Festive Gifts for Every Type of Frustrated Traveller

Sun cream, guide books, luggage tags? With travel plans on hold, those tried-and-tested gifts simply won’t do. For stay-at-home spa addicts and shackled city-breakers, we’ve pulled together a list of affordable presents that will appeal to each and every type of homebound traveller.

Usually, when Christmas rolls around, well-seasoned travellers have their forthcoming trips lined up. For the gift-averse, it's a blessing. Guide books, insect repellent, designer sun cream, luggage tags and all manner of bitty travel paraphernalia can be easily tied in ribbon and passed off as thoughtful presents - "a little something to take with you on your trip".

Needless to say, things are a little different this year. With travel plans put on hold, those tried-and-tested gifts simply won't pass muster. Consequently, we've pulled together a list of nailed-it (but affordable) items that will appeal to each and every type of traveller, whether you're buying for that spa-addicted friend who hasn't felt the comforting touch of a masseuse in months or a pent-up city-breaker crying out for some at-home excitement.

Expect to find lush tidbits from some of our favourite independent shops, high-gloss magazines from our archive and a bunch of eco-friendly gifts from SUITCASE Loves. You're welcome.

The Stay-at-Home Spa Addict

Few things relieve stress like slipping into a towelling robe, steaming mug of herbal tea in one hand and inspirational magazine (cough cough) in the other. For serial spa fanatics, it's been a testing year. With practitioners out of action, help the wellness warrior in your life rebalance their chakras with one of these calming gifts.

Chim Chim Scent Diffuser


Anyone with an eye for design will melt at the sight of the HAY logo peeping out from opaque tissue paper. This simple diffuser will not only smell deeply soothing once loaded up with a splash of essential oil but will effortlessly blend into any interior like butter on warm toast. It comes in three subdued shades of blue, terracotta and light beige.

Buy now at HAY£25.00

Martin Parr Pouch

Wolf & Badger

Give them something to smile about. Spa hotels might be closed but an overnight wash bag is always a good gift - especially when plastered with the work of one of the UK's most beloved portrait photographers. At 22x14 cm, this little poppet is a perfectly travel-sized companion. Stick a sheet mask in there, write a card and you're good to go.

Buy now at Wolf & Badger£28.00

Greenhouse Candle

Earl of East

We're complete suckers for scented candles. Each of Earl of East's soy-wax concoctions are inspired by travels past and have been made to transport you to a happier time and place. You can't go wrong with its Greenhouse scent, an herbaceous, olfactory ode to rural Greece that is guaranteed to evoke a sense of calm, whether reclining in a bathtub or hustling hard in the home office.

Buy now at Earl of East£20.00

Stress-Fix Soaking Salts


These made-in-Margate bath salts are jam-packed with locally plucked seaweed, buckthorn and all manner of other natural goodies, proven to soothe stressed-out skin. Haeckels has long been at the vanguard of sustainability in the beauty industry, making it a solid go-to for guilt-free gifting. And breathe…

Buy now at Haeckels£30.00

Discovery Set Box

Sana Jardin

Why stop at one perfume? Travel the world (in miniature) with this cluster of eight spritzers, each one inspired by different destinations around the world, from Jaipur to Morocco. We suggest sprinkling these glassy vials through jacket pockets and handbags for little sparks of joy on the go.

Buy now at Sana Jardin£30.00

The Fed-Up Foodie

We all know that person: the self-professed foodie. For them, a trip isn't complete without a spot of foraging, a day spent shamelessly hoarding samples at aromatic food markets and countless hours spent haplessly scrolling into the backend of Tripadvisor in desperate pursuit of hyper-local restaurants. Here's what we suggest giving them this year.

The Taste Issue


This year's been all about armchair travel: tucking yourself into a cosy nook with a mug of coffee and losing yourself in the pages of a glossy magazine. If the epicurean in your life is feeling a little devoid of travel inspiration, send them a copy of The Taste Issue. Inside, they'll find lip-smacking stories from the fertile soils of Sicily to the tropical sands of Mauritius. Bon appétit.

Buy now at SUITCASE£9.00

Sketch at Home


Those living in London or within a four-hour drive of the restaurant (by our calculations, that means those in the home counties are in luck) can order a slap-up meal from this Soho institution. In keeping with the restaurant's inimitable dining room, the four-course meal arrives in powder-pink boxes tied with ribbon. Cocktails in wax-sealed glass decanters can be ordered as extras…

Buy now at Sketch£75.00

Don Papa Rum

Harvey Nichols & Co

If you can't splash out (pardon the pun) at Christmas, when can you? Upgrade your loved one's drinks trolley by giving them a bottle of this sweet, honeyed nectar - made using juicy sugar cane harvested on the island of Negros Occidental in the Philippines. Sorry to be blunt, but a glass of this rum is about as close as any of us are going to get to the tropics this year. Drink up.

Buy now at Harvey Nichols & Co£42.00

Bake for Syria


While we're all for travelling through our stomach, this year's not provided much food for thought, so to speak. This mouth-watering compendium of traditional Syrian baked treats has been composed by refugees, chefs and bakers based across the world. The best bit? All proceeds raised are donated to Unicef UK's appeal for the children of Syria. How's that for a palate-cleanser?

Buy now at SUITCASE Loves£25.00

Clos19 Champagne Region Explorer Set


What better gift could there be for the champagne lover in your life, than a bumper collection of bubbles? This holy trilogy of the region's most esteemed bottles - that's Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial, Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label and Ruinart Blancs de Blancs - also comes with Louis Vuitton's latest guide to Reims, so aficionados can explore the terroir from their stoop at home.

