The gift that all travelers want is first-class airplane tickets to somewhere fabulous. But if that isn’t in your budget, the next best thing is to give them something that makes the voyage easier or a little more luxurious—especially if they’re flying in economy. We’ve compiled this list of 46 gifts for travelers recommended by our own editors and contributors. In it, you’ll find some of the best travel products we’ve tried and tested over the years, plus a few new items we’re excited to share from our favorite brands.
Travel tech and accessories
1. Twelve South AirFly Pro
Buy now: $55, twelvesouth.com; amazon.com
It’s possible to use wireless headphones to watch movies on in-seat screens on airplanes with the Twelve South AirFly Pro wireless transmitter. It plugs into the headphone jack in airplane seats and sends audio signals via Bluetooth to headphones. (It also works as an AUX IN adapter in a rental car.) It has a 16-hour battery life and is roughly the size of a matchbox.
2. Trtl Travel Pillow
Buy now: $50, trtltravel.com; amazon.com
Any qualms about looking silly instantly disappear as soon as you put this ergonomically designed travel pillow to use. “It feels a little strange putting it on the first time and sort of looks like a neck brace,” said Rosalie Tinelli, AFAR’s senior audience development manager, in her review of the Trtl. “But who cares how it looks when you’re getting peaceful sleep on an airplane and waking up with zero neck stiffness?”
3. Pelle Leather Design Vaccination Passport Holder
Buy now: $19, etsy.com
While most countries have lifted COVID-19 travel restrictions, some continue to require proof of vaccination to enter so it doesn’t hurt to keep your vaccination card handy during your travels. AFAR contributor Juliet Izon recommends this rugged leather vaccine card case from Ukraine-based Etsy maker Pelle Leather Design. “Its clever design doubles beautifully as a travel wallet,” Izon says. “You can store your vaccine card on one side, and multiple slot pockets on the other can hold your passport, plus multiple credit cards and IDs.”
4. Yeti Rambler Straw Mug
Buy now: from $38, yeti.com
Drinking water out of a regular screw cap bottle while driving is not only frustrating—it’s dangerous. Yeti’s new Rambler Straw Mug is designed to fit into all cup holders and comes with a reusable straw lid so you can easily take a swig without taking both hands off the wheel. Available in a 25-ounce or extra-large 35-ounce style, this travel mug is also great for iced coffee runs.
5. Cincha Travel Belt
Buy now: $40, cinchatravel.com
These colorful belts allow travelers to secure any type of personal item to a suitcase handle so it doesn’t slide off while maneuvering through the airport. Here’s how it works: Simply slip the elastic loop of the belt over the handle of your carry-on and snap its buckle around the front of your personal item. It’s made with vegan leather accents and is adjustable to 45 inches to accommodate even the most overstuffed tote bag. Plus, for every belt sold, Cincha donates 100 airline miles to Miles4Migrants to help reconnect migrant families.
6. SleepPhones Bluetooth Sleep Headphones
Buy now: $100, sleepphones.com; amazon.com
Sleeping on an airplane is tough—and virtually impossible when you try to wear a neck pillow and larger over-the-ear headphones at the same time. That’s why you (and every traveler) needs a pair of sleep headphones. Essentially a soft fleece headband with ultra-slim headphones inserted inside, this travel accessory allows you to sleep with your head flat against a pillow. While there are several brands that make this cord-free design, SleepPhones makes the most comfortable and highest quality pair—but for a price. Meanwhile, this $20 pair on Amazon is budget friendly but don’t expect too much from its sound quality.
7. Therabody Theragun Mini
Buy now: $199, therabody.com
After a long flight of sitting contorted in the middle seat, it wouldn’t be surprising if your neck and shoulders were knotted and sore. This portable massage gun is small—it weighs one pound and can fit easily into a purse or backpack. But Bailey Berg, AFAR’s associate news editor, confirms it packs a punch, powerfully helping loosen tight muscles.
8. Nocs Provisions Woven Tapestry Strap
Buy now: $27, rei.com
Nocs is a binoculars company and this beautiful woven strap is meant to pair with its field glasses, but Berg says she also likes using it as a camera strap. “It’s easy to adjust and is thick enough to disperse the weight of your camera or binoculars, making it more comfortable to wear around your neck or across your body during a day of sightseeing,” Berg says.
