The festive season is upon us and it’s time to start gift shopping to prevent a last minute panic, wasteful buying and delayed packages (both due to the holidays and COVID-19). Don’t panic, I’m here to help you get the traveller in your life a useful and low-waste gift that they will love.
This gift guide is organised into the following categories to make shopping easier for you:
£10 and under
£10 – £25
£25 and over
Make it yourself
Gift vouchers, donations, memberships and subscriptions
There’s so much I can recommend but to stop this from being overwhelming and me repeating myself I’ve linked my previous gift guides below:
Happy holidays, happy shopping and I hope someone gifts you as thoughtfully as you are doing by being here and reading this.
£10 and under
Soap bar from UpCircle
A bar of soap is the perfect stocking filler for travellers because it’s small, cheap and it’s low-waste.
UpCircle is an environmentally-conscious beauty company who creates vegan products free from palm oil, silicones, sulphates, mineral oil, perfume or paragons. They’re sustainable, cruelty free, ocean friendly and their packaging is 100% recyclable. As if that wasn’t enough they also repurpose the following natural ingredients to save waste:
I can tell you first hand that these repurposed ingredients mean their products smell AMAZING!
This Cinnamon and Ginger Chai soap bar exfoliates, purifies and cleanses, plus it smells like Christmas so it’s perfect for the holidays!
Why do travellers want a bar of soap?
It eliminates single-use plastic packaging
They will never be without body or hand wash
It lasts longer than liquid soap or gel
It reduces the amount of liquids in their luggage
For the most cost-effective, zero waste and practical stocking filler purchase a bamboo mini spork. This tiny utensil can be carried in travellers’ bags no matter how small and means they will always have cutlery to eat food on-the-go. This is particularly handy for travelling by air, they can eat their packed meal (to prevent food and plastic waste) and keep their bag light. It’s also ideal for keeping in their bag for days when they weren’t expecting to get food out. It’s also really cute!
This bamboo spork will biodegrade when it’s no longer usable so it’s a win-win!
Encourage the traveller in your life to eat well with these 5 no-cook recipes they can make in a hotel room.
Lavender hand sanitiser
If you’re a frequent PFH reader (thank you if you are) then you’ll know I swear by lavender for working through stress, anxiety and jet lag. My top lavender product is a linen/pillow spray to help ease you into a calm and restful slumber. This year, with the pandemic in mind I am suggesting you get the frequent traveller in your life some lavender hand sanitiser.
I use and strongly recommend either of these from Norfolk Lavender or Cotswold Lavender. They will not only help to keep their hands clean but the scent of lavender is far more soothing in these stressful times than the strong scent of alcohol that others have. Neither of these gels cause dry skin (though I do recommend frequent moisturising) and they sink into the skin quickly without residue.
Take a look at these blog posts for more PFH lavender content:
Sleep mask from Anatomicals
Help the traveller in your life to get some decent shut-eye with an Anatomicals sleep mask. This will make sleeping in public spaces far easier and more comfortable.
Plus, their designs are always funny. Anatomicals does a gift set of a sleep mask and sleep balm made with lavender (yay) that will give them that extra hand to get to sleep.
£10 – £25
Reusable bamboo face pads from Tayvada
Making the switch from single-use cotton wool pads to reusable bamboo pads is not only a gift for the traveller in your life but also to our planet.
Why switch to Tayvada reusable pads?
It takes approximately 20,000 litres of water to produce 15-20 packs of cotton wool pads
The average womxn uses three single-use cotton wool pads a day
You don’t run the risk of getting stray strands of cotton in your eyes (we’ve all been there right?)
They’re made with bamboo which is a sustainable material
The packaging is plastic free
You will never run out of pads
The ever so soft grey fleece charcoal pads will remove makeup with just water, which means you can save the planet from a lifetime of bottled makeup remover by switching to these pads. Cleanse your skin with the more textured white terry bamboo pads to complete your Tayvada routine before applying the rest of your skincare. You can also use them to apply serums and remove face mask residue.
