Travelers can be tough to buy for – they either don’t want anything because they are on the go or what they do want is too expensive or unattainable (flights, cameras, more vacation time!). Personally I love travel experiences, but every traveling expert also needs an arsenal of products to make their journeys smoother. Even though what we all really want is the time and money to travel more, there are still some great gift ideas most every traveling family will appreciate!
eBags TLS Mother Lode Mini Carry-on Suitcase
This year I was gifted an eBags Mother Lode Mini suitcase for my birthday. It has been my go to travel case ever since. I love that it can fit so much stuff, but still be carried on, avoiding pesky domestic baggage charges. One of the reviews I had initially read about this bag said that two weeks worth of clothes fit in this bag for a trip to Europe. I can’t quite manage that with shoes and toiletries, but I have fit our entire family’s belongings in it for a weekend getaway! If you plan to ever check this bag, get this great cable TSA approved travel lock that allows you lock all of the compartments easily.
Skip Hop Little Kid Luggage
My son has had the Skip Hop rolling bag for several years now and LOVES it. Now that he’s 6 he’s old enough to roll it on his own all the time, but even before that it was easy to put over your shoulder with the attached strap. For short trips, my son will pack all of his clothes and his toys in this bag. For longer international trips, this bag holds his entertainment for the plane, snacks, headphones and a change of clothes in case of a spills.
World Laundry Bag
I have two of these World laundry bags that we use when traveling. Clothes that aren’t going to be washed in route and one for clothes that need to be cleaned before returning home. I love these bags! They make great stocking stuffers for travelers!
Such a simple little thing, this laundry line, but it’s something I have used since my first trip to Europe in 2000. It is small and super light and can be used anywhere. I have hung it from balconies in Berlin to my hostel bed in Switzerland. Combined with the Scrubba wash system below you will have everything you need to do laundry quickly and cheaply on the road. This is also a great stocking stuffer! (It’s obvious I now follow in my mom’s footsteps of giving very practical weird items in stockings!)
BubbleBum Inflatable Booster Seat
I have written about this previously, but it continues to be one of our most used travel accessories. The BubbleBum Inflatable Booster Seat is a lifesaver for traveling families! We have used it in the US for rides in uber, in our car when a friend needs a ride home, on the road in India, in Fiji, in Mexico and it will keep going with us wherever we go. Once deflated it fits perfectly in my Ebags carryon suitcase’s front pocket!
Now I know you think I am totally off my rocker! This seems weird I know, but as a traveling family, we always need food on the road. For road trips I always take a regular size bowl for my son’s oatmeal or cereal, but while traveling internationally I don’t like to take up the space. These collapsable bowls are perfect for oatmeal or cereal in the room as well as for taking a few leftovers from meals to eat later.
Scrubba Travel Wash System
Back in my backpacker days this would have been so useful. Now traveling with a small child (and messy husband) this is a necessity, especially for those who like to travel light. The Scrubba Travel Wash System is basically like having your own little washing machine out on the road. It is perfect for kids clothes as you don’t have to use a ton of muscle to get them clean. A touch expensive, but you will save money not sending clothes to the laundry and in being able to pack lighter thereby avoiding excessive baggage charges.
ChicoBag Bottle Sling
This is sort of a random item, but I found this ChicoBag Water Bottle Sling this year and have fallen in love with it. This little, very light water bottle sling has been great for hiking and even cruising through London! I tend to not carry a real purse anymore, just a small bag for my phone, money and credit cards, which means I am left holding my water bottle in my hand all day. That is not conducive to taking lots of photos as you can imagine. So in comes this little sling. It hangs super low, but not too low to interfere with walking, is light and even has a little pouch for money, keys or chapstick! This is a great gift for those who love hiking in nature or urban settings!
Moment Lens for iPhone
Everyone travels with their phones these days, and often the phone ends up being the main source of photos taken, especially when you are a traveling family lugging around kids and baggage as it is. The Moment Lens (for iPhone) is a great camera travel accessory that can in many ways replace your regular camera. To make life easier, they have also released an awesome phone case that makes it even easier to attach the lens. We love the wide angle and telephoto lenses. These make already beautiful camera phone (iPhone) photos even more amazing.
LifeProof iPhone Cover
This doesn’t necessarily go well with the above, but it has been a lifesaver for us. The LifeProof iPhone case is waterproof and shockproof to protect your phone no matter where you go. It would have been useful to have this before we hiked the Narrows last summer, but I did learn a very important lesson and use it always now! We use one phone in the family for the Moment lens above and one fully protected under the Lifeproof case!
Belkin Headphone Splitter
For families with multiple children and limited electronic devices, this awesome and cheap Belkin Headphone Splitter is a must have. The question is, is it a gift for the kids or for the parents? A perfect stocking stuffer if I ever saw one!
