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Saturday, November 20, 2021

Holiday Travel Gift List 2021

Travel is coming back, y'all! I'm excited, but still cautious and know it's never going to be the same as it was, but many of us also remember when 9/11 happened and also when they stopped allowing smoking on planes and travel changed forever. It's fine. Things change and evolve and we go on with life.

We want to travel safely, so we learn new rules and maybe we complain about them or maybe we just accept them. Basically, I just shrug and figure out how to work with the system and get to my destination and have a good time (hopefully) and go back home and start planning again. 

Well, people are getting vaccinated and boosted and their children are finally getting vaccinated, too, and making them feel much more comfortable taking them anywhere, so while 60% of Americans say they won't be traveling for the holidays this year, it doesn't mean they won't be traveling ever again. In fact, I think most are just frustrated by the high prices and the challenges that pandemic life has wrought upon us all. So, if you have a traveler in your life, then you know that they will be looking to get out there again and you can help them, with awesome travel gifts. 

You'll want to buy your gifts sooner rather than later this year, especially if you plan to ship anything, because slow shipping service is going to be a headache. The cutoff to ship anything Ground this year to get it there by Christmas (you hope) is Dec 9th. Crazy, right? That's why I've posted this list a bit earlier this year. Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales are already flooding my inbox weeks early, so you don't have to even wait to get good deals this year. And, no matter your budget, you can get something awesome for everyone on your list.

Stocking Stuffers - Budget Items - $50 or less

1. Travelon Water Bottle Tote We are always carrying around a reusable water bottle. You don't really realize how much you drink on vacation (or everywhere else) until you don't have to pay for them everywhere you go. I like to keep my hands free when I'm out and about, so a bottle tote is a great invention. Travelon has several, but these two pack down to almost nothing. Nylon is $12 on Travelon | Anti-microbial is $13.50 on Travelon + use my code ShereenTravels20% and get 20% off.
2. Q2 Power Travel Adapter Anyone who travels outside of the country needs an adapter for their electronics. Most US electronics are dual voltage, so you don't have to worry about a converter. This adapter from Bracketron can be used in a bunch of countries, and has a built-in USB outlet for your phone. This was my favorite adapter on my last trip. It charges your phone quickly, and I was able to plug my laptop into the main outlet. It worked perfectly. I only wished I had a second one. $19.95 on Amazon
3. The Man Who Ate Everything Do you have a foodie traveler on your list? Or someone who loves to travel, but not really try new foods. New food is one of the best parts of traveling. Gift them a book about Jeffrey Steingarten traveling around the world to sample foods and expand his palette. If they've already read that one, get them the sequel. From $12.99 on Amazon | It Must Have Been Something I Ate from $18 on Amazon
4. FaceCradle There are so many travel pillows to choose from, but one of the best I've tried is the FaceCradle. Not only is it perfect for the ever-diminishing airplane space, but it's great for tall people, and for using on trains and in cars as well. It has a bunch of different ways to use it. We have the regular version and the lite version, and we sleep like babies on the plane. You can see my review here. $49.99 on Amazon
5. Aeropress Go The AeroPress Go is as great as the original, but everything is compact enough to fit inside it's own coffee cup, which is pretty amazing. As a person who travels quite a lot and tends to stay in places that have terrible coffee makers or none at all, being able to get a good cup of coffee is very important to me. If you have a similar coffee lover on your list, this is a must. You can see my review on it here. $31.95 on Amazon
6. Hand Sanitizer in good smelling scents I know hand sanitizer sounds boring, but it's a great addition to a larger gift and is crazy invaluable for being safe and healthy on trips. Everyone has lovely scent combos and they come in conveniently-sized spray bottles. From $16.18 for a 4 pack on Amazon PlaneAire has more non-traditional scents and are moisturizing gels. From $6.99 on Amazon
7. Happyluxe Wayfarer Travel Wrap I love this oversized wrap. It's so soft and comfortable, I can wear it as a shawl or a blanket or a big scarf, or it can be used as a picnic blanket. It packs up small, so I can stuff it in my purse with my snacks. Everyone needs one, in my opinion. $34+ on Amazon
8. Airplane Pockets So, I hate the airplane seat pocket. It's never big enough, it already has stuff in it that isn't mine, and usually there's trash in there from the previous flyer. When I saw these on Kickstarter, I immediately wanted them. We ordered enough for our family traveling from Portland to Scotland and I love them. Airplane Pockets fit over your tray table, making it antibacterial, and give you four pockets - one large one and three smaller ones - to fit everything you need for a flight. After you land, slip it off, fold it up, and toss it in your bag. $23.90 on Amazon
9. The Barrier Method "Just the mask" or Neckie Warmer climates call for more breathable masks and, though I love the Winged Mask (in the next section), their just the mask or neckie (shown) are more suitable for many destinations. They are lightweight, but still anti-bacterial and have built-in UPF, so you don't get sunburned on your face and neck, especially when sitting in the window seat where the sun's rays can be much worse. From $35 on The Barrier Method - sign up for their newsletter and get 26% off through November

