You may not be able to give the gift of exotic trips to all of the special people in your lives this holiday season. But helping them savor travel memories and plan for a future trip is definitely in the budget. I've put together a list of globe-trotting goods for this holiday season, none priced at more than $110. It includes innovations everything from hi-tech waterproof Bluetooth speakers to ultralight bags that convert from backpacks to duffels.
This handy Lego-like tool snaps together four plugs and one adapter to power up gadgets in 150 countries. The red, blue, yellow, and green components correspond to a color-coded map to help you quickly determine the parts needed based on your destination. This is a real find! Flight 001; $25.00.
Kate Spade Saturday Two-Tone Passport Holder
In 2013, Kate Spade launched sister brand Saturday with products in bold prints and bright colors like this two-tone leather passport holder. It comes with interior slots for a passport and three cards, plus a clear ID window and an exterior slot for stashing a boarding pass. If you travel often, you know the importance of keeping your travel information in one place and within easy reach. Kate Spade Saturday;$45.00.
Audio-Technica QuietPoint Noise-Cancelling HeadphonesThe top choice for those who need to tune out their seatmates at 30,000 feet. These sleek headphones strip away 87 percent of outside sounds when noise canceling is turned on. With thumping bass and clear dialogue at a reasonable price, these headphones are at the top of the list of the best travel gadgets. Audio-Technica; $100.00.
Artifact Uprising Postcard Packs
With Instagram feeds and Facebook updates bringing the world to our smartphones, “Wish You Were Here” postcards are all but obsolete—and Artifact Uprising are selling fast. They are introducing their retro-equivalent, custom postcard books of your vacation photos. Great vacation shots tend to languish on hard drives and iPhones these days. Show them off instead by making a postcard book to place on your coffee table. Its easy online tool helps you upload photos and edit them into richly designed postcard packs, photo books, even a wooden calendar made from reclaimed Colorado pines. Our daughter E collects postcards......this is on her Christmas list! Artifact Uprising; $16.99–$29.99.
Eagle Creek Ultralight Convertible Bags
This teeny pouch weighs less than a pound, but it folds out into a tote that converts into a backpack—or a backpack that converts into a duffel bag. Made from ultralight, durable ripstop nylon, the convertible bags come in black and a variety of ’90s-inspired bold neons. Eagle Creek has a great line of ultra light travel gear. Eagle Creek; $60–$80.
Hand-stitched Artemis Leatherware Camera CaseAdd an old-school look to a new-school camera with this hand-stitched leather case. Made from vegetable-tanned, high-quality Italian leather with solid brass hardware, it’s meant to weather and age as you travel. Because each one is handmade, the case can be custom designed for any particular camera model in a variety of leathers.I LOVE THIS! Artemis Leatherware/Etsy; $120.00.
Waterproof Bluetooth SpeakerTurn up the music on the beach, in the pool, and beyond with this new portable speaker. The lithium ion battery means a two-hour charge will power eight hours of music at full volume, or 16 hours at half. It also has a handy tail that can be looped onto surfaces, hooked to act as a stand, or removed to reveal a suction cup that sticks to flat surfaces. And it's waterproof! Boom Movement.com; $59.00.
WakaWaka Solar ChargerGive a gift that gives back with this WakaWaka solar charger. The compact, seven-ounce device juices up a phone in just a few hours and has a built-in light that can shine for more than 60 hours. Great gift for the back-packer/adventure traveler on your list! WakaWaka; $69.00.
Moleskine Photo NotebookAuthors, artists, and travel writers all swear by Moleskine’s classically styled, durable notebooks. The latest offering retains the old-school open-flat stitched binding, ivory colored pages, and elastic closure but lets travelers customize by adding photos, notes, quotes, art and drawings to the pages for inspiration. Moleskine.com; $50.00.
Little New York Ornament SetA NYC fan? Deck the halls with this set of New York ornaments. Housed in a wooden keepsake box, the mouth-blown, handcrafted glass ornaments include icons like the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, and the Statue of Liberty, all courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art. Momastore; $70.00.
Portable ChargersStaying powered-up is one of the biggest challenges for on-the-go gadget lovers. The Prong PocketPlug builds a plug and charger right into its iPhone case to ensure you can plug and play anywhere. The Anker Astro Slim Portable Charger hooks up to smartphones, iPods, and GoPros alike to supply backup power as you travel. Charge anytime, anywhere! Goprong; $37.99–$69.00.
Customized Luggage TagsLose that old ribbon and let a real luggage tag do the talking. A few of my favorites: a printed This Is Mine leather tag by Jonathan Adler; an OMG rubber tag by Flight 001 (also available: WTF; LOL); a customizable leather label from Owen & Fred; and a tear-proof Tyvek tag by Herb Lester in your choice of Rail, Sea, Land, and Air. $6-$45.
A recent survey found that 88 percent of people think it’s worth making sacrifices to make travel memories. I could not agree more.