Last year, we started the tradition of doing a Christmas giveaway here on Backpack ME. It was a fairly simple affair and our reader Mara, from Texas, took home some cool gifts.
This year, we thought that if we’re again going to spread some travel love in the shape of gifts and goodies we’d rather go big or go home. And you know we’re no fans of “going home”… so you bet we’re GOING BIG right here with you today!
As promised, we collected all your entries and held a draw on December 25th 2017. Devan is our winner and she will receive our Mega XMAS Bundle very soon. We hope all these wonderful prizes will make her travel experiences even more special. Congratulations Devan!
Backpack ME’s Santa plays by simple rules:
1. Leave a comment below telling us what item you’d be most excited about winning
2. Subscribe to our free newsletter at the bottom of this post
3. Watch your inbox for an email from us. We will tell you soon of even more ways to increase your chances of winning the giveaway
After these simple steps, you’ll automatically enter the draw to win OUR MEGA XMAS BUNDLE! Yes, that means ALL the travel gear, accessories, and vouchers listed here. Every single item mentioned can end up at your doorstep to eventually fuel your next adventure. The draw will happen on the 25th of December, at 11.50pm UTC and it is open to EVERYONE, no matter where in the world you are. Even if you’re in a remote village in an island in the middle of the Pacific ocean, we will make sure you get your gifts!
If you’re looking to buy Christmas presents (self presents also count!), this list is bursting with suggestions any traveler would love. Click the photos, follow the links, don’t forget to complete the 2 steps above… and cross your fingers for Christmas day.
Remember: the winner takes it all!
Travel Gear & Accessories
We are super fans of hybrid luggage and have been using Osprey Meridian backpacks since we hit the road full-time back in 2011 – true story! Whenever we see backpackers carrying all the weight of their belongings on their backs, we feel like saying “Hey, you! Why don’t you roll all of that around?” With the Meridian range of backpacks by Osprey you can roll around your luggage (the wheels are pretty 4×4!) but also strap your pack on your shoulders like you would with a regular backpack. It’s the best of both worlds, and it’ll save you from body pain and premature ageing. Going even further, Osprey Meridian packs include a detachable daypack, super handy to carry your most valued items with you, but that can also be strapped onto the main backpack when you don’t feel like carrying the burden around.
Get: Osprey Meridian in Metal Grey ($350)
The Havana camera backpack by Vanguard is the latest addition to our new travel gear – see our full review here. The Havana range of camera backpacks is great precisely because these bags do not look like camera bags. As such, you feel comfortable carrying your expensive equipment inside, because they won’t catch other people’s attention too much. Whether you carry cameras or not, you’ll find the changing compartments of the Havana backpack super useful to organize all sorts of stuff during your trips.
Get: Vanguard Havana 48 blue ($100)
BAGSMART is dedicated to making traveling smarter and easier, combining function and style perfectly! Their anti-theft camera bag is indeed smart and will help you focusing on your journey, instead of worrying about your gear. This is a professional gear bag, which can also be used as an everyday backpack. It features several camera compartments for easy and quick access to your camera and accessories, with enough space for a DSLR camera plus several lenses. There’s also room for your laptop, tablet and other smaller items, as well as convenient side holder straps and mesh pockets to hold a tripod. Portable, durable and easy to reach in for you, but not so easy for those who’d want to mess with your stuff!
Get: Bagsmart Anti-theft Professional Gear Backpack ($129)
We wouldn’t want you to have some amazing camera bags and not have state of the art equipment that deserves resting inside of them. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Dobot, to send you a brand new Rigiet stabilizer that will change the way you photograph and take videos. You can use this handheld stabilizer with your GoPro or smartphone. You can capture any moment of your travels with super stable video quality, just like in the movies! Imagine walking around in a busy market, or running with your friends at the beach… the Rigiet will let you record all of that with pro quality. Some of its highlight features include auto tracking, livestream mode, slow motion, time lapse, and three panorama modes. The Dobot Rigiet supports all mobile devices and action cameras, and it can even charge your phone while you shoot. You know a regular selfie stick is just not good enough!
Get: Dobot Rigiet Handheld Stabilizer ($219)
If you’re a lover of the great outdoors, you’re going to dig Earth Pak. Their range of products was created for adventurers who definitely do not see spending the weekend laying on the couch as their preferred activity. If you like exploring places that may easily get wet (think kayaking trip or trekking alongside waterfalls), you’ll understand how convenient their waterproof dry bags are, in order to keep all belongings dry and safe. Sturdy, good-looking and definitely practical, Earth Pak dry bags are a must for when you don’t know where adventure may end up taking you!
