2020 has been a strange year and the holidays will be no exception.
If the pandemic and the response to it continue at the current pace, gatherings with loved ones will be limited and there will probably be a lot more "parade parties."
If you're reading this blog, you are either a traveler yourself or know someone (many someones, more likely) who is. We want to keep the idea of travel hopeful and upbeat. Instead of avoiding the idea of travel because it's not currently possible, we think you should celebrate your past and future trips.
Our gift guide is curated to represent both types of trips. Use these items for your wish lists and your treat-yourself lists! You deserve it after being grounded.
TREATS - Just because you aren't traveling doesn't mean you can't enjoy the flavors of the world.
Chocolate-loving travelers, grounded or not, will love this collection from Fifth Dimension Chocolates (5D Chocolates)! These brilliant, traveling chocolatiers have created an advent box collection in two sizes: 25-count for you and you alone and a 48-count for two to share (or one to savor). Each chocolate is named for and inspired by a city they've visited. The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that there's a bonus chocolate in the 25-count box.
Use the coupon code CAREERBREAK2020 at checkout to receive 10% off on the advent calendar boxes. This offer is valid until 22 November 2020 or when the advent boxes run out. The offer is not applicable to other products, and this code cannot be used in conjunction with other discount codes.
Fifth Dimension Chocolates ships to most countries in the EU, throughout the UK, and to the US. The advent calendars will start shipping after 8 November 2020. An additional bonus is their loyalty scheme: the 5D Rewards Point Program.
Missing out on your favorite travel snacks?
Bokksu will send you a box chock-full of Japanese snacks, both sweet and savory. When I say chock full, I mean it. They sent me a box to sample, and after I'd taken everything out to see it all, I couldn't figure out how to pack it all back in! Every box includes a beautiful booklet that details the individual snacks, explains their regional significance, and lists the common allergens that each snack contains (if any).
The Bokksu snack box is available individually or as part of a subscription (each month has a different theme), and there's a Market by Bokksu where you can stock up on your favorites after you've sampled everything in the box.
You could also get vouchers for local restaurants that serve the cuisine of where your traveler would have been had their trip not been cancelled or postponed.
Using the give-a-fish vs. teach-to-fish lesson, a cookbook of the cuisine they would have enjoyed would make an excellent gift (see our featured section on Phaidon below for a discount code on their gorgeous cookbooks of world cuisine).
Find virtual cooking classes for their favorite cuisine - that's a win-win for everyone involved. If they've fallen for Italy's charms, send them on a virtual "lab" visit via Visiting Labs, where they can follow the maker around their creative space (subscribe to the You Tube channel to find out when and where future visits will be).
GEAR: We'll be traveling again someday, right? Right?
While you're waiting to travel again, why not take some time to go over all your travel gear?
If your travel bag is looking a bit road-weary, Sarah Giblin of Riut has your back(wards bag)! She designed the new Riutbag®+ with post-pandemic modifications (inspired by the doctor who sought her out to create the new bag), including a mask holder that attaches to the shoulder strap, so it's always handy when you need it.
The Riutbag+ laptop backpack is made of durable, wipe-clean materials, so you can quickly sanitize your bag on the go. It's made from waterproof materials, even at the zips, and is large enough to hold a 15" laptop. It also includes an easy-on, easy-off strap for your hand-sanitizer, plus two bottle holders, one of which can be repurposed as an umbrella holder. The Riutbag+ is currently on Kickstarter and has met its goal already, so the bag will be available soon.
Riut is offering a 10% discount on the Riutbag+ (and/or anything else that catches your fancy) with the code CAREERBREAK2020. Riut ships anywhere in the world, so all of you can take advantage of this offer.
You can further upgrade your travel gear by adding a Rumpl Shammy Towel to your carry-on.
In addition to being ultra-soft with an antimicrobial finish, the Shammy Towel repels sand, pet hair, odor, and stains, and it packs down small, so it's perfect for a carry-on bag. The Shammy Towel can double as an airplane blanket and comes in vibrant colors and patterns, so you won't forget it on the plane.
