15 of the Best Gifts for Travelers Stuck at Home This Holiday Season

These gifts are sure to satiate someone’s wanderlust.
These gifts are sure to satiate someone’s wanderlust.
USAopoly/Moleskine/Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

The holiday season is a time when many people go to see loved ones, discover new places, or enjoy a few days on the beach. But thanks to the pandemic, travel enthusiasts may feel more restless than usual. This year, help the armchair adventurers in your life ease their wanderlust with these gifts that'll get them dreaming about their future trips.

1. Explore The World Wall Calendar; $26

Rifle Paper Co./Walmart

Since 2020 has not been the year of travel, hopefully 2021 will be. This wall calendar from Rifle Paper Co. features a new city each month, beautifully designed to make viewers want to grab their passports. From month to month, your traveler will get to discover new places to explore, from Kenya to Marrakesh to Kyoto to Oaxaca.

Buy it: Walmart

2. 1,000 Places to See Before You Die: The World as You've Never Seen It Before (Deluxe Edition); $40

Artisan/Amazon

It seems as though every traveler has read the original 1,000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz. Now, she's back with a deluxe edition of the book. The updated tome features over a thousand stunning new photographs and 544 new pages of prose for wanderlusting individuals to add to their itinerary.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Mental Floss Holland Shirt; $25

Mental Floss/Minute Media

Here at Mental Floss, we know a good joke when we see one. Our new and improved shop features some of the best shirts out there that will almost guarantee a smile from spectators. This particular shirt will help lift anyone’s spirits about not being in the Netherlands with the slogan "Can’t Dutch This."

Buy it: Mental Floss

4. Moleskine Traveller’s Journal; $26

Moleskine/Amazon

Every good traveler knows they need to document their trips. Your loved one can pretend they’re Jack Kerouac, Elizabeth Gilbert, or Hunter S. Thompson with a trusty travel journal in their hands as they embark on a new great adventure. This one from Moleskine is the perfect travel companion on any type of trip, since it already does all the organization. The sturdy cover can withstand wherever your giftee takes it.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Ancestry DNA Genetic Ethnicity Test; $99

Ancestry.com/Amazon

Heritage tourism has been around for a long time, but with the introduction of accessible ancestral DNA tests, these types of trips have skyrocketed. While your travel enthusiast is waiting for the pandemic to be over, they can pass the time by learning more about where their family came from, and even plan their heritage trip once travel is safe again.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Condé Nast Traveler 1-Year Autorenewal Subscription; $5

Condé Nast/Amazon

Have travel brought to your giftee's doorstep with a subscription to one of the industry’s leading magazines. Condé Nast Traveler is known for its stunning photography, coverage of hidden locales, and luxury getaways. Since people are stuck at home this holiday season, let the pages of this magazine virtually transport them around the world for just $5 a year.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Travel Scratch-Off Map; $20

Luckies of London/Amazon

A scratch-off map can be a fun long-term activity for novice and pro travelers alike. The concept is simple: Once someone travels somewhere, they can scratch the foil off the place they’ve been to expose the country, town, or state. Over the years, they’ll be able to see how many places they’ve been and how much of the world they’ve, quite literally, uncovered.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Mini Cork Globe with Pins and Base; $40

Globe Trekkers/Amazon.

If your giftee is more of pins-on-a-corkboard kind of travel tracker, this cork globe will be the perfect addition to their home. They can place the globe in their living room for all to see where they've been and where they want to go. 

Buy it: Amazon

9. Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera and Film; $72

FUJIFILM/Amazon

Any good traveler knows that in addition to getting a journal to jot down memories, a camera is also an essential item on a packing list. Instead of relying on smartphone photos, treat your loved one to a real camera that's compact enough to take anywhere. This Fujifilm Instax is just the sort of equipment that'll help your traveler document everything from the cliffs of Cinque Terre and the pink sand beaches of Greece to the hidden gems in their own neighborhood.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Our Adventure Book DIY Handmade Photo Album Scrapbook; $10

BB02/Amazon

Now that your traveler will have all those great new photos from their adventures, they'll need somewhere to store them all. Photo albums can feel like mini time capsules of past trips. This one is particularly special, since it is reminiscent of the one from PIXAR’s 2009 movie UP. Now your giftee can share their travels like Ellie and Carl did in the movie.

Buy it: Amazon

11. States Dish & Hand Towel; $20

catstudio/Amazon

Getting souvenirs from a trip can be a great way to remember the adventure. These hand towels from catstudios feature all 50 different American states, such as the one above showing off all the beautiful parts of California. They're also great gifts for transplants away who may be unable to return to their home states due to travel restrictions.

Buy it: Amazon

12. Other-Wordly: words both strange and lovely from around the world; $13

Chronicle Books/ Amazon

Picking up pieces of a new language is part of the thrill of international travel. This book highlights some of the most interesting words out there, so your adventure enthusiast can learn about other cultures and languages from their very own home.

