Still scrambling to check off the last few names on your holiday shopping list? If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you have until Sunday, December 22, to take advantage of free two-day shipping, or, for die hard procrastinators, Monday, December 23 for one-day shipping.
But the real challenge is choosing the right gift. How many iterations of a neck pillow does a traveler really need? Instead of contributing to an already cluttered closet, give them something they can actually put to use.
Successfully packing a souvenir bottle of wine can seem like more trouble than it’s worth.
No one wants to open their checked bag to find the shattered remains of what was a perfectly fine Chateauneuf-du-Pape. The VinniBag inflates to protect your bottles against damage while in transit. Great for wine, of course, but also works with olive oil, vinegar, syrup, perfume, or any fragile item you don't want broken to bits.
Amazon Review: "Worked perfectly. Takes up space so need larger capacity suitcase, but worth it for the special wine/olive oil/balsamic vinegar purchases."
Price: Starting at $30 on Amazon
There are a million reasons to love taking a vacation in the dead of winter. Fares are typically cheaper, as are room rates. And, best of all, you’ll have fewer tourists to crowd your space at museums, cathedrals, and other popular sites. But the not so great? Walking miles of cold city pavement all day, sometimes covered in ice and snow.
A comfy pair of weatherproof shoes and a warm pair of socks are your first lines of defense, but a pair of heated insoles will make you practically invincible.
These heated insoles from HotHands provide heat for up to nine hours. An adhesive underside holds insoles in place so there’s no bunching as you walk. One pack includes five pairs.
Amazon Review: “I just got back from a trip to Alaska in March and these insoles were perfect. They are more comfortable than toe warmers and more effective at warming the whole foot. They are smaller than your foot (unless you have really small feet) and they are pointed on one end and round on the other end, so I turned them where the rounded end was under my toes. When I knew we would be walking in snow for a long period of time, I used these on the bottom of my feet and put a toe warmer on top of my toes. I stayed toasty warm.”
Price: Starting at $12.95 on Amazon
Is someone you love still carting around a selfie stick? Spare them the humiliation with this smart looking flexible tripod. The legs easily bend to suit flat or uneven surfaces and can be securely wound around railings, poles, and elsewhere. This tripod fits iPhones X, 8, 8 Plus, 7, 7 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 6, 6 Plus, Samsungs, and other mobile phones.
Amazon Review: “For the price, I think this is one of the best phone tripods you can get. It is ideal for holding a phone in a horizontal (landscape) position. The legs have a slip-resistant foam covering and slip-resistant rubber pads on the feet. The legs are flexible so you can wrap them around tree branches, railings, etc. to get that perfect shot. You can also use the tripod as a handle for hand-held video recording.”
Price: Starting at $20 on Amazon
Once the trip ends, most adapters manage to vanish into the junk drawer, along with other nondescript black plastic gadgetry. Luckily this lightweight universal adapter is much easier to spot. Works in over 150 countries. Charge up to 5 devices at once, including your cell phone, laptop, tablet, or Bluetooth speaker.
Amazon Review: "Worked great all through Spain, France, Sweden, and Iceland. Have only taken it on one trip so far, but works well so far! 🙂 I charge my laptop, wireless charger, and GoPro. Then I got a second one to power my curling iron, tablet, and power my little fan."
Price: Starting at $14 on Amazon
Avoid $8 bottled water at the airport, and worse, major stomach woes as a result of drinking unsafe water on a trip. This water purifier from Grayl filters out bacteria, heavy metals, and other gunk you definitely don’t want to ingest.
Amazon Review: “Amazing purifier! I took this to India for two weeks and used it on everything I drank - including bottled water on the plane! There was only one time I didn't use it, at a fancy restaurant where bottled water was served and that was the only time I experienced a bit of Montezuma's revenge! The friend traveling with me brought a Life Straw bottle and said she wished she had this instead! It worked great!!! Yes, it's not the easiest thing to push down but honestly I am not very strong at all yet I was still able to use it every time I needed to! I was a little concerned about mold as the purifier stayed wet for two weeks since I was using it all the time. I emailed the company and they emailed right back reassuring me it's made to not have problems with that while it's being used. I can't recommend this purifier highly enough!”
Price: Starting at $70 on Amazon
At some point we’ve probably all packed along our real camera and realized, once on vacation, that we'd rather not carry around this bulky extra thing and instead end up relying only on our phone for snapping pics. In that case, better up your photo game. These lenses clip over the camera phone lens allowing for a wider field of vision while improving image clarity on par with that real camera nobody wants to carry anymore.
Amazon Review: “Great quality for the price; I was pleasantly surprised! This phone lens is easy to use and all the different lenses that you can use to get different effects.”
Price: Starting at $24 on Amazon
Traveling with multiple devices can sometimes leave a tangled nest of power cords in your carry on, making it impossible to find anything. This special zip case by Amazon Basics has pockets for storing your phone, tablet, portable chargers, and accompanying cords.
Amazon Review: "Perfect for all my needs! I really like this case. I am able to store the following items. A mouse, my Verizon JetPack, 3-4 charging cords and 2 outlet charging adapters. Prior to this purchase, I bought the Cocoon Grid It in a small size and I really liked the concept of it, but found it didn't contain cords well enough. One of the zippered pouches on this travel case is a bit small (like fitbit charger cord- small) but all in all this is worth the price and keeps everything organized."
Price: Starting at $14 on Amazon
When the check-in agent informs you that your carry-on must be checked, or if you suddenly have more souvenirs than actual luggage space, an extra bag can really save the day. Always travel with a foldable bag tucked away, just in case. Some foldable bags are so flimsy and terribly made, they can cause more trouble than they’re worth by breaking in transit. The reinforced RipStop nylon of this Bago duffel is tear resistant, waterproof, and extremely spacious at 80L liters.
Amazon Review: “I used this duffel for a 4 day hunting trip to Mexico. I stuffed the bag with a large pair of hunting boots, sandals, full toiletry bag, underwear, socks, shorts, t shirts, 2 pairs of pants, 5 hunting shirts, hats, and I still had room for enough clothes for 2-3 more days (plus I had plenty of extra items that weren't used! All that and the bag conveniently folds up and stores in a flat, small package.”
Price: Starting at $29 on Amazon
Not only are packing cubes a great way to stay organized on the go, they always minimize friction between garments, which helps cut back on wrinkling. Made of breathable mesh, the set includes two large cubes, one medium, two small, and a double layered shoe bag. Available in seven colors.
Amazon Review: "I was quite skeptical when I purchased these cubes. I had never used cubes before but thought I would try them for a 11 day river cruise. I was able to pack all of my clothes into these cubes in 1 suitcase. I couldn't believe it myself but if you watch some of the Rick Steves videos on YouTube, they show you how to properly roll and store your clothes while traveling without wrinkling your items. It was so nice to put the cubes into the dresser and see exactly what clothing piece you were looking for. The zippers on these worked really well as they are able to zip both ways. I highly recommend these to anyone that travels."
Price: Starting at $21 on Amazon
There’s no quicker way to ruin a trip than a dead smartphone battery, especially for those with a less than perfect sense of direction who rely on Google Maps to navigate new cities. Keep your loved one powered up with this portable charger by Anker.
Amazon Review: “This power bank takes roughly 4 hours to charge completely and charges my samsung s7 approx 2.5 times, just as advertised. Another huge plus with this product that I have found is that it really DOESN'T get warm or hot while it itself is charging OR when it is charging your device.”
Price: Starting at $19 on Amazon
For more great gift suggestions, check out these 10 Zero-Waste Items for Eco-Friendly Travel.