For those moments when you're craving a delicious treat from Spain but can't travel abroad, just open a box of gourmet goodies from Spanish Suitcase. Founded by a husband and wife team with a passion for Spain and its cuisine, Spanish Suitcase creates travel-inspired, luxury gift boxes chock full of the country's best treats - olives, Jamón Ibérico, almonds, chocolate, cheese, and more. They even have specialty boxes for vegetarians and seafood lovers. And, the suitcase inspired packaging is a clever departure from your run-of-the-mill gift basket. Spanish Suitcase gift boxes are available from $60-$175 and a select assortment of individual items are available for as little as $14.
Mother's Day is just a few days away (Sunday, May 13) but there is still time to give your Mom a gift that will make her feel like a jetsetter whether she is taking a trip or relaxing at home. (image: Keith Haring, Mother Holding Baby)
One of my friends recently took her 70 year-old mother on a week long vacation to Italy and had a blast. It has been way too long since I've traveled with my Mom but instead of surprising her with a trip - I would involve her in the planning process. Present your mom with several guidebooks for 3-4 places that you think would be a great fit for your ultimate girlfriend getaway and let mom get the final vote. Barnes & Noble has a great selection of travel guides.
If you've already planned a tropical getaway for Mom, this gorgeous turquoise bejeweled linen caftan from Calypso St. Barth will take her from the beach to cocktails in style. And, if even if she never leaves the house she'll feel glamorous in this chic caftan. (Llewellyn Turquoise Jeweled Caftan, $345)
Sometimes Mom just wants to relax! Just in time for Mother's Day, Lierac Paris skincare and Ovando Florist have partnered to create "Sleeping Beauty"- a chic floral arrangement paired with a sophisticated selection of best-selling Lierac products. The gift includes a striking floral arrangement, Lait Sensoriel Body Milk, Sensorielle Multi-Use Oil, and Body Slim Anti-Cellulite Concentrate. ($225, a $285 value)
If your mom is a foodie with an adventurous palate, The Ingredient Finderis certain to have the perfect spice, oil, salt, and more. One of my faves is their Global Spice Blend Collection ($162) that showcases blends from Marrakech, Sri Lanka, Spain and beyond. And, if you're lucky, mom will get the hint that you're craving a homecooked meal with a dash of these spices. Of course, you'll do the dishes!
My Mom believes that there are few problems in the world that a nice cup of tea can't solve and some of our best conversations have opened over tea. The ritual of tea is all about taking a time-out to connect and reflect. So while you and mom are planning your trip or reminiscing about past adventures, brew a pot of this gorgeous Blooming Zen Tea. The gift set ($89.95) includes two flavors of Japanese white tea and a beautiful clear glass tea pot so that you can observe the tea balls blooming as they steep.
If you're planning to spend Valentine's Day traveling with your sweetheart, you've probably already made your vacation plans. If not, sites like SniqueAwayand LastMinute.com are great for planning romantic escapes on short notice.
Personally, I like my Valentine's Day on the simple side: give me delicious dark chocolate and a romantic dinner and I'm in heaven! (Of course, I would not be upset if said romantic dinner took place in Paris!)
I also love to give and receive whimsical gifts adorned with hearts. Here are three practical Valentine's Day themed gifts for travelers that will keep you on your darling's mind whenever they are far from home.
Romero Britto Heart Luggage Tag $16 Brazilian artist Romero Britto is known for his bold and playful creations. Share a piece of his joyful art with your darling by gifting this wildly colored can't-miss-it luggage tag.
I Am Love Leather IPad Case Peace Love World $68 Romance and functionality pair beautifully in this cute and practical IPad case. It will keep your sweetie's IPad safe and remind them of you all year-round.
Jonathan Adler Red Heart Soft Photo Wallet $16.95 Isn't it about time to print out some of those photos on your computer? Fill this wallet with precious photos of you and your better-half. This low-tech gift has big impact!
While many of us fill our luggage with cute dresses and shoes, UNICEF workers travel to 190 countries with supplies that can save the lives of children. Let's face it, from Haiti to Pakistan, when disaster strikes it is often women and children that suffer the most. Since 1946 UNICEF has been committed to helping children overcome not only the impact of natural disasters but also the obstacles that result from poverty, violence, disease and discrimination.
