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Saturday, November 19, 2016

2017 Holiday Gift Guide for Travelers

It's that time again! Black Friday is less than a week away and people are creating their attack plans for hitting up the stores to get the best deals. Well, I'm not doing that. I'll be at home in my pajamas eating a turkey sandwich and watching a movie while other people are coming back home with black eyes and less hope in humanity than when they headed out. I last went out on Black Friday six or so years ago and that was after 10am, because there's nothing at a store I'm willing to wrestle someone over. It had been a good five or more years before that when I went out when it was still dark out to wait in line for a store to open, and it was so horrendous, I said I'd never do it again.

travel gifts

So, let's talk about the stuff you can buy from the comfort of your own home that won't be sold out five minutes after the stores open. You can buy them now, or buy them later. In fact, Wednesday I'll be sharing why you should also be using Ebates this holiday season (and every other time you shop online), to make sure to get the best deals without wasting gas, time or sanity.

Budget Options

Are you on a budget this year, but have a traveler on your list? Perhaps you have a few extra bucks and want to buy a little something extra or a stocking stuffer. Here's what I'm suggesting for under gifts under $50.

1. Lewis N. Clark Plaid Cosmetic Organizer: All your toiletries can fit in one place, with this lovely zip-apart wet and dry toiletry bag. One side can be used for liquids and work as your 3-1-1 bag and the other for everything else. It looks nice, feels nice and displays everything easily, so you aren't digging for things you need. $24.99 at Lewis N Clark or Amazon Prime {see my review here}  
2. Zensah Compression Socks: I can't live without these, while traveling and at home, since I have a part-time job that sees me on my feet 6-8 hours at a time. Beat poor circulation and swollen feet and ankles on flights, and at your destination, with these funky socks. They come in different colors and patterns and can make a vacation so. much. better. $29.99 at Zensah or Amazon Prime {see my review here}
3. Travelon Anti-Theft Active Crossbody Bag (Medium): Got a sporty traveler on your list that needs a new day bag? This lovely Travelon bag has a reflective body, all the best anti-theft features you want and can hold a tablet and something as large as a magazine. $48+ at Travelon or Amazon Prime {see my review here}
4. ORGO Lite: More often than not, when you travel, you find that there is little to no counter space in the bathroom. This makes getting ready really difficult. ORGO Lite expands to give you extra space, because it fits right over the sink. It also packs flat to take up only the minimal space in your bag. $39 on ORGO or Amazon Prime {see my review here}
5. Savvy Travelers wipes: Staying fresh on-the-go can be difficult, especially if you're trying to pack light. Savvy Travelers makes individually-wrapped, compostable wipes for taking off makeup, underarm deodorant, hand wipes, teeth fresheners and more. I love these and just ordered a box of makeup removers for my next trip. They're a great way to save room in your liquids bag as well. $10+ on Savvy Travelers or Amazon Prime {see my review here}
6. Travelon Anti-Theft Heritage Small Crossbody Bag: When I travel, I like to carry as few things as possible when I go out each day. I find that a heavier bag can hurt my back after a while, so I look for one that's just big enough to hold my essentials and this crossbody bag is it, plus it's adorable and has all of Travelon's best anti-theft features built in. The denim look is also very in and casual. $39.99+ on Travelon or Amazon Prime {see my review here}
7. Lewis N. Clark Packing Cubes: A lot of travelers find it difficult to organize or stuff all their belongings into their carry-on bag and constantly overpack and overstuff. I get it. It's taken me a long time to get my packing down and sometimes I still overestimate how much will fit in my bag. Packing cubes are great, because they are made to fit perfectly into your bag and keep everything in its place. $10 and up on Lewis N Clark or Amazon Prime {see my review here}

