Let’s face it: Everyone could use a travel upgrade right now. While you and your loved ones are getting back into those airplane seats and train cars, the best travel gifts can make the vacation experience or work trip that much better. To find the right one, however, you’ll have to consider who it’s for—and how they’ll use it.
Business travelers, for instance, will appreciate a personalized vaccination card case or an organizer for their electronics chargers, while leisure travelers will like a newfangled neck pillow that makes long-haul naps comfortable or a skincare set that gets their complexion glowing—even before they land.
This list of favorites below includes not just practical items but also gifts that make the most of commemorating trips (like a push-pin globe), so your giftee can relive them time and time again. And, truth: When your mind has completely drawn a blank, an airline gift card will surely help you get your gift recipient get going on their next big adventure.
1. NiceSeats Airplane Seat Cover
Best for the Cleanliness-Obsessed
In less time than it takes to put your carry-on into the overhead bin, you can slip this stretchy cotton knit seat cover over the spot where all those other passengers have rested their body parts. It’s machine washable, so you can clean it as often as you like—which will probably be more than the once-in-45-days that airlines do a deep seat clean. This seat cover even comes with its own little carrying case, so it’s not going to disrupt your carefully arranged packing.
2. Amazon Explore
Best for Armchair Travelers
Introduced in late 2020, Amazon Explore offers private live virtual experiences from around the globe. That means you and a few friends can join a local expert to talk to you while they walk you around London palaces, let you hang out with sloths in Costa Rica or take you on a ferry across Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour. Not sure when your giftee can attend? Give them a pre-paid Amazon gift card, so they can redeem it on a convenient date.
3. Tracksmith Travel Pants
Best for the Comfort-Seeker
It’s a sartorial unicorn: A pair of trousers that are as comfortable as sweats but look smart enough for a work meeting. That describes these pants, which are made with a four-way stretch polyester that is stain- and wrinkle-resistant. And, they come tailored for women as well as men.
4. Bellroy Tech Kit
Best for the Digital Nomad
This zip carrier is the closest thing you can find to a guarantee that your giftee won’t leave behind a charger or other tech accessory when they’re on-the-go. It’s optimized for even a larger power bank, and it’s got elastic holders for easy access to coiled cords. It also zips open flat, so your favorite traveler can double-check—no, they didn’t forget their phone charger.
5. Six Gldn On the Glow Mini Collection
Best for the Skincare Buff
There’s a formula in this TSA-compliant skincare set for whatever complexion peril travel may bring. The botanical cleansing gel gently lifts off all that gunk from country roads or city streets; the vitamin C serum glows up skin, even if your giftee is falling behind on their sleep; and the moisturizing face oil soothes and plumps complexions after too much sun and wind (or both). It’s a one-and-done skincare kit they can just toss in their carry-on and feel covered.
6. Southwest Airlines E-Gift Card
Best for the College Student
Want to show your appreciation for a hard-working scholar? Give them a gift card to fly to one of 100 destinations throughout North America, Central America and the Caribbean that Southwest Airlines touches down in. Since this is delivered by email, there’s no waiting for hand delivery, and it makes a great last-minute gift.
7. July Carry-On
Best for the Up-and-Coming Influencer
The wide range of appealing hues (Clay, Rose Quartz, Moss Green and more) are Insta-ready, and the lightweight-but-strong Aussie bag comes with its own charger to juice up your recipient's handheld when they’re waiting for a flight. And, for $50 extra, you can have up to six letters (including emojis!) painted on the bag.
8. Rosetta Stone
Best for the Bilingually Curious
What’s the most precious gift you can give a traveler? The ability to understand more about their destination. That’s the appeal of gifting three months or more of language lessons. Rosetta Stone aims to improve students’ pronunciation and build their confidence through speech-recognition software, which ensures they are learning to speak correctly from the get-go. With lessons that last as few as 10 minutes and individualized lesson plans that are based on why students are learning in the first place, Rosetta Stone is going to leave giftees a little more worldly.
9. Tile Pro Essentials 4-Pack
Best for the Sightseer
This variety pack of small electronic trackers can be attached to your keys, slid into your wallet or hung on your handbag to make sure you always know where they are. To use them, simply sync them to the Tile app and click the “Find my keys” button to make the tracker ring. If belongings are out of earshot, they can be found by checking on app’s map to see where they were left.
10. Béis The Backpack Diaper Bag
Best for Parents
Your favorite parent can keep all their baby-soothing needs in one chic unisex backpack with lightly padded straps. This piece includes a changing pad with a diaper and a pocket for baby wipes, an odor-proof pouch, a teething ring to keep the babe entertained while your favorite parent is changing them and even a pouch for an extra pacifier separate and sanitary wipes.
