There's less than a week to go for Christmas, but here are probably the most fun travel gifts to have. Besides, contrary to popular belief, it's not like I need a suitcase in a new color every year.
Here's our updated take on the coolest—and some potentially useless—travel gifts to give for this year. Because it is full-on replacing our annual gift guide, we're deviating a bit and including a mish mash of useless and useful gifts to give to the travel fanatic.
No stuff we haven't seen with our own eyes here, unless noted, pinky swear.
For a really festive idea, reach the next tier of gift giving by using a map in place of gift wrapping paper. Sometimes, life is about having fun and not taking everything too seriously.
- Airline Pajamas
- Dripkit Coffee
- Globein Artisan Box
- Pan Am Boeing 707 Bottle Opener
- Convertible Travel Pillow Infinity Scarf
- DJI Osmo Pocket
- HotLogic Mini Personal Portable Oven
Instead of giving the gift of pajamas, give the gift of airline pajamas. It's a little kooky, but a fun twist on what is otherwise a fun, quintessential Christmas classic.
Real life case in point: My stepfather has taken a real liking to EVA Air's Apujan line set of pajamas. Granted, it takes a little bit more effort than going to Target, but it's well worth the lounging around afterwards. Short of taking a business class flight to score a set, it's not hard to find a couple of travelers offloading all their business class goodies on eBay.
Is it weird that there's a whole group of people willing to sell swag? Double points for these working well on the airline and at home.
This Christmas season, beat the under-caffeinated Scrooge before he makes an appearance. Coffee is a real drug, and it's not a pretty sight when someone has been deprived of their daily fix.
Being constantly on the move has a way of upending routines like no other, and finding reliably good caffeine can be an ostensible problem. Enter Dripkit Coffee, a foldable travel pourover coffee solution that we're hoarding like the world is ending.
In one packet, coffee aficionados are treated to a single serve filter packet that includes freshly roasted beans at least a notch or two above the average Keurig pod (I'm hard to please). It's all delivered in a portable paper filter that stands up all on its own.
The last steps are some hot water and a mug.
Depending on the volume purchased and the subscription plan, each packet ranges from $2.50 to $3 per serving (shipping is free). It's not cheap, but it beats 💩 ☕.
(Life is too short for bad coffee.)
Globein Artisan Box
For many, the ability to choose art as a profession is often a luxury. The others endure a level of discomfort unknown to most to pursue their calling.
Being an artist is hard. Being an artist in a developing country is often many, many times harder, many being forced to sell trinkets for pennies on the dollar. Globein is a subscription box that supports local artisans and farmers across the world, striking a delicate balance to ensure they are paid fair wages while providing consumers accessible crafts from around the world.
The key differentiator? The clear quality in the products that it delivers, along with its admirable mission.
The introductory Cozy Box ($60, $45 through subscription) includes a Oaxacan hand-woven basket, a Thai scarf, a hand-painted Tunisian ceramic mug and fair-trade Ghanaian cocoa. (Of course, everything is handcrafted.)
It is all stuff that would be easily marked up 30 times their original price in a West Elm store, but beyond street market souvenir trinket quality. Think quality for value, all less than what it costs to check a bag roundtrip.
The Tunisian mug is a favorite, keeping hot beverages temperatures warm, and holding double or triple the ☕. It even has made us curious about visiting Tunisia.
The site goes on to elaborate:
Typical market prices are often too low to provide a sustainable living for these artisans and farmers... The subscription model allows us to place large orders with the producers. As a result, we are able to optimize logistics, offer our customers great value products, while ensuring that more money goes to the artisans. For artisans, large orders also mean a steady income that is predictable and reliable, something they appreciate much more than large but unpredictable payouts.
Though the pricing structure is a little confusing, most products can be bought à la carte, or through a subscription service that ranges from $43 to $50 per month (including shipping).
The subscription is the best deal, and for a product that goes a long way toward supporting local communities, it makes us more than happy to put some of that hard-earned money where it should go. It's a gift that promises to be two-fold.
Pan Am Boeing 707 Bottle Opener
Nothing says "travel geek" like vintage stuff. This beer opener is made from a Boeing 707, from the iconic Pan Am airplane. Planes don't go to the junkyard, It looks like they've got to repurpose those planes somehow.
(This I don't have! Someone get me this.)
Convertible Travel Pillow Infinity Scarf
Disgusting is putting a travel pillow around the handle of the suitcase and dragging it around god knows where. * shudders* I'd rather carry a travel pillow around my neck, cleverly disguised as an infinity scarf.
For a minute, we thought we had seen the end of really cleverly designed travel products. There's a lot of junk on the market (and so many Kickstarters) but this one made us do a double take.
Simply unzip the side of the infinity scarf and blow it up to turn it into a travel pillow, which can be worn around the neck. In non-pillow form, it also works well as (guess what else?) an infinity scarf. Say goodbye to carrying a travel pillow that looks like an anatomical part.
It's a look that New Yorkers can get away with, while Californians can look fashion forward.
DJI Osmo Pocket
How do you turn a newbie videographer into a YouTube influencer? (Give them the DJI Osmo Pocket 🤫).
Tripods, GoPro, what? The DJI Osmo Pocket is a three-axis stabilized handheld camera featuring automatic object and face tracking, time lapse and slow motion video, all in 4k video. There's also a 12-megapixel camera for those that are looking for still shots. Though the video still completely outperforms the photo, it's a great choice buy for those that aren't quite looking for a DSLR replacement1 but want to take it beyond the smartphone level.
It's also something ostensibly more compact than a smartphone.
It is all controlled by a small LCD touchscreen that makes us think that DJI is on the forefront of the next level of travel photography. Ironically, combined with an included iPhone/Android adapter, the DJI Mimo app will extend the smartphone screen as the LCD screen for the Osmo Pocket.)
It's a solid choice before taking it to the next level and investing in the DJI Mavic Air drone.
HotLogic Mini Personal Portable Oven
It's a bit weird to say that the ultimate, crème de la crème travel gift of 2018 may be... a small, portable oven.
The HotLogic Mini Personal Portable Oven is basically the traveler's version of a portable microwave, making it great for hotel use to heating up food on the train and plane. This unassuming hot plate in a flexible, convection-like carrying case makes it a godsend for heating up breakfast burritos and even cooking frozen raw meats.
Forget asking hotel staff to bring up a microwave, making oats in a Keurig machine, or any ridiculous cooking tactic on the road. Make life less ghetto and more glorious.
(It's also great for avoiding the office microwave.)