Great Gift Ideas And Stocking Stuffers For The Travelers In Your Life

Whether you are looking for Black Friday sales or Cyber Monday sales, or just want some gift ideas for the travelers in your life, the following are either things that I use on every trip, or are things my Glam Italia Tour travelers have used and I have thought were pretty cool. Almost everything on this list is under $30.

Best Travel Gadgets

The absolute MVP travel gadget this past year was my Apple Air Tag. I actually have a few of them in different bags, but he peace of mind I got every time I landed and could see my suitcase was at the same airport as I was, was worth its weight in gold.

At the time of writing this post Amazon has AirTags at their lowest price ever.

You probably already know that in the post-Covid world airlines have been losing up to 10% of checked luggage. Travelers with Air Tags could at least tell the airline exactly where their bag was, be it in the wrong country or be it in the misplaced luggage room. Personally I flew 8 internationals and 16 domestics this year and breathed a massive sigh of relief when I could see my suitcase had landed with me. Available in single units for under $30 on Amazon

Travel Charger

You should always fly with a fully charged external power bank. Although many planes now have chargers in the seat back, they don’t always work. If your flight gets delayed/rerouted you need to be able to have phone/electronics access.

You also need an external battery for when you are out an about on your trip. Typically while traveling we take more photos and videos than usual, and that uses up your phone battery really fast. You can find portable chargers in a variety of sizes and weights, most of which are light enough to keep in your handbag and not weigh you down. See Portable Phone Chargers here on Amazon.

RELATED POST: Great Gifts For Travelers: 14 Fabulous Books Set In Italy

Travel Adaptor

If traveling to a foreign country, most of the time you will need a travel adaptor to not only configure that country’s different plug shape, but also to convert the electricity to their voltage. Without an adaptor, should they have a higher voltage than your home country, your electronics will fry the moment you plug them in. (The U.S. runs on 110 volts whereas Europe runs on 220.) Similarly, if your country runs on 220 volts and the guest country is 110, your electronics will operate at half speed.

I have used this travel adaptor for years. (Mine is in blue) It is compatible with 150 countries around the world, so it will no doubt work with wherever you are going! See it here on Amazon.

Electronics Case

I have been using a small packing cube for my electronics, but several of my tour travelers this year had these electronics cases. They come in several colors.

These electronics cases are quite a slim fit, so pack easily into your hand luggage/carry on bag. I always recommend bringing a back up charging cord and a back up charging block, as these both have a habit of disappearing/being left behind. See Electronics cases on Amazon here.

Handheld Fan

Like the electronics case above, this handheld fan is also on my personal Christmas list!

This past summer there was a heatwave in Southern Europe and it was very hot every day. Some of my travelers brought these handheld fans with them, and I seriously wished I had one! The fans are small enough to slip into your handbag, yet are surprisingly effective! I also like that they have a USB charger, so you’re not having to mess around with buying batteries. See handheld fans here on Amazon.

RELATED POST: Great Gift Ideas: The Best Online Italian Language Course

Flashlight

This one is also on my Christmas list. It doesn’t hurt to have a powerful mini flashlight with you when you travel.

Whether you’re walking home in the dark or whether someone has blown the electricity in your apartment, (happens all the time in Italy where I travel all summer!) it is definitely advantageous to have a more powerful light source than your cellphone. This mini flashlight measures less than 5 inches and only weighs 4 oz. It fits easily into a handbag, or clips onto a pocket. See it here on Amazon.

Travel Hairdryer

I have had this tiny hairdryer for several years now, and it is definitely another travel MVP. Although incredibly small it is also incredibly powerful. I have very thick hair and am able to blow-dry it in normal time, even though this dryer is tiny.

The Titanium part of the dryer gives you a smooth, quick blow-dry, and stops the crazy, static hair you can get from regular hotel hairdryers. At an average price of $35 it is a smoking deal! Check for Black Friday sales and Cyber Monday sales. Find it here on Amazon.

Kindle

This is another of my absolute MVP travel electronics, and is something I use every day of my life. It took me a while to move into reading digitally, and for the first few years I just used the Kindle App on my iPad. 2 Christmases ago I bought myself a Kindle Paperwhite (bought in the Amazon Black Friday/Cyber Monday for sale. (For $99).

