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The Indagare Holiday Gift Guide 2020: Our Favorite Gifts for Travelers

The holiday season is upon us, and this year, we’re sending gifts to loved ones near and far that celebrate and support the destinations we love, from Botswana to New York City. The Indagare Holiday Gift Guide: 2020 Edition features a curated selection of treasures, gadgets, books, nonprofit organizations and more, for every traveler in your life, from the design lover to the trailblazer (and we may be wrapping up a few things for ourselves, as well!). These are the items that make us recall our favorite trips around the world, and inspire us to dream of the adventures that await in the months and years ahead. We hope that these gifts inspire learning, joy and global exchange—plus, don’t miss picks from our team and some familiar insiders whom you may recognize from past Global Conversations, Global Classrooms, Insider Journeys, Indagare Clubs and more! 

Happy Gifting and Happy Holidays, from all of us at Indagare.

Melissa’s Picks

Indagare Founder and CEO Melissa Biggs Bradley shares the items at the top of her gift list:

  • All the Way to the Tigers by Mary Morris (2020, Penguin Random House): “Later this month, I’ll be speaking with acclaimed author Mary Morris to discuss solo travel from the female perspective. Her new memoir, which was published this summer and takes place in India, is a must-read.”
  • Rothy’s Vanity Set: “These chic and versatile bags are my go-to gift for frequent travelers.”
  • Donation to Reach the World: “I am on the board of Reach the World, an incredible non-profit that brings the power of travel into classrooms through videoconferencing, so children who might never be exposed to distant cultures can learn about life in faraway places and how varied the world is. A donation to this organization helps fund these literacy and education programs—plus, there are amazing ways for college study abroad students and professionals to get involved.”
  • Gift Card for a Stay at Cheval Blanc in Paris: “The new Cheval Blanc Paris in the former Art-Deco La Samaritaine department store is one of the hotel openings that I most eagerly anticipate for 2021. A gift card for future travel to this showstopper would be at the top of my wish list! Inquire by emailing membership@indagare.com.”

For Foodies and Oenophiles

From Global Conversations Guest, Chef/Founder of west~bourne, Co-Founder of ROAR and Founding Member of the IRC Camilla Marcus: Serving New York Cookbook

“This holiday season, I am supporting small businesses and initiatives led by women. Serving New York is a cookbook put together by my dear friend, Kristin Tice Studeman, and it is full of simple, quarantine-friendly recipes from New York City chefs. 100 percent of the book’s proceeds go to ROAR x Robin Hood’s restaurant relief fund, which provides direct cash assistance to out-of-work restaurant workers. It’s a fun and thoughtful way to help the hospitality community, which has been so hard hit by the pandemic. For me, gifting this year is about thinking small for a big impact.”

From Indagare Global Experience Manager Kathryn Nathanson: Virtual Piedmont Truffle Experience with White Alba Truffles

“For this holiday season only, we’ve created a truly exceptional experience in the Indagare Global Classroom that’s the ultimate gift for the foodie—or Italophile—in your life: a virtual truffle workshop and cooking class, on location in Alba, Piedmont. This region is renowned for producing the white truffle, which is one of the rarest gourmet ingredients in the world. In this class, a Piedmont native and chef and culinary expert will introduce you to Italy’s truffle-hunting history and culture; then, you’ll participate in an interactive cooking class focusing on the delicacy of the truffle. You’ll also be able to purchase freshly-foraged White Alba Truffles in advance of the class, which will be hand-picked for you by our truffle expert—and this season, we’re told that they are finding some of the finest truffles that they have seen in years. Whether you choose the truffles, the class, or both, this gift is sure to wow.” 

From Global Classroom Host, Chef and Culinary Stylist Ashton Keefe

  • Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet:  “Everyone needs a cast iron skillet. It’s the one tool/piece of equipment other than a knife I think everyone should splurge on and use—daily. Because the truth is, if you take care of this (or that knife), they will last you a lifetime!”
  • The Quarterly Convivial: 33 Step-by-Step Recipes & Wine Pairings by Ashton Keefe (Print or Digital Cookbook): This inspiring and approachable collection of recipes and wine pairings is a must for the quarantine chefs in your life. 

