Travelers value experiences over stuff, but there are cases for exceptions—especially during the holidays. For those looking for the best gifts for travelers — specifically culture carnivores — here are 15 suggestions providing meaningful tokens to bring your giftee closer to another destination.
1. “Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders”. With a special edition version available through Barnes & Noble and Amazon, this Atlas Obscura guide celebrates over 700 of the strangest and most curious places in the world. With compelling descriptions, many photographs, surprising charts, and maps for every region of the world, this book will be as appealing to the armchair traveler as the die-hard adventurer. Price: $21+.
2. “Timeless Journeys: Travels to the World’s Legendary Places”. This 2017 release from National Geographic takes readers on an extraordinary photographic adventure to more than 50 places that have captivated the general public’s imaginations for centuries. In this visually stunning volume, the world’s leading authority on cultural travel and history showcases bucket-list-ready destinations on every continent, from Easter Island’s haunting stone moai to Kyoto’s breathtaking temples. Price: $25.45+
3. “LAGOM: The Swedish Secret Of Living Well.” If Sweden is on your travel wishlist, consider this book to be the ultimate cheat sheet in understanding Swedish culture. Sweden-based travel photographer, writer and author Lola Akinmade Åkerström provides an entertaining yet educating insight into what this buzzword is all about. Price: $13.68+
4. “Streets of the World.” This travel photography book came about as a project by Jeroen Swolfs, in which the photographer traveled to 200 countries in a seven-year span to capture a single unifying element: a street in each city he visited that comprised the country as a whole. His end result? Imagery conveying colors, rituals, histories and overall, the locals. Price: $49.95+
5. catstudio – Dish Towels. Based on its founders’ thirst for travel and love of design, catstudio puts out special collections of location-inspired homewares, such as their range of handcrafted dish towels. These dish towels are embroidered with names and images connected to all 50 U.S. states, major cities around the world, national parks or landmarks. Pricing: $20 each.
6. NorseBox – Scandinavian Design Goods. Send the latest in Nordic design to your giftee’s home with this quarterly subscription services that ships one to five high-end home decor items to showcase in various areas. Boxes are sent once per quarter: March 1, June 1, September 1, and December 10 of each year. Purchase one box ($78+), one year of boxes ($310+), or a recurring subscription ($71+).
7. Treats – Food Box Subscription. Snack lovers will crave this subscription service as the company mails out goodies from around the world right to their doorstep. Every month, treats from a specific country are packed and shipped in a single box. Standard box pricing plans start at 3 months ($13.45/box total of $40.35), 6 months ($12.95/box total of $77.70) and 12 months ($12.79/box total of $153.45). A premium box has plans also at 3 ($25.45/box total of $76.35), 6 ($24.95/box total of $149.70), and 12 months ($23.79/box total of $285.45).
8. Universal Yums – Food Box Subscription. This online subscription service also sends out a monthly box of unique snacks and candies from a different country. Each box also contains a fun and educational booklet. For the 2017 holiday season, Universal Yums has put together a curated box of best holiday treats from 13 different countries plus information on the traditions and stories behind them. Pricing: the smaller (Yum) box starts at $14 per box and the larger (Yum Yum) box starts at $25 per box.
9. The Chef & The Dish – Online Culinary Lessons. Imagine being able to learn how to cook an international cuisine by getting direction from a chef without having to travel. This service virtually connects customers with culinary experts through private Skype video calls to receive a 2.5 hours-long lesson on preparing meals within their kitchens at home. The current list of subjects extends to American, Canadian, Italian, Hungarian, Japanese, and Spanish. Pricing: $299 for two people. Gift certificates are also available, starting at $50.
10. Traveling Spoon – Culinary Experiences. As an AirBnb for epicurean-related bookings, the Traveling Spoon connects travelers to authentic culinary experiences with local hosts. The program is available within 85 destination cities across 40 countries. Bookings can encompass everything, from cooking classes, to market tours, to sit-down meals. Send a gift card to your recipient in monetary amounts spanning from $50 to $250; there is also a custom amount option.
11. HomeExchange.com – Annual Membership. If your giftee is open to trading spaces, home swapping can allow for a deeper kind of cultural/language immersion that travelers can’t get from hotels or rental services. With a one-time annual fee, HomeExchange.com members can organize an unlimited amount of swaps to virtually anywhere – 187 countries to be exact. Just create an account for the person you are gifting to; use his or hers’ email address. Once the account is created and paid for, she/he can handle the rest. Pricing: $150 one-time annual fee.
12. UNICEF Market – Central American Turquoise Cotton Wrap Bracelet, ‘Peace’. A partnership between UNICEF USA and Novica, UNICEF Market offers handcrafted gifts, from jewellery to accessories to home décor, that support UNICEF’s mission and artisans around the world. Each item purchased benefits UNICEF programs that provide children with basic necessities. Pricing for ‘Peace’ bracelet: $19.99.
13. Passports and Purpose – Be a Traveler, Not a Tourist Tee. Along with this t-shirt available in men’s and women’s sizes, Passport Passports and Purpose’s overall apparel collection is designed to provide travelers with both a sense of humor and a sense of adventure. Pricing: $29.95+
14. Heifer International – Trio of J.M. Thomason Seasoning Blends. Add an exotic flair to your giftee’s kitchen and support Guatemalan farmers at the same time with a trio of unique and unexpected spice blends. The J.M. Thomason companies works closely with Heifer project participants to cultivate the cardamom, coffee and chilies that flavor their Garam Masala, Gaucho Espresso and Parisian Pastry blends. Package includes 6 oz. tin of Garam Masala Spice, 5 oz. tin of Gaucho Espresso, and 7 oz. tin. of Parisian Pastry. Pricing: $30+.
15. Sense Ecuador – Superfoods Chocolate Pack with Chia, Quinoa, Golden Berries & Banana. These unique chocolate bars, sold through this Ecuadorian experience destination website, are made with premium organic cocoa beans grown in the tropical lowlands of Ecuador. Each bar is complimented with either chia, quinoa, golden berries or banana. Free shipping to the U.S. Pricing: $33.50+
What are the best gifts for travelers who love culture, in your opinion Please share in the comments below.
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