11. Paravel Packing Cube Quad
Best for the Control Freak
There’s a certain satisfaction that comes from having your knickers and jammies in one zip pouch, your T-shirts in a another and your trousers in yet another case. These four recycled nylon cases will allow your recipient to do just that, and they can be monogrammed, too, which will make this gift that much more touching.
12. Sourcenext Pocketalk S Voice Translator
Best for the Internationalist
This ingenious translation device turns your giftee's spoken words into more than 74 languages, and recognizes and translates more than 55 written languages in its text-translating mode. There’s even a conversion function that lets users understand prices and temperatures!
13. Sur La Table Cooking Classes
Best for the Global Gourmet
Maybe your giftee wants to remember her perfect trip to Provence by learning to make coq a vin? Or he could get excited about skiing in Gstaad by learning to make an autumnal beef bourguignon? These and more international dishes are taught online and in-store at Sur La Table on a constantly evolving calendar. Let your giftee sign up for the class that’s most convenient for them with a store gift card to be used toward the purchase.
14. Jenni Kayne Suede Moroccan Slipper
Best for the Luxury Lover
There’s something so sophisticated about these suede and shearling slippers, which can be thrown into a tote bag, then changed into once buckled into a seat. With the back folded upward, they keep feet warm and well-covered, and when your giftee has reached their destination, they can fold the back down to wear them as a pair of scuffs.
15. Royce New York RFID-Blocking 4-Zip Leather Travel Organizer
Best for the Overseas Traveler
It’s easier to keep foreign currency organized and your passport right where you need it when you have four separate color-coded compartments in one trim leather pouch, like this one. And, since each zippered area has anti-identity theft properties, you can feel secure that your loved one’s credit cards aren’t being read without their knowledge.
16. TG90 Portable Charger with Built-In Cable
Best for the Electronics Guru
At just over .5-inch thick, this ultra-slim power bank holds a surprising amount of power. On a full charge, it will juice up your iPhone 12 nearly three times over or your wireless headset 14 times. It also has four output ports, including a built-in Type C charging cable and a micro cable. That means your giftee can post all the videos they’ll need to inspire maximum FOMO in their followers.
17. Longchamp Le Pliage Nylon Weekender
For the Avid Shopper
This classic foldable French tote is indispensable for travelers who always seem to bring home more than they initially packed (meaning, everyone). Its nylon body folds down to the size of a wallet, then expands, so you can fill its 17.75-inch by 13.75-inch cavity with dirty laundry, shoes or anything else you can’t cram into your hard case. The zip-and-snap closure is strong enough for the undercarriage too, should your fashion lover choose to check it.
18. Eric Scott Leathers Leather Monogram Vaccination Passport Holder/Cover
Best for the Frequent Flyer
Sure, everyone’s encouraged to take snapshots of their COVID-19 vaccination cards to show at public performance and travel checkpoints. But what if you forget your phone or it runs out of charge? Or you can’t find it in all those photos? The original paper copy is going to be your best-case scenario, trust us—especially if you have this simple yet elegant monogrammed passport and vaccination card holder. At 4-inches x 5.5-inches folded, it fits your vax card in a transparent sleeve, has a slot for your passport and a place for folded bills or credit cards. Available in 10 colors, this soft leather cover is going to keep your most important documents protected in your safe or in your travel bag.
19. Bose SoundLink Wireless Around-Ear Headphones II
Best for the Workaholic
Bose is the gold standard when it comes to noise-canceling headphones, and these fasten around your ears in cushiony comfort at less than 8 ounces. The whoosh of jet engines or that crying baby won’t penetrate these babies, so your pal or family member can get all the work done they need.
20. Wolf Palermo Zip Case
For the Bling Wearer
There are slots for rings, snap holders for chains and a section for watches and bracelets within this jewelry case—it’s all been designed so your giftee will never have to untangle her chains ever again. Better yet, the case's lining has anti-tarnish properties, so pieces will look just as good coming out as they did when they were stored.
21. Away The Shoe Cube
Best for the Street Style Aficionado
Prized sneakers won’t get scuffed or make the rest of the luggage smell like an old sock if they travel in their own compartment. This flexible nylon cube keeps shoes from scuffing each other, too, with a center divider.
22. Prettygarden Women’s Loose Jumpsuit
Best for Comfort Seekers
This Amazon buy took the flight world by storm right before COVID-19 shut down travel: Reportedly nearly 400 women purchased it in a few months for its packability, comfort and value. We took this on a transcontinental flight recently and appreciated the way it looked like a chic outfit but felt like a comfy onesie. (There’s also a long-sleeved version for cooler-weather jaunts.)
