From Heather Greenwood Davis
Travel people are notoriously hard to buy for. What do you get the person who has everything from a shrunken head (purchased in the very village where it was shrunk) to a painted Ostrich egg ( plucked from the dirt next to the Ostrich who laid it)? Let’s face it, nothing you get them is going to compare to the things and memories they brought back from their latest escapade. You can’t compete. Your only hope? Help them go .
These gifts are guaranteed to elevate you to hero status and may up your chances of getting an invitation to tag along on the next trip.
1. Things that keep your hands free: In 2011 I traveled the world with one bag. It was fabulous and light and worked well for my needs. Sure, we wanted to pack light but it was also about making sure we had a hand free to hold on to little ones in airports and crowded streets. Fast forward to 2014 when hands-free is still the way to go but people are coming up with really cool ways to do it. Two of my recent faves include the SholdIt scarf ( an infinity scarf with a hidden pocket to hold your passport, boarding pass, sunglasses and more!) and the classic leather tote from Beau & Ro that transforms into a backpack for when you’re on the go. Both are available online but expect customs fees on delivery. Better still ship them to a hotel the next time you’re across the border and pick them up instead.
2.Short Stay Fashion: I’ve always wanted to be that girl. The one who is standing to board the plane for a quick weekend get-away with some cute piece of luggage. Everything is stowed and tucked and perfect. Instead, I’m more often THAT mom – stuff falling out of pockets, wide-open zipper, bag stuffed beyond capacity. I can’t help but think this bag would help. The House of Marley overnighter bag is available in three colours and rings in at $169.99
3. Keeping it Cute: You know what’s tough to keep up with when you’re on the road? Beauty. I’d only need to show you a few close-ups from my year off the grid for you to see what I mean. *cough* Unibrow *cough* . While you can’t fit your esthetician in the overnight bag, there is hope. This compact all in one set from Tweezerman is meant to keep you looking more travel cutie and less travel caveman. The rescue kit includes mini slant tweezers, mini brow mousse, mini eye enhancing highlighter pencil and mini brow shaping brush (all small enough to keep in your clutch) for about $25.
4. Leave the chores behind: Ahhhh vacation: sun, sand, surf, ironing… Oh? What’s that? Prefer to not worry about your super crushed clothing on the road? Well, then you are in the right place my friend. The more I can scrunch a shirt, stick it into the corner of my bag, shake it out, put it on and look good, the happier I am. And that’s what clothing from Tilley Endurables gave me. They’ve got stylish duds with a no-iron promise including one of my faves. Stylish and wrinkle-free and it will run you about $69 and take you from jeans at the pub to corporate couture.
5. Just one camera: I am not a photographer, I just play one on Facebook. So the big DSLR that I shelled out for a few years ago is really just an expensive piece of jewelry when I travel. The camera I’m more likely to throw in my purse and actually use? The one I use for calling home and texting friends as well, my iPhone. So I was thrilled when a Facebook friend recommended a lens I could pack in my bag, add to my camera and go from a great camera that only works when I’m close to something to one that gets me the shots I’m actually after. Perfect. The attachable lenses are available online in various spots including Amazon for under $30.
Heather Greenwood Davis is a Toronto based freelance travel writer. She recently returned from a yearlong trip around the world with her husband Ish and their two sons Ethan (10) and Cameron (8). The family has been honoured by National Geographic Traveler Magazine as 2012 “Travelers of the year.” You can keep up with their travels and more at GlobetrottingMama.