Well, hello, mid-November! I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is next week and December is just around the corner. And you know what that means: it’s time for this year’s Holiday Travel Gift Guide!
The gift guide is one of my favorite posts of the year, and I spend the entire twelve months prior gathering ideas for what to include. My hope is that this post helps you find the perfect gift for a loved one, or the perfect thing to add to your own Christmas list! (No judgment there: I know for a fact that my own family members tend to consult this list for gift ideas for me. Hi, Mom! 😉 )
So without further ado, let’s dive into this year’s gift guide!
Check out previous years’ gift guides for even more thoughtful, useful, and unique gift ideas for travelers!
2021 Guide | 2020 Guide | 2019 Guide
Does your loved one worry about losing his or her luggage or have horror stories of lost bags while on vacation? Apple AirTags allow you to keep track of your belongings in the same way that you use Find My iPhone and Find My Friends. Just connect the AirTag to your iCloud account and slip it into your luggage. If your bag goes missing, use the Find My app to locate it and alert the airline or other travel company that lost the bag.
AirTags are water and dust resistant (though you can also buy a waterproof case), and the battery lasts for at least a year. They can also be used to help your loved one find other frequently lost items, from a parked car (just keep it in the glove box) to keys (add a fun keyring).
Cost: $28 for one AirTag, or $95 for a pack of four
Luggage-Mounted Cup Caddy
Anyone who has ever wheeled a suitcase through an airport understands how quickly your hands can fill up and how cumbersome it can be to manage a bunch of stuff along the way. This awesome luggage-mounted cup caddy features an adjustable divider, drawstrings to secure your beverages, and an organizer on the back that can hold your phone, passport, tickets, and any other small items. It slips over the handle to rest on top of your suitcase, and then when you’re done you just fold it up, slip it into its drawstring storage bag, and you’re good to go!
Cost: $18 (multiple colors available)
Push Pin Map from Holy Cow Canvas
Many avid travelers, myself included, love keeping track of the places they’ve been and looking back fondly on vacations past. One of the best ways to do that is with a push pin map from Holy Cow Canvas. As their name suggests, push pin maps allow you to stick a pin into the places where you’ve traveled, and it’s fun to choose different colors for different kinds of trips or different travelers.
I love that we were able to personalize our push pin map from Holy Cow Canvas. We chose to add our name (“Travels of the E Family”) and pin categories for places M and I have been separately, together, and with the kids. The map came with two colors of high-quality push pins, but we chose to purchase a pack of smaller pins in more vibrant colors to accommodate our different categories. I love the result!
Note: Holy Cow Canvas gifted me the push pin travel map above in exchange for the chance to be included in this year’s Gift Guide. It was gifted with the understanding that I wouldn’t share it if I didn’t love it, and fortunately I do! Thanks, Holy Cow Canvas!
Travel Compression (Vacuum) Bags
Every traveler knows the pain of trying to pack as strategically and minimally as possible. This is especially true for long trips or vacations to cold-weather destinations that require bulky clothing. But what if there was a way to still pack the same amount of stuff and take up only half the space?
A set of travel compression bags will do just that! And there’s no vacuum or pump required; you just roll the bags manually so that the extra air is pushed out, then seal them up and you’re good to go! A small warning, though: with all this extra space, you’ll be tempted to keep tossing things in your suitcase. Just watch that your bag doesn’t get to be too heavy!
Cost: $17 for a set of eight; also available in packs of ten, twelve, sixteen, and eighteen for up to $28. At the time of writing, most of the packs were on sale!
Collapsible Water Bottle
Help your loved one stay hydrated on the go with a collapsible water bottle. Whether he or she will be hiking, sightseeing, road-tripping, or embarking on any other adventure, this water bottle will come in handy and also eliminate the need for single-use plastic bottles. Made of high-quality silicone, the bottle rolls up for convenient storage but is also sturdy enough to stand on its own whether full or empty. It’s dishwasher and freezer safe, has a convenient carry strap, and comes with a lifetime warranty.
Cost: $35 (multiple colors available)
An International Cookbook
For the foodie traveler, a cookbook of international recipes is sure to be a hit. You can focus on a particular type of cuisine, like Thai or Indian or Peruvian food, or try something that has a lot of variety. I like that The Kitchen Without Borders features stories and recipes from immigrant and refugee chefs and that In Her Kitchen focuses on the signature recipes of grandmothers from around the world. (And everyone knows that grandmas are the best cooks.)
A Beautiful Watercolor of Their Favorite State(s)
While looking for a gift to give my friend Molly to celebrate her visiting her 50th state, I came across these gorgeous watercolor state prints on Etsy. The artist sells them either individually or in a grouping of four, and she has a whole array of US states and some other countries and territories. The prints come in a variety of sizes and she also sells cards, decals, and other lovely illustrations.
Custom orders also available if you don’t see your preferred state or country or if you would like a different design.
Cost: $18 – $50
KUHL Hiking Pants
For outdoorsy types, high-quality clothing makes a fantastic gift. There are lots of great brands out there, and KUHL is one of the best and most stylish. I recently wore my new TREKR™ hiking pants throughout a trip to New Mexico, and they were light, comfortable, and up to all my hiking challenges. They were so comfy, in fact, that I even wore them on the plane. It made me wonder if I should have splurged on a pair of their leggings or travel pants as well.
