So you procrastinated and procrastinated and now here we are, a few short days from Christmas and you don’t have any good gifts for the special traveler in your life. If this is you, fear not- we’ve got gift ideas to help you out! Looking for travel related gifts before Christmas? Here’s what we suggest! 

If you’ve come this far, it’s because one of two things:

1. Shipping is out of the question.

2. Battling the chaos of other procrastinating holiday shoppers at local stores is even more out of the question.

And so plain and simple- we’re looking for meaningful gifts that can be obtained instantly.

1. Airline or Hotel Gift Card

I know, gift cards are SO boring right? But here’s the thing- to that travel nerd in your life, the right gift card can mean a lot. Here’s what you have to do to get this right:

1. Be intentional about what airline or hotel you get a card for. Does that special someone really prefer to fly Virgin America? If so, a Southwest Airline gift card is cool, but nowhere near as cool as matching the card to the preferred carrier of your loved ones. Same for hotels- if you know your loved one really likes Starwood properties, get the right card!

2. Consider elite status. This is why I think gift cards are great- as an American Airlines frequent flyer, if someone gives me an AA gift card, it essentially is free money that still helps me qualify for elite status. And so you might find a gift card boring, I find it a cost-effective way to get one of the things I love the most, holiday season or not- elite status!

Thinking about transferring or buying miles for someone. A word of caution: It’s usually very expensive for very little return. To transfer miles from your account to someone else is a total scam- the airlines charge you A LOT to give what’s already yours. Instead- consider telling a loved one you’ll book a flight for them using your miles. And while it’s not as bad with buying miles (and sometimes there are actually good deals to buy miles or points), it usually is cost prohibitive. And many airlines, American being one, charges processing fees of $30-$40 just to buy the miles in the first place. So 9 times out of 10, avoid gifting miles and instead give gift cards!

2. Books for an e-reader

OK, this should be an obvious one. In a pinch, shipping is out of the question and so what better gift for the frequent traveler than a book for their Amazon Kindle or Nook. And this being a travel blog, I’m not going to just recommend any old book. No, we’re going travel themed here with some of my favorite travel books I read this year!

Art of Stillness by Pico Ayer. I’m obsessed with this little book. Pico is a great travel writer, and after a particularly hectic year of travel, this book spoke volumes to me. To appreciate going out into the world, one must equally appreciate going deep within your own world. This book is a form of meditation in itself, and a good quick read on or off vacation!

Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams. This is a hard book to categorize, a sometimes funny, sometimes serious travelogue that had me thinking “Man, this is like a good Bill Bryson book” time and again throughout some of the funnier anecdotes.

 Marching Powder: The True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America’s Strangest Jail by Thomas McFadden. I remember living in Bolivia and finding it curious that a tour of an actual operational jail was an actual tourist attraction in the country. I never did the tour, for a number of reasons, but it led me to learn more and more about jails in places like Bolivia and Peru, and it fascinated me. And so admittedly, I haven’t read this book yet- but I plan to!

 Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. One of my all time favorite books, and one that will captivate you for hours and hours (it’s one LONG book), the very first words you read when you open the book are this: “It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured. I realised, somehow, through the screaming in my mind, that even in that shackled, bloody helplessness, I was still free: free to hate the men who were torturing me, or to forgive them. It doesn’t sound like much, I know. But in the flinch and bite of the chain, when it’s all you’ve got, that freedom is a universe of possibility. And the choice you make, between hating and forgiving, can become the story of your life.” 

3. An Amazon Prime Membership

If the traveler in your life doesn’t have Amazon Prime, it’s time to pull the trigger. And while the two-day shipping and all that jazz is nice, Amazon Prime has a couple nice features for travelers in particular:

First, and most importantly, the Amazon Prime video library. Tons of TV shows and some good movies are available to stream, similar to Netflix. But here is where Amazon stands apart from Netflix- you can actually download episodes and movies to your electronic devices. Translation: Free entertainment on flights, no wifi required! This is huge to me and during the peak of some crazy travel, it saved me some serious cash and rescued me from serious boredom as I’d just download episodes of shows and watch them on the plane!

Next, the lending library. You get access to a number of free books because of Amazon Prime. So get that membership- it’s worth it!

4. Munchery Meals to Go for the Jetlagged Amongst Us

Jetlag is a pain in the butt. And when I come back from a crazy international trip, or even a long domestic one, sometimes the last thing I want to do in the world is cook. Enter Munchery, a service I can only describe as healthier and better tasting take out. Munchery works like this: You select from a wide variety of meals, sides, and desserts you’re interested in. Select the hour you want it delivered and then when it arrives, pop it in the oven for a few minutes, and you’ve got a tasty meal ready to go. But our like about Munchery goes beyond just tasty food. They donate a meal to the LA Regional Food Bank for every meal we order. The packaging is biodegradable. And the menu is seasonal and changes weekly. So get them a gift card to Munchery, provided they live in an area Munchery delivers! If you like what you’re hearing, take advantage of this: Your first meal with Munchery comes with a $10 discount from us! 

Those are our last minute holiday gifts ideas- if you’ve got other ideas- we’re all ears!

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