Demand for travel definitely made a comeback this year, which brought with it a mixture of both excitement (to be out in the world again!) and challenges (overcrowding, long lines, delays and cancellations). While packing extra patience is always a good idea, this year’s holiday travel gift guide features an assortment of items that the traveler on your list may also find useful to help make their next trip a little more enjoyable, no matter how near or far it may be.
Happy gifting and happy holidays!
For all of the summer’s headlines about lost luggage that caused unwanted travel anxiety, a little investment in piece of mind can go a long way. I was among the many travelers who found themselves purchasing a couple of AirTags to slip into my luggage before a big trip overseas this year. Using Apple’s FindMy network of devices around the world, I could easily track the whereabouts of my luggage right form my iPhone. No more wondering if your bag made it onto the plan during a tight connection, you can see its precise location on a map in real time, or even play a sound or follow directions to find an item that’s nearby. AirTags can also be a helpful way to keep of your keys, wallet or purse even after you return home. apple.com
2. Packing Cubes
I praised the benefit of packing cubes in my first gift guide nearly 10 years ago and am bringing them back because I still believe they are one of the best travel accessories ever. Like having a set of drawers in your suitcase, The Insider Packing Cubes from Away are equal in beauty and function as they compress and keep everything nice and organized. It’s hard to imagine how you ever traveled without them and easy to invest in multiple sets, whether it’s a different color for every member of your family or some extras to throw in your car or day bag to hold items ranging from hats and gloves to sunglasses and sunscreen. awaytravel.com
3. Airfly Bluetooth Adaptor
As more and more people travel with wireless headphones, it can be frustrating to get on a long-haul flight and encounter a traditional headphone jack on the in-flight entertainment system. A great solution is Airfly, a Bluetooth adaptor that plugs into directly into the headphone jack and transmits audio back to your wireless headphones. The Duo and Pro versions act as a wireless headphone splitter, allowing up to two wireless headphone users to share audio from a single device, plus the AirFly can also be used with gym equipment, rental cars, gaming devices and other electronics that don’t come equipped with Bluetooth capabilities. twelvesouth.com
4. Airplane Jewelry
When you’re passionate about something you want to show it and there’s no better way to express a love for travel than with accessories from AviatrixA. Founded by a female pilot, the brand celebrates women in aviation with fun items ranging from home goods to clothing and jewelry like tiny airplane stud earrings or a necklace featuring a paper plane chasing a star. A nice reminder that if you aim for the sky you may land among the stars. aviatrixa.com
5. National Parks Passport Books
National Parks across the country saw a huge surge in visitors as more travelers sought outdoor activities and socially distant ways to getaway, which hasn’t seemed to slow down. The Passport To Your National Parks book is a fun travelogue for stamps and cancellations from the parks you’ve visited, plus regional maps to help you plan your next adventure. There’s also a Junior Ranger edition for tiny travelers to record their national park memories. shop.americasnationalparks.org
6. Bindle Bottle
We all know the benefits of reusable water bottles, especially when traveling. The Bindle Bottle does double duty not only as a vacuum insulated bottle that keeps your beverage hot or cold for hours, but also features a secret storage space. Just unscrew the bottom and you have a hassle-free compartment for carrying small valuables like credit cards, keys, headphones and even snacks. Add a fitted sleeve with a pocket for your phone and removable carrying strap to make toting your bottle even easier. bindlebottle.com
7. Sea to Summit Towel
If you find yourself packing in more outdoor activities, another great multifunction product is Sea to Summit’s Tek Towel. This towel is made from a microfiber blend so has a push terrycloth feel yet is super absorbent and fast drying, plus is machine washable and includes a loop for easy hanging. Choose from a variety of sizes ranging from a hand towel up to a beach towel, all of which can be folded compactly and stored in a zipper pack for your next hiking, camping or beach adventure. seatosummit.com
8. Talia di Napoli Pizza
Naples is credited as the birthplace of pizza and for those who find themselves yearning for delicious pizza after a trip to Italy, then look no further than Talia di Napoli. This “sleeping pizza” may sound like some sort of fairytale – Neapolitan pizza made by hand using the freshest ingredients and delivered to your doorstep, from Italy with love. Choose from a variety of options like the traditional Margherita or the Tartufina with porcini mushrooms and black truffles, which are shipped frozen in 6- or 8-packs, then “wake up” in an oven for 9-12 minute and enjoy a taste of Italy without leaving your house. taliadinapoli.com
Want more ideas? Check out gift guides from past years here.