More Budget Options

I've reviewed a lot of budget-friendly items over the last few years, or have purchased them on my own for my travels and want to tell you about them. If you have a slightly larger budget, purchase several of these cool things to make a little travel gift pack. 
8. Zensah Coffee Socks: Okay, so my feet are always cold and I often travel with a pair of slippers, but they aren't always the easiest to pack and they only serve one purpose. These socks are made from coffee fibers, are extra warm, have a bit of compression to them, are cushy, moisture-wicking and are odor-resistant. They come in men's and women's sizes and colors and are a must for any traveler. $19+ on Fresh Legs or Amazon Prime {see my review here}
9: World Vision Handmade Gifts: Last Christmas I was able to try out this lovely mango wood beaded bracelet that was handmade in underprivileged regions. Each donation you make helps to give women and families in need small business loans and more, and with donations of $45 or more, you can choose to also receive a handmade gift from the list, which you can keep or give with your "a donation was made in your name..." card. $45+ on World Vision Gifts (though you can make smaller donations as well) 
9.5: HappyLuxe Wayfarer Wrap: I got all the way through this list before realizing this didn't have its own number. I'll be getting this lovely wrap any day now to review before Christmas, but I love the pretty colors and patterns it comes in and it can be used in several different ways, making it the perfect travel companion. I'll be using mine when it's chilly on the plane. When I make it to LA, I'll be using it to combat the cool air inside buildings and as a scarf at night when the temps drop. $39, on sale now for $24, on HappyLuxe
10: Cheeki Travel Undies: So in love with these undies that I now have at least eight pair and keep half of them in my travel bag. Cheeki come in several different styles and colors, look great, don't ride up (even after many wears and washes) and don't create a panty line. Each pair comes hermetically sealed and are ready-to-wear. They are great for your luggage, your purse, your car and are ready for any emergencies that might come along. $12 per pair + free shipping on Cheeki {see my review here}
11: Laken hot/cold Thermos: I received two of these and haven't taken a trip without them since they arrived. Cold stuff stays cold and hot stuff stays hot, for crazy long times. I fill mine with ice and add water to it and at the end of a long theme park day, after many water refills, there's still ice in there. Your coffee will stay hot all day as well. I now trade off on them on days that I work. In the morning, my coffee comes with me and in the afternoon my ice water comes with me. Having a hot or cold beverage can really make your day out so much better, plus many places are more than happy to fill them for you. I'm aware that Swell makes similar awesome bottles, but I love the lids on these, which can be clipped to a strap and carried over the shoulder. $13-65 on Laken or Amazon Prime {see my review here}
12: Butterfly Twists Foldable Flats: Flats are my new best friend. Ever since I got a stress fracture in my foot on my trip to Paris, I've purchased a bunch of flats, because my feet couldn't take heels for quite a long time. I love shoes that are cute and packable and Butterfly Twists are exactly that. They make foldable flats, rollable wellies and now loafers and sneakers. These are fantastic for the fashionable traveler on your list. $30+ on Butterfly Twists or Amazon Prime {see my review here}
13: Clip-on Cell Phone Camera Lenses: A lot of people use their phone as their main camera. I'm not one of them, but I find my phone works better in some situations than even my new camera, or my phone still has battery power and my camera doesn't. I love to try new photo styles and these clip-on lenses make your pics unique without having to buy different cameras or lenses. You can find them for under $10 for a set of 3, but this larger set is just $15.99 on Amazon Prime

