Holiday Gear Guide: 5 Must-have Gifts for Active Travelers

It’s that time of year when it seems the whole world is blanketed in one big, fat, holiday-red-tag sale. Whether you’re buying for someone else or treatin’ yo’ self to gifts for the holidays, now is the best (read cheapest) season to buy.

Here are five must-have gifts for the active traveler in your life (even if that active traveler is you) …

Best Gifts for Active Travelers

LG V30+ 128GB Smartphone (Unlocked)

LG Electronics V30+ Smartphone

LG V30+ Smartphone

It wasn’t long ago that I never left home without my entire DLSR camera kit — full Nikon body, several lenses, a bevy of filters … the works. Now, I’m a little more lax. Smartphone cameras (both photo and video) are lightyears ahead of where they were just a few years ago. The one camera that turned me on to the possibility of traveling “smartphone-only” was LG’s V30+.

There’s a lot to love about this smartphone. The 6-inch QHD+ OLED display is crisp, bright, and absolutely beautiful — perfect for reviewing my just-taken photos and video. The F/1.6 glass camera lens takes awesome shots in even super low light, while the wide-angle option means it’s great for landscapes.

The shell is lightweight yet ultra-durable with IP68 dust and water resistance. It’s rugged enough for even the most active travelers to take on the road (or way, way off). For all of these reasons, the V30+ was my go-to hip camera for my entire two weeks in Antarctica. I took it kayaking with me every day and it performed like a champ.

The best part? Since the release of the new LG V40, the LG V30+ is now discounted as a “previous generation” smartphone. No matter though! For travelers, I highly recommend hitting up Amazon for a deeply discounted V30+. Choose the 128GB unlocked version, and you’ll be ready to travel with it almost anywhere in the world with whatever SIM/carrier you choose.

Sale

LG Electronics LGUS998U V30+ Factory Unlocked Phone – 128GB, 6″, Black (U.S. Warranty)

  • Enjoy 128 GB of onboard storage and free LG Quadplay Earbuds as part of the upgraded plus package
  • 6.0″ OLED FullVision Display
  • Premium Video Capture
  • Superior Hi-Fi Sound Experience
  • 16 MP Standard-Angle and 13 MP Wide-Angle Rear Cameras/ 5 MP Wide-Angle Front Camera

Last updated: 2018-11-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Suunto 9 Baro Titanium Sports Watch

Suunto 9 Baro Titanium Multisport Watch

Suunto 9 Baro Titanium Multisport Watch

“Three things will be left at the end of the world … Twinkies, cockroaches, and this watch.”
— Runner’s World

Any hardcore adventure traveler (myself included) loves to keep tabs on their outdoor activity. For that, Suunto has fast become my favorite, go-to brand for sports watches. The flagship Suunto 9 Baro Titanium is their most durable multisport watch which features an almost absurd level of versatility, flexibility, and customization options.

The 9 Baro Titanium tracks your GPS coordinates, distance traveled, heart rate, barometric functions, weather alerts, and has 80 built-in sports modes. The big get for avid outdoorsmen, however, is the durability and battery life. I threw everything I could at this watch for the last three weeks and it barely blinked. The battery is good for up to 120 hours, but the watch is smart enough to throttle usage based on your activity. It’ll even provide alerts when it needs to be charged, and let you know if your next workout/activity requires more juice than the watch is currently charged with.

It’s damn pricey, but I’ve long believed that you get what you pay for and this is the single best GPS multisport watch on the market right now.

Suunto 9 Multisport GPS Watch with BARO and Wrist-Based Heart Rate (Black)

  • Three predefined battery modes – Performance, Endurance and Ultra – deliver from 25 hours to up to 120 hours* of recording time with GPS tracking on. When you start a recording, you’ll get an estimate of how much battery you have left with the current mode. If it’s not enough, switch to another mode at any time.
  • On long ultra runs, battery life is often the limiting factor for recording distance and track accurately, as GPS is a heavy drain on the battery. Suunto’s unique FusedTrack algorithm combines GPS and motion sensor data to improve track and distance accuracy. This allows you to extend battery life by lowering GPS power without significantly compromising accuracy.
  • Suunto 9 is designed and built to meet the demands of professional athletes. Tested to the extreme with thousands of hours of real use in the toughest conditions by Suunto’s internal testing team and athletes all over the world, it is your trusted companion to confidently see you through any adventure!
  • Pair Suunto 9 with the new Suunto app to track all your adventures, as well as follow your long term trends, including daily activity and sleep. Easily share your greatest achievements and connect with others in the app community.