Why do travellers want reusable pads?
Unlike a bulky pack of face wipes, these bamboo pads will compress down and take up less room in their luggage
They will need less pads than single-use wipes or cotton wool pads as they are washable
They prevent the need for bottles of makeup remover, so there’s less for them to pack
They’re kind to their skin, which is important when changes in climate can take a toll on it
They can travel with an easy mind knowing that their skincare routine isn’t contributing to further daily waste to the planet
Tayvada is an eco-conscious brand that focuses on the importance of self-care whilst protecting our environment. They create long-lasting and high-quality reusable products that will replace the single-use bathroom items that are causing further damage to our planet every single day. Plus, the beautiful packaging will remind them of their last tropical getaway (as though it hasn’t been months since any of us got on a plane to go somewhere for sun).
A box of Tayvada’s reusable bamboo face pads come with 14 pads accompanied by a mesh washing bag.
Face masks from Dune
In this new age of travel, a face mask is compulsory and for sustainable travellers a reusable face mask is a necessity. Purchasing a set of reusable face masks from Dune not only provides a thoughtful, useful and responsible gift but it also raises money for charity. Oh yeah, this is a good one right?
All profits made from the sales of their face masks goes to their charity partner, YoungMinds, an organisation committed to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of children and young adults.
Other designs are available to shop in store.
Whilst we’re focusing on Dune, why not take a browse of their footwear and accessories. Their Loupe sandals are my go-to shoes for my travels (in warm climates) as they can be dressed up or down, they’re comfortable and they are high quality so they don’t damage your feet and will wear for a long time to come.
Plastic-free safety razor from Up circle
UpCircle is an environmentally-conscious beauty company who creates vegan products free from palm oil, silicones, sulphates, mineral oil, perfume or paragons. They’re sustainable, cruelty free, ocean friendly and their packaging is 100% recyclable.
UpCircle’s safety razor only costs £24.99 which is an amazing price especially considering how long it will last you, plus, it comes with two safety blades. If you return 5 blades to them to be recycled you’ll get £1 off your blades refill pack.
Why do travellers want to switch to a safety razor?
It is built to last and will long outlive a plastic razor
It isn’t single-use
All materials are recyclable
Replacement blades are cheaper than for a single-use razor or replacement plastic heads
There is little to no chance of uncomfortable razor burn as its single blade prevents bacteria collecting and it doesn’t mean you have multiple blades irritating sensitive skin
They can travel with the razor in hand luggage (without the blade) and the blades are universal and easy to purchase
It will save them approximately £163 a year compared to buying single-use razors – that’s a flight with a budget airline!
They’re easy to use and clean
Please note you must be over the age of 18 years old to purchase this product.
Makeup/cosmetic bags from Flat Lay co.
One of my most popular blog posts, Why the Flat Lay Co.’s makeup bag should be your go-to, is about one of my favourite products for travel which is a cosmetic/makeup bag from Flat Lay co. I started working with them in the very early days of PFH and I have loved using them so much that I have purchased them for friends and family for years.
This year Flat Lay co. came out with two new products in addition to their original Flat Lay bags. Their two new products are a box bag and standing brush bag.
Flat Lay co. bags mean no more rummaging in poor storage for your makeup as their products open out so you can see and access everything easily. They’re so much easier to pack and fit heaps so you don’t have to squeeze in multiple toiletry bags and you can still see everything! I have been travelling with mine for nearly 3 years and I haven’t used anything else since, I also use one for my toiletries.
All makeup-wearing people need one of these in their life!
It’s estimated that 1.6 billion disposable plastic pens are thrown away every year in the US alone. I was shocked too when I realised how much I’d contributed to this worldwide waste without even thinking about it! It wasn’t until I read about this from 4ocean that I realised how wasteful I had been all the way through school, college, uni and even now with work (I’m now using up then pens to be able to replace them with reusable and low-waste alternatives).