9. Apple AirTag
Buy now: $29, amazon.com
Anyone who is staunchly Team Checked Bag needs an Apple AirTag, a Bluetooth tracking device the size of a quarter that can be tucked into luggage and tracked through Apple’s Find My network (just like the iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods). Lost bags will be a thing of the past.
10. Thule Compression Packing Cubes
Buy now: $45 for two, thule.com; rei.com
Once you try packing cubes, you’ll be hard-pressed to go back. Our newest favorites are Thule’s Compression Packing Cubes, which are made with Bluesign-approved ripstop nylon that is water-repellent, ultra-durable, and manufactured with minimal impact on the environment. A set of double YKK zippers allows you to close the cube and then zip it even tighter to eliminate extra air and reduce bulk.
11. Baggu Go Pouch Set
Buy now: $39, baggu.com
Baggu’s Go Pouch Set includes three all-purpose pouches that are essential for keeping your bags organized. The small one is perfect for stashing your keys, Airpods, and lip balm, while the medium doubles as a toiletry bag. The large is big enough to use as a packing cube for clothes. New patterns are released frequently—the set of Sanrio characters with Hello Kitty and Keroppi on it are particularly fun.
12. Matador FlatPak Toiletry Bottles
Buy now: $37 for three, matadorup.com
Investing in good-quality reusable bottles for your lotions, shampoo, soap, and other liquids is a handy way to eliminate single-use plastics. For this, former AFAR editor Maggie Fuller recommends the Matador FlatPack toiletry bottles. These TSA-approved, three-ounce bottles are compact, leakproof, and easy to squish into your toiletry bag.
13. Paravel Cabana See-All Vanity Case
Buy now: $95, tourparavel.com
Crafted from two recycled water bottles and leather details ecocertified by the Leather Working Group, Paravel’s vanity case is spacious enough to hold all of your travel toiletries and has see-through side panels for keeping its contents easily visible.
14. Dagne Dover Frankie Jewelry Case
Buy now: from $55, dagnedover.com
Know someone who travels with a tangled wad of necklaces? Dagne Dover’s new Frankie Jewelry Case makes a smart gift (and subtle hint) to solve this particular packing problem. It comes in two sizes and three colors, with room for up to three necklaces, eight rings, four pairs of earrings, and more.
15. Sea to Summit Shoe Bags
Buy now: from $23, seatosummit.com
The easiest way to get your loved ones to stop packing dirty shoes in the same bag as their clean clothes is to give them packing cubes designed specifically for shoes. These shoe bags from Sea to Summit are made with a durable yet lightweight material that’s also water-resistant. The small shoe bag is designed for regular pairs of shoes up to EU size 41, while the large shoe bag is for regular shoes EU size 42–46, or boots up to EU size 44.
16. Long Weekend Monterey Sling bag
Buy now: $50, shopmoment.com
Sling bags are ideal for travel because they keep essentials close and allow for hands-free carrying. The Monterey Sling—from photographer-founded brand Long Weekend—is made with recycled nylon and comes in three colorways including a plain black, a ’90s-inspired purple, and a bold blue/red/yellow combo. There’s enough room inside for a wallet, phone, and even a point-and-shoot camera. There are also smaller cargo pockets for a pair of AirPods and lip balm.
17. Paravel Fold-Up Bag
Buy Now: $70, tourparavel.com
Paravel’s ultra-light duffle bag zips down into a small pouch and packs into big luggage for any space-challenged traveler’s gotta-have-it souvenir emergencies. It’s also AFAR digital content director Laura Dannen Redman’s go-to weekend bag. She calls it the “Trojan horse of weekend bags” since it holds so much more inside than you’d expect. She can easily fit two pairs of shoes, two toiletry bags, and three days of winter clothing in it. An added bonus—the sustainable nylon material is made from 22 recycled plastic water bottles.
18. Peak Design Everyday Totepack
Buy now: $180, peakdesign.com
The name says it all: This 20-liter pack is designed for everyday use whether you’re carrying it like a tote on your daily commute or bringing out its backpack straps during your next hike. The outside is made with a recycled nylon canvas shell that can withstand rainstorms, so you can pack your laptop, tablet, and cameras in here with peace of mind. Available in all-black and ivory with brown leather details, it’s much chicer than other laptop backpacks out there.
