The frequent traveler in your life more than likely doesn’t need another neck pillow or portable charger, so what to give them this year? After such a turbulent 2020, we all deserve a little treat this year.
We’ve put together this gift guide for solo female travelers by selecting companies owned and operated by women. The passion and strong values held by each of these businesses will undoubtedly make you feel more positive about the world and comfortable spending your hard-earned money. For the special woman in your life, here’s a selection of gift ideas to kick your holiday shopping off.
Health Habitat Travel Tumbler from Salmon Sisters, $32
Salmon Sisters is a family business owned and operated by fishermen and sisters, Claire and Emma. The siblings grew up in Alaska’s remote Aleutian Islands, and through their products they strive to tell the story of Alaskans’ connection to the ocean. As well as their frozen fish boxes and stunning cookbook, they have a range of outdoor gear and accessories.
Their travel tumbler is insulated with a double-wall vacuum to keep your coffee or tea either hot or cold for longer. As the product description reads, the design and function celebrates “the crucial habitats that sustain healthy fisheries and diverse ecosystems. When we take care of these wild places, they take care of us too.”
As if we could not love this company anymore, Salmon Sisters also gives back 1 percent of net profits to the Food Bank of Alaska.
Snow gear and T-shirts from Coalition Snow, from $45
Jen Gureki, founder of Coalition Snow, set out to “deconstruct the status quo,” and she and her team have certainly done that.
“We were tired of watered-down and pinked-up men’s equipment,” proclaims the company’s statement. “We know we deserved better equipment and community saw us, heard us, valued us and put us front and center. So we said goodbye to the shink-it-pink-it method and bro culture and said hello to something more.”
Coalition Snow is one of the few women-run ski and snowboard makers in the world. It goes beyond crafting performance-driven skis and snowboards, though, and is outspoken about achieving equality.
“Don’t let the she/her/hers pronouns fool you,” as the statement says. “We believe that the recipe for making a kick-ass pair of skis or snowboards has nothing to do with what’s between your legs but what’s between your ears and in your heart.”
Carry on Starter Kit and Go Clutch mini by BlackTravelBox, from $35
“I started BlackTravelBox to give women of color a brand they could trust for their travel personal care needs,” founder and CEO Orion Brown declares on the company’s About Us page. “As Black travelers, we have few places we can find products that work for our hair and skin care needs.”
Since 2017, Brown has passionately worked to get the company off the ground and now has a huge range of beauty products made from natural or naturally derived ingredients.
The Carry on Starter Kit of beauty products is TSA friendly, giving travelers peace of mind when navigating security. Come November, the company is bundling the kit with its Go Clutch mini in a snazzy gift box, perfect for the holidays.
Travel Hair Kit by Briogeo, from $23.99
Nancy Twine grew up blending natural ingredients together for homemade beauty products. She turned her hobby into a business when she launched Briogeo, a haircare collection that goes back to the basics while providing results. All products are 90 to 100 percent naturally derived.
We love a success story, but also Briogeo’s diverse range of products that cater to all hair types. The company has a quick online quiz you can take to customize your product selection. Pick from the nice range of travel kits to make sure your loved one gets the perfect on-the-go haircare.
Vegan leather backpack by MinkeeBlue, $139
Sherrill Mosee was driven to design bags that solved what she calls the “overload bag syndrome.” The result is MinkeeBlue’s range of backpacks, which are an ideal carry-on. Each is perfect for the smart traveler who likes their laptop, shoes, and passport all in the correct place.
Her range of Nichet Backpacks are expertly designed with a folding panel that transforms the bag into two compartments, various external and internal pockets, a padded laptop bag, and a suitcase sleeve.
Reflection Wool Blanket by Milo Creations, $200
Michelle “Milo” Lowden specializes in hand-painted jewelry and is the founder and owner of Milo Creations. Her work is featured on Eight Generation, a company owned by the Snoqualmie Tribe that brings together community-based Native artists in the United States.
Lowden’s jewelry is beautiful, but we were drawn to her recent piece of work, the Reflection Wool Blanket. The two-sided blanket is queen size and is perfect for making campouts or road trips a little bit comfier. Lowden’s design features Acoma Pueblo abstract symbols. Five percent of sales from the blanket go toward the Inspired Natives Grant for emerging arts entrepreneurs.
Sports Hijabs by Asiya, $35
The idea for this company came from Brian Coyle Community Center gym in Minneapolis, where Asiya’s founder, Fatimah Hussein, has been helping young Muslim girls gain better access to sports for the past decade. With the drive to make these girls feel comfortable to compete in public all while upholding their religious and cultural beliefs, Hussein designed hijabs that are comfortable and modern. Hussein states in the company mission that clothing should “enable your endeavors, not be a barrier.”
Her sport hijabs come in three different styles. All are made from an ultra-lightweight fabric that’s sweat-wicking and breathable. The swim hijab is a new innovative design and is perfect for anyone looking for something that stays in place and is lightweight.