Last updated: 2018-11-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Henty CoPilot Messenger Bag

Henty CoPilot Messenger Bag

Henty CoPilot Messenger Bag

Wheels were one of the last truly “revolutionary” additions to modern luggage. Not a whole lot has changed since.

So, I was pretty excited to check out Henty’s clever line of luggage. Their CoPilot Messenger is an ingenious design that offers all the versatility and portability of a traditional backpack, but with the added capability of keeping your clothes wrinkle-free while on the road.

Once unfurled, the design allows you to lay out enough clothing for a long weekend (or even longer, depending on how much of a packing ninja you are), then “roll” it up around the single, inner, waterproof chamber in which you store 20L worth of toiletries, shoes, booze, etc. Separate exterior pockets provide for easy-to-reach storage for your passport, travel documents, and laptop. The smart, built-in hanger makes it a snap to stow in the closet once you get where you’re going.

The Henty CoPilot is also available as a backpack.

AxisGO Waterproof Housing for iPhone X

AxisGO X Waterproof Housing for iPhone X

AxisGO X Waterproof Housing for iPhone X

A decent waterproof housing for your DSLR camera can sometimes cost as much as the camera itself. If you’re looking to get into the underwater photography or videography game for far less and you already own an iPhone, AxisGO’s purpose-built housing is a great alternative.

To be clear, the AxisGO waterproof case/housing isn’t the first and only such underwater iPhone case on the market. But, from what I can tell, it’s one of the best designed. The feature set is incredibly solid for photographers looking for something more than just a way to waterproof their iPhone:

  • Functional touchscreen membrane
  • Interchangeable Lens port
  • Robust top and bottom mounting brackets
  • Pistol Grip kit
  • Professional quality accessory lenses
  • Optical glass
  • Anti-reflective and hydrophobic glass coatings

Tenba DNA 15 Messenger

Tenba DNA Messenger 15 Laptop Bag / Carry-on

Tenba DNA Messenger 15 Laptop Bag / Carry-on

For the last two years, Peak Design’s Everyday Messenger was my go-to carry-on. It held exactly what I needed it to — my camera gear, water bottle, reading material, electronic cables, and all the other bits and bobs that my travels require. I still love it. But, it was starting to fray. So, I figured it was a good excuse to try something new.

Tenba DNA Messenger 15 Laptop Bag (open)

Tenba DNA Messenger 15 Laptop Bag

In my case, that something new was Tenba’s DNA 15 Messenger. It holds an ample amount of gear: a 15-inch MacBook Pro, 1 DSLR or mirrorless camera body, 2-3 lenses along with plenty of additional space for documents, cables, memory cards, my passport, and a water bottle on the side.

The zippers feature oversized pulls that are easy to grab, even with gloved hands and the Velcro uses some sort of space-age technology (my words, not Tenba’s) to make it almost completely silent when opening.

Plus, I love the dark, cobalt, denim-ish look. It’s stylish, but stealth enough not to make me feel like a mark for pickpockets while I’m traveling. I prefer the standard DNA 15 Messenger, but if you want something a bit more streamlined, the DNA 15 Slim Messenger is comparable but not quite as deep.

The post Holiday Gear Guide: 5 Must-have Gifts for Active Travelers appeared first on Vagabondish.

Things to Do in Savannah, Georgia: Where to Eat, Play, and Stay

We’re fresh back from our epic East Coast road trip! By the numbers, it was a doozy: over 70 days, we traveled more than 3,600 miles and stayed in 14 cities in 9 states. (All with our cat, by the way)

For us, it was part road trip and part reconnaissance mission. We’re on the hunt for our next place to move. While Chattanooga is still at the top of our list, Savannah surprised us. It’s charming, historic, beautiful, friendly, and right on the water. And all those things that make it a great place to live naturally make it an awesome place to visit.

