2013 Holiday Travel Gift Guide

With the holiday season upon us, there are generally 2 types of shoppers.   The first makes their list, checks it twice and has everything crossed off by Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday, or sometimes even sooner.  I generally fall into this category.

The second is oblivious to the “holiday creep” (i.e. promotions that seem to start earlier and earlier every year) and to the calendar in general, waiting until the last minute to purchase holiday gifts.  My husband often treads this dangerous territory.

But not to fear.  Whether you’re buying for a weekend warrior or a first-class jetsetter, I’ve compiled a list of a few of my favorite travel-related gift ideas.  While the latest gadgets, utilitarian tote bags and even a nice scarf are always great for people on the go, here are a few others for the travel lover in your life.  (Hint, hint.)

1. Packing Cubes
I’m only mildly obsessed with packing cubes.  You won’t believe how much you can actually fit into these things, plus they keep your suitcase nice and organized.  It’s like having portable drawers, pull out what you need and then zip it back up – especially handy for long trips.  There are several of colors and patterns to choose from too.  ebags.com

2. Scratch Map
Keep track of where you’ve been (and where you want to go) with a travel scratch map.  When you scratch off the gold foil, a colorful background of colors begins to appear.  If the quote “travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer” is true, then this is the next best thing to winning the lottery.  uncommongoods.com

3. Moleskine Notebooks
This is another travel-related product that I can’t live without.  These “legendary” notebooks are the successor to the small black notebooks that were sold in stationary shops in Paris and used by artists and writers like van Gogh, Picasso and Hemingway.  Maybe I love them for the nostalgia, or perhaps I’m just overly organized, but I rely on my Moleskine planner for the day-to-day and notebooks for travel planning (including one that’s my bible during a trip and another that I carry around for impromptu blog notes).  And like the packing cubes, they come in a seemingly endless combination of colors, sizes, cover materials and lined and unlined options, making their usage just as endless.  moleskine.com

4. FitDeck
Working out might be the last thing on some people’s mind while on vacation, but for those who want to stay fit on the road, these exercise playing cards are a fun and portable way to do just that.   Each deck includes 26 or 56 cards of individual exercises with both written and visual instructions.  Shuffle the cards, mix and match or do as many (or as little) as you like.  With 40 different titles – ranging from bodyweight to swimming, golf, yoga, pilates, resistance tube, playground and many more – plus several mobile app options, there’s a FitDeck for everyone.  fitdeck.com

5. Touchscreen Gloves
In the age of the smartphones and tablets, touchscreen gloves are becoming a must.  What use are those handy travel apps during cold weather months if you can’t access them on the go?  I’m partial to Isotoners but you can find these gloves almost everywhere, and there are definitely more stylish options out there than there were several years ago.  isotoner.com

6. GorillaPod Tripod
Take your photos to the next level without having to invest in fancy equipment with this simple tripod.  GorillaPods are small and lightweight, and can be used as a traditional tripod or you can bend or wrap the legs around objects to get the right shot at the right angle anywhere.  If you’re traveling light sans camera, there are also various mounts and stands for smartphones.  joby.com

7. Universal Adaptor
If your travel plans will take you around the world or to multiple countries, than a universal adaptor is a good investment.   Small and convent, it eliminates the need for different adaptors so you’ll always have the right one on hand.  This one allows you to plug in and power up in more than 150 countries with adaptor configurations fitting Europe, the UK, Australia and the US.  It also includes USB ports so you can also charge phones and cameras.  geniuspack.com

8. Luggage Tags and Passport Covers
A great way to personalize your travel is with accessories, and luggage tags and passport covers are an easy way to do just that.  There are so many options out there, from the simple monogrammed to bright colors and bold patterns, so you’re bound to find the perfect one for the traveler on your holiday gift list.  flight001.com

Still need more ideas?  Books are always a good bet, from beautiful photography or coffee table books that spotlight your favorite country to fictional novels that transport you to another place or time.  Also consider giving the gift of travel, as many airlines, hotel chains and other travel websites offer gift certificate options.

Want more ideas?  Check out gift guides from other years here.


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