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Caroline’s Favorite Things 2013

holiday gift guide

Every year, I create a holiday gift guide to feature the best gifts for travelers, but this year I’m changing it up. In the style of Oprah’s Favorite Things, I’m revealing my favorite things for 2013. These are great gifts for female travelers or anyone in your life. I own all of these products myself and am putting my seal of approval on each and every one. There’s something for every price range and every type of traveler, whether it be the flash packer or the glam girl or even the outdoorsy gal. Be sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post to take home some of these goodies!!


holiday gift guide

Photojojo iPhone Lenses, $20-50

Photojojo is a great resource for photography lovers, from hobby iPhoneographers to serious DSLR enthusiasts. They let me try out some of their iPhone lenses last month and I was very impressed with the quality. You can buy lenses in Fisheye, Telephoto, and Wide Angle/Macro. They’re small and magnetize onto your phone with a stick-on ring. You can purchase individually for $20 each or together for $50.

>> Purchase 4 in 1 Photojojo Cell Lens for Apple iPhone 4 4s 5 5s 5c and Android on Amazon.

holiday gift guide

Kindle Fire HD, $140+

I am a book fan all the way, but I won a Kindle Fire at a PR event and fell madly in love with it. I brought it instead of my laptop on my Turkey trip, which let me download and watch movies on my overnight bus, as well as to read books and immediately download more. It has apps to play games and capabilities to be used as a tablet. It picks up WiFi and is available in 8 and 16 GB versions. Be sure to purchase a case to go with it, like this Amazon Kindle case.

>> Purchase the Kindle Fire HD 7″, HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB on Amazon.

holiday gift guide

GoPro Selfie

GoPro HERO 3, $200-400

My family bought my dad a HERO 2 last year for Father’s Day and while I may have hijacked it for my adventures, it makes for a fantastic gift. I’ve taken it paragliding, jet boating, and scuba diving. Once you learn the features, you’ll come up with dozens of uses for it. I’ve taken them on races and have seen some great footage from events like Burning Man. The new HERO 3+ black edition comes with a remote, built-in WiFi and is waterproof up to 131 feet.

>> Purchase the GoPro HERO3+ on Amazon.

caroline's favorite things

Beats by Dr. Dre Solo HD High-Definition On-Ear Headphones, $200

They’re the “it” item for Christmas lists this year and for good reason. These high-quality headphones take your music listening to the next level. They’re great for those long flights when you’re trying to fall asleep and fold up to keep them from getting broken. You can go even higher quality with the over-ear headphones, which are noise canceling, but those cost about $100 more. Enter to win a pair below!

>> Purchase the Beats by Dr. Dre headphones on

Clothing and Accessories

holiday gift guide

Tieks Foldable Ballet Flats, $175-295

I’ve lusted after Tieks fold up leather flats for more time than I’d like to admit. I finally got my first pair recently and can’t say enough good things about them. While they’re higher on the price end, they’re made from Italian leather and take three days for the team to create one pair. Tieks come in all sorts of colors and patterns, but I chose black to go with most outfits. Your order comes with a carrying case for your shoes, a fold up shopping bag and a flower headband.

>> Purchase Tieks on their website.

holiday gift guide

ExOfficio Storm Logic Sweater Jacket, $155

Last year I was an Adventure Ambassador for ExOfficio and they sent me all sorts of lovely gear to test out. One such was their Storm Logic Sweater Jacket, which I brought on my trip to Austria and Germany. I folded it up into a travel pillow when I didn’t need it and bundled up in it when I did, like when I was atop a glacier in Innsbruck. It’s fleece lined and has a flattering shape to keep us females from looking like the Michelin Man.

>> Purchase the ExOfficio Women’s Storm Logic Sweater on Amazon.

holiday gift guide

ExOfficio Give N Go Lacy Underwear, $20

You may not be one of those people who give underwear as gifts, but these from ExOfficio are the kind I wore for almost a month of travel alternating two pairs. They’re comfortable, breathable and durable. Choose from lots of colors and styles, including brief, bikini and thong. They look like pairs you would wear at home, but are especially great for long trips!

>> Purchase the ExOfficio Women’s Give-N-Go Lacy Low Rise Bikini Med Black on Amazon.


