December 8, 2013

Vintage Holiday Shopping Guide: Gifts for travel lovers

As we kick off second week of December today, it seems like high time this year's edition of the vintage holiday shopping guide sprang to life. Okay, technically I began a running list of items I wanted to include here a few weeks ago, but the actual construction of the post, complete with whittling down the selection of entries to include, started a few hours ago.

This is the fourth vintage holiday shopping guide to appear here on Chronically Vintage over the years, with the past editions being gifts for children, gifts for home decor lovers, and last year's fun roundup of vintage stocking stuffers.

Every year I like to to assign a certain theme to the vintage holiday shopping guide and this winter, I didn't have to think twice about what 2013's was going to be. Spurred on by the awesomeness of our trip back in September to Calgary, it just seemed right to put the focus of this year's holiday gift giving guide on travel.

Though I know I won't be traipsing around the globe Lonely Planet Globe Trekker style anytime soon, my sense of wanderlust and desire to travel is stronger now after our wonderful travels to Alberta than it has ever been throughout the whole time I've been chronically ill. In fact, though nothing is written in stone (very far from it!), we're already giving thought to where we might venture next, if a trip is able to come to fruition in 2014.

One doesn't have to prance across all four corners of the earth to enjoy traveling though, in fact, they don't even have to leave the comfort of their own home sometimes. The term armchair traveler, a name I apply to myself often, wasn't invented for nothing! One can reminisce fondly about past trips, daydream of those yet to come, plan in the moment for a journey that's about to commence shortly, or simply love learning about other places near and far.

The world is both incredibly vast and wonderfully small, in the sense that we're each connected, with common threads, passions and sources of happiness central to just about every culture and country the world over. It is not our differences that divide us, insomuch as they draw us together. We seek familiarity with the strangers and foreign lands we encounter, while also delighting in experiencing the sights, places, faces, foods, sounds and events that are entirely new to us.

Travel has consumed mankind very nearly since day one, as we ventured forth as a population across the world, eventually settling on every continent (if you count the research stations and other related outposts in Antarctica). Not all who travel head for the opposite side of the planet, many prefer to stick close to home, perhaps hopping across state lines, visiting a new (to them) part of their province, or planning a trip to the far end of the country.

There is no right or wrong way to travel, so long as you're happy and safe. Some of us might amass so many stamps in our passports, they'll look like sleeves of tattoos, others may never even apply for a passport in the first place, but will instead traverse the width and breadth of their own country throughout their lifetime. Many of us with combine foreign travel with adventures closer to home, and others still may be more than content to just study, enjoy and find pleasure in learning about countries the world over from that aforementioned armchair of theirs.

Most of us though, if only once or twice in our lives, will try to make traveling beyond our own corner of the world a possibility, just as a good many of our friends and loved ones will as well. We all know - or have met - that person (or couple or family) who always seems to be on the road, in a plane, or on a cruise ship somewhere. They may couch surf or stay at the Ritz, they might prefer to return to the same destination time and time again, or to see a new spot on the map with each packing up of their luggage.

Many of our nearest and dearest love to embark on a new journey, whether it happens frequently or is a once a decade (or rarer) occurrence, and even those who may prefer to stick closer to home, often have a great interest in the subject and would appreciate and adore a gift or two relating to travel.

As with the items in past vintage holiday shopping guides here, the following selection of thirty entries is comprised of a blend of pieces that genuinely vintage, vintage appropriate, timelessly classic, and also more modern, but entirely related to the topic at hand. Happy shopping and traveling to one and all!

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{Whether you use it to jet off to London for the weekend, carry your daily essentials in, or tuck inside of a bigger piece of luggage to bring out as a tote once you arrive at your destination, this immensely charming vintage inspired map design overnight bag (which measures 31cm x 53cm x 19cm) is far too beautiful not to reach for often. £75.00 from UK seller Not On The High Street.}

{Refined, elegant, and strikingly attractive, this vintage set of 1960s vintage globe bookends (which spin on their axes just like regular globes) would instantly inject a hefty dose of travel decor flare into any den, living room, man cave, library, or other room in the house. $58.00 for the pair from etsy seller Zu Hause Berlin.}

{Let this tiny, timelessly beautiful little handmade silver compass pendant charm on a delicate sterling silver chain keep the spirit of travel alive in the heart and wardrobe of your favourite globe trekker all year along. Pendant and chain, $28.00 from etsy seller Susi D Jewelry.}

{Instantly telegraphing the design of classic mid-century wood paneled vehicles, this sleek, handsome USA map phone case makes a great gift from those who call America home or hope to travel (or move) there one day, while lending a lovely dose of vintage looking charm into a very modern device. $31.00 from Uncommon Goods.}

