Valentine’s Day is almost here, and if you like us, have totally forgotten to buy something for your significant other, we’re here to help (mainly because neither of us had purchased a thing for each other until this week, too!). We each put together our version of a traveler’s gift guide for Valentine’s Day 2020—both gifts we love for the road and to use at home—with Kristin writing the “for her” and SVV writing the “for him,” lest you be confused.
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I’m a carryon-only kind of girl and am always on the lookout for a sturdy bag that expands to encompass the inevitable purchases I make on any given trip. I can’t in good conscience support Away bags, but I’ve heard that Speck’s are just as great if not better than the Millennial-favored luggage with a contentious CEO (plus, I have used Speck’s laptop cases and iPhone cases for years and can vouch for both the quality and great customer service this company offers). My girl Jade has this glorious pink bag, and I’m really hoping it magically materializes in my home this Valentine’s Day (or my birthday, which is just a week later). Speck is currently offering 28% off all non-luggage for Valentine’s Day, so if your significant other needs a new phone case, I highly suggest this glittery beauty.
a gift card for an experience or a hotel stay
I’m definitely in the category of would-rather-receive-experiences-than-more-stuff, which is why Tinggly is such a genius idea. This gift company offers 230 experiences in more than 100 countries—and best of all, recipients can choose their own adventure, so you don’t have to just guess which one she would like the best. All collections are completely flexible, meaning that your loved one can redeem the certificate for any experience they want. If your recipient is more about the destination and less about the experience, Tinggy also has a hotel collection with partners in 100 capital cities across the world. My fellow activists will be happy to hear that a part of Tinggly’s profit go to sustainable projects that remove polluting plastics from the environment; Tinggly gifts not only removes 33 pounds of plastics but also offsets 200 percent of CO2 emissions produced during the chosen experience, in addition to using eco-friendly gift boxes that are made of 100 percent recycled materials. Use Camels&Chocolate to get $10 off any collection (valid through Feb. 16).
all the caffeine
If coffee is your love language, consider a custom gift of a pour-over or French press—my personal preference for making coffee—as well as beans from a homegrown roastery like a personal favorite, Drink Coffee Do Stuff, launched by my friends Laura and Nick and available in California grocery stores, as well as online.
Now, we’re really getting into my own wishlist territory! I’m a February baby, so every year for my birthday, I ask for a piece of upgraded ski gear; last year, it was mittens (I have this $40 pair and love them), this year it’s polarized ski goggles. My personal preference is Dakine, though I have a lot of great ski gear from Patagonia and Columbia, too. If you really want to impress her, go all out and purchase the lift tickets to accompany the gear. When better to spring for a last-minute ski trip to a destination like Sun Valley? We have a whole lot of ski trip ideas right here if you’re looking for a winter getaway.
a Slip pillowcase and eye mask
I don’t know why it took me a million years to jump on the silk pillowcase trend; after all, my mom has been doing it my entire life. But now that I’ve started focusing a lot more on my skincare, I’ve taken notice how small changes like the pillowcase I’m using each night can make a major impact on both my skin and my hair. I personally own four of the king-sized cases from the Silk brand, which I purchased via Sephora—I love both the caramel and pink colors, but if you use any retinol, I recommend sticking with white—though Dermstore has a great deal for an eye mask-pillowcase combo for just $119. If you want to spend less, Amazon has a few good knock-off that are cheaper and still have great reviews.
I’m pretty sure I put this on every gift guide list ever, but that’s because I just use them so dang much! We have at least a dozen Swell bottles in our home, and every one of them gets a lot of use, particularly as we attempt to phase out single-use plastics from our life entirely. They’re also money-savers, as you can pack an empty Swell in your carry-on, then fill it up on the other side of TSA. Win-win: You save $5 from buying airport bottled water and don’t contribute to the plastic problem killing our environment! Amazon has about every color, shape and size of S’well you could want. My friend Alex has some other great product ideas for sustainable travel if the guy or gal in your life is committed to being more eco-friendly.
As an entrepreneur who has worked from home for 12 years now, my daily footwear is always a sturdy form of warm slippers. These hard-soled UGG slippers are my absolute favorites, and I’ve owned three pairs over the past decade. If you’re looking more for shoes perfect for travel, I cannot more highly recommend Tieks. The frugal shopper in me was skeptical when I bought my first pair five years ago, and now I own six pairs! Yes, they’re pricey at $175 a pop, but they also are incredibly comfortable and last for ages. I’m currently eyeing the rose gold ones to match everything else rose gold in my life.
My 2019 discovery was the magic of the AirPods. I know, I know, just call me Magellan. But it was a total game-changer for my podcast listening habits, now that I can pop them into my ears and travel throughout the house, cleaning, vacuuming and doing laundry while never getting disconnected from what I’m listening to. I also listen to them on every flight and love that I don’t have wires connecting—and often, entangling me—to my laptop or phone. The base model, which I own, is now just $139, though if you’re a frequent traveler, you might consider upgrading to the Apple AirPods Pro for another $100 due to the noise-canceling functionality.
SVV here! There’s not much else that gets me more excited than a brand new piece of hardware, and it’s likely that your significant other feels the same way. I’ve been collecting tools for years, big and small, and recommend you gift these essentials—DEWALT 8V MAX Cordless Screwdriver Kit, Channellock GS-3 3 Piece Straight Jaw Tongue and Groove Pliers Set, IRWIN Tools VISE-GRIP Original Locking Pliers Kit Bag Set—for a sweet surprise. Bonus: Your partner won’t have an excuse when something needs to be done around the house! Subtle hint anyone?
Boys don’t traditionally need a large storage solution for their vanity needs so a simple, elegant pouch like a dopp kit is a good option for storing their grooming supplies, and makes for a really great gift they didn’t even know they wanted. I still use a bag I got 15 years ago, and it’s critical for me to have this sack to grab and go when we’re traveling. I bought another one last year to keep a first aid kit in the boot of my car (which includes mini-bottles of our favorite gins and whiskeys for “emergencies”). These are truly handy ways to keep small items organized. This is the one I swear by, but there are so many options for dopp kits on Amazon if you prefer a different style.
tool bag for his car
Keeping in line with organization and the need for most men to feel like they’re prepared for the apocalypse, this high-quality, American-made bag is killer for storing jumper cables, a selection of hand tools and other sundries in a trunk or behind the seat of a truck. Kristin likes to keep a cute umbrella and a pair of rain boots in my vehicle for extreme weather, and this bag is large enough for all of that plus the zombie attack/roadside repair kit.
cast iron skillet
Likely the most used item in our kitchen—especially because I, SVV, do all the cooking!—you can’t go wrong buying anything cast iron for Valentine’s Day if you don’t already have one. Lodge is our personal preference, and the Tennessee-based brand makes so many sizes and models. Versatile enough to be used on the stovetop, in the oven or over an open fire on a camping trip, if you have an amateur chef for a partner they will love this combo as an addition to the cooking arsenal. Fun fact: If you live in Tennessee or Georgia, you can pop into the Lodge factory in South Pittsburg (near Chattanooga) and get great deals on cast iron pieces with flaws or imperfections; there are also now three additional locations in the Smokies and North Carolina.
Now that you have our own personal wishlists, tell us: What else do you think belongs on a travel gift guide for Valentine’s Day, both for men and women?