19. Away F.A.R Backpack 26L
Buy now: $130, awaytravel.com
The new Away F.A.R Backpack 26L is designed for the outdoors using durable water- and abrasion-resistant recycled materials. But it’s really for any traveler who wants a personal item with maximum storage options. In addition to two large compartments, there are eight other pockets including two side pockets that easily fit a 32-ounce HydroFlask, a hidden zipper compartment for your passport, an exterior 15-inch laptop compartment, plus four interior slip pockets to keep other devices and smaller accessories organized.
20. Lo & Sons O.G. 2 travel bag
Buy now: $227 (was $378), loandsons.com
The Lo & Sons O.G. 2 in medium is a great personal item for your next flight. With pockets for everything from your laptop to a pair of shoes, it has room for all your travel essentials while not exceeding size limits for fitting underneath the seat in front of you on an airplane. AFAR’s Bailey Berg particularly loves the suitcase handle sleeve, which allows you to secure it to your roller bag and move effortlessly throughout the airport.
21. Leatherology Harwood Weekender
Buy now: $375, leatherology.com
Anyone in the market for a new overnight bag or personal item will love the Harwood Weekender by AAPI-owned Leatherology. This small leather duffel features pockets galore, smart magnetic clasps, and three different styles of monogramming. It also has a trolley sleeve to slide over your carry-on handle so it doesn’t fall off your luggage.
22. July personalized luggage
Buy now: from $295 for luggage, $50 for personalization, july.com
Australia’s July luggage is known for offering personalization on its hard-shell suitcases with a variety of fonts, colors, and even emojis on hand to customize to your heart’s content. The brand’s newest option is personalizing luggage with your pet’s face for just $50. After choosing a bag, select “Personalize with your pet” and then follow the instructions for uploading a photo. Then July will have the image illustrated, sent over for approval within 48 hours, and added to your bag. July also sells gift cards so your loved one can pick out their favorite photo of their furbaby on their own.
Travel toiletries and skincare
23. BL+ the Cream
Buy now: $85, skincare.bluelagoon.com
Dry airplane air wreaks havoc on your skin. Prevent that by layering on an ultra rich face cream like the new BL+ the Cream from Blue Lagoon Iceland, which is made with microalgae and silica sourced from the same geothermal source as those famous blue pools. The travel-friendly 15 ml pot may be pricey—but a little goes a long way and makes for a luxurious gift.
24. Kinfield Golden Hour bug repellent
Buy now: $22, kinfield.com
Yes, it is possible to find a DEET-free bug repellent that works. Kinfield Golden Hour uses a mix of citronella, lemongrass, and cloves to keep you bite free (and smelling amazing). Plus, the three-ounce spray bottle is TSA friendly.
25. Wonder Valley Little Wonders kit
Buy now: $72, welcometowondervalley.com; standarddose.com
California-based Wonder Valley uses its own olive oils to make clean skincare products like its Facial Oil Cleanser, Olive Face Oil, Wonder Serum, and Hinoki Body Oil, which are bundled in TSA-approved travel sizes in this four-piece kit.
Travel clothes and shoes
26. Eberjey Inez Washable Silk PJ Set
Buy now: $278, eberjey.com
Made from machine washable silk, this pajama set is a luxurious gift that’s ideal for travel since the lightweight material takes up barely any space in a carry-on. And while the wide-leg pants and cami with adjustable straps are comfy enough to sleep in, they’re also sleek enough to mix and match with the rest of your wardrobe to wear out at night.
27. Hotel Saint Vincent Marbled Silk Robe
Buy now: $395, farwestcollective.com
It’s tempting to steal hotel bathrobes, especially when they’re as beautiful as the marbled silk robes at Hotel Saint Vincent in New Orleans. Now you can buy them online through hotelier Liz Lambert’s Far West Collective retail shop. They’re one-size fits most, come in three different colors, and are machine washable.
28. Calzuro Classic Clog with Holes
Buy now: $107, calzuro.com; amazon.com
In addition to being a deputy editor at AFAR, Katherine LaGrave is also our team’s resident clog aficionado. “I have “nice” clogs, clogs for gardening, and clogs for indoors. But until recently, my clog wearing was limited to three seasons; I couldn’t find a pair that was a fit for summer and all its activities,” she says.
“Enter the Calzuro classic, which I discovered after a woman at my local dog park arrived sporting a pair in black. With a 1.5-inch heel, the slim plastic clogs are lightweight and durable, and you can purchase them with or without ventilation holes. Designed in Italy for medical professionals, the clogs can be bleached or washed in a dishwasher or washing machine, and getting rid of sand and dirt is as simple as putting them under a hose. Thrillingly, the clogs also come in a number of colors: hot pink, sunshine yellow, orange. I opted for a sky blue pair and have already put miles on them out to lunch, at the beach, and at the dog park.”