There is never a bad time to support such an important cause, but the holiday season is the ideal time to give a gift that supports UNICEF's mission - it takes more than compassion to save lives, it takes resources. Recently, I was invited to take an up close look at the UNICEF gift collection, including their famous greeting cards, jewelry, and more. It was hard to whittle the list down, but here are five of my favorite UNICEF gifts.
Handmade Nepalese Scarf $30 This brightly colored scarf is the perfect accent for a little black dress and a great way to stay warm and stylish. Made in Nepal, it is a hand-woven and hand-dyed softly textured blend of cotton and viscose.
Silk Jewelry Travel Roll $12.99 Keep your baubles organized on the road in this pretty hand-embroidered pouch. Made in India, it has 3 individual pockets to securely hold your trinkets.
What about giving a gift directly to a child in need? Buy a UNICEF inspired gift and dedicate it to a friend. Your friend receives a card and your gift is sent where kids need it most.
School-in-a-Box $256.40 Help UNICEF set up a temporary school for at least 40 children during times of emergency. Supplied in a lockable aluminum box, the kit includes basic school supplies and classroom tools that are vital for helping children continuing their education in the most dire of circumstances.
Bicycle $86.25 The gift of a bike helps UNICEF health workers and midwives deliver vital services and supplies to rural communities - talk about traveling for good!
Winter Child Survival Pack $81.35 Provide a child with the supplies they most need to survive the next 6 months. This kit includes Micronutrient powders that help a child on the brink of malnutrition get the vitamins and minerals that are most essential for them to grow up healthy, immunizations from measles and polio, and water purification tablets.
I'm willing to bet one of my little black dresses that if you love to travel then you are probably a foodie too. After all, one of the thrills of visiting a new place is sampling the regional cuisine. However when when you can't get to Spain for tapas or down South for grits, getting your favorite faraway foods shipped to you is a convenient way to satisfy a craving. Here are five food gifts that will make even the most sophisticated foodie smile.
Around the World Collection $162 at IngredientFinder.com This high end collection of 12 unique spice and herb blends makes everyday meals extraordinary. Whether you are scrambling eggs or grilling chicken, add the flavors of Marrakesh, Sri Lanka, Spain, France, Kentucky and other tasty destinations to your recipes.
Tapas for Two $49 at LaTienda.com Invite an amigo over to share this bountiful basket of treats from Spain. It includes chorizo, San Nicasio potato chips, Peregrino anchovy stuffed olives, Marcona almonds, Rabitos chocolate fig bonbons, and even a terra cotta cazuela dish for serving the olives or almonds. Buen provecho!
Vosges Haut Chocolat Exotic Candy Bar Flight $33 at Vosges.com Say au revoir to boring chocolate - Vosges brings out the best in chocolate by combining it with exotic ingredients like wasabi, sweet Indian curry, and bacon.This pretty purple box contains 4 bars of their creative confections.
Something Sweet from Italy $79 at Eataly.com For a gift with a celebrity pedigree, choose this basket of dolci from Eataly - NYC's new Italian market run by Mario Batali and Lidia Bastianich and her son Joe. This tote bag of goodies includes torrone, cookies, coffee, hazelnut candy and more!
Belle of the South $61.95 at ATasteoftheSouth.com Enjoy southern hospitality anywhere with this basket of down home delectables chock full of South Carolina Cayenne Hot Sauce, Charleston Grits, Low Country Peach Preserves, 2 flavors of Iron Brew Coffee and much more.
Sometimes the true meaning of the holidays gets lost in all of the shopping chaos but you don't need to max out your credit cards to show someone you care. Traveling ladies appreciate functional gifts that make life on the road easier. I've put together a list of twelve great gifts that will bring a holiday smile to the jetsetting divas in your life without sending you to the poor house. After all, you need some money leftover to treat yourself too! Samsonite XSpace Expandable Spinner Carryon on sale at Ebags for $161.99 and free shipping. Samsonite may not be the sexiest luggage on the market but their bags have a stellar reputation due to their sturdiness and functionality. Also available in Galaxy Black and Mars Red, this brightly colored carry-on has multi-directional wheels that provide 360 degree upright rolling. The case expands but fits easily into overhead bins. Le SportSac Large Weekender $81.48 at Endless.com Perfect for a weekend getaway, this lightweight bag has a playful pattern, plenty of compartments, and a roomy interior. Various patterns available.
