15 Great Holiday Gift Ideas for Travelers
Leah Walker November 23, 2013

I adore the holiday season. In fact, November and December are my favorite months of the year. Not only do they bring the cold weather that I love, but it’s also a time for family, friends, and great food. The only drawback is how difficult and stressful it is to find the perfect gifts.

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I’ve been told that I am quite difficult to buy for, though it’s not because I’m particularly picky. Instead it’s because if I want something then I usually just buy it for myself. I suppose that does present a challenge, but anything that I can use while traveling is always a great start. Since you might have someone like me on your shopping list, I’ve put together this holiday gift guide perfect for the travel lover in your life. Some of the items I own and love, while others I’d simply love to own.

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Bose QuietComfort 15 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Bose Q15 Headphones

I’ve had these Bose headphones for nearly two years, and I can’t imagine how I ever traveled without them. The sound quality is excellent, just as you’d expect from Bose. They’re also very comfortable; I’ve even been known to fall asleep with them on during a long-haul flight. The best thing about these headphones is that they drown out loud talkers and crying babies, in addition to other ambient noise. These headphones are one of my packing non-negotiables. Now they can be color customized for added flair.

Price: $299.95 or $399.95 customized

Purchase: Bose.com

Marc Jacobs Slippers

Marc Jacobs Slipper

I have a list of things that truly gross me out, many of which occur on airplanes. Removing shoes without covering the feet with something, be it a blanket or slippers, is one. Another is seeing passengers going to the bathroom with bare feet or simply socks. Have these people not seen the floor of an airplane bathroom? YUCK!

On any flight longer than six hours, my shoes are coming off. However, I always put on a pair of slippers, though none as fancy as these Sleeping Mouse Velvet Slippers by Marc Jacobs. I like these because they are compact and won’t take up much room in a carry on; the shearling will keep feet warm on cold flights; they’re velvety soft; darn cute; and the soles are suede, which will prevent the liquid on the floor of the nasty bathroom from soaking through to the skin.

Price: $198

Purchase: Saks Fifth Avenue

 

Point It: Traveller’s Language Kit

Point It Book

I can’t remember how I heard about this little book, but it saved my life a time or two in China. The concept is so simple that I’m kicking myself for not thinking of it first. Basically, it’s a picture book that helps travelers navigate language barriers. This pocket-sized book has photos of just about everything you can imagine. So, say you’re in Sri Lanka and in need of a bandage. The problem, besides the gash on your leg, is that you don’t speak Sinhalese. All you have to do it show someone the picture of the bandage in your Point It book. Problem solved. It’s perfect for the international traveler in your life.

Price: $26

Purchase: Amazon.com

 Frédéric Malle Coffret Collection

Frederick Malle Perfume

When I strolled into Frédéric Malle’s original boutique in Paris, I found myself in fragrance heaven. Decidedly French, Malle doesn’t actually design the perfume he sells, even though he comes from fragrance royalty–his grandfather founded Parfums Christian Dior. Originally, Malle gave nine of the world’s best perfumers the rare opportunity to create their dream fragrances, which has since grown to twelve designers and nineteen unisex fragrances. I left the boutique with just one perfume–Musc Ravageur. Although, I would’ve loved one of each. Since that trip, I’ve had my eye on the Conffret Collection. This spectacular set contains eighteen different fragrances in five-ounce bottles. It’s the perfect size for travel, allowing you to bring a couple of different scents to match your mood and the occasion.

Price: $320

Purchase: Barneys New York or Frédéric Malle

Jenny Dress from Seamly

Seamly Dress

I’m terrific at over-packing. This has led me to develop some deft skills, namely that I can cram a whole bunch of things into a tiny space. On my recent trip to Asia, this trend continued, as did my sore back from lugging around a heavy suitcase. Looking back, I should have left about 1/3 of the things I brought. They weren’t worn and never really needed. What I found myself wearing to death in the Philippines was this Jenny Dress. It’s soft, flattering, and so very comfortable. I threw on a belt, gold flip-flops, and a necklace and wore it sightseeing. It was a bathing suit cover up at the pool. I wore it to breakfast at five-star hotels in lieu of pajamas {I thought it only appropriate}. I even frolicked on the beach in the Jenny Dress. Worn short or long, dressed up or causal, this dress would be perfect for the person who likes {or would like to} travel light, but still likes to be stylish.

