You know what’s better than being home for the holidays? Globetrotting to an exotic locale—preferably one where it’s summer this time of year. Alas, we’re stuck behind our laptops, but we all have that someone in our lives who seems to be on a perpetual vacation (seriously, where do they get the time—or the money?)
But it is resort season. As I side-eye a few friends (and my snowbird parents) preparing to take flight to warmer climes this winter, I’m also thinking of what I can gift them as a reminder to bring me back something special from their travels. So, if you’ve got someone with wanderlust in your life—or are lucky enough to be traveling with them this season—this gift guide is for you. (We also suggest checking out The Root’s list of the best black-owned bed-and-breakfasts, if you’re looking to “stay black,” too.)
It’s no secret that compartmentalized packing is the most efficient, but what about packable pouches that can double as clutches on the go? We’re loving this adorable printed pouch from 2 Chic Designs—who also make flat-pack friendly clutches and accessories, too!
For durable luxury, leather is always our top choice and Made Leather Co.’s gorgeously distressed bags are handcrafted in Morocco. Their weekender is the perfect size for a few blissful days away (or more, to a warm-weather location), and is guaranteed to be one of the coolest looking bags seen en route.
Sure, we love a protective style when traveling, but The Wrap Life is our preferred option for stylishly transitioning from poolside to sightseeing, to evenings out (they’ve been worn on the red carpet by legendary supermodel Iman, for goodness sake). Available in a variety of lovely prints and colors (with online tutorials on how to wrap your head in a variety of ways), these versatile pieces can also do double duty as a shawl or scarf.
Who goes on vacation without a pair of shades? When it comes to cool points, it rarely gets cooler than Coco & Breezy’s eponymous eyewear collection—Prince was a fan. Helmed by Minneapolis-born millennial twins who double as popular DJs on the fashion scene, their of-the-moment line of frames keeps wearers looking fly wherever they fly—and they offer the option to try them at home before buying.
Perhaps the worst part of traveling is relying on dubious hotel-provided products, but Oyin Handmade has made that a non-issue with their collection of minis for hair and body. Mix and match their super-emollient items, or cop a “snack pack” for that avid traveler, guaranteeing an all-natural, never ashy getaway.
We are firm believers in creating a luxurious environment wherever we go, which is why we love Harlem Candle Company’s travel-sized versions of their famed fragrances. These little-lidded tins are perfectly sized to be popped into a handbag or carry-on, ensuring that the ambiance is on point at your destination. (Pro-tip: If you leave the lid off and wrap the candle in wrapping tissue, the oils in the candle will fragrance your luggage.)
Mia Wright-Ross’ collection is the level of chic that makes you question whether it should be taken on the road, but for a well-guarded carry-on, you simply can’t beat one of her elegant, whipstitched pieces. Her unconventional shapes are head-turners, perfect for a glamorous getaway.
Rue 107 specializes in body-conscious silhouettes for every body, providing swimwear and super-sexy separates to sizes 2-24. What’s even better? Their entire collection packs beautifully, taking up minimal space in luggage, and ensuring that the wearer will be wrinkle-free when they arrive. And yes, they do gift cards.
A sun-soaked destination deserves a good lid, and the Flamekeepers Hat Club likely has the perfect fit. Their array of straw frames are expertly crafted and the epitome of cool ... and if there’s no escape from the cold planned this season, they have tons of wool options, too.
Days spent on the beach require exfoliation, and Smoosh Bath & Body has the perfect packable options. This line of natural bath and body products “are gentle on the skin but leave you so smooth it should be a sin,” says their website, and a convenient pack of four shea butter-based scrubs allows for luminous skin wherever they travel ... or, gift them with full-sized versions.
Monif C. has made waves in the plus industry, and her line of swimwear is sure to do the same for a lucky recipient. With a variety of styles to choose from (as well as lingerie, for those hot hotel room nights), the curvy girl in your life will be ready to dazzle. And right now, it’s all 50 percent off with the code GLITZ.
Plus-size specialists Jibri have plenty of vacation-ready dresses and separates on their site, but what we’re really loving is their extensive line of “poolside options,” perfect for those who prefer to take a more modest approach to sunbathing, without sacrificing glamour.
If it’s an unapologetically black (and easily recognizable) piece of luggage you’re looking to gift, say no more, fam. Kingdom of Mel has your Afrocentric travel needs covered—currently, for 20 percent off. We dig their collection of bags, but their wide range of printed running shoes were our far and away faves—perfect for a long day spent trekking through a foreign city.
The bikinis are bought. What about a set of waist beads? Custom crafter Influenced by Cultures will integrate favorite colors and optimal lengths into a set of adornments for the waist, a piece of West African tradition historically worn beneath clothing, but now also a beautiful nod to that heritage.
The straw bag simply screams for warm weather, and AAKS elevates it to luxury. Their woven creations are handcrafted by Ghanaian artisans and bring a bright and beautifully unique touch to any outfit they adorn—plus they’re perfect for the beach!
I may be stuck in the cold this winter, but if there’s one pre-summer buy I’ll be making, it’ll be these affordable slides from Hesey Designs. Their ergonomically-correct rubber soles are accented with colorful Ankara prints, making them the perfect transitional shoe from the beach to the bar. Matching clutches and totes are also available, as are sneaker options which extend to men’s sizes.
Know someone who really likes to stunt? B. Fyne’s selection of swimwear will turn any poolside into a catwalk. That’s right, this collection of uber-glamorous and elaborate African-themed swimwear, scarves and cover-ups is made to coordinate—just remember that it’s not made for anyone above a size large.
Are we there yet? Unfortunately, I’m a long way off from my next getaway, but I’ll be back tomorrow with more giftable ideas for the ones on your shopping list. In the meantime, stay warm!