Moderate Options

Perhaps you can afford a little more for your gift recipient. Here are ideas for gifts from $50-100.
14. Travelon Urban N/S Tablet Messenger Bag: Everyone needs a good messenger bag that can work for commuting, work, travel and more. This workhorse of a bag has two bottle holders, so you can stay hydrated and dry (if you use one for an umbrella), room for your full-size tablet or netbook, RFID-blocking card slots, room for your phone, snacks and tons of other items. The reinforced handle and adjustable strap will make it easy and comfortable to use, plus the classic look means everyone can use it and will want to. $64-80 on Travelon or Amazon Prime {see my review here}
15. Travel Gift Cards: If you aren't sure what to get them, then buy something they can definitely use. Choose a gift card from airlines, rental cars or hotels and make their travels cheaper. These are easy to purchase and work with your budget. Pay $50, $100 or $1,000 if you want. As much as I don't love giving gift cards as gifts, I make an exception for travel. 
16. Columbia Sportswear Omni Heat Jacket: We live in Oregon, where Columbia gear is everywhere. In fact, at least 1/4 of our wardrobes are probably outdoor clothes from Columbia. A must for travel is a lightweight, but warm jacket that you can pack without using up half your suitcase. Columbia's Omni Heat holds and reflects your own body heat, keeping you warm without the bulk. We both have at least one and they are thing, but mighty. I wore only this jacket when I was in Europe at it was 20 degrees out and I wear it all winter here in Portland. They are affordable, look good and don't take up all the room where your shoes and pants need to go if it needs to be packed. $60+ on Amazon Prime
17. CityPASS: Another great gift for those that are traveling and you know their destination city. CityPASS can save up to 50% off attraction and activities. $79 and up at CityPASS
18. Noise-Cancelling Headphones: If you just want to get some work done, sleep or generally ignore most of the people on a plane or other crowded space, noise-cancelling headphones are a traveler's best friend. By blocking out all that random background noise, you can concentrate on what you really want, even if it's getting some shut-eye. There are many different kinds in all price points, including the ones in the next section that I own two pair of. $60+ on Amazon Prime (make sure to read reviews if you're looking at a cheaper version)
19. Travel Jewelry: Let them showcase their love of travel through necklaces, bracelets or earrings. You'll find a whole host of great pieces in all price points on both Amazon and Etsy. I also love this sweet little camera necklace from Uncommon Goods. 
20. Kindle: If you have a traveler who loves to read on your list, then a Kindle is kind of a no-brainer. It saves room in a bag and the battery lasts forever on one charge, so even a long travel day will still have reading material available. From $80 on Amazon Prime

Splurge Options

Maybe you've been saving your pennies to make the holidays special for the traveler on your list, or you want to add these to your own wish list. These ideas are $100 or more.
21. Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Plus Convertible Backpack: Most travelers want a bag that can transition to fit their travel style. This convertible backpack can also be worn as a crossbody or carried like a briefcase and holds up to a 17" laptop, a weekend's worth of clothes and all your other necessities for a short getaway. This is a great travel companion and business bag so no matter what you need it for, it's there for you. $124-175 on Travelon or Amazon Prime {see my review here}
22. Lojel Nimbus Spinner Carry-on: Does your gift recipient head to destinations of all sorts, including ones where it rains all the time, like London, Portland or Ireland? The Nimbus spinner rolls easily over all types of terrain, is waterproof for many hours and the hard sides mean you can't overpack. The bag is lovely looking and sturdy, plus it fits in the overhead even on the smaller planes. $238+ on Lojel or Amazon Prime {see my review here}
23. Anatomie Style Women's Clothing: Just because you're not at home and trying to pack light doesn't mean you want to look like a schlub. Stock your carry-on with upscale pieces that are classic and versatile. Anatomie isn't cheap, but it's guaranteed to look good for years to come and help you blend in on city travels and cruise ships. Pieces are also lightweight, so they won't take up more space in your luggage than necessary. From $45 on Anatomie.
24. Lewis N. Clark WEA Carry-on Tote: I love a good tote, and Lewis N. Clark's new women's line has one of the better and good looking ones. Not only is it suitable for men, too, but it has a classic look, holds a laptop up to 17" and has tons of other space for clothing, snacks and more. Use it as a weekender, a commuter bag or a personal-size carry-on that holds everything else and fits under the seat. $100 on Lewis N. Clark or Amazon Prime {see my review here}
25. Sol Republic Air Tracks Bluetooth Headphones: Know someone who always has their headphones in/on? Maybe they've mastered the art of not getting all tangled up in their cords by now, but I still haven't. That's why I love these cordless (though they still have a cord if you want to use it) over-ear headphones. Not only do they eliminate that annoying cord, but they work on bluetooth, have a crazy long battery life and fit to adjust everyone's head, which I normally have an issue with. So, whether you're buying these for your dad, your cousin or yourself (and you're children will be sharing them), everyone can wear them without issue. $100 on Amazon Prime {see my review here - keep in mind that they are no longer available on Sol Republic's site, so that original link won't work}

Now that you have some great ideas for gifts, you should be set for next week. And if you don't have the cash to spend right now, Amazon Prime can save you money as well as time, because you don't have to go out and shipping is free! Remember, if you aren't a Prime member, that's okay. Just spend $25 or more to get that free shipping included.

Do you have your shopping list ready for the holidays? Or do you have another great travel item you like to buy as a gift?

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