While a trip would probably be tops on the list for travel enthusiasts for a gift, there are also plenty of other best gifts for travelers that can help make traveling more comfortable and fun.
The team at Go to Travel Gal has compiled a list of our favorite travel items that we think would make GREAT gifts for you to put on your own holiday wish list or to get the travel lovers in your life.
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Here are the Go to Travel Gal team’s top recommendations (in no particular order)…
Best Gifts for Travelers for the Holidays
1. Travel Cords Organizer, Amazon, $13.99 (Regularly $21.99)
I bought this nifty cords organizer this year after getting frustrated with not having a good system for packing all of our cords. It definitely helps divide cords in different areas, and I love the top area with the pocket where you can store some thinner items.
This cord organizer, which is an Amazon Choice product with more than 900 reviews, is not big enough for a family, but I’d say it would probably be sufficient for two people. It is quite compact and easily fits in a backpack or carry-on bag.
2. OOFOS Flip-Flops, Amazon, $29.95
OOFOS are my FAVORITE shoes EVER! I absolutely love these flip-flops, because they are both extremely comfortable AND supportive. I literally have worn these flip-flops all over the world from the cobblestone streets of Italy to Disney World to the beaches of the Caribbean.
They hold up very well with frequent use, are easy to wash, and I promise, you’ll never find a more comfortable shoe. They are fab for plantar fasciatis (which I suffered from a few years ago) and heel pain, as well.
You can find OOFOS in lots of different colors and styles these days, and they also now have boots and actual shoes that cover your feet, as well. I have them all and love every pair!
3. Carry On Bag: Travelpro Maxlite 5 Softsided 21-inch, Amazon, ~$116 (regularly $150)
I always notice that most flight attendants use Travelpro luggage. I always like to peek at what they’re wheeling with them through the airport and inevitably it’s a Travelpro bag (I recognize it by its Eiffel Tower logo :)).
In an article I wrote for US News & World report on best carry-on bags, Travelpro also ranked high in many categories, especially the soft-sided Maxlite 5. They gave it high marks for its light weight (5.4 pounds) and ability to expand an additional 2 inches.
I like that it has handles on all sides, is a spinner and comes with a lifetime warranty on its wheels (wheels always seem to go bad on my bags!), zippers and handles. It also comes in lots of great colors like azure blue (above), slate green and burgundy.
Available on Amazon for ~$116, this bag also has nearly 3,000 reviews on Amazon, averaging 4.5 stars. I’m asking for one for Christmas!
4. Collapsible Cooler, Amazon, $34.99
We love this collapsible cooler that can help you keep drinks, snacks and lunches cool on your travels, especially on road trips, which are ever more popular these days!
These are also handy if you’ll be visiting a National Park where you won’t have easy access to food and drink for a good bit of the day or even to a beach where you plan to hang out all day in the sun.
Cami S. says she uses this version from Coleman, which holds up to 40 cans. “I use it as a carry-on with food I can eat in it, since I’m on a restricted diet,” Cami says. “Usually I have it filled with homemade beef jerky, fruit strips, sweet potato chips, etc. It also came in super handy on our driving trip around Ireland when we went and stocked up at Aldi, too!”
The cooler flattens down to a thin size, so it doesn’t take space in your luggage, and you can pop it out when you need it! It also comes with several pockets to store accessories or other items on the outside, as well, and has handles for easy carrying.
5. Crossbody Bag, Amazon, $49.85 (regularly $75)
6. Erin Condren Travel Planner, Amazon, $13.59 (regularly $16.99)
I bought this Erin Condren travel planner (an Amazon’s Choice product) for all the members of the Go to Travel Gal team last year for Christmas, as I loved the idea!
The journal comes with pages to plan your travels from reservations and flights to packing lists and to-do lists. There’s also an area for each trip to record your memories and experiences, including your favorite moment of the day. You’ll also find areas to track expenses.
At the back is a bullet journal to make drawings or other notes and there are also stickers to make your journaling even more fun!
7. Foldable Travel Tote, Amazon, $17.99
Linda S. says she loves her tote bag that folds up to easily fit in her luggage. She says she can use it for multiple purposes, including trips to the beach, shopping and travel.
“In case my shopping gets out of control, I can use it as luggage for the way home (yes, this has happened on multiple occasions),” says Linda.
This foldable tote comes in five different colors, is waterproof, has pockets and folds up into a small pouch when not needed.
8. Travel Blanket, Amazon, $24.79
Especially for long-haul flights (like 4 hours+), I love to have a blanket to cover me up if I get cold and just overall to get cozy. Gone are the days where airlines provide you with a blanket!
In the past, I’ve ended up just using my zip-up hoodie or wrap to cover my legs, but I started noticing folks on international flights with travel blankets and I wanted one, too!
I love this easy-to-tote travel blanket, which comes in lots of colors. Slide it on your carry-on or hook it on to your travel backpack (see recommendations below). It’s super plush and also makes a pillow! Love!
9. Buff Headwear, Amazon, $15-$46
Buffs are popular with outdoorsy types, as these items have multiple functions perfect for being outdoors. These days, they can also serve as neck gaiters to pull up over your mouth and nose.
An Amazon’s Choice product, “buffs” are designed to be worn on your head in 12 different ways. This includes over the hair, as a headband, as a hat, around the neck and more.
Buffs have 50 SPF sun protection, are wind resistant, wick moisture and dry quickly. They are kind of like a modern version of a scarf, but work for both men and women.
