Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for Travelers 2015
The holidays are here and we couldn’t be more excited! We’ve been compiling a list of our favorite things all year, added in a few more just for the holidays, and hope it helps you shop for that picky traveler in your life. Did we miss one of your favorite items? Make sure you tell us about it in the comments.
Starbucks “You Are Here” mugs. You cannot buy these online. You have to pick them up at your local shop and you can only get a mug that highlights your region. Example: Philadelphia and Pennsylvania mugs in PA Starbucks. We have a nice little collection going, but I’ve seen images of the full collection and I need to get so many more! Just wished I’d started collecting sooner.
Petite Espresso cups by Magpie.com. I love espresso cups, not only for myself, but for my kids too. These beautifully designed cups are perfect for sharing “tea” with my boys. I put hot cocoa, apple cider, and even water in these when they want to join me for my morning tea or espresso.
Collapsible Coffee Dripper. Campers rejoice, you can still drink your coffee without packing your massive French press. Travelers will love this as well since it’s silicon and you can throw it in your suitcase and not depend on the hotel to have a clean coffee maker for you.
Insulated French Press Coffee and Tea Mug. Ingenious. Why do I not have one of these yet?! Coffee connoisseurs can bring their grinds on the go, which is especially useful when you are in a hotel or rental that does not have a decent coffee maker.
Collapsible Tea Kettle. I love a good cup of tea on a cold morning. If you love to camp and have your little camp stove with you, this is an easy product to bring along so you can sip your brew of choice while you look at the forest or lake as the fog rolls out.
Quote Cover Journals by Compendium. A great notebook is hard to find, but Compendium is making some fabulous ones with covers to inspire your creativity and your travels. Here are four of our favorites.
- I Like the Spirit of this Great London Which I Feel Around Me
- Paris Is Always A Good Idea.
- Remember, Ideas Become Things.
- It’s Not What You Look at that Matters, It’s What You See.
Travel Sound Machine. I cannot sleep without white noise. I’ve tried. Trust me. Since the age of 13 I’ve had a sound machine, a/c or fan that created a constant noise to drown out the sporadic noises that come with city life. This compact sound machine has traveled across the globe with us and is still humming along beautifully.
Micro Luggage. No, this is not tiny luggage. Please, that is the last thing any of us needs. No, this is a carry on suitcase that has a scooter built into it. Genius? I think so. Store your laptop and work gear in the top section, while the back can hold enough clothing to get you through your weekend getaway or work trip. No more lugging your bags sadly through the airport. This TSA-approved bag that can fit in the overhead compartment of the plane will have passengers smiling as you whiz by them in style. Just don’t forget to use the break!
FitBit or JawBone. I may need to jump on the tracker bandwagon again. My old, tiny, bottom of the line FitBit didn’t do what I wanted, but the FitBit Flex and UP3 by JawBone (one of Oprah’s favorite things I might add!) are tracking sleep, running, swimming, and so many more activities than just steps. I like that it gives me a little buzz when I have been sitting too long too.
Kindle Fire HD. My family can’t live without a Kindle Fire, especially when we travel by plane or are in the car for too long. We need those movies, games, story books, and even our sound machine, all in one place to make travel lighter and more fun.
Kindle Fire Kid. I love that Amazon finally got wise to the fact that kids are probably using the Kindle Fire more than adults, so they should make it be able to stand up to a tank, come with loads of parental controls, but still play all the fun stuff we parents and our kids love.
Otterbox Kindle Fire Case. If you aren’t getting the Kindle Fire Kid than you will need a case for your Kindle to protect it from the elements (AKA your kids, the dog, yourself). Otterbox makes superb cases that stand the test of time. They will even outlast your actual Kindle.
iPhone Lifeproof case. Why get a waterproof camera when you can just get a case for your phone? You drop it in water enough anyway, so you might as well protect it and get some use out of all of that water action. LifeProof is one of the best cases out there that can hold up to almost anything you can throw on it or submerge it in.
MacBook Pro. OK, this one is on the list because I really want one. My old Mac is on her last leg. She needs a walker and will soon need to be set to pasture. My Mac has worked hard for over five years, tens of thousands of photos, over a thousand blog posts and more Skype chats than you want to know about. She is a work horse and she hasn’t failed me like so many other laptops in the past. Although, if someone wanted to buy me a MacBook Air I wouldn’t say no. I’m just not sold on the tiny screen for the amount of work I do.
TripIt. Busy travelers always need more tools to keep them organized. TripIt is free, unless you want to upgrade to the PRO version for just over $4 a month. Give an iTunes card as a stocking stuffer so the traveler in your life can get travel alerts, have all of their ticket and hotel info in one spot, and they can share all of their plans with you so you don’t have to worry at home.
Adobe Lightroom. Photo enthusiasts who don’t have LightRoom yet will be overjoyed when they see it under the tree (or a download code in a card you give to them). This software processes raw files, keeps photos organized and in general just rocks.
Adobe Photoshop. Everything I do with my photos I do in Photoshop. I’ve been using it since I was 14 years old and I will never go back to Photoshop Elements or anything else. It’s just too powerful. I can’t give it up! Better yet, thanks to Adobe’s new cloud service, you can get the Adobe Creative Cloud plan, which includes Photoshop and Lightroom, for a flat fee every month or buy a one-year plan.
Office 365. Bring office home or take it on the go. I’ve been using Office 365 for over two years now and love it. No matter where we are or what computer I’m on I can access what I need. Great for travelers, college kids and retiring parents who want to stay on top of what Microsoft Office is up to.
