2013 Edition: Perfect Travel Gifts

by Nora Dunn on November 11, 2013

 

Is there a traveler in your life? Here is a collection of gifts they’ll appreciate so they can travel in style, and save space. (You may even want to pick up an item or two for yourself – or send this post to your loved ones with not-so-subtle hints about the impending holiday season.)

 

Wee Travel Gifts

Here are a few travel gifts that fit most budgets, and are practical pieces of travel gear:

 

Hoboroll by Gobi Gear

With a name like “Hoboroll” by Gobi Gear, the “Professional Hobo” in me liked it before I even knew what it was! I recently used one on my epic 3-week 8-country European tour (that morphed into a six week trip, which I did with carry-on luggage only), and it’s now an invaluable part of my travel entourage. I crammed – and organized – a ridiculous amount of things into this compartmentalized roll that you can open from either side for use and compress for packing.

Hoboroll, $28

 

 

 

Passport Wallet

A passport wallet is the traveler’s trusty companion; it keeps the most valuable thing a traveler has safe, and it makes going through airports much easier. (I unabashedly string my passport wallet around my neck (and slip it underneath my shirt if I can) from the moment I check in until I’m strolling out of the airport on the other side). Thus, it needs to be light, small, practical, and easy/nice to use. RFID blocking isn’t a bad feature to have either.

Passport Wallet, $13

 

 

Adventure Towel

Depending on how rustic the accommodations are (from treetop lodges to trains to hostels to camping), having a towel comes in handy. This light small towel has more drying power than you might think, then wrings out and dries itself in a jiffy. Very considerate thing, the adventure towel is.

Adventure Towel, $14

 

 

 

 

Travel Adaptor/Surge Protector

Every international traveler needs (at least) one of these. This particular model allows you to plug just about any cord into just about any socket, it’s compact, and it has the added benefit of surge protection (which has saved my butt a few times). Some models also have a USB charger, but I’ve rarely found ones that have both surge protection and a USB slot. I always choose surge protection over USB charge-ability.

Travel Adaptor, $20

 

 

Headlamp

Just about everybody seems to have a smartphone these days, which have handy flashlight apps. But sometimes, you need to go hands-free – which is where the headlamp shines (pun intended). Any outdoorsy traveler will appreciate a headlamp.

Headlamp, $30

 

 

 

 

Bigger Budgets

These pieces of travel gear cost a little more, but they’ll be invaluable companions to the budding traveler in your life.

 

Packable Daypack

This has been one of my most valuable pieces of travel gear for the last seven years (I’ve replaced it once). It has seen me on many mountain summits and equivalent adventures, and has even been my sole carry-on bag for a few trips lasting up to three months (although admittedly it’s not ideal for that purpose).

You can roll it empty or fill it and compress the contents into your luggage, and pull it out when you want to leave your main bag behind and go on an excursion. It’s up for the challenge too; it’s incredibly lightweight, sturdy, and waterproof.

Outdoor Research Drycomp Summit Sack, $70

 

 

 

Wheeled Backpack

A traveler’s pack is their house and home on the road; and ease of using and carrying it can make or break a trip. There are lots of personal choices to make when choosing luggage, but for practicality, ease of use, and multi-functionality, I’m a big fan of the wheeled backpack. There’s a lot to consider; check out this article for more information before you dive in.

More information on Wheeled Backpacks, $100-$400

 

 

 

 

For the Ladies

The following items not only cost more, but they’re also quite style/preference dependent. Make sure you know the person you’re buying for; here are my own latest discoveries:

 

Anatomie Wear

My, how I’ve inadvertently become the poster child for this company that makes designer travel wear for women. I was ambivalent when they sent me a few pieces of this (not cheap) clothing in 2012, until I put them through their paces and they became my favourite travel clothing.

So in preparation for my chilly autumn European tour of late, I ordered this jacket (pictured here). Again I was so impressed, that I took the plunge and updated my entire travel wardrobe with various Anatomie Wear pieces.

 

 

 

I got this sexy (and sturdy) little Cassandra Mesh Blouse, which I can wear the super-comfy Tatiana Travel Tank underneath. I’m also really enjoying the Bianca pants with roll-down waistband (which can be both casual and dressy).

 

 

 

 

And let’s not forget an all-time favourite of mine – the classic, comfortable, stylish travel dress: the Monika Ballerina Dress, which has probably been my favourite piece of clothing since I got it a year and a half ago. (If I liked cooler climates, I’d be all over these jackets too).

 

 

 

Chrysalis Cardi

This is the newest addition to my wardrobe, and although initially we didn’t know what to make of each other, we are becoming fast friends. Following the essential ingredient of being multi-functional, this basic tube of high-quality fabric with well-placed snaps can be worn eight different ways – possibly more, if you’re the creative type. It’s very comfortable, can be dressed up or down, and is wrinkle free.

Some styles can be fussy to get to look just right, and it’s not the lightest or most compact article of clothing (nor does it dry super-quick). But it still had a home in my recent 6-week carry-on trip to Europe, and whether or not you’re on the road, the Chrysalis Cardi is a joy to snuggle up in.

