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For many, the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year. For those of us who struggle with finding the perfect gifts, it can also be the most stressful, full of frantic catalog flipping, manic Amazon scrolling, and hectic trips to Target (which we all know are the worst kind).
But if you have a mom or dad traveler on your list, even kids who love to explore and wander, we’re here to help you find them the perfect gift, with tried and true ideas that any traveler would be thrilled to unwrap this year. From sanity-saving headphones, to the perfect vessel for all those road trip coffees, and even gifts to keep you healthy while they travel, we’re breaking down our favorite travel-inspired gifts for the holiday season. You can take advantage of the Black Friday sales to get a good deal on one or all!
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The Avid Skier – Favorite Ski Slope Art
My brother and his wife are avid skiers and have bummed their way to ski slopes all across the country, from Montana to Vermont, Colorado to California. They have become quite the discerning ski slope enthusiasts and are always on the lookout for new trails to hit next.
But among their favorites is Sugarbush, a ski resort in Vermont that is popular among New Englanders. So for Christmas last year, my husband and I bought them a canvas print of the Sugarbush ski runs from Circle Square Diamond Art. It was reasonably priced and turned out really cool. And my brother and sister-in-law absolutely loved it.
Circle Square Diamond Art has a wide collection of slope art for slopes all over the world, so you’re guaranteed to find your skier’s favorite slope. There’s also the option of a traditional art print or a canvas print and each option comes in a variety of sizes.
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The Road Warrior – Yeti Cooler and Mug
Whether you’re driving cross country or just cross county, Yeti coolers and mugs are the ultimate luxury. Their Roadie 24 Hard Cooler is compact and lightweight but has the thermal performance that Yeti is known for, making it ideal for trips to the beach or lake.
And their travel tumblers are the absolute best for transporting hot or cold beverages. I’m not sure what kind of voodoo magic the people at Yeti are concocting over there, but their mugs have the ability to keep hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold for hours on end. Trust me. I’ve done the consumer testing. Many a mug of coffee has been left in our car in a Yeti mug while we embark on a “quick” Target trip (that lasts two hours) and when we come back, it’s just as hot as it was when we left it.
The Beautiful Environmentalist – Skin Care
I’m pretty low-key about my skincare routine, though I definitely have one now that I’m getting older. I look for products that work and are good for my body and the planet. However, I don’t like to feel like I’m getting ripped off. And it has to be easy! That’s the first thing I look for if I’m adding it to my travel routine. The TruSkin line came up when I searched for organic eyecream. I saw immediate results. I don’t get puffy eyes ever. I don’t know if it’s a genetic thing but I’m not giving this up to find out. And the funny thing is that it took me over a year to realize I should be trying their other products too. For the AM routine, I use the Vitamin C Serum and Moisurizer. I feel like it plumps my skin and brightens it. It’s also super affordable. For PM, I use the Retinol Cream and the Hyaluronic Serum. I’ve been doing this routine for a couple years and feel like it’s saved me a fortune in filler costs. I recently tried a new foundation when a company sent me a sample. The Mychelle foundation + sunscreen attracted me because it’s reef safe. It also has bentonite clay to absorb extra oil and if they know about bentonite clay, then I believe them when they say they don’t put any yucky chemicals in their product. Plust it works great and a little goes a long way. Super easy to pack. They also sent me a little jar of mouthwash, which is so little, it’s also easy to pack. You add a couple drops of the GuruNanda Mouthwash to water and swish like normal. Works great. You can even pack it in an evening clutch for, you know, artichoke dip or salsa. Plus, it’s made from essential oils, so good for you and the environment.
The Beachcomber – Water-Resistant Totes
For the person who spends every vacation on the water, Boatgirl has the right bag for the job. The brand was created by two sisters who wanted stylish bags that would hold up to the harsh weather conditions of sailing. The resulting purses and totes turned out to be great companions for any adventure.
From large totes to small zip pouches, each water-resistant product is made with durable Sunbrella fabric and is manufactured in the USA. They’ll hold up through paddleboarding, waterfall hikes, or days at the pool with the littles. Bonus: the high-quality fabric is easy to clean, so no more worries about sand or snacks!
