Chances are you’re going to see a lot of lists like this for the next two weeks, many full of so many items that they make your head spin. You’ll read a few of them that recommend everything from wireless headphones, to suitcases and UV cell phone sanitizers. Far short of these typical 30-item-long manifestos — often more overwhelming than helpful — we wanted to provide a short curated list of beloved items that will speak to the traveler in your life (or, you). These are the 5 of the best gifts for travelers stuck at home. 

We believe that, even in a year like this, the world is still at your doorstep. These gifts were chosen with that idea in mind, because there are still transportive and transformational experiences to give one another these days. Whether it’s with the powers of new technology, or the ancient wisdom of language, these gifts might provide a lift to someone missing travel right now. 

Traveling Spoon

We all know that exploring a new place through its food culture is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the travel experience–but determining which local hotspots serve up the most traditional, authentic, or simply yummiest traditional plates can be an arduous process. If someone came to visit your city for the first time, you could easefully rattle off a list of great eats for them to try. If you’ve ever wanted someone to return that favor while traveling, try the Traveling Spoon


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In normal times (pre-COVID, the “great before,” etc), Traveling Spoon matched you with a foodie to lead you on a casual food tour of their home. Since both traveling and  indoor dining are off the menu right now, the Traveling Spoon has adapted by offering online classes instead. Now, you can sign up for individual tutoring with someone from the land of your favorite cuisine and get the scoop on all their home-cooking secrets. If someone you know is tired of cooking the same old thing over and over again while stuck at home, look no further than Traveling Spoon. 

Rosetta Stone Lifetime Unlimited Languages

Learning a new language is a tongue-twisting endeavor, one not easily undertaken in isolation at home. As much as we all love the Duolingo owl and watching our favorite foreign shows with subtitles in the hope that we retain something, a year like this presents precious little chance to immerse ourselves in a different vernacular. Right now, a lifetime subscription to Rosetta Stone’s Unlimited Languages membership is only $179, an awesome deal when you consider that this is a one-time fee for access to 25 languages. You can learn as many as you want at one time, with live pronunciation help and live tutoring in select markets. 


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Moment Phone Lenses

While photography gifts might seem out of place during a year when “life on-the-go” isn’t really happening, smartphone lenses offer both amateur and professional iPhone or Samsung photographers a perspective-shifting option that doesn’t break the bank. These gifts are perfect for a photographer friend, or someone with an eye-popping Instagram feed that always impresses you. You don’t need to know a bunch of photography mumbo jumbo, and won’t have to shell out several hundred dollars on a lens or accessory that might not fit their camera. All thanks to Moment


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All you need to know is that their strongest and most versatile option is probably the 58mm telephoto lens, which enhances the iPhone X’s built-in zoom and sharpens the images that its sensor takes. But there’s also a 14mm fisheye lens for achieving that skateboarding video aesthetic, and a macro lens option that will make the tiniest scenes in your apartment look like entire worlds. And who doesn’t want more of that this year? 

Atlas Coffee Club

I was given an Atlas Coffee Club gift subscription last year, and I can’t emphasize enough how awesome this service is. It’s incredibly easy to buy 3 or 6 months for a friend and surprise them completely when a fresh box of coffee arrives in their mailbox. There’s easy sign-up info inside for you to link the gift subscription to a new account on their site, from which point you can choose shipping frequency, bag size, and whether you want whole bean or ground coffee.


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Atlas sources their beans from around the world, and only roasts them when you’re ready — one day before your shipment goes out. Not only is the coffee always fresh and delicious, but the packaging and paperwork is incredibly bespoke, and unique to each bag you receive. There’s a real element of exploration to this subscription, underpinned by the postcards that arrive from the country of origin with every order. There’s also tasting notes for each coffee, a blurb on the coffee culture in that country, and a recommended brewing method. 

Oculus Quest 2

I’ve saved the item that provides the closest possible proxy-travel experience for very last on this list, and it’s also the most expensive at $300. But virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Quest 2 have evolved from a momentarily cool gimmick into pieces of equipment that provide one-of-a-kind, memorable experiences. From adventuring in the mythical lands of your favorite video games to watching a beloved stand-up act like you’re in the live audience, the Quest is versatile and has one feature in particular that travelers will really appreciate. 


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With Google Earth VR, National Geographic, and the Wander app, you can visit a seemingly unlimited number of real-life locations just like you’re walking down the street. With my friend’s Oculus, I’ve explored numerous old neighborhoods of mine, wonders of the world like the Genghis Khan statue in Mongolia, and so much more. Of course it risks being a little kitschy, but the VR is of high enough quality to really immerse and excite you. 

Have you decided on a great gift for a beloved traveler in your life, or received one yourself? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!