Chrysalis Cardi, by Encircled, $138

 

 

 

Editor’s Note: There are affiliate links in this post, and I received some of the above items for free (Hoboroll, Chrysalis Cardi, and last year some Anatomie Wear – this year I purchased the additional pieces for a discount). 

 

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Anna November 11, 2013 at 10:59 am

I totally want that super-towel, and the dress. I am a dressy traveler (no sneaks or athletic gear for me unless I am doing heavy-duty wilderness hiking), so jersey-ish dresses like that are PERFECT!*
*not in the Russian winter though

Reply

theprofessionalhobo November 12, 2013 at 8:18 am

Anna – Yes, you may need to bundle up a little more for Russian winter (EEK!), but you won’t go wrong with that dress. I love mine!
And the towel….it’s a little piece of magic. :-)

Reply

James Shannon November 12, 2013 at 3:10 am

Passport wallets also prevent your most valuable travel document from sweat/heat damage or from getting dog ears, which can get overzealous border and consular officials after you … getting this worth avoiding that headache!

Great list!

Reply

theprofessionalhobo November 12, 2013 at 8:21 am

Hey James,
Prior to using a passport wallet, I used to wear a money belt underneath my clothes. Well….a few too many long plane/train journeys (and a few dozen countries) later, the embossing has completely worn off the front due to the heat/sweat damage. Ew!
Hence, my use of the passport wallet now.

Reply

Lauren Meshkin @BonVoyageLauren November 13, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Love these ideas! I’ll definitely be purchasing that travel adaptor as a Christmas gift for myself and others :) Thanks for sharing.

Happy travels!

Reply

theprofessionalhobo November 14, 2013 at 7:59 am

Hi Lauren – Glad you like this collection! The travel adaptor is a must – it will always be used and appreciated by a world traveler.

Reply

Abby November 13, 2013 at 6:52 pm

I really love traveling. I think I need that Travel Adaptor/Surge Protector. I think passport wallet is also very important :) Nice list of travel gifts you got here.

Reply

theprofessionalhobo November 14, 2013 at 8:00 am

Thanks, Abby! Happy travels!

Reply

Shereen November 20, 2013 at 9:45 am

Love this list. It’s so hard to find the unique items needed to make travel so much easier. I love the adventure towel and passport wallet.

Reply

theprofessionalhobo November 22, 2013 at 8:12 am

Hi Shereen,
I’m in the market for another passport wallet myself (which was stolen from my place in Grenada along with my passport!!!!!!)….I’ll be getting this exact same one again. Love it.

Reply

kendra kroll December 6, 2013 at 11:25 pm

perhaps you might like my handy solution? PortaPocket offers more ways to use it and can wear it on multiple parts of the body, and either under or over your outfit :) the L pocket = perfect for passports; M pocket = most cell phones, including iphone; S pocket = credit cards/ID size. Tall pocket = epiens or sunglasses. XL pocket coming soon for Galaxy4 /Note
All pockets are detachable and interchangeable for max versaility and multi-functionality.
see what I mean at wwww.portapocket.com
Cheers! :)
@PortaPocketGal

Reply

kendra kroll December 6, 2013 at 11:26 pm

of course I can’t type and have too many w’s in the web addy. whoops! ;)

Reply

theprofessionalhobo December 7, 2013 at 9:06 am

Hi Kendra! I forgot about PortaPocket! Thanks for the (timely) reminder. :-)

Izzie December 4, 2013 at 6:04 am

I have to disagree with the travel towel. Sounds like a great idea (and perhaps there is no true perfect towel product), but my experience was less than pleasant.

I worked as a tour leader on an overland truck, where up to 22 passengers would be camping and using, usually, these towels. We were in Africa or S.America – places where thing typically dry quickly anyway – but I cannot tell you how unpleasant is it to be in a truck full of stinky towels hanging from the overhead racks!! Mouldy, musty, bad-feet smell. Yuck. They may be quick dry, relatively, but still not quick dry enough to be dry after morning ablutions on early pack-up-camp-and-on-the-truck travel days. Perhaps it’s just that all my passengers never washed the towels, the dirty urchins, but I suspect it’s just that bacteria breed on these towels like nobody’s business.

I always travel with a large (much cheaper, much quicker drying) sarong as a towel. No good for cold climates but fine for large swathes of the world. Never looked back. :)

Reply

theprofessionalhobo December 5, 2013 at 7:01 am

Hi Izzie,
Ha ha! Ew!
Okay, admittedly enough, while living on a cliffside in Hawaii and never being able to properly dry anything, my adventure towel eventually took on a bit of an odour that wasn’t entirely pleasant (to put it lightly!). But it lasted long enough that I felt pretty good about the whole thing and not too guilty about replacing it; however after a hot-water wash and high-temp dry, it stopped smelling (for a while).

BEAUTIFUL idea on the sarong – which is so very multi-functional as a piece of travel gear (and big enough to cover you up when running from the bathroom to the bedroom!).
I hadn’t really considered its quick-drying properties however, since they’re usually cotton. But I guess they’re thin enough that it’s negligible.

Thanks for the (experiential) tip!

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: