It’s October you guys. Bring on Christmas, is all I can say!
No really, we had a really amazing summer in London and the sun is still shining here and there, which is amazing. We’ve recently returned from the sun of Morocco and I will still be going to the sun of Sri Lanka in a couple of weeks and I can’t wait for that, but in my mind, I’m already at warm blankets, hot chocolate and Christmas carols. Sorry about that!
Over the last year we’ve bought from and worked with some amazing travel brands and some of their products have really become items that we use often and/or take on most of our trips. That’s why, to kick-start the holiday season (on top of our complete travel gift guide that we keep adding items to) we’ve compiled a list featuring 5 of our most favourite items at the moment -that we can personally recommend to every traveller out there.
All of these items we’ve tested and were very happy with, so you can be sure that when you give these items to yourself, or a travelling friend or family member, you’ll actually end up using them.
Without further ado, here are our recommendations:
Unique Gift Ideas for Someone Going Travelling
1. Leather Notebook Cover by Galen Leather
Galen Leather make leather notebook covers, pen cases, laptop & iPad sleeves and many other beautifully crafted travel accessories. Their journal covers are compatible with Moleskine, Rhodia, Leuchtturm1917 and Field Notes brands, which make them perfect to take them on a trip and record your experiences!
Every item is designed and made by hand in Istanbul, Turkey by brother and sister Yusuf & Zeynep. They founded the company in 2012 as a hobby and have since turned it into a thriving business, shipping worldwide.
The story behind this company is incredible though, as young Zeynep was diagnosed with a rare type of head and neck cancer that left her incapable of speaking for about one year. As she was no longer able to work in advertising and sales, she had to quit her job and be creative in building a new business for herself. Starting off with a vendor to taking classes in leather crafting and eventually producing their own leather goods, Zeynep and Yusuf continued to create tech accessories and other specialty products. Every single item laser cut and stitched by hand.
Today, Zeynep is healthy and has chosen to continue to provide high quality and beautiful products to her customers. You can find examples of her work on Instagram and Facebook and purchase items through their website (www.galenleather.com), Amazon (see below!) or Etsy.
I was kindly offered one of their items and chose the iPad mini & Large Moleskin Cover in brown leather. It’s 6.7 x 9.1 inches (17 x 23 cm) and fits everything you might need on a trip in three handy pockets, from your phone, to a pen, notepad and/or passport, iPad and even some (bank)cards. An elastic band holds the notebook in place inside on the right side and wraps around the left side of the cover to keep the case securely closed.
If you’re giving this as a gift (and it makes a PERFECT gift!), you can also choose to have it monogrammed up to 3 characters.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CHECK: www.galenleather.com
2. Carry-on Backpack by Standard Luggage
If you know me, you’d know I’m a bit obsessed by backpacks and the Standard Luggage 3-in-1 carry-on backpack is still my absolute favourite when it comes to short trips. This backpack (that can also be carried as a suitcase, shoulder bag or on top of the handle bar of your trolley) meets all of the airline cabin rules, so you can take it on board of any airplane and fit it into the overhead locker without problem.
The bag itself is 35 Liters, but you can also expand it to 45 Liters, which is great if you’re checking in your bag to go into the hold (I usually arrive somewhere with hand luggage only, then buy so many things I return with a checked-in bag). The straps can be stowed away in 2 seconds, so there is no worry that they will get stuck on the luggage belt somewhere. There is also a separate laptop compartment and the luggage compartment has a zip that let’s you fully open the pack, which is just SO handy when you’re looking for something.
Because of the shape of the bag, it’s perfect to use with packing cubes, so you can keep all of your clothing, shoes and other travel items completely organised. As the bag is water resistant and has a rain cover that comes along with it, it’s perfect for most weather and most of all very easy to clean.
You can read more about the features of this bag in our review here (this is version 1.0, we now also have version 2.0 and even the latest 3.0, of which we’re currently writing AND filming a brand new review, so watch this space!)
Standard Luggage also just released their Smart Daily Laptop Backpack, which I’ll review soon as well.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CHECK: www.standardluggage.com
3. Denizen Limited Tote Backpack by Flowfold
Flowfold is an American minimalist outdoor gear company that that focus on building the lightest daypacks, the thinnest wallets and a whole other range of things that make you happy on the road, instead of weighing you down.
