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For the holiday season each year, I love to round up my favorite discoveries and products that have become go to travel items for me. I hope you find some unique travel gift ideas to indulge in for yourself, a family member, or friend.
TRAVEL GIFTS FOR HER
When searching for travel pants, I have a hard time finding options that are stylish, comfortable and quick drying. This year, another blogger friend turned me onto the KUHL Weekendr tights. Although I resisted the skinny pant trend, I find these tights extremely flattering since the “racing stripes” slim your thighs.
After putting them through their paces hiking in California, New Zealand and Canada, the abrasion resistant fabric still looks brand new. The dark gray “carbon” color is fashionable enough that I can dress them up for a night out when traveling with a cute top, jacket, and shoes. They keep their shape and don’t get baggy either.
Another favorite find is the KUHL Luna Moto Jacket. Striving to pack lightly, I value multi-purpose jackets. In addition to being water and wind resistant, it’s fitted in all the right places. Numerous people have stopped me and asked about it and three friends bought it after seeing me wear it. Personally, I love the “Mineral Blue” color – a pretty shade of blue green. You can’t go wrong with any of the other color options – gray, rust, army green or black. A perfect wardrobe gift for female travelers!
After another friend raved about Arc’teryx’s incredible customer service and lifetime guarantee (they replaced her nine year old Goretex jacket for free), I decided to check them out. Since I was in the market for a new lightweight down jacket that I could easily stuff into a camera backpack and would fit comfortably under my waterproof jacket, I was delighted to find the perfect one! I have traveled all over the world (Australia, Hawaii, Canada, New Zealand, Zimbabwe) with my Cerium LT hoody down jacket and it’s kept me incredibly warm (without overheating).
With travel, we are constantly exposed to the sun and harmful UVA and UVB rays. Given my fair skin, I never leave the house without a wide-brimmed hat. Protecting your face, neck and ears is key to minimize the chances of skin cancer, so I always seek hats with at least a 4.5 inch brim. This Wallaroo Scrunchie packs down small and has a wire-brimmed edge and internal drawstring so that you can customize how it fits. I love this hat so much I own it in grey, blue and a smaller version in red.
USEFUL TRAVEL GIFTS
When traveling, do you ever suffer from ear congestion due to colds, allergies, flying or scuba diving? If you are like me, perhaps you use Afrin or Sudafed to relieve ear pressure. Earlier this year, our Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) physician suggested trying Eustachi to potentially unclog my husband’s ears. Since flying with blocked ears can be extremely painful on ascent and descent, we never travel without this all natural product, which you can purchase at Walgreens, CVS, Walmart and Target in the U.S. It’s also available in the UK, Canada and Australia.
While in Zimbabwe this year, a friend introduced me to Bite Toothpaste bits and now I’m hooked. Pop a tablet in your mouth, bite down, wet your toothbrush and it will foam nicely. Since I’m always looking for new solutions to decrease my plastic usage, I value Bite’s sustainable benefits including:
- The glass jar packaging helps you avoid contributing to the one billion toothpaste tubes discarded into US landfill each year
- Refills are shipped via ground in compostable packaging, decreasing waste and carbon emissions
This small travel gift is a great stocking stuffer!
After restarting my meditation practice this year, I researched various essential oils. In addition to using them for meditation and yin yoga, I apply them on planes and twice a day to relax while I’m working. Since I find peppermint both soothing and relaxing, Saje is my favorite. For upcoming holiday parties, this is a wonderful host/hostess gift.
With airlines becoming more strict on baggage weights for checked baggage as well as carry-ons, we never travel without our small Heys luggage scale. Since we often are shifting things around between our bags, this is an invaluable tool that many travelers typically ask us to borrow. We’ve had this one for years and have used it in Tonga, Canada, Zimbabwe and New Zealand to divvy up our luggage. It’s super light weight and displays in both lbs and kg, saving you from having to do the pesky conversion. This is one of the best gifts for a traveler!
When I’m traveling, I always want to ensure that my phone is charged for GPS (since I am the most directionally challenged person on the planet) and emergency contact. Additionally, if I’m on a flight without in-seat charging, this is key as well. To ensure I’m never without power, the Anker 10000 is my go to phone accessory.
This small and lightweight option provides four charges for my iPhone 6S (yes, I’ve been a little delinquent in upgrading). Since I just took the leap and got a new iPhone 11 Pro, I’ll be using my Anker to charge while off the grid trekking in Bhutan, hoping for 2-3 charges. Also, this brick can recharge mirrorless cameras, which is a great option when outlet charging isn’t available.
Do you find when on planes, long car rides or sleeping at hotels/AirBnBs that the pillow options aren’t exactly what you want? If so, the Fillo Elite camping pillow might be the answer. Packing down in its own stuff sack to the size of a lime, it provides you a convenient and comfortable alternative.
After encountering some horrendous pillows that kinked our necks at hotels recently, we now have this with us. Due to an arthritis diagnosis in my neck last year, I’m very aware of my neck position when sleeping, so this is now my go to solution. And, the soft cover can be removed and washed.
For any trips we take, we strive to immerse in the experiences and capture imagery that evokes emotions for us as well as viewers. To ensure that we never lose any precious pictures, we back up our memory cards nightly. Given space limitations and weight restrictions, we love the Samsung SSD hard drives. Tiny in size (similar to a credit card), they are perfect to travel with.
Additionally, SSDs are more reliable than standard hard drives so it’s less likely the drives will crash and you will lose important memories. When traveling we opt to have three backups – images are saved to 1) our SD cards 2) computer hard drive 3) external Samsung SSD. For extra peace of mind, we often back up to a second SSD as well while in the field. While a bit more expensive than some other options, the premium is worth it to us for the space savings.
GIFTS FOR WORLD TRAVELERS
During recent trips to Zimbabwe and Canada for safaris, we had strict weight restrictions and no wheeled bags were allowed due to travel on small bush planes. We purchased the Patagonia Black Hole Duffels and found that they have plenty of space for everything we need to bring.
It fits my four section tripod legs (with head removed) with no problem. Fully packed with a week’s worth of clothes, hiking boots, toiletries, and hand and foot warmers, it weighs in around 30 lbs!
And, we love that the Black Hole duffel has backpack straps and its own case to pack it back into when you aren’t using it. Additionally, the bag is made from recycled fabrics, which decreases your environmental footprint. Available in 30L, 40L, 55L, 70L and 100L. For longer trips, I think the 100L is the way to go.
Mike and Anne Howard from HoneyTrek just released a new book “Comfortably Wild”. It focuses on glamping–luxurious camping that aligns with my preferred travel style. For those adventurous travelers in your life, this new book has great suggestions for glamping options in the US, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America. This makes a great hostess gift or coffee table book and resource for intrepid travelers.