Holiday Shopping Guide for Travelers, plus Show & Book Recs to Take You Away!

It’s been a few months since I have written a JamboGuides blog. Once the pandemic arrived back in March I hit the pause button as travel screeched to a halt. With people working hard to stay healthy and safe, canceling any upcoming travel plans, and hunkering down to a new normal of life at home it hardly seemed the time to blog about travel and itineraries. 

Fast forward seven months and Covid is still raging across the US, but some people are opting for safe trips within driving distances and others are starting to put trips on the calendar for 2021 with a ‘fingers crossed and the reservations are entirely refundable’ attitude.  So with that in mind, and with the holidays around the corner, I decided to put out holiday ‘shopping for the traveler’ guide, as well as to recommend a few travel oriented shows and books for ‘escape’ fun.

So let’s get going! 

Shopping for the Traveler Holiday Guide

A Kit to Keep You Safe, and Organized, When on Airplanes: As people consider getting back on an airplane, these travel kits are great gifts for friends and family…or  yourself.  Serenity Seats offers travel kits that include a lightweight antimicrobial seat and tray cover organizer, a mask with a built-in filter, and a travel pack of antibacterial wipes (10) to help keep germs away. Clever built-in pockets keep your belongings clean and at your fingertips during the flight. I’ve ordered one for everyone in my family as a holiday gift. Plus, get a 20% discount through December 15 with code Jambo20!

Pill Organizer for Travel – Fully Loaded With Travel Needs: I gave this to everyone in my family last year after seeing a friend bring it on a trip. My family mocked me a bit….until they each then took it anywhere they went from then on, and used it!  It’s a simple little pill box, but you can do the grunt work to make it a great gift. Before you wrap it up,  fill the compartments with general travel meds (Advil, Alieve, Benadryl, Tums etc) and label each compartment, with the provided sticker, indicating what it is and what the dosage is. Leave some compartments empty for the giftee to fill with their own specific medications. It’s a great gift that is really useful. 

The Best Carry On Suitcase: When I switched to the Away Bigger Carry On Expandable suitcase from my 20 year old roller bag it was a game changer. Larger than their regular Carry On (and thus they don’t guarantee it will fit in all planes…although I’ve never had an issue with it), the Expandable is big enough to actually hold all your things. I took a three week trip to Bhutan and Cambodia with it last year… something a regular ‘regulation’ carry on wouldn’t have been able to do. 

Packable ‘Puffer’ Down Blanket To bring on the plane, to keep in the car, to take camping or to use at home, these lightweight down blankets come in a little stuff sack and are a great gift for any age or gender. There is one a bit more expensive in more color options on Amazon ($39.99), but at 2 for $49 the ones from Costco are a great deal if you are a member.

Waterproof, Washable Labels for Everything:  These labels from Label Daddy can be put on everything from cameras, computers and clothing to kindles, luggage and chargers. When traveling you can keep track of your things and if you happen to leave anything behind it’s easy to track things down as well. They don’t come off in the wash and last for years. I prefer the ‘clothing x-small’ labels as the most versatile and put our last name on it  – others I know put first and last name so their kids can keep chargers etc separated. There currently is a code LABELVIP for 50% off – but not sure how long it will be valid.

Waterproof Travel Pouches and Bags: Aloha bags are terrific bags and pouches that can hold toiletries, wet bathing suits or all of your beach or trips needs (depending on the size). They have great designs and the material is lightweight and washable. These midsized ones are my favorite for travel needs.

Face Cream for Those Who Miss Travel to France This awesome face cream is one that some have been known to bring home from a trip to France…and now it’s available at a great price at Costco. It’s rich and creamy – not too thin/runny and not too thick. It’s a ‘members only’ purchase however given it’s great price of 2 for $28.99. If you aren’t a Costco member you can also get it here, albeit at a slightly higher price point.  

Sunscreen for Everyone: Need stocking stuffers?  Whether you are traveling or spending your days taking walks in your neighborhood, sunscreen is needed by all. The Unseen Sunscreen by Supergood is great for faces as it doesn’t have harmful ingredients and doesn’t feel like sunscreen – it’s clear and you don’t feel it once it’s on. Great for kids/teens as well. I also recommend their everyday Play product for the body, and their CC Screen is a great everyday tinted foundation/sunscreen combo for the face that comes in lots of shades.

