Gear and Tech

Buy Me This: A Travel Blogger’s Christmas List

Two years ago I wrote a letter to Santa detailing everything I wanted for Christmas; it was an unfair list, as it contained no actual items.  Everything I wanted was a trip somewhere–shocking, I know.

Well, this year I have several trips already planned, and I know I’ll plan–and take–even more in the months (and years) to come.  But I am seriously lacking in some actual items–and a few experiences–that would truly enhance my future travels.  And so I bring to you a real Travel Blogger’s Christmas List–filled with actual things I’d like to have.  Pick one up for the traveler on your holiday shopping list (or, if you don’t have a traveler on your list, feel free to send them to me!)


In my daily life, I’m typically dressed like an idiot.  Why?  Because I spend all of my money on travel and very, very little of it on my wardrobe.  It is especially bad in the winter, when I just begin to add more layers of what can only be described as ‘summer clothing’ to my ‘look’ (‘look’ is in quotes for a very good reason!)  But the funny thing is–I care more about how I look when I’m traveling than I do in regular life.  Why?  The reason is simple–in regular life, most people who I encounter already know me, and have thus formed their opinion of me long ago.  This is not true when traveling.  And so I find it extremely important to look somewhat presentable when on the road.

Additionally, comfort and function become extremely important.  I’ve seen far too many people hiking in flip flops or negotiating cobblestone streets in heels to ever underestimate the importance of a solid travel wardrobe.  Given that I’ll be road tripping–and hiking–for up to two full months this coming year, the following wardrobe essentials are on my Christmas list:

Leg Warmers

One Christmas, many years ago, I mentioned to my husband that, quote, ‘if I HAD TO decorate for the holidays, I’d want to decorate with a winter theme rather than a Christmas theme; you know, like with snowmen’.  That year, my husband told everyone he knew that I wanted–absolutely needed–snowmen for Christmas.  We refer to that as ‘the year of the flying snowman’, as I actually pitched the fifth or sixth snowman I received across the room (I’d had a little too much mulled wine, ok?)  This year, dear, you can tell everyone I want leg warmers.  I won’t throw a single one.  Promise.

I would like a million pairs of legwarmers, ideally purchased on Etsy.  Why?  Well, first, because Etsy is awesome and I prefer to give my money (or, in this case, the money of people who love me) to independent artists and crafters.  And second, because I hike in skirts.  And I’m going to Wyoming and Montana; it will likely be cold there–ten thousand feet above sea level–even in June and July.  Legwarmers would make everything better.  Particularly the pair pictured above.  And this pair is really cute, too.  So is this pair.  And this pair.  Oh–and that last pair would look great with this scarf.

(Hiking) Boots

I’ve had the same hiking boots since 2006.  That’s probably not good, and they most certainly aren’t as comfortable as they used to be (just ask my feet and legs after I hiked up the Hawksbill trail in Shenandoah last week!)  Oh–and they are really heavy.  Because I’m obsessed with light packing, I’d like something that I can wear for casual outings as well as hikes up mountains.

I’ve spent a great deal of time looking for hiking boots that would look good with a skirt and a pair of legwarmers and I’ve officially determined–such boots do not exist.  So I’m going to have to go with the ones pictured above, which are Ahnus.  They seem more sneaker-like than hiking-boot-like, but I think they will work for my purposes.  Plus they are very lightweight, feature a side zipper for easy on-and-off (a huge bonus) and got pretty good reviews.  Oh–and I like the strap that goes across the top; I feel like this would cut down on the amount of times I have to stop and retie my boots.

As a side note, I’d like to say how difficult it is to online shop for women’s hiking boots.  Go ahead–try.  It seems like women like to hike in fur-lined, leopard print boots with ridiculous heels.  And by ‘women’ I mean ‘women other than me’.

Another Funny Hat

You’ll notice that I’m wearing a hat in many of my travel photos.  And by ‘you’ll notice’ I mean ‘I’m sure you’ve laughed at me and my silly hat many times before’.  That’s because the hat featured in all of those pictures was purchased at a Wal Mart in Nova Scotia–for far too many Canadian dollars–because I needed a hat mid-trip two summers ago.  Hats are crucial travel accessories, and I can’t believe I left home without one.  They keep the sun out of your eyes, protect your scalp from sunburn, and are far more convenient than umbrellas when it is raining.  Plus, throwing on a hat is a huge time saver; I hate having to do my hair every morning when I’m working–there’s no reason to do the same when I’m traveling.

I’ve had my eye on the Real Deal Brazil hats for a while now.  They are just funny looking enough to make me smile.  You know, kind of like a llama?  I feel I could own a hat like this.  And by ‘own it’, I mean ‘you are totally owning that ridiculous hat’.  As an added bonus, Real Deal Brazil also makes a belt bag that I kind of like, too (though I’d like it much better if I looked like any of the models shown wearing it; I clearly don’t!)  Which brings me to my next item…

A Belt Bag

By now you may be starting to think ‘wow, Tracy, you sure are going to look stupid wearing those boots (with legwarmers) and that hat‘.  But wait!  There’s more!  I also need a way to carry small items while out and about in the world, and I need an alternative to a tiny cross body bag (because cross body bags get in the way of my camera, which I wear around my neck or across my back at all times).  Enter–the belt bag!

Yes.  It’s a fanny pack.  But it’s a LEATHER, hip-looking fanny pack.  (Someone please tell me it is hip looking.  Thank you!)  And, as an added bonus, they sell them on Etsy, too!   I kind of love that one, actually–though I fear it might be a bit too much.  (Ok, it is definitely a bit too much, after all, I’m not traveling to a Renaissance Fair or to Comic Con…)

Clothing runners up:

I sure could use a real winter coat for trips during the colder months–you know, like Montana in July.  I’d also really like a few solid color, wrinkle-free dresses for summer travels, a well-made cotton sweater for layering in changeable climates, and a great pair of cowboy boots–just because I really like cowboy boots.


Now that you know why I’m not a fashion blogger, let’s move on to the next category of gifts-you-can-buy-me:  travel tech.  You’ll note that I’m calling this a travel blogger’s Christmas list–not a traveler’s Christmas list.  That’s because there are items on this list that are specific to my sort of travel–the kind where I’m constantly striving to capture and share the moment.  I’ve made travel blogging into almost a second career; thus, I need the right tools to do my job well.  This year, I’d love:

  • A solar-powered charger case for my iPhone
  • A Macbook (sorry, PC laptop I’m currently writing upon…)
  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (and a book on how to use it)


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–I travel, in huge part, to learn.  But I also like to learn so that I can travel.  Thus, there are a few ‘experience’ items on my Christmas list this year–things I’d like to learn how to do before heading off on my next trip.  They include:

  •  A serious photography course, ideally at Dan’s Camera in Allentown.
  • This sounds silly but–I’d like to learn to ride a horse.  I plan to do a lot of horseback riding this summer, and I’d prefer not to, well, fall off.  Like I may have done in Jamaica.  Ahem…
  • A gym membership.  I’m not exactly sure how to train for hiking at a high altitude while not living in a high altitude, but I’m thinking it couldn’t hurt to simply ‘get in better shape’.
Well, there you have it, folks.  My travel blogger Christmas list.  What do you think?  Have I, like the Peanuts gang (minus Charlie), gotten swept away in the consumerism of the season?  Do you have your own list of travel-related must-haves?  Let me know in the comments section below.



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