Holiday Golightly’s Gift Guide 2022 or: give the gift of travel!

Holiday Golightly’s Gift Guide 2022 or: give the gift of travel!

Here it comes, the season to… shop and shop, and the publication of endless gift guides on the internets. And, with just a tiny bit of delay, but ready for the (s)hopping madness here in Europe comes Holiday Golightly’s Gift Guide 2022.

In 2019, I started with shop- worthy products Made in Germany. And gifts for travellers.

In 2020, I had an all-sustainable gift guide. And Eastern German Christmas goodies  – but mostly festive foods that anyone will enjoy!  2020 I must have had a lot of time to write, with all the lockdowns!

In 2021, to balance things out, I didn’t publish a gift guide. And in a similar vein, in 2022 I feel very uninspired to buy stuff for other people unless I know it is something they will really, really love, so here is my Holiday Golightly’s Gift Guide 2022, whose motto is… give the gift of travel wherever you can! I will get to that more later and start with most affordable, smaller gifts.

Travel-themed books and Magazines

Books are some of my favourite gifts, and if I know someone is planning a trip, or has been on a trip recently.  I like to give either a nice travel guidebook or a book relevant to the country of travel. I pretty shamelessly use Amazon to research the best guidebook, editions, how up to date they are, prices… then see if I can buy them locally. My favourite guide books for independent travel are the Rough Guides and Bradt Guides. I haven’t bought many Lonely Planet guides  in recent years, I feel they were really lacking in background back then and aren’t worth the price.

When I visited Uzbekistan, I wanted  to read “A Carpet Ride to Khiva” but it was sold out for quite some time. Other books that may be interesting to the Central Asia traveller are “Murder in Samarkand”, an account of the totalitarian Uzbek regime written by the former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan and “Travel into Bokhara” a 19th Century account by Brit Alexander Burnes.

My own reading list

In 2023, I am planning to travel to Asia, with arrangements yet to be finalised, but Japan, Thailand and India are very likely destinations.

I have read many novels by Japanese authors or about Japan, but one that sticks to mind in its engaging style is “The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet“. Really, really recommend it. Another vague plan is going on a yoga holiday… I have been practising on and off for the past ten years, and greatly enjoyed “Yoga School Dropout” a very humorous, somewhat self indulging but enormously entertaining travelogue by one British journalist to find enlightenment and a man through various yoga courses in India. I admit this is where I started my own research about accessible yoga courses… Other than that, to get started, I found BKS Iyengars “Yoga: Path to Holistic Health” really good, it might not be the earnest classic “Light on Yoga” but for a beginner, the detailed instruction and photos are extremely good for practising asana at home. Also, “The Heart of Yoga” by TKV Desikachar which has some asana but is more holistic and philosophical.

Travel Magazine subscription

For this year, I might get my subscription to the Conde Nast Traveller renewed. They hit a low point, understandably, during the lock downs, and quite recently the expensive resorts and luxurious hotels are not really what I am looking for, but usually the stories are great, and I use them as inspiration for destinations and restaurants. My husband, not quite the traveller, went on about a New Statesman subscription which I promptly bought, because he is notoriously difficult to buy for, and I like to read it as well.

Conde NAst Traveller MAgazine covers
Magazine subscription. A little luxury and not breaking the bank

Little Travel helpers

Some items I cannot live without. Every traveller should have them in their luggage.

Water bottle

Fashions come and go, but the Swiss-origin Sigg bottle is a true classic. Lightweight, unbreakable, climate neutral and not too bad looking, their bottles have been my favourite water bottles for years. I use them at work, too, as they do hold carbonated drinks really well. I find the 0,6l classic travellers bottles  the most useful, and at under 20 Euros, they are reasonably priced. Also, there are often sales on the Sigg website, and you can get larger capacity bottles, thermos bottle, glass bottles etc… for as little as 8Euros. I have had all sorts of water bottles hanging around, the Sigg is the one I hang on to and buy.

Medical Kit

Super important. Now that I have a travel medicine job, I often ask to go through customers travel medical kits to see what is suitable for treatment, and often get” don’t have one”. I am not suggesting to give medicines as a gift, but making a solid start with a medical kit makes a gift that keeps giving – reassurance in the best case, hoping it is never needed. And let’s not forget, not everyone is suepr healthy, some people might be on medications including those that require cooling.

You can buy these kits ready made online, but I prefer to start with a good base and built it myself. You find advice on travel medical kits from hospitals and other sources, but what you put in it depends much on your style of travel and any medical conditions. I had a small kit from Lifesystems, but tend to keep my kit now in a crush-proof lightweight box like a lunch box (another Sigg favourite here).  Or a slightly larger beautiful Bento Box like this one from the Japan Centre. The super cheap option would be a couple of 0.2l Really Useful Boxes (one for sterile material, one for medicines)  which are  really durable and useful.

Repair Kit

Mostly, a sewing kit but also a kit for other repairs. Start with a Victorinox Jetsetter which doesn’t have a blade and can be carried in hand luggage on planes. I add this little Prym sewing box, and a couple of quality micro screw drivers from a set. You will need the latter sooner or later if you wear glasses or carry electronics with you.

Wash Bag

Jack Wolfskin Waschsalon for a larger wash bag, Deuter Wash Bag I for the minimalist. And that’s it. Just the best, longest lasting wash bags.

The bog standard Waschsalon washbag, a true indestructible classic. Mine lasted 20 years an going strong

Merino clothing

So far, not very sexy, not very expensive gifts. Yes, sorry, I am not doing well at romantic pricey gifts. Lets do warm woolens next. As I am sitting in my office in cheapo workwear thermal leggings, trying to do my bit for the saving of energy this winter, I yearn for a merino wool base layer legging. Icebreaker makes the cosiest ones… from the everyday 175 fine weight to the 250 mid weight warmer ones. Just make sure its merino woll, as Icebreaker has also introduced man made and cotton fibres into their ranges.