Alpha Gypsy Scarf, $70-100

If there’s one little thing I can never travel without, it’s a scarf. Whether you’re visiting a hot or cold climate, you’ll be glad to have a light scarf with you. I wore mine over my head in the mosques of Istanbul, balled up into a pillow on trains in Germany and as a swimsuit cover up in Florida. Alpha Gypsy is a Michigan-based company that creates funky designs ideal for the gal on the go. Enter to win a scarf below!

>> Purchase an Alpha Gypsy scarf on their Etsy website.

Luggage and Packing Gear

holiday gift guide

Gobi Gear Hoboroll, $33

I never travel without compression sacks, as they’re the best way to keep your clothing organized and save you room in your backpack. I was able to test out a Hoboroll earlier this year, which has compartments for your different types of clothing. They’re made from durable fabrics and can even be worn as a small day bag.

>> Purchase the Gobi Gear Hoboroll on their website.

holiday gift guide

PacSafe Slingsafe GII, $100

My friend Brooke gave me this bag last year for Christmas and I haven’t stopped using it since. It’s the ideal size for a daypack and it fits my MacBook Pro, DSLR and other essentials for a carry on bag. It’s lined with mesh, making it impossible to slash. There is an RFID pocket to keep your cards from getting scanned. There’s also plenty of pocket room, including two on the side, where I store a water bottle and my GoPro!

>> Purchase the Pacsafe Luggage Slingsafe 300 Gii Backpack on Amazon. 

Stocking Stuffers and Other Gifts

holiday gift guide

Pitotubes TSA Approved Bottles, $22-36

I received these Pitotubes bottles to try out before my trip to San Francisco last year and now I don’t use anything else. They’re easy to refill and have a pump system that gets every drop of liquid out of it. The bottles come in two different sizes, 0.5 and 1.7 ounce, as well as a quart sized carrying case. You can also buy the bottles in a set of three. Despite being made of glass, they’re nearly impossible to break.

>> Purchase the Pitotubes TSA Approved Six Piece Clear Travel Carry On Cosmetics Bag Kit on Amazon.


Aroamas Solid Travel Perfume, $8+

My friend Brooke started her own company this year to create solid perfumes that are easy to travel with. They come in dozens of scents for every preference, like the floral notes of Parisian or the beachy scent of Bondi Beach. Purchase in USD on Etsy with each stick costing you only $7.49 or grab a pack of up to 10 scents for $56. Enter to win a set below!

>> Purchase the solid travel perfume on Etsy or the Aroamas site.

photo 2

AFAR Magazine Subscription, $20

Long before I started working as an AFAR Ambassador, I was an avid reader of AFAR Magazine. Their stunning photography and stories about places I hadn’t even heard of immediately sucked me in. See for yourself with a free trial issue before subscribing for $20 for 7 issues. You can also get a digital copy thorough Zinio on your computer, smartphone or tablet. Enter to win a subscription below!

>> Purchase an AFAR Magazine subscription or an online version for your device.

Giveaway Rules and Details

The holiday giveaway is open to all Caroline in the City readers. International winners will receive a digital subscription of AFAR Magazine instead of a print version. Your comment below must include an email address I can contact you with to put you in touch with AFAR. Lack of email will forfeit your prize. Winners can choose their Alpha Gypsy scarf pattern or style of Beats headphones less than $200 USD. If you win one prize, you are ineligible to win another. I will be drawing one week from publication date. All prizes except for Aroamas are available to only US Residents or addresses within the United States (sorry!). To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below.

The Prizes

  • Aroamas Travel Perfume in assorted scents
  • 1 Year Subscription to AFAR Magazine
  • 1 pair of Beats Headphones
  • 1 Alpha Gypsy Scarf
Enter Below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Some of these items were given to me for review and/or giveaway purposes, but all opinions are my own. I also receive a small income from my Amazon affiliate links if you purchase through me.

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34 Responses to Caroline’s Favorite Things 2013

  1. Katka December 13, 2013 at 7:54 am #

    I think all of the prizes are equally awesome! Lovin’ the Beats headphones though!

  2. Amy December 13, 2013 at 8:20 am #

    Such awesome prizes! I love the favorite things idea!

