Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Perfect Gifts for Travelers: Travel Holiday Gift Guide

One thing I can say about 2016: I learned very quickly how to be an expert traveler. Over the year, I have found myself on a plane and hotel more often than I am in my own bed. So I decided to put a list together of a few of my favorite things when it comes to travel including items in all price points.

I personally own every one of these items and purchased each of them with my own money. This is not a sponsored post and none of these brands have reached out to me to do this.

Noise Cancelling Headphones: Bose Quiet Comfort 35: $349
Of everything I purchased in 2016, this was by far my best investment. Both my husband and I have been loyal Bose owners for a few years now. This is my second pair of noise cancelling headphones (my first were stolen). The month the wireless Bose QC35 came out, I went to Target, used my redcard to save 5% and bought them. I am here to say, these are the best headphones I've ever owned. The fact there is no wire is a huge plus, although it takes some getting used to - I cannot tell you how many times I frantically looked for my phone (in my purse every time).  While expensive, this is a product you will own for a long time and when you are on a plane with screaming children or annoying drunks, this is a must have.

TSA Pre Check: $85

If you have someone in your life that is on a plane more than a few times a year, getting TSA Pre Check is a MUST have. It took me a while to fork over the $85 to be pre-checked but that first time I went through the line with the little check mark, it was like the angels were singing. You fly through security and don't have to shuffle around to remove your shoes, belt or laptop. You can purchase an $85 gift card for your frequent traveler and gift it with their application papers for them to sign out. It would be a gift that keeps giving for 5 years (and they'll think of you everytime they fly through security).

TRTL Travel Pillow: $29

I cannot tell you how many travel pillows we've owned over the years. None of them were really comfortable. A few years ago, a co-worker and I were chatting about traveling internationally and he said all he uses is a rolled up sweatshirt. Fast forward to a few years later and someone used that thought process to create the best travel pillow I've ever owned: The Trtl. This compact pillow goes around your neck, almost like a neck brace and provides scientifically proven neck support. It is only 7" when folded up so the pillow easily fits in your carry-on without taking up all the space like other travel pillows. Plus it is machine washable. I was skeptical about this pillow until I used it for an overnight flight to Paris. Now it goes with me on every plane ride, regardless of the travel time. The Trtl is $29 on Amazon with free shipping if you have prime.

Mophie Power Station: $49+
I probably own close to 100 portable chargers. They were without a doubt the most common giveaway at conferences and exhibitions over the past few years. However, my go to charger is one I purchased - the Mophie Power Station. It is the size of my iPhone and easily slips into any of my handbags without causing too much bulk. These come in a variety of watts, the one I prefer gives two full charges to your cell phone or extends your tablets battery life. This one is also great for running - it easily fits into my flipbelt without causing bulk.

eBag Packing Cubes: $30 +/-
Prior to my firs trip to Europe, a family friend suggested I buy eBag Packing Cubes. I had no idea how much I would love these things. So the packing cubes are wonderful for many reasons. The main reason is that you are able to pack more with this system. Secondly, they massively help you keep organized. I prefer to do mine based on outfits by day. So I will organize my outfits in the cubes and I label them Monday & Tuesday, etc. based on the day of the week, so I don't have to unpack. I just grab the cube I need and when the clothes are dirty, they go right back in the bag and I dump it in the laundry either when I get home or if we need to go to the laundry mat while traveling. There are many brands but I am loyal to the eBags and this 4 piece classic set on Amazon is a great deal for $29 with free shipping for prime members.

TSA Approved Travel Wine Opener: $11
I cannot tell you how many times I have had a wine opener snagged by TSA. I forget they're in my carry on and next thing I know, one of my favorite wine keys is gone forever. A good travel wine opener is a must for any wine lover that is frequently on the go. Wine in hotels is very expensive and it is very easy to stop by a shop and buy a bottle of your favorite wine, saving money. This wine opener is TSA approved and the foil cutter is in the handle so no worries about getting it taken from  you. I bought my TSA approved wine opener on Amazon for $11, free shipping for Prime members.

Wind Resistant Travel Umbrella: $20 +/-



Something many people don't think of when packing for travel is protection against the rain. After being stranded in a horrible rain storm in Amsterdam, I will never ever ever travel without a good umbrella. I found one by Benkii on Amazon for under $20 and so far, it has been great. It is compact and stands up to 60mph wind. It's not as pretty as my Burberry umbrella but it is far more reliable.

Travel Gift Cards:
Lastly, travel gift cards are a fantastic way to enhance your travel bug's next trip. Or even entice it. If you have someone in your life who you know wants to get away, talk with the rest of your family and go in together and buy them gift cards to the same company to help purchase their next trip. Imagine if everyone gave Billy or Suzie a $25 or $50 gift card towards a Carnival Cruise? You would have one very happy person! A few of my favorites: Carnival, Delta, Hilton, Hyatt and Disney. Be sure to check out your discount clubs (Sams, BJ's, Costco) as they typically have discounted cards in bulk.

As of yesterday when I boarded a flight from Houston back to Tampa, I am done traveling for 2016. It has been quite a year and I have racked up a ton of miles. I have visited the following places (for business or pleasure) and I have enjoyed sharing some of my adventures with you! I hope 2017 will bring new experiences and travel adventures to all.
Cozumel, Mexico
Belize
Mahogany Bay, Hondurus
Costa Maya, Mexico
Atlanta x 7
New Orleans x 2
Nashville x 3
Charlotte
Savannah
Las Vegas
Bahamas
Paris
Amsterdam
Los Angeles
Houston

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