Christmas gift ideas for people who love travel: Traveller's gift guide

"Christmas isn't a season. It's a feeling." There's a reason why American author Edna Ferber's famous sentiment appears on everything from memes to parlour cushions. The pithy Pulitzer winner nailed, in fewer than 10 words, why Christmas is so widely loved. Despite and, for many, because of its Christian significance, Christmas manages to capture hearts and minds, no matter where we are from and what we believe in (or don't).

That Christmas feeling is a giddying mash-up of spirituality, bonhomie, generosity and love, only slightly curtailed by the stresses of the season such as family obligations, fiscal considerations. And all of this is egged on (or should we say egg-nogged on) by tangible delights, key among them: lashings of seasonal food and drink.

Then there are the decorations, from the extravagant displays lighting up London's Regent Street, to the giant tree at the Rockefeller Centre, to the red and white religious figures carved out of radishes – yes, radishes – for Noche de Rabanos in Oaxaca, Mexico.

We may also come over all Christmas during magic shopping moments: at a Paris market, when you've found a traditional nativity set for a special friend; in a Rome boutique, securing the perfect cashmere jumper for that hard-to-buy-for person on your list; in Cape Town, that brightly coloured necklace you just know eccentric Aunty Mary will love.

It's a time for receiving, too. Fraught with disappointment as it can be, is there a better feeling than opening a present that is obviously the product of thought, of someone knowing who you are and what you might need or desire?

For the lucky among us, Christmas is also a prelude to a holiday. The wrapping paper in the recycling, the leftovers eaten, it's time to get away. And maybe that, for we travelling types, is the best inspiration for that Christmas feeling: the sweet anticipation of adventure.

For this year's annual Traveller Christmas gift guide, we've packaged all this up, tied a bow around it and come up with presents for those with a passion for wandering, and that are sure to inspire that Christmas feeling in abundance. . With the help of the Australian Bureau of Statistics, we list the top 25 destinations to which Australians will be travelling this holiday season and match a gift for each. If your loved ones find these under the tree, they'll be reminded of your Christmas spirit well after December 25 has passed.

NEW ZEALAND

DIESEL DZT2010 WATCH, $549

Trampers can climb every mountain and, with this touchscreen smartwatch powered by Google's Wear OS, be alerted to weather changes, monitor their heart rate and control music from the wrist. It's been sculpted to be light but strong. See shop.diesel.com

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INDONESIA

FLORES NEON MEN SWIMSHORTS, $95

These salt- and chlorine-resistant, ultra soft and fast-drying shorts exude holiday panache. They feature an elasticised waistband, hip pockets that fasten with a drawstring, a single patch pocket on the back and a mesh brief lining. See tolu.com.au

US

TUCSON LEATHER VISOR, $149

sundec16cover christmas holiday gift guide ; compiled by Julietta Jameson
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Photo: Supplied

From Palm Springs to South Beach, this new take on an American favourite is a sun-smart and stylish accoutrement for touring in the US. It's 100 per cent leather with tonal suede lining and an adjustable strap. See lackofcolor.com.au

BRITAIN

JASON MARKK TRAVEL SHOE CLEANING KIT, $40

Visiting the rain-prone country that invented the idea that "shoes maketh the man" can wreak havoc on even the nattiest brogue. This kit features shoe cleaner, brush, a microfibre towel and, for muddy emergencies, three quick-wipes. See universalstore.com

THAILAND

MERRELL DUSKAIR SEAWAY THONG, $129.99

For scouring night markets and dinner by the beach, Merrell's new leather-upper sandals look great and also feature comfort and support tech, such as the Merrell Air Cushion in the heel. Available in brown or black, they're lightweight, too. See merrellaustralia.com.au

CHINA

THE NEW SILK ROADS BY PETER FRANKOPAN, $27.99

Tracing a line from Europe through to China by way of Russia and the Middle East, this book by the best-selling author and Oxford historian Peter Frankopan is described by The Spectator as "an entertaining and carefully researched account of a new Chinese chapter in global history". See bloomsbury.com/au

JAPAN

AESOP GIFT KIT, FROM $60

sundec16cover christmas holiday gift guide ; compiled by Julietta Jameson
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Photo: Supplied

Whether skiing Niseko, shopping in Tokyo or soaking in an onsen, Aesop's Gift Kits for 2018-19, collectively titled Atlas of Attraction, contain products to revive skin after a day's activity. They come in a reusable amenity case. See aesop.com

SINGAPORE

FLIGHTGIFT CARD, FROM $25

The world's first cross-airline flight gift card and its sibling Hotelgift are customisable gift cards redeemable for hotel stays and flights, with more than 110,000 hotels and 980 destinations to choose from. Applicable airlines include Emirates and Qantas. The flexibility means your recipient can act fast when the Singapore sales are launched. See flightgiftcard.com