Cool Gifts - Moderate Items - $50-100

1. Travelon's new Heritage Weekender This bag is so beautiful and unisex and user-friendly. It unzips on top and has a phenomenal wide mouth opening, because they know what we all want and need in our bags! It can easily hold a week's worth of clothing with spare shoes and toiletries. The Heritage collection is lovely and wears so we'll. The longer you use it, the more worn and fantastic the fabric looks. $105 on Travelon (get 20% off if you use code SHEREENTRAVELS20%)
2. Uber gift cards Sometimes renting a car isn't worth the money and sometimes public transportation isn't an option (like late at night). Make sure they get there safely and easily with gift cards they can add to their Uber account for a cheaper trip. You can buy these at Target or other big box stores. Any denomination on Uber website 
3. The Barrier Method Winged Travel Mask Okay, I feel like travel is one of those things that can be simultaneously awesome and awful. You get to go to cool new places and you can also get some disgusting sicknesses from all the germs everywhere, especially on the plane. This anti-bacterial mask is both healthy and pretty and can be used to stay well, reduce your allergens, keep your neck warm, among other things. Gift your traveler with gift of health and wellness with one of these. $60 from The Barrier Method (you can read my review here.)
4. Airbnb gift cards Accommodations can get spendy, so give them something they can really use no matter where they go. Let them choose where to go and where to stay to make them happy whenever they travel. You can purchase any denomination either at a local store that sells gift cards or Amazon
5. Walter + Ray TAB Getting on the plane and then having to contort your body uncomfortably to get items you want to use in-flight out of the bag under the seat in front of you is crazy! Walter + Ray invented the TAB in response to allow you to pack everything you need for your flight in a slim pocket that has a tab that slides into the seat pocket or a strap that fits over the tray table, even closed, so you always have access to all your goodies and you don't have to hurry to shove them all in the seat pocket and then realize you've forgotten something after you've deplaned. $65 on Walter + Ray's website
6. Benjilock Regular TSA-accepted locks usually suck, and are easy to forget the combination to, especially if you only travel a few times a year. If that's a problem your recipient has too, so he just doesn't use a lock on her luggage, a Benjilock might just be what he needs. Instead of a combination or a key, it opens with a fingerprint. And if he's traveling with several people who are using the same carry-on/suitcase, it can hold up to 10 fingerprints. $70 on Amazon, but can also be found at The Home Depot and QVC and Ace Hardware.
7. Timbuk2 Swig Backpack I go on at least one trip alone each year, or a short getaway, where I don't take a lot. I have this bag, which perfectly fits my giant laptop, a few changes of clothes and my toiletries. It's got a very slim profile, so it sits against your body very comfortably. I hate bringing more than I need, but I also like to use this as a personal item on longer trips, so I can keep my necessities under the seat in front of me. $64 on Amazon
8. Herschel Winslow Garment Bag If a more streamlined garment bag is something they're looking for, look no further than the Winslow Garment Bag that looks like a funky softside briefcase. It comes in cool colors and patterns and has mesh zippered pockets inside for all their accessories. It even has a trolley sleeve to slip it over your rolling bag, but can also be used as a pocket when you don't need that feature. $119, but on sale for $47.99 right now on Herschel website
9. Tropicfeel shoes I backed these as a kickstarter, because they sounded amazing. They are pretty much Spring and Summer shoes (though if the fall isn't cold, you could wear them then too). We travel to Vegas a lot and do a ton of theme parks, which have plenty of water activities. These shoes are like your best sneakers and water shoes in one. I backed them hoping they would be as good as they sounded, and they were. We both have a pair and they are super lightweight, can be worn with or without socks, and look fantastic. They are perfect for all the walking your giftee will do on their travels. $78 on TropicFeel 
10. Cashmere travel blanket Sure, you could buy them any number of other travel blankets, but add a bit of luxe to their travels, especially those college kids staying in super cheap accommodations, and to make their economy seat a little less awful. I like this one that's a wool/cashmere blend, making it a bit more affordable for your wallet, too. $81 on Amazon

