Looking for gifts for travelers this holiday season? Here are insider picks from travel masters to help you up your travel-friendly gifting game.
With the holiday season in full swing, now is the time to stock up on great gifts for the travel junkies in your life. But as any holiday shopper can attest, picking the perfect presents can be a stress-inducing, and often elusive endeavor. After all, while tech-obsessed travelers appreciate inventive gizmos and gadgets, road warriors are grateful for convenient, multipurpose tools that make their time in transit smoother and more enjoyable. To guide you to supreme presents to share with jetsetters this holiday, we collected insider picks from travel masters to help you up your travel-friendly gifting game. Whether you’re looking to save or splurge, these forward-thinking gifts are sure to fit the bill.
Belkin Travel Rockstar Surge Protector
Best for: International jetsetters
For minimalist packers who like to keep their carry-on compact and pared down to the absolute essentials, this 3-in-1 tool contains a charger, battery pack and a surge protector, making it easy to ensure your electronic devices are powered up wherever you are. Johnny Jet, editor-in-chief of the popular Johnny Jet site and an avid traveler, recommends this tool for added comfort, especially when traveling abroad or taking a cruise. The duel-outlet charger allows you to easily charge your phone, computer and camera seamlessly and simultaneously while on the go and is built with 615 joules of surge protection. The Belkin Travel Rockstar surge protector is compatible with Android, Samsung Galaxy (S5 or later), iPhone (5 or later), iPad mini 3, iPad Air 2 and Nexus 7, and costs $59.99.
Best for: Tech lovers who enjoy exploring under-the-radar destinations
This compact tool is ideal for tech-loving travelers who prefer visiting off-the-beaten track destinations without completely detaching from their electronics. “The new goTenna essentially turns mobile phones into walkie talkies by creating an off-grid network between two or more phones,” says Michael Alan Connelly, editor of Fodors.com. He points out that this is especially resourceful in a variety of situations, including isolated areas without cell service, crowded venues such as concerts and festivals, and emergency scenarios such as blackouts or when traveling abroad, where Wi-Fi can be spotty or nonexistent. “The goTenna allows messages to be sent between phones on the network, and also allows access to offline maps,” Connelly adds. Plus, you can share your location details for free, and the tool’s unique memory card can hold hundreds of messages. You can purchase a goTenna in pairs of two, four or more; prices start at $199 per pair.
Lewis N. Clark ElectroLight Backpack and ElectroLight Duffel
Best for: Backpackers and adventurous types
“It’s always handy to have an extra bag, and this takes up very little room in your carry-on,” Jet says of the lightweight and easily collapsible bags from outfitter Lewis N. Clark. Created from stain-resistant silnylon, these bags are especially well-suited for outdoor enthusiasts and international travelers who want to take a spare, foldable bag abroad. Plus, both the Lewis N. Clark ElectroLight backpack and duffel weigh only 3 ounces and can store lightweight supplies like books, magazines and water bottles. Best of all, the bags come in a variety of colors and cost only $31.49.
HumanCharger Jet Lag Headset
Best for: The business traveler seeking a cure for jet lag
Consider this compact portable device the remedy for travelers looking to transition their internal body clocks. The tool uses light therapy to reduce or banish jet lag entirely for those who frequently travel on long-haul flights, Connelly explains. The device features a headset that delivers natural UV-free light to boost energy, mitigate food cravings and minimize excess sleep for travelers flying across different time zones. Plus, it boasts an easily rechargeable battery and comes fully charged for up to two weeks. Users can even download a companion app (compatible with Android, iPhone and Windows phones) that “keeps travelers on schedule by telling them when to use the HumanCharger based on their home time zone and where they’re traveling to,” Connelly adds. What’s more, you can sync the device with your itinerary and travel schedule through vacation-planning apps like TripIt. And even if you don’t use the app, you can easily use the technology by putting the light-emitting earbuds in your ears and sporting the earbuds for 12 minutes each day based on the direction of your flight (morning for east-bound flights; afternoon for westward-bound flights). The Humancharger Jet Lag Headset costs $219 and is available on Amazon.
LifeProof Protective Phone Case
Best for: The adventurer looking for a foolproof case
Few things can dampen a trip quicker than a ruined cellphone. Happily, this durable case (compatible with iPhone 5 and higher, Galaxy S4 and higher, and Droid phones) can withstand dirt and water, not to mention being dropped from 2 meters. Plus, you can preserve touch functionality on your smartphone with its translucent cover. It’s a must-have item for those who drop their phone from time to time, Jet says. Beyond its resistance to the elements, it’s also compact and weighs less than 2 ounces, making it easy to stow away in your back pocket. And shutterbugs don’t have to worry about snapping sharp shots on vacation, thanks to its optical glass lens cover, which allows for steady travel photos. What’s more, Amazon shoppers can score additional savings, with the case currently marked down by more than 30 percent off its regular retail price of $79.99.
Try the World
Best for: Food lovers and culture vultures
Help your foodie friends discover different places through their taste buds by ordering them a subscription to Try the World, which “delivers delicacies from around the world every other month,” Connelly says. “Each box is focused on one place (Spain, France, Japan) and features a range of sweet and savory treats,” he adds. The company works with award-winning chefs to curate the varieties picked for each box and ensure authenticity. For example, a holiday-themed box might include spreads, condiments and traditional cookies from destinations across the globe, while another box, such as the Paris box, is loaded with gourmet French food items. Gift boxes start at $39 for one box, $105 for three boxes and $198 for six boxes.
Close runners-up: Some more top gift contenders Connelly recommends for the gastronomes on your list include Chococurb, a subscription service that delivers customized chocolate treats for different parts of the world each month, and Devoción, which sends locally sourced Colombian coffee beans in one-, two- and three-bag subscriptions for dedicated java drinkers. Chococurb one-month subscription packages start at $35; Devoción one-bag subscription coffee supplies start at $17.