We are suckers for browsing gift lists this time of year. So, for the second year, we’ve put together our own. Ideas for anyone who enjoys travel, books, or wine.
Away Luggage. ($245) Even before we set off for a year of travel, Nicole traveled a lot for work and otherwise. This suitcase (in the “bigger carry on” size) is the best she’s owned. Sturdy and stylish. Her only complaint is that the pink color she chose is easily scuffed.
Travel Water Color Set. ($17) I am not an artist, but occasionally while traveling I will sketch something in a notebook. This led me to wanting to make small water color paintings. For a kit, I wanted something small, compact and affordable. A beginner’s set for sure. This set fits the bill nicely and takes up virtually no space when traveling.
Travel Cribbage Board. ($45) Okay, this is a repeat from last year’s list, but it has proved to be the gift that keeps on giving. We use this mini board all the time. Why? Because it easily fits in a pocket so there’s no harm in throwing it in with luggage even if you never end up playing. And, over the long term, we’ve found cribbage to be the best two-person travel game out there.
Krazy Glue Singles. ($7) Stocking Stuffer! I always travel with one or two of these and tell others to do so, too! Fix shoes, broken luggage, nearly anything… a traveler’s friend.
Quiddler. ($10) Travel usually involves some down time and even cribbage can get old. Quiddler is one of Nicole’s favorites — a two person wordsmithing game that can be easily stowed.
A Quirky Luggage Tag. Years ago, a friend gave me a luggage tag during a trip we took together. I still use it and think back to that trip when I see it. A luggage tag suited to the recipient, such as this Rawlings tag for a baseball fan, makes a fun gift.
Amazon Kindle. ($100) The only problem with this gift for the book lover is that most book lovers will already own one. If not, it’s the ultimate gift even for people who swear by physical paper books. I typically am reading both a Kindle book and physical book at any given time. If nothing else, the Kindle is worth its price exclusively for reading before going to sleep because it doesn’t require a separate light source.
A Texture App Subscription. ($10/month) The Netflix of magazines. I’m a big fan. I read the magazines on an iPad but so long as the recipient has any sort of tablet, they should be good to go. (Although the app works on phones, the size of magazines makes for a better experience on a tablet.)
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. ($15) One of Nicole’s favorite reads of the past year. A sad, gripping story told oh so well.
Love by the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher. ($18) The book that started us on our wine journey way back when. Written by a married couple who were, at the time, the Wall Street Journal’s wine columnists. Not so much a “how to” book about wine, more of a wine memoir.
Alexandre Penet Champagne. Champagne makes for a great, classy gift. Alexandre Penet is one of Nicole’s favorite producers. Plus, not being one of the major producers, this perhaps makes for a more thoughtful gift. Bonus points if you can find a bottle of the Brut Nature wine pictured above, a splendid dry drinking bottle with no added sugars.
Opinel Corkscrew Wine & Cheese Knife. ($28) Ever since our time spent in France’s Brittany region, I’ve lusted for one of these knives. Our Airbnb host invited us for a day of boating and fishing. Bobbing along in the Celtic Sea, he used this knife to shuck fresh oysters and open a bottle of crisp white wine for our lunch, announcing these two items to be “the only things you really need.”
The New Wine Rules by Jon Bonne. ($12) Most wine lovers don’t need another “how to” or “guide” book. But this recent offering, by the wine writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, seems to have generated sufficient buzz among wine folks (at least in our experience, it gets mentioned a lot). I’m approximately half way through. It’s a quick read and I will admit, so far the “new rules” are nothing earth shattering, but thought provoking and, in many cases, a reassurance that we are not crazy in some of our personal approaches to wine.
A Bottle of Dessert Wine. Truth is, most folks who are interested in wine have all the wine-related gadgets and gizmos they need. At it’s most basic level, a wine hobby is mostly about… wine. So buy that special person a bottle they’ll enjoy. My advice: give them a dessert wine. Sauternes, vintage Port, or an ice wine would each make for a fantastic gift. These all can be had for approximately $50/bottle give or take, and the recipient will know it is special. In my experience, most wine people a) enjoy dessert wines but b) don’t purchase them even close to as often as regular wines. So it will be a treat.
Like this post? Want to read more about Travis and Nicole's travel, book, and wine adventures? Check out Our Packing List For A Six Month Trip To Hong Kong, Vietnam, Bali, Thailand, Finland, England, France, And Spain.
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