For something you actually want to wear on top, nothing is better and classier than a John Smedley Merino sweater. I like a classic high V neck, or a women’s V neck, but there are other classic styles as well in a multitude of colours. I do wear mine to death, literally. I am currently wearing an old mended one ca. 2008 as a base layer. They really are super comfy and last for ages.

Hobby stuff

Hobby stuff, especially in the current climate of energy price crisis, war, housing crisis, economical downturn etc. often comes last when it comes to spending. Few options for big surprises here, but these gifts might delight the gifted person most, as a lot of hobby stuff can be seen as an unnecessary luxury.

Speaking of myself, I recently learned diving, renting all equipment. Now I know I love it I want a nice diving logbook, a well-fitting mask and a diving computer. I would be delighted if any of these were gifted to me, but obviously, for stuff like a mask you really need to try it on.

Other hobby things that are never considered a necessity might make great gifts if you ask the person to be gifted. IN this day and age, there is always an online wish list lurking somewhere.

Top Gift of Holiday Golightly’s Gift Guide 2022: Giving the gift of travel

If you can, this would be the greatest gift for someone who likes to travel. Whether that be hotel stays, airplane tickets, experiences. I don’t really do Commercial gift cards – they are usually more hassle than they are worth. I just pay directly or unglamorously hand over the money.

Recently, I gave a trip to my mum for her 70th birthday. Normally, I would buy her the face cream she loves, but giving an anti aging products on a big birthday? Then, I remembered she had been going on and on about visiting the Silk Road before I organised our Uzbekistan trip, then pulling out for health reasons. Now she is on the mend again, I thought second time lucky, part of the Silk Road starts in Venice, so… I made a card with the Venice skyline, and for good measure, mashed it up with the Rome skyline, then specified the gift in my little handmade gift card – a trip with two nights in a four star hotel, including flights.

It was the best gift ever! Of course, I have to organise it, and it was a bit of a headache as first Ryanair, then Easyjet, cancelled flights. So far, we are now looking at a six-day trip, which is a lot more expensive than what I had initially envisaged, but well, it’s my mum. If you don’t mind a bit of effort and have a flexible budget, this might still be the best gift. Otherwise – a weekend trip with a night in a hotel or dinner, an upgrade…  the possibilities are endless if the giftee loves to travel.

Holiday Golightly's Gift Guide 2022
Venice or: an abbreviated Silk Road trip (where the Silk Road starts)

Last not least… Jewellery

Holiday Golightly’s Gift Guide 2022 would be a bit bare without a bit of bling. But…jewellery might be romantic, but it is often expensive and you can go wrong very quickly. The only jewellery I have gotten as gifts so far was some where I was present at the time of purchase or specifically asked for it.

I will recommend a few brands that I have bought from in the past and that I think are worth the money. The general rule is, try to buy solid precious metal. Anything plated will wear off unless it’s vermeil or gold-filled (essentially a thicker, more sturdy layer of gold on either silver or a non precious base metal.

Simple Gold Jewellery

Lately, I have really gotten into gold jewellery. A pair of small studs here, a pendant there… given how the gold price is developing, gold jewellery is certainly not a waste of money. I recommend to buy at least 18karat gold, which makes it more expensive and also softer, so more simple design are best for hard wear (rings). I recently turned 50 and, since this birthday is associated with gold, I indulged myself while in Istanbul, and bought a simple 22k gold bangle. I love it.

These high-karat gold items are better bought when travelling in places like Turkey, The Gulf, Jordan, or India, as prices are far better. I paid the same for a 22k gold bangle that I would pay for a 13k simple gold bangle here at half the weight here in Germany. So it pays saving up the money and buying gold abroad.


Jordan, Shopping, Holiday Golightly's Gift Guide 2022
Gold bangles in a jewellers shop in Jordan

I am saving up and hope to buy another one in the coming year.

Alex Monroe

Almost retro now… but I love the whimsical designs, and the fact prices start from about 100Euro. The charm-like little pendants are very sweet unless you buy for a total minimalist, and the classics like the swooping swallow or bee will charm any one.

Not Alex Monroe but a cat guarding gold in Mardin, Turkey

Ethical Jewellery

This time of the year, the internet is full of jewellery shopping recommendations and “ethical brands” so a little online research will likely be successful. I like Monica Vinader. Their jewellery is made form recycled precious metal, prices are very reasonable and you can choose between silver and vermeil. I wouldn’t say their designs are avant-garde or ground-breaking, but a lot more interesting than our local high street jewellers, and very classic.

I also saw some beautiful playful jewellery at the Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market last year by a label called Kiss the Frog. I am unsure how ethical and sustainable they are but they are a small label producing in Greece, and they use precious metals for very reasonable prices. They do sell in various shops across Europe and online, so… have a look if you like playful one of a kind jewellery!

The Small Print on Holiday Golightly’s Gift Guide 2022

Shock, Horror, there are no affiliate links in this  Holiday Golightly’s Gift Guide 2022 post. I have tried to make all links as neutral as possible. Book links are to random reviews or Wikipedia wherever possible. I wanted to link to Abebooks or Goodreads but Amazon owns them… so, no – only when I would not find the book anywhere else.

Other products are linked to the manufacturers web shops wherever possible.

So, feel free to click on the links, definitely no cookies planted here. I know its shocking to write a gift guide without actually putting a ton of affiliate links in, but that’s the way it goes, this blog is a hobby, and my recommendations are genuine rather than wanting to make money out of them. If you want to support this blog, please click through to some other posts, which may have some moderate linking to which is the only affiliate I use at the time of writing. Thank you for reading!


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