  3. Kristen December 13, 2013 at 8:20 am #

    Really cool article! I love reading about your travels and cool new products you’re using to make your travels a little easier and more enjoyable! :) Thanks for sharing! I hope you have a Merry Christmas! :)

    oh and I think all the prizes are really cool. I think I would get the most use from the scarf or the headphones :)

  4. Alexandra P December 13, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Love the solid perfume! Tell your friend that’s a great idea! I haven’t tried the beats yet but I have heard such amazing things about them.

  5. Lauren December 13, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

    Awesome! I love the Alpha Gypsy Scarf. So pretty and versatile.

  6. Shelby December 13, 2013 at 11:40 pm #

    Is the Pac Safe noticeably heavier than a normal day pack due to the mesh?

    • Caroline December 14, 2013 at 6:39 am #

      Shelby, I don’t think so. It’s still very lightweight.

  7. BECKY EVANS December 14, 2013 at 3:41 am #

    The Alpha Gypsy Scarf is the Perfect Piece to any Traveling Girl’s Outfit.

  8. Emily December 14, 2013 at 8:02 am #

    Those beats headphones sound amazing!!

  9. Adriana December 14, 2013 at 8:50 am #

    Hi there!! I think the solid prefumes look super cool, and I’d love to get a couple of those this year. Also, an AFAR subscription would be the bees knees haha

  10. Emily Graham December 14, 2013 at 11:15 am #

    The silk scarf from Alpha Gypsy!

  11. Candice December 14, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

    Dammit! Does that mean I can still qualify for the perfume? Haha. Sigh, Canada.

    That scarf is amaze balls.

    • Caroline December 14, 2013 at 5:09 pm #

      Candice, yes on the perfume! Sorry I can’t offer the giveaways to my Canadian mates!

  12. Jaynie December 14, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

    I love the scarf and the headphones!

  13. Hayley Pearce December 14, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

    The beats would be so amazing, but the scarf seems lovely as well :D this is awesome!

  14. Marsha Kogan December 14, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

    The product recommendations were all excellent because Caroline explained the benefits so well. I could see myself purchasing a few of these.

  15. Haley Harris December 14, 2013 at 11:39 pm #


    I’m a friend of your sister Rachel’s and she’s sent many of us over to your blog. It’s wonderful! Thanks for sharing your thoughts :)

    • Haley Harris December 14, 2013 at 11:41 pm #

      Also, meant to include that I’d love the scarf!

  16. Bill McGovern December 15, 2013 at 1:08 am #

    It probably comes as no surprise that my favorite is the Beats headphones. My wife would love the perfumes, scarf, and magazine

  17. Samantha December 15, 2013 at 8:32 am #

    These are great items!!! I’m taking noted for my Fiji trip! :)

  18. megan December 15, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    All those prizes sound wonderful!

  19. Susan @ Travel Junkette December 15, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    Great list, Caroline! I’m obsessed with Ex Officio underwear — it’s so cool you were an ambassador for them! I have been lusting after Beats headphones for over a year now, so that would have to be my prize of choice!

  20. Debbra Brouillette December 15, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

    Hoping to win the Alpha Gypsy Scarf! Great “favorite things” roundup!

  21. Jam @icoSnap December 16, 2013 at 1:05 am #

    Great list! The photojojo seems like an awesome christmas present idea.

  22. Flora December 16, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    Great suggestions Caroline! I’m all over that scarf :)

  23. Laura December 16, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

    The Scarf’s seem cool (and very colorful) Great List

  24. Sara December 16, 2013 at 9:01 pm #

    The scarf is adorable. But I do have to say I would love the solid perfumes!

  25. trenda t December 16, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

    Love the beats headphones!

  26. Tony Chang December 18, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    Beats by Dre for sure!

  27. Lindsey Calubayan December 18, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

    Beats By Dre!

  28. Mere R December 19, 2013 at 10:22 am #

    These are all great gift suggestions, but I’m especially loving the scarf! So cute and versatile!

  29. Christine Conklin December 20, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

    What great prizes Caroline!

  30. SarahG December 20, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

    I <3 scarves! Would love one of those :) I admire your adventure-ness Caroline!

  31. Sylvia January 23, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

    Love the gypsy scarf. i think those travel-sized bottles are nice too.
    I can never seem to find a small contact lens solution bottle when I need to fly.

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