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{Taking the time honoured lottery ticket concept to a new level, the Scratch Map utilizes scratch off technology to enable users to customize their own map by removing the coating over different locations. Whether you choose to scratch off places you've been, ones you hope to see, or your favourite countries, this interactive map is so much fun, you may want to pick up one for yourself, too! Original Scratch Map, £15.95 from the Official Scratch Map Store (which offers other varieties such as the Gourmet Scratch Map and rather fittingly, the Travel Scratch Map, as well).}

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{Whether you're a fan of traveling by automobile or bicycle, this whimsical, wonderfully wearable vintage inspired cotton summer Have Fun, Will Travel Dress is sure to be the first thing any recipient packs in her bag when headed for a sunny destination. Available in ladies modern sizes XS to XL, $89.99 from ModCloth.}

{Most vintage fans who aren't lucky enough to live in, or near, London, England dream of traveling there one day and experiencing the lively, diverse vintage scene of the city firsthand at least once in their life (I know that I certainly do!). Help your friend or relative get a little closer to making that dream a reality with The Rough Guide to Vintage London by Sam Cook. This splendidly handy, fully illustrated 224 page book is chalked full of information on some of the best and most interesting vintage related spots to visit, see, eat and shop at in London. $10.80 from Amazon.}

{Whether used to store items from the get-go, sort (for washing while away), or keep dirty items separate from clean clothes on the way home, this fun Where It's Atlas Laundry Bag is one of those "Gosh, that really came in handy!" items that every traveler is bound to appreciate. $9.99 from ModCloth.}

{Evoke the opulence and elegance of yesteryear trips around the world with the Cavallini 2014 Vintage Travel Wall Calendar featuring twelve different vintage travel posters, one each for every month, which work to create a piece that is equal parts useful day planner and gorgeous wall art. $21.95 from Amazon.}

{Though you may define where you journey in life, this charming typewriter font vintage map art print, quite literally defines the word travel and reminds all those who see it of just how marvelous it is to venture far from home. Print measures 8.5 x 11 inches (frame not included); $15.95 from etsy seller Print Press by Flea Market Trixie.}

{Travel, it is said, can illuminate the mind, and this case, planning for it can also help light up a room! Working Vintage Replogle World Horizon Series Illuminated Globe Lamp, $80.00 from etsy seller Maude and Lola.}

{This one is for all my fellow vintage fashion and road trip loving gals out there! Roadside Attraction Dress available in ladies sizes XS to 4XL, (currently on sale at the time of writing) for $79.99 from ModCloth.}

{When I travel, I love to be uber organized, and utilizing several small sized zippered pouches, such as this terrific Vintage Visa Stamp Travel Passport Bag, for everything from bobby pins and hair ties to medications, nail polish to vintage brooches, just as all those travel fans on your list are bound to have multiple uses for a great little bag like this, too. 7 x 4 x 3 inch zipper pouch, $11.95 from etsy seller Jordani Sarreal.)


{For all those on your holiday shopping list who break instantly for yard sales and the like (*shoots hand up in air*), Pamela Keech's newly released book, The Best Flea, Antique, Vintage, and New-Style Markets in America, is sure to provide countless hours of shopping trip planning and daydreaming enjoyment. $16.66 from Amazon.}

{Give a little reminder of your giftee's favourite travel destination or where they hope to visit next, and watch them make quite the lovely fashion statement in the process, with one of etsy seller World Treasure Collection's pieces of handmade jewelry featuring genuine coins from difference countries around the world, such as these beautiful Bahrain coin earrings, for $18.00.}

{The act of keeping a written record of one's travels stretches back in time just about as long as human's have been putting pen to paper (or chisel to stone), and is an important tradition that deserves to be kept alive in today's ever increasingly more technologically fuelled world. The Cargo for It Map Travel Journal, which retails for $12.99 from Modcloth, allows any holidaymaker, backpacker, weekend road warrior, globe trotter, or occasional trip taker to do just that.}

{Few sights instantly tell fellow travelers and passersby alike where you've been more quickly than a host of luggage stickers, yet with the days of ocean liner voyages now all but a relic of the past, such stickers can be mighty tricky to come by. Fear not, you can fake 'til you make it (to all those awesome destinations, that is!) by applying these great reproduction Exotic Destinations Luggage Labels to just about any suitcase or trunk that your heart desires (they're also the bee's knees for craft and decor projects). Twenty pack of label stickers, $8.76 from Amazon.}

