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These Gifts Will Make You Feel Like You’re on a Vacation

You may not be able to gift a trip this year, so bring your traveler’s favorite getaway to them.

2020 has made shopping for the traveler in your life a little extra challenging. Where before you might have gifted a loved one a vacation, a cruise, or a weekend getaway, you’ve now got to think outside of the box. What do you give a traveler who can’t travel? May I suggest bringing that city to them? That’s why we’re rounding up the gifts that can turn your home into a favorite city this holiday season. From the treat your special someone always orders to the drink they wait all year to imbibe—these gifts will feel like a vacation.

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New Orleans

For the traveler missing their annual trip to New Orleans, bring the flavor that makes the city so memorable to them. Café Du Monde is a New Orleans favorite, with perfectly fluffy beignets and strong coffee. While waiting in line is part of the process, this year is far from traditional. So, we’re skipping the line and making these NOLA favorites at home with Café Du Monde’s beignet mix and French roast coffee. It’s their favorite recipe without the crowds.

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In case you missed it, clogs are the shoe of 2020. This gift is versatile in that it brings back fond memories of your trip to the Netherlands while also elevating just about every outfit. These clogs are handmade in Holland, with a plethora of designs and colors to choose from. Grab a bouquet of tulips from a local florist, or if tulips aren’t available in your area, a wooden set that can brighten up any room year-round.

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We might not be atop the Eiffel Tower this year or relaxing in the Parisian countryside, but we can (at least for a day) bring that Parisian way of life home. We’re talking good bread, plenty of butter, some bubbly, and an evening on the balcony. Shipping bread from Paris is a bit counterintuitive given that the appeal is its freshness, so head to your local bakery for a baguette, croissant, and whatever else speaks to you that morning and top it off with French butter—Lescure butter is awarded a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) from the Charentes-Poitou region of France. Enjoy a glass of champagne, another PDO—perhaps a Krug—on your lit-up balcony to recreate a romantic Parisian night in.

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There’s no better way to spend a frigid day in the Windy City than inside a deep dish hot-spot with basketball on and the windows steamed up. But because sitting inside a restaurant is not exactly recommended quite yet, maybe it’s best we brought that environment to you? Order yourself Lou Malnati’s to be cooked up at home—no kitchen skills required as the only prep needed is preheating the oven. Throw in a bottle of Malort (apologies to your gift receiver in advance) and a tub of the Garret Mix and you’ve got yourself a night in Chicago.

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Tokyo is unlike any other city in the world, so it’s understandable why you’re missing it this year. It’s a place where you can be a kid for a day as you drive around in your Mario-inspired Kart and then an adult as you eat at a top-tier sushi restaurant. To bring that ageless vibe home, do as you would do in Tokyo. While you might not be able to drive around in go-karts in your neighborhood, you can grab a Mario onesie and load up a game of Mario Kart to get in the kid-forever mindset. After indulging in the fun-er things, indulge in the finer things with a delicious spread of the best sushi. You can order local or try your hand at creating your own rolls with this sushi making kit. And don’t forget a steaming matcha latte to start the day (or end the afternoon).

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A trip to Italy is all about the art and food. While you might not be able to visit the institutions that draw enough tourists to make it the fifth most visited country in the world, you can still enjoy a taste of Italy from home. There’s the obvious route—Eataly—an Italian marketplace offering some of the best pasta, sauces, and ingredients you can get outside of Italy (so grab some ingredients here). But there’s also the option of a pasta cooking class, where you and your traveler can join an Italian chef online to learn how to make their signature dish. It might not be Italy, but it sure will taste like it (remember that some of the best gifts are experiences).

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Maybe part of your Hawaiin tradition (aside from the sun-bathing and nature exploration) was to hit up just one Pearl-In-the-Oyster kiosk each visit. While sadly you won’t be pointing to an oyster and hoping for treasure this year, you can do one better with the gift of Hawaiin pearls—no guessing, they’re real and they’re there. Maui Divers sources their gems from the Pacific, and the jewelry is designed and created in Hawaii. Finish the night off with your version of a lūʻau—while we understand your building might advise against fire dancing, they surely wouldn’t oppose a Hawaiian crafted Lei and small pig roast (in other words, a ham).