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.
So, on that note, consider skipping the whiskey stones in favor of a travel kit this year…or, perhaps, custom luggage tags. 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.
Brandless Checked Luggage
For the uninitiated, Brandless is, in fact, the name of this brand — and, frankly, a breath of fresh air where internet-popular luggage brands are involved. Featuring a lightweight polycarbonate shell with reinforced corners to protect from damage, an interior lining made from recycled plastic bottles and zippered mesh compartments, the Brandless Checked Luggage is both good-looking and functional, without being fussy.
Canon’s EOS R7 RF-S18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Kit
I’ve always loved taking photos, but once I started really traveling — particularly for work — one thing became abundantly clear to me: my iPhone wasn’t going to cut it anymore. The EOS R7 has been a total game changer in that regard. I’m hardly an expert, but this camera is so user-friendly — so intuitive — that you truly don’t need to be to enjoy it. I also shoot with the Canon RF 50MM, which has a pretty sweet price point and isn’t as intimidating as some of the more prosumer lenses. It’s the best gift I’ve been given (albeit to myself) in a very long time, and it’s a now-staple in my carry-on.
Framebridge Custom Picture Frame
Because now that they have a brand new, beautiful camera, they should also be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor. What good are photos if they’re just going to sit on a memory card, anyway? Framebridge will allow them to custom frame…just about anything. They can choose from dozens of frame choices (or defer to a designer); upload a photo, drop by a store or send them your art; and have the frame built and shipped directly to them.
Ostrichpillow Bamboo Compression Socks
Not the sexiest gift you could give, but compression socks offer a whole slew of benefits for frequent flyers — increased circulation, chief among them. Because no one wants blood clots, swelling, leg fatigue…you get the idea. Again, not sexy but endlessly practical.
Matador NanoDry Packable Shower Towel
For the adventure traveler on your list, Matador’s NanoDry Packable Shower towel is a must-have. It’s packable and equally absorbent. It’s also got a silicone travel case with a carabiner attachment for easy carry.
July Pet-Personalized Leather Luggage Tag
For the person on your list who spends the entirety of every trip talking about how much they miss their pet: meet July. July is a luggage brand that, like many other luggage brands, offers customization. What none of those other brands offer, however, is the option to customize said luggage with your pet’s face. I’m the proud owner of the July luggage tags emblazoned with my mini dachshund’s face. Safe to say, it sparks an immense amount of joy.
JBL Tune 760NC Noise Cancelling Headphones
An undisputed fact: noise-cancelling headphones, no matter the brand, are imperative when it comes to flying and these ones from JBL are my favorites. With 35 hours of battery life, no crying baby or snoring seatmate stand a chance against these headphones.
Vuori Austin Hoodie
The quintessential travel day sweatshirt, the Austin Hoodie from Vuori features a stretch terry fabric construction, a soft, brushed interior and a relaxed fit. For a long-haul flight, particularly to a warm-weather destination that may require shedding of a few layers, they’re going to want this hoodie on hand. And for everything other occasion for that matter.
Calpak Luka Duffle
Super lightweight, and with nine(!) pockets, Calpak’s Luka Duffle is a perfectly-sized bag for a jaunt of the weekend variety. It’s also got a shoe compartment to keep your kicks separate, and a water bottle pocket, making it great option for the gym, too.
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Paravel Cabana Pet Carrier
For the person on your list who can’t bear to travel without their pet: the Paravel Pet Carrier. Not only is it also customizable (mine has my dog’s name embroidered on it!), but every Pet Carrier purchase helps cover medical and transportation bills for dogs at Rescue City, a rescue in Brooklyn, New York, too. In case you needed any extra incentive to buy.
Rumpl NanoLoft Flame Blanket
Airplanes are kept cold in an effort to combat air sickness and minimize dryness, which is why you always receive one of those complimentary, paper-thin faux-fleece blankets on international flights (or, at the very least, they’re available to purchase). Just in case, however, I prefer to travel with one of my own. Not only is Rumpl’s new NanoLoft Flame Blanket ultra-warm and super packable, it’s also — as its name suggests — fire resistant, so it’s also perfect for sitting outside by the campfire, or firepit, too.
Nocs Provisions Standard Issue 8×25 Waterproof Binoculars
Designed with the “modern explorer” in mind, Nocs Provisions Standard Issue 8×25 Waterproof Binoculars feature 8x magnification, can be submerged for up to 30 minutes and are fog-proof. I never fancied myself a binoculars person until a recent trip to Tanzania — now I am of the utmost belief that every self-respecting traveler should own a pair.
Prana Alpine Air Jacket
This packable Alpine Air Jacket from Prana is super lightweight and stashes into its own built-in pocket, making it extremely carry-on-friendly (important for when they’re traveling from a cold-weather locale to a warm one). It doesn’t hurt that it looks good, too.