From Indagare Associate Editor Elizabeth Harvey

  • The Wine Game (from Talking Tables): “I recently discovered this charming board game for wine lovers that is the perfect gift for a fun, festive (21+) family night in this holiday season. If you prefer spirits, they also have whisky, gin and cocktail versions!” 
  • Gift Cards to Your Favorite Local Restaurants: “While engaging in a little friendly competition with your pod over your knowledge of wine varieties and history around the world (see above), you can also sip on selections from your favorite restaurants, when you order in with a gift card. This holiday season, I’ll be gifting credits to two of my go-to spots in New York City: Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria and The Jones.”

Plus: Only through December 10, receive an exclusive 10 percent discount when you gift a private culinary, wine or mixology Indagare Global Classroom experience.

For Design Lovers and Style Mavens

From Insider Journey Host and Architectural Digest Decorative Arts Editor Mitchell Owens: Jaipur Double Lotus Blue Pot

“A year ago, during our AD x Indagare Insider Journey to India, we stopped at the impossibly beautiful City Palace, the primary residence of the maharajas of Jaipur (the latest being Padmanabh Singh, a 21-year-old polo player, fashion model, and Airbnb host). There, in the gift shop, I snatched up several sets of double lotus pots. Made to hold salt and pepper, the hand-carved marble containers and matching trays are hand-painted with patterns that represent the seasons and which correspond to motifs found in the palace. The prices are equally delectable: 1,200 to 1,600 rupees, or about $16 to $21. Individual pots are also available. They transport me back to India whenever I look at them!” 

From Insider Journey Host and Architectural Digest Contributing Editor Gay Gassmann:

  • Homewares from Bloom Paris: “While I’ve been staying put in Paris, I’m always on the lookout for what’s new and happening, and I’m thrilled with my recent discoveries in Bloom Paris. After a year of wandering en famille to India, Cape Town and Sydney, the ever-chic Parisian Pauline Hénin founded this lifestyle brand, after her own heart. I love everything about it.”
  • Needlepoint from Tapisserie London: “Since everything old is new again, I’ve rediscovered needlepoint, thanks to the wonderful Lady Palumbo and her fabulous jewel of a shop, which is practically a London landmark. I’m all stocked up on giftable needlepoint holiday decorations and stitching away!”

From Global Conversations Guest, Insider Journey Host and Designer Charlotte Moss: Travel by Design (2020, Assouline)

“For a beautiful holiday gift, this new book was published by Assouline and put together by the Design Leadership Network, and I was also a participant. The photos in the book are fabulous, and there is also an exceptional list of places one should not miss in the back of the book. As we all have wanderlust now, this is true armchair travel and is about as good as it gets. Plus—a number of my photos that are included were taken on Indagare trips!”

From Indagare Fashion Club Host, Fashion Historian and Parsons School of Design Professor Jessica GlasscockFondation Azzedine Alaia Bookstore Gems

“If I could be anywhere this holiday season, it would be the courtyard of the Fondation Azzedine Alaia, home to one of the most significant emerging fashion collections in Paris. While the exhibitions are on brief hiatus and coffee can’t currently be served, the extraordinary bookstore is open IRL and online. Hit them up for all your gifting needs (and tell them @gothleisure misses them terribly; plus—there’s still time to join, or gift, membership to the Indagare Fashion Club, before the end of the year!).”

From Global Conversations Guest and Fashion Designer Eric Raisina:

  • Eric Raisina Silk Organza Fluffy Bags and Silk Scarves: “Our Silk Organza Fluffy Bag is our most popular item of all time—though we recently made a smaller version that clients are also loving—and the scarves are very popular. They are so light and colorful, and they are enough to emphasize a simple black dress. We have 12 different colors, in large and mini sizes.” Inquire by emailing info@ericraisina.com and including “Indagare” in the subject line.
  • Donation to Nginn Karet Foundation for Cambodia:  “This holiday season, my wish is to support this local organization here in Siem Reap, which empowers village people in Cambodia to improve their health, hygiene, infrastructure and education programs for a sustainable future. The Sacred Dancers of Angkor is a project within the program that is particularly dear to me.”

From Global Conversations Guest and Designer India Hicks: Donation to the Global Empowerment Mission in the Bahamas

“This year, we are trying to buy 97 tablets for the kids from Moore Island in Abaco who lost everything in Hurricane Dorian and still do not have proper access to education. The tablets will be the best gift ever.” 

