloth diapers or wet swimsuits as you cart the kids around town. Best of all, both the wet dry bag and laundry bag are machine washable.
eBags. Every family member is assigned a color and they pack as much as they can in their little cube. Makes it easy to unpack when you get to your destination and keeps things organized in your luggage.
Tech 21 iPhone case. This case is slim and built to withstand multiple drops, throws and crashes that your phone might face on any given day. Invest in the Tech21 screen protector too and your phone will be (almost) unstoppable.
Speck Products iGuy. It may look goofy, but you better believe this iGuy has your back when your kids get ahold of your iPad. No more need to stress when your kids drag your tablet on the floor, “accidentally” throw it across the room or pretend it’s a football. You may get a few questions at the airport, but your iPad will be safe thanks to this strong little dude.
Need more gear ideas? Check out our Gift Guide for Travelers 2012.
Not every gift has to be bought in a store or be perfectly gift wrapped under the tree. The best gifts may be handmade. Before you hit the stores, think about the person you are shopping for. Would they rather have another snow globe or would they want a personal, handmade map from you? I know I would want the latter. Need some inspiration? Here are a few of my favorite DIY travel projects of the year.
World Vision. Support a child with monthly donations via World Vision. This incredible organization often has boots on the ground after disaster strikes before other volunteer and government groups. They have carefully cultivated relationships with governments across the world so they can get in and help those most in need. Each holiday season World Vision releases a gift catalog of precious items you can “give” your friends and family instead of the latest gadget and toy. You can buy the kids soccer balls that are sent to children in Mexico or a cow that can feed a family in Africa year round.
What’s on your wish list this year?
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