It’s Christmas shopping time! There are plenty of gifts for travellers – luggage tags, guide books, wash bags, travel journals, globes and maps… But if you’re looking for something a bit different here are my top 5 quirky gifts for the travel lover in your life, plus the perfect traveller’s engagement ring for a Christmas proposal…
Guide books are great, but how about a book that tells you about the hidden wonders of the World? Atlas Obscura tells you about the quirky, secret places in 150 countries covering every continent. I love reading it to hear about the strange and intriguing curiosities around the globe, and check it before every trip to find the alternative sights I should be looking for. It’s how I found the museum in an elevator in New York, knew to look for the immoveable ladder in Jerusalem and to avoid Snake Island in Brazil.
With a sub heading of ‘Fifty Islands I have not visited and never will’ this is perfect for armchair travellers or those looking to get really far off the beaten track. I felt so proud to be able to tick off one of the islands – Deception Island in Antarctica – and it’s wet my appetite to visit some of the others. Along with maps and useful statistics for each island (‘uninhabited’, ‘name translates as untameable’ or ‘meaning Navel of the World‘) the author Judith Schalansky has researched and written about the ‘delights’ of these “islands one might wish had remained undiscovered”.
3. Globe baubles
Christmas is a time for sitting by your tree and planning your next adventure – so why not combine the two with globe baubles! There are plenty to choose from: you can opt for an age of exploration or antique globe from map experts Stanfords (who warn that “The mapping itself should not be taken as a work of precision” in case you were planning to use your Christmas ornament for a circumnavigation), fair trade globe baubles from Natural Collection or personalised metallic hand painted globe from not on the high street.
Travelling can often mean waiting – for planes, trains, boats, buses, hotels, tours or inspiration to strike – so a handy card game is always a good idea. When it can boost your travel knowledge, remind you which countries border each other (great for planning multi-country trips) and teach you which are landlocked with no beaches – it’s even better! It’s a geographical dominoes game – I love the original which covers Europe, but there are now versions for the UK, USA, Americas, Africa, Asia & Australasia so you can play your way around the world.
5. Perpetual Travel – page-a-day calendar
This has to be one of the presents that has given me the most pleasure. It’s a travel photography page-a-day desk calendar that’s undated so you can continue to use it every year. It features beautiful travel images from across the globe, ranging from landscapes to wildlife, architecture to people, with details of where each image was taken (so you can add it to your travel wishlist) and an inspirational quote. It inspired my trips to futuristic capital Brasilia, the eighth century temple of Borobudur in Java and to see the Old Painted Ladies of San Francisco. It’s the perfect way to explore the world from home and remind you of all the places yet to visit.
And finally, if you’re planning a Christmas proposal for your very own travel lover, here’s how to include travel memories in the perfect engagement ring. Justin Duance hand makes bespoke, ethical rings using recycled precious metals and offers the option to have the metal ‘sand cast’. You can send Justin sand from any beach in the world and he’ll use it to create unique and personal textures on the metal so your new heirloom holds special memories right from the start as well as the promise of new adventures together
I love to travel and I’m lucky that I get to photograph weddings and families all over the world. If you’re planning a special proposal, a wedding in the UK or overseas or would like portraits taken on your travels let’s talk!