Things to Do in Savannah GA

By the numbers — less than 150,000 Southern souls spread across just 100 square miles — Savannah is a small city. And the downtown core is only a tiny fraction of that. It’s perfectly walkable, especially for out-of-towners without a car. Of all the things to do in Savannah GA, these are our favorite places to eat, play, and stay.

Where to Eat + Drink in Savannah GA

Gryphon Cafe in Savannah GA

Gryphon Cafe in Savannah GA © TD Brat

Situated in the century-old Scottish Rite building, Gryphon is quite a romantic, date-worthy lunch spot. The intimate elegance of the interior, where white-clothed tables, carved-mahogany bookcases, and original stained-glass panels convey warmth and graciousness, provides a front row seat to the iconic Bull Street. The focus is on organic, locally sourced Southern cuisine.

Top Deck Bar Rooftop in Savannah, Georgia

Panoramic Rooftop Views from Top Deck Bar (Savannah GA)

For cocktail hour, Top Deck Bar is a rooftop bar that deftly balances “swanky” and “relaxed” with a healthy dose of amazing views of the Talmadge Memorial Bridge, the Savannah River, and historical Bay Street.

The Terrace at Cotton & Rye in Savannah GA

The Terrace at Cotton & Rye

Service at Cotton & Rye is dinner-only. But, the food is so damn good, it’s worth the all-day wait to eat there. While it occupies a mid-20th-century bank building, the vibe is mostly relaxed and slightly chic with plenty of Southern charm. The menu runs the gamut from house-made sour corn succotash to Carolina trout to shrimp & grits. Be sure to ask for a seat on the outside terrace.

If things start to wind down too much, head to The Rail Pub. Situated in a century-old building (isn’t everything in Savannah?), this dive bar is a Savannah institution with plenty of indoor and outdoor space to keep the party going well after midnight six days a week. Along with plenty of beer and house cocktails, you’ll find Southern delicacies like pigs’ feet & pickles.

Iconic Things to Do in Savannah GA (Georgia)

Few cities nail the beautiful-spooky-historic-Southern-Gothic vibe like Savannah.

Charleston aside, few cities nail the spooky-historic-Southern chic vibe like Savannah. While a simple stroll around the city presents countless Instagram photos like the ones in this post, the best place to get a feel for the city’s Southern Gothic vibe along with a healthy dose of history is Bonaventure Cemetery. It’s consistently ranked among the most beautiful cemeteries in the world, and with good reason. Not surprising then that it’s appeared in countless Hollywood movies like Clint Eastwood’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

It’s 100 acres of idyllic rolling hills dotted with centuries-old live oak trees covered in Spanish moss. Plan one hour for a quick peek, but I would allow two hours to tour it all and have plenty of time for photos. Bonus: it’s free.

Entry Gate at Wormsloe Plantation in Savannah, GA

Entry Gate at Wormsloe Plantation in Savannah

Wormsloe Plantation might be tied with Bonaventure Cemetery for the most popular and most Instagram’d attraction in Savannah. Upon entering, you’re overwhelmed with a breathtaking, mile-and-a-half-long avenue sheltered by live oaks and Spanish moss leading to the 18th-century tabby ruins of Wormsloe — the oldest standing structure in Savannah.

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The avenue is iconic (see Forrest Gump), and it’s an ideal spot for weddings and professional photo ops. (Note: guests are requested to pay the entry fee before parking and photographing the avenue. Although, we found the caretakers pretty lax in this regard.)

Other Things to Do in Savannah GA (Georgia)

Looking for more things to do in Savannah GA? Take a stroll down Broughton Street. It’s the city’s main strip, where you can while away an afternoon of eating and perusing. Byrd’s Cookies is an iconic dessert shop that dates back to 1924. Be sure to grab a tin to go.

Savannah Bee Company (Broughton Street, Savannah GA)

Savannah Bee Company (Broughton Street)

Also on Broughton Street, Savannah Bee Company got its start in — wait for it … — Savannah, Georgia. In the twenty years since the company’s launch in 1999, it’s turned into a global brand.

We love it not only for its amazing honey-centric products (grill honey, anyone?) but also for the worthy causes they support like The Bee Cause Project.