Customizable, leakproof and magnetic, Cadence’s capsules are the perfect little vessels to help them “maintain [their] routines — home and away.” Available in sets of six or 12, seven different colorways and capable of being labeled in virtually any way imaginable, they are, undoubtedly, the sleekest reusable travel containers I’ve come across yet.
Steamery Cirrus 3 Iron Steamer
The Cirrus 3 Iron Steamer is a (you guessed it!) hybrid between a steamer and an iron. Extremely packable, it’ll save them from having to navigate that clunky hotel iron in a pinch. Or, in the absence of a clunky hotel iron, from having to sport wrinkled garb on the road. Bonus: the hot steam also reduces bad smells and kills bacteria, making it a great alternative to washing.
Transparent Passport Protector
I love the idea of a personalized leather passport protector, but the fact is, every time they go through immigration, they’re going to make you take it off. It winds up being such a hassle — particularly as you’re likely to be juggling your customs forms and boarding passes and whatever else you happen to have in their hands. It’s why, when I received my renewed passport earlier this month, instead of splurging on a more extravagant protector, I opted instead for this two-pack of clear covers for $6. They even have little slip pockets in the back where I keep my Global Entry card.
Monos Metro Folio Kit
Effectively a wallet/passport folio, Monos’ Metro Folio Kit can also hold an e-reader or tablet, making it the perfect way to stay organized on the go. It’s got elastic loops for things like pens and cords, a removable key ring and a small zippered pocket to house all other small essentials. Crafted with water-resistant ultra-microfibre vegan leather, it’s available in seven colorways.
For reasons we don’t need to go into here, a strong immune system is paramount — particularly when traveling. These Nuun Immunity tablets, which come in 10 to a tube, are “a tasty blend of botanicals and electrolytes for everyday immune health support.” I like them in Blueberry Tangerine and they make for a great stocking stuffer.
Away F.A.R Convertible Backpack
F.A.R is Away’s first-ever outdoor-focused collection, but — while this guy is obviously very outdoor-focused — it’s also the perfect companion for a short, very much not outdoorsy jaunt to, say, Europe. Obviously, as its name implies, it transforms into a backpack (the rest of the time it exists as a duffel), but it also has a trolley sleeve (one of my all-time favorite features), so they can slide it over their carry-on handle and not have to worry about carrying it at all.
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 started traveling. These leather-bound journals from Orvis come in three iterations — National Parks, Appalachian and World Atlas — 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.
Zero Halliburton Soft-Touch Backpack
I love a backpack (you can find evidence of that here) and I love Zero Halliburton. Coincidentally, ZH just launched a line of backpacks that I also love very much. The Soft-Touch, specifically, is made of water-repellent nylon and is equipped with several compartments — including a padded sleeve for a 14-inch laptop — making it the perfect “personal item.”
National Geographic’s Complete National Parks of the United States 3rd Edition
National Geographic’s new Complete National Parks of the United States, 3rd Edition is the ultimate travel guide for all things national parks. Highlighting 400+ national parks, monuments, historic sites, scenic trails and seashores, it’s packed with insider knowledge. It’s also guaranteed to elevate virtually any coffee table.
Ostrichpillow Hot and Cold Eye Mask
For those who have a hard time falling asleep on flights, allow me to introduce you to Ostrichpillow’s Hot & Cold Eye Mask. Not only does it provide thermal therapy and gentle pressure for natural, instant relief from eye strain and muscle tension, it signals to everyone around you that you’d kindly like to be left alone.
Calpak Hue Mini Carry-On
This adorable little hard-sided carry-on from Calpak is the perfect companion for a weekend getaway. Available in eight colorways, it’s sized to fit almost every airline seat, so they’ll never have any issues getting it on board.
AirTags are Bluetooth trackers, which can find items much further away with the help from the hundreds of millions of Apple devices in the Find My network. I’ve never once lost luggage, yet it still provides me peace of mind, which alone is worth the $29 price tag. And given the current baggage crisis…everyone could benefit from having one of these babies affixed to their carry-on.
Lululemon ABC Jogger Warpstreme
Long travel days require a comfortable — and preferably wrinkle-resistant — pair of pants. In addition to being both of those things, these Lululemon joggers feature a four-way stretch and shape retention, and are also sweat-wicking, quick-drying and breathable. Perfect to hit the ground running in, regardless of destination.
Mesa Tabletop Fire Pit
Solo Stove’s only tabletop fire pit, Mesa is meant to bring “the joy of a fire pit to smaller outdoor spaces and city living.” It’s the perfect gift for the urban-dwelling outdoorsman on your list, who — any any given time — would rather be in the backcountry.
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.
Field Notes 56-Week Planner
For anyone who travels more than a handful of times a year, it’s imperative to have somewhere to jot stuff down. At the risk of sounding dramatic, if it weren’t for my 56-week planner, I’d be likely be missing a not-insignificant number of flights, events, meetings, appointments, etc. on a routine basis. This one doesn’t have dates, just weekdays, so they can start organizing their life at any time.
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