Gifts Tailor-Made for Travelers
Our Travel Channel pros pick the gifts they want to get—and give—this holiday season.
Whether you are a frequent flyer looking for the perfect pair of cozy, easy to slip on loafers that will make your TSA experience a breeze, or an avid outdoors wanderer looking for the best camping gadgets out there, Travel Channel has you covered!
Our editors have assembled a list of some of the best travel helpmates to add to your holiday gift giving or personal wish list. Find out what we consider our top picks.
For Adventurous Pups
Kelly Smith Trimble, Editorial Director
This fall, we added a new family member, an Australian shepherd puppy who we plan to bring along on many of our travels, especially outdoor adventures. So I'm in the market for durable, high-tech outdoor gear tailored for dogs. Top of my list? A puppy backpack that will help him know he's part of the crew on our backpacking trips and a packable water and food bowl to make on-the-go meals happen without a hitch. Also, a GoPro harness designed for dogs — well, that's more for my husband's amusement than for the dog's, but I'm sure we'll all love reviewing our trips from Rufus's point of view.
For Multi-Destination Trips
Farima Alavi, Assistant Editor
I recently went on a two-week European vacation where I traveled to seven different cities. It was a trip filled with fun, adventure and constant go, go, go! My trip wouldn't have gone as smoothly if it weren't for a portable phone charger, an ultralight water purifier bottle and a super-comfy crossbody.
For Long-Haul Flights
Kayla Kitts, Managing Editor
Whether I'm flying across the country or across the world, there are key beauty essentials I stow in my carry-on to keep me feeling hydrated and rejuvenated 39,000 feet in the air. As soon as I hit the plane, I'm out like a baby. That's why a silk, charcoal-activated sleep mask is key for easing tension and pressure during shut-eye. When I hear it's almost time for arrival, I like to spritz my face with a beauty elixir to wake up my skin and add a burst of radiance, then spritz my body with a natural deodorant spray (need I explain that one?).
For the Laid-Back Traveler
Ryan Reed, Editor
When visiting a new city, I try to unplug as much as possible so that I can experience my surroundings without the distraction of text messages and social media. One way I do that is by leaving my smartwatch at home and opting for a classic timepiece instead. The Runwell from Shinola may not count your steps or vibrate to alert you of new status updates but it's built to last in Detroit and its timeless design will help you look more like a stylish local and less like a tourist.
One of the most unfortunate things that can happen to campers while out in the wilderness is rain because, well, who likes laying on the cold, wet ground? If you're looking to elevate your camping experience – literally – consider the Nubé Starter Combo from Sierra Madre Research. The hammock lifts you off the ground and the rainproof shelter keeps you dry while also providing a place to store your gear.
For Flying in Style
Shannon Petrie, Managing Editor
Flying isn't typically the most glamorous aspect of traveling, but a few key items can make it much more enjoyable, starting with the perfect travel outfit. This infinity scarf is a great accessory for frequent jetsetters: It's stylish, silky soft and just warm enough for chilly flights, plus it has a hidden pocket to keep your travel documents and other essentials handy. Once you're on the plane, order a mini bottle of tequila and mix up two margaritas right from your seat with a carry-on cocktail kit.
For Getting Out There
Paul Cox, Operations Director
Having the right (and coolest) gear for the job is essential when you're getting away from it all, whether for a week or just for the weekend. The Sylvansport GO makes it easy to tow your tent-away-from-home as well as your outdoor toys. Since it’s light, weighing just 840 pounds, and aerodynamic when folded down, weekend warriors won't need to trade in their small cars for a large SUV to pull it. I enjoyed this little setup in Moab, Utah, where its large pop-up sleeping space was a welcome accommodation after a long day of fun. Where's a level rock when you need one to take the perfect photo or shoot an outdoor video? Nowhere, of course, but you don't need one with the little Joby GripTight Gorillapod Stand. Its legs, featuring grippy, rubber balls at the end are infinitely adjustable and a spring-loaded clamp grips your phone securely. I once wrapped this tripod around the carry handle of my canoe to shoot a paddling video. It worked great with a little duct tape holding it steady. I like to keep a lightweight, breathable layer like the Salomon Fast Wing Aero in my daypack during cool months. This active-fit jacket is made for runners, but it's perfectly suited for hiking and exploring when the weather could get iffy, or when your neighbor in the adjoining airplane seat insists on aiming his air vent directly at you.
