Thanks to vaccines and a waning pandemic, travel is officially back on the menu. Eager to make up for more than two years of lost time, many have booked flights to locales near and far, crowding airports during the summer and kicking off the travel season proper. As we head into the holidays, it’s likely that trend will continue — and that somebody you know will be one of those eager jet-setters hellbent on taking a holiday. That’s why it’s not a bad idea to gift your friend or family members something they’ll find helpful as they venture abroad.
To help you find the right present, we’ve come up with a number of ideas that should appeal to travelers of all backgrounds. We’ve included tech to keep your giftee entertained during marathon flights, like the Kindle Paperwhite ($95), as well as a number of more practical gifts, like seriously comfortable shoes ($110) and a universal adapter ($23) that will allow them to quickly charge their devices in more than 150 countries.
And don’t worry: we’ve also put together a variety of stocking stuffers and a selection of gifts catered to all kinds of budgets. So if you can’t afford a Nintendo’s $300 handheld or a luxe pair of noise-canceling headphones ($348), we still got you covered.
Universal Yums snack box subscription
A subscription to Universal Yums is perfect for foodies or those who dream of exploring the world. Each month, your giftee will receive a box of delicious snacks from a different country — ranging from Italian Bruschetta Bites to Indian samosas — along with a booklet that includes trivia and games designed to deepen their culinary knowledge of the region. Price: $16+
Anker 313 Power Bank
Unless you like living on the wild side, it's hard to travel without a portable power bank. Luckily, Anker's 313 Power Bank, while a bit mundane, can help ensure your giftee doesn't have to worry about their phone dying while they're booking a ride or looking up their flight number. The 10,000mAh brick is about the size of a smartphone and can provide enough juice to charge most phones and tablets at least once — that is, assuming you have a USB-C or Lightning cable to go with it.
Twelve South AirFly Pro
Twelve South’s AirFly Pro is a Bluetooth transmitter you can use to connect either your AirPods or another set of wireless headphones to a 3.5mm audio jack. This way, you can enjoy better sound quality — and possibly even noise cancellation, depending upon the headphones — while watching in-flight movies. Unlike other models, the Pro even supports connecting two pairs of headphones at once, making them well-suited for families.
What's more convenient than taking a smartphone snap of the Eiffel Tower? Being able to print it just a few seconds later, that's what. Polaroid’s excellent Hi-Print instant photo printer is small enough that your giftee can carry it while traveling, allowing them to quickly capture and print 2 x 3-inch photos with ease. They can even use the companion app to add text and a selection of colorful frames, just in case good color and contrasts are not enough.
Zendure SuperTank Pro
Nothing is more frustrating than your laptop running out of battery when you're nowhere near an outlet. That's why a travel charger like Zendure's powerful 100W SuperTank Pro will be a welcome gift. With it, your loved one will able to quickly charge their laptop or fast charge multiple smaller devices, including phones, tablets, or even a Nintendo Switch. The USB-C charger even features a built-in OLED display so they can see the charge rates of each device plugged into it.
Space Saver Toiletry Bag
You might think all toiletry bags are created equal, but the apt-titled Space Saver Toiletry Bag stands out from the rest. The plush, roomy bag offers a number of transparent storage compartments, ensuring your giftee can stay organized and quickly find their belongings when they're in a rush, along with a metal hook that allows them to hang the bag for even easier access. Plus, it's water-resistant, so they won’t have to worry about getting it wet in the bathroom.
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II
When your giftee is trying to catch up on the latest episode of The Vergecast while on a noisy flight, train, or bus, they can pop in Bose’s QuietComfort Earbuds II to drown out the world around them. The second-gen earbuds are one of our favorite models, thanks to a winning combination of noise cancellation and sound, along with a superb transparency mode that lets outside noise in. They’re also incredibly comfortable, meaning your loved one can wear them for hours at a time without feeling fatigue.
Kindle Paperwhite (2021)
Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite can store an entire library within a single device, rendering it a dream come true for bibliophiles. The newer model also features USB-C and an even better display than previous generations, along with the same IPX8 waterproofing and marathon battery life that have made the Paperwhite a household name among travelers the world over.
For the gamer on the go, there are few better gifts than a Nintendo Switch. It's the perfect console to play while you're waiting at the airport or stuck in a car for hours on end, especially since Nintendo's handheld boasts a huge library of games and lets you plug into a TV once you arrive at your destination. All you need to do is whip the portable console out, and within seconds, you can be exploring the picturesque fields of Hyrule.
With the Aeropress Go, your giftee will be able to enjoy their morning cup of joe no matter where they are, whether it be on a camping trip or in a hotel room in San Francisco. Not only does the portable coffee press pack into its own plastic cup and showcase a near-indestructible build, but it can make up to three cups of coffee at once, meaning your loved one can enjoy a refill when that jetlag inevitably hits.
L.L.Bean Stowaway Sling Pack
Every traveler needs some kind of bag, even for the shortest outings. Fortunately, L.L.Bean’s polyester Stowaway Sling Pack is lightweight and packs into its own internal stowaway pocket, making it the ideal bag for traveling, hiking, or simply exploring your local downtown. The assortment of subtle color options is just a plus.
