The Best Travel Gear: Holiday Gift Guide 2020

by Dec 2, 2020Guides

Your loved one's deserve well-made gifts that they'll actually use. For the best travel gear, look no further than this gift guide.

The best travel gear can make a travel experience even better.

It’s fairly likely that there is an important traveler in your life who is longing for the first trip they can take without fear of COVID or associated travel restrictions.

Giving them well-made and smartly designed gear can make that hotly anticipated travel experience a lot more pleasant.

When you’re traveling and on the go, you want to be focused on the experience and not anxious about the location of your passport or your things falling out of your bag from a broken zipper.

Products like packing cubes give your bags some anxiety-reducing organization or durable set of toiletry bottles means your favorite shampoo is reserved for your hair and not spilt inside your bag.

It helps make the most of your favorite traveler’s other huge travel investment – transportation and lodging – by helping them make the most of their time on the road by eliminating inconveniences and mishaps that can come with poorly made gear.

Most of the products on this list I own or have used personally. As well, when you use some of these links below, I may make a small commission when you purchase a product.


Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes

I’ve been using Eagle Creek Pack-it Specter packing cubes for over a year now.  I cant recommend packing cubes enough. Using packing cubes makes organizing your bag so much simpler. No longer will you stress over having to dig for something at the bottom of your bag at an inopportune time. Thanks to the strong ripstop nylon, these packing cubes make it easy to grab and slip out the cube you need by the handle. Unlike many other packing cube sets, these are made of durable, super lightweight, and flexible fabric. They come in several color options, however, I really like the light white and neon green option, since these colors are easy to see against the dark interior of most bags. They help keep your clothing organized how you see fit, or even keep separate dirty from clean clothes. The Compression set has an extra feature that uses ultra strong zippers to compress the items inside. As well, I prefer smaller sizes like Small or XS because they give you more flexibility.

Packable Down Jacket

A packable down jacket is perfect for travel. They are great for colder climates, not too warm for more temperate ones, and can be easily packed away when it is not needed. They can be layered for added warmth for even more versatility.

Amazon makes one that reviews well and I personally own the Uniqlo version, which is made with real down.

GRDE 15000mAh Portable Charger with Wireless Charging

Give your loved one a hassle-free way to have their devices charged on their next trip. This portable charger has enough power to charge your iPhone 11 or Samsung Galaxy more than 2 times (according to the product description).

Not only does it have a USB-A and USB-C charging port, but it has built in charging cables for your iPhone or Android device. As well, it has a socket connector built-in. I find this particularly great since that means you will have to pack fewer bulky cables and you have zero chance of forgetting one.

Wireless ANC headphones – TaoTronics TTBH090

After rushing around to make flight or check-out times, you’ll likely need a few moments of peace. Few things can get that for you better than a pair of active noise cancelling headphones.

These TaoTronics TTBH090 headphones are a no-brainer for their price and noise cancelling abilities. They have decent sound quality and are perfect for noisy flights or when you need to get work done at a café.

They weigh almost nothing and pack up quite conveniently.

Plus, they boast 35 hours of music playback on a single charge, according to the description.

RAVPower 65W 4-Port Desktop USB Charging Station (2x USB-C and 2x USB-A)

One charger to replace all of your others? Sign me up!

Simplify your packing and lighten your load for your next trip. This charger from RAVPower has enough ports and charging capability to charge most laptops with USB-C charging (like the Macbook Air and Pro) while fast charging your iPhone, Android phone, tablet, Nintendo Switch, and wireless headphones.

Wool Buff, Lightweight Merino Charcoal Gray

It’s a scarf. It’s a hat. It’s a face mask. It’s a ski mask. It’s all that and so much more.

My merino wool buff is something I always keep on hand, especially in cold months. It is one of the most versatile and space-saving clothing items I own.

Essentially, it is a tube of fabric that can be folded into different forms for all sorts of uses. This means you wont have to pack cold-weather items that you may or may not use on your next trip, like ski masks or an extra hat. The Buff always has you covered.

I mostly use it as a scarf, but it can certainly used as a hat, face mask, or any of the 12+ ways the manufacturers claim.

As well, it is made of merino wool, so it is soft, warmer than it looks, and has natural antimicrobial properties so it wont get smelly as quickly as other fabrics.

Victorinox Nail Clippers

Have you ever had to find nail clippers in a different country, asking shopkeepers and pharmacists where something with as specific a name as “nail clipper” is, in languages you barely understand?

I have. And I would not recommend it!

