At a loss for what to buy the travelers in your life? Here’s a list of sure-to-please ideas for all your favorite wanderlusters.
Cotopaxi Allpa Travel Packs
High on the wish lists of lots of seasoned travelers, Cotopaxi’s stylish backpacks boast interiors that are designed more like a well-organized rolling bag. They unzip fully and pack down small, making them ideal for weekend jaunts, frequent fliers, and anyone who aspires to pack minimally. Cotopaxi is a certified B Corporation, with 2 percent of its profits going toward alleviating poverty around the world. Starting at $170, cotopaxi.com.
Voyage Mapper Scratch-Off World Map
World travelers who want to be able to remember every single one of their global exploits in a single glance will appreciate Voyage Mapper’s scratch-off world map. The brand’s husband-and-wife owners spent six months designing this gorgeous and framable way to gamify traveling. Use a coin or toothpick to scrape the gold off any country or state you’ve visited, and bright colors are revealed underneath. As a bonus, 208 flags await being scratched off at the bottom. $29, voyagemapper.com.
Eagle Creek’s National Geographic Luggage
If you know any adventurers who go through suitcases like a shredder goes through paper, get them something from Eagle Creek’s new line of National Geographic luggage, designed in collaboration with the legendary society’s rugged explorers. These bags are as tough as any you’ll find—the exteriors are extremely durable (thanks to double-coated Tarpaulin fabric), the interiors are hoseable, and the zippers are water-resistant and self-repairing. The collection includes a carry-on with backpack straps, an all-purpose duffel, a 65-liter travel pack, rolling bags, and a compression cube set. They’re all covered by a generous warranty and ready for anything. From at $49, eaglecreek.com.
Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody
For those who own it, Patagonia's Micro Puff Hoody is a serious wardrobe staple, both at home and outdoors. Yes, it's pricey but worth every penny. This all-purpose jacket is designed to be worn many days of many seasons, and both the men's and women's versions offer super-lightweight warmth, fuss-free comfort, and excellent water-resistance, all while being down-free (read: humane). This piece also travels incredibly well, zipping into a compressible bag that fits into even the smallest of packs. Besides, Patagonia is a company that stands up for what it believes in—defending nature, especially—even when it comes at the expense of its own profits. $299, patagonia.com.
Little Passports Subscription Box
Looking to turn the children in your life into passionate world citizens? A mom-owned company called Little Passports puts together charming subscription boxes full of educational crafts, maps, stickers, and activity books that are designed to get youngsters (ages 3-13) yearning to visit as many countries—and to get to know as many cultures—as they can. Starting at $13 per month, littlepassports.com.
Tweed Wolf Custom Photo Album
If you’re like most people, you take hundreds of beautiful photos every time you take a trip. Family memories, sweeping landscapes, memorable stops along the way. But if you’re like most people, those meaningful images exist only on your phone or computer. Gone are the days when our dearest recollections got printed on fancy paper and filed into a lovingly labored-over album for everyone to enjoy. Until Tweed Wolf, which basically lets you hire your own personal designer to sift through an unlimited amount of digital photos, choose the very best, and transform them into a gorgeous keepsake album—printed on archival paper—all bound up and worthy of passing down through the generations. From $295, tweedwolf.com.
Gilchrist & Soames London Collection Jet Set Travel Pack
Gilchrist & Soames’s elegantly perfumed toiletries are many travelers’ favorite amenities at some of the world’s most luxurious hotels. Give the traveler in your life the chance to feel like she’s staying at a fancy hotel, right at home—or on the road. Gilchrist & Soames’s chic and affordable TSA approved-sized gift set comes with shampoo, conditioner, and a few different kinds of soap. $20, gilchristsoames.com.
Fisher Space Pen
An exquisite pen always makes for a memorable gift. And for those who are fond of exploring Planet Earth, you can’t do much better than the Fisher Space Pen, a.k.a. the original astronaut writing utensil. It writes upside down, in extreme temperatures, and on any surface, even grease. Jetsetters will be glad to know that its special ink cartridge is guaranteed not to leak on airplanes. In addition to accomplishing these gravity-defying feats, these pens are pretty good-looking, too. In fact, the brand’s classic design is so iconic that it has become part of New York MoMA’s permanent collection. From $5.50 to $700, spacepen.com.
Stitch Fix Gift Card
When you’re buying clothes as presents, it’s hard to get it exactly right. Even more so if you’re shopping for a frequent traveler with changing fashion tastes and needs. Enter Stitch Fix, a personal styling service for your loved one. Your recipient fills out a comprehensive (but quick and fun) online survey about his or her fashion tastes and preferences—including whether any trips are in the works, and when and where. Then, on a pre-picked calendar date, a box will arrive with five customized fashion items, from shoes to sweaters. Whatever isn't a hit can just be packed in the enclosed prepaid envelope and sent right back. Prices vary, stitchfix.com.
OK, so we’re biased on this one. But that doesn’t make a AAA Membership any less critical for any of the drivers in your life to have. And this ends up being a gift for you, too, since you’ll be able to rest easier knowing that your loved ones are covered by legendary roadside assistance, which includes towing, battery replacement, fuel delivery, locksmith services, and lots more. Your lucky recipient will also get access to thousands of travel discounts, including at major hotel chains, airlines, car rental agencies, theme parks, and cruise lines. Plus, they’ll get a subscription to our personal favorite travel magazine: Via. Price varies based on location, aaa.com/gift.
This article was originally published in November 2018 and last updated in November 2019.