INDIA

Leica Q-P, $7300

For a committed photographer in arguably the world's most photogenic country, Leica's new camera is the ultimate gift. It comes with a fine leather strap and additional battery. Tech includes a 24.2MP full-frame CMOS sensor and built-in Wi-Fi, compatible with Leica's FOTOS smartphone app. See leica-store.com.au

FIJI

AQUA MARINA PURE AIR INFLATABLE STAND UP PADDLE BOARD, $499

sundec16cover christmas holiday gift guide ; compiled by Julietta Jameson
SUPPLIED via journalist

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The tropical lagoons of Fiji beckon beginners and pros alike. This portable paddle board has an adjustable aluminium paddle, a high-pressure pump, three removable skegs, a repair kit and a backpack to put it all in. Club price: $299. See anacondastores.com

VIETNAM

TUNNEL VISION BY JIMMY THOMSON, $29.99

This engrossing beach holiday read follows Danny and Zan who, after narrowly avoiding a sticky end in Los Angeles, escape to Vietnam to help out an old army mate. A web of mystery and adventure ensues, set in Saigon's crowded streets. See affirmpress.com.au

MALAYSIA

LUCY PLAYSUIT, $140

From the resort collection of Sydney label Swnabt, this 100 per cent fine cotton playsuit is cool, comfortable and stylish enough to be worn while hitting the sales or the rooftop bars in steamy KL. See swnabt.com.au

ITALY

DANIEL COGNAC TRAVEL BAG, $499

When arriving at an airport where even the security guards are stylish, your gift recipient will look the part with a luxe leather bag, made locally. The Daniel is handsome, spacious, sturdy and comes with a shoulder strap. See marlafiji.com

HONG KONG

Osprey Mutant 22, $129.95

Weighing just 570 grams, this versatile pack is great for the plane as well as for adventurous hiking and climbing in the surprising green spaces of Hong Kong and the undulating mountain paths found on outlying islands. See ospreypacks.com

PHILIPPINES

CUVA DIAGONAL ZIP SWIM TOP, $149

Boracay beach lovers can give sensitive skin a rest from the sun in style with Melbourne label CUVA's swim tops, rashies and all-in-ones. The diagonal-zip style cam be matched with CUVA swim bottoms and there are men's options, too. See cuvaswim.com

CANADA

SP CONNECT MULTI ACTIVITY BUNDLE, $99.95

Road tripping through the Rockies or biking along the Bow River, the Multi Activity Bundle is a mounting system to keep phones secure whether the owner is running, riding, driving, golfing or training. See sp-connect.com.au

FRANCE

JAC CADEAUX BOATNECK LINEN DRESS, $140

You can throw this dress over a bikini, pair it with white sneakers for day touring, or with some bling for a casual dinner. Is there a better piece for a woman visiting the Riviera? And in a classic French stripe, at that. From Sydney label, Jac Cadeaux. See jaccadeaux.com

GREECE

ANCIENT CREEK THALIA LEATHER SANDALS, $295

Hit the ground running in these tan leather sandals with seashell embellishments and gold-tone metal studs. They also feature a smooth sole and anti-slip heel. See matchesfashion.com

GERMANY

TYPO INSTAX MINI, $199.99

Your river cruiser can share the selfie love with the less-tech savvy via this inexpensive, retro-styled Polaroid. Or they can keep the children amused on the road with old-school styling and photo printing. See cottonon.com

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

RAVEN 200 HEAD TORCH, $71.98

Give the Kokoda Trail walker something that will remain useful long after the lactic acid has left their legs, such as a powerful LED headlight that's lightweight, compact and has multiple lighting modes. See kathmandu.com.au

SRI LANKA

BODYGUARDZ NEW HARMONY PHONE CASE, $55

Whether taking selfies in bustling markets or while clamouring at Galle Fort, an iPhone X/XS, XR and XS MAX is safeguarded with impact-absorbing Kevlar material. The case also has thin wire mesh over the speakers to protect them from dust. See au.bodyguardz.com

SPAIN

AUBRIE FLAMENCO FROCK, $99.95

Junior travellers can dance up a storm in the home of flamenco with this pure linen, empire-line dress with adjustable straps. Available in sizes for one- to eight-year-olds. See aubrie.com.au

SOUTH AFRICA

NIKON D3500, $799

sundec16cover christmas holiday gift guide ; compiled by Julietta Jameson
SUPPLIED via journalist

sundec16cover christmas holiday gift guide ; compiled by Julietta Jameson SUPPLIED via journalist Photo: Supplied

Capturing the magic sights on safari is easy with Nikon's new entry-level DSLR, the D3500, which takes over from the award-winning and best-selling D3400. It has a guide mode for beginners and Snapbridges so you can instantly and wirelessly transfer images from the DSLR to a smartphone. See camerahouse.com.au