If your loved one is most at home on the trail, in the mountains, or generally out-of-doors, a pair of great hiking pants or other outerwear would be a perfect fit!
Cost: $99 for the women’s TREKR™, men’s hiking pants $95-$199
Buy them on KUHL.com or at your favorite outdoor retailer. A quick note: I suggest ordering a slightly longer inseam length than you usually would, as I found that the pants ran a bit short.
Note: KUHL gifted me a pair of TREKR™ hiking pants in exchange for an opportunity to be featured on my website. The pants were gifted with the understanding that I wouldn’t share them if I didn’t love them, but after wearing them throughout my recent trip to New Mexico, I am happy to recommend them! Thanks, KUHL!
This cool little invention helps make your on-the-go entertainment experience a whole lot better. The AirFly Pro is a Bluetooth transmitter that allows you to use your wireless headphones with any audio jack. From seatback entertainment units on flights to the screens on gym equipment, you’ll be wire-free and fully entertained! Plus, you won’t have to worry about remembering to pack wired headphones just for the plane or having to buy the airline’s lousy ones if you forget. Just plug in the AirFly Pro, pair with your AirPods or other wireless headphones, and enjoy hours of entertainment without draining your phone, tablet, or computer battery.
One of the best things about the AirFly Pro is that you can connect up to two pairs of headphones, allowing you and your traveling companion to watch something together. This is great not only for flights but also long train or bus rides, airport layovers, and other time-killing. (Just a heads up: if your iPad or iPhone doesn’t have an audio jack, you’ll need a lightning to audio or USB-C to audio adapter.)
Back home, the AirFly Pro also works with gym equipment as well as for gaming, and you can even use it to send audio from your phone to a car stereo if your vehicle doesn’t have a Bluetooth system!
Shoe Bags or Organizers
Unless your suitcase has a separate compartment for shoes, packing them can get messy. Who wants all the dirt your shoes have picked up getting into your clothes? I’ve been known to wrap my shoes in plastic shopping bags, but these reusable, transparent drawstring shoe bags are so much better. I also like these zippered shoe pouches, which take up a little more space but are a lot nicer-looking and more durable.
Cost: $12 for eight transparent drawstring bags, $10-15 for two or four organizer bags (multiple colors available)
Engraved State Necklace
Whether your loved one has a favorite past vacation destination, is living far from home, has a lot of state pride, or is celebrating a big or upcoming vacation, an engraved necklace could be the perfect gift! I recently bought one of these for my friend Molly to celebrate her visiting her 50th state, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with how it turned out.
The necklaces are made of stainless steel – perfect for the sensitive skin crowd – and can be easily customized. They come in three colors and two lengths, so there’s something for everyone.
Cost: $17-$51 depending on how many coins you’d like the necklace to have and whether you want one side engraved or both. At the time of writing, this shop is also having a Black Friday sale.
M used to have a consulting job where he traveled a ton and always had to look sharp for client meetings on the road. There were multiple times when he got into a real bind because his hotel room didn’t have a functioning iron or the one that was there damaged his clothing. Enter this handy little travel iron, and he never had to worry about wrinkly, scorched, or snagged clothes again!
If your loved one travels a lot for work or just likes looking neat while on the go, a travel iron will be a tremendous help. It only weighs 1.1 lbs and comes with a small measuring cup for adding water as well as a drawstring carrying bag.
Portable White Noise Machine
We all know the pain of tucking into your hotel bed, exhausted, only to discover that you’ll be hearing the elevator, the bar downstairs, or the folks next door all night long. Help your loved one sleep better on the road with a small, easily portable white noise machine.
There are lots of options out there, ranging from mini sound machines and midrange options with sleep timers to more deluxe models that have non-looping sounds, a built-in Bluetooth speaker, and a nightlight – three gifts in one!
Cost: $16 – $60
Whether your loved one suffers from ear discomfort while on airplanes or is just a frequent flyer, EarPlanes make a great stocking stuffer. EarPlanes help to equalize pressure in your ears while you fly and have the added benefit of reducing ambient noise by 20 decibels. There’s even a free app that monitors cabin pressure and alerts you when the EarPlanes are needed. They come in kids’ sizes, too, which is great considering how tough flying can be on little ears.
Cost: $18 for a pack of three pairs
Hand Soap Sheets
Another great stocking stuffer, these ultra-thin hand soap sheets dissolve into a foaming lather just by adding water and giving your hands a little scrub. They’re perfect for people on the go, especially those who love to be outdoors or for those moments when the bathroom is out of soap!
That’s a wrap on the 2022 Holiday Travel Gift Guide! I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed putting it together, and that your holiday shopping is now well underway 🙂
If you’re still looking for ideas, make sure to check out the 2021, 2020, or 2019 lists. And don’t forget that Full Life, Full Passport travel planning services make a great gift as well; contact me to learn more!
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Holiday Travel Gift Guides: 2021, 2020, 2019
10 Road Trip Essentials for Toddlers
15 Road Trip Essentials for Baby
Need some help planning your next vacation – the ultimate gift to yourself? Full Life, Full Passport offers customized planning services for all kinds of vacations and budgets!
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