For the Well-Rounded Traveler
Laura James, Assistant Editor
If you fly more than once or twice a year, a solid carry-on, like the popular Away Carry-On, is a worthwhile investment. Away describes their products as “first-class luggage at a coach price.” These hard-shell suitcases come in a variety of colors from classic neutrals like black, navy or sand to sleek, modern options like white and blush. It comes with a charging dock for your phone, a TSA-approved lock and a lifetime warranty. Wildsam is bringing back guidebooks in a whole new way, selling thoughtfully curated field guides for select American cities and regions. The guides include the essential stops for food and drink, historical anecdotes, hand-drawn maps, local interviews, album suggestions by bands from that city, literary memoirs and much more. A field guide would make the perfect gift for someone who has a trip planned and wants to get to know a city better before visiting. I’m currently researching and reading up on San Francisco in anticipation of my first visit there in a few weeks!
For the Design-Savvy Traveler
Zara Saponja, Contractor
Native Maps are my favorite go-to present because they are as thoughtful as they are thorough about the neighborhoods they represent. The creative Knoxville-based power-couple who makes each map by hand, makes sure that all of their research is done beforehand, to ensure the most accurate and elegant representation of the U.S.’s most popular cities. David Harman, originally a painter, turned screenprinter/map-maker, works alongside his wife Rebecca Harman, a soil scientist, who helps keep the family business running smoothly, as well as being a full-time mother of two. For any on-the-go traveler who wants to take or give memories of so many unforgettable places forever, these maps are sure to be winners in hearts and in homes. (I know they are in mine!)
For Peace of Mind
Jackie McGilvray, Editor
Sometimes hotel security isn’t always as secure as we wish it could be. Play it safe with a door alarm. Simply hang the alarm from the doorknob then insert the sensor in between the door and the jamb. If the door is opened, a loud, high-pitched alarm will scare off intruders.
Neck pillows can be so bulky and then you have to carry it around during your entire vacation. Not anymore, inside this stylish infinity scarf is an inflatable neck pillow. Inflate it for an in-flight snooze, then when you've landed, deflate the pillow and you’re left with a chic accessory to wear throughout your trip.
This all-weather, water-repellent windbreaker has special pockets and integrated features that can make travel easier. Made from lightweight 100% polyester, the jacket has four zippered pouches for personal electronics -- tablet, smartphone, portable charger and a lapel-mounted earbud holder. Airplane-specific amenities include a neck pillow that inflates in two seconds, an eye mask built into the hood and a passport-size pocket. In warm weather, an internal microfiber cloth is attached to a cord while two pockets secure a drink bottle and a pair of sunglasses. Cold weather features include gloves integrated into the cuffs and twin hand-warming pockets. The zipper even has an integrated pen and stylus.
For the Ready-for-Anything Traveler
Felicia Feaster, Managing Editor
Certain things are travel essentials in my mind: a great book for one. David Leibovitz's L'Appart about the ins and outs of buying an apartment in Paris, is a great read, a pleasure for Francophiles and for anyone who loves smart, first-person reportage.
Also critical: products that ensure comfort, so your feet don't hurt and you stay dry and warm. Because nothing spoils a trip quicker than physical misery. Which is why I really rely on Rockport shoes. This is a company that cares about both comfort and style and I am mad for these easy to get on and off, retro, bowling-style, ultra-comfortable Cobb Hill Willa High-Tops which manage to offer both. On that same comfort front, the Crosscut Flannel Scarf from Duluth Trading Company will actually whick moisture away while it keeps you super cozy. Nothing like high-performance style to help you travel with ease!
Then there are the witty touches that add a bit of fun to your travels, like the cheeky products from Dear Keaton, including their cute Vacay key fob and sassy woven becah hat.
I'm also a fan of this on-trend Buffalo Plaid Flask from Pottery Barn to avoid those outrageous minibar fees, all of which allow you to travel in style.
And what better way to celebrate a friend for whom travel Is. Everything. than these cute Pottery Barn ornaments that celebrate a love of globe-trotting?
I have so many black pants, black jackets, black shoes in my life, that it's nice to mix it up with a little olive green, a color that in travel gear really says I. Mean. Business. Whether in a great REI tote that does double-duty as a backpack when you want to go hands free, or a weather-proof L.L. Bean Waxed Canvas Outdoor Blanket to keep you high and dry, 2017 is the year of green.