Not only is is amazing for travel, it is has become indispensable in my daily life too. The Kindle Paperwhite holds around 5000 books, is waterproof and glare resistant (perfect if you like reading at the beach or by the pool). There are several different types of Kindles, but I have and love the Paperwhite, so that’s the one I talk about.

Kindles are so lightweight and slim, you can slip them in your handbag and read anywhere. You don’t need to have a light on to read with a Kindle, so can comfortably read without waking the person next to you. I don’t know how I ever managed without mine! See Kindles here on Amazon.

Kindle Unlimited: I bought the Kindle that didn’t come with Kindle Unlimited. (You can add Kindle Unlimited any time) Because kindle books have no manufacturing or shipping costs, most sell for $5 or less. Authors receive the same amount of royalties regardless of whether you buy a $24 paperback or a $4.99 eBook, so you can read very inexpensively with Kindle. You can read library books on Kindle via the Libby App – it connects to most local libraries.

You also have the option of joining Kindle Unlimited. This gives you access to millions of books for free, all covered by your monthly membership fee. All of my books are in Kindle Unlimited, so you can get them free too! Check out Kindle Unlimited here.

You can also get/give memberships to Amazon’s audio book program, Audible. Gift memberships can be for 3 months, 6 months or 12 months. Check out Audible Gift Memberships Here.

For more travel planning information join my monthly newsletter here.

Gifts For Travel Lovers Amazon: 14 Fabulous Books Set In Italy

The post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something via one of these links this blog may receive a few cents commission – not enough to pay the costs of hosting this blog, but enough to help a bit…

Wondering what to buy for the traveler in your life who either loves Italy, is planning a trip to Italy, or who just needs more Italy in her life?

The following books are all set in Italy and make great gifts for others or for yourself.

At The Table Of La Fortezza

This gorgeous cookbook is fabulous both for those who love cooking and those who just love dreaming about Italy! The author bought and restored a beautiful Medieval fortress in northern Tuscany, where she hosts cooking retreats and vacations. Did I mention dreamy?? See here on Amazon

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Murder In Tuscany

T.A Williams has written multiple books set in Italy, all of which are easy, breezy reads. Murder In Tuscany is the first book in a new detective crime series. A British detective receives a retirement gift of a two week writing course at a villa in Tuscany. Preferring to remain anonymous, he doesn’t tell the other course attendees about his past career, but within a couple of days there is a murder in the villa. Of course, he gets drawn in to help the local homicide detective from Florence, and in the process takes us on glorious ride discovering the local town, figuring out who the murderer is, and exploring the villa and its grounds. You’ll be wanting to move there yourself before the book is over and the mystery is solved!

These cozy mysteries are unenjoyable read, even more so being that they’re set in a gorgeous Tuscan town close to Florence. See here on Amazon.

Under Italian Skies

Would you do a house swap with a stranger, and spend the summer in a villa in southern Italy? If so what would you do if you fell in love with the villa, the town and Italy itself and didn’t want to leave?

Nicky Pellegrino’s books are all set in Italy, mostly in the south. And be warned: they are super addictive! I’ve read and loved all of her books.

Her series about the Villa Rosa is wonderful (just be sure to start with the first one!) This book is a stand alone (not in series) but regardless will get you hooked, and no doubt start looking at doing an Italian house swap, or at least daydreaming about it. Under Italian Skies will get you thinking about house swaps, southern Italian towns, and the endless possibilities awaiting you. See it here on Amazon.

RELATED POST: 10 Fabulous Books Set In Venice

From Scratch

Trembi Locke’s beautiful memoir has become a hit show on Netflix, but you should still read the book. From Scratch is a love story, a story about loving Italy, and about great loss. You’ll fall in love with Trembi’s story right up until it breaks your heart. Beautifully written, this one should be on your must reads list. See it here on Amazon.

A Beautiful Crime

A Beautiful Crime is a stylish story of intrigue and deception that takes place in modern day Venice. It grabs you from the beginning, takes you through twists and turns and has you questioning: is crime always bad?