Price: $60

Purchase: Seamly.co

 HyperJuice 2 External Battery for MacBook/USB

HyperJuice

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to quit working because of the dreaded red battery light on my Macbook Pro. Being on the go with no power source is frustrating to say the least. I’d love to have a backup option like the HyperJuice external battery. This ingenious device allows you to charge a Macbook, iPad, iPhone, iPod, and anything that uses a USB port. Specs claim to extend a Macbooks battery life up to thirty-four hours and to fully recharge an iPhone nineteen times. There’s also a fancy plug that allows you to charge your Macbook from your car. This is definitely something I’d love to see under my tree, and I would imagine lots of other travelers would, too.

Price: $399.95

Purchase: HyperShop.com

The North Face Abby IV Luxe Boots

North Face Boots

I adore boots and can’t have enough pairs. These North Face Abby boots came to my doorstep about a month ago in preparation for my winter travels. From the slopes of Colorado to the streets of Paris, I think these are plenty stylish and will keep my feet toasty warm. They’re made of waterproof leather with a rubber lug sole, which will keep me from busting my ass on the ice. An added bonus is that they’re easy to slip on and off in the airport security line.

Price: £155

Purchase: Blacks.co.uk

 Louis Vuitton 2014 City Guide Collection

Louis Vuitton City Guides

It only makes sense that Louis Vuitton, the brand that invented the first flat top travel trunk, would create a line of travel guides. Released just a few weeks ago, this fifteenth-anniversary edition explores fifteen of the world’s most glamorous cities in true Louis Vuitton style. It’s the perfect gift for me the person who is longing for a glamorous guide rather than Lonely Planet.

Price: €30 each or  €450 for limited edition of all 15 works

Purchase: LouisVuitton.com

Smashbox’s Master Class Palette II

Smashbox Makeup Set

When traveling, space is precious. There’s no room for full-size eye shadows and blushes. Thanks to gift sets like this one from Smashbox, there’s no need. I adore Smashbox, and this set is perfect for me when I travel. Its compact size still packs a punch in terms of variety. With twenty-eight eye shadows, four cream eyeliners, and six shades of blushes and bronzers, it’s really all I need. Add to it some foundation, mascara, and a few brushes and my make-up bag is significantly lighter.

Price: $59

Purchase: Sephora.com

Tumi’s Lejeune Backpack Tote

Tumi Backpack I just bought this backpack/tote at the Tumi store in the Beijing airport last week. I’ve been looking for something that would hold all of my necessary carryons, including my massive amount of electronics. It needed to be of substantial size, durable, comfortable, but also stylish. For about two years I found a few options that were close, but nothing quite satisfied all of my criteria. I thought about this purchase for about one minute before I started pulling out the filling and loading my stuff into it. It can be worn as a backpack or used as a tote. There’s a padded pocket for my computer, as well as other pockets to hold smaller items. It’s absolutely perfect, and it will serve me for many years to come. And with seven different color schemes, it works well for a man or woman.

Price: $395

Purchase: Tumi.com

Apple World Travel Adapter Kit

Apple World Travel Adapter Kit

You didn’t think I’d have a holiday gift guide without an actual Apple product, did you? Perfect for any Apple-product owning world traveler, this kit contains a USB power adapter, a 30-pin to USB cable, and a set of six AC plugs with prongs that fit electrical outlets in North America, Japan, China, United Kingdom, Continental Europe, Korea, Australia, and Hong Kong. It will work with iPod, iPhone, iPad, MacBook, MacBook Pro, Portable Power Adapters {for iBook and PowerBook}, and AirPort Express. It’s everything an Apple user needs in one little package.

Price: $39

Purchase: Apple.com

lululemon’s Wunder Under Pant

lululemon tights

Technically, these lululemon pants are made for yoga, but I can’t even touch my toes. These are my go-to bottoms for traveling. They’re the most comfortable pants I own and perfect for long-haul flights. They’re sleek with a great fit, and I often wear them with a pair of tall boots and a long sweater. These tights are much more stylish than the sweat pants or pajama bottoms that I’ve seen some women sporting, though just as comfortable. And guess what? I hear they’re really good for yoga, too.

Price: $92

Purchase: lululemon.com

Longchamp’s Planètes Bag

Longchamp PurseThe Planètes bag has accompanied me on every trip since I bought it in Paris last December. The classic shape, thick fabric, and cowhide trim allows it to go with most anything. I normally carry this purse when I want to bring my DLSR along. It’s large enough to hold my camera, along with everything else I need, while not looking too bulky. What I really love about this bag is the fact that it folds flat, making it perfect for packing inside a suitcase. Although it’s similar to Longchamp’s other popular folding bag, Le Pliage, I actually prefer this one due to its structure and sturdiness. Although, the cool thing about the Le Pilage line is that you can customize a bag. Pick the colors, hardware, and monogram that you like, making it a perfect gift as well.