Brita Water Bottle with Filter
Brita's stainless steel water bottle is a useful gift for those who live in an area where the tap water is not up to par. The 20-ounce container features a replaceable filter in the straw, which can sift out unwanted contaminants and the taste of chlorine, leaving your giftee with clean, fresh water no matter the faucet.
Scott's Cheap Flights (annual membership)
Scott's Cheap Flights is a terrific resource that can help save your giftee money on their next trip. The site constantly alerts its members of the latest flight deals, many of which are not publicized elsewhere. These include roundtrip tickets from Los Angeles to England for as low as $500, as well as international flights to Italy, China, Spain, and other areas of the world.
Bagail Packing Cubes
Bagail's no-frills packing cubes make trying to cram everything into your luggage a bit more effortless. The six-piece set, which features a slew of nylon containers in varying sizes, also gives you a better means for organizing your belongings, helping you to find things more easily. You can even use one as a carry-on in the event your checked bag is too heavy, saving you from an inevitable argument at the front gate.
Joby GripTight Pro 2
With Joby’s compact GripTight Pro 2, your giftee can capture photos of themselves and vlog more easily while traveling solo or with a friend. The tripod's versatile design allows it to accommodate most smartphones, while its adjustable legs give you a quick way to attach it to branches, railings, or anything else you can find nearby. Trust us: it's a hell of a lot better than a selfie stick.
Sony’s revamped WH-1000XM5s are the kind of gift your loved one will profusely thank you for after they've endured a long, crowded flight with a baby. They remain our favorite pair of headphones thanks to their tight sound and superb noise cancellation, the kind that will effectively tune out the world so your giftee can better focus on the task at hand or simply listen to Post Malone in peace.
Field Notes (three-pack)
When you're struck by inspiration while away from your desk and need to quickly jot down an idea or reminder, Field Notes have you covered. The pocketable 48-page notebooks are a nice alternative to frantically searching through the notes app and come with a bevy of fun covers that pay homage to everything from our national park system to the splashy technicolor heyday of letterpress-printed posters.
Spotify Premium (three-month membership)
Whether they have a penchant for international travel or cross-country road trips, your giftee is going to need a way to pass the time and curb boredom while on the road. A Spotify Premium membership provides access to millions of on-demand songs and podcast episodes without distracting ads, allowing them to listen to the latest Harry Styles tracks or catch up on their backlog of true crime before the next viral episode hits.
Thule Gauntlet laptop sleeve
It’s all too easy for a laptop to get scratched or banged up while traveling, especially if you're someone who likes to gamble with checked bags. If you want to help your giftee protect their expensive device, consider Thule's heavy-duty Gauntlet sleeve. The protective case comes in two colors (black and blue) and can accommodate laptops up to 13 or 16 inches in size, depending on the model. Each features a firm, rigid exterior and a padded interior, helping thwart any unwanted damage.
Trying to sleep with your head against the window — or, worse, your neighbor — on a long flight isn’t exactly comfortable. A travel-friendly offering like the Trtl Pillow can make things a little cozier, however, giving you a way to protect your neck and hold it in a more ergonomic position, thus preventing you from awkwardly nodding off on your seatmate's shoulder. Plus, unlike other neck pillows, the fleece offering barely takes up any space.
Epicka Universal Travel Adapter One
If your loved one often travels abroad, they’ll need a good travel adapter to power up their electronics. Epicka’s Universal Travel Adapter One is one they can use in more than 150 countries, including those in the UK, EU, and Australia. It comes with one USB-C port and four standard USB-A ports, too, which should allow you to charge a range of devices at higher speeds than many of the other travel adapters on the market.
Allbirds Wool Runners
A comfy pair of shoes is a basic necessity when traveling, especially if you plan on being on your feet for longer than a few hours. In those instances, it pays to go with something cozy like Allbirds' classic Wool Runners, which use a low-density foam for support, come in a host of attractive colors, and remain comfortable even when the weather dips during the cooler months.
Sungait Vintage Round sunglasses
A pair of polarized sunglasses can make for a great gift, particularly if your friend or family member is headed to a sunny climate or one covered in snow. Sungait's stylish, inexpensive glasses bask in a retro design that should fit just about anyone on your list, yet they're modern enough that they'll still protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.
Garmin InReach Mini
If your loved one enjoys traveling or hiking to remote locations, a satellite communicator like Garmin's InReach Mini is the perfect gift to give them — and you — some peace of mind. Even if they’re off-grid and lack cell service, they can use the device to send text messages, check the weather, share their location with friends, and even connect to search and rescue services should they find themselves in dire straits.
Tile Mate (2022)
Losing your luggage is never fun. That's why a tiny Bluetooth tracker like the Tile Mate makes for such a convenient gift, one that will help your loved one avoid such a scenario. The convenient location trackers feature user-replaceable batteries and are compatible with both iOS and Android, allowing your giftee to keep tabs on their luggage and other valuables located within 200 feet.