It’s that time of year where a lot of us are asking friends and family the dreaded question of “What would you like for *insert holiday here*?” Luckily I’ve compiled a solid list of items that your favorite travelers will love and actually be able to use!

1. Passport holder

 For many, passports are one of their most prized possessions. They’re also incredibly fragile, and replacing a damaged one can be a nightmare. Go for cute or practical with these two great options! 

2. Compression cubes

 Whether you travel carry-on only or are a habitual over-packer with 2 checked bags stuffed to the brim, compression cubes are a LIFESAVER! While they don’t decrease weight unfortunately, they do free up precious space in your bag. I use these Eagle Creek cubes every time I pack up and they’re still holding strong for me. 

3. Merino wool

 SIGH. I’m an awful traveler and do not own any merino wool as of yet. HOWEVER, if I weren’t a #brokebackpacker , I’d honestly replace half of my travel wardrobe with it. It is moisture wicking and is also much more odor resistant than regular old cotton or polyester. Whether it be socks, pants, shirts, or undergarments, merino wool is a traveler’s best friend.

4. Microfiber towel

 Towels take up a LOT of space in luggage. Way more than necessary. Microfiber towels solve that problem since they roll up smaller than a t-shirt! Tesalate is an Aussie brand that markets as “sand free beach towels” but I’m in LOVE with them due to their size–they’re like a normal sized towel, which is really tough to find in the microfiber towel market. 

5. Silk and/or padded eye mask

 When you’re stuck on a long flight or in a noisy accommodation, an eye mask becomes key for a solid beauty rest. Silk is soft and breathable, so you don’t have to worry about scratchy cotton or polyester around your face. Sometimes, you just need to make a statement. 

6. Noise cancelling headphones

 Contrary to what most believe, noise cancelling doesn’t mean that the headphones block out all surrounding sound. They’re actually made to cancel out engine and other ambient noises (like on airplanes). A good pair is perfect for those frequent fliers so that they can enjoy their music, podcasts, movies, or even just a nap on any and all flights.

7. Universal travel adapter

 Travel adapters can be a pain to carry around, especially when you visit multiple countries that may or may not have the same plug type. Using a universal option, it typically has every different plug type you’ll come across in your travels, making it easier to pack and prepare yourself. I’ve found that having one with a couple of USB ports on it as well as the plug socket is preferable, as you’re able to plug multiple devices in at the same time.

***Note that this is NOT also a voltage converter, which is necessary for most most devices purchased in the US.

8. Tripod

 Being a solo traveler can be tough when it comes to taking photos of yourself.Typically, you have 2 options: one, a selfie or two, trusting a stranger to take your photo. Both have their pros and cons, but I’ve realized that a tripod is incredibly handy as you’re able to find the perfect angle and simply have a remote or timer on to snap your shot. 

9. Hanging toiletry bag

 Useful for hotels with ever limited space in the bathroom, hanging toiletry bags keep everything up an out of the way while still keeping everything organized and in one place. I use this one from L.L. Bean. It has tons of little zippers and pockets to store everything all in one place.

10. Flat toiletry sack

 Another option to store toiletries in is this flat mat that cinches up into a sack. It allows you spread out everything you have and see it all at once instead of digging through tight bags to find whatever you need.

11. Travel wallet

 You don’t necessarily need a product marketed as a travel wallet, but I definitely prefer having a wallet that is both easily accessible but zips up so that I can put cash, coins, and any papers I need to carry around. Having RFID blocking credit card sleeves is also important, especially as more and more credit cards have tap!

12. Reusable water bottle

 Water in airports is expensive. Buying plastic bottles when traveling can get expensive AND it’s unnecessary waste. Your favorite traveler deserves a quality bottle that is light enough to pack on all of their adventures! I really like the Lifestraw Flex, as it is collapsible and packable but also comes with the Lifestraw filter that is famous for making most water safe to drink.

13. Bamboo utensil kit

 It’s almost 2020, we’re trying to reduce plastic consumption and waste! I adore this reusable bamboo utensil kit. It comes with a fork, knife, spoon, chop sticks, straw, and straw cleaner in a canvas roll up, making it super easy to just throw in your day bag!

14. Pack-able reusable tote

 Again with the plastic consumption reduction, we’re just trying to make the planet last a little bit longer. This one really speaks for itself. This tote has a ton of different options for designs and is totally packable.

15. Slash proof cross-body bag

 This isn’t something that’s meant for everyone, more so for those who are either traveling to countries where pickpocketing/thievery is very common or those who carry a lot of valuables on them. I spent 5 months traveling with this Travelon and it’s insanely sturdy and can fit EVERYTHING you could possibly need. They’re slash proof and have locking zippers to help deter any pesky thieves.

16. TSA Precheck

 TSA Precheck can make everyone’s most dreaded process just *slightly* more bearable. Not all airports and airlines participate in the program, but for $85 it lasts 5 years so you’ll likely get your money’s worth eventually.

17. Global Entry (included TSA Precheck)

 One step above TSA Precheck in the “makes like easier” category is Global Entry–essentially a fast track through customs. If you’re not an international traveler then this doesn’t really pertain to you, but 

18. Scratch map

Becoming more and more popular in recent years, scratch maps are a great option for people who don’t want thing’s they’ll never be able to use-it’s simply a piece of interactive decor! 

19. GoPro

 These little things are super versatile and have amazing quality packed in a tiny little box. GoPro‘s are built to withstand some pretty crazy impact, so whether you’re just galivanting through European cities or cliff diving in Southeast Asia, you can expect amazing photo and video quality in the palm of your hand. 

20. Solid walking shoes

Shoes are SO important, especially if you’re going to be doing a lot of walking. I’ve taken so many different pairs on different trips, and I’ve really narrowed it down to 3 favorites. Obviously the best is always going to be a pair of supportive trainers. I don’t wear them all that much so I’m a bad example, but it’s a must to have a good set of arches in your shoes. During winter months, it’s a lot harder to wear sneakers when traveling to either warm or cold destinations, so I’ve come to love Doc Martens and Tevas. On my most recent trip, I brought my pair of Doc Martens and Tevas and I’ve never had a less painful trip in all honesty. 

 21. Bum bag

The 90s are SO back. Why did we ever get rid of fanny packs / bum bags??? I’m at the point where I could not live without one of them. Everyone hates on the typical tourist for wearing one, but with so many companies making them again, there are a TON of cute options. Plus, I guess it’s a thing to call them “slings” and wear them around your chest like a crossbody. No more judgement! My absolute FAV bum bag designs come from One Strong Herd–they’re huge, cute, and can fit all the necessities PLUS snacks.

22. Portable charger

I never go anywhere without my power bank. You never know when you’ll have access to a plug socket and when traveling, my phone usually dies MUCH faster since I use it for maps, photos, etc. I like this one because it’s small enough to fit in a pocket, small purse, or bum bag, and isn’t overly heavy and bulky like a lot of other models are.

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