{Ensure your travel loving friend sees the world - or at least a map of North America – every day with this elegant, ever-so-slightly quirky Pros and Continental Shower Curtain, featuring a classic map image in teal blue. $24.99 from ModCloth.}

{Quickly reattach lost buttons, fix fallen hems, shorter the length of a pair of pants, or any number of other day-to-day mending tasks while on the road with this cuter than cute Vintage Doily Travel Sewing Kit. £3.95 from DotComGiftShop.}

{Few foreign lands stirred up anywhere near the same interest and desire for Western travelers to make their way across the globe in the early decades of the last century quite like Egypt, with its stunning architecture and incredibly rich history did. Vintage Egypt: Cruising the Nile in the Golden Age of Travel by Alain Blottiere takes a photo filled look at the halcyon days of travel to this exotic land and leaves one longing to trek off in the direction of the pyramids themselves, too. $35.23 from Amazon.}

{Tooled leather is such a beautiful art form. Though most commonly seen on belts, purses, shoes and wallets, one can sometimes also find passport vintage covers, such as this elegant c.1970s one from the (then) USSR, that features it as as well. $24.00 from etsy seller Sugar and Chai Vintage.}

{It's been a long time since a piece of modern luggage made me go weak in the knees when I saw it, but this endlessly pretty, vintage inspired decorative floral print suitcase did just that, as I'm sure it would many of the shabby chic decor loving travel fans on your holiday shopping list. 38w x 25h x 10d cm suitcase, £35.99 from Not On The High Street.}

{Block out anything from the sun's tropical beach strength rays to your neighbour's overhead light on a long flight with this vintage sleep mask made by Lite-Foil. Mask, complete with original box, $12.00 from etsy seller Urban Renewal Designs.}

{While it might not be the first thing you'd want to tuck into your carryon bag before going through airport security these days, a small, multi-tool classic pocket knife such as this Wenger Pastel Pink Swiss Army Knife can be an immensely helpful thing to have with you while traveling. Over the years, I've used mine (which is no where near this pretty!) to do everything from peel an apple to cut scratchy tags out of clothing. $32.99 from Knife Depot.}

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{Personalize a pair of these sophisticated custom map location cuff links to any location your heart desires for the dapperly attired world traveler on your Christmas shopping list. $19.77 per pair from etsy seller Kfiatek Gifted Hands.}

{Treat someone extra special to this stellar 1940s NOS vintage Dial Soap and Mayfair Cologne set in an overnight travel case, for the kind of gorgeous, thoughtful present they won't soon forget. $125.00 from etsy seller Fallaloft.}

{This darling little nylon ribbon 'What, Me Travel Light' Luggage Tag made me - someone who rarely packs light - grin ear-to-ear, thus earning it instant inclusion in this fun holiday travel gift guide. £5.95 from Not On The Highstreet.}

{What could be a more fitting - or stylish - gift for the 1940s fashion loving traveler on your list than this super charming vintage inspired Roseway Retro Aviation Blouse featuring a vivid pattern of mid-century airplanes from Jitterbuggin'? Available in ladies sizes 30 - 42 inch busts, $99.99.}

{No matter where your loved one roams, they'll be able to send you a good old-fashioned greeting thanks to this fantastic 32 piece set of retro WW2 postcards featuring an array of iconic 1940s images. $10.99 from Amazon.}

{As someone with two very inquisitive pets at home who are all too keen on investigating candles - a definite fire hazard if ever there was - I tend to reserve most of my candle burning for baths with the door closed and while I'm on holiday. There's something so posh and appealing about bringing your own candle to fill a hotel room with the aroma of your choice, though of course, your gift recipient could just as easily burn this beautiful citrus scented Anna Lou of London travel candle at home (or while camping), too. £14.00 from Not On The High Street.} 

{Bursting with an earthy palette and marvelous print featuring vintage suitcases, luggage stickers, keys and other travel related images, the Baggage Claim To Fame Dress is sure to be a huge hit with yesteryear fashion wearing travelers, quite fittingly, the world over. Available (at the time of writing) in lades sizes small, medium and large, $124.99 from ModCloth.}

♥ ♥ ♥

When I think on the subject of seeing the world, a quote from Robert Louis Stevenson often springs to mind. He said, quite beautifully, "For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move.” This rings so tremendously true for me, just as I know it does for many others out there. I wouldn't discount the destination entirely of course, but certainly the journey, coupled with the mere act of leaving one's usual surroundings is an integral and magnificent element of travel, and a good part of the reason why so many of us feel pulled towards it.

As you set about - or continue on with - your holiday shopping this year, I hope that you'll find this guide helpful. Keep in mind that many people love to include travel related elements - from globes to old maps, vintage posters to items that look like they were hand culled from far flung destinations - in their home decor, too.

