Buying gifts for the grown-ups on your list can be a challenge—particularly for the adult who’s always on the go, traveling across the globe. What gift can you find that is fitting for someone whose life can often fit inside a suitcase?
We were up to that challenge—especially after a few delicious gourmet caramels washed down with a DIY Old Fashioned (see: Nos. 8 and 1). Sifting through more than 100 gift ideas for men and women, from the practical to the innovative to the just-plain-cool, we found 15 great options that we’d absolutely love to find wrapped under the tree this year.
1. DIY In-Flight Cocktail Kit
It was love at first sip when we sampled The Cocktail Box Co.’s too-cute-for-words tin, filled with everything you need to create your own Old Fashioned or a champagne cocktail in the sky (or anywhere else you might have access to tiny liquor bottles). Each kit comes with everything you need to make six of your favorite drinks, except the alcohol, including bitters, muddler spoons, sugar cubes and a linen napkin. Cheers!
Approximate Price: $24
2. Airplane Seat Organizer
There are plenty of gadgets out there that attempt to make air travel less bumpy, but this one accomplishes a lot with a small package: the Airhook anchors to your airplane seat tray table, giving you a convenient spot to hang up your phone or tablet and watch a movie, along with a beverage holder for a can or a cup.
Approximate Price: $25
3. Polaroid Mint Camera
Self-printing cameras have started to make a big comeback over the past few years, and many adults are familiar with the granddaddy of those cameras—indeed, they might even remember “shaking it like a Polaroid picture.” But you don’t have to shake anything with Polaroid Mint, which creates high-quality, smudge-proof, 2-by-3-inch photos printed using Zero Ink technology. People also like the pocket size of this adorable camera, which also allows you to store photos digitally.
Approximate Price: $100
4. Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot
Frequent travelers, especially those who travel across the globe, know all too well the headache of finding free Wi-Fi. Internet access is not as plentiful in other places as it is in the U.S., and it can be hard to find a steady, secure signal. Enter: the portable Wi-Fi hotspot, a reliable source of Internet access for the person who’s always on the go. We like Skyroam, which offers a pay-as-you-go access plan for $9 per day of Internet access across the globe. So much easier than dealing with SIM cards!
Approximate Price: $150
5. Organic Wool Handmade Slippers
Do your gift recipients have cold feet? While they’re on the road, they might enjoy snuggling their toes inside these 100 percent organic wool slippers, which are handmade by Tumar, a women-run cooperative between farmers and artisans in Central Asia. The slippers are only available on Amazon Handmade, a new platform that highlights handmade products around the world.
Approximate Price: $68
6. Convertible Travel Luggage
We review dozens of bags of all varieties every year, but the Hypath 2-in-1 Convertible Travel Luggage stands out for a few reasons: first, the price point isn’t outrageous for a good, solid set of bags that should hold up to a few years’ worth of trips. You get two bags for the price of one, and each can be detached, reattached, and configured in several different ways. We love a bag that can function as both a backpack and a rollaboard, and this one offers that flexibility. This is a particularly good gift for a traveling parent, who often needs to use a backpack as a diaper bag one day, and an overnight traveling case the next.
Approximate Price: $129
7. Instant Coffee (That Actually Tastes Good)
If you’re a frequent traveler, some of your biggest joys and disappointments come down to your quest for caffeination. Here are four scary words to help illustrate our point: hotel lobby drip coffee. OK, now for some relief: There are several companies on a mission to reinvent instant coffee, a product formerly considered even worse than the average lobby swill, and they’re doing a stand-up job. Alpine Start is one great example, available in original, Dirty Chai and Coconut Creamer flavors. The best part about this coffee is that it works in hot or cold water.
For a gift to help keep your favorite traveler wired, we thought this would pair well with some Eat Your Coffee bars ($33 for 15), which contain the caffeine equivalent of a cup of coffee in every bar.
Approximate Price: $9 (for five servings)
8. Luxury Caramels
For the person who has everything and leads the minimalist life of a road warrior, a box of gourmet caramels from McCrea’s Candies fits the bill. Handcrafted in Boston, these slow-cooked candies are available in seven flavors, from Black Lava Sea Salt to Ginger Fusion and Café Noir, balancing sweet with salty and spicy.
Approximate Price: $19
9. Women’s Pajamas (That Help Change Lives)
These have been on our wish list for a while: Sudara’s ethically made PUNJAMMIES, cotton pants in a variety of bright, bold prints that work as great travel or lounge pants, as well as pajamas, also help empower the female artisans who make them. The company’s mission is to help liberate women and children from sex trafficking (a cause global travelers can rally around), and proceeds go directly toward that mission. You can also pair them with a bold sweatshirt that helps drive home that point.
Approximate Price: $54
10. Treehut Bamboo Men’s Watch
A trip to Bali inspired the beautiful bamboo-and-leather designs of Treehut watches, which aren’t so much about luxury as they are about quality craftsmanship and an appreciation for showcasing natural materials. Each watch, which incorporates light bamboo woods and genuine leather is unique yet simple, universal enough to work with a variety of wardrobe styles in rich brown and black hues.
Approximate Price: $79
11. Wacom Intuos Tablet
The Wacom Intuos pen and touch tablet is a handy gadget that is simple in its interface, yet sophisticated in terms of what it can do. If you know how to use a pen and paper, you already know how to work with this touch tablet, which will quickly replace your regular ol’ computer mouse. For signing contracts, taking notes, or even just letting your kids play illustrator on your computer, this is a great tool that will greatly expand the capabilities of your existing technology. And for travelers, the small size (and smartphone-size slim dimension) make it easy to take along on the road.
Approximate Price: $80
12. The M.C. Hammie
Besides the awesome name, the M.C. Hammie from Wildish earns high marks for its versatility, particularly for any adults on your list that have an adventurous streak. This double hammock, which comes with built-in tree straps, would make MacGyver proud, since it can convert into a sun shelter or fort for a campout, and can also be used as a blanket for a picnic or day at the beach. The M.C. Hammie packs up nice and small for your friend or family member who loves getting out in the great outdoors.
Approximate Price: $120
13. A Great Men’s Soap
A little bit practical, a little bit luxurious, the Aidan Gill Super Facial Cleansing Bar is a highly-concentrated cleansing bar that provides an incredible lather (enough to shave with) and a deep clean for the skin. One user said his bar lasted more than a year. This product is made in the USA by a company named for a Dublin-born and London-trained barber, Aidan Gill, who also has a full line of high-quality razors, shave balms, creams, oils and brush kits.
Approximate Price: $30
14. Portable Power Bank
Another essential for travelers is a reliable battery backup for charging your cell phone, tablet or laptop while you’re on the road. We asked some travel writers for their favorite recommendations, and one suggestion that came up consistently was the myCharge AdventurePlus portable charger. It allows you to charge more than one device at a time and holds a charge for a long time—some users report that it charged their phones three times before needing to be plugged in.
Approximate Price: $25
15. Portable Washing Machine
If you’ve got a budget or minimalist traveler in your life, the Scrubba Wash Bag could change the game for their packing list. Most travelers have occasionally resorted to washing a pair of underwear or two in a hotel sink, but this “washing machine in a bag” allows you to really get your clothes clean in a cheap, easy and effective way. Just pour in a bit of laundry detergent and water, scrub, rinse and hang to dry. You can add a few easy-wash items of clothing (such as these prAna pants) to make this gift even better.
Approximate Price: $50
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