The way to overcome this is to purchase refillable pens. Travellers always need pens for making notes, keeping diaries and journals and for filling out arrival/landing/customs cards. Plus, this pandemic is the ideal time to be carrying their own pen rather than using one that likely hasn’t been cleaned between uses.
Refillable pen brands I recommend are Parker, Sheaffer and Cross but you don’t need to buy their pens to use their refills. The pen pictured above is my everyday pen from The Beverly Hills Hotel gift shop and I use Sheaffer refills in it.
This gift is for the paranoid traveller, the one with expensive camera equipment or the one who loses things easily. Tile is a small tracking device that can be labeled to correspond with the item it’s linked to and it can be slipped into any luggage or become a keychain so your travellers can check if their belongings are nearby with the help of the app.
Either use the app along with Bluetooth to find its whereabouts or ring it to set off a loud alert so you can track it with your ears. They can also use the tile to find their phone, even when it’s on silent. If their item is lost beyond the range of the device, they can alert the Tile community so others can help to pick up its location.
The range for their products varies between 150ft/46m and 400ft/122m.
I recommend only getting either a Pro or Mate as they have replaceable batteries. Prices start from £19.99.
Fulton x Selfridges umbrella
When a Brit recommends an umbrella, you know you can trust them. Yes, our wet weather has made us pros in precipitation preparation. My favourite umbrella to date is the Fulton x Selfridges Super Slim Umbrella for the following reasons:
It’s the lightest umbrella I have ever owned – Fulton actually makes the lightest umbrellas in the UK
It’s compact so it doesn’t take up much room in my bag
As it’s from Selfridges, it makes a great prop on a rainy day
It’s a very British fashion statement for a very reasonable cost
Fulton is the Queen’s official umbrella supplier (now you know why the £18 price tag is amazing) Wills and Kate use them too, just saying…
Wet weather isn’t always in cold climates such as a British winter, so raincoats are often unwelcome and cumbersome. Umbrellas however don’t take up much space when they’re not being used and won’t compromise body temperature for keeping dry.
PFH Fun Fact: Fulton’s Birdcage is HRH Queen Elizabeth’s umbrella of choice and has been made in a range of colours to coordinate with her iconic rainbow outfit choices.
This one is particularly for curly haired travellers but it will also protect all hair types from breakage and frizz.
A silk or satin (to keep the cost down and avoid irritation to sensitive skin) bonnet is perfect for curly travellers who don’t already have one as it means they can slip it on before sleeping on the plane, train, bus or in an actual bed.
It’s particularly welcomes to curly travellers who don’t want to wake up on the plane with bed head and trust me, that’s not an easy fix in an aeroplane lavatory.
I recommend Only Curls because it’s low-cost, comes in cute colours and I personally use and love mine.
Click here to read more about essential products for curly hair travellers.
Menstrual Cup from Saalt
Saalt was the first and only menstrual cup brand I have purchased and used and I started working with them because I 100% swear by them. Their cups are comfortable, easy to use and their customer service is there for you 24/7 no matter your issue whether it’s how to use it or getting over any mental blocks. They also partner with various charities from Her International, an organisation dedicated to keeping girls in school when they get their periods, to Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, an organisation cleaning up rubbish/trash from Hawaii’s coastline. With every cup sold, a portion of the profits go to Her International.
Why do travellers want to switch to a menstrual cup?
It will save the planet from over 4.3 billion menstrual hygiene products that are thrown away every year in the UK and 20 billion pounds in the USA
It will save space in their luggage
It will save them money as it’s reusable
They don’t have to make frequent bathroom swaps to change it
It’s healthier for their body as it won’t absorb bacteria and chemicals like tampons do
It reduces cramps so they can get up and go without their period pain holding them back
With correct placement, it won’t leak
To read more about using a menstrual cup take look at my blog post, Travelling on your period with a Saalt menstrual cup.
