’tis the season…for gift guides. Last year I promised myself that I wouldn’t feel compelled to hop on the bandwagon unless I felt I had something to contribute and some strong recommendations. So here’s the first of only two courses I’m serving up this year. 🙂 Yes, my gift suggestions tend to skew toward the practical. I enjoy giving (and receiving) gifts that will be used rather than sitting on a shelf collecting dust.
If there’s a “frequent flyer” on your gift list, I’ve selected a few travel gifts that either I’ve either come to rely on myself, or have been recommended by people I trust. Some of these have been mentioned here before, but I thought they were worth revisiting in the context of gift ideas.
Long gone are the days of porters and free checked bags. Most people today want to travel lighter and smarter, and all of these products support that goal. Most of the items shown above are under $100.
- These little fillable travel atomizers are great for bringing a favorite fragrance along, and can be filled even from another spray bottle. At $6 each, they make great stocking stuffers.
- Oh packing cubes, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…organizing, compressing, keeping clean and dirty separate, making re-packing in between destinations a breeze. One friend buys a different color set for each member of the family when they all travel together to help everyone find their own things easily in shared spaces. For shirts and items that need to be folded, the packing envelopes work brilliantly to prevent wrinkles.
- Friends and other travelers rave about these Uniqlo packable down pieces. I’ve shown a water-resistant hooded coat here, but there are also shorter jackets and vests too. They all pack down into a small pouch, and layer well.
- The EMME bag is hands down the best travel toiletries kit I’ve ever found. Nothing else comes close. It’s compact but holds a LOT, and that clear zip-off liquids pouch is the TSA-approved size and makes going through airport security just that much less stressful. I love that this bag hangs (helps save often limited counter space) and the clear pockets eliminate digging blindly around for your tweezers. It also comes with a set of travel containers in various sizes with labels.The EMME bag is available both at amazon here and Brookstone here. You can see how i packed my EMME bag for three weeks in Europe here.
- For that person who has not yet succumbed to a tablet, an e-reader is such a boon to traveling light. You can download not only books but magazines, guides and periodicals. I use a Kindle app on my iPad now, but before that used and loved my Kindle reader.
- I’ve used this Lipault 19″ Weekender bag as my “personal item” on the last few trips, and remain delighted with it. Huge capacity, but even when full it still fits under the seat. There’s a laptop sleeve that easily accommodates my 13″ laptop, and the smaller front pocket is an easy place to stash travel documents. The flap on the back slides over the handle of my wheeled luggage, and zips snugly in place. I’ve also used it as a primary piece of luggage for long weekend road trips.
A few more ideas:
- Travel makeup brush sets. These are plentiful this time of year, and are often good values. I think this one from Lancôme includes all of the brushes most of us would need, at a very good price.
- Cashmere scarves and wraps. For cold airplanes, or to add some color and pattern to a neutral travel wardrobe. Even in summer I travel with a lightweight cashmere scarf.
- Portable phone chargers. Never again run out of juice when you’re just about to snap that photo of a lifetime.
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