NOTE: This post has been updated for 2019!
There is nothing that gets me more excited than the prospect of a new adventure. I love to travel. I crave it. I love the dreaming, the planning, the research — I could read travel magazines and blogs ALL. DAY. LONG. I can even handle long airport delays and lost luggage, wrong turns and jetlag, language barriers and mystery cuisine, and all of the other less-glamorous aspects of travel.
Mike and I had taken a long hiatus from world traveling when our kids were born, but over the last few years, we’ve slowly added it back in. Introducing my children to the wide, wide world has been the greatest joy of my life.
So. If you (or a loved one) are an avid traveler, this gift guide is for you. Some of these items are things I swear by — the things I never travel without. Others are based on some hard lessons-learned. And the rest? Fuel for travel dreams.
P.S. When you’re done here, head over to our full page of holiday gift guides for more seriously cool gift ideas for all your loved ones (or whoever).
My Fav Gifts For People Who Love To Travel
Travel Gifts For Her
1// Beats by Dr. Dre Studio 3 – I can’t stand wearing earbuds for longer than 30 minutes, which is annoying if you have an overseas flights and many movies to watch. I also want noise-cancelling headphones to catch some elusive zzzz’s. (NOTE: Only Studio 3 Beats headphones are noise cancelling. Mike prefers the Bose, but I like the Beats because they’re so pretty.)
2// Anthropologie Passport Holder – I get excited every time I bring this baby out.
3// Quip Toothbrush – This genius electric toothbrush comes with a cap. It’s totally travel-ready.
4// Portable Charger – I love this particular one by Flux, because it has attachments for both my phone AND my Kindle.
5// Globe Ornament – This just makes me happy.
6// AER Backpack – After the airline lost my luggage for a full week….I’ll never travel without a carry-on stocked with a few key pieces. I LOVE this one. Not only does it have a laptop compartment, but it has a shoe compartment, and the top is like a small duffle. It’s a tiiiny bit small (I’ve been using it on the daily), so if you’d like a larger one, try AER’s Duffle Pack.
7// Memory Foam Travel Pillow – My favorite travel pillow happens to be the one you buy at the airport at Xpres Spa (true story)…but it looks juuuust like this one.
8// World Scratch-Off Map – This is super-fun with the kids. When you visit a country, scratch it off the map.
9// Slip for Beauty Sleep, Sleep Mask – There have been too many times when my plane is flying at 7AM but my head is still at 3AM. This helps.
10// Kindle – I love my Kindle Oasis (the page-turn buttons and weighted side are really nice)…but Amazon just released a waterproof version of their Kindle Paperwhite, which is a much better value. Both the Paperwhite and Oasis rely on e-ink technology and back-lighting, which means you can just as easily read in the dark as you can on a bright, sunny beach.
11/ The Bucket List Book – One of my favorite coffee table books of all time. Even Raines has started curling up with this one, putting post-it notes on pages.”Mom? We GOTTA stay in this ice hotel….”
12// Herschel Duffel Bag – A duffle that folds into nothing saves all sorts of luggage fiascos. I never travel without one in my suitcase.
13// Trish McEvoy Makeup Planner – This one really deserves its own post, but suffice to say that I’ve been coveting this for YEARS. I finally pulled the trigger and couldn’t be happier. It’s such an easy way to keep a travel bag stocked (you can pop your existing makeup out of its plastic container and put it into the “pages” — it doesn’t have to be Trish McEvoy makeup). This product would also be great if you try to squeeze in a workout on your way to work.
14// UGG Fleece-Lined Socks – I hate cold feet on the plane. I like my socks super-thick and cozy. Any flight over three hours, I’m packing these bad boys.
15// Away Luggage – I’ve tried a bunch of luggage, but Away is my current favorite. I like the compression side for clothing, and the fact that you can open it without worrying about everything falling out.
16// Vince Slip-on Sneaks – If you’re going through security in Europe, you don’t have to take off sneakers (or rubber-soled shoes). Besides, sneakers are the most comfortable thing to wear for all-day exploring, anyway. I like these Vince slip-ons because they’re a little bit fancy.
17// White + Warren Cashmere Blanket Wraps – These are expensive, but soooo luxurious. I swear by a cashmere wrap to double as an in-flight blanket. (I always fly with one, even in the summer.) For more affordable options, try one of these three blanket scarves — they’re all pretty delicious: Anthro / Free People / Nordstrom
18// Dock & Bay Microfiber Towel – These full-sized towels have come with us to Cuba (for the impromptu beach visit) and Iceland (hiking to hot springs). They absorb great (even when wet), dry in a flash, and roll down into nothing. They’re usually the ones we grab when heading to the pool, locally, too. Just wayyyy easier to carry.
20// Mark & Graham Charger Roll-up – I hate digging through my carry-on, trying to find a random charger. This is both genius and gorgeous.
21// Olio e Ossi Natural Cheek and Lip Balm – All the fancy places (Neiman, Goop, Revolve, etc.,) are carrying this product, and I love the idea of something moisturizing and portable for in-flight touch-ups.
22// Chill Pal Cooling Towel – Greece was hot. (As was, bizarrely, Berlin.) Our kids were melting down while we tried to walk around ruins. My sister-in-law and her fam swear by these cooling towels — each kid had one. They said it was the only thing that worked to keep the kids from freaking out in the heat of Morocco.
23// MoMA Steamer – Sometimes I need (or want) to pack a pretty dress, or a suit for Mike, or something that will look better un-wrinkled. This cutie is perfect.
24// 36 Hours Europe Book – I’m super-excited about this series. We spot-checked a few places we know well, and were happy with their recommendations. Such a good coffee table book to get inspired.
25// GHD Curling Iron – Worldwide voltage. (You’ll still need an adaptor, but no need to worry about frying it.) For those fancy travel times. ps. My sister recommends GHD’s straightener for beachy waves.
26// Colleen Rothschild Skincare Travel Set – This is still my favorite set of travel skincare. I continue to refill (over and over) that oil-based cleanser.
27// Le Labo Lys 41 Travel Perfume & Tube – Love how tiny this is, and that it comes in a travel tube. This scent is my new fav — it’s amazing.)
28// Aveda Hand Relief Hand Cream – This is basically the Best Hand Cream Of All Time. And if there’s one luxury item to bring on board that long flight, it’s really good hand cream. (And lip balm, actually – this one.)
29// Grown Alchemist Hydrating Facial Mist – This looks almost horrifyingly fancy, but I’m seriously tempted for long flights. I’ll do anything for a break from that dry, re-circulated air.
30// Supergoop Setting Powder – This stuff is seriously portable SPF, but it also covers blotchiness pretty well, too, for in-flight touchups. I always travel with one of these.
31// CALPAK Travel Bag Set – The prettiest-ever packing cubes. I’ve only recently gotten into them, and they’re pretty game-changing. (Should I do an article on how I pack? I’ve been messing with the process for years now, and finally have a method down…)
32// Lole Packable Jacket – I swear by lightweight, down, packable jackets. They fold up nicely into a pouch. That said, I recently tried this particular jacket on, and it’s a little too long for my short self. If you are petite, I recommend Lole’s Chilly Jacket.
Shop The Best Travel Gifts For Women
Everything mentioned in the gift guide above, but in a handy little widget for easier shopping.
This post has been updated for 2019. This Mama still loves to travel and many of my favs were still in-stock to share again this year.