Happy November, everyone! I hope you’re all enjoying a lovely fall (or spring, for my Southern Hemisphere folks) and looking forward to the holidays. With (American) Thanksgiving just around the corner, you know what that means… it’s gift guide time!
Below you’ll find fifteen of my new favorite pieces of travel gear, most-wanted gift items, and fun finds of 2023. There’s something for everyone, and prices range from $8 all the way to $150+. I spend all year compiling my gift guides, and I can’t wait for you to see this newest edition. Let me know in the comments which items excited you most, and I’d also love to hear stories of how your gifting went once the holidays are over!
So now, without further ado… the 2023 Full Life, Full Passport Holiday Travel Gift Guide!
Travel Gifts... For the Plane
Airplane Phone Mount
With so many airplanes lacking seatback screens, this airplane phone mount is indispensable! Just unfold the mount, secure it to the tray table on the seat in front of you, and enjoy your movie or show without straining your neck.
The mount can be used at multiple angles or as a phone stand, and it can also be secured to luggage to help pass time at the airport. It’s super lightweight, adjusts to fit almost any phone, and takes up minimal space in your carry-on. Plus, it’s handy when you’re not traveling, as well – you’ll never be bored washing dishes or running on a treadmill again!
Weighted Sleep Mask
Let me tell you: I don’t know why it took me so long to invest in a good, quality sleep mask for long flights. This one was a bit of a last-minute purchase before my most recent red-eye, and it made such a difference!
The slight weight of the mask was soothing (especially for someone who sleeps with a pillow over her head like a lunatic), and it fully blocked any ambient light for a blissfully dark snooze. There’s even a little pocket in front of each eye so that you don’t feel the mask smashing against your eyelids.
This one comes courtesy of my cousin Bryn, who is a flight attendant and swears by this little device. The Eustachi works by pushing a stream of air through your Eustacian tubes as you swallow to help regulate negative air pressure and gently pop your ears. It’s perfect for anyone who has trouble with altitude changes on flights, suffers from clogged ears after flying, and many other ear issues.
Note: I’m not a medical professional, and although Eustachi is sold over the counter it’s never a bad idea to consult your doctor before using a product like this.
Cozy "Airplane Mode" Sweatshirt
Who doesn’t love a comfy sweatshirt for wearing on flights (or just around the house)? Help your loved one get in the mood for his or her next vacation – and combat chilly plane rides – with a big, cozy top that perfect for travel day layering. There are multiple colors available, and you can choose from crew neck sweatshirts, hoodies, and long-sleeved tees with the same design.
Cost: $52, but currently on sale for $21.
Travel Gifts... For Out and About
Stylish Camera Bag
For months before our Italy trip, I was on the hunt for a new camera bag. My old one looked nice, but it was bulky and hard on my shoulders during long sightseeing days. I looked at dozens of options, all of which were too big, too small, too expensive, or too masculine or utilitarian-looking. And then, almost at the last minute, I came across this crossbody bag from Meliae.
This bag is a bit of a splurge (for me at least!), but it totally proved itself over the course of our trip to Italy. The size is perfect, it’s comfortable to wear, and there are movable compartments that you can rearrange to fit your camera, lenses, and other belongings. Plus, it’s sleek and classy and well-made, which means I can be confident I’ll be using it for years (and many more vacations) to come.
Cost: $169 – $179
Slim, RFID-Blocking Wallet
This slim, inexpensive wallet was another Italy purchase that more than paid for itself in convenience (especially at a price of less than $10!). I don’t often travel with a purse or handbag, and I was tired of shoving a bulky wallet into my camera bag… or worse, loose cash and credit cards. This time, I sprung for a cheap, super thin wallet that could fit a couple of cards, a few bills, and my ID. Not only were my valuables organized and secure without all the bulk of a full wallet, but I could easily transfer this little guy between my camera bag, backpack, and small crossbody purse depending on what I was doing for the day. The RFID-blocking shield was just a bonus.
Travel-Friendly Beach Toy Set
While most of the travel gifts on this list are aimed at grown-ups, this beach toy set for kids was too cool not to include! Featuring a collapsible silicone bucket, shovel, rake, watering can, molds, and sand castle flags, it has everything a little kid needs for a beach getaway. The best part just might be the mesh carrying bag, which allows you to transport and store the toys while leaving most of the sand behind.
I’ve had my eye on an all-inclusive beach vacation for our young family, and you can bet this set will be coming along.
Speaking of beach vacations… I love snorkeling, and snorkeling tours are one of my favorite things to do when traveling in warm and beachy locations. What I don’t love, however, is using a snorkel that has been in a hundred mouths (or more) before mine. Gross.
If your loved ones also enjoy snorkeling on vacation, a set of their own equipment could be a great gift. It’s something they probably wouldn’t think to buy for themselves but will definitely appreciate the next time they have to gear up! You can choose a set with or without fins; they’d be nice to have, but they also take up a lot of room in a suitcase and aren’t nearly as icky to share.