In fact, I'd venture to guess that most of us have at least one or two pieces out on display that we picked up on our trips over the years, or were given to us by someone who took an exciting journey and returned home to bestow a small memento of it onto us, a way of letting us that we were never far from there thoughts, no matter how many thousands of miles they may have been from home.

Just about everyone loves to travel, to learn more about different places around the world, or to bring elements of foreign lands into our home (and perhaps even wardrobe, too). We may yearn to return to the same familiar bed after a while, our usual four walls and world of our community when as all is said and done, but while we're out there on the road, in the sky, or on the sea, we are both ourselves and someone entirely different. We are travelers, wanders, seekers, pupils of life, and wanderlust explorers whose existences are, with any luck, enriched in countless ways by the journeys we've taken and the possibility of those still left to embark upon.

This holiday season, you don't have to hand your friends or relatives plane tickets (though that would certainly be one heck of an awesome present!). Instead, just let them know that you’re aware of how very important seeing the world is to their lives, in whatever capacity, but tucking one or more of these terrific travel related gifts into their stocking, under the tree, or atop their luggage before they embark on their next exciting adventure.


  1. What a lovely array of travel themed gifts! The Vintage Visa Stamp Travel Passport Bag is awfully cute! :)

  2. What a wonderful post dear Jessica! I'm so inspired by all this vintage travel gifts. My favorite has to be the NOS train case. What a deal! It's so interesting how this train case has remained unused for 70 years! I just love the aviation blouse. I actually have some of this fabric waiting for me to create a similar puffy sleeve blouse gem. I hope one day to also get my son a really nice globe as he has a fondness for maps. One thing that I also love is vintage map wrapping paper, (especially of Paris street scenes). I also like to sometimes look at vintage travel postcards on ebay. A wonderful post dear Jessica, thank you for sharing this awesome topic on travel!

    1. That NOS train case really is a splendid deal and such a fantastic piece! I could see it looking incredible in someone's vintage theme dressing room, left open all the time so that one could admire the vintage treasures inside.

      How cool that you have some of that very same fabric. I bet the blouse you make with it is going to look awesome! I you had enough leftover after, I think a 40s style wrap headband would look majorly cute in this fabric as well. (What wouldn't look awesome in it?! :)).

      Thank you so much for your splendidly nice comment - this post was an absolute joy to put together, reminiscing to myself as I did the whole time about this year's awesome travels to Calgary and thoughts of future journeys near and far.

      ♥ Jessica

  3. Gah, what have you done? Now I want ALL THE THINGS! :-)

  4. Oh, Jessica, how much would I like to leave everything behind and travel through the world for at least one year. And your pictures make my longing much more stronger. But unfortunately there are several reasons that thwart my plans. Not the smallest is that I can't have so much freetime because of my job. Sometimes I'm really sad that everything is so complicated and I feel bound to this traditional life. But I don't want to complain because in the end my life is safe and I don't have too many illnesses. I should be content.

  5. Thank you for taking the time to put this together-it is fantastic!
    That compass necklace would be a lovely graduation gift as well.

  6. I love that overnight bag, and the travel journal. So cute.

    I want to travel so badly, but because of lack of funds and a terrific fear of flying, I have yet to leave the country. I have flown 3 times (all 3 times to Las Vegas to visit my sister). And I have been on numerous road trips (Pennsylvania, New York, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, and California), but I would love to travel more.

  7. My picks are the luggage and overnight bag from Not on the High Street and the Aviation Blouse from Jitterbuggin. Great list!


  8. old traveler i am - love your suggestions!
    you've found very beautiful and special things. not that I would need presents, but great inspirations are never wrong :-)
    happy 2. advent!

  9. Some lovely gift ideas here, I especially like the floral fabric suitcase and the beauty set. I very much hope you will be on your travels again in 2014.

    1. Thank you very much on both counts, dear Kate. I hope we're able to as well - my suitcases and I are more eager than ever to hit the road again.

      Have a thoroughly fantastic holiday season!!!
      ♥ Jessica

  10. Oooh, what gorgeous suggestions. I've never been much of a traveller, but I'm hoping to change that in 2014. I recently inherited a gorgeous vintage suitcase and overnight case from my Nana, and I'm hoping to put them to good use.
    I particularly love the travel journals that you've included in this post. There's nothing quite like having a special, hand-written record of your adventures.

  11. Dear Jessica,
    You have so many neat things here. My favorites are the Vintage Travel Inspired Overnight Bag, the 1940's Vintage Dial Soap & Mayfair Cologne Leather Overnight Travel Case, the Custom map location Cuff link, and the Vintage Style Floral Suitcase.
    I have a passport, but I have never used it.
    Happy December!

