To add to the onslaught on bloggers and writers telling you what you should buy your friends and family, here’s my recommendation on what to buy. Unlike those fools, I don’t receive any monetary gain for these recommendations.
If your loved ones have the wanderlust or if they need help in turning from a tourist to an in-the-know traveler, these are things that will aid them on their journey.
Passport Wallet — I categorize this as a necessity as a frequent and organized traveler. You’ll be amazed how many people just put their passport in their pocket. You need something with weight and bulk that can hold all your other documents, cards and currency. I keep my Global Entry, frequent flyer cards, transit cards, extra credit card and foreigner currency in mine. It fits right into my inside blazer pocket, making it pickpocket proof, so I always know its on my person.
I like these passport wallets from Fossil. They are classic looking, made of leather and more than anything, it’s practical.
$50-$55 from Fossil.com
Circular Scarf — As I’ve pointed out before about the dumbness of travel pillows, a circular scarf solves the problem of neck support without the bulkiness and space wasting of a stupid pillow. These scarves from American Apparel are super soft and wrap easily around your neck. Then when you leave the plane, it becomes a stylish accessory. More than anything, they are easy to pack.
For my brothers, they are unisex so you can pull them off with ease.
$14-$28 from American Apparel
Travel Perfume Atomizer — For gals and dudes, these capsules made by Travalo can make sure you are smelling smart on the go. You just take the spray cap off your favorite perfume or cologne, place the bottom of this atomizer on top of the bottle’s nozzle, pump to fill up the atomizer and you are good to go. It saves you from getting travel sizes of scents, making a mess from filling up a smaller plastic bottle or bringing the whole bottle.
$10 from Target.com
All-in-one Voltage Converter /Adapter — International converters and adapters are not an exact science. In fact, it’s downright clumsy. I bring one of these on my international trips. No need to bring those cheap plastic adapters and a separate power converter. You end trying to balance the adapter, converter and your charger because it’s too heavy and falls over.
This one from Insignia worked well, but functionality depends on your hote’ls power outler set-up. You can find better deals on these via ebay or on clearance at Best Buy.
$14.99 at BestBuy.com
Retro Travel Posters — I have these in my home, and they are just phenomenal designs — that retro modern chic that the cool kids like. The Anderson Design Group out of Nashville has a myriad of cities to choose from. Just pick your recipient’s favorite city or the place they’ve always dreamed of going. Add in a ready-made frame from your local arts & crafts store and you are good to go.
They also make other subjects (coffee, man cave, mod fashion) in their distinct style in calendar or coffee table form.
Travel Stickers — In our mind, we like to live as retro travelers with our steamer trunks or vintage suitcases with stickers on them documenting our destinations. These stickers from Cavallini & Co. will at least help you decorate your hard shell suitcases with retro goodness.
$16.21 on Amazon.com
World Map with flag pins — Here’s a unique Do-It-Yourself kit for the world traveler in your life. Get a giant, wall map of the world like this laminated one from AllPosters. Pick up a box of map flag pins. Tell your friends or family member to hang the poster on their wall and use the pins to show where they’ve been in the world. It can be used as a history of their travels and an inspiration on where they want to go next.