SOUTH KOREA

JJ YOUNG BY CAOLION LAB GREEN CLEANSING STICK, $28.95

Give a visitor to Seoul a pre-travel taste of "K- beauty" from cult brand Caolion Lab with this handy-for-flying, cruelty-free, solid product of the spin-off line, JJ Young. It cleanses skin using natural ingredients. See stylestory.com.au

FIVE GIFTS FOR TRAVEL IN AUSTRALIA

BYRON BAY

VEJA RORAIMA MEN'S SNEAKERS, $255

French brand Veja makes sneakers from ethically-sourced, fair trade, organic and upcycled materials. Fashion footwear with a transparent production line and environmentally and socially committed ethos, Veja has been called the world's most sustainable business. See veja-store.com

MORNINGTON PENINSULA

TRAVEL BED DUVET, FROM $134

For road-tripping pooches, this folding bed with carry handles offers a cosy place to snooze, and styles are made from either European certified organic cotton or cotton-hemp blend with the mattress made from 100 per cent organic polyester or pure Merino lambs wool. See lavishtails.com.au

GOLD COAST

LOCAL SUPPLY SMOOTH TALKERS, $139.95

Bondi brand Local Supply makes affordable sunnies in fun styles – send a beach bunny off on holiday with a pair that harks back to the Gold Coast glory days of tiki bars, white shoes and drive-in motels. See localsupply.com

KANGAROO ISLAND

SUNRISE LINEN THROW, $159

Give this Australian designed, hand-screenprinted linen throw to the foodie on the go. Measuring 140 by 190 centimetres, it's a picnic rug, cloth to cover an outdoor table, lightweight blanket or beach throw and when travels are over, it could be a wall hanging.See hunthomewares.com.au

ULURU

THE NORTH FACE MEN'S 24/7 SHORT, $60

Whether working out at the resort gym or hiking Kata Tjuta, The North Face's 24/7 tech range of active garments ensures comfort. Quick-drying, light, and moisture-wicking, these shorts feature a secure pocket to keep that room keycard safe. See thenorthface.com.au

FIVE GIFTS FOR JUNIOR TRAVELLERS

DISNEYLAND

ALICE PLEASANCE LUGGAGE TAG, $54.95

Part of the Alice Pleasance range inspired by Disney's Alice in Wonderland, this Saffiano leather luggage tag contains a slip to write ID details and comes in a pretty gift box. It's gold embossed with the words, "How do you get to Wonderland?". See davidjones.com

CLUB MED

ADAIRS PRINTED BEACH TOWEL, $20.99

From the Adairs Kids range, this Cool Pineapple printed beach towel is one of several retro styles. Lightweight and smaller, it is ideal for little ones. See adairs.com.au

BALI VILLA

BILLIBAG, $69.95

Fill this roomy drawstring bag with inflatables and other fun things for the beach or pool. Printed with a cool cockatoo motif, it's an easy way for children to take their toys outdoors then scoop them up and away. See bivouackid.com.au

SOUTH PACIFIC CRUISE

SUNNYLIFE KIDS HOODED FOUTA TOWEL, $39.95

When the wind picks up by the ship pool, keep small swimming sailors snug in this hooded poncho with tassel trim made of 100 per cent combed and soft cotton. It comes in tonal stripes with a blue hood, or rainbow hued with a pink hood. See theiconic.com.au

ITALY TOUR

ICE-CREAM BUCKET HAT, $34.95

That little gelato lover will look the part in the home of the world's best ice-cream and keep safe under the Mediterranean sun wearing this 100 per cent cotton embroidered hat with a cute frayed edge from Country Road. See countryroad.com.au

Q+A IF YOU COULD GIFT A PLACE

RACHEL O'REILLY, TRAVELMANAGERS' PERSONAL TRAVEL MANAGER

If you could give a destination as a Christmas present in 2018, what would it be?

Ireland

Who for?

Grandparents, so they can travel with their children and grandchildren to the rolling green hills of this beautiful country, learning about their heritage.

Why this destination?

Ireland caters fantastically to travellers of multiple generations and allows families to share their past while creating brand new memories together.

ADAM SCHWAB, CEO, LUXURY ESCAPES

If you could give a destination as a Christmas present in 2018, what would it be?

The Maldives

Who for?

It's perfect for almost anyone and surprisingly family friendly with excellent kids' clubs.

Why this destination?

One of the things to be careful about in remote locations is how much food and drink costs. By including everything in the one (very low) price, Luxury Escapes has made a Maldives holiday of a lifetime at a super premium resort far more affordable than it would have been five years ago.

RICHARD JOHNSTON, CO-FOUNDER, TRIPADEAL

If you could give a destination as a Christmas present in 2018, what would it be?

