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Gifts for All the Journeys Ahead

Expert Tips

What’s the best Christmas gift you’ve ever received?

Mine was a bride doll I received when I was six. I still have her! My parents had me and my sister draw a picture of what we wanted and remember being chagrined when we received the dolls and I realized that I forgot to draw bangs. I also have great memories of collecting Madam Alexander dolls from around the world — that’s where some of my fascination with different cultures began.

We’re all past the stage of sketching gift ideas for our parents, but here are a few things you can add to your wish list this year!

1 || Collect Travel City Stickers

I’m old-fashioned. When I was a little girl, I was given a little red suitcase with city stickers on them – Paris, London, Madrid, Rome and more. Places then and for years yet were just dreams to me. I still adore those art-deco-designed travel posters, and these stickers from Rimowa evoke those and more. The golden age of travel is back! 

2 || Arrive Well Thanks to This Travel Pillow

This travel pillow, by trtl Pillow, is my current favorite. This one fits easily into my carry-on and isn’t bulky – which means its more elegant than most. Plus the neck support works better than any other I have ever tried to use. And it doesn’t get in the way of my earphones. Bonus – it’s machine washable too! 

3 || Diffuse Aromas While You Travel

I love the lightweight Travel Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser by Campo and never travel without it. There’s nothing like grounding aromatherapy to counteract travel disruptions on our bodies and minds. I love to fire up tree scents like cedarwood, arborvitae, pine, and spruce, which are grounding, especially after crossing time zones. Plus woodsy aromas blend well with uplifting citrus scents like bergamot, lemon and orange.

4 || Rest in Pleasant Places

Villeggiatura means a residence in the country for a holiday or “resting in pleasant places.” But it’s also a way of life – a way of living slowly and with space. Created by Assouline in collaboration with one of my favorite suppliers, Belmond, Villeggiatura: Italian Summer Vacation will transport you to breathtaking landscapes, cultural treasures, nurturing food, and more. You’ll be inspired to live La Dolce Vita every day. 

5 || Be Inspired by La Dolce Vita

Speaking of La Dolce Vita, this other stunning coffee table book of photos, La Dolce Vita by Slim Aarons captures beautiful people in beautiful places. You may glimpse celebrities like Marcello Mastroianni, Ursula Andress, Joan Fontaine, and Tyrone Power. These images capture the last golden age of travel during the post-war period, which is so fun and cool – Italian cool. Slim Aarons was a freelance photographer for many magazines, including Holiday, Town & Country, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Travel & Leisure, Look, and Life. As such, he was one of the most influential photographers of his generation.

6 || Write About Your Travels

My recent trip to Italy and Spain reminded me of the value of paper and pen when recording those special moments of magic that envelop you when you travel. I plan to create my own travel journal for clients, but until then, Papier offers some elegant ones. I particularly love this sleek, modern design – The Demi.

7 || Showcase Your Travels

Yes, we create folders and shared albums on our phones of all the photos we snap on our travels. But taking the time to curate them and design a print album is a beautiful gift to give to those with whom you shared your adventures. Or even as a keepsake for yourself! Artifact Uprising offers elegantly designed templates and provides all that you need. 

8 || Be Ready with Battery Chargers

I like to have two of these on hand, as fully charged as possible – the Zendure Power Bank 10000mAh Mini Battery Pack. Note that it comes with a USB Type-C cord which lines up with new Apple devices. (Older ones like mine use the lightning cord, so I use an adapter like this one.) Many hotels offer USB outlets next to your bed, so it’s worthwhile still packing those cords if you’ve got them. I also love my Apple World Travel Adapter Kit, which makes it super easy to keep my laptop going while I am on the go. 

9 || Grab Your Own Amenities Kit

Aesop also offers an Arrival Amenities Kit, but I like the Departure one a bit more, as the kit includes more – a masque, hand sanitizers, a hand balm, face hydrator, lip salve, mouthwash, and toothpaste. Each one smells excellent, too. I gift these to my client for their trips as well, that’s how much I love them. They also have a few travel kits based on different cities including Amsterdam, Kyoto and Chicago.

10 || Organize Your Bags

I friggin’ love these travel packing cubes and organzing bags, which you can have monogrammed and personalized. They are washable too, and one of my favorite post-trip rituals is washing (and yes, ironing) these up so they are ready for my next trip. Organizing the interior of my suitcase is especially helpful when I hop to a different destination every other day too. They feel a bit old-fashioned in design and feel because they are made of natural cotton, not polyester. I just love them.

11 || Up-level Your Passport Cover

These passport covers from Seasons Boutique are classic. The subtitle on the covers is “Citizens of the World.” Neat, eh? And the word “Adventure” is also stamped on the front. Maybe that’ll manifest all the right type of adventures. They come in Forest green, Blush, and “Old English White.” They have a few other varieties too, but I love the whimsy of the “Emblem” passport cover. (Check out their beautiful travel Art Prints, too. Wow.)

12 || Chill Your Tired Eyes Rose Quartz Eye Massage Tool

I never leave home without my Rose Quartz Eye Massage Tool to soothe my eyes. My many trips since August gave me a new appreciation for its wonders. Not only does it reduce puffiness and generally make me look less tired, but I also felt less tired and calmed by the coolness of the stone. I even used it on other parts of my face – my forehead and cheekbones. 

BONUS || Explore Through Virtual Travel

This company, Context Travel Learning, expanded during the pandemic to include live-broadcast tours, lectures, and on-demand courses. I have toured Paris live, explored Outlander’s Scotland, and learned about Coco Chanel’s France. I recommend this tour operator to my clients for deep, scholarly tours in Europe. All of the guides have PhD degrees, and they are outstanding storytellers, too. And Context Travel Learning is my top recommended tour for virtual travel, world history, art, culture, and more. Check out their holiday-themed classes. It’s the best gift certificate or a gift for yourself! Use this code to get a discount :: F7F3DC57C67

Pre-Departure Checklist

Packing mishaps range from inconvenient (heading to the Bahamas without a swimsuit) to disastrous (leaving something in your fridge that'll turn into a science experiment before you get back), but most are preventable. We've created this ultimate packing list to help you pack well, every time.


Be awed by escapades you didn’t even know were possible. And savor an impeccable holiday that makes you feel like a star before, during, and after your trip.