Thoughtful gifts for her, at every pricepoint
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This guide to gifts for travel lovers is a round-up of the special items I use on my own travels, and have gifted to some of my favorite people. And a couple are on my own wishlist. (Dear Santa, I really need a tech organizer!)
Some but not all of these are “gifts for her” and I’ve tried to include items at many price points: a thoughtful stocking stuffer or a surprise for a special someone to unwrap on Christmas morning.
However you celebrate the season, I hope the joy of gifting a thoughtful gift, adds to the fun.
Holiday Shopping for Paris lovers? Explore the French-Themed Gift Guide
Gifts for Her
Travel Jewelry Cases
Online upstart Quince may be best known for affordable cashmere sweaters, (from $50) but they also stock an array of stylish and sustainably-made items for travel lovers. Their Leather Jewelry Travel Case is a compact square ( 4 x 4 x 1.4 inches) with spots for earrings, necklaces, and rings, all securely kept in place. Quince partners with factories committed to responsible production. That means paying workers fairly, eco-friendly manufacturing and ethical supply chains. Available in beige and black.
Monogrammed Luggage Tags
Extra-special luggage tags come with the traveler’s initials monogrammed in a font of your choice. The Fillmore Luggage Tag by Mark & Graham comes in eight colors and lots of choices of monogram style.
Compression Socks $30+
A few years ago my doctor reminded me that I should be wearing compression socks on every flight of more than a few hours. Compression socks reduce instances of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) which occurs in approximately 1 in 1000 adults annually. And being on a long flight puts us at higher risk. After trying multiple pairs on long flights, as long as 16 hours to Southern Africa, my personal favorite compression socks for women are Bombas.
Bombas socks come in two options: Everyday Compression Socks (15-20mmHg) and Performance Compression (20-30mmHg). I bought the latter and found the fabric to be soft and comfortable, firm but with some stretch. And they were easy enough to get on and pull to the top of my calf.
I also like the compression socks by Wellow and they have a wide-leg option.
She's Birdie's Personal Safety Alarm
Founded by sisters, She’s Birdie is an emergency alarm created to help women feel safe. This pocket-sized device lets off a deafening siren and flashing lights when activated, signaling that you need help. She’s Birdie donates a portion of profits to organizations that help women in need.
Lo & Sons Waverley Convertible Handbag
Lo & Sons “The Waverley 2 is a stylish crossbody handbag that I bring on almost all my trips. It can be worn four ways: crossbody, as a shoulder bag, a wristlet, and as a belt bag, around your waist. It has an interior zipper pocket and an exterior slot. I bought the Saffiano, a textured leather specially treated to be scratch and weather-resistant, in black with gold hardware. I really love the grey too; it’s a lovely soft neutral. It was the perfect bag for my recent Europe trip — I used it day and night. (Pictured here on a table at a Les Deux Magots café in Paris). They are also available in a gorgeous vegan option in cactus leather – yes made from a cactus. In four colors.
Helen Lo started the company with the help of her sons because she had back problems and wanted to create lightweight bags that were also stylish. I also own their Camera Bag and it’s traveled with me around the world. These gifts for travel lovers are made to last.
Holiday Gifts for Any Travel Lover
Paravel Fold-Up Travel Duffle
Paravel Fold-Up Bag is a perfect gift for the travelers who love to shop! This sturdy duffel folds into a small pouch. Slip it in your luggage to fill with souvenirs on your trip, and check it with other luggage for your trip home. The lightweight nylon is made from 22 recycled plastic water bottles.💚 Six colors and it can be monogrammed to make an extra-special holiday gift.
CalPak Tech Organizer Keep cables and cords organized on your travels; this is on my wishlist. This highly reviewed organizer comes in 10 plus colors and patterns. Dagne Dover Arlo Neoprene Tech Organizer Another option, also highly reviewed. I love this brand!
Packing Cubes for Travel
I often use packing cubes to stay organized on my travels. They are especially useful if you are on a trip where you are staying at multiple places and will need to pack and unpack. A few favorites include these water-resistant packing cubes by Quince (pictured in the top graphic, they’re made of recycled water bottles). They come in three colors, and a set of six. And this set of four, the Inside Packing Cubes by Away Luggage. Available in 10 fun colors.
