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The Go-to Gift Guide for the Traveler in Your Life

The go to gift guide for the traveler in your life header

By Danielle Emig on June 1, 2021 in Say's Spotlight

Unless you decided to put some extra miles on your car and explore the country’s national parks, travel for you (and everyone else) pretty much came to halt in 2020. However, that doesn’t mean your travel friends have foregone their bucket list — rather, they’re probably fantasizing about all those travel locations every day! While travel may look a little different for the foreseeable future, months of quarantine life may inspire homebodies and seasoned travelers alike to take on a new adventure as soon as they feel safe.

No matter the type of traveler or when they plan to book their next trip, these beautiful and thoughtful gift suggestions will help you nail birthdays, holidays, and just-because presents!

The Globetrotter

Once we’re able to safely move about the globe, the first necessity is a travel adapter that’s easy to pack and easy to use in more than 150 countries. With four color-coded plugs, your gift recipient won’t need to guess which plug to use in which country. If only learning a new language was that easy!

For the dreamer, consider a world scratch-off map. With each location visited, your friend or family member can scratch off foil to reveal a beautiful watercolor. Think of it as the ultimate bucket list challenge. Globetrotters will also need a high quality notebook to document their journeys abroad. A journal with travel prompts can help capture special memories.

Long flights call for a tall drink. A cocktail kit that’s TSA compliant and contains premium ingredients to mix up a tasty cocktail on board? We’ll drink to that. After a long flight, travelers’ skin thirsts for a little pick-me-up. This skin hydration kit will do just the trick with curated creams and elixirs made with mineral-rich Icelandic glacial water.

The Cross-Country Driver

2020 was definitely the year of the road trip. For travelers new to road tripping, certain items will make the journey a bit easier. We’d place a small portable charger on the top of that list, which comes in especially handy for outdoor excursions. Once back in the car, a strong magnetic phone mount to attach to the car vents keeps maps close and directions loud and clear.

Eating on the road does not have to mean sad plastic cutlery. A set of stainless steel utensils with a slim carrying case upgrades picnics and roadside meals while cutting down on plastic waste. It’s a win-win! Gas stations aren’t exactly known for their culinary excellence, so a portable cooler makes a great gift to transport some fresh food to balance out shelf-stable snacks like chips and beef jerky. Road trippers can lay out their picnic on a cozy Pendleton National Park Blanket and you will rest easy knowing some of the proceeds benefit the National Park Foundation.

The Stylish Traveler

Think of the friend who fills an entire suitcase with just shoes for a five-day trip to the beach. This type of traveler needs all the help they can get when it comes to packing space and organization! Start with a travel jewelry case so your friend doesn’t waste the first day of their trip untangling necklaces from their carry-on bag. Next, give them the gift of organization with a packing cube set. With this travel system, users can label and organize outfits so they don’t have to dump all the contents of their suitcase upon arrival just to find that one evening dress. Cheeky reusable bags can help sort clean clothes from the dirty.

For the friend who’s always cold, a versatile cashmere blend wrap doubles as a scarf to upgrade any outfit and a blanket on the plane. Travelers can pair their scarf with a silk sleep mask for some en route beauty sleep.

We’re all a bit more conscious about cleaning and sanitizing these days — a habit likely to stick around for a long time. Help your friend or family member stash their sanitizer on the go with a gold-toned and vegan leather case that clips on to any bag.

The Budget Traveler

The last thing a traveler on a budget wants to spend money on is plastic water bottles. Gift them a collapsible silicone water bottle that takes up very little room until it’s time to fill it up with (free) water at the airport. Bonus: It also has a strap to attach to bags so it’s perfect for everything from beach days to backpacking trips.

Small speakers with big sound may come in handy when the budget traveler in your life finds themselves in an Airbnb without a music hookup. That Airbnb might also need some toiletries for freshening up after a busy day of sightseeing.

If they’re able to snag a good deal on an international flight, your loved one may benefit from a carry-on that fits in the overhead bin of most major airlines and easily wheels onto trains, ferries, and other modes of transportation.

The Traveler with Kids

A family vacation isn’t always a vacation, but a few clever gifts can make traveling with kids more enjoyable for everyone. To start, packing can get complicated for families who want to avoid wheeling tons of suitcases through an airport or paying a hefty price for overweight luggage. Help them skip the guesswork with a portable luggage scale so they know when to tell the kids enough is enough!

Plenty of entertainment helps keep everyone a happy camper in between exploring. For the kids? Games! A travel variety pack of classic board games should keep them occupied enough for the adults to sneak in a quick nap. A waterproof version of UNO makes for a perfect beach vacation gift for kids.

For the adults? Invest in sleek, noise-cancelling earbuds that won’t take up tons of coveted luggage space. They may be a bit pricy, but we’re sure your gift recipient will thank you in souvenirs. Don’t forget a packable backpack for all those snow globes, keychains, and magnets. Save space and entertain with a Kindle or other eReader — perfect for unexpected layovers, traffic, or late nights in the hotel.

The Photographer

For the traveler who tends to experience trips behind the lens, you can help them capture the perfect shot and cherish it for a lifetime. A Pro Lens Kit can seriously transform smartphone photography. It can help budding photographers capture more of the view and produce higher-quality photos. Once your friend or family member takes 100 photos of each stunning sunset and historic site, they’ll need an external hard drive to hold their photos and make room for more. Look for a high capacity one that’s also compact and portable.

If you really want to go all out and gift the ability to shoot more angles of snow-topped mountains, purchase a compact drone that’s as light as a smartphone. (Just remind your gift recipient to practice flying and check their destination’s drone regulations before they embark on their trip.)

Once they return home, they’ll need a customizable photo book to preserve all those special memories. You can purchase a completed photo book or a gift card for a customizable book.

Gifts Under $30

If you’re on a budget, don’t fret! We’ve rounded up several affordable gifts very worthy of gifting that’ll help any traveler enjoy their dream trip. Reusable totes in fun patterns can stash purchased goods from farmer’s markets and transport them for picnics.

A luggage tag that doubles as a portable charger helps ensure travelers won’t lose their luggage or their phone battery while at the airport.

A water filter can be a helpful and lifesaving tool during a camping trip. The small but mighty LifeStraw filters up to 1,000 gallons of contaminated water without chemicals. While not the same gravity of emergency, a minimergency kit with purse staples in a cute zippered bag can tackle travel crises such as broken nails, lost earring backs, and minor wardrobe malfunctions.

Until we’re able to travel safely again, these well-designed Lost in Travel Guides curated by locals will inspire and educate your favorite traveler friends without requiring them to leave the couch. No tourist traps here!

Conclusion

While vacations may continue to look a little different this year, you can celebrate special milestones, holidays, or birthdays with these functional and beautiful travel gifts.

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Danielle Emig is a consultant for Say Insurance. She's a freelance writer and lipstick lover living in New York City. Originally from Portland, she moved to the big city with only a suitcase full of shoes and a mind bursting with dreams. It was her desire for adventure that led her to NYC, and even working unpaid internships and odd jobs to make ends meet—like cocktail waitressing at a pirate-themed bar—wouldn’t deter her from making it as a writer and editor. Two years later, she landed at InStyle Magazine and hasn’t looked back since. When she’s not sipping out of a lipstick-stained wineglass, Danielle loves to cook, make jewelry, and hang out on her fire escape.

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