You might not see your favorite traveler very often due to the very nature of travel – they are probably out in the world somewhere following their dreams. This holiday season, you can help them stock up on the best travel items they want and need to make the rest of their traveling year as adventurous as possible. We’ve curated our favorite and most used travel items to help you filter through the best new and consistently awesome travel products on the market. We like to travel, and we do it often, so we think this list is more than just fluff. The items here will keep you safe and comfortable while enjoying the amazing places at the far reaches of the globe.
This thing is so incredibly useful that it has become a no-brainer. Everyone travels with electronics now, and you’ve got to plug stuff in at some point. It might be a laptop, a phone or tablet, a camera charger, and who knows what else, but chances are you’ve got several things you need to plug in at once. This ultra-compact little charger and surge protector has 3 plugs plus 2 USB charger ports. The best part: it’s small enough to fit into that little side pocket of your backpack or laptop case. With a rotating plug, it also makes room for itself as it can fit behind awkward furniture or other obstacles. Oh, and it’s small enough to be a great stocking-stuffer, too! The downside? You’ll still need a plug and voltage converter if you’re traveling abroad.
This one device replaces that little case full of converters because it contains everything in one little handheld unit. Small and lightweight enough to fit into a little pocket, travelers can take this anywhere. And like the previous item, it also makes for a great stocking stuffer. The only real negative for this little item is that it doesn’t convert voltages (although most electronics have their own built-in voltage converters, anyway). But at this price, it’s hard to find a fault with it.
Computers have been known to break, especially when crossing remote jungles, forging rivers, and weaving through busy markets. Thus, the concept of “backing stuff up” on another device. The traditional problem is that those other backup devices can also break under extreme conditions. Enter the rugged hard drive, designed to handle rough impacts, crazy camels, elephant herds, glaciers, etc. Put your backup travel photos on one of these guys, and they will survive. (Various sizes and features available)
Sometimes your favorite traveler needs to know where in the world they are, and how they got there. More importantly, they need to know how to get to the next place! These hand held GPS Navigators from Garmin can do a lot more than just give driving directions. They can show hiking trails, survive a fall, and even provide weather information. With updatable maps, it never becomes out of date, either.
This credit-card sized USB charger fits in your wallet. Just unfold it when you need to plug your phone into your laptop for a charge. Then, there’s no need to worry about large and clunky cables while you’re on the road. The downside is that it doesn’t work with every type of phone, so check your specs first.
If you or your favorite traveler is really into camping, then this is the ultimate survival gadget. The SteriPEN sterilizes water using an ultraviolet light that kills bacteria and other harmful organisms in the water before you drink it. Just follow the simple instructions: turn it on and stick the pen into your water bottle. This newer model is smaller and lighter than previous versions, meaning there’s less to carry. Larger models may be desired for longer outdoor excursions, though.
Carrying your money and passport in a hidden location while traveling abroad is very important. However, many devices are available to perform this function, but not all of them are actually safe. Money belts come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but experts agree that this version is the safest. Why? Belts that strap around your waist or neck can be removed or cut off while the wearer is distracted. This “hidden pocket” is much safer because it stays in a place on your body which is hard to penetrate, in addition to staying hard-to-see. By attaching to your belt and folding below your pants (somewhat close to your, um, sensitive body parts), this item becomes very hard to remove, and it’s very obvious if someone does try to remove it. It’s also a perfect size to hold your passport and money. The only negative to this device is that you need to be wearing a belt to make it work. Various models are made by different companies, some slightly larger and more waterproof than others. Some even block RFID transmissions. Oh, and buy a good belt, too!
Backpacks have come a long way in recent years. By using advanced materials, packs are now lighter, stronger, more waterproof, reflective, and just plain sexy. Many backpacks these days also contain small compartments for hydration systems, mobile devices and other electronics, wet clothing, and more. Your favorite traveler probably needs an upgrade, right?
Have you ever been in a situation where you really needed an extra durable cord or wire to use as a tourniquet, luggage strap, sling, or rope? Of course you have! Now, you can carry such a cord on your wrist as a fashionable bracelet. These functional yet fashionable devices come in a variety of colors and sizes, and are made of military grade para-cord webbing.
The travel clothesline has a loop on each end to hang it up where ever you are. This thing seems so stupid and simple, yet it’s ingenious at the same time. Travelers visiting less developed areas or who travel for longer periods of time find these extremely useful. They are also compact and virtually weightless, so it’s an easy decision.
Let’s face it, sometimes it rains. Well, real travelers don’t let rainy days stand in their way of a real adventure. A high quality, yet lightweight and compactable rain jacket is a requirement for travelers. Not only does it keep you dry and warm, but it can protect your gear as well.
Every female traveler needs a pair of these lightweight slip-on shoes that fold up and fit in any pocket, purse, or backpack. Whether you’re going from heels to something more comfortable, or looking for some shoes that can get wet and thrown away, these stylish yet convenient ballet slippers are useful in a variety of situations. And they’re cheap, too.
This little device works much like an egg timer. You twist it to set the time, mount your small camera or phone on top of it, and let it go to take a rotating time lapse movie from a stationary point. A variety of these devices are made by a few manufacturers, but all seem to support a standard tripod mount screw size. This particular model can also be mounted on top of a standard sized tripod for even more versatility. The downsides are that larger cameras are often too heavy to work well. Also, your camera needs to have a time lapse function, as this device does not actually control the shutter of your camera. It simply rotates slowly and precisely over the course of an hour or so.
A variety of small and cheap tripods are available from various manufacturers, all with different pros and cons. Many are very inexpensive, yet well built. For someone who likes to take photos and travel, these are invaluable due to their small size and usefulness. Just pull this little guy out of a side pocket, stick it to the bottom of your camera, and you’re good to go for a self portrait, night photo, or any other picture that necessitates a stable image.
Memory cards are always useful for photographers. You just can’t have too many. They make great stocking stuffers, too. Just make sure you’re buying the right sized memory card for your favorite traveler’s camera (SD, Micro SD, Compact Flash, etc.).
By following the latest trends in travel, Lonely Planet has assembled this guide to show you some of the best places to visit around the world over the next year. With global events in 2014 and exciting destinations, this compelling guide will inspire any type of traveler.
Sometimes we need to step away from the electronic world and actually write something down using those last-century tools: pen and paper. A travel journal full of blank pages makes a great gift for travelers. They can scribe their journeys, keep notes on locations or important information, track their budgets, remember contact info for hotels or friends, and so on and so on….
Bryan has visited exactly one more country than his wife, and she won’t let him forget it! Also an avid photographer, he enjoys entrenching himself within the local culture in order to learn more about the people of a place. He is the co-founder of Budget Your Trip and loves a good adventure, an exotic meal, or a passionate conversation about global events.