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The Thelma & Louise gift guide for women who love to travel


With Black Friday and Christmas 2020 looming, we’ve compiled this list of quirky, travel-themed gifts for women. But we don’t want you to head to Amazon or any other retail behemoths to make your purchase. Please!

Smaller, independent businesses have never needed your support more than right now. It’s been an incredibly tough year for most of us, but especially for independent traders. Show them some love by buying presents – or adding their products to your own wish list – from these lovely places.

“Smaller, independent businesses have never needed your support more than right now.”

If you’ve got any recommendations for great products from indie traders for women who love travel, share them in the comments below. Or if you’re an independent trader or maker who has something just right for this gift list, shout about your wares below. We’re always looking for ideas!



Online courses from The School of Life

I can’t think of a time when the calm-in-a-crisis expertise of The School of Life has been more needed. The organisation has crafted a series of online classes, virtual psychotherapy and books to help you be better at life. It also has an excellent shop that helpfully splits its wares along themes such as ‘For self-explorers,’ ‘For worried minds’ and ‘For someone you love’. You can gift virtual self-development classes such as ‘How to enjoy life’ or ‘How to be serene’ but my personal favourite is the Emotional baggage’ luggage tag!

A writing course

There are so many women in our community with a story to tell, maybe now is the time to do it! Here is a course to give to someone you think has a great story in them – they might just need a little nudge to help them get it out. Sue Fitzmaurice’s writing course could be just the ticket! It starts 10 January. Don’t forget to share your travel writings on the Thelma & Louise website too – we love to read your trip reviews!

Image credit to Sue Fitzmaurice.

Virtual Venice

Thelma & Louise favourites National Gallery lecturer Siân Walters (a National Gallery lecturer) and expert Venetian guide Luisella Romeo have teamed up to create a 10 week-long art course. Virtual Venice: Treasures of Art & Architecture combines lectures by Siân with guided walks and live museum visits in Venice with Luisella. As well as a llowing you to travel from your living room, the visits supports those working in the galleries and cultural sector whose livelihoods have been decimated by the pandemic. You may not be able to travel, but at least Siân and Luisella are on hand to bring the culture to you!

Image credit to Luisella Romeo.


**Just make sure you buy these from your local bookshop, NOT Amazon! If you live in the UK, check out www.hive.co.uk, which supports an independent bookshop with every single sale it makes.**


  • The Shift: How I (lost and) found myself after 40 – and you can too, by Sam Baker: Baker rewrites the narrative around menopause. It’s the perfect gift for women in the flush of midlife, and those approaching it.​
  • Failosophy, by Elizabeth Day: Fans of Day’s How to Fail podcast and 2019 book of the same name will love her latest gift to the world.​
  • Wanderland, by Jini Reddy: The first writer of colour to be longlisted for the Wainwright Prize 2020, Reddy takes readers on a search for the magical in Britain’s landscapes. Perfect for nature lovers



Awesome Maps

Beautiful, personalised maps on posters, canvas, coffee table books, towels… There are bucketlist scratch maps, kitesurf maps, hiking maps, maps to colour in, journal maps - you name a theme and a material and Awesome will put a map on it! (Ana wants an ice-skating map!) You can even get beautiful design maps to hang in pride of place at home. And if you can’t decide? Buy a gift voucher.

Image credit to Awesome Maps.

Travel-themed gift vouchers

At the risk of sounding too cheesy…! Give the promise of adventure with a travel gift voucher. Rather than being a cop-out gift, a travel-themed gift voucher in 2020 is the ultimate promises of better things to come. Many of your tried and trusted favourite travel brands will so a side line in gift vouchers but if you need some inspiration, try Hotels.com for hotel stays at great prices, i-escape for boutique places to sleep, Airbnb for quirky experiences and Much Better Adventures for tours with local guides. Even better, though, is to give vouchers for a stay at your all-time favourite independent hotel. Or show your support for local restaurants and pubs by gifting vouchers for meals.


Let's Explore virtual ocean adventures

Admittedly this is marketed for children, but why should they have all the fun?! Let’s Explore has created an “immersive mega pack” of ocean adventure-themed virtual reality experiences. The pack includes VR/AR goggles, a book full of ocean facts, a holographic explorer cube and access to 6 VR adventures, 4 VR mini movies and 4 AR experiences. All you need is a smartphone. I particularly love the sound of the ‘Swimming with Humpbacks’ VR adventure and the Florida Manatees mini movie.

“This is an incredible one-off opportunity for people to bring the magic of flying with British Airways in to their own homes.”

British Airways 747 memorabilia

Once-frequent fliers will love being reminded of their time in the air by bits and pieces once on board British Airways 747s. The airline is auctioning off surplus inflight first-class crockery, champagne flutes, blankets and even trolleys. If you can get your hands on any of the items before they’re sold, you’ll have the perfect gift for someone who misses travel (so, all of us then)! Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ director of brand and customer experience, said: “This is an incredible one-off opportunity for people to bring the magic of flying with British Airways in to their own homes. We know that these special items will fly and we are delighted to be able to offer them in time for Christmas to give people the opportunity to make it memorable during a difficult year.”



Feminist fingerless mittens

I love pretty much everything from Black & Beech – their knits are made by the same wonderful Scottish team who knit for Brora – but if I had to choose just one thing, it would be the knitted fingerless mittens in red and pink with “FEMI” and “NIST” across each hand. That, or the ‘Nevertheless She Persisted’ necklace. OR, the Liberté, Egalité, Sororité grab bag. Decisions, decisions! 

Image credit to Black & Beech.

Outdoor kit

If the lucky recipient is into adventure travel, gift giving is easy. Source adventure and outdoor gear from businesses such as Alpkit, who put sustainability front and centre of everything they do. Check out their organic cotton hiking trousers, merino neck warmers and Filoment duck-down gilet with 100% recycled fabric and fill. You could also check out the recycled plastic swimwear by microbusiness Batoko. I love their Lobster swimsuit – for every one sold, a baby lobster is reared and released back into the sea at Padstow, UK.



Pyjamas are always a great gift for travellers. A bit of familiarity in a strange bedroom can go a long way towards a better night’s sleep. If you feel like splashing out, you can’t go wrong with a pair from Desmond & Dempsey (the matching eye masks are a thing of beauty, too) or a sleepshirt from Print Fresh. I’ll take one of Print Fresh’s guided journals as well, please.


Feminist and LGBT sweaters

Wear your feminist beliefs on your chest with a logo sweater from The Spark Company. They’re guaranteed to raise a smile, an eyebrow or a high five, depending on who you hang out with! My vote goes for the “On Wednesdays we smash the patriarchy” but I’d proudly wear the “Well-behaved women seldom make history” jumper and the “Sounds gay, I’m in” sweatshirt too. Slightly less in-yer-face is the ‘Girls just wanna have FUN damental rights’ tote.


What travel-themed gifts will you be giving and wishing for this Christmas?