I love shopping for birthday gifts for my friends and family, especially for those who love to travel. When I’m travelling, I love browsing little shops and finding unique gifts for people that they normally can’t find at home.
I’m not a big fan of souvenir shops since I find gifts there pretty uninteresting (although I did go a bit crazy for those Eiffel Tower keychains the first time I was in Paris!), but I do love buying gifts for others that inspire them to travel, such as Italian handmade soaps from Cinque Terre that smell like the ocean, or leather goods from Morocco made in one of their tanneries.
Luckily, we don’t have to travel far to find interesting gifts, thanks to online shopping!
UncommonGoods is one company I love because of their unique selection of cool gifts made from around the world, and their dedication to eco-friendly and sustainable business practices. They work with artisans and small manufacturers to make sure all the products on their site are produced in an environmentally responsible manner, so you can feel good about the products you buy. At the same time, all their products are also very affordable!
If you’re looking for a special birthday gift (or perhaps for another special life events such as an anniversary or wedding) for the travel-addicts in your life, here are some of my favourites!
I got one of these maps one year for Christmas, and loved it so much that I’ve gifted these to a bunch of my friends as well. The gold foil looks great on the wall, and every country is a different colour underneath when you scratch it off. It’s a fun way of keeping track (or showing off!) where you’ve been.
It comes in a poster tube so you can bring it with you wherever you go! I’ved lugged mine from Germany, to the Netherlands, to Canada and now to New York!
Made in England.
After our Sahara trip, a group of us took a taxi to Fez, which took a crazy amount of hours. A few short breaks here and there, and 7 hours later, we were finally in Fez.
Surprisingly we had enough energy to wander around the maze like streets of the medina for hours afterwards, get dinner, drink mint tea, admire the mosques, and get lost every few minutes along the way.
As the third largest city in Morocco, Fez has a lot to offer, especially since its hailed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I’ve actually never heard of Fez until I started planning my Morocco trip and looked for cities to fly in and out of, however it’s a pretty popular travel destination for Europeans…and after visiting, I can certainly see why!
One of the most memorable trips I’ve ever been on was to the Sahara Desert in Morocco. Travelling from Marrakech, we went on a 3 day tour that took a small group of us through the High Atlas Mountains, the Draa River Valley to visit a bunch of interesting traditional Berber villages and towns, and to the Merzouga desert, where we stayed overnight.
There’s a bunch of places to book tours from Marrakech, but we decided to book ours online through Viatour, which is owned by TripAdvisor (I’m not sponsored by them in any way). Since scams were plentiful in Morrocco if you don’t do your research, we thought it was easiest to book directly from a reputable company.
I’m usually not the one to go on tours, since I like exploring places on my own and in my own pace, but Morocco felt like a country that you can easily get lost in if you’re not a local. Some rent a car and drive into the desert themselves, but Moroccan roads can be confusing especially with everything in a foreign language.
Plus, you really have to be prepared for the unexpected!
Morocco is definitely one of the most adventurous places I’ve been to. After so much travelling within Europe for the past few years, I knew I was ready to move on. While Morocco is really only a three hour Ryanair flight away, arriving in the country makes you feel like you’re in an exotic country that’s much further away than it really is. It was my first trip to Africa, and exactly as how I imagined my first trip to Africa would be – unforgettable. (I’m already dreaming about our next trip to South Africa!)
Me and Yann went to Morocco in May (I can’t believe it’s already August! Time really flies when you move across continents!), which was still a bit too hot for my liking but it was bearable. We woke up early in the morning to explore until lunch, then spent the afternoons hiding from the sweltering heat (it was 40 degrees everyday) in cafes drinking mint tea or at the cool, tranquilness of our riad until the evening, when the weather was more agreeable and there a lot more exploring to be done.
We went for a week, and I dreamt about camels almost every night after our trip. During our week there, we went to Marrakech, did a 3 day Sahara desert tour, Fez and chefchaouen, which is a lot already, but in a country as diverse as Morocco, you can easily spend weeks there exploring the countryside, mountains, desert, rugged coastline, and all the ancient medina cities.
We first flew into Marrakech, which is the first largest city in the country. Its name originates from Berber, which means “Land of God.” People say that Marrakech is a city of moments, and it’s really true – there’s so much to take in, from the beautiful Islamic architecture of the Bahia Palace, to discovering all the hidden alleyways of the medina, to hearing the call to prayer as you’re enjoying a dinner and mint tea at Cafe ZaZa.