As a teenager, Flowfold founder Charley Friedman was introduced to the fabric of sailcloth and learned to use industrial sewing machines making and repairing boat sails working a summer job in a sail loft in Maine. His first product got inspired by his grandfather’s hand-me-down leather wallet. When it fell apart, Charley crafted a new one out of scraps of racing sailcloth from the factory trash and truly turned trash into treasure. From that, they started building more outdoor gear with other reclaimed fabrics: short ends, blemished material or discontinued styles of fabric that would be dumped in a landfill if they didn’t make use of them.
We (especially Nick, he uses this bag 99% of the time), love how their Denizen bag is super lightweight, and perhaps even more durable. Also a huge plus is that this bag basically has one big pocket, so you have 18 L of space free to use however you like. There is a small inner pocket perfect for valuables and another pocket with zipper on the outside.
With a nearly invisible laptop sleep build in, you can store pretty much anything in this bag, that we love to fold or roll up when taking it along in our bigger luggage as an extra bag on longer trips. The bag is water repellent and just looks great.
Flowfold doesn’t just have a good product, they also show that as a business, they take the opportunity to contribute more to our society and our environment by promoting environmental responsibility.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CHECK: thetraveltester.com/tote-backpack-review-flowfold
4. Terradora Ethos Women’s sandals by KEEN
KEEN is the trendsetter when it comes to sandals and aim to inspire people all over the world to get outside. They certainly achieved that with me, as I took their new range of Terradora Ethos sandals out for a walk in the forests of Luxembourg, and out on the water of the River Avon in Bath, England.
KEEN is an outdoor brand that doesn’t just create quality footwear, they are a company with a heart and support many good causes. They are committed to creating strong communities and protecting the open spaces around us. Since 2013, their grants programs have funded over 70 non-profit organisations in 12 different countries, 35 of which in the U.S. alone.
KEEN is one of the first companies in the outdoor industry to adopt the “Higg Index” (a self-assessment tool used by companies to elevate sustainability in manufacturing) for benchmarking sustainability.
The Terradora range is part of a movement that KEEN calls TrailFit: turning any trail, mountain or city into an opportunity to get outside and get fit. That sounds like a great mission to me! I’ll be honest, my first impression just looking at the Ethos shoe wasn’t: wow, that is a sexy shoe, although I must say that I find them prettier than most ‘casual’ hiking shoes, but once you put them on, you can almost hear the sound of angels and you’ll never want to take them off again, so comfortable!
I didn’t have to break them in at all and it felt like wearing bath slippers all the time because they were so flexible, loved it. One of the things that anyone trying on these shoes will probably tell you is just how incredibly lightweight the shoes are. As a travellers who often travels with hand luggage only, this is a HUGE plus of course.
The KEEN Ethos are water adaptable and dry very quickly. The main thing that will catch your eye are the little holes at the side of the shoes, which are there for delivering breathability and make the shoes ideal for warm-weather walks or work outs, a really nice feature in my opinion.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CHECK: thetraveltester.com/keens-womens-sandals-review
TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THEIR OTHER HIKING SHOES, PLEASE CHECK: thetraveltester.com/keen-terradora-mid-hiking-shoes-review
5. Carl Goes Travel Guides by Studio Carl
Recently, I was able to meet up with Sasha Arms, who is the editor and author of the ‘Carl Goes’ travel guides. If you haven’t heard about these guide yet, they are inspiring guides for entrepreneurs, creatives and the generally curious and feature a unique insider look into some well-known destinations.
Carl Goes city guides are published by Studio Carl, which is a publishing company and creative agency based in the Netherlands. The guides feature everything that you would want to know if you were living in the city, which make them perfect city guides for people that really want to get under the skin of the destination. For example, there are tips on co-working spaces and the coolest places to eat, drink and sleep. All the guides include interviews with local entrepreneurs and creatives, so you can be guaranteed that there is no tourist trap to be found in any of the books.
So whether you’re travelling somewhere for work, or you’re just an inquisitive city breaker or even a seasoned globetrotters, these guides give you a chance to become a local for the duration of your visit, no matter if you’re there for 3 days, 3 weeks or even 3 months.
At the moment, there are guides from Berlin (Germany), London (England), Kassel (Germany), Leipzig (Germany) and Amsterdam (The Netherlands), but recently a very special edition named ‘London Islands’ has been released as well. In this guide you can read all about the 200 islands that can be found on the River Thames. This book takes a closer look at some of them and shares the stories of the people and businesses on them.
We’ve heard that They are also working on books about Oulu (Finland) and Wales.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CHECK: www.carlgoes.com
I hope this gave you some gift ideas for someone going travelling. Let us know what your favourite travel item was this year!