If you have extra room in your bag, Rumpl (recently seen on Shark Tank) is most famous for its thin, warm, cozy blankets if you'd rather have a bit of puff or fluff.
Avoid “Storage Full” notifications by traveling with a Picture Keeper Connect, the original smart backup drive for your phone, tablet and computer! Just plug the drive into your iPhone or Android phone, open the free Picture Keeper Connect app and tap Start Backup. The Picture Keeper Connect app saves all of your photos to the drive, so you can clear up storage space for more.
Picture Keeper Connect works everywhere - no internet or wifi connection required! Don’t miss out on photo ops while trying to decide which memories to delete; backup with a Picture Keeper Connect on your next trip. And don’t forget to protect vacation memories and more at home with Picture Keeper for PC/Mac. Picture Keeper Connects also make great gifts for photo-loving parents and grandparents.
Check out all of your Career Break Essentials options and use the discount code CAREERBREAK30 for 30% off your order through 11:59 pm EST on December 26th.
Worried about deep vein thrombosis (blood clots) after all these months without air travel? Skineez compression socks and masks are infused with essential moisturizers to hydrate and protect your skin while you're traveling. The compression socks are medical-grade and the only FDA-approved compression sock on the market. Skineez sent me samples of the socks to try and they are very soft and comfortable.
Skineez face masks come in a variety of colors and have an additional ingredient of zinc to help block germs. Plus, each mask comes with a carrying pouch, so you can safely stow it in your bag without worrying about it spreading germs. You can also buy moisturizer in a 1.7-oz. spray bottle (perfect for carry-on bags) to refresh and replenish your socks and masks!
Skineez has offered The Career Break Site readers a 15% discount. Just use the code CAREERBREAK15 when you check out.
When your only bags are backpacks, it can be challenging to find nice clothes that you can pull out and wear, especially if you've been on the road for a while without needing or wanting to dress up a bit.
The Kosan Go Travel Dress is the solution! It's breathable, UV-protected, lightweight, wrinkle-resistant, anti-odor, and convertible (you can change the style between two lengths - below the knee and at the knee - if you need to wear it on multiple occasions!). It also comes in four colors, so you can bring an LBD for a night out and another color (or two or three) for comfortable travel days and sightseeing around town.
The Kosan team have given each Career Break Site reader a 10% off your entire order - just use the code TCBS10 when you check out. You can only use the code once, so choose wisely!
Abroad Modern has created some travel-themed face masks that anyone would love. The fabrics are locally-sourced, like the Kimuli fabric from Uganda (pictured below) and the Indigo from India.
Abroad Modern donates 25% of proceeds to Giving Joy grants, which are microgrants giving to female entrepreneurs in the US and abroad.
We have just discovered Instasteam pods. Put your outfit in the garment bag (included with the starter kit), add water to the pod, and put the pod in the garment bag. In just one minute, the eco-friendly minerals have worked their magic.
You will look like a million bucks, not like you just stepped off the trail, train, or plane, shook your glad rags out, and threw them on. InstaSteam pods are safe for travel on planes and cruises, too (unlike irons), as long as they're still factory sealed.
InstaSteam has given Career Break Site readers a 10% discount - use CAREERBREAK2020 when you check out.
Crazy Cleanz by WeCool are bags of individual soap slivers that last 20 seconds while you wash your hands, so they're not only safe for travel, but they'll help you wash your hands for the recommended time to protect yourself and other travelers. Plus they come in fun shapes and colors and there's even a key-chain set of soaps that you can attach to your backpack or purse.
They also have portable hand sanitizers and antibacterial wipes that you can use to wipe off your tray table, the bathroom sink, or any other surface.
Other ways you can help with gear that aren't quite so spendy are stickers (we love the travel stickers from Destination Travel), luggage tags (Lego has some fun ones), extra change purses for local currencies (I have one for each destination that I go to regularly and an extra for new places), organizer bags for backpacks, purses, luggage, etc.
