27 Ways To Give the Gift of Travel—Even if You’re Not Going Anywhere
No need to sit on a crowded plane? Count us in.
Traveling is my thing. As a travel writer, I spend most of my day writing about previous trips (I’ve been to 65 countries and counting), researching places to take someday (I’m looking at you, Uzbekistan), or scheming up ways to spend more time doing what I love.
However, like most people, I’ve spent a large portion of the last year and a half grounded and it’s made me a bit of a homebody. While I’m still excited about the prospect of traveling, for the first time ever, I’m content staying in one place for more than a few days at a time. Part of that comes from having curated a home that shows the memories from life on the road, inspires future travel, and helps make adventures—big and small—much easier.
Ahead, you’ll find 27 travel gifts even homebodies like myself will enjoy. Whether your giftee is an avid adventurer or a fan of arm-chair travel, they’ll be transported halfway around the world—if only for a moment.
1. Brooklinen Checkerboard Robe, $125
A fun mid-length robe in a colorful checkerboard pattern, this is just the thing to bring back memories by the pool—even if they’re just wearing it around the house. It’s soft without being overly plush, and the collarless neck and wide-cropped sleeves are perfect for lounging about.
2. Bloomscape Bird of Paradise Tree, $450
The towering greenery from this tree-sized bird-of-paradise would definitely trick them into thinking they’re in a tropical, well, paradise.
3. Vitruvi Stone Essential Oil Diffuser, $123
Scent is a big part of the travel experience, which means they’ll run this essential oil diffuser 24/7 to remind them of moments they love. The silhouette and stone texture also double as decor, and you can choose from among nine shades to match their vibe. Go the extra mile and grab some of their favorite scents so they can start diffusing ASAP.
4. Away The Carry-On Flex, $325
To inspire their next trip, upgrade their luggage with a carry-on from Away. It’s one of the best carry-ons we tested, especially for overpackers, because of the zipper that expands the suitcase another two inches. As an extra touch, consider getting it personalized.
5. Amazon Explore, varies
Travel restrictions won’t stop them from taking city tours, cooking lessons, and more—at least online—with Amazon Explore, a new service that’s all about virtual experiences. There’s an option for a group or private session for each experience, and lots of dates, too, so they can “travel” whenever they want.
6. Kosterina Greek Glow Gift Set, $85
This olive-oil-infused skin-care set will make them feel like they’re in Greece—Koroni, to be exact, where Koroneiki olives are harvested into every product you can imagine. The set includes a little jar of its EVOO plus a handmade ceramic cup for oil pulling (or cooking—you can’t go wrong, IMO), hydrating facial oil, and soothing oil balm. It’s a luxurious trio that makes a skin-care routine feel more like self-care.
7. Otherland Rattan Candle, $36
If they love tropical getaways but aren't interested in long lines at the airport or lost luggage, Otherland's Rattan candle can whisk them away. The coconut and soy wax blend has a clean, 50-hour burn time, so they can pretend like they’re in the Maldives for a few hours.
8. Winc Wine Membership, $29.95+
A wine membership from Winc can transport someone from California to Portugal with layovers in Italy and Argentina. All they need to do is take a quick quiz about their tastes and preferences (great for those who don’t know what wine they like), and sip away. The algorithm improves on the curated wine selection based on the feedback the recipient gives, so it’s truly the gift that keeps on giving.
9. Mapiful Custom Street Map Poster, $39+
My editor has three of these, each signifying where she and her husband met, got engaged, and got married. No matter what area you choose to make a map of, it’ll be a sweet and thoughtful gift. There’s currently a promo for 15 percent off two maps or 25 percent off three, and don’t forget to keep shipping deadlines in mind since the map is entirely custom.
10. Fly by Jing Sichuan Tasting Packs, $45-$80
One taste of these Fly by Jing sets and they’ll think they were eating at a Sichuan restaurant. Choose from two types of bundles, but know that you can’t go wrong with the tongue-numbing flavors of dried er jin tiao chili, Sichuan Tribute peppercorn, and cold-pressed grapeseed oil.
11. AirBnb Experiences, varies
We all have that one hard-to-shop-for person on our list. Rather than giving an object this year, try an experience. There’s a good chance it’ll be the most memorable present they get. AirBnb offers tons of one-of-a-kind activities with local experts, both via Zoom or in person. You can either choose one for them like pasta making with Italian grandmas or simply give them a gift card, so they pick their own.
12. “Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer's Guide” by Cecily Wong, Dylan Thuras,
“Atlas Obscura” is one of our favorite books that bridge travel and wonder, and the latest in the Obscura family is “Gastro Obscura,” which features unique, under-the-radar foods from Portland to Peru and every place in between. This brand new book is perfect for the armchair traveler on your list and proves that you don’t always need to get on a plane to enjoy what’s going on elsewhere in the world.
