A Shop-Small Holiday Gift Guide for Travelers

When you support a small business, you’re supporting a dream.


Tis officially the season! Normally I pick out a few of my favorite gadgets, accessories, and other travel items that I’ve discovered throughout the year that’s travel-related to share, but I wanted to do something more impactful this year. With the pandemic keeping us from traveling and small businesses struggling to weather this new economic situation, shopping small is more important than ever.

This holiday season I’m only shopping small and shopping locally as much as possible. Most of the stores and shops I’ve chosen below are based in Lancaster, PA aka where I call home! They not only have incredible products that keep me coming back probably way more often than I should (oh well!) and are deeply involved in making the community a more welcoming and al-around better place.

Curious Artifact


  • Travel photography
  • Handmade string art
  • Post cards

Did you know I also have a small business? I’m slowly adding more and more photos I’m proud of to my Etsy store and love being able to share my travels with people around the world. I also transformed one of my prints (Machu Picchu) into post card sets!

Several years ago, I started making string art and have been inspired by my travels for many of my designs. Everything is entirely handmade and custom orders are always welcomed!

Castaways Rare Spirit


  • Handmade jewelry
  • Scrunchies

I first encountered Catrine’s jewelry at my favorite airbnb. She had made a super unique necklace with an arrow head and the archaeologist in me went I NEED THIS NOW. So I bought it and wear it all the time.

I’m not sure how she comes up with so many unique designs, but I’m always impressed. I don’t wear a ton of jewelry, but I can’t resist hers. If you travel a lot and want necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and/or everything else she makes, these will definitely be statement pieces that are easy to pack.

Ville & Rue


  • Travel-Themed Home Decor

I had walked by this store several times with my dog and never realized it was dog friendly. Once we realized how dumb we’d been we planned our first visit with both our boys. Ho-ly crap I wanted everything. Name an item and they have it. Coasters, pillows, wall decor, bottle openers, and so much more is artfully placed around the store and you can immediately tell just how much effort they put into each item.

My favorite by far are their prints of cities around the world. They have framed and unframed maps of cities and even do custom prints of any city you could want. I will undoubtedly be purchasing a Budapest map in the near future! Many of their items are curated with Lancaster in mind and some purchases. Couldn’t love it more!

Madcap and Co


  • Passport holders
  • Wallets
  • Cards and postcards
  • Apparel
  • Keychains
  • Tote bags

Madcap and Co basically has a little bit of everything and all of it is incredible. The store and its sister store, Building Character, consists entirely of local makers. You walk in and are immersed in dozens of different items that are all handmade. Pencils, tote bags, prints, succulents, wall decor, votive candles with celebrities faces on them, recycled/repurposed items are all there and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you can imagine it, it’s probably already at Madcap.

I adore their cards, postcards, and prints the most. They make great gifts and are super easy to transport when traveling. Even though we can’t travel right now, sending cards and postcards has become even more popular and they have hilarious cards as well as regular ones.

Square One Coffee


  • Travel coffee packages
  • Travel mugs
  • Apparel
  • Sample and gift boxes
  • Stickers and pins
  • Koozies

We all know I’m not a huge coffee fan, but this is my all-time favorite coffee shop. You can find us here with the dogs every weekend and some weekdays as well. My boyfriend adores the coffee (his go-tos are Candy Bar and Zimbabwe) and I come for the food.

They have a tons of travel items, including their SquareOne in the Wild which were designed so you can have a good cup of coffee wherever you go. Their gift boxes are super fun and allow you to gift a variety of their items to your coffee-loving travelers.

Kate Ampersand


  • Greeting cards
  • Postcards
  • Illustrations

My next door neighbor turned wonderful friend is incredibly talented. She illustrates among her ridiculous number of talents. She has such a unique style and creates work that just brings joy. My favorite creations of hers are her boss babe postcards and her greeting cards. She does so much more, so peruse her website for unique (and even commissioned) pieces of art you can send to others.

Basset and Lab


  • Anything and everything pet related!

Traveling with my dogs is one of the many reasons I love travel. Basset and Lab is a pet boutique in Lancaster, but they are far from average. You can even order holiday dinners for your pups. How cool is that!?

Besides their food and cafe items for pets, they have all of the essentials including leashes, harnesses, collapsible water bowls, and outdoor apparel to keep them warm and dry when you’re on the go. They even have safety lights so your dog can stay extra safe on trails!

Greet and Co


  • Greeting cards
  • Card bundles

I found this artist on Instagram and loved her cards immediately. I haven’t purchased any cards yet, but I absolutely will be! Her cards are sweet, original, and lots of them make me laugh out loud. What better way to send some holiday cheer than a card!?

You can even get typed inscriptions in the cards if you are in a rush and don’t want to wait to send them. They’re such a fun way to say hi from wherever you happen to be in the world!


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