Price: $150

Purchase: Longchamp.com

mophie juice pack air

Mophie Case

It’s often a real pain to have to hunt down a power source for my iPhone. The familiar white cord travels with me where ever I go, but this could all be eliminated if I simply had a mophie. Essentially, this is a protective case that doubles as a back-up battery. If the device is fully charged, your phone will have 100% extra battery life. Since buying my iPhone 5 in August, I’ve been walking around without a case because I’ve just not gotten around to buying a mophie. Maybe Santa will leave it in my stocking.

Price: $99.95

Purchase: mophie.com

Hermès Embroidered Cashmere Stole

Hermes Scarf

Hermès and cashmere are music to my ears. Alright, so I’d never buy this for myself, but wouldn’t balk if it was in a package under my tree. In reality, I never travel without at least one scarf, even in the summer. Planes are freezing, and I’m cold natured. Not only do scarfs and stoles keep me warm, but they also add a bit of flare to a winter coat or plain outfit. An investment piece like this one is classic and will last for many years, at least that’s what I tell myself.

Price: $1,025

Purchase: Hermes.com

Leah Christmas Paris

There you have it, fifteen of my favorite gift ideas for this holiday season. Do you have a gift suggestion for the traveler in your life?

 

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Leah Walker

Leah has a marketing management company specializing in strategy, content creation and implementation for luxury brands and destinations. She's also a luxury travel and food writer who has as many stories as she does shoes. Leah documents her experiences whether that's in the lap of luxury or riding through a swamp in an airboat. She sometimes freelances and has contributor/editor roles with The Daily Meal, USA Today 10 Best, Bonjour Paris, France Today, Luxe Beat Magazine, Four Seasons Magazine, Forbes Travel Guide, and is a travel and wine ambassador for Atout France USA. Leah's lived in Paris for four years, and was awarded additional time with a Passeport Talent visa renewal. Though, her talent for speaking French is abysmal.

28 Comments

  1. I spy a few things I’d like for myself! First, the Apple adapter kit is a MUST. I think we’ll need the point it book for next year’s Euro trip, since none of us speaks any German or Czech. And I want the Smashbox palette. Just because.

    1. It is quite useful, especially when trying to learn a language and navigate a new country. It’s a great concept and one I wish I’d thought of.

  2. I love that dress and that bag for your dslr. I have been looking for attractive camera bags that aren’t necessarily camera bags. And comfortable travel clothes are always a good idea.

    1. Technically it’s just a purse, but I throw my camera in there along with my wallet, makeup, and iPhone. It’s a great size and holds all my junk that I travel with.

  3. The “Point It” book is ingenious! I wish I’d thought of that. The dress that can be worn long or short also gave me some inspiration. As for suggestions, how about some packing cubes for organizing your luggage? Also a simple little compass would be good to have in a foreign city in case your iPhone has no reception? I have couple other traveler gift suggestions that I put together.

    1. I know several people that use the packing cubes and they love them. Great addition. I’ve not ever used them before. Might be time to try. Ohhhh…never thought about a compass. My sense of direction is awful!

  4. I love all of these, though I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for the Marc Jacobs slippers, haha, I love anything MJ. Though, I wouldn’t complain if I got anything on this list.

  5. Now I really want the Jenny dress! (And the Tumi bag and almost everything else on this list) but I’m having trouble finding the jenny dress, could you point me in the right direction please?

  6. Thank you for such a fun gift idea list! There are definitely a couple of things I will need to be suggesting, putting on my “wish” list and giving as gifts.

  7. the hubs and i snagged the apple world adapter kit before moving to france, and i’m really not sure how we survived without it before.

    as for me, i’d go with a snazzy passport cover. my parents gave me a super chintzy gold one last christmas and it’s SO convenient when i’m fishing through my giant bag.

    1. Good to know that it really is great. Sometimes that Mac plug is too heavy with the adapter to actually stay in the wall. Oh, and I could use a passport cover. I don’t own one.

  8. Leah, I hope to make your list of top travel gifts next year with my RePoser supplemental armrest, coming available in the next 2-3 months. The other thing that will soon follow is my individual privacy veil. Both of these will be travel accessories that can vastly improve your comfort in coach. Stay tuned…

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