Travel Babbo Holiday Gift Guide

Travel Babbo Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday Gifts for Travelers – 2022

Another year, another gift guide! In case you’re new here, I’ll start with the important stuff. We don’t buy a lot, since we would rather invest in travel and experiences. This gift guide is my way of highlighting brands I love and cool things I’ve discovered this year that other travelers could use. I always mention a couple of the better cookbooks we’ve found recently as well, since we’re major foodies and my wife’s constantly finding new cookbooks.

Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning I make a couple of dollars if you click on them and buy something, but most of the links aren’t. No one has paid to be on this list.

Some of these things aren’t items to be wrapped in, but they’re great to keep in mind when you’re planning your next trip. Most though you can put under the tree. And if I link to Amazon, it’s because that’s the easiest place to get something. I don’t love Amazon. If you can support your local independent stores instead, please do.

Minaal Backpacks

Nicaragua Family Travel - Traveling light in Nicaragua!  My backpack is from Minaal, my shirt is from Unbound Merino and my flip flops are OluKai.
My normal carry-on from Minaal – this is the only bag I took in Nicaragua.

I bought my first Minaal backpacks via Kickstarter many years ago and this year upgraded to their Carry-on 3.0 and Daily 3.0. They’re both excellent – ​​just different sizes for different trips. When I go on a trip without one of their packs, like to Switzerland last month where I took a hiking pack instead, I regret it. I’ve never felt so disorganized when traveling! I have no financial stake in Minaal, but I will sing their praises forever.

Buy here

OluKai Shoes and Sandals

Best things to do in Paris: The view from Room 62. Slippers from OluKai.
My Mahana slippers from OluKai in Paris

Likewise, I absolutely love OluKai. If they were publicly-traded I’d buy shares! This past year I’ve traveled almost exclusively with OluKai – the only exception being my hiking boots. All of their shoes are great, but the four I spend the most time in are:

  • Ohana sandals. My slip-on California shoes that I keep by every door of our house (I have a lot of pairs).
  • Lae’ahi Lī ‘Ili. Good-looking and extremely comfortable everyday shoes. I have them in white and fox.
  • Nānā Hele Wai’apo. Waterproof and good-looking boots for conferences when it may rain! I also have the normal Nānā Hele but I’m hesitant to get them wet.
  • Mahana slippers. I have three different OluKai slippers and like these the best. Warm and cozy after a day of walking.

Buy here


I got a bunch of mini bars from Bar and Cocoa to try things.  I then ordered multiple bars of our favorites.
I got a bunch of mini bars from Bar and Cocoa to try things. I then ordered multiple bars of our favorites.

We love chocolate and are always looking for different chocolates to try from around the world. We did that while traveling of course, and I’ve written in the past about how much we love Amedei and Dandelion, and this year we started trying different things from Bar and Cocoa and then ordering more of what we love (so far Maraná and Definite are our favorites we’ve discovered there). Buy lots! And comment below with your favorites – especially if you’re a dark chocolate fan too.

Buy here

Unbound Merino

Gift guide 2022 - My wife and daughter in Unbound Merino
My wife and daughter in Unbound Merino

Unbound Merino is still my favorite clothing company! They’re the only shirts I pack when I travel, and I wear them when I’m home too. And my wife and daughters are fans of their women’s line. I’ve gotten so many comments from people who have discovered them through me and who love their clothes, so there’s very little risk of you not liking what you order! The only negative thing: they don’t make a lot of any items, so they tend to sell out quickly.

Buy here. And you can use my code TRAVELBABBO at checkout to save 10% on your first order.

A Gelato A Day and Kinfolk Islands

Gift guide 2022 - Kinfolk Islands and A Gelato A Day
Kinfolk Islands and A Gelato A Day

I love both of these books as they get away from the stereotypical. Kinfolk Islands highlights the world’s islands, but opts for Socotra, Ponza and Zanzibar over Hawaii, Mykonos and Bora Bora. After feeling burnt out on island travel after visiting heavily over-touristed Santorini and Mykonos this past summer, this book restored my faith in island destinations! And A Gelato A Day does the same for family travel. It tells the real family travel stories that are out there but are often glossed over in favor of pretty family travel blogs (where every trip is perfect) and pretty Instagram posts (where every destination is perfect). Expertly edited by Claudia Laroye.

Buy Kinfolk Islands here

Buy A Gelato A Day here

Simr Phone Stands

Gift guide 2022 - My daughter borrowing my SIMR phone stand
My daughter borrowing my Simr phone stand

I know everyone has their favorite phone stand. This is mine – from Simr. I found it via a One Girl Wandering Instagram story and have used it consistently since then – on my desk and when traveling. It’s heavy but it works well for holding my phone regardless of the seat configuration in front of me, and it acts as a tripod when I need to film something.

I got mine from Amazon – the link below.

Buy here

A Duration Health Antibiotics Kit

Vacation packing list: Next stop for my Duration Health antibiotic kit: Antarctica
My antibiotic kit from Duration Health

So this is one of those things that isn’t really a holiday gift so much as it’s a perfect thing to get for yourself before your next trip. I included the antibiotics/meds kit in my Packing List for Adventure Travel, since we always travel with it, and Health Duration reached out to me with a discount code to pass along to readers. Just use the code BABBO22 to save $100 through December 31, 2022.

Buy here

All Better Co Don’t Scratch That Pens and Patches

Gift guide 2022: The last time my daughter had a bite I took this picture, knowing I wanted to include the pens in this gift guide!
The last time my daughter had a bite I took this picture, knowing I wanted to include the pens in this gift guide

One more in the “don’t wrap it, but take it on your next vacation in case you need it” category. My 12-year-old daughter is a magnet for mosquitoes and other things that bite. The relief pens and patches from All Better Co are the first things that have really worked to relieve the itching. We’re stocking up before our next trip.

Buy here


Gift guide 2022: Our mixed case from Housley Napa Valley
Our mixed case from Housley Napa Valley

I just spent a week in Napa, and tried many, many wines at wineries and tasting rooms, and I was most impressed with Housley Napa Valley. They’re the wines I would want to create if I had a winery – very good but not expensive. I sampled a half-dozen of wines in the tasting room, ordered a mixed case as soon as I got home, and then immediately ordered another case. If you want good tasting wines at Christmas that will impress people but won’t destroy your holiday budget, Housley is a good option. Not an affiliate link!

Buy here


Gift guide 2022: Three of my wife's favorite recent cookbooks
Three of my wife’s favorite recent cookbooks

Every year I ask my wife what cookbooks she’s liked best from the past year, and every year I include them! This year she mentioned The Bread Book (yep, even post-Covid, she’s still baking a lot) and The Latin American Cookbook and Tu Casa Mi Casa as she’s been as she’s been diving deeper into the authentic/local foods of Mexico and Central and South America. All are highly recommended.

Buy The Bread Book here

Buy The Latin American Cookbook here

Buy Tu Casa Mi Casa here


What are the best travel-related things you’ve found this year? Please comment below!

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