QuickBooks. If you have a freelancer or blogger in your life, they need this program. QuickBooks helps you track your income, expenses and more to make tax time so much easier. Yes, I’m ordering my copy right now.
Tripod plus monopod. I actually like selfie sticks, because you know what, long before they were turned on ourselves and used to make a duck or fish face, they were actually called monopods. This monopod let’s me take photos with my kids, but also lets me add a tripod attachment on for night photography, self-timer shots and anything else I may want to do with it.
Thumbs Up! Pocket Click Stick. Yes, it’s a selfie stick. However, I don’t take selfies, so I call this a gloried monopod that I let my kids use. This has come in handy when I need to get close to something but physically can’t (for instance, photo of a bird while on a boat). My kids also love it because they can get to new heights, literally, with their photography.
JOBY Gorillapod for dSLR cameras. I love this tripod because it will work on your dSLR and your point and shoot camera. I only have to bring one tripod. I’ve hooked it to piers, trees, docks, set it on cars, and it’s light and compact so it doesn’t take up much room in my bag.
Canon 7D. This is my camera of choice, mainly because of the price. If price was no object I would get a Canon 5D Mark III. These are two top of the line dSLR cameras if you want to get serious about your photography. One of the big differences is that the 7D is not full frame, which pro photographers hate, which is why they upgrade to the 5D. Your phone may take great photos, but let me tell you, nothing will ever replace my dSLR camera.
Canon 50mm lens. I love this lens for shooting portraits of my kids and close ups when we travel. It’s easy and versatile and the first lens I recommend when someone wants to get away from a 24mm-135mm zoom lens for their dSLR.
Canon Powershot G7X. I have an old Canon S100 that needs to be replaced soon and a friend recommended the G7X to me. I’m now lusting after it. I love that it still gives me manual control over my images and automatic if I want to be lazy, but is small so I can throw it in my purse and walk out the door.
The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. Hop across the pond to London where an American exchange student is falling in love with a guy, who happens to be heir to the British Monarchy. This fiction novel based on the real life romance of Will and Kate is sure to keep you up at night as you race to see what happens next. Read our full review.
Winter by Marissa Meyer. Last in the Lunar Chronicles series, Winter will not disappoint. Mom, kids 12 and up, and lovers of YA fantasy fiction will eat up this steam punk retelling of the classic fairy tales we all grew up with. Read our full review.
The Travel Book by Lonely Planet Kids. Geography lovers won’t be able to get enough of this walk through the world. Each page highlights a country showing off vital stats like the population and size of the nation as well as creatures and sights to be seen there. Little quizzes keep your kids moving through this unique atlas of the world.
How to be an International Spy by Andy Briggs. Naturally what every parent wants is for their child to be a spy when they grow up, so why not give them a hand as they learn the ropes. This is a hands on book that can teach your child how to make invisible ink, make their own gadgets like a periscope, and of course how to create and decode a secret code.
And then… Story Starters by M.H. Clark. Anything that can get a kid excited about reading and telling their own stories is OK by me. This set of 20 “imaginative beginnings” is great for long road trips when your children get bored or you want to avoid turning on the tech.
NEED MORE BOOK IDEAS? READ OUR BEST TEENS, COOKBOOKS, YA FANTASY FICTION, CHILDREN’S BEACH AND CITY LISTS.
Baby gear for new parents
ErgoBaby Carrier. This was our number one, go-to item when traveling with our boys as babies. I can’t imagine life without it! Start using this baby carrier on day one with the infant insert, and continue to use it until they are three, or they get too heavy and your back can’t take it anymore. I loved this carrier because it was gentle on my back, distributed the weight across my hips, and allowed me to hold my boys longer and travel with them without too much fuss. It can seem pricey, but it will last you through at least two kids, if not more.
BABYBJORN Travel Crib. Not every travel crib is created equal, which is why you want to get one that packs up easily and is comfortable for your baby. These two cribs have been our long time favorites, and we continue to recommend them to friends as they start having babies and want to travel the world. Read more about our favorite cribs.
MacLaren Collapsable Strollers. If you are looking for something a little more sturdy than your average umbrella stroller, you can’t go wrong with a MacLaren. They have been a favorite of traveling families for years. They collapse, making it easy to bring onto buses and trains, and they are much lighter than other heavy stroller systems on the market.
Carseat Travel bag. Although you could use a large plastic bag, a sturdy carseat bag will get you farther and also help you pack more efficiently. Carseats are checked for free on airplanes, so if you want to throw some extra diapers in there, or even a travel crib (the Phil & Ted fits in it), you could save yourself a lot of hassle. Plus, this one is a backpack, which makes it easier to keep your hands free when you are getting to the airport.
Toys for Kids
Micro Kickboard scooters. Scooters are all the rage whether you are a kid or not. Our family finally jumped on the bandwagon and we haven’t looked back. Scoot around town, to school or pack them up on your next adventure to make navigating a city so much easier and faster with kids in tow.
PlayMobil Private Jet. OK, OK. Your kid does not need a private jet, but think of it this way, it is much smaller and cheaper than the Playmobil Commercial Jet. That thing is taller than my son, and yet he loves to pick it up and zoom it around.
eeBoo Travel Bingo. I picked up this pack of bingo sheets at a little shop in New Hampshire this summer. I love that everyone in the car can get their own sheets to play and enjoy the ride as we spot new objects that are on our sheets. Just don’t forget to pack some pencils!
SpotIt On the Road. Not only is this a fast paced game that works your memory, fine motor skills and visual perception, it is also travel bingo. Basically you are now getting two games in one, which is never a bad thing when battling road trip boredom.
Green gifts image via Shutterstock.com
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