Personally, I think the best gifts are the ones that make the receiver feel something. And there’s no feeling travel-lovers enjoy more than nostalgia.
Below are some gift ideas guaranteed to instantly transport the receiver to another part of the world. Take your loved ones back to their favourite place, or show them yours!
Vietnamese coffee kit
Anyone who has been to Vietnam will tell you that the coffee is something special. It has a toasty, buttery, chocolately flavor that is accentuated by the addition of sweetened condensed milk. It comes to the table in a cute little metallic dripper set atop a glass, with the sweetener getting all melty and delicious in the bottom. Luckily, these little babies have become somewhat trendy in Australia recently and are readily available at Asian grocers and department stores. Pair it with some Vietnamese coffee (I highly recommend Trung Nguyen, available at Asian grocers) and a small tin of sweetened condensed milk for the perfect gift to celebrate Vietnamese flavours.
A trip to the Turkish Baths
Sydney boasts a surprisingly authentic Turkish hamam in the Granville area. I went recently (with low expectations) and was oh so pleasantly surprised by the authenticity. Picture marble floors, walls and ceilings dripping from the humidity and a giant marble bench in the middle. This bench is where the magic happens! Guests are washed and scrubbed to within an inch of their lives and then soothed and pampered with natural elixirs. You can choose from a range of treatments that use ingredients like goats milk, rose water, sea salt, lemon, mint, honey and mud. All designed to cleanse and invigorate. This is a truly unique kind of indulgence, but we warn, it is not for the faint-hearted.
Peruvian alpaca wool blanket
Every person I know that has been to South America has commented that they wished they had splurged and bought at least one genuine alpaca wool product. Nowadays, companies like Inka Designs work with local Peruvian artisans and communities to help keep the tradition of blanket making alive and to bring these beautiful works of art and expressions of culture to the world. And they do it sustainably.
So many destinations are synonymous with big bold flavours and often render travellers powerless against the desire to replicate them back home. Spices are integral for this, and can certainly be the gift that keeps on giving. If you’re feeling really generous, you could even pair them with a mortar and pestle or recipe book.
Puzzles are making a comeback! And the best thing is, they are readily available in so many different designs. World maps, iconic buildings, landscapes, favourite foods OR you can even get a puzzle custom made using your own travel shots.
Exotic salts from around the globe make a great gift. If you’re not a salt fiend like I am, all you need to know is that there’s an endless array of shapes, sizes, colours, flavours and origins available. My top picks are the black lava from Hawai’i, pink Himalayan, Turkish lemon, Persian blue and anything hailing from Cyprus. Delish!
…what ever you want to call it, this boardgame gets played a lot through countries like India, Israel, Jordan and Turkey in tea houses, bars and restaurants. It’s a trip down memory lane for many travellers, is a great coffee table centerpiece and can even be purchased in ‘travel size’ to be taken on future trips.
Food tours and cooking classes
Travellers love experiences! So ‘experience gifts’ should be right up their alley. Food tours and cooking classes are a fun way to get a culture hit without leaving your own city. Everything from cheese, pasta, paella, curry and sushi making classes, to a guided foodies tour of local hidden gems is on offer and virtually guaranteed to ignite wanderlust.
Colouring-in books for adults
Very hipster and totally on trend at the moment, colouring-in books for adults are taking the world by storm! And seeing as though travel provides such a kaleidoscopic lens, these books are often foreign-themed with pages of Moroccan patters, Parisian streetscapes and the like. Good for the soul, and also great for filling in time at airports and on long flights.
Inspirational travel book
Of course I couldn’t make a list without mentioning Places We Go’s own pride and joy, and in our minds, the perfect gift for the traveller. A copy of Australia’s Top 100 Places to Go: The Ultimate Bucket List. We narrowed down the top hundred places you must visit in Australia with the help of the Australian public and present them to you in this beautiful coffee table book full of images, facts and advice to help you tick them all off. Buy one for yourself as well!
And for the little people in our lives…
Book of nursery rhymes from around the world
I was gifted a very special hardcover collection of nursery rhymes from around the world when my daughter was born and I just thought it was the most special and thoughtful gift. Not only is it fun and simply gorgeously illustrated, but also such a great platform for teaching kids about diversity, culture, religion and language.