Socks by Heim Made, from $26
Heim Made was started by mother and daughter partners Rose and Gretchen Heim. Their company is “home-grown and home spun” in northern Minnesota. Focusing on comfortable and stylish solutions to cold weather, Heim has a huge range of apparel from tights and leggings to duck feet boots.
The mohair socks caught our attention because, quite frankly, who doesn’t like a gift of cozy socks for Christmas? Spun from luxurious kid mohair (which are the fibers that come from a first-sheared young goat), these ankle and boot length socks are perfect for anyone who enjoys the outdoors and does not want to suffer from chilly toes.
Beanie by Skida, $28
Skida was founded by Vermont skier Corinne Prevot, who first started making hats for her Burke Mountain Academy cross country ski teammates. As demand grew for the fun and colorful hats, so did the company, but 11 years later Prevot is still committed to local production in Vermont and limited edition products.
This year’s range of beanies is as bright and fun as past collections, and all come with the iconic Skida tag on the front. A cold-weather essential, the Ridge beanie is super durable with a 3-inch cuff.
Wanderful’s Traveler Membership from Wanderful, $99
Wanderful has brought together a community of female travelers who support and share resources through an online and offline network.
“As many as 40% of the women in our community have at one point opted out of a trip because they didn’t feel safe, or because of someone else’s concerns about their safety,” Wanderful founder and CEO Beth Santos wrote in an article on Medium. “By creating a network that caters to women travelers, we do not feed into or perpetuate existing fears. We give women a space to build powerful, positive relationships with other women around the world in whatever capacity they choose.”
This is the ideal platform for anyone who is thinking of taking a solo trip and is looking to share stories and meet other women. It has a membership gift certificate that allows travelers to connect to one another. The membership also grants access to monthly webinars, digital meetups, community discount deals, and free events.
Sweaters from Gitchi Adventure Goods, from $52
Co-founders Sarah Rykal and Sam Peterson came together to launch Gitchi Adventure Goods, an outdoor gear company with an admirable moral compass. Some of the core principles include incorporating environmental stewardship and social equity into all aspects of the business, pushing the needle toward diversity and equality, and doing a kick-ass job while having fun.
They also give back to the outdoors that they love and draw their creative inspiration from. The company’s Public Lands Pledge promises to give 10 percent of proceeds to supporting national parks, state parks, and other wilderness areas.
We love the “Nature is Female” crewneck ($52) that “is for anyone who wants to honor Mother Nature and affirm women’s equal place in the outdoors.” Equally great is the range of badges ($6.50) and stickers ($2.50), which make for perfect stocking stuffers.
Greeting cards by Compass Paper Co., $5
Compass Paper Co. is not your usual greeting card company. Instead of typical designs, “We make cards for people just like us. People that love to get outside. That get excited about planning trips and eating s’mores,” the company proclaims on its homepage.
Founded by Annie Lang, the Michigan-based company produces a huge range of fun cards, pins, drinkware, keychains, notebooks, and a ton of other goodies. The company also pledges a portion of its earnings to the Planet and Alliance for the Great Lakes. The products are made from recycled paper with vegetable-based inks, and everything is sourced and manufactured ethically.
Compass Paper Co.’s holiday greeting cards are so cute they are bound to put a smile on your giftee’s face — even after a year like this.
Layers by Wild Rye, from $28
Wild Rye’s CEO and co-founder Cassie Abel and co-founder Katy Hover-Smoot make female mountain apparel, but much like all the female leaders listed here, they go so much further than manufacturing and distributing goods.
“One of the many things that sets us apart is that we design for women and only women,” Abel told SNEWS in 2018. “We are dedicated to fitting a wide array of body shapes, comfortably. We measure and fit every garment on a minimum of three real women that wear the same size but are different shapes, heights, and proportions. This means better fit for a broader range of women — not just elite athletes.”
Wild Rye has a sustainable supply chain, and the founders are as committed to supporting the environment as they are to enjoying it. Wild Rye partners with SheJumps — an organization empowering women to get outside that launched Women-Led Wednesday — which aims to support women in business.
The collection of cool weather layers includes base layer tops ($109), leggings ($99), a neck warmer ($28), an alpine hat ($36), and a bandita ($28) if you’re looking to fully outfit your loved one. You can also purchase a bundle of mix-and-match tops and leggings.
Bracelets by Little Words Project, from $20
Little Words Project describes itself as a community of Nice Girls that believes in supporting women, as well as that collaboration wins out over competition and kindness builds confidence and fosters self-love.
This women-run jewelry company produces handcrafted bracelets with inspirational words. The bracelets are inscribed with a unique code that registers the owner to what the company calls the “Nice Girl Gang — a community of women dedicated to building each other up.” The group is based online, and with the code your giftee can gain access and meet other badass women.
You can shop for a range of words such as “fearless,” “grateful,” and “be you,” or you can customize the bracelet with a personalized message.