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Holiday Gift Giving Ideas for The Traveler




As someone who travels pretty darn often for pleasure and for work, I’ve learned what makes the flight a little more comfortable and bearable.

1. White and Warren Cashmere Travel Wrap – $295 — These cashmere travel wraps are not cheap, but they double-duty as an extra blanket in the hotel room, on the plane for your legs, or just to cosy up in. They’re extremely luxurious and indulgent.

Also, if you are ever in a city where the weather unexpectedly turned frosty, you will be grateful to have this cashmere wrap on hand. I own one in Oatmeal and am looking to buy another in a darker colour (so that it doesn’t leave little fibers on my darker-coloured wool coats).

2. Bose Custom QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones – $400 — When a colicky baby is starting up in the seat behind you, it may not drown them out COMPLETELY but it will at least mute their screams while you’re on the plane.

They are extremely comfortable (I fall asleep with them on all the time), and you can hear all the in-flight movies, or your music without having to jack up the volume and destroy your ear drums.

3. Lo & Sons O.M.G. Travel and Gym Tote – $295 — This tote has been making serious rounds around the style blogosphere for being an incredible bag to use to travel with. It has a lot of practical compartments, fits everything beautifully and does not require you to sit on your bag to cram it all in.

That said, this tote is not meant for everyday use if you are under 5’7″ or have a small frame, because it will overwhelm you and look like you’re about to head to the airport or the gym to work out. It’s really best for working out, traveling, or short weekend trips.

Update: I have also been informed by a few readers that their customer service blows.

Be forewarned that once you buy it, you might have to deal with the hassle of returns or broken parts and not be properly taken care of.

4. Kobo Glo / Aura HD / Aura – $130 – $170 — DO NOT buy any e-reader without a built-in lighting system to read in dim or dark light. It is annoying to have to buy another accessory to attach to the e-reader, and frankly, it’s what put me off e-readers for such a long time.

I personally own the Kobo Glo (I scored it on Craig’s list for $70), but they’ve recently come out with fancier e-readers called the Aura and Aura HD. Honestly, the Glo at $130 is more than enough to read with, and is very lightweight, unlike an iPad.

I also get a lot of e-books online for free to read via my local public library (Toronto Public Library Overdrive), and ever since I discovered e-libraries, my reading has exploded into multiple books each month.

I don’t only use this to travel, I also use it to commute or if I am planning on waiting for a long time somewhere. Overall, a fantastic purchase, and one I have not regretted since.

5. iPod Nano – $149 — I can’t imagine any traveler not having an MP3 player already, but just in case they don’t, the newest iPod Nano is pretty amazing, and is lightweight, which is perfect for traveling (when you travel, every ounce counts).

You can listen to music, or podcasts like This American Life, which will make traveling go by in a snap. If you convert videos into MP4 format, you will even be able to carry your own personal library around with you.

(Also, if you have the cash, I’d buy the biggest memory possible for an MP3 player, you’d be surprised how fast this thing fills up).

6. USB flash / thumb / key drive – $10 – $100 — Depending on how much space you want on it, and if you want it to be already loaded with software for encryption, every traveler could use one.

I have one for work, and one for personal use, but when I travel, I bring a few more as they are lightweight, and backup all of my photos or other documents on the go.

My favourite brands are Sandisk (they come with encryption software to password protect your files), and Kingston Data Traveler (no encryption software but that makes it SUPER easy to use).

7. Macbook Air – $999 — If you really feel like going all out, or even better, going in with other family members and friends to chip in money into a big pot to buy this single gift for a special someone, I really, highly recommend the Macbook Air.

I own both the 11″ and the 13″, and although I prefer working on the 13″ if I were working and traveling (I like bigger screens), the 11″ is sufficient to do work on the go in the airport, or anywhere I need to.

It loads in about 10 seconds (super, SUPER fast), is fairly lightweight (don’t get me wrong, it’s still heavy), and fits easily into any laptop bag.

8. RFID Credit Card Sleeves – $6 – $8 — Any RFID-blocking credit card sleeve will work, so the cheaper you can find them, the better. I use these all the time now, because it is very easy for a thief to bump into your purse, and steal your information in a heartbeat, now with RFID tap technology in play and all.

Better safe than sorry.

If you live in Toronto, go to Europe Bound. They have the cheapest products in all of Toronto, and even if you find a brand there that is sold for cheaper elsewhere, the owner will beat the price. He’ll undercut anyone.

9. Noble MacMillan Travel Wallet – $240 — Okay so this is very pricey just for a traveling wallet, but it’s chic and gorgeous.

You can OBVIOUSLY find cheaper versions or styles, so don’t take this as the be-all and end-all travel wallet. What you need in a good travel wallet is that it’s longer to hold your boarding pass, passport, some money, coins, cards and to contain it all when you travel.

It is slim and it will fit perfectly in your purse or in a guy’s pocket.

10. Belkin Surge Plus USB Swivel Charger – $30 — Hotel rooms never have enough outlets to charge your cellphone, computer, iPad, iPod, e-reader or any other electronic you might have (even a toothbrush!).

I’ve found this product extremely handy, and it’s even better it has USB charging ports for things like iPads and iPods, so that laptop plugs can use the main outlets.

11. Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100 – $200 — Well. Worth. Every. Penny. You can read my mini review of it here.

I use this when I work in other cities, and it scans everything from flat items (e.g. cards), to papers (you flip up the top section so you can grab the paper easily). It scans to PDF, Word, etc. I found a case for it that was meant for a hair iron, and it fits everything perfectly.

Update: Dec 3 2013

Want more gift ideas for a jetsetter? Check out this post.


  • Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life

    Love the scan snap! Useful for everyone, but especially those who travel and can benefit from it’s easy portability.

  • Tania

    The Belkin is pure awesomeness. I should know, I have one too 🙂 We often forget when we travel that one little mac usb is not often, we have to charge our phone, extra battery, iPad, camera battery, on & on & on. It’s even great for toting to the office as I carry 2 ios devices, a wifi and a Bluetooth keyboard with me daily.

    I’ve coveted a White and Warren for a long time. The reason I also prefer a basic black wool coat when I travel to the US mainland is it also can double as a blanket on the plane (versus a light colored or a leather jacket). If a person living in a tropical climate needs one piece for infrequent winter travel, that is what I always recommend even if it’s not as statement as other pieces.

    Travel wallet is a must when going between countries. I have a pretty and good quality one that I got for a steal from Neiman Marcus during their post holiday sales. It was one of their in store brand gift items and it has card slots, several pockets (for different country currency/tickets) and a spot for your passport. I always recommend a good travel wallet to those flying international, it’s a must to keep organized.

    Thanks for #11, I’ve heard a lot about another one (can’t recall the name right now) that’s bulkier and more expensive. This one is probably just right for my needs.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      That Belkin charger is a must-have for me when I travel. 🙂

      Oh yes! A black wool coat is also a good staple for those who live in warm climates but travel to colder ones.

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