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‘Tis the Season to Give!
One of my favorite parts of travel is figuring out the right gear for a specific journey. Having the right gear is important because it allows me to focus less on the nuances that can adversely affect a trip and more on the actual experiences. Granted, nice gear is not necessary but it sure can make a holiday a lot more pleasant.
When I purchase travel items, my main concern is the quality. I don’t want to have to think about whether or not it will rip, break, or fall apart while I’m traveling. I also want to be able to use it for a very long time, especially if I’ve spent a good amount of money on it.
I do an obsessive amount of research before I buy an item. I read reviews, watch YouTube videos, read the technical specs, blogs, and anything else that google search brings up. By the time I’m ready to make the purchase, I’m pretty sure I could write a paper on the pros and cons, competition, and value of the product.
All the things in this gift guide are items that I personally use and have acquired over the years or in the case of the first one, a coveted wishlist item. Some are practical, some are luxurious, and some are both practical and luxurious. I see this list as items you acquire over a lifetime of travel….unless you’ve got the big bucks. Then go for it all!
Travelers Gift Guide
Cuyana Travel Wallet
I’m going to start with my wishlist item. I like staying really organised while traveling and this Cuyana travel wallet is both practical and luxurious. It serves as a wallet, passport holder, and to carry essential documents. I’m a big fan of Cuyana and own several of their other products. They are well-made, beautifully designed, and have a practical aesthetic. Their focus is to create timeless, high quality products that last a life time.
Mophie Powerstation Battery
Since I use my mobile phone for practically everything including photos, directions, and research when I travel, I don’t leave home without making sure this is fully charged.
Although there are much larger battery bricks with more power, I’ve found the Mophie Mini to be sufficient for my travel needs. It’s compact, light, and can give my iPhone one full charge. You can find it on Amazon here or check it out on their website.
Cabeau Travel Pillow
I’ve been through many travel pillows, kinks in my neck, and sleepless nights before I found this Cabeau travel pillow. Now it’s not going to solve the fact that I still have to sleep upright and not in the luxury of first class, but it works quite well.
This one compresses down so it doesn’t take up a lot of space in the carry on. Another great feature is that you can form it into your desired shape such as squeezing it between the window and your seat.
Eagle Creek Day Bag
I’ve tried many different travel day bags (because I barely need a decent reason to buy one) and I keep coming back to this one. I had an earlier version when we traveled around the world and it proved to be a real work horse. It is large enough to carry a small camera, water bottle, wallet, book, notebook and a few other essentials. Small enough to not weigh you down.
It’s designed for travelers so it has cool safety features such as:
- Anti-Theft: Lockable zippers with Secure-Zip™ Toggle closure.
- Central Lock Points
- Passport-sized RFID Blocker pocket
- Digital Safe-Zone: Padded tablet sleeve & electronics pockets
One of the things I look forward to most when traveling is having the time to read a good book. On our trip around the world 10 years ago, the Kindle Paperwhite didn’t exist. Instead we were stuck carrying 3-5 books each (including guide books, language books, etc) because the idea of running out of something to read was unimaginable!
Then the Kindle came along and it was a game changer. Now we have hundreds of books at our disposal and our backs are thanking us. You can find it on Amazon here.
There’s nothing worse then trying to organize your electronics once you get to your hotel and realize you don’t have the right adapter. Having a universal adapter means that no matter what country you are in, you’ll be able to properly charge your electronics.
It may not be a sexy holiday present, but having an un-charged phone isn’t either. Find it on Amazon here.
Midori Traveler’s Notebook
I’m always on the lookout for the perfect writing set up for any given situation. If you came to my home, you’d find all sorts of notebooks scattered around. For traveling, I like using my Midori Traveler’s notebook because it’s light and small.
Typically, I carry 2 IDEA notebooks. The notebooks are great because they are filled with Tomoe River Paper which is light, strong, and stands up to any pen. One notebook is for writing down observations, things we want to see, or recommendations. The other one, I hand over to my kids to use as a drawing pad if we’re sitting somewhere and they need something to do.
This is one of those electronics that I always saw as unnecessary. Sure it has some great benefits but is it really worth the money? I received an Apple Watch for my birthday a few years back and have found it incredibly useful for traveling.
There are several features that I find incredibly useful. You can set up different time zones on the front watch face (yes, I know it’s easy to add and subtract hours but when I’m jet lagged and lazy, I can’t be bothered). It has an alarm clock so you don’t have to carry a separate travel alarm clock nor rely on a hotel one that you’ve never used before.
The best feature I’ve found for the watch is the Apple Wallet. If you have your Apple Wallet set up, you can do such things as pay for purchases using the contactless system or if you happen to be in London, you can just scan your watch at the ticket gate to use the Tube. No need to buy a physical ticket and you get the lowest fare available.
And if you really want to be Type-A compulsive, you can track your steps while on holiday.
Eagle Creek Packing Cubes
Packing cubes were one of the first items I purchased and marked the beginning of my travel life. I love these things because they keep me organised and accountable. The cubes provide a necessary boundary for my desire to overpack.
I like using the medium size ones because I find that they can fit anywhere in my suitcase or backpack. If I pack a large one, there are constraints of where exactly it will fit in my luggage. You can watch an Eagle Creek video on how to use them that is helpful. You can also find them on Amazon here or check them out on the Eagle Creek website.
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
These Bose noise cancelling headphones are clearly a luxury item given the price tag but they are amazing at drowning out the airplane engine, kids screaming, and any potential annoying seat mates. You will let out an audible sigh as soon as you put these on, I promise.
We carry carabiners everywhere, whether it’s for an international trip or even just a day out with the kids. They have come in handy for many unpredictable situations.
You can use them as hooks to hang your pack or bag in bathroom stalls. You can use them to latch things onto your pack. You can use them to latch your back to your suitcase. The possibilities are endless.
We carry at least 2-3 of them wherever we go. You can find them on Amazon here or any sporting goods shop. Make sure to not get the keychain ones. They are not strong enough.
Manduka Travel Yoga Mat
A yoga mat is not a necessary item but it’s one that I try to travel with as often as possible. After a long day of sight seeing or walking, it’s great to be able to do some stretching or even a short yoga sequence. I love this mat because it folds up, doesn’t take up a lot of room, and has a ton of grip. You can find it on Amazon here or check it out on Manduka’s website.
The first time we purchased this day pack was about halfway through our around the world trip. The ones we were using were no longer big enough hold the laptop we had purchased while traveling as well as our other essentials.
This backpack has the right amount of everything; compartments, space, ease of use, and durability. It lasted a very long time and both my husband and I have purchased the next generation of this pack. It’s the modern pack mule.
All these gifts would be wonderful to gift (or get for yourself!) or you can take that money you would have spent on the gift and go ride a merry-go-round with someone you really like!