2020 hasn’t exactly been the year to make travel dreams come true.
With the COVID-19 pandemic putting vacations on the back burner, many are feeling extreme wanderlust in their lives—especially in the midst of the holiday season. But staying home doesn’t mean that you need to let all the joys of travel fall to the wayside.
For those searching for the perfect gift for the frequent traveler in their lives, here are some of our favorite crafts, classes and other goodies to help homebound globetrotters scratch the travel itch—without actually traveling.
Camping isn’t for everyone, but if you have loved ones who are fans of roughing it in the wilderness, then why not make their treks into the great outdoors—a form of exploring that, if CDC guidelines are followed, presents a low risk of virus transmission—more comfortable. Unlike tents, versatile backpacking hammocks, like Wise Owl Outfitters’ SingleOwl (for one) and DoubleOwl (for two) hammocks, can be set up pretty much anywhere there are trees—even in a homebound outdoor enthusiast’s very own backyard.
Virtual Cooking Classes
A huge perk of visiting a new place is getting to sample some of the local cuisine. And while that’s not really an option for many people right now, the gift of learning how to cook some favorite international dishes—from Mexican street tacos to fresh Sicilian pasta to traditional Moroccan tajine—can be a satisfying substitute for travel-loving foodies. Companies like Traveling Spoon, Sur La Table and Airbnb have begun offering interactive virtual cooking classes, hosted by expert chefs, that are designed to allow participants to eat their way around the world from the comfort of home—and learn some new kitchen skills along the way.
Seasoned travelers often have enough photos and memorabilia from their trips to fill a museum. But there’s no way to show it all off if it’s sitting in a box tucked away in storage. A scrapbook kit can be the gift that gives your less organized friends and family not only a way to preserve those memories, but a fun activity to pass the time while staying home this winter. Etsy has a great selection of travel-themed choices.
Buy now: Etsy
International Snack Subscription Boxes
Perusing the shelves of international markets for snacks you can’t get at home is one of traveling’s simple pleasures. That’s an experience that may be off the table for a while. But giving the gift of sampling goodies from around the world is within your grasp with international snack subscription boxes. Monthly options include Bokksu (an assortment of authentic Japanese treats and sweets), Cratejoy’s Great British Teabreak (a selection of English teatime essentials) and the MunchPak (a variety of snacks from a variety of different countries).
The world of travel literature goes way beyond Eat, Pray, Love. And for those who are feeling trapped inside their homes, travelogues chronicling the adventures of their authors can serve as portals to far-flung corners of the globe. Give the gift of exploring the land down under with Bill Bryson’s In a Sunburned Country, the Arctic with Tété-Michel Kpomassie’s An African in Greenland or the Pacific Crest Trail with Cheryl Strayed’s Wild.
The jet-setters in your life may not be able to add any new stamps to their passports right now, but they can turn all the places they have been into their home’s newest attraction. With a scratch-off map, like the ones offered by Uncommon Goods or Etsy, world travelers can record their past adventures (or track of all the trips they plan to take in the future) with a personalized display that isn’t an eyesore.
Accepting that it’s time to hunker down at home for the winter can be a tough pill to swallow—especially for those used to exploring new locales. So why not infuse their homes with travel-related scents? Smell is the sense most closely linked to memory, after all. That’s where Anecdote Candles come in. Scented to bring to mind experiences like “a road trip to Portland, “modern luxury and the great outdoors” or “celebratory toasts and wishful thinking,” these candles give the gift of letting your mind wander for a while.
Buy now: Anecdote Candles
Themed Jigsaw Puzzles
It’s not the same as seeing the sights in person, but jigsaw puzzles depicting destinations from around the world can help bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be—at least mentally. Plus, they’re a fun distraction from everything going on. Put a bow on White Mountain’s 1000-piece “Best Places in the World” or Buffalo Games’ 2000-piece “World Landmarks” sets.
Think fashion now, function later with the gift of a scarf featuring a detailed map of the recipient’s favorite city. Planetizen offers a selection of vintage-style silk neckwear printed with maps of global destinations like Rome and Paris, while Beam Me Home gets a little more abstract with their Amsterdam, Dubai and Singapore offerings.
AirBnb Gift Cards
Last but not least, an AirBnb gift card can be the perfect present to inspire hope in travel lovers looking ahead to the future. Even if they can’t use it right away, a gift card gives them the opportunity to begin perusing places to stay whenever they’re able to set off on their next excursion. And best of all, they never expire.
Buy now: AirBnb