From Global Conversations Guest and Moroccan Hotelier Meryanne Loum-Martin: Inside Marrakesh: Enchanting Homes and Gardens (2020, Rizzoli)

“My new book, which was just released in September, has already gone to reprint, and our bookstores are saying it is a hit as a gift. I think, right now, it is helping readers to escape and dream—and more importantly, it has been supporting the Marrakech economy, as local traders and artisans have been telling me that they are receiving a great influx of purchases and inquiries, because of the book. This pandemic has done great damage to Marrakech, and this book has a wonderful support effect.”

From Indagare Design Club Guest, Insider Journey Host and Textile Designer Lisa Fine

  • Kashmir Loom: “This embroidered shawl brand from the Kashmir Valley, which also has a shop in New Delhi, always has beautiful things that everyone loves.” 
  • Donation to the ASPCA:I also give each year to the ASPCA, as my most favorite dog was a rescue, and it’s a cause I’m passionate about.” 
  • Donation to World Vision: “This is another animal charity that I love, which allows you to donate to support farm animals in impoverished communities around the world. These animals provide families in need with lifesaving nutrition and economic empowerment through agriculture. It’s the best.” 

From Future of Travel Summit Panelist and Visit Sweden Marketing Manager Magnus Lindbergh: Holiday Ornaments from Svenskt Tenn 

Founded in 1924, this celebrated gallery-store is the source for classic Swedish and Danish design and textiles. The only licensed Fornasetti dealer in Sweden, Svenskt Tenn is a trove of one-of-a-kind furnishings that meld European precision with Swedish functionalism. While Sweden’s borders remain closed to Americans, these beautiful ornaments will bring a dose of Scandinavian warmth and elegance to the home of whoever receives them.

From Indagare Senior Director of Membership Elise Bronzo: Market Treasures from Around the World

“My daydreams are currently streaming scenes from my favorite markets in the world, especially in India: friendly exchanges with local merchants, bartering by hand gesture to overcome language barriers, aching ankles after a day along cobblestoned alleyways, total saturation. While we’re homebound, I’m supporting these places from afar by gifting my loved ones with items from some of my favorite artisans and global brands who have online stores—including cashmere shawls from the Jaipur-based Andraab; home decor from Luang Prabang’s Ock Pop Tok; impeccable accessories from the globally-sourced, Charleston-based Ibu Movement; these adorable, furry llamas from an artisan family in Peru’s Andes mountains (a must for anyone stressing out this season); and the beautiful embroidery pieces from the Los Angeles/Lebanon studio Kissweh.”

From Indagare Creative Director Simone Girner: Parisian Présents

“I missed Paris, where I lived for many years, terribly during 2020. I am daydreaming of a return in 2021, to revisit such favorite stores as Papier Plus, Sennelier and Isabel Marant, as well as to explore newcomers, especially Marin Montagut, whose shop looks like a trove of whimsical design and accessories, and Marion Graux, a ceramicist whose tabletop is simply unmistakably Parisian.”

From Global Classroom Program Lead Angela Denny: Virtual Art Exhibition Tours from New York to Los Angeles

“Through the creation of the Indagare Global Classroom, I’ve collaborated with ArtMuse Founder and Chief Curator Natasha Schlesinger to offer virtual tours of top contemporary art exhibitions, galleries and artist studios, which are a must-gift for any aficionados and collectors in your life, who are missing exploration in person. In addition to curated looks at shows like the Frieze Contemporary Art Fair or the NaDa Art Fair, we can also customize experiences to suit your recipient’s interests, with best-selling themes including ‘Up-and-Coming Artists to Know Now’ and ‘Contemporary Black Art in America.’ You can learn more about our offerings here and purchase our virtual gift card now.”

Plus: Be the first to gift membership to our brand-new Indagare Art Club: Art Matters, which will present a curated virtual survey of key exhibitions and artists’ studios in New York City and beyond, in ten sessions. 

For Outdoor Adventurers and Trailblazers

“This fall, I made the most of working remotely by spending a few weeks exploring and hiking across the American Southwest. The experience inspired me to do quite a bit of shopping with the lifestyle brand Parks Project—and their loungewear and stocking-stuffers are sure to delight the outdoors-lovers in your life, since they have thus far managed to raise one million dollars to support the U.S. National Parks and domestic conservation initiatives.” 

