Twelve Gift Ideas for the Traveler on Your List
It’s December, which means I can light up my Christmas tree and listen to holiday tunes without feeling like I’m being perpetually side-eyed by my neighbors. Finally. Those last two weeks of November were tough, but my holiday spirit and I persisted.
Something else that gets me excited about December? Christmas shopping. Whether gifting for someone else or yourself, ’tis the season for making lists and checking them twice.
I’ve rounded up my most loved gear, the coolest gadgets, and the not-so-basic essentials that are perfect for the traveler on your list. Best of all, the recipient will have to come up with an excuse to test them all out. Darn. Vacation, anyone?
To purchase or research more about any of the gifts listed below, click on the corresponding picture and a new window will pop up.
Fujifilm Disponible Camera- $9
This disposible camera made the list because it’s portable, it’s light, and it’s fun. There’s something exciting about a point and shoot camera that doesn’t have all the fancy buttons and lenses. You don’t know what you’re going to get until you get the film developed, but that’s the beauty. This camera is the epitome of taking pictures for the sake of capturing moments.
Luggage Lock- $11
These TSA approved luggage locks protect your bags as they go through the airport (have you heard the horror stories of employees opening bags and stealing things?); they double as locks for lockers, be it at hostels or parks; and they safely secure belongings to you (not a joke- I literally locked my purse to my belt loop when I’d use public transportation in India).
Ready-to-Brew Drip Coffee - $20
Portable coffee? Say no more. There's nothing worse than not knowing if you can look forward to a cup of joe in the morning. I’m halfway embarrassed to include this, but my morning coffee is important. Sorry 'bout it.
Apple Travel Adapter Kit - $25
I have a travel adapter with all plugs in one, but it’s bulky and oftentimes pulls itself out of the wall socket due to it’s size, especially when a heavy computer plug is involved. These interchangeable adapters plug in to the apple macbook charger brick with zero hassle. Plus, you only have to pack the adapter(s) you need for the country you’re visiting.
Jet Set Passport Holder - $26
Why have I yet to get on board the passport holder train? For something you’re supposed to carry with you at all times when you travel, your passport is definitely something worth protecting. I had a scare in Guatemala where my hand sanitizer exploded in my purse with all my travel documents inside. By some streak of insane luck, my passport came out of the ordeal with zero damage. Lesson learned- passport holders are worth the investment, if for no other reason than peace of mind.
Matador NanoDry Large Shower Towel- $35
Between paying to rent towels in hostels (or simply wondering if your hostel has rentable towels in the first place) and those occasions where you're sitting on your suitcase, trying desperately zip your suitcase over the towel you threw in, this travel towel is a game changer. It’s ultra lightweight, super compact, and quick drying. Pinch me, I’m dreaming.
Swell Water Bottle- $42
This Swell refillable water bottle has been a game changer for me when it comes to saving money traveling. I never fly without it. After getting through TSA, I refill my empty bottle at water fountains and save TONS of money on the expensive airport water. They’re heavy duty and you'll get a massive return on your (small-ish) investment. Plus, they come in all different patterns, colors, and finishes.
Jaybird Wireless Headphones- $50 (Originally $150)
A tribute to all 8,927,479 times I’ve gotten tangled up in my headphones trying to get my ticket out in the TSA line, taking a sweatshirt off, or getting situated in my plane seat. RIP traditional headphones, you will not be missed.
Matador Freerain24 Backpack - $60
The number of times I have gone on a day trip and needed a bag somewhere between the size of my purse and my 65 L backpack is obscene. Obviously, a purse is too small and my backpack is too large, and usually there isn’t enough room (or budget for checked bags) to add a mid-size pack. This Matador pack is the ultimate solution- it packs down to the size of your hand, unpacks to 24 L in size, weighs next to nothing, and comfortably carries everything you need for a day or overnight trip. Plus, it’s waterproof.
Leather Embroidery Camera Strap - $80
Ok, this is the most unnecessary, but I feel like travel pictures would just absorb the beauty of the camera strap right into the actual photos. Because, duh, right. Right?
Away The Bigger Carry-On- $245
The carry-on of all carry-ons. The guys at Away thought of it all: looks, smart design, ease of use- the list goes on. There’s a built-in battery so you can charge your phone anywhere at anytime. The inside’s foolproof design and organization makes packing a breeze, and there’s even laundry bag included. Did I mention the TSA lock that’s embedded into the outside and the 10+ outer shell color options? Who wouldn’t want to be seen rolling these beauties around the aiport?
Osprey Ariel AG 65- $310
I got this bad boy for Christmas last year, and it has absolutely rocked my world. If you’ve ever fought with a rolling suitcase up and down 5 story Indian Apartment buildings or all around cobblestone medina streets in Morocco, you empathize. If you’re planing to get off the beaten path, a backpack makes life incomprehensibly easier. Of course, rolling suitcases have a time and place, but the ease of this pack makes me never want to go back.
BONUS: Osprey Airporter- $45
If you’re buying a fancy pack (like the one above) or traveling with one already and NOT using a cover, definitely add this to your list ASAP. Basically, you zip your pack inside of this heavy duty duffle (lock it up with a travel lock) and send it off as a checked bag. Two main reasons this airporter is an A+ idea-
1: this Aiporter protects your bag and keeps it in pristine condition when you check it. Without it, straps and hip belts are unprotected, it’s so easy for something to get snagged in the conveyor belts or on the luggage carts. I had friend who picked up her pack from baggage claim with a snapped hip belt, and there was absolutely nothing she could do.
2: it’s a mega money saver when you need to check bags. When my best friend Meg and I flew to Europe, we packed both of our checked bags (I had a 65L and she had a 55L I believe) into one Large airporter and split the cost of that one checked bag instead of paying for two. If you're flying alone, the airporter is extra space to pack something like a blanket or pillow that somehow doesn’t fit into your actual pack. (Even though my pack size is probably best suited for a medium airporter, I personally recommend the large size simply for the option above.)
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Pass along other nifty travel gifts and gadgets if you have them in the comments below. The season is still young! Happy gift giving!