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The coolest gift for a traveler is often, well, more travel, but I know you can’t always surprise them with a trip under the tree (though here are some tips if you do!). In case you are still shopping for a traveler in your life, here are some of my favorite travel gifts in 2017 that don’t involve buying an airline ticket!
Travel Stocking Suffers
Nothing says Christmas at a Traveler’s house like an airplane ornament!
When you travel, your socks probably get seen more than any other time in public thanks to security screenings and getting comfy on long flights, so you might as well have some cool socks to show off along the way!
Soft sleep mask
Having a sleep mask can really help on long flights, in hotel rooms, and basically, anywhere you need to rest, so no one should really travel without one. There’s a million great sleep masks out there, but this Sleep Mask is a solid choice and available on Amazon with Prime Shipping for under $15.
Cute and fun bags
I’m totally in love with the Make-Up Junkie bags that are made by a sweet mom in my area. I have gifted these to many people as they are cute and awesome little bags that hold everything from make-up, hair accessories, and toiletries to computer cords and little craft supplies for my older daughter.
These bags lie flat so they don’t fall over and dump your make-up, have waterproof liners, and come in really great colors and patterns. They are Made in Texas and we like to load up on them when they do Facebook Live sales comprising of ones with slight defects. However, if you need one right now for a stocking stuffer they are sold at hundreds of shops around the country, including Cavender’s, which I know currently has an Amex Offer on my Amex card accounts.
Colorful kid headphones
An item our kids rarely fly without are the Kidz Gear Wired Headphones that come in fun colors, have volume limiters, and have held up well for years. These are around $15 on Amazon and we have gotten our money’s worth many times over as the kids listen to their iPads, watch DVDs, use the in-flight entertainment systems, etc.
Toddler sippy cups
If you have a toddler who is in the market for an easy-to-travel with sippy/bottle, we love the stainless steel, BPA-free, plastic-free, colorful Pura Sippy that it is easy to pack and clean on the go!
If you pack shoes in your bag without shoe covers, I get it, it’s easy. However, the bottom of your shoes may not be what you want rubbing against the clean clothes in your bag, so you can snag some shoe covers for about $10 each on eBags. As an added bonus, if you have an eligible Chase card you can take advantage of earning lots of bonus points for eBags purchases in the process!
Snazzy travel bag under $100
A travel bag that I own and use frequently for overnights or weekend car trips is my Sole Society Duffel. It isn’t real leather, but it wipes clean and is the perfect sized bag for a couple nights worth of stuff. I also used to use it for my pumping gear when I was nursing and traveled without my baby. It looks way nicer than the under $100 price tag would suggest.
Kid friendly luggage
For my girls, we have used the Travel Buddies Luggage for years. My oldest daughter used the penguin for about four years before it finally fell apart last summer in Europe.
We have since been using the parrot version for about the last year. These bags do scuff and eventually did wear out, but it took several years and dozens of trips, so I’m still pretty happy with them.
Light $50 car seat
For a travel car seat, we are now on our second Cosco Scenera as it is cheap, light, safe and reliable. We have heavy and expensive car seats we use in our cars at home, but on an airplane or in a rental car, the Cosco Scenera gets our vote. You can get it on Amazon, but sometimes it is even cheaper from Walmart.
FAA approved toddler CARES Harness
The FAA approved CARES Harness can be a logistical life-saver if you have a toddler or young preschooler who needs a little extra help staying secure in their airplane seat, but you don’t want to always have to lug a car seat onboard.
Airport themed shirts from Pilot&Capt.
Who wouldn’t want a shirt proclaiming their love for a favorite airport?!
If you want something similar but a little more cheeky than just an airport code shirt, I would take a look at some of the fun items that Airportag.com has to offer. There you will find shirts with sayings like “Million Miler Monster”, “Jetlag made me do it”, and “Short layover is my cardio”.
Invest in a vest
I have a long list of favorite brands of clothing for travel, but since it can be hard to shop for clothes for others, I’ll stick today to just one item, a Patagonia Vest. I try to scoop these up on clearance at the end of the season, but I have found Patagonia Vests to be handy more often than not for travel when climates and temperatures may vary dramatically. It is easy to pack and so versatile. I have skied with mine as a mid-layer in Norway and worn it with t-shirts while in Scotland during the summer.
Splurge on a top notch carry-on bag
By far the most expensive (and most loved) piece of travel gear that my husband and I both have are our Rimowa Salsa 22 Inch Deluxe Cabin Multiwheel Carry-Ons that always, always, always fit in the overhead bins, even on little regional jets, and have literally taken us around the world.
This bag isn’t the best on cobblestone type streets, but it is fantastic for smooth surfaces like you would find in most airports and hotels. I’ve had it for about three years now, and while it was painful to purchase, it has been a joy to own and travel with.
Kids carry-on smart luggage
My second grader is starting to really want a carry-on like ours, and while we haven’t upgraded her out of kid luggage quite yet, if we were going to splurge on a great bag for her this Christmas it would probably be the new Away Travel Kid’s Carry On. This sleek looking bag is 18”H x 12”W x 9”D, comes in fun colors or grown-up neutrals, has an “unbreakable” shell, an adjustable handle, and a removable battery that permits them to charge a phone or tablet via their bag for just under $200.
The best baby travel investment on the planet
If you or someone you are shopping for has a baby on the way or in the infant to one-year-old range, there is nothing that can come close to the awesomeness and convenience of the Doona. Seriously, I still miss using ours since my littlest outgrew it. It converts from a stroller to a car seat with the push of a button without having to remove your baby. It. Is. Amazing. It is also expensive, but I sold mine online for over half the original cost when we outgrew it, so that helped ease the pain a bit.
Block out the world with Bose headphones
Frequent flyers the world over swear by Bose headphones, and there are currently two different splurge-worthy types available that make my best gifts for travelers list. First, there are the Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones that are currently $169 on Amazon. Then, if you really want to go all-in on the splurge, there are the Bose QuietComfort 35 Series 2 Wireless Noice Cancelling Headphones that come in standard issue black or a very sleek silver. Their price point is over twice that of the QuietComfort 25, but they are pretty much guaranteed to thrill the traveler in your life.
If none of these items seem quite right, you can never go wrong with travel gift cards, many of which you can find in your local office supply store or grocery store. Gift cards to places like Starbucks can also be great for travelers who often need a cup of coffee on the go.
What did you buy for the travelers on your shopping list this holiday season?
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.