I happen to be writing this on the warmest day Milwaukee’s had in a long time. It’s a glorious, sunny, 60 degrees here in the 414 but the holiday spirit must live on. Tomorrow we’ll be back to freezing temperatures and gloomy skies BUT we’ll be one day closer to Christmas!
This list is made up entirely of items that I personally love and use on my trips, or that are on MY wish list (hint hint). This means they’re functional, affordable, and probably at least a little stylish.
Backpacks and Packing Gear
Luggage is the kind of thing you don’t want to be replacing year after year. Every good traveler has a solid piece of luggage. Here are my top picks for backpacks and packing gear.
I’ve been traveling with this bag for over two years and it’s definitely taken a beating. It came with me on countless flights and hostel stays in Southeast Asia, carried me through the streets of Italy, and was roomy enough to live out of for a month in Central America. My favorite features:
- Stowaway harness and hip belt
- Compression straps
- Padded laptop sleeve
- Carry-on compatible
- Osprey’s incredible warranty
For a rolling backpack, check out the Osprey Packs Sojourn Wheeled Luggage 45 L
If you don’t own a set of packing cubes I truly don’t know how you survive your trips. I have two sets of packing cubes but these are definitely the more affordable of the two. I put pants and dresses in the largest cube, shirts in the next largest, socks and underwear in the third, and miscellaneous items in the smallest. The laundry bag is also really handy for not stinking up your suitcase with your dirty clothes.
I also have the Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Cube Set. These are great because they’re light-weight and super breathable. They’re a little bit pricier but they take up less room in your luggage than the Shacke Pack bags. I personally use both when I travel.
If you’re traveling without luggage locks you are playing a dangerous game, my friend. You may find yourself sh** out of luck in a hostel without lockers or on an overnight bus. Invest in some cheap but sturdy luggage locks to give yourself some peace of mind.
In the bag
Traveling with a quick-drying towel is a life saver for travelers. These take up way less room in your bag than a regular towel would. The last thing you want is a huge, wet towel taking up all the space in your bag and stinking everything up.
This is one of those things that you think is totally ridiculous until you climb under it and it changes your life. I never had one of these until I got it as a Christmas present. I left for Guatemala a few weeks later and I was SO glad I had it for days of transportation, gross hostel sheets, and freezing plane rides. I would love to find a vegan version (without down) so if you know of one please please put it in the comments below.
This adapter works with every outlet around the world AND charges three devices at the same time. I love that it contains a USB outlet so you don’t have to carry around an additional charging brick.
There are all kinds of stories out there about theft in foreign countries. Ease the mind of the stylish traveler in your life by getting them a slash-proof, locking zipper, cross-body purse (aka theft-proof). My favorite part is that it’s still stylish and has plenty of room for a camera.
I didn’t invest in a GoPro until pretty recently but it has seriously changed the way I travel. The HERO5 is awesome because it’s completely waterproof, offers video stabilization, and can shoot in RAW. It offers wide views and can withstand the elements. This is really one of the best gifts for travelers.
If you’ve been wondering how everyone is getting those incredible half-over half-under water shots I’d like to introduce you to my friend the dome. If the traveler in your life is a snorkeler or just really wants some sweet Instagram pictures, this is the perfect gift. I’m still working on mastering the dome shot but I’ve seen some seriously cool pictures using this little device.
I KNOW I KNOW. You’ve seen this on every gift guide for travelers since 2014. But this is one of the most cliche gifts for travelers for a reason. I got this as a present and I’m seriously in love with it. It’s stylish enough to hang in my room and it’s so fun to get to scratch off a new country after every trip.
One of my favorite ways to collect memories is in a journal. I filled my journal to the brim when I was studying abroad in Thailand and I love being able to look back at my thoughts, feelings, and experiences. These journals are super cute and compact to stash in your purse for that long plane or train ride.
I LOVE travel themed jewelry and this gold world map necklace is so cute. It’s stylish, goes with everything, and the traveler in your life will get a lot of use out of it. For more jewelry gift ideas:
For me, one of my favorite parts of traveling is finding new food around the world. A curated selection of food, drinks, and snacks from around the world delivered to your door every month? Count me in.
What kind of gifts would you include on your travel wish list?
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