Every year when it comes time to put together my holiday gift guide I wonder whether or not I’ll be able to find enough new and interesting travel-related products to make up a well-rounded list. This year I began the process with that same feeling of apprehension but soon realized that I actually had too many products to share in a single guide, thus was faced with the difficult task of editing them down. And while you’ll always be able to find beautiful travel bags, practical organizers and innovative tech accessories, here are my 8 favorite unique and functional items for the travel lover on your holiday shopping list. Be sure to check out the link to past gift guides at the end of this post for even more ideas. Happy browsing and happy holidays!
As an alternative to bulky armbands and money belts, the FlipBelt is a sleek way to carry all your stuff while on the go. Not just for runners, it can also be worn at concerts and events, theme parks, the beach, while working out, hiking or even just a leisurely walk. The FlipBelt is great for travelers too because of how much it can hold and its low-profile design that sits flat and secure on your hips while you move, which can be worn over or under clothes. There are a couple of different styles with multiple pockets designed to accommodate keys, cards, cash and more, as well as larger phones and passports. flipbelt.com
2. Headphone Splitter
When you’re traveling with a group on a long plane, train or car ride, the Belkin RockStar Audio Headphone Splitter is a convenient way to listen to music or an audio book or watch a TV show or movie together. Compact and lightweight, just plug it into the standard audio jack of any mobile device and connect up to 5 sets of headphones for a shared entertainment experience. Suddenly the person that gets stuck in the middle seat is everyone’s best friend. belkin.com
3. Time Traveler Watch
I have been personally eyeing this watch from designer Steven Alan for several years now and love the classic design of this dual timepiece, which can be simultaneously set to 2 different time zones. Gold-plated accents compliment several different color combinations for the band and face (black/black, black/white and black/brown). It’s a stylish way to never lose track of time, both at home and afar. stevenalan.com
4. Plane Tags
This is the perfect gift for the ultimate AV geek. Each unique Plane Tag is an upcycled piece of aviation history made from retired commercial, vintage and commemorative aircraft and helicopters. Actual metal from the body of these planes is salvaged and turned into practical mementos that can be used to as luggage tags or key chains. Each piece is numbered as no two will be the same, and custom engraving is also available on the reverse side for further personalization. planetags.com
5. VSSL Flask
The premise behind this company (pronounced “vessel”) is that today’s LED flashlights don’t require as much space for bulky batteries, so instead of letting that space go to waste it’s utilized to incorporate other practical outdoors gear in a single tool. This “flasklight” is one of many compact and multifunction tools and is great for camping or other outdoor adventures. It’s part flashlight with up to 40 hours of battery life and part beverage container with the ability to hold 10 ounces of your favorite alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink. Available in a green or silver impact-resistant aluminum exterior, the VSSL Flask also includes a compass and a hidden compartment that stores 2 stainless steel collapsible shot glasses and a bottle opener. They really did think of everything. vsslgear.com
6. The Line Wall Art
For the city lover on your list who has everything, this wall art is a beautiful addition to any home or office décor. The Line turns iconic cities into silhouettes, showcasing each destination’s landmarks, elevation and terrain in a simple and elegant way. Cities range from Paris, London and Rome to San Francisco, Hong Kong, Dubai, Rio de Janeiro and other unique places like Mont Saint Michel. Each easy-to-install product is available in black or gold metal spanning approximately 20 inches, and some also come in a larger 50-inch size. theline.fr/en
There are tons of monthly subscription boxes out there these days spanning everything from clothes and makeup to kitchen inspiration and items for pets, and this one gives you the opportunity to do good while enjoying distinctive items from around the word. Each month GlobeIn curates unique boxes with authentic, hand-made products from artisans and farmers in remote areas that are delivered directly to your door. There are several different membership levels to choose from that include products like jewelry, scarfs, glassware, totes, baskets and other themed items along with the story behind each item. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, in more ways than one. globein.com
8. Hello, World Board Books
With a new little traveler in my family I’ve learned that it’s never too early to start inspiring a curiosity for the world and this series is a great way to do just that. Each book pairs an iconic city – Paris, London, New York and San Francisco – with early learning concepts like shapes, colors, numbers and opposites while showcasing the art, architecture, food and culture of the destination. Not only are these books a fun teaching tool for young children, their travel-loving parents will appreciate them too. penguinrandomhouse.com
Want more ideas? Check out gift guides from other years here.