Get: Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag of your choice (up to $43)
Enjoy drinking water anytime, anywhere. As long as you’re near a source of water out in Nature (like a river or a lake), make your own purified water simply by using a purifying filter by Sawyer. In just 10 seconds, it removes chemicals, pesticides, bacteria, and protozoa from the water, while improving the taste and odor. If you’re planning to go on a trek (like we did in Chile!) or camping trip, this is the easiest and most eco-friendly way you can go about getting drinking water. One filter can be used up to 1600 times!
Get: S1 Sawyer Select Water Filters and Purifier ($60)
If with the Sawyer filter you can get good quality water anywhere, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to brew some coffee too! With the AeroPress you can make both espresso and American style coffee. While you can use the AeroPress to brew a mighty fine cup of coffee at home, its size and portability make it ideal to take on a trip. We’ve met several long-term travelers that carry one in their luggage all the time! It comes with a zippered nylon tote bag where you can carry the coffee maker itself, and some coffee to use when you crave that much-needed dose of warm caffeine!
Get: AeroPress Coffee Maker + Travel Tote Bag ($37)
You know we don’t carry that much stuff with us, but the Trtl Travel Pillow is one of those things that are worth the space it takes. While it won’t be the same as getting an upgrade to business class, this is an accessible way of somehow improving your traveling experience. Whether you’re up high in the sky, on a car, bus or train ride, the Trtl Travel Pillow will make your naps smoother and way more comfortable that when you do not have neck support. This is us and our Trtl travel pillow!
Get: Trtl Travel Pillow ($30)
Here’s a scarf that has the looks and is useful too! Apart from being cozy, soft and warm, this travel scarf by Speakeasy Travel Supply also has a hidden pocket where you can store your most valued items. This can be particularly helpful when traveling in countries with safety issues. Hide your documents and money in a place no pickpocket is ever going to think of looking at. Stylish and smart!
If you’ve ever wanted to get your hands on an authentic pashmina, this is your chance! Pashmina is the Asian word for cashmere, and it has come to be used also to mean “shawl.” Sunrise Pashmina has a beautiful range of cashmere shawls and travel blankets, made in Nepal. Apart from featuring attractive colors and designs, these pashminas are also soft, fine and made with high-quality fiber. Extremely versatile, both as clothing accessories or simply to keep you warm, it’s easy to picture all the uses you can give to these shawls. Take advantage of the special discount Sunrise Pashmina is giving to Backpack ME readers, and enjoy 10% off your purchases using the promo code AZ10 when you place an order.
Get: Your choice of medium-sized Sunrise Pashmina (up to $130, depending on weave you select)
We’ve all been in situations when it rains and it’s windy, and our umbrellas’ fabric simply turns upside down leaving us out in the cold and rain. Well, this scenario just does not happen with LifeTek umbrellas. They are designed to resist strong winds, while still having an auto open mechanism that will make sure you get that much needed protection when it starts to pour. Apart from keeping you dry LifeTek umbrellas offer UV sun protection. So, whether you are traveling during the monsoon season in South East Asia, or simply want to protect yourself from the fierce sun in the Middle East, you can count on LifeTek.
Get: LifeTek Traveler 42 FX1 Umbrella ($27)
If you are the kind of person who gifts socks for Christmas, make sure they are Sockwell Therapeutic Performance socks. While thinking about health and fitness, we may not always keep the well-being of our legs in mind. If these socks are relevant in your daily life, they are even more so when you travel. Whether you are on a long flight crossing the Atlantic or trekking along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu for several days in a row, the therapeutic compression Sockwell socks offer will make your legs feel more rested and energized.
Get: 7 pairs of assorted socks by Sockwell ($150)
You can never have too many socks. Especially when they are high-quality and have really cool designs too. Zensah is the brand of compression socks we own and wear every time we fly. But of course compression socks are not only worth it when you’re up in the air! That’s why Zensah has a range of everyday casual socks that will make your legs feel fresh any day of the year, at home or abroad.
Leggings with patterns and colors that only the brave dare to dream of. Like the folks from Tajt would say: “don’t be shy… be fly!” Tajt’s legging collection features practical and comfortable leggings, with super funky designs. These are ideal for trips as they’ll hug your legs with naturality, while taking little space in your luggage too. Can you picture a more comfortable piece of clothing to travel with?