29. Chaco Ramble Puff Clogs
Buy now: women’s, $75, chacos.com; men’s, $75, chacos.com
For those of us who are heading to the mountains instead of the beach this winter, we also found clogs for you. Chaco’s cozy fleece-lined clogs look like tiny sleeping bags for your feet and will keep them warm and dry. They’re perfect for early morning walks, late-night campfire chats, and stress-free airport experiences.
30. Jungmaven Lorel Tee
Buy now: $50, jungmaven.com
Made of majority hemp, Jungmaven products, including this Lorel tee, arrive feeling soft and worn in. (In addition to being one of the stronger textile fabrics, hemp requires about half the water that cotton does and is completely biodegradable.) “After countless washes and stains, the tee has only gotten softer—but somehow has the same shape it did the first day I wore it,” LaGrave says. “And boy, have I worn it: on its own to brunch in New Orleans, under a blazer at a swanky new London cocktail bar, and over a bathing suit to swim at parks in St. Louis.”
31. Verloop Checkerboard Stripe Big Knit Scarf
Buy now: $78, shop.verloopknits.com
“As a New Yorker, I typically follow the city’s unofficial dress code—black, black, and more black. But when I saw the Verloop checkerboard scarf in stone blue and fuschia, it sparked joy,” LaGrave says. “Made of 100 percent hypoallergenic acrylic yarn, the scarf is comfy, cozy, and—at 76 inches long and 14 inches wide—big enough to be a statement. Depending on the weather, I like to wear mine long or wrapped tight around my neck. Bonus: No matter which way I style it, the colorful checkerboard pattern is always visible, since the scarf is reversible.”
32. Baggu Packable Sun Hat
Buy now: $36, baggu.com
With a brim diameter nearly two feet wide, these sun hats from Baggu are so large it’s hard not to make a statement wearing one at the pool. Thankfully, they fold down neatly into an included circular pouch, so you won’t have to wear it through the airport. Go ahead and purchase one for your friend who hides from the sun but basks in the glow of a little extra attention poolside. Available in more than a dozen fun patterns and colors.
33. Sabah shoes
Buy now: from $195, sabah.am
These lace-free unisex travel shoes—handmade in Gaziantep, Turkey—look as good poolside as they do at happy hour. Crafted out of leather and available in a rainbow of colors, the shoe’s slip-on design is also perfect for moving through airport security lines seamlessly. The sole is rubber for traction and durability, and the shape is roomy yet chic. (The only difference in the men’s and women’s sizing is the men’s are better suited for wider feet.) The brand’s earthy tones go with everything, while the trendy patterns and bold colors photograph well.
34. Glerups Slipper Boots
Buy now: $155, backcountry.com; zappos.com
Made with grippy rubber bottoms and 100 percent natural wool felt uppers, Glerups are the ultimate travel footwear for moments when coziness is key whether it’s a red-eye flight or gathering around a fireplace for après-ski.
35. Bombas Compression Socks
Buy now: women’s, $28, bombas.com; men’s, $28, bombas.com
Compression socks aren’t a sexy gift, but they’re a must for any traveler to keep blood flowing and sore muscles at bay during long flights. The most comfortable compression socks on the market are Bombas, which are made with mild 15–20 mmHg compression levels, a seamless toe, and above-the-heel cushioning that extends to the toe. As with all other Bombas sock purchases, for every pair of socks purchased the company will donate another pair to a homeless shelter or other community organization.
Outdoor adventure gear
36. Rumpl NanoLoft Flame Blanket
Buy now: $129, rumpl.com
AFAR’s favorite packable blanket now comes in a fire-resistant version so you don’t have to worry about stray sparks at your next campfire. Rumpl’s NanoLoft Flame Blanket is also made with 100 percent postconsumer recycled insulation that mimics down for coziness and is machine washable for easy maintenance.
37. VSSL Java Coffee Grinder
Buy now: $160, vsslgear.com
“The VSSL Java coffee grinder is durable and well worth the space it will take up among your camping gear—at six inches tall and weighing just 14 ounces, it’s not much,” says Svati Kirsten Narula, an AFAR contributor. “With stainless steel burrs and 50 unique grind settings, it allows you to create the perfect-sized grounds for your preferred brewing method. It’s made out of aircraft-grade aluminum to stand up to abuse and grinds 20 grams of beans at a time, enough for one strong cup of coffee.”
