The holidays are officially upon us! As we enter into the month of December, you're no doubt starting your gift giving list. If you are a traveler or have one in your life, it can be hard to know what the best products and gadgets are that will actually be useful and not be thrown in the trash come New Year's Day. Here is the ultimate round up to make this holiday season easier for you, all tried and true by yours truly:
1. Cashmere Wrap
This cashmere wrap from Garnet Hill is hands down one of the best travel accessories out there that can also be useful in your day to day life. Sure the price point can be hefty for essentially a scarf, but this multipurpose wrap is worth every penny. I wear this wrapped around me on my way to the airport in cooler temperatures so that I don't have to bring a coat along with me, especially if I'm going somewhere where I will not need a coat once I get there. It will easily roll up and fit into your purse when the temps heat up. Casually drape it around your shoulders for your best airport chic look and be on your way! Because it is so long, you can get on a cold airplane, keep it wrapped around your shoulders and put it over your legs like a blanket. Swaddle yourself up and take a siesta! It sure beats an airline blanket any day of the week.
2. Noise Cancelling Headphones
If you've never tried noise cancelling headphones on a plane, you really don't know what you're missing out on. Recently, I forgot to charge mine up so I had to resort to using them without the noise cancellation feature on. I started to watch a movie and ended up turning it off because I couldn't hear most of the dialogue over the sound of the engines and the other passengers.
There are so many options to choose from out there ranging from the big over ear bluetooth versions to the earbud kind. The over ear ones are great, especially because they have the bluetooth capabilities, but personally, I love the Bose earbuds because I believe it cuts out more noise than the over ear version. As soon as you turn them on, it feels like all of the background noise is quite literally sucked out of your ears. On overnight flights, they are great to use even without music or a movie on just to quiet the environment around you so you can get some shut eye and comfortably use a neck pillow.
3. Jewelry Case
This seems to always be one of those things that people don't think to buy for themselves, instead they opt to just shove all of their jewelry in a soft pouch, which runs the risk of breaking baubles. And who wants to arrive to a tangle of jewelry? This case from Mark & Graham is compact enough that it won't take up valuable carry on space. Make this gift even more personal by foil debossing the recipient's initials or name on the top.
4. Cord Organizer
Along the same principles of tangled jewelry chains, tangled cords can be a real stressor when you're traveling. Help the traveler in your life avoid looking like like Clark Griswold when he pulls out his massive ball of Christmas light cords in Christmas Vacation by keeping everything tightly wound the whole journey through. Like the jewelry case, this can also be personalized with initials or a name.
5. Smart Luggage
Full disclosure, I have not personally tried smart luggage, like Away, just yet, but it is high on my list. A twinge of jealously strikes when I see someone cooly rolling through the airport with their phone plugged into their carry on. They are one of the hottest tech gifts this holiday season and come in a slew of colors and sizes to choose from. The battery pack is hidden near where the retractable handle nests when it's pushed down. Flip up the cover to reveal two USB ports ready for you to plug your charger into. The battery is also ejectable, keeping it compliant with airline regulations that no lithium batteries can be in checked luggage in the cargo hold. This, too, can be personalized with initials.
6. Quip Toothbrush
Those cheap plastic toothbrush cases are truly a thing of the past now with the introduction of Quip, a new kind of electric toothbrush. Its sleek design perfectly allows for the toothbrush head to slip right into the base making for sanity travel conditions. It also suctions to any mirrored surface, allowing you to keep it off of hotel bathroom countertops. If you're like me, I would throw out toothbrushes very often after a bunch of traveling. Hotel rooms, different kinds of water, etc. all lead to the perfect home for germs. With a new toothbrush head delivered to your door every 3 months, Quip could not make it easier for you.
7. Passport Organizer
If you've ever experienced that sinking feeling of being unable to find your passport while away from home, likely tucked way at the bottom of an oversized purse, you'll appreciate a passport organizer. It's larger than a passport cover and allows you to stuff all kinds of things insides like paper boarding passes, your Global Entry card in case you need it, and any other pieces of travel related paper that may be lurking inside your purse. Keeping everything in one place is an easy way to reduce stress.
8. Traveling Pants
For the traveler that has the latest tech gadgets, a pair of pants that work well for traveling is the perfect gift. These days, workout clothing companies have evolved into the "athleisure" space which means that their clothes are not only super comfortable, but stylish enough to be worn outside the gym without looking like you're in workout clothes. My go-to for plane pants is Athleta or Lululemon where elastic waistbands are mixed with stylish trimmings like metal buttons, cute ties, and perfect pocket placement. They don't wrinkle easily, so you can arrive looking fresh instead of like someone who has been crammed into an airline seat for too long.
9. Apple AirPods
Yes, noise cancellation is hands down the way to go, however I always keep my Apple AirPods in my purse for airport usage or phone calls. I love the noise cancellation feature for the plane, but when I'm in public, I don't love the feeling of not being able to hear the noise going on around you. Imagine how dumb you would look getting mowed over by one of those airport carts where the driver yells "BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!" Pretty dumb. I get about 3 hours of continuous music play before they need to be charged. Pop them back in the case for 15 minutes to get a full charge again.
10. Revlon Hair Dryer
This was recently introduced to me by a friend who swore this was the greatest invention ever. I bought it fully prepared to give it away after the first try, but I absolutely love it. This brush and hair dryer in one has cut my hair drying time in half and gives my hair so much lift and body. This gadget is especially awesome for travel because it's much less bulky than a conventional hair dryer. You can also forget about ever having to use those terrible hotel hair dryers that mount into the wall and have zero power. Because it's also a brush, I don't have to worry about also bringing my large round brush. It is a luggage space saver for sure!