The WordSmith gift guide for travellers: extra-baggage edition


The WordSmith gift guide for travellers: extra-baggage edition

To anyone travelling with a surfboard-shaped gift this holiday season, we salute you. Here's our guide to impractical yet impressive presents.

Kate Weir

BY Kate Weir30 November 2016

When it comes to Christmas gifts, size doesn’t matter; but, sometimes it does… Especially when that perfect gift is unwieldy, and won’t fit into a carrier-approved-size suitcase – no matter how much you sit on it. Make someone feel extra special this Christmas with a gift that says ‘I paid a premium to fly this here’.

Sure, you could get a gift you can stash in your carry-on, or exceed the plastic-baggie limit of 100ml and check a bottle of festive spirit (or festive wine, beer…) for your beloved – but, to win the present circle this year, go the extra kilogram and pack that plane holdall like a piñata. Here’s our guide to impractical yet impactful presents.


Gramovox Floating Record Vertical Turntable, £410 ($550)
Sure, a suitcase-sized Crosley is more portable, but Gramovox’s too-cool vertical turntable spins vinyl through the air like it’s possessed by a hip poltergeist. The player has built-in speakers, a smart maple-wood finish and it’s compatible with international voltages – so it’ll go anywhere – the hussy.

Turntable Lab Colored Vinyl, from £8 ($10)
Boring black vinyl won’t spin your gift recipient right round with delight. For the most hypnotic releases, Turntable Lab’s range runs from lavender pressings of breathy experimentalist How to Dress Well, to the TV-static-style disc of John Maus’ goth pop and colourful cult-film soundtracks; or buy the ‘Upside-Down blue’ Eighties-throwback soundtrack to Stranger Things and the limited-edition set of the Beatles’ xmas albums.

Urbanears Baggen speaker, £399 ($449)
Designed in the shape of a Swedish housing block (of course), Urbanears’ Baggen speaker may be too big for your travel bags, but it’ll look good in any music-lover’s home. It comes in six different colours (we love the blush pink and look-at-me orange) and it’s Bluetooth enabled, so can make friends with all your fellow gadgets.

Guitars, by guitarists, from £820 ($1,099)
Seasoned strummers have taken instrument design into their own nimble hands this year, with the release of Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien’s Sustainer Stratocaster from Fender – for superlative sound – and St Vincent’s self-styled range of guitars for petite players – both fine-tuned for everything but your wheelie-case.


Brilliant Neon Flamingo sign, £498 ($668) For the John Waters fan and those who’ve watched Cocktail several times… Light up someone’s Christmas – in eighties dive-bar style – with Brilliant Neon’s, well, brilliant pink flamingo sign.

House of Hackney Palmeral Pineapple lamp, from £675 ($906)
Clearly, you can’t bestow a neon flamingo on someone without the complementary pineapple-shaped lamp. House of Hackney’s tropical lighting comes in several colours, but we like this tasteful white-and-gold number, topped with their signature palm-motif shade.

A cool cactus
For your relatively easygoing, slightly prickly yet aesthetically pleasing friend, a cactus is the perfect gift. Our favourite stores for picking up a non-cuddly compadre are Prick London, Kaktus København and Cactus Store in the US, which has outposts in New York and Los Angeles.

La Symphonie des Songes etching by Miss Van, £274 ($368)
Know someone who’s bimbling along on Bumble? Give them an actual reason to invite someone up to see their ‘etchings’. We love artist Miss Van’s soft, sumptuous muses, and this elegant, detailed etching, La Symphonie des Songes, is one of her most engaging.


Tokyobike, from £550 ($695) for an adult cycle
Check out that (bike) rack… These Japanese two-wheelers are designed for zipping along city roads. Lightweight, comfortable and good looking, your lucky recipient will sit pretty in these saddles, wherever they’re headed.

Frescobol Carioca Tijuca skateboard, £650 ($1,000)            
For the reformed baggy-trousers wearer, Frescobol Carioca have crafted this breathtakingly elegant wooden skateboard. Playful yet grown-up, it’s a board you could ride besuited to a business meeting or a wedding, while swilling a single malt. Radical.

Cayago Seabob, from £6,412 ($8,630)   
For that distant uncle who owns a private yacht, yet suffers from ennui, a Seabob will buoy up any disaffected playboys (and girls). This sleek bit of gear lets you explore over and under water, and some come with integrated cameras for documenting your dives.

Boom-Art surfboard, from £1,666 ($2,243)   
For high-vis hanging 10, and to accentuate your surfer-friend’s sick moves, Boom-Art has some of the most head-turning boards. The gnar-tiest are emblazoned with Hokusai drawings, vintage Flemish florals and Japanese erotica.


Away luggage, from £195 ($195) Some might think that paying for extra luggage as extra luggage is akin to the maniacs who buy suitcases in airports, but we say: no. In-the-know travellers are cramming their belongings into Away’s stylish suitcases, because these ergonomic babies have a nifty USB port – so your jetsetters need never face a flight without fully-charged devices again.

Fortnum & Mason Hamper, from £75 ($101)
We’re not talking the ‘bottle of wine and chocolates’ gift box that could squeeze into your suitcase at a pinch, but Fortnum’s cosmopolitan cornucopia that’ll keep your bestowee in Madeira, luxury chutney and special-blend teas throughout the 12 nights of Christmas and beyond.



Featured image shot at the Avalon Beverly Hills hotel. Hat case courtesy of Freya. Featured photography by Lauren Pisano.