Packable Down Jacket in a Pouch $119 at TravelSmith Water-repellent, tear-resistant and windproof, this sleek down jacket comes in a drawstring pouch that can double as a pillow on the plane. Also available in black.
Flip Video Mini HD Camcorder $199.99 at Amazon Capturing travel memories on video is super-easy with this compact camcorder. Tiny enough to fit into a pocket or purse, the Flip is big on features, including HD quality video and easy uploads to Facebook and YouTube.
Invicta Women's Limited Edition Diamond Chronograph Watch On sale for $129.99 at Endless.com (regular price is $695) Missing a flight is next to impossible with this gorgeous watch on your wrist. Keep track of time in style. Blinged out with 16 hand-set diamonds and a mother-of-pearl face, this watch is also sturdy - it has a stainless steel case and is water resistant up to 330 ft.
The World Traveler Note Card by She's Got Papers $3.00 per card or $12 for a set of 6. Set of 6 personalized cards is $36. Even in a high-tech world, a handwritten note still has major impact. Give a set of these whimsical cards to your favorite jetsetter so she can send you a note full of juicy details about her latest getaway. After all, secrets are too sacred for a postcard and should be placed in a sealed envelope!
Kushyfoot Flats to Go $8.99 at Kushyfoot.com These fun flats are the perfect stocking stuffer for every traveling lady on your list. Made of soft and flexible faux leather, Kushyfoot Flats to Go come in a convenient plastic carrier that slips easily inside a purse. I keep a pair in my bag for instant relief whenever my feet start aching. Available in black, gold and silver.
PEACE Black Sheer Jersey Chemise $36 at Peace Love World Give your favorite traveler a wearable message of peace in this triple-threat chemise that functions as sleepwear, a tank or a dress. With the word "Peace" imprinted on the bottom, this garment is a perfect sentiment for the holiday season and always.
Father's Day is the perfect time to spoil Dad, and many of the special men in your life, with a travel themed present. Whether he fancies himself a top chef or a king of the road, these gifts are sure to make him smile on June 20 and any day of the year. Consider yourself warned: you may be tempted to get one of these very cool presents for yourself!
Iron Chef Wannabe: Has Dad been whipping up the same recipes since you were a tiny tater tot? Enroll him in a culinary arts program so that he can graduate from nuking Hungry Man TV dinners to making a gourmet meal from scratch. TheInstitute of Culinary Educationin NYC has a great selection of courses. Also, in addition to their legendary Paris culinary mecca,Le Cordon Bleuhas several locations throughout North America from Atlanta to Sacramento.
When in Rome, Be a Gladiator: Who knew there was a market for
gladiators in 2010? The luxurious Cavalieri Hoteloffers training in
ancient combat techniques with instructors from Rome's Gladiatorial
School. The classes are taught in a private park overlooking Rome's skyline. Enrollment includes a snazzy tunic, Roman sandals, and a wooden training sword.
King of the Road:The BMW Performance Driving Schoolin Greer, South Carolina gives motorcycle and car enthusiasts the opportunity to safely unleash their inner speed demon. Taught on a fleet of BMW's latest vehicles, there are courses for novice and experienced drivers.
Dad Loves Rock 'n' Roll: Have you caught Dad singing into his hairbrush or does he hog the mic at karaoke? Give him the opportunity to headbang with the best of them at Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp in Philadelphia, San Francisco, Dallas or Chicago. Participants get to jam, record a song, and perform with real rock stars from groups like Guns & Roses and Quiet Riot. Rock on!
PS. Be sure to pack Dad a bag of toiletries for his adventure. The Orvis Batenkill Canvas Travel Kitis on sale for $59 (reg: $79) and can be embossed with up to 6 letters for an additional $8.
Fill the bag with goodies from NIVEA for Men's new Revitalizing Q10 products. It includes Shaving Gel, Eye Roller Gel, and Double Action Balm. All of the products contain Coenzyme Q10 and moisturize, defend and soothe the skin. Affordable, effective and available at drugstores everywhere!