Updated Jan 2023
AKA Deb’s Get-Real Gift Guide for People Who Travel 2023
Travel Gifts from $15-$30
When you’re seeking a great gift for a traveler — something this person can actually use while traveling — you ask friends for ideas and read “gift guides” but do they actually help? Are they realistic for this person’s travel? Something might be comfy for plane rides, but not for the duration. If your friend must carry one-trick items for the entire time she/he is away, that isn’t actually helpful. (Fortune Magazine found that: More Than a Third of Americans Return Gifts They Receive Over the Holidays?)
I own and travel with each of these items and typically have most of them with me.
As I write this, the holidays are coming. As you read this perhaps someone’s birthday is approaching or your friend is heading out on a trip. I offer this to make your quest easier and hopefully help you find something that can actually be worth packing and useful. It’s a long post because I provide details.
I only recommend products I use and truly believe in.
I never recommend a product or place just for profit.
Wrightsock™ — the right sock
Blisters are not welcome during travel. Sweaty polyester socks are not comfortable. A Wrightsock is the right sock for anyone who wants to be comfortable (when not wearing heels or sandals). Their double-layer design promises and delivers on “no blisters.” There are various styles, for running, hiking, everyday wear, etc. High, low, thick, thin. Sooo comfortable! I wish they could make women’s tights and stockings.
Also great for travel is that their quick-wicking fabric enables us to hand wash and air dry. I have.
You should find them at any REI and some other stores. I’ve met them at travel shows (they are always so nice) and I notice they attend running shows. Or you can purchase online at Wrightsock.com. Wrightsock also has a store on Amazon.
Made in Burlington, NC, USA since 1948. I don’t know how they do it with such comfort but the entire line uses 70% post-consumer recycled plastics.
$14 and up
Blisslets — for Motion Sickness/Nausea or Anxiety
Travel can be daunting or problematic for anyone who gets motion sick in a car, plane, boat, bus, or train. Getting nauseous while pregnant will put a damper on any babymoon. And travel with anxiety or while dealing with sickness from Chemo isn’t fun.
So Katie Aparicio came up with the idea to make acupressure bracelets that look nice. Blisslets add to your look rather than detract from it. I can’t promise it but the idea is that acupressure bands should help you travel while alert, without drugs, and without discomfort. There are designs for women and others for men.
How do Blisslets work? There is this page at Blisslets.com to learn about acupressure and how to use Blisslets. This page too: How to Wear Your Blisslets Correctly for Maximum Effect and Comfort. You will also need this page to know what size to order.
You can order Blisslets online, or find them in person at West Marine stores.
Typically there are deals just under $25 a pair (once in a while there’s a pair for $19.99) and free shipping on orders over $25
HydraPac Water Bottles
In the ’80s (1980s) I traveled with a metal canteen slung over my shoulder or a Bota bag, aka Spanish wineskin, a traditional Spanish canteen. In 2011, there was no way I was lugging a common space-sucking inflexible water bottle and it killed me to buy disposable bottles of water. (I call the latter “plastic water because people are ingesting bits of plastic.) So, I was thrilled to discover the HydraPak line. And that my two 1-liter choices fit in my ChicoBag Bottle Sling.
There are several models to choose from. I’ve liked the Stash™ and the Stow™ and wrote about these great water bottles for travel in this 2018 post, so I refer you to that post now.
You can also purchase these via Amazon. (These are my affiliate links.)
- Here’s the 1-liter HydraPac Stash at Amazon. (It also leads to the 750ml Stash.)
- The 1-liter Stow at Amazon — all 3 colors are shown there, but be careful because they also show the 500ml Stow, which is the one that’s a few dollars less.
1200-Watt Tourmaline Ceramic Hair Dryer, Dual Voltage
This Travel Smart 1200-Watt Tourmaline Ceramic Dryer TS263XR appears to be the same as my beloved model TS263 except for its finish. This fabulous 3.5″ x 5″ dryer is a shape that funnels more drying power than other models.
- 1200 watts
- Tourmaline Ceramic technology. Natural ion output helps fight frizz and brings out natural shine.
- 2 heat/speed settings
- Concentrator for pinpoint styling
- Dual voltage for worldwide travel
- Folding handle
- Non-slip grip
- ETL listed
You can read my article recommending this hair dryer at https://talesoftravelandtech.com/best-hair-dryer-for-travel/.