Fabulously written, with a real surprise at the end. Love it! See it here on Amazon.

Palace of the Drowned

Also set in Venice, Palace of the Drowned is a combination of mystery, psychological thriller and suspense. Beautifully written, the story takes place in 1966, the year of the biggest flood in Venetian history.

Chances are you won’t be able to put it down – I know I couldn’t. See it here on Amazon.

RELATED POST: Beautiful, Chic, Italian Cookbooks

La Passione: How Italy Seduced The World

Can you imagine painting without Leonardo, opera without Verdi, fashion without Armani, food without the signature tastes of pasta, gelato, and pizza? The first universities, first banks, first public libraries? All Italian.

In La Passione, New York Times bestselling author Dianne Hales attributes these landmark achievements to la passione italiana, a primal force that stems from an insatiable hunger to discover and create; to love and live with every fiber of one’s being. She captures the spirit of the country and explains how the Italian passion drives everything that happens there. Italophiles will love this book!

I have two of Dianne’s books on this list and have just discovered a 3rd to put on my own must read list. See it here on Amazon.

In Other Words

In Other Words

Jhumpa Lahiri was already a Pulitzer winning author when she wrote this book. In Other Words (In Altre Parole) her first non-fiction work, is a memoir about her love of the Italian language and her efforts to learn it.

Deciding that full immersion was the way to master it, she moved her family to Rome, where she began to read and write only in Italian. To begin with this was only in her journal, but it led to this book, an autobiography written in a dual language format of both Italian and English. In Other Words is about learning to express yourself in another language, feeling exiled by your lack of language, and then finding a sense of belonging and reinvention. The book has been enormously successful, and is still an Editor’s Pick book on Amazon. See it here on Amazon.

Murder In Chianti

Murder in Chianti is book one in a three part cozy mystery series. Ex NYPD homocide detective Nico Doyle moves to Chianti to grieve his dead wife. One morning he hears a gunshot and a wailing dog, and when he walks into he woods to investigate, stumbles across a murder. The local police detective on learning of Nico’s professional background, gets him to help investigate the murder, and this is where the mystery begins.

With the beautiful Chianti backdrop, this series is a fun read for mystery lovers. See it here on Amazon.

RELATED POST: 21 Books To Inspire Your Wanderlust

La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair With Italian, The World’s Most Enchanting Language

La Bella Lingua is the second of Dianne Hale’s books on this list. She was awarded an Honorary Knighthood by the President of Italy in recognition of this gorgeous book.

The fantasy of living the Italian life is powerfully seductive. But to truly become Italian, one must learn the language. This is how Dianne Hales began her journey. In La Bella Lingua, she brings the story of her decades-long experience with the “the world’s most loved and lovable language” together with explorations of Italy’ s history, literature, art, music, movies, lifestyle and food in a true opera amorosa — a labor of her love of Italy.

Over the course of twenty-five years, she has studied Italian through Berlitz,  books, CDs, podcasts, private tutorials and conversation groups, and, most importantly, time spent in Italy.   In the process the Italian language became not just a passion and a pleasure, but a passport into Italy’s storia and its very soul. She invites readers to join her as she traces the evolution of Italian in the zesty graffiti on the walls of Pompeii, in Dante’s incandescent cantos and in Boccaccio’s bawdy Decameron.  She portrays how social graces remain woven into the fabric of Italian:  even the chipper “ciao,” which does double duty as “hi” and “bye,” reflects centuries of bella figura.  And she exalts the glories of Italy’s food and its rich and often uproarious gastronomic language:  Italians deftly describe someone uptight as a baccala (dried cod), a busybody who noses into everything as a prezzemolo (parsley), a worthless or banal movie as a polpettone (large meatball). 

Like Dianne, readers of La Bella Lingua will find themselves innamorata, enchanted, by Italian, fascinated by its saga, tantalized by its adventures, addicted to its sound, and ever eager to spend more time in its company. See it here on Amazon

Love In A Tuscan Kitchen

Chocolate cake makes sweet dreams come true. 

In a real-life fairy tale, author Sheryl Ness shares how she fell in love with Vincenzo, a chef in a quaint Tuscan kitchen, over his decadent hot chocolate cake. 