13. Rumpl National Parks Puffy Outdoor Blanket, $129
The National Parks have exploded in popularity during the pandemic as more and more people spend time in the great outdoors. But for those who can’t or don’t want to go, Rumpl’s National Parks Collection features some of those vast and varied landscapes on its blankets, including the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Joshua Tree, and more. Lightweight and packable, they make for good airplane or road trip blankets, but are equally nice for stargazing on your porch.
14. Uncommon Goods Experiences, varies
Looking for a one-of-a-kind gift? What about a DIY Hot Sauce & Heirloom Chili Peppers Class? Uncommon Goods may be known for unique tchotchkes, but its menu of services also includes a variety of classes, ranging from flower arranging and mixology to cooking and crafting.
15. “The Japanese Art of the Cocktail” by Masahiro Urushido,
Written by award-winning mixologist Masahiro Urushido, this creative recipe book shares 80 recipes that best show Japan’s influence on the global cocktail scene. It features recipes from Urushido’s own Katana Kitten in New York City, as well as drinks from other well-known Japanese mixologists.
16. Uashmama Carry One Bag, $99
Whether they’re traveling to the local farmers’ market or to the other side of the world, they’ll need a good carryall. You can feel particularly good about this chic and roomy Uashmama bag, which is made out of paper. Well, kinda—the paper is actually cultivated fiber that’s durable enough for the washing machine.
17. Uncommon Goods Traditional Mexican Hot Chocolate Set, $20-$60
One of the best parts of traveling is getting to sample new foods and drinks. Mexican hot chocolate is usually very rich and spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and chiles. This set from Uncommon Goods teaches them how to make hot chocolate in the Oaxacan tradition.
18. Parachute Waffle Robe, $129
One surefire way to make your home feel like a five star resort is with a fluffy robe. This waffle weave number is so luxurious yet lightweight, you’d swear your bathroom was a top-tier spa. Personalize it for your loved one with a robe in their favorite color.
19. Conquest Maps Push Pin World Maps, $109+
Whether your giftee has long been an avid traveler or is just starting to explore, this push pin map from Conquest Maps will help keep them inspired. It comes with two different colored pins for where they’ve been and for where they want to go. Beyond a standard world map, the company also offers maps just for the U.S., National Parks, and more.
20. Brian, Dave, Neil and Colin Urban Map Glass, $18
Stroll through the streets of Los Angeles, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Washington D.C., and beyond with these glasses from Uncommon Goods. Each glass has the unique grid of the city etched in impressive detail.
21. Artifact Uprising Color Series Photo Book, $22+
Sure, you could print out all the photos from a special trip or occassion and put them in a traditional photo album, but we’d recommend this Artifact Uprising photo book instead. Not only does it look sleek and professional, but you won’t run the risk of photos getting lost either.
22. Brooklinen Mulberry Silk Eyemask, $29
Perfect for a long flight or for napping on the couch, this silk eye mask from Brooklinen would make a perfect stocking stuffer. It comes in seven colors, is naturally cool to the touch, and is exceedingly breathable.
23. Que The Collapsible Bottle, $24.95
No matter where you are, dehydration is a constant battle against the body. This innovative bottle from Que both helps keep water at hand, cuts down on single-use plastic, and comes in 18 fun colors. Its compressible design also means it’s easy to toss in your bag when they’re ready to travel again.
24. GoPro HERO10 Black,
Though GoPro is probably best known for producing compact camera equipment for highly adventurous activities, you don’t need to be a surfer or mountain climber to use one. It works just as well photographing your everyday life—like kids playing in the backyard or the sunset from your porch—in incredible definition.
25. Naked Wines Wine Subscription, $79.99+
If you don’t know what to get, nice wine is a safe choice for those who drink. This particular wine membership is almost like Shark Tank for wine in which you invest money to fund independent winemakers each month. The investment becomes credits that you can then use to purchase wine at a discounted rate. You can fund it for as few or as many months as you’d like (the latter may be good if you don’t want to worry about gifts for years to come) and they can keep expanding their palate.
26. Paper Source National Parks Puzzle, $22
It would take a lot of time and effort to explore all 63 of the U.S. National Parks. But with this 1,000-piece puzzle from Paper Source, you can get to know a little bit about quite a few. At the very least, it should serve as inspiration for future travels.
27. Love Bubby Vacation Vibes Baseball Hat, $35
A good hat serves many purposes: it keeps the sun off their face, helps protect eyes from the sun, helps them stay a bit warmer, and can hide a bad hair day. We particularly like this gender-neutral baseball cap from Love Bubby—it brings big travel energy into any situation.
Popular on Food52
"If you live in a bigger city, organize an afternoon's worth of activities in a neighborhood you don't often get to see. Or, book an evening restaurant tour in that area: One place for appetizers and cocktails, another for entrees, and a third for dessert."
Baby steps, baby steps.
See what other Food52 readers are saying.