AMAZING Gifts - Splurge Items - $100+

1. Priority Pass Hanging out in the airport can be fun, but after a while, you wish it could be better. Buy them access to all the airport lounges, so they can get some peace and quiet, free snacks and maybe get some work done or catch a shower. You can purchase them a standard pass for $99/year, or upgrade him to the plus for $299, which includes 10 free visits (generally member visits are $32). 
2. Arcopedico L8 Booties I love these. While they aren't waterproof, they are water resistant, look great with everything, and have an open toe box, so you aren't squashed into them, even with fat socks on. These booties are a bit stretchy and have dual arch support, giving your body the stance it needs to keep your feet, legs and back from hurting, even if you're walking all day long. Find them on Amazon for $122+.
3. A Great Hardside Carry-On Everyone needs a great carry-on, and if overpacking is an issue, a hardside is just what is called for. I have several go-to bags for different trips. I love my Lojel Nimbus, but I also have another Lojel bag I like. Check out the Alto Small. Ebags also makes awesome bags, including the Fortis Pro. It even has a USB port, so you can charge while traveling. Fortis Pro $179 on Amazon
4. iPad Mini I take my iPad Mini everywhere I go. It does everything and I love reading on it, since it's so lightweight. If you know someone who needs a tablet, this is a great one to get for travel, so they can read, watch videos, stream movies/tv, play games, write emails, take notes, and more. I even do work on mine sometimes. $280 on Amazon
5. Skyroll Garment Bag For business travelers, or those who go on cruises, or a lot of special occasions, the Skyroll is an awesome addition to a trip, as it is a high capacity garment bag with a built in shoe compartment and toiletry bag. Arrive at destinations with all your formal clothes in perfect condition, no ironing needed. There's also zipper compartments for smaller items like socks, ties, and underwear. $150 at Men's Warehouse or on Skyroll
6. GoPro Hero 8 Got an adventurous sort on your list? Perhaps they want to take video of everything they experience everywhere they go. You've seen people with GoPros doing extreme sports, but they are just as good at Disneyland or walking around cities. Let them record it all. $399 on Amazon
7. Pivo Camera Stand If a GoPro isn't in your budget, or you have a blogger or social media star on your list, then let them turn their phone into an amazing photo and video studio. I backed Pivo on Kickstarter, because it can be difficult to take a bunch of pics in a row without having to stop and reset after each one, even with the timer on your phone. Pivo, basically, gives you a photo studio in a compact phone holder. It comes with a tiny remote as well. I love it and I'm learning all its capabilities slowly. $99+ on Pivo website

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