Sony Alpha Mirrorless Camera
It was tough to give up my Nikon DSLR, but it has only come out on my travels once in the last 3 years since I bought a Sony Mirrorless Camera. It is just too bulky to lug around, especially when you have children to tow around too! I LOVE my Sony and recommend it to everyone. My recommendation is to buy only the base and add on your own lenses. My two go to lenses are the 20mm and the 35mm (which is in effect a 50mm). You don’t get the zoom with these as they are both fixed lenses, but the benefit of no zoom is excellent low light photography and they are super small and light which means your camera can fit in your tiny little purse!
Travel Clothes & Accessories
Ex-Officio BugsAway Clothing
This year we went to South Africa and I was worried about the mosquitos biting me through my regular leggings. In my eternal search for ‘regular’ clothes that would help protect me in the bush, I came across Ex Officio’s line of Bugsaway clothing. I bought a pair or leggings, these sweatpants and a light jacket. I literally wear them every week (which I probably shouldn’t!) still. They are all super light and thin making them great for hot and humid climates. And the most amazing thing is, is that they are made with mosquito and tick repellent in them which means no more worrying about getting eaten alive while wearing black leggings! Love them all! They also have socks and underwear for even more protection from those pesky mosquitos!
Packable & Crushable Hat
Love love love my packable and crushable hat. Not only does it fare well in the back of my car, it does great in my suitcase! I was devastated to forget it on our recent trip to Fiji. This is the perfect travel accessory for women, especially ones with fare skin who need to keep covered.
Kantha Travel Wrap
I have recently written about my love of the Kantha Travel Wrap – it is the best gift for a traveling family/lady. It came in use so many times on our trip to Fiji and has been used in the cooler weather of LA as well.
Le Cou: A Revolutionary Little Shirt
I am not known to be the snazziest dresser when I’m traveling (or even when I am home), but the resurgence of these ultra hip and modern dickeys by Le Cou have me very excited to jazz up my look. The African Wax print is prefect for my almost always black outfits. But mostly I’m eyeing the Olympia Gingham version that can be worn in so many different ways. These dickey’s are so light, that they truly are fabulous travel accessories that can be worn no matter where you live. Le Cou is one of the few companies I have supported in a Kickstarter, so you know I must love it!
Betabrand Leggings & Travel Pants
Ok, I obviously like crowdfunded products since this is the third I’m listing here! These are tried and tested products that have made it through the masses and into production without any major company behind them. I like that! Anyway, thanks to my fellow blogger at Traveling Nine to Fiver, I have discovered my new favorite leggings! Betabrand has a wide array of perfect travel clothes from leggings, to travel cargo pants to business casual yoga pants – these are mom pants with style! I’m in love!
Crossbody Iphone Purse
This year I have done away with my big old heavy purse. I have a 6 year old who can carry his own belongings so I do not need to have a big bag with everything under the sun in it. For every day errands, running around town and travel, I have transitioned to this little bitty purse. I love it! It’s super cheap (and not the most amazing quality either I must admit) which means when I’m ready for a change my pocket book won’t get too mad.
Travel Related Miscellany
Sometimes you just don’t know what to get your world traveler friends, in that situation, here are three perfect travel themed items anyone will go gaga over!
Travel Scratch-Off Map
With no shortage of scratch off travel maps to choose from, this Travel Scratch Off Map allows you to scratch off individual US states as well as individual countries which makes it tops in my book. In addition, it also has a scratch off flag for each country at the bottom. Perfect! For the long term travelers, check out this awesome scratch off journal.
Travel Themed Home Wares
Airportag offers some really unique options for personalize travel accessories. The personalize throw pillow is a great option for someone who had a special trip or date that would be fun to remember. For me, my pillow would say BOM and the date of my son’s birth in Mumbai! There are a variety of cool travel related products ranging from throw pillows to tote bags, canvas prints as well as t-shirts. Great ideas for the person who has it all!
Humans of New York
The second book, Humans of New York, Stories has come out recently and it’s brilliant. If you don’t know anything about Humans of New York, then get on Facebook and follow Brandon. It’s an amazing collection of photos and stories of people from around the world. What started as a peek into the world of New Yorker’s lives has transformed into a global phenomenon. This book will be a welcome addition to any household, not just the travelers homes. Grab some tissues, a drink and snuggle up for a journey through some amazing lives.
As I mentioned earlier, many travelers often prefer experiences over things. This wasn’t always so easy to do, but with the internet and gift cards it can be done quite easily now. The following are my two favorite experiences that are easy and practical gifts!
Tinggly is the ultimate in an experience gift. You pick the price point, the recipient picks the excursion in over 100 countries around the world and enjoys life! I have seen this type of giving for wedding gifts when they couple knows where they will be and what they want to do, but Tinggly takes it to a whole new level of awesomeness. My problem is I wouldn’t be able to decide which experience to choose! From a spa experience to bungee jumping to a guided hike, there are so many amazing things to do almost every where in the world.
CityPass is one of my favorite gifts to give, even to friends who live locally. It is a good motivator to get people out and exploring even in their own city! CityPass has passes in many major cities in the US including Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Philadelphia and so many more. CityPass offers visitors (and locals) access to a variety of the city’s most famous attractions at an unbeatable price. Give the CityPass VIP treatment to someone this year!
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