The season of giving is upon us, and this year, it comes with a new meaning.
2020 taught us we need to be kinder to ourselves, to other people, and even to our planet. We’ll all remember the way our cities looked when the world was forced to stand still, and how nature was able to recover and flourish with a break from the fast-paced buzz of the world we’ve become so used to. We couldn’t agree more with the need for gentleness, softness, and slowness this holiday—whether it’s derived from digging out that favourite pair of worn-in comfy pants, or deciding to take some time just for ourselves under the fairy lights, with a mug of hot cocoa in hand.
Here are a few ways you can prepare for the holiday season without leaving the comforts of home—all while keeping your love for travel and hopes for future adventures alive.
1. Can’t go to wine country? Bring wine country to you
You might not be able to experience the hot Sicilian sun on your arms, but you can taste the sun’s rays with a lovely glass of Marsala along with your evening dinner by candlelight. We heard 2004 was a great year for Merlot in Saint-Émilion. Bring a taste of Bordeaux to your home with a savoury and classic bottle of Chateau d’Armailhac and a cheeseboard. Find a music playlist on Spotify, like French Chill and if you close your eyes, you may as well be relaxing in a little bistro with a live band playing behind you.
Forget travelling to wine country, you don’t even have to venture out of your house. The Grape Reserve offers a monthly subscription where you can order from a cellar selection of reds and whites, and have them delivered to your door along with tasting notes and recipes designed to compliment your wine of choice. This month, our members get an extra 15% off on all subscriptions.
A subscription with The Wine List offers two bottles of wine every month from small and independent vineyards, alongside a 12-part wine course called Wine Roots. In December, they agreed to give our members 30% off their first order.
And you don’t have to venture to your local Christmas market or bistro to get warmed up and cozy with mulled wine. Throw a few spices together, and you may as well patent your recipe. Try one of our favourites here.
2. Avoid the holiday fuss, and get all your gift shopping done safely at home
There are celebrations, traditions, events, get togethers we’re all feeling nostalgic for this Christmas, especially as travellers; la Fête des Lumières in Lyon in all its glowing glory, the smell of boozy coffees, hot cinnamon and chocolate drizzled over the perfect little crêpe at Christmas markets, or the togetherness with family, friends, or people we meet on our winter holidays. But if there’s one thing we can all do without, it’s the hustle and bustle of the December present rush, the malls chock full of ravenous last-minute shoppers or overly demanding bargain browsers.
If we can take any small graces from all the time we have on our hands, it’s that we have time to invest in ourselves, even in small ways, or send some cheer to our loved ones.
Make a gesture of love to your fellow travel companions, or travel lovers like you, and send them a gift. An emblem of future travel plans, perhaps? Where you’d usually surprise them with a plan, a flight, something you can experience together, why not get them a new suitcase as a promise to yourselves that you’ll get out there as soon as you can? Luggage Superstore are offering our members 15% off on the biggest names in luggage. Or, deck yourself out with a new, smart carryon and some accessories to match for 20% less on Horizn Studios.
Have any fellow yoga-lovers on your list? Afford them some comfort and TLC in the form of new yoga or workout gear from the sustainable and vegan brand OGNX, and get 15% off as one of your membership perks. Find one of the soul enriching, body-bending practices from Yoga with Adriene, and practice together (or safely distanced apart).
3. Keep dreaming, start planning
Travel can be spontaneous. Trips to Nantes to visit your college friend, booked after a last-minute deal you couldn’t refuse popped itself onto your screen. That city break you fled on with your partner, because you felt like you just really needed a getaway. The few days off that miraculously turned into a staycation. As travellers, we’re missing the impulsiveness, the snap decisions, the thrill of not knowing where we’ll be or where we’ll stay—but that no matter what, we’re packing our bags and going to that airport.
But life-changing trips come in the form of plans too. Packing up for 6 months and travelling around South America to taste the Rabo Encendido in Cuba, hiking to the top of Machu Picchu, or exploring around the Amazon Rainforest. Becoming a freelancer or taking a hiatus from your job to bounce around East Asia in Eat, Pray, Love style. Convincing a friend to renovate a van and go on a roadtrip around Europe with you. And, now we can add to the list: booking your first trip when the whole world is open again.
While your Christmas plans may be a little different this year, it doesn’t mean you can’t plan and dream of your next trip. Lonely Planet Guides have some of the most exhaustive, complete guides for almost everywhere, and they’ve recently launched Lonely Planet TV, where you can follow travel stories from popular programmes like Globe Trekker and Planet Food; indulge in the world around you with the Across the World series, featuring London street art and kite fighting in Jaipur; watch clips about community revitalisation or get tips on sustainable cycle trails; or daydream about the dunes in Saudi Arabia, beaches in California or the shores of Australia. Our members get 6 months free.
4. Give a gift to our planet
Our planet supported us through a lot this year, when times were heavy, it was right there under our feet keeping us steady the whole time. When our movements were restricted to 8, 5 and 2 kilometre “trips” from our home, and limited to “necessities” only, the world gave us somewhere to go, near as it was, or at least gave us some beauty to look at from windows. It even started to mend itself after the consistent usual strain from our busy lifestyles and technologies. We’ve seen how during lockdowns air pollution dropped, people in Northern India saw the view of the Himalayan mountain range for the first time in their lives, animals became liberated and there were swans venturing the streets of Milan, and we noticed our impact on the world.
During this season of giving, why not give a little back to the planet? CHOOOSE offers solutions to contribute positively to climate change. We know travelling takes its toll on the environment, but rather than give it up entirely, we can make up for some of its harmful impact by contributing towards climate projects dedicated to minimising CO2 emissions. Stumped for gift ideas? Make a donation in the name of a globetrotter you know and love, as a more sustainable gift this year.
5. Travelling, or know someone who will be? Stay safe and feel protected
Maybe you’re travelling for work this winter break, personal reasons, necessity, or because you’re feeling confident about braving the world. Arming yourself with your mask, sanitiser and distance-consciousness is important, but it’s also key to get all those behind-the-scenes safety procedures and travel paperwork organised too, so you can travel with peace of mind.
Organise your visa applications and health certificates with iVisa at 30% off for our members, so that all you have to worry about on your journey is getting from A to B.
Feel secure even if you feel ill, since Telemedico offers phone consultations with a doctor at 20% off for our members. It helps to travel with some assurance that if you need medical help, you know where to go, or who to call.