by Amy Munslow
Valentine’s Day has a sly ability to sneak up on you. Between recovering from the last set of holidays, diligently attempting to keep New Year’s resolutions, and seemingly endless snow shoveling, it’s no wonder so many people are taken by surprise at the sea of pink hearts and red roses on February 14th.
Luckily, Literary Traveler is here to help. We have ten last-minute gift ideas for wanderers, bookworms, and adventurous spirits. Whether you are celebrating with your special someone, your friends, or practicing a little self-love on Valentine’s Day, these thoughtful gifts are sure to delight.
Even better: all of these gifts are less than $30, and many will arrive from Amazon.com in just two days (or less). This means you can give your Valentine a sweet surprise, while still saving for your next big adventure.
1. Skip the Roses, and Go for a Bookish Bouquet
It’s time to get creative, and outdo last year’s traditional red-rose bouquet. Check out these literary flowers: decorative bookish blooms that will last for years to come! All you’ll need for this project are some recycled book pages, scissors, twine, and glue. They’re perfect for a reader’s coffee table, bookshelf, or desk. Bonus points if you can find a recycled copy of your Valentine’s favorite reads! If crafting isn’t for you, there are plenty of options on Etsy for similar literary bouquets.
2. Jewelry Roll on the Go
There’s a reason sparkly earrings, watches and heart-shaped necklaces are commonly gifted on Valentine’s Day: they have come to symbolize the lasting power of love. But my guess is that your literary traveling Valentine isn’t necessarily looking to expand his or her jewelry collection with more shimmering objects: they would rather use the jewelry they already have, and save the money for their next exciting journey. This silk jewelry roll has plenty of pouches for your Valentine’s favorite pieces of jewelry, plus it’s stylish, and easily tossed in a travel bag.
3. A Bath and A Book
Spending Valentine’s Day alone this year? Relaxing in a book-lovers bath is a great way to cherish and love yourself. Indulge in a few hours of self-care with this Lush Bath Bomb and your latest favorite read. Light a candle, breathe deeply, and enjoy being transported to a new world. You’ll emerge feeling moisturized and utterly relaxed. If you’re extra crafty, try making your own bath bombs for your single friends (or yourself). Valentine’s Day can be a tough holiday to spend alone, so they’ll appreciate your thoughtful gesture (not to mention an excuse for an hour of uninterrupted reading in the bath).
4. Library Trips Made Easier
Give your traveling bookworm a stylish tote for their latest novels with this Out of Print library tote. This adorable bag can be on your doorstep in two days, just in time for your Valentine to fill it up on their next library trip. Plus, this tote comes with some love for those who need it most: for every bag purchased, the company will donate a book to a community in need.
5. Scratch-Off Traveler’s Map
Help your Valentine track their traveling progress with this gorgeous scratch map from Uncommon Goods. This map is living art: you scratch off each country as you experience it. For remembering old adventures and planning new ones, this map is a representation of dreams, travels, and time shared together. Beware: it might ignite your wandering spirit!
6. A Traveler’s Homemade Dinner
Is there a place that your Valentine has always wanted to travel? Or, would you like to try to recreate a meal from a special trip you’ve taken together? Here’s an idea: wow your Valentine with a homemade dinner from an exotic location. A quick Internet search will provide you with recipes, ingredient lists, and instructions for a Valentine’s Day dinner from the locale of your choice. If you need some ideas (or want to give your loved one a souvenir), check out In Her Kitchen by Gabriele Galimberti. This photography-rich cookbook boasts tried-and-true recipes from foodie grandmothers around the world.
7. Future Use: Matching Traveler’s Tags
These matching red traveler’s tags are a gift and a promise. Not only are they well-made, stylish leather luggage tags, they are a symbol of all the adventures you’ve shared with your sweetheart and those that are yet to come. Let your Valentine know how excited you are for your next vacation or wandering adventure, and write a note about how glad you’ll be to share it with them.
8. Around the World in Chocolate
No Valentine’s Day gift guide would be complete without chocolate. Trader Joe’s Chocolate Passport allows you to travel from Peru to Ghana to the Dominican Republic without leaving your couch. Make this a Valentine’s Day chocolate tasting event, complete with tasty beverages and relaxing music. Try to taste the differences in each country’s chocolate production, and share your favorites with your sweetheart (or friends!)
Note to frugal travelers out there: this chocolate box is much cheaper if you can buy it in person at your local Trader Joe’s store (only $10 instead of $22 online!).
9. Mark Your Pages
Book club friends or travel buddies can always use new bookmarks, and this is one they’ll never want to lose. Instead of dog-eared pages, your bookish friends will have a great quote waiting for them when they open up their favorite novel. For a little extra love, attach a few chocolates or a handwritten note with your latest book recommendations. Best of all: these bookmarks are inexpensive, so you can afford to order an extra one for yourself.
10. Well-Read Valentines
Whether you choose to purchase Valentines or make your own, go with a bookish or traveling theme to bring a smile to your literary traveling friends’ faces. Check out these Mr. Darcy-inspired cards, this travel-inspired card, or these printable Valentines from your favorite books. Attach a pen or even better, pass along a book that you’ve read recently and enjoyed. After all, books are meant to be shared, and what better day to share them than Valentine’s Day?