This enchanting memoir will transport you to the cobblestone streets, lush hillsides dotted with grapevines and olive trees, and unique characters that create the backdrop for Sheryl’s Italian love story.

Love in a Tuscan Kitchen is sprinkled with traditional recipes she collected along the way and flavored with rich accounts of how her dreams were fulfilled many times over while living in a picturesque village in Chianti.

Raise a toast and taste pure joy as Sheryl opens her heart to love, and in turn finds herself on a remarkable journey of discovery through the people, traditions, and customs of Italy as the blond Americana fell in love with the chef with twinkling eyes. See it here on Amazon.

The Italian Villa

I’m not normally a reader of WWII fiction, nor of romance, but Amazon recommended this book a while back, so I decided to at least whip through the first few pages just in case. And I’m so glad I did!

The Italian Villa tells the story of a small town waitress in the U.S who having discovered she was adopted, then inherits a beautiful villa in Italy. While visiting the villa she discovers an old diary in her birthmother’s belongings, and believes the truth about her family is hidden somewhere within its pages.
But when a devastating betrayal in the final pages of the diary unlocks a heart-breaking secret about who her mother really was, the chance for a new life shatters in front of her. Can she persuade the locals to forgive her past and accept the truth about her identity?

See it here on Amazon.

Bella Figura: How To Live Love And Eat The Italian Way

“Uprooting her life, London-based Kamin Mohammadi relocated to bucolic Florence. Her glorious memoir Bella Figura is witty, intelligent and heartfelt in equal measure and will delight anyone dreaming of a summer holiday—or a brand new life—in Italy.” —Taiye Selasi, The Guardian

“If you’ve ever thought about quitting your job, moving to Italy, wearing incredible clothes and eating unbelievable food, here’s your bible.” —Fodors

Bella Figura came out at the same time as my first book published, so I have always felt a huge affinity for it as we paralleled our way through our first year of book sales. Bella figura refers to the Italian concept of making every aspect of life as beautiful as it can be. This is the story of Kamin Mohammadi’s life changing year in Florence, and how it taught her a happier, more beautiful way of living.

She walks down the street with a swing in her step and a lift to her head. She radiates allure as if followed by a personal spotlight. She may be tall or short, slim or pneumatically curvaceous, dressed discreetly or ostentatiously—it matters not. Her gait, her composure, the very tilt of her head is an ode to grace and self-possession that makes her beautiful whatever her actual features reveal.”

I love this book. See it here on Amazon

Lizzie And Dante

I often ask my newsletter members for book recommendations, and this was one of them. Lizzie and Dante takes place under the sun on an idyllic Italian island. A luscious story of love, courage, and Italian wine, Lizzie & Dante demands to know how far we should travel to find a future worth fighting for.

This is another book that is hard to put down, and that will have you wanting to visit the place it is set in. I loved this book. See it here on Amazon.

Most, if not all are available in digital format as well as paperback. (If you already have a Kindle or if you have the Kindle App on your laptop/phone/iPad etc you can use the Kindle option. If you don’t have a Kindle yet I recommend the Kindle Paperwhite. For years before I bought a kindle I read digitally on my iPad. (Kindles normally go on sale on Black Friday and Cyber Monday) If you have Kindle Unlimited many of these books will be available to you for free.

Italy Travel Tip: How To Learn To Speak Italian Confidently

This is Silvio. I met him in Sovana walking down the street with zucchini flowers he had just picked from his garden.

Whether you have a trip to Italy coming up and want to learn a few things to say, or whether you are moving there for work and need to dial up your Italian skills, or maybe you just want to learn the language for fun, today I want to tell you about some of the ways I learn and improve my language skills, and also the online course I use to learn and practice Italian at home.

This post contains affiliate links

Why Learn Italian?

I have a slightly different approach to most people. I’m not trying to be perfect at the language, and don’t stop to think how to conjugate a particular verb, or what is the grammatically correct way to say something. Although I have been learning both along the way, and definitely am 1000x better than I was before. My entire goal with learning Italian is to be able to participate.

