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Almost four years after the pandemic began, people are certainly traveling again – but those of us who create content to help you do so have still been on a rollercoaster of traffic and income (I covered some of this in my 10-year blogiversary, if you’re curious to learn why and more!). This might not seem relevant to you as the traveler, but it’s important to remember that we creators are business owners; it’s hard out there for a player – I mean blogger – when you can’t predict what your business might do next month.
The best way to support the travel creators you love is by reading/engaging with the content they create; the second best option is to purchase from them (or through links they share). That’s why I’m excited to share an updated list of the best travel products created by travel experts. These are people like me (and including me) who have worked hard to come up with creative, useful, and fun products to sell on our websites, about the destinations they love.
I am so proud to share the products created by fellow travel experts on this list. As you’ll see, we travel blogger types have gotten pretty darn creative – and many of us have had to work extra hard to keep our businesses afloat these last few years. Purchasing these gifts directly supports the travel expert creators themselves. Read on to get inspired to visit these destinations – and tick a few gifts off your need-to-buy list this year.
1. Trip Chaser Game
- Featured destination? The World!
- Cost? $34
As I don’t offer many products of my own anymore, I was really uncertain where to start this list – but I found the perfect product to kick things off: Trip Chaser.
I met Dalene from Hecktic Travels in 2022 and we immediately hit it off; I was so excited to hear that she and her husband Pete were creating a game – and after playing it I’m super impressed with the creativity and quality that they’ve brought together in Trip Chaser.
The basic premise is that you earn/save money, travel to destinations, and experience realistic (and hilarious) potential mishaps along the way – all while earning points for those travels.
I won’t say more here other than it’s a perfect game for travelers, but non-travelers can have a lot of fun with it too.
2. Cleveland Cityscape Mug
- Featured destination? Cleveland, OH
- Cost? $20
Hey look, it’s our new home city of Cleveland! My blogger friend Amanda, who also runs another site, started her Cleveland site a few years ago to share about living here.
Since then, she’s built out a huge wealth of resources that I use regularly when planning things to do around Cleveland; she also offers a number of Cleveland products including these mugs that were designed by a fellow travel blogger, Candace. It shows the Cleveland skyline, and the image was originally hand-drawn and water-colored – it’s a real work of art for a coffee mug!
We have two of these mugs at home, and they work great for holding “jet fuel” for work each morning (aka coffee).
3. Covered Bridge Under the Milky Way Puzzle
- Featured destination? Pennsylvania
- Cost? $39.99
Puzzles were a big hit during the pandemic – let’s not let it go yet! That’s where this puzzle by Jim from Uncovering PA (as in Pennsylvania) comes in handy; there are actually a number of 1,000-piece puzzles for sale, but I like this one because of its starscape when the puzzle is complete.
Other items in his shop include shirts, jewelry, photo prints, and other fun items, if puzzles aren’t your style.
While I might be partial to Ohio since that’s where we live, Pennsylvania is pretty great too, and this is a great way to support a creator encouraging travel there.
4. Food Maps
- Featured destination? Canada, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, Thailand, Vietnam
- Cost? $18-$30 depending on product
Jodi from Legal Nomads is another one of the original travel bloggers, though her life has been in a very different chapter these past few years following major health issues. Initially, she made a name for herself as one of the best food-travel bloggers, and her shop is filled with products inspired by the food she loves in her favorite destinations around the globe.
Specifically, she worked with a designer to come up with “food maps” of different countries, like Mexico (pictured), Italy, and Vietnam. The art is available as a poster or screen-printed on a tee or tote bag. These make a perfect gift for someone who loves traveling for food – the biggest Anthony Bourdain fan in your life.
5. Scottish Scented Candles
- Featured destination? Scotland
- Cost? $33 each
I’ll be honest: I was not aware of Kay or her blog, The Chaotic Scot, before I started researching this gift guide, but I’m SO glad I found her. I love a good destination-scented candle (i.e. NOT Homesick Candles) and have even created my own a few years ago (no longer available).
Kay partnered with a candlemaker to design four different scents to represent the four seasons in four different parts of Scotland. She doesn’t sell them as a four-season pack anymore, you can buy them in pairs (Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter).
Having been to Edinburgh and the Highlands myself, I love pulling these out each autumn as the weather turns cool.
6. The Dining Traveler Guide to Puerto Rico
- Featured destination? Puerto Rico
- Cost? $39.95
Like Jodi, Jessica is a well-known and respected member of the food+travel writing community, and she shares stories from around the world on her blog, The Dining Traveler. However, she was raised in Puerto Rico and visits regularly – making her the perfect person to write a book about the island.
In her book, you’ll discover gorgeous photos and tons of information about Puerto Rico, divided up geographically. From popular spots that you may have heard of to lesser-known areas that will inspire a future trip, this book is a great gift for someone who loves America and should explore more of it.
7. Oktoberfest Tee
- Featured destination? Munich, Germany
- Cost? $25
You might not know it from this blog, but I love Oktoberfest. I’ve been twice in Munich, and plan to go back again in the next few years… maybe once Baby V is big enough to have fun too.
You won’t find much Oktoberfest content on my site though… why? Because I know my friend Ashley has the best resources out there, on her blog My Wanderlusty Life, and I want to support her by pointing people to her site when they are planning an Oktoberfest trip.
She also has Oktoberfest-inspired products, like this “Ein Prosit” tee that teaches you the words to Munich’s famous drinking song (you’ll hear it when you go!). Best of all, she made it in this rich purple color to match my site – just for me and V&V readers!
It’s a great option if you don’t have a dirndl or lederhosen.
8. Secret Seattle Guidebook
- Featured destination? Seattle
- Cost? $22.50
As you might know, travel creators like me work really hard to create unique, helpful resources about the destinations we know and love; such is the case for Mary Jo on her site Discovering Washington State.
She also has a full book of cool and unusual things to do in Seattle, Secret Seattle: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure (and oh boy, is Seattle full of spots like that!). It’s a perfect guide if you’re planning to spend any time in Seattle in the next year – or ever, as many of these places are beloved local spots that will surely be around for future travels.
9. Stargazing Around the World (fmr. Dark Skies)
- Featured destination? The WHOLE UNIVERSE
- Cost? $24.95
Last but certainly not least, I wanted to highlight one of my own products: the second edition book formerly known as Dark Skies, now called Stargazing Around the World: A Tour of the Night Sky.
You might recall when I announced this book in 2019, the same year it was released. Working with Lonely Planet, the book has undergone a major update and reorganization to be even more helpful and inspiring if you love traveling our planet and looking up to worlds beyond.
The book won’t be released until February 2024, so all you can do at this point is pre-order through Amazon – but it can still be a great gift!
Know of any other great gifts like these, made by travel experts like these? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add them! (Or let me know any questions you have about these products too!)