FUN AND GAMES - These games and toys take you all around the world from the comfort of your home
Trekking the World by Underdog Games has just launched after its successful Kickstarter campaign. I bought in during the campaign and have fallen in love with the game.
Players move around the world visiting sights, collecting souvenirs, and completing journeys. Trekking the World is beautifully-made and the art on the sightseeing cards is gorgeous! It even comes with a custom-fitted tray to hold all of the pieces. Trekking the World is only available for U.S. purchasers for now, but is expected to be available internationally soon. U.S. readers can get $10 off any Underdog Games game if you use this link to purchase the game. (30-60 minutes game time)
Funko Games has two travel-themed games that are perfect for travel lovers. PAN AM is a strategy game that pits players against Pan Am. You get to build your own airline, buying routes and planes and fending off Pan Am until you can sell your airline for a huge profit!
Pan Am the Game incorporates real historic events over four decades of airline evolution, including airplane models from each period. (60 minutes game time)
The perfect Christmas game is Elf, based on the movie. You will love helping Buddy on his journey from the North Pole to New York City. Each player has their own secret goals, so getting Buddy to follow your path is part of the challenge. (20 minutes game time)
Immerse yourself in your favorite movies with Funko Games' huge catalog of pop culture games including Disney's Haunted Mansion, Back to the Future, and Gremlins. There is even a series of Funko Pop! games, with Funko Pop! figures as game pieces. Thank you to the Funko Games team for providing us with a copy of Pan Am and Elf for review.
The LEGO architecture line lets you build city skylines from around the world. Give one of their favorite city or the city they were planning to visit and they'll have fun building it and have a gorgeous display piece when they're done.
Family time can be pretty intense during a pandemic, so be sure to include family play time (or alone time). Jigsaw puzzles and Lego can be enjoyed with or without other people. We love the 4D Cityscape puzzles, especially the Scratch-Off puzzles of places around the world. The Scratch-Off World Map is on my Christmas list.
Need a break from the family? Miss your friends around the world? Check out the Uno and Phase 10 apps from Mattel163. Each game lets you play in real time with friends who also have the app.
EDUCATION - Why not hit the books, so to speak, and learn all about the places you want to go?
Phaidon Books publishes the Wallpaper City Guides, which are literally pocket-sized and perfect for backpack and purses. Each guide offers stunning photographs, guides to the best in local design and the contemporary architecture, and color-coded maps.
Phaidon Books' food books include regional cuisine cookbooks, books by the world's greatest chefs (both cookbooks and travel guides), and even food history books. Their art and architecture books are the kind you pore over again and again. My wish list includes Living on Vacation, Architizer, and Destination Art (perfect for travelers who are missing art galleries and museums).
Get ready to travel internationally by studying a new language. With the Michel Thomas Method, you can build a foundation in any of their languages in just 20-30 hours, stress-free and homework-free. When you travel again, you'll be able to converse easily, order meals confidently, translate signs and plaques at a glance. If you order before Thanksgiving (November 26, 2020), The Career Break Site readers will receive 30% off any Michel Thomas course (not including bundles) with the discount code 4B498D8.
TIME: It's a win-win. you get to spend more time with them and they get to spend more time with you!
If the pandemic and the lockdowns have forced you to tighten your belts and budgets, give your traveler the gift of your time. Give them vouchers to help sort through trip photos, souvenirs, ephemera, etc. Help them prepare a Zoom presentation to share about a trip they've taken. Arrange a virtual tour of a place they want to visit. You can find tours of museums, animal conservancies, stately homes, and more, for free or nominal fees. We even found a virtual falconry lesson.
We hope this guide helps you find the perfect gifts for your loved ones who can't travel right now and for yourself, while you wait, patiently or impatiently, to get back on a plane and visit the world again.
Disclaimer: Some of these companies provided The Career Break Site with samples for review. Our reviews are based on our experiences with the products and were not influenced by the provision of the samples. Each of the items on the list was chosen prior to the offer of any product. We have affiliate relationships with Rumpl, Picture Keeper, and Bokksu (pending).