SCAD Museum of Art - Savannah GA

SCAD Museum of Art – Savannah GA

Located in a mid-19th-century rail depot, SCAD Museum of Art is arguably the best contemporary museum in The South. It’s a great way to break up an afternoon of eating and spending with a dose of culture. (Tip: they offer free admission on select weekends)

Lastly, do the River Walk. For all the right reasons, everyone will tell you to steer clear of this undeniable tourist trap. Make no mistake: it is an absolute tourist trap. It’s full of taffy shops, overpriced restaurants, and souvenir tchotchke peddlers. But, it’s an accurate snapshot of the city’s waterfront district and, even on a rainy day (and we had many), it provides a lovely photo backdrop.

Kelsey walking along River Street in the rain in Savannah, Georgia

Moody Afternoon Along River Street — Savannah GA

Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Savannah, GA

As y’all know, chain hotels aren’t usually our thing. We’ll take a boutique hotel, Airbnb stay, a sweet campground, or even a treehouse over a Holiday Inn or even a Four Seasons any day of the week. Thankfully, in addition to all the great things to do in Savannah GA, there are plenty of great places to stay (a surprising number actually, given the city’s tiny size).

CreekFire Motor Ranch in Savannah, Georgia

CreekFire Motor Ranch in Savannah, GA (entrance)

Entrance to CreekFire Motor Ranch in Savannah, GA

When we stumbled on CreekFire Motor Ranch, we were ecstatic. It’s billed as a luxury campground, but that’s quite an understatement. When we arrived, we found it to be a legit resort. Even though it opened in October 2017, it’s expanding at a lightning pace. There are plenty of primitive campsites, plus more than 100 RV sites with full hookups. So campers of all variety can find their perfect place to crash.

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For us, the big get was to snag one of their “cabins.” I use that term loosely because the cabins are actually upscale, tiny-house-like accommodations. Our 400-square-foot cabin (cabin #1) featured a full master bedroom, a cozy kitchen with full-sized appliances, a full bathroom, a spacious living room with a giant TV, and an upstairs sleeping loft.

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All the cabins at CreekFire Motor Ranch also feature a private deck overlooking a pristine lake, and a secluded backyard fire pit area.

Chairs by the Lake at CreekFire Motor Ranch (near Savannah, GA)

Chairs by the Lake at CreekFire Motor Ranch

Plus, they offer all the bells and whistles you’d find at a traditional hotel: Wi-Fi, satellite TV, coffeemakers, and they’re pet-friendly which was obviously a huge plus or us. It was enough to coax us to stay inside most days!

If you manage to pull yourself away from your cabin or tent site for a few hours, the ranch is packed with resort-like amenities. There’s an outdoor pool, a lobby game area, a club area (with a basketball court, tennis courts, and a playground), a one-mile nature trail around the property, and fishing, kayak, and bike rentals.

There’s already a boatload of additional amenities in the works for 2018: a lazy river (!), a sandy beach, and a full lake house with a lounge, restaurant, and covered waterfront bar. When you’re ready to explore all the great things to do in Savannah GA, there’s even reasonably priced shuttle service to and from downtown.

Lobby Lounge at The Marshall House in Savannah, GA

Lobby Lounge at The Marshall House in Savannah, GA

While we absolutely loved CreekFire Motor Ranch, here are a few honorable hotel mentions in downtown Savannah:

  • The Brice: A Holiday-Inn-turned-boutique-hotel, The Brice is fun, comfortably chic, and pet-friendly. The free nightly wine hour and great people-watching along the boardwalk are bonuses.
  • Marshall House: For sheer historic Georgian charm, you can’t beat The Marshall House. As the oldest hotel in Savannah, it’s ideally sitated in the city’s Historic District, and offers vintage details like high ceilings, decorative fireplaces, and hardwood floors.
Sunset over the cabins at CreekFire Motor Ranch (in Savannah)

Nightfall Over the Cabins at Savannah’s CreekFire Motor Ranch

What are your favorite things to do in Savannah GA? Let us know in the comments!

The post Things to Do in Savannah, Georgia: Where to Eat, Play, and Stay appeared first on Vagabondish.