When I look back on some of my more memorable gifts they include a cheese grater in my stocking, king-sized comforter because my husband says I steal the covers (present for him, right?!) and a pair of green duck boots so hideous the clerk laughed and hid them underneath the table when I returned them.
There have been memorable gifts in the best sense possible, too. Last year, my husband super surprised me with a bucket list trip, also to celebrate a big birthday last year. It will forever be the most special gift ever, I imagine. I can never outdo that one, but I do find travel-related gifts tend to be winners. Here are several of our best travel products we suggest for gift-giving. Or, who are we kidding, to purchase for yourself.
Carry your tunes with you wherever you go with this versatile speaker that’s portable and rugged enough to stand up to your next adventure. The carabiner is perfect for clipping on your clothes, backpack or duffle bag. Or slip it onto your beach chair or tent at your campsite.
The Clip 3 has 10 hours of playing time and has a rechargeable battery. And it’s waterproof so no need to stress if you get caught in a rain shower. Clip 3 comes in 10 colors, ranging from basic black to teal or mustard yellow. $49.95.
I’ve never seen my husband get so excited about basic pants and T-shirts as he was with the ones from Basic Outfitters. They fit him well and were so comfortable he put them on immediately and wore them around the house. If Basic Outfitters sounds familiar, you may have caught them on “Shark Tank,” one of my favorite shows.
Basic Outfitter’s Create-A-Drawer is a simple concept. You create your own drawer with basics that include socks, underwear, T-shirts and loungewear. First pick whether you want a small drawer with four basics ($60), medium drawer with six basics ($85), or large drawer with eight basics ($100). Then you go through the categories, selecting what you want from a large selection of each.
It’s an easy, fun, affordable way to stock up on basics. Way more fun than tossing another pack of Fruit of the Looms in your Target cart.
Compression socks are crucial when you spend a lot of time at 35,000 feet. I love this travel pack, which comes with four pairs of socks, eye mask, foam ear plugs, headphone splitter and travel laundry sock bag. The items come in their own packing cube, also a recommended gift for any traveler. The travel pack is $92; individual pairs of socks start at $21.
Slate Collection leather goods
There’s nothing like the look and feel of high-quality leather. I love the items in this collection, which includes passport holders, bags, journals and tech accessories. There’s a section on the website with gifts for men, where I found Dopp kits, duffel bags, wallets and other accessories. There’s a sketching gift set, perfect for the artist in your life. Gifts for women also include totes, wristlets and gorgeous eyeglass cases.
The items are hand-crafted at S.B. Foot Tanning Co, the second oldest tannery in the country, based in Red Wing, Minnesota. Some items include free monogramming. Prices start at $40.
I don’t believe in spending a lot of money on sunglasses for several reasons: I lose them, break them or I see a photo of myself in my favorite shades and decide they are totally wrong for me.
Here’s my answer to all my sunglass issues. These sunglasses from REKS are made with high quality shatter-resistant lenses. And the best part? The frames are unbreakable.
That’s great if that’s your main concern. What about loss? Well, at just $50 a pair you won’t be happy if you lose them, but it won’t stop you from taking that next trip either when you have to pay to replace them. As for the style, even if you get tired of the ones you have, it’s not a big investment to change your look.
Since I gave up diet sodas after I read they could affect your memory, I now drink sparkling water instead. Rather than hauling all those cans home, then recycling them, I’m trying this SodaStream Fizzi One Touch. I can easily turn regular tap water into sparkling water and experiment with my own flavors. This bundle comes with CO2, bottles and fruit drops to flavor your water. It’s enough to make 60 bottles of water.
It comes in white, black or icy blue for $109.
Sure, my Google Calendar is convenient for searching when my last hair appointment was. But it’s not a lot of fun – no photos and it never makes me laugh. I always have a wall calendar in my office, and love the huge selection from Workman. You can get any type of calendar – wall, desk and my favorite, page-a-day.
This year Workman has added 34 new titles, including the Islands page-a-day gallery calendar and the Atlas Obscura desk and wall calendars. And yes, there are plenty of calendars featuring cats, including the Bad Cat A Day Calendar. Calendars start at $8.
Hate packing your toiletries? Now you can easily customize your own toiletry kit for a single use, which is then mailed to you in 1-ounce containers and ready to throw in your suitcase. The brands include Matrix Biology Smooth Proof Shampoo, Conditioner by Biolage, Bliss face cleaner and LA Fresh face cleanser wipes. Prices start at $26.50.
We are obsessed with the huge variety of items with fabulous designs from Ethnic District. We may be a bit biased, as the founder, Whitney Osei, works with us – but we’re betting you love it too. This Zuri bag is handwoven in Kenya from sisal fiber accented with leather. The size works well for travel. $65
See Whitney’s story here, Take a Trip to Ethnic District.
Am I too old to sign up for this? Give your little one the world with Little Passports, a subscription service for children that features a world map, luggage tag, stickers, activity sheets and letters from pen pals. Each set comes in its own small suitcase. Choose from ages 3-6 or 6-8. Starts at $12.95.
I have other wine coolers, but what I like about this is that it holds three bottles of wine rather than two and comes with an ice pack. It also has an adjustable shoulder strap and a front zippered pocket. You could also put six cans in it, if beer or soft drinks are your choice. $24.99
When my son and I were traveling in Amsterdam a woman in our group had her cellphone snatched right out of her hand by a guy on a bicycle. She had been holding it up to take a photo and he just zoomed by and grabbed it. I’m always aware of how easily someone can grab my phone when I have it out.
These smartphone lanyards can help protect your smartphone and also keeps it handy for taking those photos – no more digging around in your purse when you see a great shot. They are made of silicon with a slot to store cards in the back. The lanyards will fit any smartphone up to 6.75″ x 3.75″. They come in more than 25 colors for $9.99.
We sometimes receive one or more of the products or services mentioned for free in the hope that we would mention it in The Travel 100. This site also uses affiliate links. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and believe will be good for our readers.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”