The Best Travel Gifts for the Jet-Setters on Your List This Year
From suitcases to headphones and beyond, these items will ensure smooth travels all year long
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Regardless of how many people you’re buying gifts for this year, you inevitably have at least one who’s always on the road. Or in the sky, if you want to get technical.
That said, I don’t think there’s nearly enough emphasis on travel-centric gifts in the world. Some might argue that a suitcase or a Dopp kit doesn’t necessarily exude thoughtfulness, but as someone who both travels frequently and enjoys being on the receiving end of gifts, I’d beg to differ.
This year, consider skipping the whiskey stones in favor of a travel kit or, perhaps, a winter jacket that doubles as a neck pillow. Below, a roundup of must-have travel accessories from my favorite brands, which I’m positive all the jet-setters on your list will love.
Filson Rugged Twill Travel Kit
Featuring a construction of tough bridle leather and rugged twill, plus a waterproof nylon lining, this travel kit from Filson is touted as being the most “rugged shave kit on the market.” And who are we to argue? The perfect vessel in which to house all of their toiletries and all manner of other travel essentials, they’ll most definitely have it forever. Seriously, this is the very first user review on the brand’s site: “My favorite gift as a young graduate in 1987 was a Filson travel kit. This travel kit followed me through college, military service, and countless nights in the backcountry across four continents. It’s my favorite gift to graduates and especially so for the eldest of my six sons who headed off to college last year.” Wholesome.
Paravel Aviator Carry-On
For the environmentally-conscious traveler in your life, consider the Aviator from Paravel. Built from almost all sustainable and recycled materials, it’s carbon-neutral in that Paravel offsets all of the emissions that come from sourcing, assembly, shipping, delivery and then on your first trip with the Aviator, too. It’s also, frankly, just a good hard-sided travel case and all-around product.
The Zero Halliburton Mini Traveler
The ZH Mini Traveler is a spin on their iconic Attaché Case except … smaller. Designed for the sole purpose of keeping your small valuables (think passport, glasses, wallet, jewelry, etc.) safe and close on the go, it’s touted as being a “aesthetically minimal approach to organization.” Featuring a magnetic closure and the same navy-blue matte polycarbonate exterior as the brand’s bestselling luggage, its size is conducive to both hand-carry or stowing in a carry-on.
Rumpl NanoLoft Travel Blanket
Every time I board an international flight and I’m handed one of those complimentary paper-thin faux-fleece blankets, I immediately kick myself for not having something better of my own. Ultra-warm and just the size of a standard-sized Nalgene bottle when packed away, you’ll find this one from Rumpl at the very top of my Christmas list this year.
Proof 72-Hour Merino Long-Sleeve Tee
For all the luxury and grandeur we bestow upon travel, it isn’t always the first-class experience we want it to be. Sometimes we’re running from one gate to the next, sitting on long flights and spending a day (or more) between destinations. For the uncertainties of travel, Proof’s 72-hour Merino Long-Sleeve Tee adds the antimicrobial properties of wool to prevent travel-induced funk. It’s also incredibly soft against the skin, versatile and good looking when you need an outfit that says “comfort.”
A Personalized Black Tomato Trip
Gift them what they really want, and probably also really need, this year: a vacation. And preferably one that you’ve already taken the liberty of planning. Not a big vacation planner? Allow us to introduce you to Black Tomato: a luxury travel company best known for their totally custom (and awesome) itineraries, they’ll outfit you with the perfect surprise vacation, from the accommodations right down to the excursions. Albeit just a jumping off point, you can peruse some of their existing itineraries for inspiration, though — for what it’s worth — I’m currently coveting a 13-day hiking and biking adventure around Chile.
Orvis Personalized Leather-Bound Atlas
I love the idea of keeping a travel journal, and wish I’d had the foresight to keep one a decade ago when I really started traveling. These leather-bound journals from Orvis come in four iterations — National Parks, Appalachian, World Atlas and Rocky Mountains — all of which contain journals, maps, and travel information on their respective destinations. Have it personalized and, voilà, you’ve got a very thoughtful gift on your hands.
Briggs & Riley Delve Backpack
A good backpack is a must-have. Whether it’s to be used for a daily commute or as a personal carry-on item, this one from Briggs & Riley ticks all necessary boxes: it’s expandable, contains a plethora of pockets and features a zip-top so they don’t have to bother unlatching the flap to access their stuff on the move. So it’s endlessly practical, and it looks good, too.
Zero Halliburton Small Accessories
Zero Halliburton recently launched a collection of small leather accessories, all of which come in three colorways — solid black, Valencia orange and cobalt blue — and in the same buttery soft, pebble-grained Spanish leather. I have (and love) the Zip-Around Wallet, which compliments my carry-on, phone case and AirPod case, too. It’s called an aesthetic.
The Complete Lumin Skincare Gift Set
Something about a day of travel, particularly one spent in the cabin of an airplane, can be brutal on the skin. Needless to say, it’s important to be armed with a plan to combat inflammation, dryness, oiliness or emergency in-flight breakouts. A good, travel-sized skincare regimen is crucial. This one from Lumin — which includes moisturizing balm, anti-wrinkle serum, recovery oil, a charcoal cleanser, exfoliating scrub and dark circle defense — has our vote.
The Goshi towel is a super-simple concept to grasp; a rip-resistant, double-woven exfoliating travel towel that keeps you feeling refreshed and clean. This miniature towel is the perfect accessory to toss in a Dopp kit and forget about until the end of that stressful travel day, when a hot shower (and maybe a bottle of wine) is exactly what you need.
