Finding the perfect gift is easier said than done. This list is some of our favorite travel related items that we use. After traveling non-stop for the past three years we’ve gone through all sorts of items. Some amazing and some completely useless. If you have a friend, family member, or loved one who loves to travel, these gifts are great for the 2018 holiday season. So skip the zip-off hiking pants or the weirdly shaped sleeping pillows and check out these awesome travel gift ideas.
STOCKING STUFFERS: $10 & UNDER
Cable & Lock: This little wire gives added security to valuables. We attach our backpack to something stationary while we are on trains or overnight bus rides. Locking the bag to our seat lets us stay comfortable, especially when we are sleeping during transportation. We also lock our bag in hotel rooms while we are out of the room. Obviously, if someone wanted to take our stuff they could cut the wire, but a little deterrent never hurts. The Lewis N Clark security cable and TSA approved lock is a great way to keep things safe.
Eye Mask: Sure it may be super dorky but a nice silk eyemask is imperative for long flights and hotel rooms with blinding morning rays. This eye mask is made from high-quality silk and feels amazing on the skin.
Toiletry Containers: These 3oz travel tubes are perfect for bringing toiletry containers of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, sunscreen, or oils on a trip. We have had the same set for over 3 years and have had no spills yet! With the amount of abuse we put ours through, that’s pretty much a miracle.
Plastic Playing Cards: Sick of carrying around a bloated deck of cards? These Plastic cards are waterproof and impervious to any amount of spills. No matter the usage they look pretty much brand new.
Reusable Straw: With the amount of plastic waste in our oceans it’s important for all of us to try to make a difference. Scientists estimate there are up to 8 billion straws on the world’s coastlines. Packing a reusable straw can help lower that number. These stainless steel reusable straws come with a convenient pouch and are easy to clean with the included brushes.
TRAVEL GIFTS UNDER $30
Packing Cubes: We really love these Compression Packing Cubes. They keep clothes organized and have different convenient sizes. They are also super lightweight and the zip up compression makes a huge difference in how much you can pack. Grab a set of two for under $20.
Converter: Newvanga is an all-in-one power adapter with surge protection, and has 2 USB ports in addition to working in over 150 countries around the world. Having an all-in-one adapter is a must for any traveler and being able to charge multiple items at once is a huge plus.
Thermos: Almost everywhere we go around the world, filtered water is readily available for free or for a small fee. Our Hydroflask 18oz refillable thermos has been dropped, dinged up, took serious impact during a motorcycle accident, and sorta looks like its been through a war zone, but still works great!
Travel Underwear: Hands down the best travel underwear in the world are the ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go boxer briefs and Women’s String Bikini. They last forever and unbelievably do not stink with multiple days of usage (Yes, sometimes we are gross).
Travel Pillow: Teton Sports camping pillow compresses to the size of a small water bottle. It’s perfectly soft and comfortable for everything from hiking to long-haul flights. I have had mine since 2009…. no joke.
Scratch-Off Map: Scratch off visited countries with the World Travel Map (33 x 23). Perfect for any traveler who wants to show off their conquests. Add next to working space or at your home to remind yourself you need another vacation!
Travel Coffeemaker: Bodum Travel Press is a great size (15oz) for coffee lovers on the go. We have been traveling with a coffee press for the past year and have realized how much money we save by making our own coffee. You can get hot water pretty much everywhere so it’s super easy and convenient.
Noise Canceling Headphones: Anker SoundBuds noise-canceling Bluetooth over-ear headphones keep out unwanted noises and are incredibly affordable for the quality. The pack up pretty small so no need to make extra room.
TRAVEL GIFTS UNDER $100
Kindle: Kindle Paperwhite 7th gen is a classic gift that every book lover should have. I have no idea how I survived without one. The paperwhite technology resembles a book when reading. It never hurts your eyes, like looking into a computer screen might. Also, check out your local library because many have free books that are downloadable straight to your kindle. You can even be anywhere in the world.
Portable Charger: The Anker PowerCore 20,100 MaH is the best value for portable chargers. Being stuck with a dead battery sucks big time. When out exploring I never leave home without this thing. I can charge my Kindle, camera battery, both phones, and still have some juice left.
Passport Wallet: Pacsafe RFIDsafe V150 passport wallet keeps your most important documents organized and safe. It even fits two passports. We have had ours for over 5 years and it’s still going strong.
Portable Speaker: JBL waterproof portable speaker is available for just under $80. It’s not only powerful but it’s friggin’ waterproof. What can be better than that? It packs up pretty small and only weighs a little over one pound.
TRAVEL GIFTS FOR THE ADVENTURER
Head Torch: Petzl Tikka Headlamp is a great head torch that every traveler needs. Whether trying to navigate through a dark hostel room, reading your favorite book in the dark, or camping in the wilderness, a head torch is super useful. This one is powerful and inexpensive.
