moody view of the Eiffel tower in Paris, France with pink gray sky

The Best Holiday Gifts: Travel Essentials

We all have a friend or relative who’s going places—literally. For your avid traveler or, ahem, yourself, I’ve gathered the absolute best gifts for globetrotting.  Beyond that, these are just plain (plane?) essential for staying comfortable, connected, and organized away from home.

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Aluminum Edition


Manicure Set – On Sale


Cashmere Travel Set


Wolf Caroline Zip Travel Case


Wash Me Travel Bag


Maestra Bag


Travel Makeup Case


Go Travel Pillow


Travel Adapter


Travel Power Adapter


Mini Umbrella


Quilted Down Coat


Language Learning App


Packing Cube Set


Vanity Case Set


Obviously the Away suitcase has garnered tons of attention over the last couple of gift guide years, but there’s a reason for that—it’s amazing. Some suitcases are just made to move (rather than feel like you’re dragging a stubborn mule behind you) and this is one of them. I love the “bigger carry-on” size, because it’s the most possible packable space available without spending half an hour post-flight at a baggage carousel. Also, it’s battery-powered with ports at the top to charge your electronics on-the-go. Genius? Genius.


Manicure Set – On Sale


Mark & Graham is amazing for personalized travel gifts in general, but let’s focus on the really adorable ones, shall we? There’s no bummer quite like ripping half a nail off while corralling your luggage, and a highly packable, personalizable manicure kit solves that problem. Mark & Graham offers so many gifts with a free monogramming option, don’t sleep on this one!



Because airplane blankets are just…meh, I highly recommend gifting a beautiful, practical, luxurious cashmere set this year. I’m a fan of this one, because it thinks of everything—the most beautiful matching wrap, eye mask and sock set all with a coordinating case!  I want to curl up and take a nap in it right now.


You really can’t (shouldn’t) just toss jewelry in your bag.  A compact travel jewelry case is the way to go. Even better if it’s stunning, like this one.  It takes up next to no room in your bag and keeps jewelry from arriving at your destination in a tangled ball of sparkle.


Dirty clothes and clean clothes don’t like to hang out together on vacation. Gift an absolutely adorable “Wash Me” bag and inspire a new sense of on-the-road organization in your friends and relatives. Also it feels a little fancy, like maybe a butler will come pick it up to have it washed, even though in reality it’s just you in your laundry room.


There’s a reason I keep gushing about the Senreve Maestra bag—in the world of literally all the bags, this is the best one for travel. Perfectly spacious (read: all of the pockets!), born to be on the move, and stylish enough to enhance your outfit (rather than saddling a clunky travel tote on top of it), this bag does it all, and comes in a million colors. It’s 2018’s best investment piece, you heard it here first.


And then there’s the beauty products. Okay, I know it often feels like if the entire bathroom can’t come with you, there’s really no point in going, but packing your product in a space-efficient and organized way can be a reality. Is this the cutest makeup case ever? No. Is it the best? Pretty much yes. The compartments are genius, roomy, and practical, and when you need to leave home without feeling like you’ve left behind an actual limb, it’s just perfect.



Everyone needs one, but there’s no point unless it’s a good one. Extensive research and several uncomfortable flights led me to this amazing option, which delivers on its promise, packs well, and looks just future enough for the professional traveler.


Highly necessary, and again, it needs to work well. I’m all in favor of this one, by Tumi, but this guy also gets great reviews. While it might be tempting to just rely on the adapters you’ve had forever, I bet they don’t have USB ports, and I’m not sure how any of us can function without them at this point, at home or abroad.


Buying an umbrella abroad is très annoying. They’re more expensive than you want them to be, and the odds of you actually packing them to take home when there are souvenirs and foreign beauty products to consider are slim to none. Instead, pack this MAGICALLY tiny travel umbrella. Seriously how cute is this? Almost makes you wish for rain. Almost.


While we’re on weather, a packable travel jacket is an absolute must in colder and unpredictable months. I am a huge fan of this one by Patagonia because you can shove it into the tiniest corner of your suitcase but when you wear it, it’s incredibly warm. You’ll never be bummed it’s in your bag. Here’s another option that comes in gorgeous colors.


If you want to give a gift with (potentially) long-lasting benefits, gift a subscription to Duolingo or other language apps. Duolingo is free, but there are fancier upgrades, too. This app is awesome for commuting because the lessons are short and you can feel really accomplished in just a short time. It’s potentially the perfect little push they need to learn the essentials pre-flight.


Are you wondering why everyone loves packing cubes? Maybe you should get (and gift) some packing cubes and find out. Taking organized travel to another level entirely, packing cubes are, first of all so cute, and second of all the kind of compartmentalizing we wish we could extend to our day-to-day lives. Pack smarter, pack better, lose nothing.


Cuyana makes the cutest travel case sets, perfect for keeping odds and ends together without resorting to unsightly plastic baggies. You can add monogramming to make them extra special and personal, or score other matching leather goods from the brand. I absolutely love these and these in blush. Another cute thing to do is order the recipient’s favorite travel-sized beauty products to tuck inside, like their favorite face cleanser, dry shampoo, concealer, etc.

4 thoughts on “The Best Holiday Gifts: Travel Essentials”

  1. All the stuff you have mentioned is essential, but I loved the cashmere set and jewelry travel box. The last one is really important to me since I have a lot of jewelry and need some storage for it.

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