Roam Expandable Carry-On
From the founders of Tumi now comes Roam — one of my personal favorite brands on the market at present. A departure from the sea of identical black suitcases we’ve all become so accustomed to, each and every piece from Roam is totally custom. What are you even doing if not gifting someone an (expandable!) carry-on that you designed yourself?
TUMIPAX Preston Packable Travel Puffer Jacket
Another must-have for the jet-setter in your life? A packable puffer. Having to bring a winter coat on a warm-weather vacation can be such a buzzkill, particularly if they only plan to pack a carry-on. This lightweight puffer from Tumi is warm and dual purpose in that it also converts into a neck pillow through a hidden pouch in the collar. I’ll take two, please.
Dr. Squatch Deodorant
Staying fresh and clean isn’t always an option even when airports offer public showers (remember COVID and germs?), which is why we find ourselves relying on Dr. Squatch deodorant every now and then. With scents like Fresh Falls and Alpine Sage, it’s easy to mask unwanted smells that would otherwise make you uncomfortable in a crowd. Most of the ingredients are plant-derived as well, which feels even better when you realize you’re not applying aluminum to your armpits.
Rimowa Trifold Garment Bag
Traveling with dress clothes and managing to keep them in pristine shape can feel a bit like an extreme sport. Enter the Rimowa Trifold Garment Bag. Designed to prevent wrinkles and to keep even their most crease-prone garments crisp in transit, they’ll be left wondering how they ever traveled anywhere without it.
The Away Large Everywhere Bag
The quintessential weekender, the Away Large Everywhere Bag is a new, bigger version of the Everywhere Bag. Featuring a trolley sleeve, a detachable padded shoulder strap, spacious main compartment and full wraparound zip opening, this bag is utilitarian and clean. I wouldn’t fault you in the slightest if you were to pick one of these up for yourself, too.
Peak Designs Shoe Pouch
Tossing a pair of shoes you used to trek around for your two-week vacay straight back into the carry onIt can feel a little…dirty. Why not save yourself the hassle of having to worry about what you might have stepped in and grab Peak Designs Shoe Pouch? Able to fit any pair of shoes (maybe two, if you cram), it’s an easy way to travel smart.
Monos Compressible Packing Cubes
If they aren’t already using packing cubes to travel, they need to get with the program. These Compressible Packing Cubes from Monos are the perfect tool to help organize their clothes, gear and tech when it’s time to pack for their next trip. The set, which comes in packs of either four or six, features a breathable mesh top that allows them to see into the cube without having to unpack its contents. Revolutionary.
Keeping up with your personal health isn’t easy when plains, trains and automobiles make up most of your day, but it’s made easier when you pack Asystem’s TotalBody Kit that embraces supplements and skincare options to help you feel like the best version of yourself away from home. Add it to your travel routine when your only request is to keep up with your health in the midst of travel.
W&P Carry-On Cocktail Kit
This one’s kind of a no-brainer. Who doesn’t want a cocktail on a plane? Be a pal and give the gift of a top shelf, in-flight Old Fashioned.
Tigari Passport and Vaccine Card Combo Holder
Since vaccine cards are shaping up to be almost as important as passports where travel is involved, it’s insane that combo holders like this one from Tigari aren’t literally everywhere. As far as practical gifts go, it certainly takes the cake. Available in nine colors, and for just $9, it’s the perfect stocking stuffer for everyone on your list.
Filson Ballistic Nylon Duffel Backpack Hybrid
Set yourself up with a duffel that’s built to withstand the ups and downs of travel like Filson’s Ballistic Nylon Duffel Hybrid. As its name suggests, this duffel is built with a ballistic nylon that’s nearly indestructible and leather accents that add a little sophistication to your ensemble. When you’re running to your connecting flight, convert the duffel into backpack mode for on-the-go transport that keeps up every step of the way.
Yeti Rambler Bottle with Chug Cap
What’s worse: having to throw away a virtually full bottle of water pre-TSA or spend $10 on a replacement bottle post-TSA? Thanks to this Yeti Rambler Bottle, your loved ones may never have to find out. Fill it up at the airport and stash it in a carry-on, because traveling while dehydrated is the worst kind of traveling.
Anker Power Bank
Let us leave the days of mid-trip dead devices behind us with the Anker Power Bank. With three USB output ports and the ability to charge most phones more than six times, tablets twice and any other USB device multiple times, this power bank will most definitely get them from point A to B with a full battery.
Brooklinen Mulberry Silk Eye Mask
If you’ve taken so much as one overnight flight in your lifetime, you understand why an eye mask might be a beneficial item to have in your arsenal. This silk one comes in ten different colors and makes for a good gift for anyone who values sleep above all else. Even if they don’t frequently take overnight flights, honestly.
3rd Generation Apple AirPods
An undisputed fact: noise-cancelling headphones, no matter the brand, are imperative when it comes to flying. It’s not a particularly hot take, but AirPods are my favorite. And, as previously mentioned, they fit beautifully inside my Zero Halliburton AirPod case.
Atlas Obscura’s Finding Wonder
For anyone who spends a great deal of time in airports and is constantly in need of a new in-flight read, the Atlas Obscura Book Club subscription is an absolute essential. Titled Founding Wonder, it prides itself on being the book club of choice “for explorers of places and ideas around the world and across history.”
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