From a Scandinavian housewares subscription to a box full of carry-on friendly beauty products, these are the gifts that keep on giving.
With holiday shopping on the horizon, it’s time to start brainstorming a list of goodies for your loved ones. But there are gifts, and then there are gifts that keep on giving. From memberships to subscription boxes geared toward just about every interest imaginable, there are many that will help an avid traveler.
In our opinion, anything that encourages exploration is an ideal gift. America the Beautiful passes grant access to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites and national parks, from an annual fee of just $80. Health-conscious travelers will also appreciate the gift of a fitness membership—a subscription to ClassPass provides access to thousands of U.S. fitness studios from $40/month. More accessible options include local memberships to museums, zoos, theaters, botanical gardens, or concert series—because, as our cofounder Joe Diaz says, travel begins when you leave your doorstep.
The hosts with the most in your life can bring Scandinavia home with a subscription to The Heima Box. This garden- and housewares-company offers a range of styles in their boxes, such as minimalism, boho, eclectic, Nordic farmhouse, and “surprise me!” for the risk-takers (from $30/month). Papirmass lets friends build up their own personal art galleries, from $8/month. Members receive monthly print items—illustrations, paintings, collages, and more, each with a piece of creative writing on the back—from emerging artists all over the world.
Bites. We love the idea of gifting travel-through-taste with a delicious subscription to Try the World Box. Gourmands will go ga-ga for its chef-curated collection of snacks and cultured ingredients, which each include a backstory and recipes to help them shine (starting at $29/month). Love With Food is a seasonal snacking alternative that makes a difference in the world: the company donates a meal to charities fighting hunger at home and abroad for every box sold (from $11)—and many of the snacks you’ll get are plane-friendly. Best of Mouth is a more gourmet option, whose Indie States of America box entails goodies from a different U.S. region every month (from $54/month).
Soft Sips. For that special caffeine-fueled someone, a coffee subscription box is the holiday gift of dreams. We’re particularly excited about Driftaway Coffee, whose personalized boxes connect you with farmers from all over the world (and you can even send them thank-you messages!) starting at $16 per shipment. For that service, you can choose to receive your coffee weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Angels’ Cup is another winner, which from $10 per delivery, sends single-origin coffees sourced from Africa and Latin America in a blind taste-test format. Do your loved ones opt for tea time? We’re fans of Teabox, which delivers fresh varieties handpicked in India for $20/month based on a preferences quiz.
Drinks. For the people on your list who prefer their drinks a bit harder, a subscription to a wine-, beer-, or spirit-delivery service is sure to bring them holiday cheer. Winc and Wine Awesomeness both ship bottles from all over the world each month (two and three bottles respectively, for $45 and $37). Beer fanatics can enjoy cold one after cold one with subscription boxes of craft brews from all over the world, too: Beer of the Month Club starts at $28/month and Craft Beer Club costs $42/month. Looking for something harder still? Taster’s Club sends spirit lovers a world-class variety of whiskey, tequila, or rum monthly ($69/month).
Watch. Netflix has reached its zenith of influence, producing captivating original series and constantly refreshing its library of great movies and TV shows. Binge-watchers will appreciate your covering these monthly fees—especially when it helps them pass the time on international flights by downloading shows and movies. In addition to Netflix, two other popular services include Hulu and HBO GO ($8/month, $8/month, and $15/month respectively). Want to be a hero? Give your TV nerd a subscription to them all.
Listen. Road-trip lovers will appreciate a gargantuan listening library of books, comedy, magazines, travel guides, and everything in between on Audible; from $45 every three months.
Read. The printed word's still got it amidst our technological age, making a magazine subscription delightful for anyone on your list. For $14 for one year or $24 for two years, enjoy the utterly inspirational globetrotting pages of AFAR Magazine (shameless self-promo totally warranted, we promise). Book subscription services are another way to please travelers—because is there anything more soul soothing than a flight or a train ride with a good book in hand? Book of the Month lets members choose from one of five hard copies each month, and Quarterlane Books ships three fiction titles every three months, along with gifts and work from artists in residence (from $15/month and $95/box, respectively).
Do. Help crafty friends prep for their next trip with a planner box from Studio Calico Kit, or beautify their travel memories with its scrapbooking kit (boxes start at $20/month). Another option for doers is the travelers’ classic, Rosetta Stone. Multilingualism has incredibly far-reaching benefits, and in our minds, is one of the best ways to travel deeper wherever you roam. While the program’s prices are somewhat steep (level-one downloads start at $94), it’s a tried-and-true method that’s been inspiring cross-cultural communication for 25 years and counting.
Beauty. The beauty market is booming with subscription boxes of makeup and skincare goodies galore. A favorite of ours is the Berlin-based Glossybox, which offers a mix of sample- and full-sized products from unique European and Japanese brands ($21/month). We’re also fond of Ipsy, which for $10/month, ships recipients five sample-sized products (carry-on friendly goodies, anyone?). For the same price, the spa lovers in your life will go wild for Maskbox, which offers customizable facial masks to help keep them glowing on the road. Lastly, we haven’t forgotten about the guys! Keep your traveling men looking fresh with a subscription to Dollar Shave Club, which from $2/month ships new razors along with optional extras like hair gel and body wash.
Clothing. Avid travelers, whether for business or pleasure, may not have time to go shopping and refresh their wardrobe for their next trip. That’s where these styling subscriptions come in. Gentlemen will swoon for SprezzaBox, which for $28/month turns them “dapper or stylish, without [seemingly] trying,” as the Italian slang translation for sprezza dictates. Stitch Fix appeals to both men and women in a highly personalized fashion. After completing a style profile, clients receive five items to try, with the option to keep what they like and send back what they don’t (price is determined based on how many items are kept).
Jewelry. But is an outfit really complete without the jewelry on top? One of our favorite luxurious bauble subscriptions comes from Emma &Chloé—a French brand that delivers a monthly piece that’s typically 14k-gold plated or dipped in a silver bath ($35/month, for pieces valued anywhere from $50 to $200 each). Sound très magnifique? We think so, too.
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