From Indagare Senior Director of Marketing Diana Li: The Rimowa Personal Polycarbonate Cross-Body Clutch Bag

“True trailblazers need luggage that can withstand the strain of the road less traveled—without sacrificing style. The Rimowa Cabin S is my go-to carry-on, and the polycarbonate collection’s latest addition—a personal cross-body clutch—is now at the top of my holiday wish list. It’s lightweight, yet highly protective, and the strap and internal organization features make it the perfect hands-free travel companion for adventurers that are always on the go.”

From Future of Travel Summit Panelist and Founder of Aqua Expeditions Francesco Galli Zugaro:

  • Donation to the Manta Trust: “Sharks and rays are crucial for the health of our planet, but they are some of the most enigmatic and misunderstood creatures in the ocean. They reside in many of the regions where Aqua operates, so I feel a great responsibility to support their protection.” 
  • The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk Wallace Johnson (2018, Viking): “A fascinating non-fiction book based on the Birds of Paradise, this is my favorite book of the year. It is sure to entrance bird-watchers and naturalists alike.”
  • Gift Card for an Aqua Blu Expedition on the Amazon, the Mekong or in Indonesia: “Our sustainability-focused itineraries provide conservation enthusiasts with the opportunity for meaningful experiences that contribute to global environmental causes.” Inquire by emailing membership@indagare.com

From Global Conversations Guest and Travel Writer Sophy Roberts: Altai-Himalaya Pure Cashmere Blanket

“[It’s] my favorite travel companion: a pure cashmere blanket by a brand called Altai-Himalaya in the madder red of a Tibetan Buddhist robe. The cashmere is harvested from the goat herds of the Orkhon Valley in Mongolia—a place I have been traveling to for years, where my [recently published] book The Lost Pianos of Siberia begins. The wool is dyed and woven in Nepal, in an extraordinary workshop of true artisans. There is no cashmere quite like it. You can order them by emailing D’Artagnan Giercke at dg@altai-himalaya.com.”

From Global Conversations Guest, Insider Journey Host and Safari and Conservation Legend Colin Bell:

  • The Last Elephants by Don Pinnock and Colin Bell (2019, Smithsonian): “The plight of elephants seems to have taken a back foot during this Covid era we are living through. Nearly 500 elephants mysteriously died or were killed in Zimbabwe and Botswana—either through a natural toxin or poisoning; we don’t know what caused this. Many more have been poached throughout Africa. It has not been a good year for elephants in Africa. Our book, which offers a great value at nearly 500 pages for just $10, does the important work of raising awareness for protection of these creatures with riveting, educational stories.”
  • Donation to the Natural Selection Trust: “Many impoverished rural people who live around Africa’s unfenced parks and reserves have been the custodians of the wildlife and the wilds that inhabit within for many, many years. The lives of these people have been uplifted and they have been benefiting from their neighboring wildlife they have been protecting (through not poaching), through the jobs and revenues they earn from safari or wildlife tourism. But these people have not enjoyed the benefits of wildlife tourism this year. And many of these communities are starving because of losses of income. Our Natural Selection Trust funds food parcels for communities who live alongside wildlife in Africa and thus ensures that there will be almost zero poaching. Something like $100 can sustain a family of four for a month in many parts of Africa.”

From Future of Travel Summit Guest, Polar Explorer and Award-Winning Photographer Sebastian Copeland: Donation to Amazon Watch

Amazon Watch sheds light on the devastations taking place in the Amazon, and it gives a voice to the indigenous tribes—defending the defenders of the forest from logging, deforestation and persecution. The Amazon forest is often referred to as “The Lungs of the Earth.” Amazon Watch brings its voice to the world, and lobbies for its protection.”

Plus: Give the gift of future travel—with a conservation focus—through a credit towards our sustainable Insider Journeys to Antarctica, the Galápagos and Botswana in 2021.

For Wellness Seekers

From Global Conversations Guest and Founder of The Ashram, Catharina Hedberg: The Way We Eat: The Ashram Cookbook (2018, Assouline) 

For the wellness-seeker and foodie looking to reset from home in 2021, The Way We Eat shares more than 100 beloved vegetarian recipes (from breakfast bowls and fresh salads to hearty vegetable dishes, energizing smoothies and tonics) created by Los Angeles’ groundbreaking health and wellness “boot camp” retreat, The Ashram. 