Shows to ‘Take You Abroad’:

These lighthearted shows are a fun escape that take place abroad. No tense or scary stuff here – just lots of fun entertainment!

Ted Lasso: This Apple TV show was a hit with every member of our household and it’s been greenlighted for two more seasons! It follows a small-time, uber optimistic American football coach and his assistant as they go to England to coach a British soccer club, knowing nothing about the game of soccer. ‘Since its premiere on August 14, 2020, critics and fans globally have hailed the series as “terrific,” “hilarious,” “heart-swelling” and “infectious.”

Emily In Paris: (Netflix) This seems to be the show that people are loving to hate….but secretly are really loving. If you are in the mood for an escape to Paris with beautiful clothes and scenery, a carefree American woman who every man tends to fall for, and a handsome french chef then be sure to check it out. 

Derry Girls: (Netflix) This dramedy follows a group of Catholic school teens in 1990’s North Ireland as they navigate life and growing up as turbulent times surround them. Helpful to have subtitles on as the Irish accents can be pretty heavy. Really entertaining!

The Crown: (Netflix) Season 4 is now out and continues to be a wonderful historical drama about Queen Elizabeth II. The latest season picks up when Lady Di enters into the picture, but be sure to watch all the previous seasons as well/first!

Lovesick:  (Netflix) This British sitcom follows a group of English friends as they navigate their lives and their romantic interests. The main character is diagnosed with chlamydia and episodes follow him as he tracks down past sexual partners, with much of the show coming via flashbacks the show the group of friends in prior years as well as in current time.  

Call My Agent: (Netflix) This French TV Series follows agents in a French talent agency in their professional and private lives. It is in French with subtitles so you can’t multitask when watching unless you speak French!

Books to Let Us Explore Places We Can’t Currently Visit:

Here are a few books I’ve read recently that ‘took me away’ and that I’d recommend. For a complete full list of recommended books by region please click here.

The Secrets Between Us by Thrity Umrigar: In this wonderful sequel to “The Space Between Us’, Thrity Umrigar takes us to India where a former servant living in the slums strives to make a better life for her granddaughter, finding new friendships, new direction in her life and new ways of looking at a more modern India in the process. It was one of the books I enjoyed reading most in recent months. You don’t need to have read the first book in order to enjoy this one.

The Last Rhinos: My Battle to Save One of the World’s Greatest Creatures: by Lawrence Anthony: The Last Rhinos follow conservationist Lawrence Anthony (also author of the wonderful books The Elephant Whisperer and Babylon’s Ark: The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo) as he journeyed into the Congo to try to save the White Rhinos species. 

Last Boat Out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Fled Mao’s Revolution by Helen Zia: This fascinating true book follows 4 different young people as they navigate the exodus of Shanghai after China’s 1949 Communist revolution.  It is a true story that reads like a historical novel and is a wonderful read. Each of the main characters have very different experiences that take their lives and the generations that follow them in very different directions.

Any products or shows/books you recommend? Please shoot me an email and let me know!

Thanks, and stay safe!

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Picture of Chrissie Kremer
Chrissie Kremer

I am a mixed bag traveler - I go the budget route on some things and splurge on others. I love family adventure travel, trips with girlfriends, or solo trips with my kids. I like urban exploration but prefer it coupled with outdoor activity (and when traveling with my kids it's more outdoor activity coupled with a dose of urban). I have been to 62 countries... and counting.

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Picture of Chrissie Kremer
Chrissie Kremer

I am a mixed bag traveler - I go the budget route on some things and splurge on others. I love family adventure travel, trips with girlfriends, or solo trips with my kids. I like urban exploration but prefer it coupled with outdoor activity (and when traveling with my kids it's more outdoor activity coupled with a dose of urban). I have been to 62 countries... and counting.

JOIN THE COMMUNITY!

and receive the “Carry On Only Packing Guide”, free. 

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