Dreaming of travel? Here is our 2020 holiday gift guide for travelers
This holiday season travelers really need our 2020 holiday gift guide. For Thanksgiving, many of us stayed home and virtually visited friends and family for our mutual health and safety. Frankly, after eight long months of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s okay to acknowledge that the situation stinks.
With the holidays upon us, it’s time to move ahead and think about finding gifts for those we care about. The prospects for a COVID vaccine look promising, so many are dreaming about travel again. I’ve got a great list of gift suggestions for the travelers in your life.
• Sony WH-1000XM4 ($280) — Noise-canceling headsets make music and videos far more enjoyable when flying or taking a train or in any area with background noise. They can even help block out annoying sounds in noisy hotel rooms. The over-the-ear headsets are superior to the in-the-ear ones for blocking noise. I’ve tested many headsets. In the past, I’ve recommended Bose, but Sony’s caught up to Bose and has a significantly lower price. I find the Sony headset a bit more comfortable than Bose, but the Bose (Model 700, $380) sound is a tad better. Most people won’t hear the difference, however.
Here’s a gift to quickly locate misplaced keys or your smartphone in your hotel room, to get you out the door on time
• Tile Pro ($34.99) — Most hotels no longer use physical keys, but rental cars and Airbnbs still use keys and fobs. There’s nothing worse than misplacing your keys/fobs or your smartphone in your hotel room, delaying your departure or activities. Using the Tile smartphone app (iPhone or Android), you can quickly find your keys/fobs with an attached Tile Pro. Using the Tile Pro, you can quickly locate your smartphone, even if it’s set to silent. Your smartphone and Tile Pro can work together when separated by as much as 400 feet (122 meters).
• Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag (starting at $89) — I never leave home without this classic shoulder bag. I prefer the small size, which is still roomy. It has numerous pockets and an internal holder for a water bottle. It comes in multiple colors. It has a TPU liner for easy cleaning and keeping your belongings dry in rainy weather. Its adjustable shoulder strap has a comfortable Airmesh pad.
• AstroAI 12/24V DC, 110V AC 58 Quart Portable Refrigerator ($339) — Even if the introduction of a vaccine slowly ends the pandemic late next year, many travelers’ upcoming journeys will be road trips. A portable plug-in refrigerator significantly improved our family car journeys over the years. Unlike an ice cooled chest, they don’t need ice, almost doubling their usable space. With no ice your food stays dry. It plugs into your car while on the go, or into the wall in your hotel room.
• Hydro Flask 21 oz Water Bottle with Sport Cap ($35.95) — Help your favorite travelers be part of the climate change, plastic waste solution and save cash to boot. Give them a great multi-use water/beverage bottle that they can keep refilling throughout their journeys and stop buying expensive one-use bottles of water. The Hydro Flask is my favorite. It keeps beverages cold all day with no sweating on the bottle’s exterior and works great for keeping hot beverages steamy.
• BAGGU Standard Reusable Shopping Bag ($12.00) — Another way travelers can be part of the climate change solution is to stop using one-use paper and plastic bags. I never travel without several of these highly useful ripstop nylon, multi-use tote bags. The totes carry two grocery bags of stuff, up to 50 pounds, yet fold into a thin five-inch square when not in use. They’re invaluable for travelers.
Every traveler needs an emergency flashlight. Put one on your 2020 holiday gift guide that doubles as a portable smartphone charger
• Xcentz Lipstick Battery Charger 3350mAh and Flashlight ($18.99) — Every traveler needs to have an emergency flashlight. This one is a combination rechargeable flashlight and emergency power bank for your smartphone. Its aluminum body makes it durable enough for travel.
• Roku Streaming Stick+ ($29.99) — Hotel rooms and Airbnbs almost always have televisions for entertainment when you return after a great evening out, but its content is often so-so at best. If you’ve cut the cord at home, or use streaming along with cable or over-the-air TV, you can easily stream, using your home subscriptions, while traveling. The Roku Streaming Stick is light and highly compact. As long as your hotel has reasonable quality wireless Internet access and a TV with an HDMI outlet, you’re set to stream with a Roku.
The best gift you can give for U.S. National Park visitors is an America the Beautiful National Parks Pass
• America the Beautiful National Parks Annual Pass ($80) — Some of the best places to travel in the U.S. are its national parks. Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Yellowstone, among others, are world-famous for good reason. Many of the parks have an entrance fee of as much as $35 per vehicle and $20 per person unless you have a Parks Pass. Even if you go to just a few parks with entrance fees each year, the pass is a bargain. Senior passes are lifetime passes and cost $80.
I think that any traveler would be pleased to get these useful and thoughtful gifts to enhance their travel. While each person’s experience with these products can vary, I’ve found them to be worthwhile products to use while traveling by trying and/or owning each.
After many years working in corporate America as a chemical engineer, executive and eventually CFO of a multinational manufacturer, Ned founded a tech consulting company and later restarted NSL Photography, his photography business. As a well known corporate, travel and wildlife photographer, Ned travels the world writing about travel and photography, as well as running photography workshops, seminars and photowalks. Visit Ned’s Photography Blog and Galleries.