BACtrack — for alcohol drinkers who travel
Have you or your traveling friend considered the repercussions of being arrested for being drunk in another country? Depending on the country and even just the timing, this can ruin a trip, holiday, or vacation. The rules and acceptable blood alcohol content (BAC) levels vary from country to country. It even varies between states in the US and perhaps other countries. This very portable, light-weight, easy-to-carry breathalyzer is well worth carrying.
There are several models to choose from. The two personal models, BACtrack Go and the BACtrack Keychain, are the most inexpensive, both being $39.99. Both models run on one AAA battery and display the results right on the unit. Both feature a mouthpiece that folds away to protect it while not in use. You’ll find them both on the page I link to below. (I own the BACtrack Mobile, $99.99 which is police-grade and came out first.)
Heroclip is a differently designed carabiner/clip/hook that stores brilliantly by rotating 360° inside itself — perfect for travel. The clip is wide compared to standard carabiners/hooks. The hook has a grippy rubber tip for hanging things from flat surfaces.
Imagine being able to clip a carabiner to your bag or luggage cart and then also hook anything onto it. If your luggage had a pull-up handle and rolls, you can also carry your backpack or duffle bag, etc, without it constantly falling of. If you’re traveling with a child, it is great to hook onto a stroller. (In fact, my medium-sized Heroclip was adopted by young parents the first year I traveled with it.) If you’re into camping you’ll like it for hanging food or keeping your backpack off the ground.
- Mini: supports and secures up to 40 lbs — $17.95
- Small: supports and secures up to 50 lbs — $20.95
- Medium: supports and secures up to 60 lbs — $22.95
- Large: supports and secures up to 100 lbs — $27.95
The Heroclip is sold at retail in some places and can be purchased from MyHeroClip.com. It’s also sold on Amazon, in case you’re so inclined: Large Heroclip, Medium Heroclip, Small Heroclip, Mini Heroclip.
The Gift of Clean – Earth Breeze laundry detergent sheets
If your travel friend is not sending laundry out at a 5-star hotel or on just a short trip carrying fresh shirts/dresses for each day, clothes cleaning will be welcome.
Liquid, laundry packets that may puncture, and messy bars, however, won’t be.
The introduction of laundry detergent in the form and space of pieces of paper is a game-changer for many a traveler.
Earth Breeze Liquidless Eco Sheets™ come in a 6.5″ x 9.75″ size thin cardboard envelope (which biodegrades) and cleans up to 60 loads of laundry. Each laundry detergent sheet is actually just 4.25″ x 5.5″ so if not traveling for so long, you could pack just the number of needed/desired sheets in a sandwich-size plastic zip close or waterproof bag. (All 30 sheets out of the package fit into one.)
If you hand-wash undies a few at a time in the sink you only need a piece of the laundry sheet each time. And by the way, the sheet dissolves almost instantly, whether in hot or cold water.
You’re doing something good for the environment by not buying plastic. You’re avoiding the airport security liquids limits. And you’re saving space and avoiding mess in the traveler’s luggage.
One package, 60 sheets/loads as a 1-time purchase is $20. Ordering 2 or more at a time brings the price per package to $12. They work on a subscription plan. The subscription is flexible and has no contract. You’re able to change your shipment to any interval that suits you, and it can be paused for 3 months, 6 months, or even up to a year.
Saje Essential Oil Blends for Spirit, Sleep and Mask Freshening
There are several companies that sell Essential Oils, but for travel it’s important to have a travel-convenient storage/dispenser that won’t leak in a suitcase/backpack/day-bag. I tried to carry oils and gave up due to leaks. Then I happened upon Saje Essential Oil Roll-Ons in a local shopping mall.
I like are the Saje Roll-Ons because the thin, easy-to-carry thick glass bottle is a roll-on on one end and a dropper on the other. I’m told both sides are leak-proof and this has been my own experience. I also like that it’s refillable.
Saje intends the dropper for larger areas of your body. However, during our mask-wearing days, I found it was nice to shake a drop or two into my mask. I’m thinking that in winter weather it could also make our mouth-wrapped scarfs more comfortable. Additionally, you can shake out drops to dilute the blend for other uses.
I couldn’t find this info on the website so I asked Saje and am sharing their words here.
To refill your roll-on, first, unscrew the rollerball from the roll-on. Inside, you’ll find a plastic dropper lid that can be gently pried off to reveal the bottle opening. You can now refill your roll-on. Once refilling is complete, simply replace the rollerball and screw the bottom cap back on.
0.34 fl oz Roll-on: $22 or $28
1oz/30ml Refill: $54
There’s also a 1.5oz Extra Strength roll-on for $60.
More items will be added here.