Holiday Gift Guide for the Traveler

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Traveler

My sister’s impending move to Korea had my Christmas brainstorming on high alert. For a future expat and traveler-in-training I wanted to focus on great, practical gifts that leave any jet setter beaming. I focused on my must-haves to make travel comfortable, plus a few items for making memories bright.

Check out my holiday gift guide for the traveler, loaded with my favorite items at 35,000 feet.

1. Travel Guides // For me, there’s rarely anything better than a great physical guidebook for an upcoming destination. There’s something about the hard copies – a great addition to an at-home library – that I absolutely adore! For folks on the go, digital versions are often more practical, taking up no space in a carry-on.

Buy It: Try LUXE City Guides or Lonely Planet’s Digital Books for regions or specific destinations (prices vary)

2. Passport Cover // In all honesty, passport covers can be a bit of a hassle when you’re making your way through the airport but they’re a great way to keep your book protected while showcasing a bit of personality. With so many great varieties available, including awesome custom options, they’re a great gift for globetrotters.

Buy It: Try Fossil’s airplane embossed passport cover ($50) or Flight 001’s document holder for your passport and travel documents

3. ToeSox // For the active traveler, ToeSox are an incredible addition to a workout arsenal. Taking up virtually no space, they make yoga, barre and pilates an easy in-the-room option when that’s all you have to work with. Even without a yoga mat I can make do in a hotel room with a towel and my Barre3 subscription.

Buy Them: Yoga or Pilates Toe Sox  ($15 – $17)

4. Fujifilm Instax Camera // I personally can’t live without my Canon T2i, but I love the instant option of Fujifilm’s Instax Cameras. There are a variety of styles and options for different personalities and needs, but they all provide instant memories, the perfect foundation for crafting scrapbooks and all of those travel-inspired Pinterest projects.

Buy It: Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 (Neo Classic) ($180)

5. Eye Mask // I used to balk at eye masks, leaving the seemingly useless plush accessories for first-class travelers in need of the ever-elusive ‘beauty rest’. Now I diligently pack my eye mask in my carry-on for longer flights (mine are generally the cheap-o variety gifted by AA and Copa). I find them particularly useful for the long day time flights (not the red-eye), where TVs are on and there’s lots of activity on board. A comfy mask helps lull me into a somewhat comfortable state of rest for as long as I can muster.

Buy It: Try Flight 001’s travel eye masks or this Dream Essentials Sleep Mask complete with ear plus and a carry pouch

6. Destination Necklace // I have two of these that I alternate: an Anguilla version and a California version, my home home and my current home. For ladies on the move, these are great gifts for carrying a piece of your home state (or country) while you’re on the go.

Buy It: Explore tru.che’s Etsy store for destination jewelry

7. Face Mask // For long-haul flights, plane time can leave your skin feeling zapped. I go make-up free for flights and slather my face with a thick, hydrating mask to keep it from getting too dehydrated in flight.

Buy It: Try Fresh’s Black Tea Firming Overnight Mask ($92) or GlamGlow’s ThirstyMud Hydrating Treatment ($69)

8. Blanket Scarf // I rarely ever travel without a scarf, even to warm weather destinations. A great accessory for your dressed-down airport days, the thick versions double as a blanket on the plane when it gets too chilly to get comfortable.

Buy It: Rag & Bone Dagger Wool Jacquard Scarf ($175)

9. Water Bottle // I try to stay hydrated in the air (I’m not always successful) and those dinky cups of water don’t really do much to quench my thirst. I lug a Hydroflask with me and load it up with water in the Admiral’s Club so I can be set in flight. Aisle seat preferred when gulping water.

Buy It: Try the Hydroflask version or the S’well variety

10. Packing Cubes // One of the best additions to my packing arsenal, packing cubes are the ultimate way to convert someone to carry-on only status. There are thousands of tutorials and guides on the best uses, and you’re bound to find a way to use all three sizes for different purposes. For a three-week trip around Europe, I used three cubes to get me around in a single carry-on.Buy It: Eagle Creek Packing Cubes ($21.50, on sale)

11. Hanging Toiletries Holder // An absolute lifesaver for me, my hanging toiletries bag has completely revolutionized my ability to travel at a moment’s notice. I keep mine constantly loaded up with travel-sized favorites, including skin care and hair care products so I don’t forget the little things. If we have to hit the road with just a few hours notice, I can pack it up in a carry on and go without having to worry about toiletries.

Buy It: Try Eagle Creek’s Pack-It Slim Kit ($28) or Briggs & Riley’s Hanging Toiletry Kit ($89)

12. Scratch Off Map // A great gift for travelers wanting to keep memories alive at home, these Scratch Maps are a fun way to keep track of the great places you’ve visited. An awesome conversation piece for newbie travelers or veterans!

Buy It: Explore a variety of maps from Scratch Map ($20 – $30)


What would you add to this list? Any must-haves for travelers?

Shannon Kircher

More about Shannon Kircher

Shannon Kircher is the founder and editor of The Wanderlust Effect, formerly The Traveling Scholar. Founded in 2009, she has continued to document her international escapes as an expat in Europe and the Caribbean. She is a former resident of London and San Francisco and now calls the island of Anguilla home. In addition to The Wanderlust Effect, Shannon is the Director of Marketing for the Frangipani Beach Resort and is on the Board of Directors of the Omololu International School in Anguilla.