Buy it: Amazon

13. Monopoly National Parks Edition; $37

USAopoly/Amazon

Holiday gatherings are a great chance to bust out some board games. If your traveler, in a normal world, would be visiting national parks and exploring the great outdoors, this edition of Monopoly might help ease that longing. Even the little figurines feature classic camping items like hiking boots, a tent, and a ranger hat.

Buy it: Amazon

14. 50 Things to Do in the Wild Book; $18

Princeton Architectural Press/Amazon

If your giftee is into camping and exploring the great outdoors, this book can help them take their love of nature to a whole new level. They can pretend like they're Henry David Thoreau by learning how to identify trees, craft a stargazing chair, or discovering the best ways to read the sun and night sky.

Buy it: Amazon

15. Southwest Airlines Gift Card; $50 to $200

Southwest Airline/Amazon

An airline gift card could be a great gift for anyone to use when they’ve planned their next trip. Southwest Airlines gift cards are available in $50, $100, $150, and $200 denominations, so you can help someone craft their next adventure.

Buy it: Amazon

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10 Reusable Gifts for Your Eco-Friendliest Friend

Disposable tea bags can't compete with this pla-tea-pus and his friends.
Disposable tea bags can't compete with this pla-tea-pus and his friends.
DecorChic/Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

By this point, your eco-friendly pal probably has a reusable water bottle that accompanies them everywhere and some sturdy grocery totes that keep their plastic-bag count below par. Here are 10 other sustainable gift ideas that’ll help them in their conservation efforts.

1. Reusable Produce Bags; $13

No more staticky plastic bags.Naturally Sensible/Amazon

The complimentary plastic produce bags in grocery stores aren’t great, but neither is having all your spherical fruits and vegetables roll pell-mell down the checkout conveyor belt. Enter the perfect alternative: mesh bags that are nylon, lightweight, and even machine-washable.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Animal Tea Infusers; $16

Nothing like afternoon tea with your tiny animal friends.DecorChic/Amazon

Saying goodbye to disposable tea bags calls for a quality tea diffuser, and there’s really no reason why it shouldn’t be shaped like an adorable animal. This “ParTEA Pack” includes a hippo, platypus, otter, cat, and owl, which can all hang over the edge of a glass or mug. (In other words, you won’t have to fish them out with your fingers or dirty a spoon when your loose leaf is done steeping.)

Buy it: Amazon

3. Rocketbook Smart Notebook; $25

Typing your notes on a tablet or laptop might save trees, but it doesn’t quite capture the feeling of writing on paper with a regular pen. The Rocketbook, on the other hand, does. After you’re finished filling a page with sketches, musings, or whatever else, you scan it into the Rocketbook app with your smartphone, wipe it clean with the microfiber cloth, and start again. This one also comes with a compatible pen, but any PILOT FriXion pens will do.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Food Huggers; $13

"I'm a hugger!"Food Huggers/Amazon

It’s hard to compete with the convenience of plastic wrap or tin foil when it comes to covering the exposed end of a piece of produce or an open tin can—and keeping those leftovers in food storage containers can take up valuable space in the fridge. This set of five silicone Food Huggers stretch to fit over a wide range of circular goods, from a lidless jar to half a lemon.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Swiffer Mop Pads; $15

For floors that'll shine like the top of the Chrysler Building.Turbo Microfiber/Amazon

Swiffers may be much less unwieldy than regular mops, but the disposable pads present a problem to anyone who likes to keep their trash output to a minimum. These machine-washable pads fasten to the bottom of any Swiffer WetJet, and the thick microfiber will trap dirt and dust instead of pushing it into corners. Each pad lasts for at least 100 uses, so you’d be saving your eco-friendly friend quite a bit of money, too.

Buy it: Amazon

6. SodaStream for Sparkling Water; $69

A fondness for fizzy over flat water doesn’t have to mean buying it bottled. Not only does the SodaStream let you make seltzer at home, but it’s also small enough that it won’t take up too much precious counter space. SodaStream also sells flavor drops to give your home-brewed beverage even more flair—this pack from Amazon ($25) includes mango, orange, raspberry, lemon, and lime.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Washable Lint Roller; $13

Roller dirty.iLifeTech/Amazon

There’s a good chance that anyone with a pet (or just an intense dislike for lint) has lint-rolled their way through countless sticky sheets. iLifeTech’s reusable roller boasts “the power of glue,” which doesn’t wear off even after you’ve washed it. Each one also comes with a 3-inch travel-sized version, so you can stay fuzz-free on the go.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Countertop Compost Bin; $23

Like a tiny Tin Man for your table.Epica/Amazon

Even if you keep a compost pile in your own backyard, it doesn’t make sense to dash outside every time you need to dump a food scrap. A countertop compost bin can come in handy, especially if it kills odors and blends in with your decor. This 1.3-gallon pail does both. It’s made of stainless steel—which matches just about everything—and contains an activated-charcoal filter that prevents rancid peels and juices from stinking up your kitchen.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Fabric-Softening Dryer Balls; $17

Also great for learning how to juggle without breaking anything.Smart Sheep

Nobody likes starchy, scratchy clothes, but some people might like blowing through bottles of fabric softener and boxes of dryer sheets even less. Smart Sheep is here to offer a solution: wool dryer balls. Not only do they last for more than 1000 loads, they also dry your laundry faster. And since they don’t contain any chemicals, fragrances, or synthetic materials, they’re a doubly great option for people with allergies and/or sensitive skin.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Rechargeable Batteries; $40

Say goodbye to loose batteries in your junk drawer.eneloop/Amazon

While plenty of devices are rechargeable themselves, others still require batteries to buzz, whir, and change the TV channel—so it’s good to have some rechargeable batteries on hand. In addition to AA batteries, AAA batteries, and a charger, this case from Panasonic comes with tiny canisters that function as C and D batteries when you slip the smaller batteries into them.