Apple AirTags take the worry out of checking a bag. I actually take these on every trip, regardless of checked luggage. I have two: one for my carry-on and one for a checked bag. Some people even put them in a personal item. Also great for keychains, wallets, dog collars, and more.
I’ve always schlepped physical books along on my travels because I preferred them to reading on a screen. But things change, and I am committed to traveling lighter, so I asked Santa for an e-reader a couple of years ago. The Kindle Oasis was waiting under the tree and I took it with me on a trip to Hawaii! The Oasis version which I have is waterproof and it was fabulous to read in the pool and not have to worry about splashes. When I am not traveling, I use my Kindle Oasis in the bath at home. ($249)
The reviews are just as positive for the original models as the upgraded ones, so any e-reader is a great gift idea. The standard Kindle E-reader starts at $99.
Luggage for Travel Lovers
A couple of years ago, my New Year’s resolution was to be able to lift my carry-on bag into the overhead bin, without the help of a traveling companion. Luckily, I discovered Vancouver-based Monos Luggage and immediately fell for their durable, gorgeous and lightweight luggage. I own the Medium Check-In roller bag (pictured above) and the Carry-On Bag (below) which I am happy to say I lift all on my own. The roller weighs only 7.4 pounds and maneuvers like a dream.
I’ve traveled from Africa to Athens with my Monos bags so I think they are the perfect gift for the travel lover on your list. I’ve linked to Monos at Nordstrom rather than the Monos website because it’s free to return the bags to Nordstrom while Monos charges a fee to have them shipped back if you, or the giftee, wants to exchange or return. That said, they don’t always have the same sales, so you could compare both to find the best current price.
Caveat: light-colored Monos bags do scuff easily so I recommend a darker color. If you’d like to learn more, I’ve written a detailed review of my Monos bags: Monos Luggage Review.
AWAY Carry-On $225 and up
AWAY’s smallest suitcase, The Carry-On is very similar to Monos; it’s a lightweight hard-sided bag that’s simple, stylish and built to last. My son has had this suitcase for several years and it has held up really well. It comes in nine colours, and a few wowza limited edition hues such as wine and copper (the latter is more expensive). Black definitely seems like a wasted opportunity here.
One difference with Away is their luggage has an optional built-in battery. Yes, you can recharge your phone or laptop via a battery in your luggage. (You can not check it however, without removing the battery first).
Like Monos, Away has a second size: The Bigger Carry-On, which should fit in the overhead bin of most airlines. It is 47.9L versus 39.8L, so provides 20% more packing space (if my math’s right). Remember that usually translates into a heavier carry-on bag.
Travel Tote, a Luxurious Holiday Gift
My favorite tote bag is by Cuyana, the Classic Leather Structured Tote (pictured above). It’s a luxurious holiday gift for someone special. I use it for travel, and several times a week at home. Some people will prefer a zippered top so I recommend the Classic Easy Zippered Tote for travel. Available in multiple colors.
Budget pick! Quince makes a very comparable Italian Leather Tote. It comes in six gorgeous colors and is almost half the price of Cuyana.
Scarves and Wraps for Travel
Travel scarves by Waypoint Goods are a gift that allow travel lovers to keep their valuables secure while adventuring. The scarves are an infinity style so they stay stylishly wrapped and they come in multiple colors and patterns. I especially love the Oslo; its warm neutrals are ideal for matching a capsule wardrobe. For a more colorful travel gift, the Jasmine & Jain is a vibrant nod to Jaipur India (Jaipur, also known as the Pink City, is one of my favorite places.) Stash valuables such as your passport, phone, cash, and hotel key in a hidden zippered pocket inside the scarf and explore worry-free.
Scarf by Bloom & Give $50+
Scarves are my favourite travel accessory. They are light to carry around and ideal for covering shoulders on a chilly evening or when entering a temple. They add a hit of colour to a neutral outfit (perfect accessories to capsule wardrobes) and you can throw them over your head if you get caught in the rain.
Bloom & Give produces all of its beautiful items in India which is known for its gorgeous textiles thanks to heirloom traditions which have existed for thousands of years. Generations have passed down the art of embroidery, weaving and the dying and printing fine cotton. The result: stunning scarves of exceptional quality. I have purchased scarves on my travels in India and the cotton is truly exceptional. Bloom & Give donates 10% of every purchase to help send a girl to school. Educate a girl and change the world! Free shipping and returns in the US!
