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3 2015

10 Great Travel Gifts Recommended by the Experts

What to give a loved one for the holidays? In case you haven’t already gleaned enough ideas from 7 Little Luxuries to Increase Your In-Flight Comfort and 15 Things You Never Pack—But Should, here are ten more nifty gift suggestions, offered up by travel experts who have put them to the test for you (or plan to soon):


  1. Vinyasa Scarf

“It keeps travelers warm on chilly planes and, since it can be worn so many ways (see the video), adapts well to all sorts of travel. It’s a great scarf, and with its clever system of snaps, can also transform into a wrap, a cardigan, a blanket, and even a hood.” (; $48 – $58)

 —Christine Sarkis, senior editor, SmarterTravel


  1. Clam Case

“I’m sure I’m not the only traveler always looking for ways to lighten her load on the road. And that I’m not the only one who fears she can’t go anywhere without her laptop. So here’s my new plan: I’ll leave the laptop at home and just carry an iPad Mini with a Clam Case, which has a protective cover and a keyboard, a setup that is lighter — physically and metaphorically — than a laptop.” (; case for iPad, $149.99; for iPad Mini, $129.99)

—Pavia Rosati, founder, Fathom


  1. Flexible tripod

“A flexible tripod such as those from GorillaPod is a fun gift for travelers who love to take photos. The bendable arms allow you to use the tripod in traditional fashion (to stabilize your camera in low light) or get a little more creative (wrap it around a pole for a selfie! Hang it from a tree branch for an aerial shot!). The one for point-and-shoot cameras is less than $20.” (; $16.96 and up)

—Sarah Schlichter, senior editor, Independent Traveler


  1. Outlets To Go

“There are never enough outlets in most hotels rooms so that I can charge all of my devices at once and let my wife charge hers as well.  There are never enough outlets in the airport for all travelers in the gate area to do the same.  Instead of fighting over a limited number of plugs, expand what’s available with Monster’s Outlets To Go, a compact device with three AC power outlets and two USB ports.” (; $7.99)

—Gary Leff, founder, View From The Wing


  1. Embroidered state pillows

“They come in a variety of destinations and are super cute!  I give them to friends all around the country, with destinations like Savannah, Georgia, Boston, and Washington, D.C. The company has cities, states, regions and even countries.” (; $168 and up)

—Lissa Poirot, editor in chief, Family Vacation Critic



  1. Flytographer photo shoot

“When I sat down to make a holiday card this year, I realized that although my family spent a memorable four days in Venice last spring, we had no photos that included all four of us. (There were barely any photos of my husband and me at all). What would make a better gift for someone who is headed on a special trip with loved ones than a Flytographer photo shoot? They’ve got locations in 160 cities worldwide. I know that if someone had put that under my Christmas tree last year I would have some professional pictures to remember our magical afternoon in Saint Mark’s Square (; $250 and up).”

—Mara Gorman, founder, The Mother of All Trips


  1. A whimsical map

“My favorite gift for travelers is a map that’s beautifully framed. I’m not talking about ordinary maps but fun, whimsical, or just offbeat ones that are pegged to where the traveler is heading or where he or she has just been. Some of my favorites have been one of the London Underground for an Anglophile pal, a somewhat satirical “How Finns See the World” for my Finnish husband, and anything (though Tokyo is a particular favorite) that’s featured in Monocle. This year I’m changing up my map-giving strategy just slightly: I’m giving a friend a map-themed shower curtain. Figure it beats singing as way to avoid boredom.”

—Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor in chief, Cruise Critic


  1. Four-wheeled carry-on “Spinner”

“For a frequent traveler, how about a new piece of Briggs & Riley luggage? It’s a solid upper mid-range brand with an excellent no-nonsense repair guarantee—and it comes in a wide range of colors, which makes it easy to spot in the overhead bin or luggage carousel. I have a four-wheeled carry-on ‘Spinner,’ which I really like because it’s so easy to maneuver sideways down airplane aisles and through concourses. It does not work all that great on carpet, but most airports don’t have much carpet anymore anyway!”

(Briggs & Riley; $379)

—Chris McGinnis, founder, Travel Skills


  1. Personal Organizer Toiletry Bag

“You can’t go wrong gifting a reasonably priced L.L. Bean hanging Personal Organizer Toiletry Bag. It comes in a variety of colors and four different sizes. (I’ve used my same one on worldwide travels for the past 7 years, and it’s still in great shape!)  Go the extra mile and fill the bag with travel-sized toiletries, from toothpaste and floss to shampoo and conditioner.”

(L.L. Bean; $29.95)

—Kara Williams, co-owner, The Vacation Gals


  1. Kids’ Travel Journal

“The ‘Kids’ Travel Journal’ is a great addition to any child’s inflight backpack. There are prompts for them to describe what they did, saw, and ate with a record of where and when. The publisher has a variety of travel journals and activity books to choose from.”

(; $9.99)

—Jen Leo, founder, KidsNTrips


You’ll find plenty more holiday travel advice and ideas at

Categories: Travel Tips, Wendy Perrin

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