Quick-Dry Towel: A quick-dry towel is great for snorkeling, beach trips, or for backpacking trips. It can double as a beach towel, sarong, picnic blanket, etc… Just make sure to get a large size. Timon had the bright idea of getting a medium to save on space. Every time he showers it looks like he is trying to wrap himself up in a dish towel.
Premium Hiking Socks: Darn Tough socks are the best, we have put ours through a lot and they stand up to any test. Even with months of hiking they keep their shape and don’t get any holes, and if they do, there is a lifetime warranty. I cannot begin to explain how much I love lifetime warranties. They have both men’s socks and women’s socks.
Hammock: I absolutely love my ENO singlenest travel hammock. My absolute favorite pastime is setting up my hammock on the beach and relaxing with a book. The hammock can hold up to 400 pounds and folds into a small pouch weighing one pound. The ENO slap straps make it so easy to set up. I have attached my straps to posts, trees, palms; and they don’t slip. If heading to a beach backpacking trip, do not leave home without this. Also, this hammock could be used instead of a tent, if there is no rain of course.
Pocket Knife: A multitool is awesome for travelers. Whether to open a bottle of beer, file and clip your nails, or cut the string of a piece of clothing having access to an all-in-one tool is a must. Leatherman Wingman multitool is our fav. Unfortunately, mine was confiscated on our last trip to Hawaii because I stupidly forgot to take it out of my carry on bag. So mom if you want to get me a gift this is it.
Beacon Device: Yana’s mom really worried about all the hiking and backpacking trips we were doing in the mountains. To ease her mind, we picked up an ACR ResQLink personal locator beacon. It’s important to have if you plan to go into the remote wilderness. If you have ever seen the movie 127 hours you’ll know that carrying a beacon device can be life-saving. Weighing only 6.2 ounces, it’s worth its weight in gold if anything terrible happens. This device has a one-time cost with no membership or annual fees, which was a big plus for us because we didn’t want to pay fees when we weren’t actually using it. The battery lasts up to 5 years and it is worth the investment.
Waterproof Bag: We use our dry bags all the time. Great for water sports or when traveling on a scooter and a surprise shower comes through, it adds a bit of security to ensure valuables stay dry. We pack our personal items in a Sea to Summit dry bag. We also love having a large (30L) dry bag that has backpack-like straps which make it super convenient. Check out this similar product: premium dry bag.
UV Waterbottle: UV filtration kills over 99% of bacteria in water and is easy to use. You can always go with the classic SteriPen or for on-the-go a GRAYL water purifier doubles as a water bottle. I have used it on a 15-day trek in Nepal with no issues. However, keep in mind UV filtration does not eliminate all contaminants such as heavy metals or chlorine.
GoPro: GoPro’s latest adventure camera, the HERO7, is its best camera yet. It has a 14-megapixel camera and shoots 4K video and can go up to a depth of 33 feet (10 meters) without any housing. You can use the HERO7 hands-free with voice control. It’s an awesome little camera.
GIFTS FOR THE TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHER
Camera Strap: We have been lusting over the Peak Design Slide strap for a while. The quick release system is super easy and versatile. The sleek design looks professional and is really sturdy. I really love the ash color. Peak design also has a lifetime warranty which says a lot about the quality. For smaller cameras, the Peak Design Leash camera strap is just as awesome but won’t look as bulky.
Travel Tripod: The K&F Concept 62” is a highly rated, compact and lightweight aluminum travel tripod. It weighs under 3 Lbs, and for the price ($80) it is a great option for smaller cameras. For heavier cameras with large lenses, a slightly heavier tripod will be more stable and can withstand wind gusts better. The Manfrotto BeFree travel tripod weighs 5.3 lbs and can comfortably suit heavy gear. The cost is around $150.
External Hard Drive: Backing up photos is important to any photographer. We keep a few of these and have backups of our backups (because we are paranoid). We loved our Seagate 2TB external hard drive. It’s small, weighs only 6.4 ounces, and never failed us. We recently upgraded to the 4TB hard drives, a great option for photographers with a lot of video footage or large megapixel cameras.
Camera Bag: Pacsafe is my go-to brand for camera bags. They are perfect for anti-theft security, comfort, and design. From small bags to professional gear, they have several options depending on your camera gear. I have gone through several Pacsafe camera bags over the years and suggest the Camsafe Z14, the Camsafe X25, or my favorite pack of all time, the Pacsafe Venturesafe X40 Plus. The bags range from $100 to $170.
Editing Software: Professional editing software is a must for anyone looking to upgrade their toolkit and take things to another level. Adobe has the best platforms. The Creative Cloud photography plan comes with some incredible software programs, including Lightroom and Photoshop. It is $119 for a 1-year plan including 20gb of storage.
Hope this list gave you some great gift ideas for this holiday season. We use almost all the items on this list and couldn’t live without most of them. Whether for Christmas, Hanukkah, a birthday, or Kawanza a thoughtful gift is always appreciated. So, happy holidays from our family to yours! And remember spending money on experiences has been scientifically proven to make you happier 🙂 !!
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