  12. Without question, your blog is the best resource on the entire World Wide Web. This post is wonderful. I want those cufflinks!

  13. As a girl that loves to travel it is totally not surprising that there are a few items on your list (the road sign dress, the map design bag and the bag print dress have all been on my Modcloth wishlist for a while)! But OMG that floral print suitcase - to die for!

  14. Everything is perfect on this list! I think the roadside attraction dress is my favorite!! And i love the Thoreau quote necklace! Thank you for this lovely list!

  15. Oh, I absolutely love this post! I am planning on doing my guest room in a travel theme and there are so many travel inspirations here. I already have two sets of the globe book ends that I picked up over the years at garage sales for just a few dollars - score! Yay me!!

  16. Im definitely a classic arm chair traveler, I hate to leave my pets and traveling with five dogs is really tough. I love exploring things in my own area though. There is a lot too see in NYC and in jersey too and of course you can travel in a good book or with a good film. Your list is great and I in particular love that dress, Ive always loved novelty 50s prints

    retro rover

  17. What a perfect timing post Jessica as I'm off to Vietnam on Thursday! I just adore the face mask and the scratch mat and the dresses you posted. Wish I was on top of things and I could of totally gotten the baggage dress for my trip. Oh well next one!

    I also know that a 2014 trip is 100% in your future even if it's just to another province like you did. Canada has so many awesome places to explore and I need to get on top of this myself. Thank you for this lovely post, I totally loved it...again :)

  18. What a wonderful collection of travel-related goodies! The "What? Me pack light?" tag made me giggle as well; my whole family teases me relentlessly about my insistence upon being ready for every (weather) possibility—though the one time I did not do this, I ended up buying first a raincoat in Oklahoma and then a layerable sweater in Amarillo so as to prevent my being a) drowned and b) frozen to death in Texas in April, not something I thought possible. I may have to pick that tag up for myself to provide family with a few chuckles the next time I visit!

    The sewing kit and Swiss Army Knife are excellent inclusions as well—and especially that journal. Trips of every sort go by so quickly, so much happens, that even those with the best memory are bound to lose a few moments in the excitement and bustle. Making sure to take notes of joys and mishaps as they happen or while enjoying a wind-down glass of wine at the end of the day keeps that from happening, and who knows? Perhaps that travel journal will become a family treasure some day! Great list, I always enjoy these. :)

  19. Your picks and your writing are so wonderful! I love everything listed. I have that journal from Modcloth. I don't use it as a travel journal, just a jot down my thoughts journal and it's really well made.

  20. I want all of them! Especially the modcloth dresses, the US map phone cover, and the travel bag you featured first. Great list! I'm not a huge traveler myself, although I'd love to travel more. I haven't been outside the midwest, and dearly love my home in Indiana, I would love to see your Canada as well as Europe.

  21. This is an amazing compilation of travel-themed gifts! As a dedicated (armchair) traveller, I would be delighted to receive any of them on Christmas day. I might actually buy the Vintage London guide as London is a day trip destination from my house thanks to a good rail link from my nearest city. I have been to a vintage market there, but would love to learn about more places to go. (There is quite a bit of vintage homewear/furniture to be found all over the UK but for clothes you have to go to a really big city or a special event.) Another thing that I got from this post - I always think of novelty-print clothes as just too over the top for my quiet style, but some of these are causing me to think again!

    1. From one fellow armchair traveler to another, I am thoroughly delighted to know that you enjoyed this post, dear Philipaa. I bet you could easily pull off any one of these charmingly fun novelty prints - they can always be tempered, so to speak, by layering a solid cardigan over top, and keeping the rest of your ensemble on the lowkey side, too.

      Big hugs,
      ♥ Jessica

  22. I'm a sap for gift giving.
    I can't wait for a friends birthday, or some hollyday (or any other occasion) to be able to share the joy of giving; it makes me so happy. And, when there's no occasion, I simply show up at their door with a little something. I noticed that my friends like those "surprise visits" I make.
    As for the vintage - I'm affraid I'm the loner here. People here call itthe "old junk". My friends, as well. They prefer to get something new (preferebly with glitter on) :)


  23. Thank you for a splendid list, elf Jessica. :) I give DH a bright green (so it is easy to find) purse to keep passports, tickets, papers, maps, etc organized in. And I have two gift cards for weekend trips I will tuck into it and write a note that I want to "flee" with him. I hope he likes it. We love our small get-aways, just the two of us, relaxing and doing what we want to. :)