From Group Trips Director Iva Therene: Canyon Ranch Wellness Experiences

“Now more than ever, it is essential to prioritize our mental and physical well-being. The new Canyon Ranch Experience Pathways are the perfect way to gift the important people in your life with the time they need to restore and reflect. These three-to-seven-night getaways at the spas in Lenox, Tucson, or Woodside allow recipients to customize their program based on their unique wellness goals, with therapies that prioritize mindfulness, nutrition, exercise and spirituality, as well as traditional treatments like facials and massages. Plus, when you purchase a Canyon Ranch Gift with Indagare by December 15, you’ll also receive a bonus wellness service, room upgrade, and welcome amenity.” 

From Indagare Trip Designer Caroline Hansen: The Ultimate Accessories for a Wellness Getaway

  • Naadam Cashmere Sets: “These are the best for long plane—or car—rides, as well as working from home.”  
  • Sabah Slippers: “These amazing shoes are handcrafted in Turkey and are so comfy for traveling!” 
  • Slip Sleep Mask: “These sleep masks are great for skin-friendly—and jet-lag-beating—travel.” 
  • Bandier Bala Weights: “I’ve gifted Bala weights to a few people this year, and they’re compact enough to bring along with you when you travel for added impact during an exploratory walk.” 

Plus: Give the Gift of Travel with WSJ x Indagare! Whether your loved ones are in need of a last-minute winter retreat, or they’re dreaming of future travels, you can now gift them a credit towards our exclusive WSJ x Indagare Special Offers, for restorative getaways to our favorite U.S. properties, now and in the future. 

For Early Explorers

From Global Conversations Guest, Insider Journey Host and Vogue.com Executive Fashion Director Rickie De Sole:

From Indagare Trip Designer Kial Church: Virtual Tour – Learn the Magic of Harry Potter

“This summer, we launched our very first virtual Camp Indagare through the Indagare Global Classroom. One of our most popular experiences for kids—and many adults!—was our behind-the-scenes Harry Potter tour, which brings kids virtually to the English and Scottish countryside to learn about the history of magic that inspired the books, while visiting the locations where Harry Potter was filmed (they’ll recognize interiors and exteriors from the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Hogwarts’ lake, scenes from The Hogwarts Express, as well as Quidditch pitches and Malfoy Manor). This class, which can be gifted as a private experience, is sure to be a hit with any Potter fans.” 

From Global Conversations Guests and the Founders of Rwanda’s The Retreat at Heaven Josh and Alissa Ruxin: Donation to Bridge2Rwanda

“We’ve lived in Rwanda for 15 years and constantly support orphans and vulnerable kids. Over the last few years, we’ve started an academic tennis program for very vulnerable children. Our first big success is Junior Hakizumwami, who started training with us four years ago and was just accepted at Morocco’s prestigious ITF academy. Currently Paci and Hirwa, both aged five, have been tutored during Covid and begin real school this month, as well as tennis training with Coach Sylvan, Rwanda’s top tennis coach and former ATP-ranked player. Paci and Hirwa come from homes with prevalent hunger and no path to success. We would like to build out this program for many others—and Bridge2Rwanda helps support education, housing, food, clothing and healthcare costs for three orphans, plus the thriving tennis academy for super-vulnerable children. You can donate through this link by selecting ‘Other’ under the designation and typing in ‘For Ruxin Orphans’ Fund.'”

From Indagare Director of Content Strategy Jen Barr: Settlers of Catan

“The Settlers of Catan is a classic for family-friendly entertainment. If you haven’t played it with your kids yet—or learned it yourself—there’s no better time than while you are at home over the holidays! This limited-edition collector’s version makes for a wonderful gift for future explorers.” 

Contact your Trip Designer or consult with our team to plan a last-minute holiday getaway or New Year adventure! Our team can match you with the accommodations and activities that are right for you and provide information on coronavirus travel safety, destinations that are open to travel, Covid-19 hotel policies, transportation options, private villas and charters and more.

– Elizabeth Harvey on December 3, 2020

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