Travel Gifts... For Safety
One of the toughest parts of a beach vacation is protecting your valuables while enjoying activities like swimming, beach walks, and sun-soaked naps. That’s where this small portable safe comes in! It’s large enough to hold your room key, phone, wallet, and a few other items, and it features a cable that allows you to secure the safe to a fixed object. No longer does someone have to stay behind to guard the stuff while everyone else is playing in the ocean or taking a long, leisurely walk!
But it’s not just handy for beach vacations! This little lock box is also helpful if your hotel room or vacation rental doesn’t have a safe available, for long bus or train rides, and more.
Portable Door Lock
Gift your loved one some extra peace of mind with this portable door lock. Made of sturdy stainless steel but weighing only five ounces, this lock fits into most inward-swinging doors to prevent anyone from breaking in. It’s quick and simple to use, as well as being small enough to easily tuck in a backpack or purse.
While hotels usually come equipped with multiple locking devices (at least a lock and a chain), Airbnbs, bed and breakfasts, guest houses, and other accommodations may not. The chances of a break-in or unauthorized entry attempt are small, but not impossible. Taking the extra precaution of an additional, interior door lock, especially as a solo female traveler, could make all the difference.
Travel Gifts... For Remembering a Trip
Customized Cruise Itinerary Mug
You know I love a travel gift that is functional AND serves as a souvenir! These awesome travel mugs can be customized with a specific cruise itinerary so that your loved one not only has a great container for hot beverages on his or her Alaska cruise but also can remember it fondly when using the mug back home.
Cruising the Caribbean instead? There’s a mug for that, too! The shop also does custom designs, so you can send over the itinerary for your Ireland road trip or week in Aruba and get a great souvenir to remember the trip.
Marissa from Coffee & Kids Designs was kind enough to gift me the travel mug above to evaluate as a worthwhile addition to this year’s Gift Guide. Instead of a cruise itinerary, I was able to give her a list of my favorite places in Alaska, and I just love the result. It’s become my go-to mug for afternoon work-session tea! (In fact, it’s keeping me caffeinated as I write this.)
In addition to the mugs, Coffee & Kids Designs also offers larger stainless steel water bottles, t-shirts and sweatshirts, and other goodies to help you record and remember your travels.
Cost: $28, plus you can use code FULLPASSPORT10 for 10% off all travel-related gifts in this shop!
Note: This Alaska travel mug was gifted with the understanding that I wouldn’t share it if I didn’t love it, and fortunately I do!
Wanderlust Passport Travel Journal
I’ve already mentioned how much I love a good travel journal – it was one of the first gifts I recommended in the original Holiday Travel Gift Guide back in 2019! And the great thing about travel journals is that as long as you keep traveling, you can never have too many.
At least that’s what I tell myself.
Enter Wanderlust Passport, a beautiful journal that’s ideal for capturing all the details of your loved one’s next trip. It’s structured to allow creative freedom while still providing great prompts – no boring fill-in-the-blanks here! It also comes with some cute stickers and a handy pocket in the back for ticket stubs, brochures, photos, and other keepsakes. Plus, with almost 100 blank pages for capturing your memories, there’s plenty of space for long trips or multiple vacations.
While I am not nearly artistic enough to create something as beautiful and interesting as the sample photo below, I still think it’s a lovely, well-made journal that could work for lots of different kinds of people – non-artists included.
Note: I was gifted a Wanderlust Passport in exchange for consideration for this year’s gift guide and have included it on its own merit.
Personalized Wooden Luggage Tag Ornament
I’m not a big souvenir person, but I do try to pick up a Christmas ornament whenever I go on vacation. I love that our tree is adorned with memories of great times together! There’s the silver stag to remind me of our week in Scotland, the delicate glass bell from Prague, the beaded hummingbird from Belize…
It’s no surprise, then, that these handmade, wooden luggage tag ornaments caught my eye! They are completely personalizable to a particular trip and would be the perfect holiday gift for a traveling companion. Customizable components include the country and city/place, dates, and traveler names, and the ornaments come in three different colors that will pop against your tree.
Cost: $21, extra for gift boxes or wrapping
Travel Gifts... For Dreaming of the Next One
Earth and Airplane Bracelet
I’m such a fan of pretty, travel-related jewelry, and this year’s gift guide inclusion is this sweet bracelet. Featuring a tiny airplane, dainty chain, and delicate cut-out of the globe, it’s the perfect understated addition to any travel lover’s wardrobe.
Cost: $40. Also available in silver or rose gold.
100 Countries: 5,000 Ideas
This book is an absolute must for anyone who loves dreaming about his or her next vacation. The first section helps you choose your next destination(s) based on tons of criteria including available activities, the optimal time of year to visit, the cost of travel, health and safety precautions, and more. The second part is all about the individual countries – one hundred of them, to be exact – and all the amazing things there are to do in each. It also features practical tips to help with travel planning, as well as pros and cons of each place. What more could you need?!
Plus, is anyone better at travel photography than National Geographic? These photos are gorgeous and will have your loved one booking a trip in no time.
Cost: $23 for paperback, $28 for hardcover
And that’s a wrap on the 2023 travel gift guide! I wish you all the best as you seek out the perfect gifts for the special people in your life. If you’re still looking for ideas, make sure to check out the previous years’ 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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