Heck, I can barely find these in stores in my own country.

Get yourself a quality pair of nail clippers, then pack them in your dopp kit or key ring and keep them there. Every week or so, you will thank me.

Peak Design Everyday Sling v2 (10L, 6L, or 3L)

Traveling or not, we are all carrying a little more on us than usual. Whether it be a couple spare face masks, hand sanitizer, on top of your keys, wallet, and smartphone, pockets just aren’t cutting it.

With fannypacks being ever so trendy, the Peak Design Everyday Sling is a great, stylish, and well made solution for traveling or errands alike. I have personally owned and used the older 5L v1 model and found it quite handy when I was bringing my crop sensor dSLR around town.

The Everyday Sling has a handy slidestrap adjustment feature that make it easy to fit snug to yourself and pull to the back or front when worn on your shoulders and waist. This means you wont have to take the entire thing off to get what you need from inside or pull to the front of you in areas you suspect might have pickpocketters.

It even has ant-theft measures on the front zippers and a hidden pocket.

It comes in 3L, 6L, and 10L sizes. I think that 3L will be fine for people who just want a nicer way to bring around their everyday carry, while 6L and 10L will be better for photographers with more gear. The Peak Design website (linked below) has tons of great resources and a handy guide to help you decide which size is best for your needs.

Tom Bihn Synapse/Synik Travel Bag

Have you ever traveled somewhere, perhaps venturing through an airport, knowing exactly where your important documents are? That anything you might need to grab were well-organized in your bag and reassured they weren’t buried deep under some dirty clothes?

It was pretty great, wasn’t it?

A thoughtfully designed travel pack can help alleviate the kind of stress that comes with traveling disorganized and this bag is one of the best.

My Tom Bihn Synapse 19 is one of my favorite things. It is easily the best backpack I’ve ever owned. Its 19 liter size may seem small, but it’s perfect for ultra-minimal one bag travel or as a daily carry bag. Oh, and it is made of incredibly strong materials like 525 ballistic nylon and YKK zippers, so it is more than up to the task of round the world travel.

The bag is so waterproof that I honestly have trouble washing it. It doesn’t get soaked enough at first!

It has tons of handy quick-access storage solutions built-into the bag meaning that each liter is well used and your camera, passport, cash, journal, laptop etc. can be accessed hassle free. You would be surprised how much you can fit in this bag!

Tom Bihn also makes a Synapse 25 liter bag. As well, they recently came out with updated versions called the Synik. Although I have yet to try the Synik, I am certain that these are great bags as well.

Kindle Paperwhite – 10th Generation

My Kindle has come in handy countless times while traveling and I rarely leave home without it. Whether it is a read between train stops or a useful resource to download guidebooks with, it can be a really great tool for travelers.

This generation’s Kindle Paperwhite is now waterproof, giving you extra piece of mind when weather turns for the worse on the go.

Bolstering it’s travel-readiness is its impressive battery life that lasts weeks in my own experience. This is perfect when outlets (and time) are at a premium.

Wanderlust: A Traveler’s Guide to the Globe

Yes, I know I said Kindle books are the way to go while traveling. But right now, most of us aren’t and need something to stave off our wanderlust! Guidebooks are a great way to do this while providing ideas for your next trip.

This one from Moon is a general travel guide that looks like it focuses more on inspiration rather than practical tips.

I also enjoy Lonely Planet guidebooks and the Lonely Planet New England’s Best Trips book has been a great companion in my local travels.

Lonely Planet New England Best Trips Book

humangear GoToobs 3-Pack Travel Bottles

A wise man once said “Its the little things” and I swear these fall under that phrase.

Durable and clever, these toiletry bottles from humangear will help ensure that your soap and shampoo stays inside of their bottles and do not explode inside your bag, thanks to their no-drip valves and construction.

Plus, they are color coded so you can easily tell which bottle is which, perfect for when you are jetlagged and want to reduce confusion about what exactly you are about to put in your hair.

Better yet, they come in 3oz each, so you’ll always meet carry-on requirements for flights.

Hydro Flask Water Bottle – Standard Mouth Flex Lid 24oz

I have had a Hydro Flask water bottle for about a year now and it is the best water bottle I have ever owned. It has saved me countless dollars on water bottles – and not to mention what it has saved our oceans and landfills!

It is durable and keeps liquids cold better than any other bottle I’ve tried, even bulkier insulated ones. Normally overpriced, this is a great gift to pick up on Black Friday for just about anyone.

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