38. AeroPress Go Travel Coffee Press
Buy now: $40, rei.com; amazon.com
All you need to make quality espresso while camping is an AeroPress Go, finely ground coffee, and hot water. You can also make a quick cold brew coffee with the AeroPress, although you need to remember to stir the grounds and cold water together for a full minute before pressing.
39. Cascade Mountain Tech Expedition Trail Series kit
Buy now: $100, cascademountaintech.com
Lightweight and easy to use, these snowshoes are a solid choice for those looking to become a four-season outdoor adventurer. “They’re in the Goldilocks zone of being both flexible (good for responsiveness), durable (so they’ll last years to come), and lightweight (important to preventing early fatigue),” AFAR’s Bailey Berg says. “The kit also comes with twist-lock poles and a vented carry bag (handy because if you store your snowshoes wet, it won’t get funky).”
40. Maven B.3 Binoculars
Buy now: $525, mavenbuilt.com; amazon.com
A good pair of binoculars helps bring wildlife—be that a bird on a hike or lions on safari—into crisp, high definition. The B.3 Binoculars make for a good starter set because they pair incredible clarity with a reasonable price point. (Maven’s designs can go up to $1,450.) “They’re also compact, lightweight, and durable enough to withstand bouncing around in a backpack or being dropped in water, so they’re built to travel,” Berg says. “Though if they do get damaged, Maven has an unconditional lifetime warranty.”
Travel gifts for kids
41. Puro Sound Labs PuroQuiets Headphones
Buy now: $129, purosound.com; amazon.com
It might be tempting to buy cheap headphones for your kids to use on airplanes or in the car. But unlike other headphones, these volume-limiting headphones max out at 85 decibels, which the World Health Organization and other experts consider to be the upper limit for ear safety, AFAR contributor Kelly Bastone reports. They’re designed for ages 2 to 12 and are made with buttery-soft leather, so they should last for years.
42. State Bags Kane Kids Mini Travel Backpack
Buy now: $75, statebags.com
Like an adult pack, this small backpack from State Bags comes with padded straps for comfort and a sleeve in the back for slipping it over the top of carry-on suitcases. Unlike larger models, this tiny pack is designed with a neon dinosaur pattern to delight the littlest travelers. The Mini Backpack is recommended for children ages two to four, while the larger Kane Kids Backpack is designed for those in kindergarten to third grade.
43. WAYB Pico Portable Car Seat
Buy Now: $380, wayb.com
OK, this one is more of a gift for parents who are over schlepping heavy car seats through airports. The eight-pound WAYB Pico Portable Car Seat folds into a compact 11.6 x 14.5 x 18.9-inch unit—basically the size of a medium camping backpack—that’s easy enough to lift on its own, and better still when stowed in a backpack carrier you can buy for an additional $60.
“As someone who has traveled alone with the kids and had to mount a full-sized car seat on my back, this is life altering,” says Michelle Baran, AFAR’s senior news editor.
Travel gifts for pets
44. Roverlund Out of Office Pet Carrier
Buy now: $149, roverlund.com
This durable yet stylish soft-sided pet carrier can function as a car seat during road trips and is also airline compliant. Once you arrive at your destination, the shoulder strap converts to a leash and the bag can be used as a mobile pet bed. Suitable for both dogs and cats, the small version fits animals up to 15 pounds, while the large is best for animals up to 25 pounds.
45. Wolf Republic Ranger Pack
Buy now: $96, wolfrepublic.com
Typically when purchasing a dog backpack for hiking, you can have something that looks nice or functions well, but not both. This is the exception. These packs from Wolf Republic are big enough for your four-legged friends to be able to carry their own treats, water, and waste bags on day hikes or backpacking trips, without being too bulky for them to move comfortably.
AFAR’s Berg particularly likes its thick and sturdy straps, which help the pack stay in place—and prevent rubbing—on her two husky/lab mixes, Luna and Radar. She also finds the handle convenient for lifting her 70-pound pups over boulders or stopping them from chasing squirrels.
46. Ruffwear Quencher packable dog bowl
Buy now: $20, rei.com
Any time AFAR contributor Devorah Lev-Tov travels with her shih tzu Agnes, she makes sure to pack these collapsible dog bowls, which are especially good for long car rides or hikes. They’re also usable once you arrive at your hotel or cabin rental.