Iceland

Who for?

Iceland is a place for the adventurous and curious traveller. This doesn't mean endurance athletes or polar explorers, more so someone who is inspired by unique environments.

Why this destination?

The natural beauty is unsurpassed with a diversity of landscapes that have to be seen to be believed. It's one of the best places on earth to experience the Northern Lights and in many other ways it surprises and delights – and isn't this what a great Christmas present is all about?

JUDY VANRENEN, FOUNDER, BOTANICA

If you could give a destination as a Christmas present in 2018, what would it be?

Japan

Who for?

Your gardening enthusiast "aunty or uncle", who can rattle off the name of any plant at the drop of a hat.

Why this destination?

For garden lovers it is a must, Japan takes its plants and horticulture seriously. However it is the cherry blossom season that heralds the beginning of spring with the richly symbolic sakura flower, which captures the imagination of many visitors. A Botanica World Discoveries small-ship cruise in late March, with just 80 guests follows the blossom season from south to north as it unfolds with the climatic conditions.

MICHELLE BLACK, MANAGING DIRECTOR, VIKING CRUISES AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

If you could give a destination as a Christmas present in 2018, what would it be?

Scandinavia

Who for?

Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness. In other words, a bubbly, worldly couple with adventurous spirit and a keen desire to explore.

Why this destination?

From quaint fishing towns and charming architecture to spectacular fiords and dramatic mountain ranges, Sweden, Norway and Denmark feature the perfect fusion of rich cultural heritage, astonishing natural beauty and fascinating history. Viking's most popular cruise itineraries are those that feature Scandinavia – Viking Homelands, Viking Shores & Fjords and Baltic Jewels & the Midnight Sun, just to name a few.

MARION BUNNIK, FOUNDER AND PRODUCT DIRECTOR, BUNNIK TOURS

If you could give a destination as a Christmas present in 2018, what would it be?

Egypt

Who for?

A person with a hunger for history, culture and experiences and who has an open mind to luxury but also [doesn't mind] a bit of the rough and tumble.

Why this destination?

From a Nile cruise showing you the Temples of Edfu and Kom Ombo, the Karnak and Luxor Temples, to a hot air balloon over the Valley of the Kings – there's so much to see: the horse-drawn carts, the beautiful Nile Valley with its fertile lands. Egypt will always keep a hold on you, from the chaos in Cairo to the beautiful countryside.

WENDY WU, FOUNDER AND CHAIRWOMAN, WENDY WU TOURS

If you could give a destination as a Christmas present in 2018, what would it be?

Sri Lanka

Who for?

Either a couple with young children, or a friend who wants to travel solo and explore somewhere beautiful.

Why this destination?

It's getting very popular but is still accessible and a relaxing holiday. The wildlife is superb, the food is amazing, the hillside tea-plantations are beautiful, Galle Fort is so romantic, and the beaches are perfect.

SUE BADYARI, CEO, WORLD EXPEDITIONS TRAVEL GROUP

If you could give a destination as a Christmas present in 2018, what would it be?

Nepal

Who for?

A dear friend who has long dreamt of trekking amongst the highest peaks on earth. She's active, a busy mum and business owner, and finds time to volunteer.

Why this destination?

When she opens her Christmas gift, which is our 17-day Gokyo & the Renjo La trek, she'll ascend the trails above Lukla airstrip, hanging a left at the junction that leads up to Gokyo Valley, while the throng of other trekkers pass to the right toward Everest Base Camp. On this lesser known trail the adventure keeps getting better.

MICHAEL MIDDLETON, GENERAL MANAGER, MY CRUISES

If you could give a destination as a Christmas present in 2018, what would it be?

The Mediterranean

Who for?

Anyone who's dreamed of exploring this beautiful part of the world. Even for seasoned travellers, our Mediterranean cruises will open your eyes to a new way of travelling with curated itineraries on the most cutting-edge ships.

Why this destination?

From Amalfi to Croatia's coastline, the scenery is constantly spectacular. History lovers will delight in the ancient ruins of Pompeii and Rome, and our Mediterranean cruises leave nothing to chance with everything taken care of for you.

LIZ CROWLEY JOURNEY DESIGNER, SCENIC LUXURY CRUISES AND TOURS

If you could give a destination as a Christmas present in 2018, what would it be?

South Africa and Victoria Falls

Who for?

For the person who has everything, the experience of seeing animals roaming free on safari is unique. Also, for the person who loves "how things used to be" – staying at the Victoria Falls hotel is to experience old-world colonial style.

Why this destination?

The beauty of Cape Town, the first time you see a giraffe's long neck appearing above the tree tops, visiting Soweto's living history, the warmth of the people and how welcome you are made to feel wherever you go.

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