A gift guide for travelers
What’s in your bag when you take a trip? What gadgets, tools and comfort items are essential?
The Associated Press crowdsourced that question on a Facebook thread as fodder for a holiday gift guide for travelers. We heard from folks around the world, from millennials to retirees, from frequent-flying business travelers to once-in-a-while vacationers. Here are their recommendations, plus a few of our favorites:
■A universal travel adapter that converts electric current around the world. The travel store Flight 001 has a “5-in-1” color-coded adapter, $35.
■Portable chargers to keep devices running on the road. Anker’s PowerCore 26800, $48, can charge an iPhone more than six times. For hikers and beach bums, Anker’s PowerPort Solar Lite , $51, was deemed the best solar charger by The New York Times’ Wirecutter product-testing company.
■The Tile, $35, to keep track of belongings. Attach the Tile to an object like keys or bags, or tuck it inside a passport case or wallet, and you can locate the item with Bluetooth technology. For outdoor gear, try Tile Sport.
■Tiny Bluetooth speakers, like the $28 Oontz, to fill a hotel room or vacation rental with music.
■Power strip or cube tap (a cube-shaped adapter with multiple outlets) to charge multiple devices in hotel rooms and airports.
■Headlamp for hiking, reading and crafting. Or the mini Lumio lamp and battery pack, which opens and closes like a book, $150.
■Compression storage bags so packed clothes take up less room. No vacuum needed for Roomier Life Roll-Up Space Saver Bags, $16 on Amazon. The air is expelled through an opening when they’re rolled up.
■Packing cubes and ultralight nylon packing bags for organizing. Flight 001’s Spacepak bags, $42 and up, have dual compartments to separate dirty and clean clothes, and also have air vents for compression.
■Hand-held scale for weighing bags.
■Colorful luggage tags.
■Luggage. For inexpensive and serviceable, Target and Costco; sturdy and sensible, L.L. Bean; stylish, upscale and durable, Tumi. For organized hipsters, the $220 Nomatic backpack/duffel bag. For day bags, Bagallini, LeSportsac and REI’s $33 compressible Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Daypack. For high-tech, Bluesmart smart luggage includes a built-in weight scale, a GPS tracking device, a battery to charge a phone and laptop, and autolock activated by cellphone.
■Travel pillow. The new trtl travel pillow looks like a neck wrap rather than the traditional U-shape. It supports the head and neck with a system of ribs inside a soft fleece, $30.
■Ear plugs and contoured sleep masks that don’t crush eyelids and lashes.
■Bose noise-canceling headphones: expensive at around $350, but the brand of choice for frequent flyers.
■White noise machines like LectroFan, $35.
Comfort, hygiene, beauty, fitness
■Travel-size toiletries: toothpaste, sunscreen, deodorant, mouthwash, lotion, antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizer, lip balm, perfume, tissues. Gift a Birchbox subscription for $10 a month and the recipient will get five samples of personal care and beauty products per delivery for hair, skin and style, all in TSA-compliant sizes for carry-on liquids and gels not exceeding 3.4 ounces.
■Toiletry bag that can be hung up upon arrival.
■Tennis ball-size T Spheres, aromatherapy-massage balls, can be heated or frozen, $35.
■Soaragami armrest divider, $30. Have fun explaining it to the stranger on the plane sitting next to you in coach.
■Travel yoga mats.
■Inflatable Ten Toes stand-up paddleboard, $500 and up.
■Bike helmets that fold flat. Morpher helmets are certified safe in the United States and Canada by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, $149.
Practical and fun
■To make a hotel room or vacation rental homey, a flat-folding mesh laundry hamper; plastic, fold-out flower vase and 2-cup travel kettle for boiling water.
■For cocktails on the road, Flight 001 sells a $65 mini-bar kit with tiny glass bottles, metal flasks, stir spoon, funnel and recipe booklet. The vials are sized to be TSA-compliant, but remember that it’s not legal to drink your own booze on an airplane.
■Rain ponchos that fold into tiny flat squares.
■Pashmina or cotton print scarf, for warmth, modesty or even as a picnic or beach blanket.
Gift cards, etc.
■Surprise someone in a destination with a bottle of Champagne or flowers in their room, helicopter tour, dinner cruise, show tickets or attractions pass.
■Give air travel using the new Skyhour website or app. One Skyhour costs $60 and is worth an hour of flight time. Recipients can search for and book flights, just like they would on any booking site. More than 350 airlines participate.
■For Disney fans, the Gift of Disney Vacations program can pay for an experience, ticket or entire vacation at a Disney park.
■Kindle or iTunes gift card.
■Priority Pass membership for airport lounges.