And if you’re looking for a good beach gift for families with kids, check out the Shibumi Shade. We saw these dotting the beach in South Carolina and loved the ingenious design. The shades are easy to carry and quick to set up, and they offer UPF 50+ sun protection. The materials in each shade are 40% recycled plastic bottles, so this purchase does a bit of good for the environment, too!
The Adventurer – Bose Frames
My family and I like to explore on our trips – whether that’s hiking the trails or walking down all the side streets, riding bikes or kayaking in the ocean waves. We’re not exactly ones to sit still for long.
One of the things my husband and I can’t live without on our exploring expeditions is our Bose Frames. They’re Bluetooth sunglasses that allow you to play music and take phone calls through your sunglasses, no headphones required, and they’re seriously awesome. The glasses use vibrations in the part of the frames that rest on your ears to help you listen to your podcast or music without disturbing anyone around you.
So why is this better than standard headphones? We like it because we can still hear what’s happening around us. They’re great for family hikes, walking around on busy streets, or going to the beach because you can still be aware of your surroundings, order a latte at the café, and be a part of conversations but have your music going in the background.
My husband wears them when he goes golfing and I love to use them on bike rides. They’re some of the best Christmas gifts we’ve ever received!
The Backseat Drivers – Amazon Fire Kids Tablets
Have pint-sized navigators in your back seat who are constantly inquiring about when you’ll reach your final destination? Any parent knows keeping your kids occupied on a long car or plane trip can be a daunting part of traveling and can make or break your trip.
If you have a traveler on your list, even kids who love to wander, here are the perfect tried and true gift ideas, for every type of traveler!
So give your mini travel companions the gift of entertainment this year (and yourself the gift of travel sanity) with the Amazon Fire Kids Edition Tablet. Instantly get access to over 20,000 kid-friendly apps, games, books, videos, and audiobooks with endless hours of content to help keep your kids occupied and give them something to do on long trips.
With a kid-proof case that keeps it protected from everyday wear, and parental controls that let you limit screen team and set educational goals, it’s a device everyone can feel good about.
The Fashionista – Most Comfortable Travel Pants, Cardigan & Best Travel Purse
You can’t control flight delays or rooms that aren’t ready when you arrive to check-in. One time, my flight was so delayed, I had to attend the opening ceremony of my conference in the sweatpants I had worn for my 22 hours of travel. Not the most stellar way to make a professional impression. After that, I was determined to find something that would marry comfort and class. Betabrand pants are that perfect something. They fit like cozy yoga pants but are designed to look like dress pants. They’re amazing. By far the most comfortable pants I’ve ever worn.
If you need something versatile to keep you warm on the plane, try the Women’s Airplane Cardigan from Pact. Made from cozy organic cotton, this cardigan has deep pockets for stashing boarding passes or your phone. Even better: it’s made at Pact’s fair trade factory in India and has been carbon offset to become climate neutral.
This may be my favorite discovery of the year. I am obsessed with staying hydrated while I travel since water is the first thing the body loses when we’re flying and if I can avoid the symptoms of dehydration (sluggishness, irritability, constipation), believe me, I will. Previously, I’d carry around a water bottle, but I hate that. I like having my hands free. So I started shopping for water bottle holders with shoulder straps which are great but not a great look outside of hiking trails. Then, the people at Wanderfull reached out with the solution to every health-conscious girl’s fashion dilemma when she’s torn between being comfortable carrying that water bottle and looking cute. I’ve gotten tons of compliments and inquiries about my bag, which also holds my passport, lipstick, phone and whatever small items I’ll need for wherever I’m going, and yes, I use it on nights out now too. I chose the gold metallic one and bought a different color for a friend for Christmas. Use FREESHIP to get, you know, free shipping.
The Germaphobe – An Essential Travel Kit
OK, let’s be real. After a 24/7 newsroom feed of all the ways COVID-19 will kill or maim you, we are all in this category. If you’ve hunkered down as long as you can and are ready to get back out into the world, then the following will only up your game.
Our pediatrician turned us on to a saline nasal spray with xylitol called Xlear. The saline moisturizes your nose as air travel can be notoriously dehydrating. The xylitol prevents germs from sticking to your mucus membranes. So you know all that crap floating around? It won’t stick to your nasal passages. I squirt it a couple of times as I sit down in my seat and right before or after I’m about to get off the plane.