Thermal tumbler reusable cup
Switching to a reusable coffee cup is one of the best sustainable swaps you can make to remove excessive single-use waste from your life and the planet. With so many options out there it’s hard to know what’s best for you so I created 5 best reusable coffee cups for travel, a blog post that will help you pick the right cup for your needs.
Within this gift guide I want to put a focus on a thermal tumbler because I think they’re the best cup for multiple reasons, some of which are:
You can use it on a plane to prevent using a single-use plastic or paper cup
Its size means it’s not cumbersome
It keep drinks hot and cold much longer than most cups
The vacuum lid means it’s far less likely to spill
The straw means you can drink on-the-go without spillage (think driving or turbulence)
£25 and over
Yemalla Lila tote bag
A Lila tote bag from Yemalla is the perfect beach bag for travellers because despite being able to carry a significant amount, it packs flat. It’s woven the same way as a hammock so it not only expands to fit your beach towel, book, sun hat and more but it will hold it all securely unlike loosely woven bags. It’s made from 100% natural fibres and has been naturally dyed into four available colours.
Yemalla is an incredible brand whose products support artists around the world who make handmade items from responsibly sourced materials. What’s better is that with every purchase made they plants five trees with Ecologi which you will get GPS coordinates for, so you can see your contribution to replenishing our tree population for yourself. So really this bag is two gifts in one.
Yemalla is ran by two worldwide travellers, Nicole and Joe, so I can guarantee they know exactly what they’re looking for in accessories that travel well. They also produce wall hangings and plant hangers that will bring a touch of boho island magic to any traveller’s home.
Stress Less Journal from CGD London
2020 has been a rough year for all of us and it tested me to my limits. With the postponement of our move to Canada just a few weeks before our moving date, not having a home, the recent attention to the Black Lives Matter movement and the travel industry taking a massive hit as borders worldwide closed, a mental breakdown came that I never could have prepared for. Along with other tips I have shared in my blog post, Stress-reducing products for coping with anxiety on your travels, I used CGD London’s Stress Less Journal. The pages of this book got me through the most difficult time in my life and I couldn’t recommend it more for anyone going through any kind of struggles with their mental health.
The pages of this journal educated and helped me to process what I was going through and if you have a frequent traveller in your life who is currently grounded, I strongly recommend this gift as the means to work through the difficulties they are facing mentally by not being able to travel around the world. I never imagined in my wildest nightmares that there would come a time where International travel wouldn’t be an option. I especially recommend this gift if the traveller you’re here for works in the travel industry.
Ultralight Black Hole® Tote Pack 27L from Patagonia
This super light and compressible bag can be worn two way and comes in five colours. It can either be a backpack or they can tuck the strap in to make it a tote so it’s the perfect transitional bag from hiking to shopping at a local market. When it’s not being used it will pack down into itself so it takes up very little space in their luggage. It’s water resistant and made with 100% recycled nylon! Yay!
Patagonia is an active brand that is trusted and worn by travellers all around the world. Anything Patagonia will be a welcomed gift for a traveller whether it’s an accessory or item of clothing. We love Patagonia because it’s comfortable, made well and designed to make adventuring easy. Learn more about the amazing things that Patagonia does for the planet here.
Make it yourself
Laundry bag/gift bag
Want to knock it out of the park this year with a gift that is useful, personal, homemade, sustainable and the gift wrap all-in-one? Thought so!
Follow my really easy step-by-step guide for sewing a drawstring laundry bag. Travellers can use this drawstring bag for protecting their shoes in their luggage, storing dirty laundry between washes, keeping their undies together or organising their clothing when packing. You can use them as gift bags for more laundry bags or other gifts on this list.
Making drawstring bags eradicates the need for single-use gift wrap so not only are you making something personal but you’re also saving the planet from further waste with something that can be used again for multiple purposes.
Last Christmas I only gave gifts in drawstring bags and stockings that I made in various sizes.