No passport required! Enjoy the scent of a favorite place with a Wanderlust Candle by Waypoint Goods. Owner, Caitlin Blythe, wanted a way to remember some of her favorite cities after she returned home. This curated collection currently includes: Dublin, Havana, Paris and Denver. Waypoint also sells a Hawaii candle – a tropical mélange of Fern, Hibiscus and Koa Wood. The laser-cut wood lids make these feel extra-special. The perfect holiday gift for a travel lover at home.
Packable Travel Raincoat
I purchased a packable raincoat several years ago and although I don’t always need it, I love having it with me, just in case. I needed it when it poured rain in Paris as we were walking from one end of the Tuileries Garden to the other. Ideally, it packs up in a small pouch. Mine is by Cole Haan and no longer available but this one is recommended by Travel & Leisure and less than $40 – Lightweight Waterproof Packable Rain Jacket.
Fitness Gifts for Travel Lovers
You don’t have to leave your fitness routine at home when you head off on a travel adventure. These lightweight fitness tools are designed to make exercise convenient, anytime and anywhere. And they make great affordable gifts. ,
Travel Yoga Mat
The Jade Travel Yoga Mat enables yoga lovers to keep up their practice while away. The mat weighs 3.5 pounds and folds to fit in luggage. It’s made of renewable tree rubber and is 3 mm thick, so has moderate cushioning relative to a standard yoga mat.
Exercise Resistance Bands $15
I’ve changed my gym routine so that much of my “ weight training” is now done with my own bodyweight and a set of resistance bands. Resistance training strengthens muscles and improves mobility. And I now bring a resistance band with me on most of my trips.
This set of three Pro-Tec Athletics Resistance Bands are a perfect small gift or stocking stuffer for a travel lover. They are light, packable, and come with a carry bag and instructions. And most exercises can be done in a small space, such as a hotel room. A great gift for home and travel.
Joby GripTight Phone Tripod $35
Capturing our adventures with beautiful photos enables us to enjoy our travels long after we’ve returned home, so gifts for travel photography are always appreciated.
I take my Joby GripTight Phone Tripod on every trip. If I am travelling alone it allows me to easily take photos with me in them. If I’m with my family, it’s nice to be able to get a photo of all of us, without having to ask someone to help. I used the tripod to get a family photo at Under Canvas glamping camp in Montana.
I love that the Joby tripod has flexible legs. I wrapped it around a fence to get a quick photo of me with the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, because I was on my own that afternoon.
Reusable Water Bottles
Bringing your own water bottle on your travels allows you to stay hydrated and avoid plastic. And the environment isn’t the only reason to avoid plastic. Studies show that plastic can leach chemicals into our food and water. Reusable bottles come in so many fun designs and styles. Here are two bottles that also come with built-in purification systems — especially helpful for travel in developing countries, when water safety can’t be assumed.
LifeStraw Go Filter Water Bottle $39.95
The LifeStraw Go Filter Bottle filters 99.9% of all bacteria, such as salmonella, cholera, and E.coli, and 99.9% of all protozoa (parasites) such as giardia. I once had giardia while traveling in Nepal. Not. Fun. This bottle has a two-stage filtration system. A carbon filter purifies the water while it moves through the straw, and a micron filter physically removes impurities. Although the bottle is plastic, it is BPA free. The filter can purify 1000 gallons (4000 liters) of water before it needs to be replaced.
MONOS Kiyo UVC Water Bottle
Yes, the Monos Kiyo UVC Water Bottle is pricey but Kiyo means ‘purity’ and that’s what this beauty is designed for. With a finger swipe, the bottle’s UVC technology purifies drinking water, eliminating 99.9% of bacteria. For the woman who travels to more off-the-beaten-path destinations, the ability to filter drinking water is incredibly valuable. And the Kiyo comes in six gorgeous colors. This is one water bottle you don’t want to forget at spinning class.
I hope one of these ideas is a gift that sparks wanderlust in the travel lovers on your wishlist this holiday season. Even better, perhaps a little something for your own wishlist, and a future travel adventure. Happy travels!
Holiday shopping for Paris lovers? Explore the French-Themed Gift Guide
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