I want to be able to join the conversation, chat back and forth with anyone and everyone, and understand what’s going on. This to me is where the fun lies in a new language and in traveling to a country that uses that language. And I have to say, I have no end of fun practicing my language skills on anyone who will let me!

Italians are really fun loving, gregarious people, so when they see you making an effort they are more than happy to help you out.

In the picture above I was talking to a lovely gentleman, Silvio. He talked to me about his zucchini flowers, his garden at the end of the street, and then over coffee he told me all about growing up in this little town in the Maremma (southern Tuscany). He told me about his brother walking home from the war after being a prisoner in Russia, arriving home barefoot and just skin and bone. And he told me about his wife who died 32 years ago.

Part of the reason I could talk to him about so many diverse subjects was the online course I use to learn Italian. It’s called Italian With Davide.

Speaking The Language Adds To The Fun

In another little town nearby, the lady in the cheese shop was great fun and loved that I was at least trying to speak in Italian. She taught me a bunch of cheese related words, then put me behind the counter to prank some of the locals. (My friend Anna video’d it)

https://vimeo.com/767903605
My 3 minute job in the cheese shop!

Anyone who speaks Italian will pick up on the mistakes I made, but it’s a great example of the fun you can have even just speaking a small amount. In this case all the other shop owners along the street could hear us all shrieking and laughing and came in to join the fun. I ended up making loads of friends, which was handy because I was staying there on my own for several days.

You may not want to be pretending to be working in a cheese shop, but you can see how using the language adds to the experience!

What Else Do I Do?

Taking a course isn’t the only thing I do to learn Italian. I watch Italian movies and TV shows with subtitles on (Prime, Netflix, You Tube). I also do Italian Reader books like this one and this one and this one. (I have them on Kindle/the Kindle App, so can read a little bit or do some comprehension questions while out and about/on a lunch break/while I’m getting an oil change etc.)

But those things only work if you have something more structured going on as well, which is why Italian With Davide course work so well for me.

The Courses

Italian With Davide has three courses based on your level and ability. The courses are Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.

Each course is broken up into lots of small modules. You do them at your own pace, and you can reach out for help when/if needed. There are even chat rooms where you can practice with other learners around the world who are doing the same course as you!

I normally only have time to do a couple of modules at a time, but I do them most days. When I get to the end of a course I often start back over, and keep repeating modules. For me and for the way I learn, this is super helpful. Once you’ve bought a course, you own it and can do it as many times as you want.

Lots of course members do it on their phone while they commute to work. I prefer to do the course at home, but you have all kinds of options.

Some of What You Learn

What I have found super helpful is that you learn real world things that you can actually apply to real life when you’re there.

One example for me was on a boat excursion in Abruzzo this past summer. (If you belong to my newsletter you will already know this story)

On the boat in the Tremiti Islands, the bridal part behind me. It was a super fun day!

I was the only English speaker on the boat. Apart from the captain and the first mate there was a group of 4 women about my age, and then another group of girls doing a bachelorette party day. In one of Davide’s modules you learn about weddings, and the vocabulary of weddings. I had never thought I would actually use those words, but then here I was, on a boat with a bridal party, able to participate in a conversation about the dress, the bridesmaid, the ring, the flowers, the cake – you get it.

What’s In The Courses

You learn all kinds of things that you actually use in real life, and each lesson is broken down so that you learn to pronounce things properly, learn the vocabulary, grammar and expressions. It’s wonderful!

How To Get The Course

Italian With Davide opens for registration several times each year, for about 5 days at a time. If you are reading this before Black Friday 2022, there is a HUGE sale coming up. The biggest discount Davide has ever given. (I, of course, bought all of mine full price a couple of years ago.)

Because the registration is only open for 5 days normally and 3 days over Black Friday 2022, if you are interested or want more information, you should get on Davide’s email list, so that you get notified. For most of the year I don’t pay attention to when the course opens – I already have mine. So being on his email list is the best way to stay informed.

If you want more information about travel in Italy, places the tourists don’t know about, what to eat in Italy, and endless Italy travel tips, join the thousands of people worldwide who get my monthly newsletter. It’s free and it’s really cool! Get the newsletter here.