I recently purchased a tray cover, and I love it! It comes with its own storage pocket, so you can avoid those dirty airplane pockets. Fellow passengers always comment on how great it is, and now I don’t worry about all the germs that stick around even after the cleaning crew goes by.
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The Frequent Flier – Best Carry-on (Personal Device) & Noise-Canceling Headphones
As a travel professional, I’m always looking to balance comfort and professionalism when I travel by plane. Before that fateful delay I told you about above, I’d travel in sweatpants and use my pink backpack. I never worried about this. But after having to meet potential clients and new colleagues in a state of disarray, I now look for ways to merge the two without compromising either. I’ve gone through several bags that I used as my personal item. All of them needed space for all the things I don’t want to check (yes, I’m one of those travelers), like my computer, Nook, and items I can’t easily replace, such as jewelry and supplements. Plus, all the holistic things I use to ensure I don’t get sick during my trip. I finally found the perfect bag. It’s called a Knack bag, a backpack that can be carried like a duffel with tons of secret compartments. The company offered me one to try, and I am screaming from the rooftops that this is the one. It’s a genius design (watch the unboxing below) that allows travelers also to bring clothes and make this a complete carry-on if they want. Or, if you’re like me and like to bring all the stuff, then it could still be your “personal item,” and you could bring another carry-on!
For people who are frequent jet-setters, Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones are absolute game changers when it comes to travel. I honestly can’t remember what my life was like before I started traveling with them.
They drown out just about everything. Woman talking on speakerphone in a crowded airport? Check. Tipsy businessman seated behind you on the plane who keeps laughing a little too boisterously at his travel companion? Check. Snoring husband seated beside you? Check. Kids fighting over the tablet? Check.
They come in a variety of styles, including earbuds and wireless over-the-head headphones. The best thing about them is they hold a great battery charge and can easily be clipped to your carry-on for quick access.
The Documenter – GoPro Camera
Know a traveler who loves documenting their trips and adventures? Sometimes you need a little more than a smartphone camera to capture those “can’t believe I did that” moments.
If you’ve ever tried taking a smartphone video while mountain biking or snorkeling, I’m guessing you know what I mean. They’re great for most things, but for all those really cool moments you want to be able to relive, you can’t do better than a GoPro.
GoPro cameras are designed to be taken everywhere. And we do mean everywhere. They’re waterproof, drop proof, spillproof, and pretty much everything-proof. And they come with a variety of accessories to help you capture the moment without missing the moment, like chest straps and handlebar mounts.
With GoPro HERO 11 Cameras starting at $294.99, they make the perfect special gift for the adventurous traveler in your life. And during the holidays, you can get yours for a sweet deal!
We also like the Insta360 ONE X3 Action Camera, which takes amazing 360-degree photos and videos of all your adventures. Plus, the camera even erases the selfie stick from the final picture, so the focus is all on you and your fam.
The Travelers with Four-Legged Co-Pilots – Dog Seat Cover
With all the road traveling our family has been doing this year, my husband and I have been thrilled to be able to take our dog along on more family trips. But as anyone with dogs can attest, they’re hard on your car. Between the fur and the drool and the nails, the interior of our car was taking a beating.
Until we got our Meadowlark Dog Seat Cover. This thing is such a lifesaver. It lays across the back seat and hooks over the headrests to create what looks like a hammock or giant basket for our dog. It’s super easy to install and remove and can be adjusted to cover half the backseat (in case you have kids or a car seat that needs to occupy the other half) or the whole backseat.
The thick fabric protects the seat upholstery, and the high sides ensure that our darling yet destructive pup can still look out the windows without scratching up the interior of the doors. If there are ever any accidents or spills, all we do is remove the hammock and spray it clean.
As a traveler with pets, it’s hands down some of the best $50 I’ve ever spent, making it an ideal gift for all the traveling pet lovers in your life.
For the travelers on your list, you can’t go wrong with any of these awesome gifts this holiday season. As travelers ourselves, we’ve tested them all and can attest to how great they’ve been in making our travels more fun and enjoyable!
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