Here are some great gift ideas for family travelers this season
By Eileen Ogintz
Tribune Content Agency
Feeling a bit overwhelmed? Of course you are with holiday baking, holiday guests coming, holiday travel and your holiday gift list.
I can’t take away the stress, but I can give you some good ideas to simplify your gift list. Focus on what your favorite travelers will most appreciate.
Think about what kind of traveler they are — adventurer; city lover, foodie, national parks aficionado; camper…
A book is always a welcome gift, especially if it tells a story in a place they’ve recently visited or one on their bucket list. Consider cookbooks for your favorite chefs with recipes from a region they’ve visited. Chef Seadon Shouse, executive chef of Halifax Hoboken, and native Nova Scotian, has a new cookbook memoir “From the Hill by the Sea” complete with foraging tips and sustainable practices. “ Route 66 Adventure Handbook,” by Drew Knowles is a new book, as is “ It Happened Right Here: America’s Pop Culture Landmarks,” by Chris Epting, a guide to the sites where the most bizarre, shocking, weird and wonderful moments that have come to define American popular culture took place.
How about National Parks Monopoly for the national parks lovers ($49.95). If they have a favorite national park, gift something from America’s National Parks store— your purchases help contribute to the National Parks Service — a hoodie or a cap from Yellowstone; a set of lighthouse mini blocks from Cape Cod National Seashore; earrings from the Statue of Liberty. National Park stores also have an array of children’s books.
It’s always great when your gift keeps on giving. In honor of the company’s 100 th anniversary, Echo, the accessories brand known for scarves has created ‘Echo 100.’ This initiative brings together 100 creators spanning fashion, art, design, architecture, photography, dance, sports, and music to design scarves – they are gorgeous – for purchase on echo100.shop, priced at $195 each. The goal is to raise a million dollars for charity. In addition, Echo will donate $100 from the sale of each scarf to a nonprofit organization personally chosen by the scarf’s creator.
Gift a jigsaw puzzle from a place they have visited, or a travel game. In Sosig, players use various head and body cards to create Sosigs of different shapes and sizes to meet order goals, while using “Mystery Meat” cards to sabotage each other, all packaged in a travel-sized box (just $7.99 for those 10 and up). The handmade Happy Hapa Doll s (from $53) are soft and cuddly and Jams World, which makes them, contributes to many causes in Hawaii that assist with those affected by the Maui fire.
If you aren’t sure what they would like, a gift card won’t disappoint. If they are heading off on an adventure, consider REI, LL BEAN or ROYAL ROBBINS– all known for versatile outdoor wear. REI counts Darn Tough hiking socks among their top gifts this season (starting at $17) along with puffy jackets — and they can double as a pillow in a car or on a plane.
For the runners you love, consider a gift card from MBT shoes with a patented sensor technology and a design that serves as a shock absorber. My favorite marathoner declared them the most cushioned running shoes she ever tried; I like slip-ons for all-day walking.
For frequent fliers try new noise-canceling headphones and for pint-sized road trippers, a cozy fleece blanket monogrammed with their name.
The mixologists on your list would appreciate an insulated shaker from YETI ($60) that you can customize. I’m also a fan of Yeti’s wine tumblers ($25) that come in assorted colors with a lid and for espresso drinkers, Yeti’s 4-ounce cups that are stackable and fit under most espresso machines ($30 for two).
Give your coffee snobs Steeped Coffee that is brewed like tea in single-serve, fully compostable packaging. A starter set includes a 24-pack and two dinner mugs. Choose a roast preference! So much better than hotel room coffee! Steeped Coffee, in fact, has just received USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Award. Whistling Kettle, meanwhile, offers holiday flavor teas, including gingerbread cookie and snowflake, as well as a Tea of the Month variety gift box (from $20).
Campers will love Tentsile’s giant hammocks that are suspended between three anchor points. Using simple ratchets to create an incredibly comfortable surface on which to sleep. Tentsile hammocks are reinforced with seat-belt webbing providing a structurally supportive floor that does not sag like a traditional hammock. (Solo hammocks are $40; two-person ones are $129.)
Cyclists will like the Double-Pannier Bike Backpack https://www.sheydbags.com/ that converts from a double bike rack bag to a backpack ($79.95).
I always travel with a cross-body bag from Vera Bradley. I love the different compartments and designs!
S now hounds as well as hikers – kids as well as adults – will appreciate a backpack with a hydration system. It’s so much more convenient than having to reach for a water bottle! Check out the kids’ 50-ounce hydration pack in assorted colors and designs for $60 from Camelbak, as well as those for adults. (The price depends on how large they are.) Stash lunch or snacks inside!
If your traveler is one of those people who have everything, you can always make a donation in their name. For example, Soldiers’ Angels 2023 Holiday Adopt A Family has now expanded to serve active duty Guard and Reserves families. Last year, the campaign served over 4,500 children of deployed and veteran families.
And then there is the best gift of all — a trip together. Just don’t pay any nonrefundable deposits before checking with them first.
(For more Taking the Kids, visit www.takingthekids.com and also follow TakingTheKids on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram where Eileen Ogintz welcomes your questions and comments. The fourth edition of The Kid’s Guide to New York City and the third edition of The Kid’s Guide to Washington D.C. are the latest in a series of 14 books for kid travelers published by Eileen.)
©2023 Eileen Ogintz. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.