Buy it: Amazon

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The 10 Best Holiday Gifts $25 and Under

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Whether you're shopping on a budget or looking for gifts for the person in your life who's halfway between acquaintance and friend, this list of great presents for small prices should do the trick. Fun and silly, thoughtful and serious, useful and frivolous, this group of gifts is filled with old favorites and new delights. Fair warning: You may end up buying two of whatever you pick.

1. Anker Power Bank; $22

Amazon

Need a little extra boost? Tired of looking down at the Low Power Mode warning? This incredibly light on-the-go charger is a tiny powerhouse that will keep your phone at 100 percent and keep you from scrambling to find a wall outlet at the airport. It also comes with its own travel pouch and an 18-month warranty, but the cable is sold separately. It's a solid one-for-me-one-for-them gift.

Buy it: Amazon

2. FYC Wool Socks; $13

Amazon

For the friend in your life with feet, consider these thick, stylish socks that evoke a vintage design while keeping toes toasty (and sweat-free). They're made of a blend of cotton, wool, and polyester, so you get the best of all worlds: comfortable, warm, and breathable. Plus, they're versatile enough to go with pajamas, your hiking gear, or Zoom-ready business casual.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Zulay Kitchen Stovetop Espresso Maker; $17

Amazon

This sturdy, classic brewer is perfect for the person in your life who is interested in upping their cup game. It's simple and sleek, but it also comes with a pressure valve (couldn't we all use one?) to boost caffeine extraction, and the design allows for espresso, crema, foam emulsions, and more. Best of all, clean up is easy, so you don't have to worry about grimy boiled bean build-up.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Meriwool Beanie; $21

Amazon

Need a great gift that everyone can appreciate? No sweat! Meriwool's wool beanie comes in nine different colors and will look great on anyone hoping for something soft to hug their cranium. Made with 100 percent all natural superfine 18.5-micron Merino wool, it's not a head-scratcher, and the material is naturally moisture-wicking.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Bob Ross Coloring Book; $7

Amazon

No one is going to judge you for using paintbrushes on this coloring book. Or crayons, markers, pencils, or your fingers. The beauty of this official coloring book celebrating the art of American icon Bob Ross is that it gives you a rough image to project your own designs on. It's far from paint-by-numbers, and it'll be a welcomed gift for anyone in your life who needs to destress with a little creativity.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Jim from The Office Funko; $9

Amazon

Six days since our last nonsense seems ambitious, but fans of the hit workplace comedy will appreciate having an adorable version of Jim Halpert to sardonically stare at them from behind their keyboard. Naturally, there's also figures of Michael, Pam, Dwight, and the whole Office gang in case you've got someone with a growing collection on your list. Plus, there's always the rabbit hole of Funkos that should satisfy fans of everything from Anime to Zombie flicks.

Buy it: Amazon

7. The Godfather Family Album; $25

Amazon

It's almost criminal that this book is so inexpensive. This 512-page hardcover gem showcases Steve Shapiro's iconic on-set photography of the immortalized mob film. Striking, unique images of Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, and the rest of the cast of The Godfather sit alongside the sharp film writing of historian Paul Duncan, making this a definitive tome that belongs on every fan's coffee table.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Star wars The Child Monopoly; $20

Amazon

There are hundreds of different versions of the classic game about buying rectangles and charging outrageous prices for landing on the wrong ones, but for those who are loving The Mandalorian, this version drops you right into the series' adventures. The only problem is that everyone will call dibs on the Hoverpram piece. This is the way.

Buy it: Amazon

9. British Chocolate Bar Selection; $20

Amazon

Give someone the ability to travel to Britain from the comfort of wherever they can unwrap a wrapper. Crunchie, Bounty, and Fry's Peppermint Cream are just a few of the offerings in this Global Treats pack that can remind someone of home or share a piece of the UK with your favorite anglophile. Don't worry—no fun size here. They're all full size and delicious.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Stanley travel mug; $25

Amazon

Stanley has over a hundred years of quality craftsmanship under its toolbelt. This sturdy, cup-holder-ready mug benefits from that experience and boasts double-wall vacuum insulation to keep piping coffee hot for seven hours and chilly lemonade cold for up to 10. Toss in some ice cubes, and whatever you're sipping stays cold for up to 30! It comes with a trigger action lid for one-handed, leak-proof use, making it perfect for the exercise bike or the office. Everyone could use another way of transporting their drink of choice, and this might just replace what they've already got.

Buy it: Amazon