Know a traveller who is forever leaving their hair ties on their wrist in their photos and then complaining about how they forgot to take it off? Yeah, me too. Fix that problem for them by making some cute and one-of-a-kind scrunchies. It doesn’t take much to make these, you can even use scrap fabric or repurpose some old garments, sheets etc. I mean, wash them first, don’t be nasty!
My super simple How to sew hair scrunchies DIY tutorial will have you addicted to making scrunchies for everyone for Christmas.
Gift vouchers, donations, memberships and subscriptions
This gift is for the Jetsetter who travels in style. Our Priority Pass was a perk that came with our American Express (gotta get those points for more travel right?) and up until the world’s borders closed I throughly enjoyed being able to relax before a flight in one of many airport lounges around the world.
The gift of lounge access means the travellers you love will be able to avoid bathroom queues, grab a snack or meal, enjoy a beverage to calm any travel anxieties, connect to fast and strong WiFi, sit in a comfortable chair near a power outlet so they can charge up their electronics and enjoy some peace and quiet before embarking on their journeys around the world. Some even have showers, cinemas and spa treatments.
A Priority Pass membership will get your travellers access to over 1300 lounges in more than 600 cities across 148 countries. Plus new lounges are being added all the time.
There are three levels for Priority Pass memberships so you can gift accordingly to how much this person means to you! These memberships include reducing the price of their entrance (this is great if they’re already paying to enter lounges), 10 visits before a reduced price and unlimited free access to all lounges (given the cost of this one, they need to be someone you really give a crap about, just saying).
Taking into consideration how the world is right now, I would suggest holding off on purchasing this until frequent International travel is an option again, so maybe just make them an “I owe you” card until they want to activate this gift.
Donations to disaster relief funds, animal sanctuaries, rainforest replanting etc.
My favourite gift to receive (in my adult years, I’d be fooling myself if I said otherwise) is a donation made in my name for anything that is going to save lives or our planet.
Be creative and find something that is deeply personal to the traveller you are gifting. Maybe it’s for their favourite country, animal or plant? Just make sure if you’ve chosen an animal sanctuary that they are not exploiting the animals for tourism.
I feel this may be the most responsible and thoughtful gift idea on my list. For the traveller who is committed to protecting the planet they so dearly love exploring, an annual membership or vouchers to Mossy Earth will contribute to offsetting their Carbon Footprint for their air travel.
It is a gift to the environment, their conscience and your soul.
To read about who Mossy Earth are, understand more about offsetting air travel and see other options take a look at my blog post, How to carbon offset your flights.
A TouchNote membership gives your traveller the opportunity to stay in touch with personalised postcards from their travels whilst they’re on the go. A membership includes the use of stickers, filters and artwork plus it includes monthly credits that roll over so they can send photos of their travels to you and all of their loved ones from anywhere in the world (provided they can get online). All they need to do is download the app and activate the membership.
To read more about TouchNote and their premium memberships take a look at the following blog posts:
TouchNote prints and posts cards from their closest location to the delivery address so your gift will be preventing a larger carbon footprint created by other cards sent from where they are travelling. For example, instead of them sending a card from Australia to England, it will be printed and posted in England. It’s the little things!
Give the gift of music with either a full subscription or a voucher towards one. I believe that a great playlist really makes a trip, so gift them access to unlimited and ad-free listening to all of their favourite artists.
Oh and don’t forget to hint at them to download my travel themed playlists. To listen (for free) to any of my seven travel inspired and themed playlists, click here.
4ocean x Final Straw
Is the idea of not giving a physical gift not sitting well with you but you want to do something that gives back to the planet? Why not purchase something from 4ocean then? This way you will be able to give them a gift and pull at least one pound of rubbish/trash from the ocean.
4ocean has released so many new and amazing products this year including bamboo cutlery, sandwich bags and deck chairs so there’s something for all price ranges.
Mele Kalikimaka, Gabriella
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This post has been created with paid partnerships, sponsored content and gifted items and as an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I want you to know I completely support and believe in these companies and products and I use all of these products myself.