Get: 1 pair of Tajt Leggings of your choice ($25)
When it comes to travel clothing and accessories, we want to make sure you’re covered from head to toe! That’s why we’ve partnered with Bikini Luxe to ensure you make other travelers go WOW next time you hit the beach with one of the pieces from their Mapalé collection. Bikini sets, one-piece swimsuits, monkinis, rompers, cover-ups..whichever one you choose, they’ll bring out the sexiest side of you, for sure!
Get: Any piece from Bikini Luxe’s Mapalé collection ($100)
Dictionaries are so last season! When you travel to a place where you don’t speak the local language, wear an ICONSPEAK World Edition t-shirt, that will make communication and getting around easier. Take this shirt anywhere and it will lead you everywhere. The World Edition icon-set features the 39 most essential icons for your trip around the world. This is THE ultimate traveler shirt!
Get: ICONSPEAK World Edition t-shirt ($33)
Even folks fluent in many languages may find point it® useful when in a new country. point it® suggests a different way of communicating: instead of talking, simply point! This book includes 1300 items that cover most situations a traveler would normally find himself in. This passport-sized assistant is used not only by tourists but also by UN peacekeeping forces, Olympic athletes and speech therapists. The book is the result of the author’s extensive travels in the five continents and over 2 million copies have already been sold all over the world since its release back in 1992.
Get: point it® traveller’s language kit ($10)
Until we went stand-up paddle a few years ago in Hawaii, we didn’t even know what coral safe sunscreen was. Now, we understand that these are the only kind of sun protection products anyone who gives a damn should be using, particularly when snorkeling or scuba diving. The range of sun care products by Mexitan is biodegradable, and thus respects marine wildlife. Did you know that the chemicals that regular sunscreen protection creams contain are known to harm reefs and that, while wearing those products, you could be hurting the natural biodiversity of our oceans? It’s easy to switch to an eco-friendly range of sun care products, protect your skin and not have a negative impact on the environment.
Get: The Adventurer Combo pack by Mexitan ($46)
Vouchers & Digital Gift Cards
In the vast world of self-guided tours one can check online these days, GPSmyCity stands out. This app compiles a collection of self-guided walking tours, detailed offline city maps and travel articles that cover around 1000 destinations around the world. Earlier this year, we dedicated an entire blog post to GPSmyCity. Now, they are giving you an yearly subscription of the GPSmyCity app, so that you can have full access to all the self-guided walking tours and travel articles for over 1,000 cities worldwide, during 365 days! This is the kind of option that is not available for regular subscribers, who’d normally pay per city they want to access. How cool is that?
Get: Yearly subscription to ALL the content in the GPSmyCity app (valued at $8000, but commercially not available!)
Still in the self-guided tour mood, allow us to introduce you to bitemojo. If you’re the kind of traveler who is not particularly fond of group activities but still likes food tours, you can do a self-guided bitemojo food tour simply using your phone. These tours are completely independent (you can do things at your own rhythm), while including 6 substantial bites at an affordable price. This kind of experience can be great when you feel like you need an introduction to the local fare of the place you are traveling around. So far, bitemojo tours cover the following cities: Berlin, Barcelona, Rome, Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem.
If for you a vacation is a time not only to rest and re-energize, but to also learn new things and enrichen yourself, then VAWAA is for you! This platform allows you to book vacations with curated artists from around the world. VAWAA features interesting people who’ll share their passion with you in the most distinct of art fields: painting, tattooing, weaving, calligraphy, street art, cooking, puppet making, jewellery making, shoe-making, music production, tango dancing and so much more! Inspiring? Make your vacation a truly artistic one, whether you decide to travel to Asia, Europe or South America!
I Like Local is a sustainable travel marketplace where you can book authentic local travel experiences directly from locals in Asia and Africa. Not only will you get a peek into local life, you directly support the local person as he receives 100% of the money requested. From activities that take a few hours like visiting a slum, participating in home cooking or going on a fishing trip, to experiences that will span across several days like home-stays, browse I Like Local and get to “see the real world”!
Get: I Like Local voucher ($25)
Wanderlust Inspiring Gifts
Snappymap has really cool map designs and, the best part is that they are all custom made and personalized. According to your style preferences, Debbie will create a map for you from scratch. Think of a place that means something special to you: where you lived your first adventure, where you took your first trip… anything! Snappymap will create and print a personalized map just for you, so that you can decorate your home with it and always be reminded of that one special adventure!
Nothing like browsing some travel books to make you feel like hitting the road, right? Tuttle Publishing specializes in travel books and maps that focus on Asian destinations. On this occasion, Tuttle wants to feed your wanderlust to hopefully inspire you to embark on a journey to Hong Kong, Thailand, Japan and Indonesia. Are these countries on your bucket list?