A good rain coat can also be handy to have when traveling, so your fun isn’t ruined just because the sky opens up! Check out this rain jacket for your next trip.
10. Packing Cubes, Amazon, $13.99 (regularly $19.99)
Most of the Go to Travel Gal team swears by packing cubes for their ability to organize and compress clothes in your bag. In fact, I’d say that packing cubes are the single greatest product I’ve found to improve packing and organize clothes when traveling!
Packing cubes are material bags of varying sizes that zip and have handles on the sides. I use them to separate different types of clothes (swimsuits in one, boxers in another, pajamas in another).
“I also love that one can be used to contain all dirty items, so when you get home its separate from clean items, and you can just toss everything into the laundry,” says Lisa W.
They’re easy to pull out of the suitcase and put right in a drawer when you get to your hotel or accommodation. AND if your bag happens to be too heavy when checking them at the airport, simply pull out a packing cube (with handle on the side) and bring it with you as a carry-on.
This Amazon’s Choice product is a set of five: two large, two medium and one small.
11. TRTL Travel Pillow, Amazon, ~$20 (normally $39)
Never have trouble sleeping on a plane again with the TRTL travel pillow available through Amazon Prime, which Nancy M. loves, and me, too! I slept four hours on an overnight flight to Europe using this super handy pillow that is soft and is designed to more naturally support your neck than other travel pillows.
12. Bodum French Press, Amazon, $19.99 (Regularly $25)
“I love coffee, but I’m a bit of a coffee snob,” says Stephanie. “Hotel coffee doesn’t work for me, so I never leave home without my French press.”
She says it’s small enough to put in her carry-on luggage. She also usually takes ground coffee, too, but sometimes she buys it at the destination, as well. The press also makes tea!
13. SmartWool Socks for Hiking, Amazon, $15-$45
If you’re a hiker, you know the right socks and shoes make all the difference in your comfort and ability to hike for long distances.
We swear by SmartWool socks when hiking, as they absorb moisture, stay put so there’s no rubbing to create blisters and are comfy. We like to have at least two to three pairs for a hiking trip to rotate in between washes. These are excellent gifts for the hikers in your family!
They also come in lots of fun colors, stripes and patterns!
14. Prive Revaux Sunglasses, $29.99 – 30% off all glasses for Black Friday!
A Go to Travel Gal reader introduced me to these AWESOME sunglasses, as the company is owned by his son. I have a terrible time with sunglasses, as I’m forever losing them, breaking them or getting them too dirty in the pool. Plus, I have ZERO fashion sense, so I can always use a hand there :).
Enter Prive Revaux sunglasses. These glasses are ALL stylish, so I know any pair I select will look good :). They’re also very well made and cost just $29.95. My husband and I have each had two pairs, and they are still in great shape.
Each pair comes with its own sturdy carrying case (which is what I think has helped save these glasses in addition to being well made) and wipe cloth so you don’t damage the lens.
15. Tortuga Travel Backpack, Amazon, $143 for Black Friday! (Regularly $179)
I NEVER travel without my travel backpack! It is SO incredibly handy to have everything you need for the plane or out on the town on your back, freeing up your hands.
The kind I have is no longer available, but this one, the Tortuga Setout Travel Backpack, is very similar and even better, as it has a slot for a drink on the side, which mine doesn’t, and MORE room to store clothes. US News & World Report also gave this one high rankings in its list of Best Travel Backpacks for 2020.
The Tortuga backpack has a slot for your laptop or tablet, a place to attach your keys (this is something we always have a hard time finding upon return!), lots of interior pockets, a padded mesh back to keep you comfy and cool, and most amazingly, enough space to pack a week’s worth of clothes if you roll them properly!
16. Hiking Sticks, Amazon, $24.99 (regularly $34.99!)
For our Utah trip to see four National Parks, I felt some hiking sticks were in order! I’ve always had a difficult time with my joints hurting even with the best hiking shoes I can find, so I purchased these aluminum TrailBuddy hiking/trekking poles/sticks in a set of 2 to see if they would help.
They helped me tremendously! They take some of the pressure off of your joints as you hike and are especially handy in Utah, adding stability as you make your way over treacherous, uneven rocks and along paths with drop-offs on either side. They gave me so much more confidence that I was not going to fall down or plummet off of a cliff!
They come in multiple colors, shrink down to easily fit in your luggage or backpack if you decide to put them away for awhile when hiking and are an Amazon best-seller.
17. Portable Luggage Scale, Amazon, $12.81 (regularly $20)
One of our best (and least expensive!) travel purchases has been a portable luggage scale. This is super helpful in making sure you don’t exceed an airline’s luggage weight limit (we always seem to be pushing it!). This way you can rearrange things BEFORE you get to the airport and are standing in the check-in line, realizing your bag is too heavy.
We used to try to figure out the weight of our luggage by standing on a bathroom scale with and without the bag. Awkward to say the least… But these let you hook them on to the bag, pick up the luggage and get a pretty good idea of what it weighs. Better yet, they are small, so you can stick them in your bag to weigh them before your return trip, because most hotel bathrooms don’t even have scales!
This Travelon portable luggage scale is available through Amazon Prime and comes with a hook and not just a strap (I MUCH prefer the hook!). It weighs in both pounds and kilograms (which we found helpful when traveling to Europe to ensure we did not exceed our international airline’s allowance) and comes in black and turquoise blue.
Check out these ideas for the best carry-on luggage for travel.
What are your favorites on this list? Which will you be adding to your holiday wish list?