Buy now at Clos19£145.00

Conversation Menus

The School of Life

Real foodies know that a good meal is only as good as the conversation that accompanies it. This pack of prompt cards is guaranteed to get creative juices flowing. Each card is themed - ambitions, confessions, friendship and the like - so dinner party hosts can tailor the conversation to their guests. Quit the small talk.

Buy now at The School of Life£24.00

The Shackled City Breaker

With few trains to catch, bars to explore or museums to patronise, 2020 has been a real drag (we're putting it politely) for those used to hopping from one metropolitan bubble to another. Wild weekenders might be off the cards for now, but we've pulled together a handful of gifts that will sate the appetites of shackled city breakers.

Resurrection Wipes


With itchy feet forcibly stopped in their tracks, now is the perfect time to get one's shoe-drobe in order. We're turning to Grenson, whose range of shoe-cleaning supplies is second to none. Give the style-conscious city breaker in your life a wodge of these wipe-clean cloths, perfect for tidying up white leather trainers as well as more traditional kickers. Feeling generous? Chuck in Grenson's all-in-one cleaning kit for good measure.

Buy now at Grenson£5.00

Touring S+ DAB+ FM Bluetooth Portable Radio


We're sure you can get high-quality portable speakers for less, but would they look as delectably 70s as this little number from Swiss audio pioneers, Geneva? This device has 20 hours of battery life, an audio jack to attach Bluetooth-incompatible devices and it's an AM/FM radio too - handy if, like us, your phone is constantly running low on battery.

Buy now at Geneva£200.00

Halo Bottle


A solid, reusable flask is an essential component in any city-lover's knapsack. At SUITCASE, we love Halo. Compact, lightweight and stylish, this bottle has powerful vacuum insulation to ensure ice-cold or piping-hot drinks whether you're setting up camp in a remote co-working space, sweating it out at the hotel gym or window-shopping at pace.

Buy now at SUITCASE Loves£28.00

Vol. 28: The Cities Issue


A bit on the nose, eh? This issue is sure to excite those effervescent city breakers who are begrudgingly slumped on the sofa at home. Zip from Istanbul to Uzbekistan to Chicago and back as we unpick exactly what makes city life so compelling, stopping to catch-up with local creatives, thought leaders and budding entrepreneurs as we go.

Buy now at SUITCASE£9.00

Culture: A Memory Game

The School of Life

There have only been sporadic windows of opportunity to visit museums, galleries and cultural institutions over the past year. Why not reorientate your friend's cultural compass with this memory game? It's like an elevated game of snap, featuring iconic buildings, artworks and concepts from different cultures across the globe.

Buy now at The School of Life£18.00

Intermission: compiled by THESP


Compiled by THESP founder and former SUITCASE editor, Gilly Hopper, this pair of books features writing from some of the UK's most renowned actors and directors, on what happens when the stage falls silent - be that mid-speech, during an interval, or a pandemic (how novel). Packed with essays, stories, poems and more, it's a feel-good celebration of British theatre that will leave readers inspired and hopeful for the future. Better still, all proceeds from sales will go towards Acting for Others, which provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need.

Buy now at THESP£12.99

Pilo Fabric Shaver


Give the modern dandy in your life this portable fabric shaver from Steamery. Simply whizz it against the grain of pilled knitwear to remove those bobbles. This battery-powered gadget comes in pink, blue and black. It's a cost-effective way to update one's wardrobe and a must-have for any finely dressed, 21st-century flâneur.

Buy now at Steamery£35.00

The Outdoors (but Indoors) Lover

The pandemic has actually proven fairly light work for outdoorsy types. Generally speaking, this genre of globetrotter is happily occupied by secluded countryside rambles. From sustainably made water-resistant jackets to beyond-chic, kitchen-to-campfire enamelware crockery, these are the bits we're buying them this year.

Nebulas Insulated Jacket


Designed with fabrics and fill made from 100-per-cent recycled polyester and finished with a fluorocarbon-free water-repellent finish, this is possibly the most goodie-two-shoes jacket we've ever met. Fans of Finisterre know that the brand does sustainability properly - even its packaging is water-soluble. Nature-loving outdoorsy types will swoon.

Buy now at Finisterre£195.00

Cabana Towel

Dock & Bay

Prepare the grown-up water baby in your life for wild-swimming jaunts yet to come with this fast-drying microfiber towel from Dock & Bay. Not only is this towel proven to dry three times quicker than its cotton counterpart, but five per cent of the profits from each sale go to nature conservation charities such as One Tree Planted and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Trust.

Buy now at Dock & Bay£18.00

Enamelware Marble Tumbler


At some point over the past few years, humble enamelware crockery - a stalwart of old-school camping trips - became a stylish kitchen essential. Bornn's collection is lightweight, sturdy, dishwasher safe and achingly chic. This tumbler is both a modish kitchen accessory and, when the time calls, a chic addition to one's camping bag too.

Buy now at Bornn£19.00

Cutlery Set

World of Bamboo

No modern-day picnicker or truly eco-conscious traveller would be seen with a set of single-use, plastic cutlery. Perish the thought. Instead, pick up this bamboo set, which comes in a helpful little pouch. Why bamboo, you ask? It's quick to grow, requires little water, is lightweight and biodegradable, making these prongs an essential for any modern-day camper.

Buy now at World of Bamboo£15.99

Mini Microgreen Kit


2020 was most definitely the year of the micro-kitchen garden; we called it first. Almost everyone tried their hand at growing something, be it a measly patch of parsley or a full-on clump of potatoes. This little kit is a brilliant starter pack for any nature-lover that's late to the party. Simply pick your seeds, fill it with water, plug it in and harvest your microgreens.

Buy now at Superpousse£55.00
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