Get: Collection of 4 Tuttle Travel Pack titles ($60)
The Book of Everyone is a heart-thumping, grin inducing, lip-wobbling celebration of the individual, from your mum to your son to your local baker and smile-maker. Because everyone needs to feel loved and unique! These gift books are always personalized and unique. You can add your own photos and messages and customise the original designs. Get it for you or as a gift for someone you love!
Salty Boho is a collective of digital nomad girls who happen to have great taste when it comes to jewelry and accessories. If you browse their Instagram photos, you’ll most certainly feel like boarding a plane to a warm exotic location. Salty Boho’s collection features one of a kind treasures bought on the road, including jewelry and tie-dye beach blankets. For this occasion, the girls have chosen 2 unique silver sterling rings for you!
Get: 2 Salty Boho Silver Sterling Rings ($35)
When wanderlust runs in your veins, you may feel like shouting it out loud to the world in every possible way. WanderlustCases has phone covers with travel-inspired designs that will decorate your phone while helping to protect it from everyday bumps. Not only does this brand do justice to its name with the wanderlust related styles, their collection covers all sorts of patterns and themes, even hand-made unique designs. Browse WanderlustCase’s shop and choose whatever you like best!
Get: Phone case of your choice by WanderlustCases ($18)
If there’s something tourists love to eat around Lisbon, that is Pastel de Nata. As you may not always find such good custard tarts somewhere else in the world, Be Happy In Lisbon has created DIY Pastel de Nata kits, so that you can recreate this Portuguese sweet no matter where you are. Because this company wants you to be happy, both in Lisbon and anywhere else in the world, thay have added 3 different teas and infusions to this yummy gift pack!
This is Backpack ME’s very fist self-published book! This foodie guide to the Portuguese capital is all about telling you what you should eat in Lisbon and surrounding areas. Lisbon in 100 Bites includes food recommendations, insider tips and a whole lot of truly tempting food photos. The ebook is available for direct download and can be read on your laptop or on the go on tablet or even phone!
Get: Lisbon in 100 Bites ebook ($10)
Presents That Can Change The World
Even when you’re full of good intentions, it can be really tough to identify organizations that are worth supporting. When you donate money or goods to big charities, it is a well-known fact that often, not everything that was kindly donated ends up reaching the actual cause. We have been to Diksha near New Delhi several times and can vouch for the excellent work this non-profit school is doing. They basically provide schooling, guidance, meals, school accessories and health insurance to several hundreds of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and it’s all based on contributions from the community. Covering ALL expenses for the education and support of one child during an entire month only costs USD15. It’s crazy to think that you can actually change someone’s life for the amount you’d spend getting a Starbucks coffee a week.
Donate to Diksha School. You can do it in your name or in someone else’s name and make more than one person happy with that gift! We will also donate in your name to cover one child’s schooling and daytime food for 6 months ($90)
When we traveled to Kenya years ago, we visited this orphan elephant rescue and rehabilitation center. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust takes in orphaned baby elephants after their parents are killed and they are left alone in the wild. Elephants are very family oriented and young elephants, just like human babies, wouldn’t normally be able to survive without their mothers. If we didn’t have poachers hunting the adult elephant’s tusks, this wouldn’t be a problem. But as illegal hunting is far from eradicated both in Kenya and other countries, the numbers of baby elephants who actually need special attention is quite high. We’ve been proud foster parents of Mzima for 7 years already. We’ve seen him grow from being a baby to a young adult elephant. After being cared for and fed by the nice folks at the David Sheldrick, Mzima is currently in the process of going back into the wild. That is the ultimate goal for all elephants in this orphanage so that the natural order of things is reinstated. If you become the foster parent of one of these loving creatures, you will receive monthly updates and photos, telling you what’s new in your elephant’s life!
If you think gifting someone an elephant this Christmas rocks, you can donate to The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust here. As part of this giveaway, we will make you the foster parent of one baby elephant for one year too! ($50)
** How To Win Backpack ME’s Xmas Bundle **
So all you need to do to enter our MEGA TRAVEL GIVEAWAY is:
1. Leave a comment below this post and tell us which of these prizes you want the most and why
2. Sign up below for the Backpack ME newsletter. We will send you amazing travel tips and stories regularly!
3. Watch your inbox for an email from us very soon. We will tell you of even more ways to increase your chances of winning this bundle.
We will do the lucky draw at 11.50pm UTC on the 25th of December.
Good luck & happy trails!