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As a travel agent, who travels a lot, I've bought more than my fair share of travel-related merchandise over the years, including a lot of things that turned out to be not so great. This gift guide contains only my favorite items, things I, or my family, personally own and use. We hope you find ideas for the "hard to shop" for people on your list. Happy Holidays!
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Best Gifts For Frequent Flyers
Best Duffle Bag
I've had this duffle bag for 4 years now and it has served me well. It fits under the seat as your personal item for most airlines. It's sturdy. I've used it for everything from a weekend getaway, where it was the only bag I took, to road trips, to everything in between. I love it so much I bought it in a second color!
Best Suitcase Lock
If you're going to fly, you'll probably want good luggage locks! I prefer the combination ones over the ones with the key, one less thing to lose. These are also TSA approved, meaning that TSA can open them if they need to search your luggage.
Best Luggage Scale
If you're a frequent flier, it's worth it to invest in a luggage scale to avoid overweight bag charges. This one is a budget model, but it lasted me 4 years of frequent travel before I had to replace the batteries.
Best Car Seat Cover
This car seat bag is the perfect way to protect your car seat if you need to/want to check it. It's sturdy and durable, has several straps to make carrying it easy, and folds up nicely when you're done with it.
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Best Backpack/Personal Item
When traveling with a toddler, I like to keep my hands free for wrangling. Therefore, I'm a recent convert to the backpack lifestyle. This backpack is perfect for use as your personal item. It has tons of pockets, including a hidden pocket. It holds bottles. It fits under the seat. And like the TARDIS, it's bigger on the inside than it looks! It can hold a lot of stuff!
A travel agent's picks for your hard-to-buy for friends and family, including at least 3 things you never thought of!
Best Gifts For Cruisers
Know someone going on a cruise soon? They'll appreciate these gifts, all of which my husband and I loved to have on our recent cruise!
A lot of first-time cruisers don't realize this, but the walls in your cabin are magnetic! Hooks with magnets can be a great way to keep your stuff easily accessible and organized. I love these hooks to hang coats, hats, and even my toiletry bag on.
Cute Cruising Thank You Cards
At the end of your cruise, you might want to give some extra gratuity or a word of thanks to some of the staff that have taken care of you all week. I like to put a few thank you cards in my bag for just this purpose. On my last cruise, I wrote down the names and duty stations of any crew member I saw that was dealing with an especially rude guest, and gave them a handwritten thank you note and a little extra gratuity for all they are doing to allow us to have a great vacation!
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Best Travel Packing Cubes
The travel packing cubes made it so easy to unpack fast and stow my suitcase away. I loved this set because it also came with a hanging bag, which I used for bathroom supplies.
Best Cruising Lanyard
A lanyard is a great cruising accessory! You'll need to show your Seapass card a lot, especially if you have the drink package. I like keeping my Seapass card handy.
Best Towel Clips
The pool deck on cruise ships, especially the bigger ships, are WINDY. You're going to want some towel clips to keep your stuff from blowing into the ocean.
Best Pool / Excursion Bag
It's a good idea to take a waterproof backpack with you to use when going back and forth to the pool deck. I loved this backpack! The cup holders were big enough to hold our coke freestyle cups. I liked that it had a chest clip for extra security on excursions. It took up barely any room in my suitcase. And it really was decently waterproof, we got caught in a heavy rainstorm and our stuff was 99% dry. For the price, I was really happy with it!
Best Gifts For Road Trippers
Setting out on a road trip this year? Road trips are a great way to travel! There's nothing quite like the open road! Here's the gear you need to make your road trip adventures come true!
Best Car Games
Rubberneckers is, hands down, our family's favorite travel game. To play you either look for things, like a fire truck or a gas station, or you complete actions, like trying to get a trucker to honk their horn. It's an excellent way to pass the time. Even younger kids can get in on the fun, with a little help reading the cards. It's a great way to pass the time!
Yes, Colorforms are still around! My toddler loves playing with his Colorforms in the car. And thankfully, they aren't messy and don't require batteries. Colorforms are also a great break from "screens."
Best Emergecy Kit
Yes, it's boring. But safety first! It's always a good idea to carry jumper cables, a flashlight, and other emergency supplies in your car when taking a long road trip. It's one of those things you hope you never need, but if you find yourself stranded, you'll be glad you have!
Best Seat Warmers
Heated seats are seriously a game-changer for winter road trips! If you aren't lucky enough to have them, never fear! These heated seat pads will keep your butt toasty for a very reasonable price.
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Best Road Atlas
I know what you're thinking. Uh, Emily, what year is this? I have a phone! In certain parts of the country though, you're going to want a map. There are parts of the country where you won't have cell service, and if you do, it's not good enough to load your map app. If you're going to be traveling off the beaten path, you might want to consider picking up a map. My husband and I just had this happen, we were in the middle of nowhere in Pennsylvania, and we encountered a road closure. We had to use a map to route around it. I felt like an old-time explorer.
Best Snacks (In Bulk!)
No road trip is complete without enough snacks to fuel a small army. You can buy them in bulk ahead of time to keep from paying double at gas stations along the way.
Best Gifts For Disney Park Goers
Hitting up either Walt Disney World or Disneyland this year? I've got your back with a few great gift ideas to surprise your family!
Best Disney Ears
This might be a little sacrilegious to say, but I like to buy my mouse ears ahead of time. I know I know. But there is a bigger variety available and they are cheaper. I own a few pairs from this seller and have no complaints, they have held up and are comfortable on my head. They have a wide variety to choose from!
Repeat after me: I will bring ponchos. I will not leave them in my hotel room. It rains, A LOT. And when it's raining can be the best time to hit the parks, because a lot of people bail for the safety of their hotel room! Don't let the rain stop you. Take some cheap ponchos with you ahead of time.
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This is a little bit of a controversial pick, but I stand by it. I love my Fuel Rod. Fuel Rods are basically power banks for your phone and other electronics, but there are machines around Walt Disney World and Disneyland where you can pay a few dollars to swap out your used fuel rod with a brand new fully charged one. You can also charge your fuel rod at night in your hotel of course. With the introduction of Genie +, you'll be using your phone more and more at Disney parks, and being able to recharge is going to be even more critical. I bought a fuel rod years ago and I'm still swapping it every trip. Yes, you can probably get a better power bank for the money, but I like being able to swap it out.
Best Umbrella Stroller
I love our Mickey umbrella stroller! It folds up super tiny. It's very lightweight. It's easy to travel with. You can save on rental fees by bringing a cheap stroller with you! I will say though, I wouldn't use this stroller for a whole week personally. But it's perfect for a short trip or a trip where space is at a premium. I keep mine in my car at all times as my "emergency" stroller.
I hope we helped you find the perfect gift. On behalf of our whole LA Family Travel crew, Happy Holidays!
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