The Best Gifts for Travel Lovers 2021All photos courtesy of the respective manufacturer Travel Features gift guides
If 2020 was a year of staying home, 2021 will wind up as the year we got back out there. Travel has dramatically increased over the last few months, as confidence in vaccines and the need for a change of scenery have us itching to get back out into the world. After all those months of not going anywhere, though, we could all use a little help. We looked around for some of the best products on the market to make travel more convenient, organized, and fun for your favorite adventurer, and here is what we’ve found.
I’ve tried a lot of carry-ons over the years, but I always return to my Vera Bradley Rolling Duffle Bag. I can fit a ton inside of it, it has a special compartment for shoes or anything else that needs to stay separate, and the fun patterns make it easy to identify if I have to check it for some reason. It also folds flat for storage and is made of recycled water bottles.
I’m obsessed with this blanket from Coalatree. It’s water resistant, can fold into a small pillow, and has snaps to turn it into an emergency poncho. The patterns are beautiful and made from 100% recycled materials. It’s great for impromptu picnics or as a lightweight blanket when the plane gets chilly. It’s stylish, functional, and practical. Coalatree also uses surplus fabric to make blankets for the homeless in Salt Lake City, so purchases support a company that gives back to the community.
Calpak’s Power Luggage Tag is another clever product that can multitask. It’s a beautiful luggage tag that contains a 2500 mAh power bank to make sure that your electronics are charged as you wait to board your flight. No more fighting over the few outlets at your gate. The power bank can be easily removed to slip into a purse or pocket once you reach your destination.
I hate sleeping on planes. I’ve tried a million different travel pillows, and this one is the first that helped me sleep comfortably in my cramped coach seat. It inflates and deflates quickly and allows you to take advantage of your tray table to get quality sleep. It also has space to fit your phone or Kindle if you want to read or watch a movie. Yes, it looks a little weird, but it makes a huge difference on a long flight. It’s also a conversation piece—other passengers always ask me where I purchased it.
Barefoot Dreams makes some of the softest products I’ve felt, which makes this set perfect for a long flight or in a cold hotel room. All three items are made of their CozyChic fabric and feel like a hug. There’s a reason Oprah loves Barefoot Dreams.
Scents have a huge effect on my mental well-being, but it can be tough to travel with candles. The Pura Smart Device Home Fragrance Diffuser plugs into an outlet and can be controlled by an app on my phone to release fragrance when I want it. Whether you need something calming to help you fall asleep, something energizing to get you moving, or a romantic scent to set the mood, the Pura Smart Device has you covered. It makes a hotel room feel more like home.
It’s always a good idea to travel with sunscreen, regardless of destination. Olita Organic Mineral Sunstick comes in two tinted colors to blend with skin tones, is made from organic ingredients, and is REEF Safe, so you don’t have to worry about harming the ocean as you explore. The solid form makes it convenient when traveling, and a portion of all sales benefits the Coral Reef Alliance and Climate Collaborative.
NoMo Travel Set
Mosquitoes are the worst, and I hate the smell and feel of insect repellent. NoMo is a classier way to keep those pesky bloodsuckers away. The scent is lovely to humans but annoying to bugs. It uses a blend of essential oils to keep mosquitoes at bay. This set is perfect for flying and is free from Deet, Picaridin, and Citronella.
Lay-N-Go Cosmetic Bag
This bag is a game changer when traveling. The shape makes it easy to pack, and it’s so simple to unfold and access all of your beauty products. No more rooting around in a bag trying to find your favorite lipstick. It even has zippered pockets for jewelry and other smaller items. It’s also machine washable, which is really convenient for cleaning spills.
I love traveling to cold weather cities like Chicago, Pittsburgh, or Paris in winter. They’re less expensive, there are fewer tourists, and I get a better sense of how locals live. The downside is packing enough to stay warm. This hand warmer is another product that does double duty. It keeps my hands warm and can also charge my phone. There are three temperature levels, a 5200 mAh power bank, and several stylish colors and patterns.
The AirFly Pro is a nifty gadget that plugs into the headphone jack on your flight and allows you to use your wireless headphones with in-flight programming. It saves you from having to purchase those cheap airline headphones and lets you use the expensive noise-cancelling pair you packed in your carry-on bag.
I always travel with my Columbia Arcadia II. It’s waterproof, breathable, has an adjustable hood and hem, and is packable into one of the hand pockets. They’re size inclusive, ranging from XS to 3X and come in a wide variety of colors.
Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer’s Guide is brought to you by Atlas Obscura, one of my favorite travel sites. The book celebrates food and drink from all seven continents and pays tribute to food’s place in our lives. Anyone who loves food or unusual history will appreciate this gorgeous book.
Amanda Uprichard’s beautiful vegan leather belt bag can be worn around the waist or as a crossbody bag. It fits your essentials and has both standard and plus size options. I used this on my last Disney trip and appreciated not having a bag pulling on my shoulders all day.
This bag is a true shapeshifter, transforming from a garment bag for suits and other hanging garments to a duffle for more casual clothes. It’s water resistant, has interior pockets for shoes, and meets carry-on requirements for most airlines.