The holidays are a time for enjoying family and friends, sharing stories, and connecting with those you only see a few times a year but holidays can also be very stressful and hectic when coupled with the pressures of gift-giving.
Finding the perfect gift is never easy especially for those who prefer to live with less and experience more. The amount of stuff that gets purchased and exchanged every December is mind-blowing. Most of the time novelty holiday gifts either break or find their way to give-a-way piles before the month is over-yikes! That is one reason why I am always on the hunt for unique gifts or are at least useful!
In this list, I’ve compiled 21 of my favorite gift-giving ideas, some so unique I bet you have never heard of them before. You might not be able to put everything in your Amazon basket but I promise these unique gift-giving ideas will bring joy to anyone lucky enough to receive them!
Portable Wi-fi hotspot or wi-fi data subscription- A no-brainer for anyone heading off the grid. Wi-Fi is notoriously spotty around the world so these compact devices are a perfect way to stay connected. You will need the device (it can be rented) and the data to get it up and running. Pay $6 a month per GB or $99 for unlimited use.
E-reader or digital books – I love the Kindle Paperwhite. It is so compact and easy to travel with. The battery lasts forever and it has been a game-changer for me at transportation hubs.
Already have an e*reader? Gift a digital book from Amazon, Apple Books, or Barnes and Noble. You can also find ebook deals at kobo.com. Whether it is a self-help book, memoir, or novel, reading material is a great gift for people on the go!
Translator device -Have you heard of Pocket Talk? It’s a handheld device able to translate up to 82 different languages using wifi or built-in data. It spits back voice or text translations depending on the languages requested and has a camera feature that easily translates signs all with the touch of a button. Talk about a traveler’s best friend.
GoPro Camera– GoPro Hero 5 Black is still my favorite travel camera. It is so small, waterproof, and practically indestructible. With so many features, add ons, and photo/video modes, it makes documenting travels a breeze especially when traveling solo.
Your credit card points -Don’t let them go to waste! If you are not going to use them for yourself before they expire, offer to transfer points into hotel stays, gift vouchers, plane tickets ect. Your favorite traveler will love you for it!
Gift Cards– The gift that keeps on giving! Tons of businesses now offer gift cards including many travel companies such as Intrepid Travel, Wander Women Retreats, and Cabana for those craving a taste of #vanlife. It’s a great way to support small businesses and help your favorite travelers check more off their bucket list.
Priority Pass– Perfect for someone jumping from airport to airport trying to survive between layovers. A yearly pass costs between $59-$364 dollars and includes access to over 1,300 airport lounges with shower, food, and drink amenities. Extra discounts on airport dining, retail shops, and spas are also included.
Support a blogger or creative through Patreon, a platform for fans to get exclusive content for a nominal fee, or sign your friend up for an exclusive mailing list like Bucket List Friends created by @Thebucketlistfamily for special subscriber-only discounts and gifts.
Subscription Service– There are so many new ways to subscribe these days! Everything from phone and computer apps, magazines, streaming services, websites, and lifestyle boxes all have subscription services.
Editing app subscriptions such as InShot, Videoshop, Lightroom, and Photoshop are great for photography lovers.
If wine and snacks is a favorite try Winedown Box Subscriptions. This monthly service combines California wine with cheese, crackers, and charcuterie.
Family Tree Research/DNA testing– Give the gift of family history. Submit DNA or just complete a family tree, some of the most trusted companies are CRI Genetics, Ancestry.com, and 23 and Me. The results may sway future travel plans!
America the Beautiful Park Pass– This $80 pass will get your travel lover into over 2,000 national parks and wildlife refuge centers in the US. In our current climate, camping, hiking, and day trips to national parks are more popular than ever.
An experience – Think photoshoot, bar crawls, cooking lessons, wine tasting, food tours, or a yoga retreat. All of these experiences and more are available for gifting on the Air B&B platform. It is a great way to see a different side of a city, explore new cultures and meet friendly locals.
Entrance Ticket– For your culturally thirsty friends how about gifting a ticket to their favorite concert, sporting event or art museums like the Louver in Paris, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, or the Vatican in Rome.
There are also a ton of unique interactive experiences that pop up all over the world such as The Borderless Digital Art Museum in Japan, Candytopia in Miami, the Museum of Ice Cream with pop up locations across the US, or Wonderspace, a place for extraordinary art located in Austin, TX. No matter where your favorite traveler is, there is bound to be someone fun to experience with an entrance ticket!
Culinary Experience – Talk about a useful gift, everyone has to eat! My Panier is a wonderful specialty food market curating culinary-related gifts from around the world. Choose frozen or fresh food options, teas and coffee or sweets and snacks, they even offer specialty pantry goods and many different gifting packages.
Quality time– Don’t forget about this one. Sometimes the best gifts are so simple. Treat them to dinner, help them on a project, or better yet take a project off their hands to give them some quality time alone.
Adopt an orphaned animal– Give a gift that saves lives- The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust makes this possible by providing the means of adoption through their website for as little as $50 a year. Adopt an orphaned rhino, giraffe or baby elephant and receive a personalized adoption certificate, monthly emails with caretaker updates, original watercolor painting and special videos and photos of your new family member.
You can also gift items from the sanctuary’s gift list or make a donation in someone’s name. Visit their wishlist to learn more. It’s a great way to make a difference and brighten everyone’s day!
Gift an olive tree– Nudo olive tree adoptions help support small-scale sustainable Italian farms by sharing premium, extra virgin olive oil with people all around the world. It is the perfect gift for anyone who loves Italy, olive oil, and supports sustainable farming!
Sponsor a child – Another great way to give a gift that keeps on giving. I’ve sponsored a child from Tanzania for the past 10 years through World Vision. Her name is Loveness and we have the same birthday. It is so warming to receive handwritten letters in the mail with photos of how my monetary gifts have helped support an entire family.
World Vision also has a gift-giving catalog where you can purchase animals, soccer balls, blankets, school supplies, and fishing kits for communities in need throughout the US and around the world for as little as $10.00. It really is the gift that keeps on giving!
Omaze donation– Omaze raises money for charity by offering incredible experiences from African Safaris to dinners with celebrities. Make a donation in your loved one’s name for a chance to win, even if you don’t win your donation will still feel like a winner!
Allez Outdoors- An all-natural skincare company for people who love the outdoors. I just bought some of their repair and recover cream to give as gifts and stocked up on their bio-degradable cleansing cloths perfect for travel! They even havea travel size spray hand sanitizer.
Self-care travel kit– Fill an Aloha Bag with the best travel care essentials! Weighted sleep mask, hydration serum (this Jet lag Mask is so popular), everywhere cream (Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream), E-bar shampoo, laundry detergent sheets, airborne, Vital Proteins collagen powder, noise-canceling headphones, cozy socks or even the best travel blanket by barefoot dreams. The perfect way to wish your favorite travel lover well on their next long-haul flight.
Gatta Camera Bag– The most stylish camera bag out there! Perfect for photography lovers that enjoy strolling around a new city without a heavy backpack weighing them down. There are a number of styles but most fit one camera body and up to two additional lenses.
Uncommon Goods– If you are looking for something more physical Uncommon Goods does a great job with unique and personalized gifts. It may be stuff but at least it’s cool stuff!
If you have any unique gift-giving ideas please let me know in the comments below, I’d love to add them to my list!
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