I always have a terrible time writing gift guides. Which is probably why I’ve never published or posted one before. I do have plenty of drafts that never saw the light of day over the years. But this is the year to finally hit publish on one of them!
My favorite new travel item this year and kind of current obsession are these custom luggage tags and passport covers. I met Kristie from World is Wide at a conference in Medora, North Dakota this summer. I noticed she had a unique tag on her backpack. We started talking about it and it turns out she made it and the engraved notebook she had herself on her laser engraver. How cool is that?
I have a thing for the color blue so I ordered my first tag in blue! I loved it, but it was a little hard to see the black engraving on it. My next order was passport covers for me and Mom with the family crest on them. I also got her a luggage tag with the crest. She loved them just as much as I loved my original one.
The traveler in your life needs a custom luggage tag and while you’re at it, get a matching passport cover too!
Use CDHG20 for a special 20% discount at checkout! Valid through December 13, 2019. Anything ordered prior to November 29, 2019, is guaranteed to arrive before the holidays. So don’t wait to order!
This was the year I switched from a soft side carryon to a hard side carryon. I was full of excitement the day a carryon shaped box with CHESTER printed on the side showed up.
I happily made the switch to Chester and the traveler in your life will love the simple design. The hardest part? Figuring out which color to get!
Have I told you guys about my shoes? I’m sure you’ve seen them making their rounds around the internet and everyone I’ve seen that has them will gush and gush about how comfortable they are. I took the dive and decided to purchase a pair without trying them on first, scary, I know! And all the die-hard supporters aren’t wrong!
It’s incredibly important to stay hydrated not just when traveling, but in day to day life too. Staying hydrated keeps your body healthy and helps keep all the germs at bay.
Buying a water bottle in an airport can cost a pretty penny. I had forgotten my bottle on my last trip and sadly had to fork over $4 to the cashier. But I needed more water than what I could get from a drinking fountain or a small McDs water cup.
I always travel with my Camelbak or Nalgene bottles. And I always adorn them with stickers accumulated from my travels. I guess it’s a VSCO girl thing to do, but I was doing it way before VSCO girl became a thing.
Every frequent traveler needs a fabulous neck pillow. One with a soft covering while still supporting your neck. I had seen the displayed in airports all over the country, 2 for $20 World’s Best Pillow and I scoffed at the notion it could really be the world’s best pillow.
Then on a work trip to LAX I needed to take the red-eye flight home and didn’t have a pillow. I needed one if I was going to survive that flight to Minneapolis. So I broke down and bought two on the 2 for $20 deal.
Connectivity is another fabulous gift that any world traveler will thank you for. This spring I took TravelSim with me to Scotland and it forever changed how I travel. I was no longer worried about finding the nearest wifi hotspot to check in with Mom. Or worried about needing to use the GPS in my phone but not having the signal to do so. Being constantly connected also allowed me to look up things to do up while on the go.
International sim cards like TravelSim are great for travelers that leave the country for a week or two at a time. But travelers that are constantly on the go likely need more than 10GB a trip. For them, SkyRoam is the perfect solution.
I don’t know about you guys, but I can kill my phone by midday. It’s tragic really. How is it that a phone can’t last for more than a few hours of near-constant use? Then throw in the potential of using the built-in GPS while traveling and all bets are off. It’ll be dead before brunch.
I always travel with at least one power bank. Truth be told, I lost the first one and then found it so I’m usually always traveling with two power banks.
I found one from Anker that can charge your phone up to four times on a single charge and is USB-C compatible. Since most phones (I’m not an Apple person) are switching over to the USB-C, I saw no point in getting one that had a micro USB charging port, it would just add another cord for me to keep track of and worry about always having. No thank you.
Where are all my book worms at? I love a good book and reading is the best way to pass the time sometimes. But it’s incredibly impractical to be toting around three to four actual books. They’re heavy and take up a ton of space.
Enter the Kindle.
You can take hundreds of books with you including your favorites, every single time you travel. Also, have I ever told you guys how much I love the Shades of Magic Series? Monsters of Verity? Just read them, you can thank me later.
I never go anywhere without my camera because I never know when I’m going to see something I need to get a picture of. And yes, we all have cameras on our phones nowadays, but where’s the fun in snapping a few photos with your phone? Having a real camera is a must for any traveler.
I have an entry-level professional camera that cost a couple thousand dollars. Don’t worry if that’s nowhere near your budget! There are some incredible cameras out there (DSLRs too!) that are budget-friendly. I started with an entry-level Nikon and loved it! Still love it and wish it would work reliably. I loved the lightweight portability of it and wish my current one weighed a fraction of what it actually does.
One thing that is a must with any camera that has detachable lenses is a UV filter. I always keep mine on my lenses and they do protect the actual lens if you accidentally drop one. Since I’m accident prone, it makes sense.
I got my first Polaroid camera from Goodwill in the mid-2000s. It cost me $2 and I was beyond excited to have an instant camera. The film was expensive, but at the time, Walmart still sold it, so it was fine. In time, Walmart stopped selling the film and the only way to obtain it was on eBay from people that jacked up the price to something ridiculous.
Years later, the Impossible Project came out with the classic film that would fit the old-style cameras. It was really expensive. Like $25 for 8 exposures expensive. Then Polaroid came out with the brand Originals and the film came down in cost.
I still have my Polaroid camera that takes the 600 film and as much as I would love taking it with me, I can’t ever justify the space it takes up in my bag. So it usually gets left behind.
With the Lab you can take your pictures on your phone or your digital camera like normal and print them on polaroid film when you get home. Yes, please!
Let’s face it, planes are loud, people are obnoxious, and it’s best to just tune the world out when traveling. I get it, that’s why I got a pair of noise-canceling headphones. No more airplane noise, no more screaming kids, just me and whatever I want to hear.
Interestingly enough, after I got my pair and Dad tried them out, he LOVED them. He soon bought his own always keeps them fully charged and ready.
I needed a backpack that I could personalize with a patch I picked up on my travels, had a drawstring to keep the thieving hands out in larger cities, and could fit my laptop and camera. It took some searching, but I found the perfect one on Amazon. Now I never go anywhere without it.
And the best part is it is definitely a unisex style.
So whether the traveler in your life is guy or girl, this is the backpack to get!