23. The North Face Field Bag
For the Hands-Free Sightseer
It’s a common vacation conundrum: You want to carry your chic handbag to dinner at Café Les Deux Gares as part of your outfit but need something casual for an afternoon tromping around Les Invalides. This lightweight crossbody bag zips closed to keep everything in place and users can feel secure knowing their valuables are carried in front of them rather than in a backpack—because who knows what’s going on back there?.
24. Fisher 400Raw Brass Bullet Space Pen
Best for the Germ-Conscious
This is an especially topical iteration of the Fisher Space Pen, an innovative design introduced in 1965 that was designed to write in any position, in a wide range of temperatures, so that astronauts could take notes in space. This version is made of raw copper with a touch of zinc, so it has EPA-recognized antimicrobial properties that will be great for taking on-the-go.
25. Uncommon Goods World Traveler's Cork Globe
Best for Humblebraggarts
Is your bestie/beloved/betrothed *really* enthusiastic about showcasing all the places they have been? Give them this cool cork globe, on which they can pin all the spots they’ve traveled to. Note: It only comes with five red push pins, so we recommend getting some additional thumbtacks—perhaps color-coded ones for every family member?—to truly encompass all the destinations they’ve conquered.
26. Disney ‘The Mandarlorian’ Kids' Carry-On Pilot Case Luggage
Best for Tiny Travelers
The best way to get kids excited about a trip is to give them some agency, and a child’s suitcase emblazoned with a beloved character is an easy way to make that happen. If your little one isn’t into Baby Yoda, there are also cases with Paw Patrol, Dora the Explorer, Spiderman and more here.
27. Outer Bug Shield Blanket
Best for the Outdoor Explorer
This lightweight, washable blanket is marketed as a bug repellent to be used outdoors, since it’s treated with naturally derived anti-insect technology that leaves no scent. But it’s so attractive and soft, it can double as the best travel blanket or neck wrap in the winter.
28. TrTL Pillow
Best for Stiff Neck Sufferers
This ingenious product weighs less than half a pound, takes up half the space of a travel pillow and customizes its support to each traveler that uses it. More of a neck wrap than a pillow, it’s made of cushy fleece that contains flexible plastic supports to cradle the head or neck in a way that won’t cause aches somewhere over the Pacific Ocean.
29. Truffle Clarity JetSet Case
Best for the Devoted Self-Groomer
It’s tough to see just what you’ve packed in the bottom of a dark little bag. By contrast, this leather-sided makeup case has clear panels at the top and bottom and a rigid, rectangular shape with a shallow 2-inch depth. How lost can that Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof pencil really get?
30. Zensah Tech+ Compression Socks
Best for Delayed Flight Takers
Poor blood flow in the lower extremities has been linked to deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a circulatory condition with potentially life-threatening complications, making being packed into an airport or airline seat for a long-haul flight a potential recipe for disaster. That’s why wearing compression socks like these, which are designed to keep the blood flowing up and out of your lower legs, is a good idea. These ones are made in Italy of a special fabric that’s treated with silver to regulate skin temperature, too.
31. Allbirds Wool Piper Mids
Best for Stylish Minimalists
These shoes have a carbon neutral footprint and manage to be as comfy as sneakers thanks to wide laces and a generous midsole made of sugarcane. These look as right with your favorite business attire as they do shorts, and they are naturally odor-resistant thanks to their wool upper. And there’s also a pair styled just for men, so everyone can feel a little more cushy during travel.
Best for the Super Anxious
This herbal supplement is billed as a sleep aid, but it doesn’t conk you out like melatonin or Ambien. Instead, it just relaxes the nervous system with a combination of adaptogens, including anxiety-banishing ashwagandha.
33. Orvis Engraved Brass Luggage Tags
Best for Frequent Travelers
These handsome brass tags have all the relevant housing info on them, including a phone number in case bags are misplaced or lost in transit. Best of all, all that engraving only adds two days to the delivery time.
34. Tushy Travel
Best for Eco-Campers
This squeeze bottle is basically a portable bidet. It holds up to 11 ounces of water and shoots a “strong stream and spray pattern for optimal booty cleaning,” according to the brands tongue-in-cheek description. There’s even an attached carabiner to hook onto a backpack.
35. Windsor & Newton Field Artist Pro Kit
Best for Creatives
Two short brushes, 12 bright colors and a sea sponge for blotting excess paint all come in an elegant little tin case from this renowned paint maker that your giftee can take along on their travels. It’s the kind of kit that speaks to both a novice or a professional courtesy of its small (less than 5-inch by-3 inch) size and outright usefulness. Gift it with a set of blank postcards made from watercolor paper with your address helpfully inscribed on one.
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