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Travel junkies are a tricky group to buy gifts for: Not only have they been there, done that, but they’ve also likely picked up some pretty unique things along the way. So this year, for our list of the best gifts for travelers, we’re spotlighting products that might spark wanderlust and inspiration (think a gorgeous leather-bound atlas and some sweet treats with global pedigree), as well as useful items that help enhance journeys, from stylish organizers and sleep masks to the most sylish noise-canceling headphones on the market. Because these days, anything that can help make travel less stressful is really the biggest gift of all.
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Brentwood Home Crystal Cove Mini Charcoal Pillow
This perfect travel companion will help ensure you sleep soundly wherever you are—and whatever position you’re in. Made with breathable, charcoal-infused memory foam (which helps regulate temperature and keep moisture at bay) and a gel fiberfill, the eco-friendly pillow offers contouring support for the neck and head. While 30 percent smaller than a standard pillow, this mini version has a zippered inner chamber to which you can add (or subtract) filling for the ideal amount of support, plus a removable fabric cover that can be thrown in the wash after your trip. Best of all, it easily slips into a carry-on tote.
Go Pro Hero 11 Black Mini
Just in time for your holiday adventures, GoPro’s latest model is sleeker and more impactful than ever before. The ultra-petite new Hero 11 Black Mini has a bigger image sensor for extra-wide-angle captures, and the automatic cloud uploads will make sharing your travels on social a breeze. Whether you’re on an adrenaline-spiking snowboarding trip or just enjoying a relaxing sleigh ride, this camera will help you document every second for posterity—though you don’t have to wait that long. You can have a highlight video sent to your phone instantly, letting you relive the experience within moments, hot chocolate in hand.
St. Barth’s Freedom
Escape the winter chills with this sunny new tome that promises to transport you to one of our favorite islands. Flipping through the luscious pages will let you explore the varied sides and bold colors of St. Barth’s: From the megayachts bobbing in Gustavia harbor to the candy-cane-striped loungers at Eden Rock, from the legendary New Year’s parties to the idyllic beachside vignettes. British journalist—and longtime St Barth’s habituée—Vassi Chamberlain brings the Caribbean isle to life with her vivid words and images.
Royce and Rocket Castle Classic
Jet-setting mother-daughter duo Rana and Camryn Leibowitz spent the pandemic reimagining luggage in a quest to make it more intuitive and efficient. The result: Their brand Royce and Rocket, with its chic signature Castle Classic suitcase. What makes it stand out from every other heritage brand out there? A patent-pending shelving system developed by the pair that cleverly unfolds to organize your belongings when you arrive. The stylish 31-inch case comes in silver, black and an eye-catching burgundy with interiors in either pink or black—and for those who swear by carry-ons, a petite version arriving in January promises to change the long-weekend game entirely.
Lunya Weighted Washable Silk Sleep Mask
Whether you’re on a daylong flight or spending the holidays in a guest room that’s sorely in need of a good set of blackout curtains, a dependable sleep mask is a well-rested traveler’s best friend. This plush silk version from Lunya does double duty: its soft, washable mulberry silk fabric feels smooth against the delicate skin around your eyes, while the thick, beaded filling wraps around you like a hug—with all the relaxing qualities that come with it. If you’re at home, you can pop it in the freezer for a refreshing sensation that helps reduce puffiness to boot.
Away Pet Carrier
Away isn’t just known for its handy, lightweight suitcases—it’s also a favorite for this pet carrier which, since its 2020 launch, has at times had a 1,500-person-long waitlist. Luckily, it’s back in stock in time for the holidays, making it the perfect gift for any jet-setting pet owner. Certified for the Center for Pet Safety, and made to FAA requirements, the carrier has removable, washable bedding, a water-resistant lining, a safety collar clip, ventilation and privacy panels and pockets that can hold things for both you and the furry traveler (like a collapsible water bowl). It will even strap on to an Away roller case for extra mobility.
Aervana Travel Portable Electric Wine Aerator
Is your travel junkie giftee also an oenophile? Then this new gadget’s for them (and maybe you, too.) The ingenious one-touch wine aerator allows you to help your chosen bottle of wine to properly breathe, whether you’re on a hike, having a picnic or just heading to visit family for the holidays. Simply attach the included stainless steel tube to the compact aerator, then slip the Aervana over the top of an open bottle and press the button—and out comes the perfect pour. Not only does the Aervana provide six times the aeration as the traditional pour-through version, but it also will aerate over 150 bottles of wine on just one set of batteries—which should be good enough for at least one trip. The handy item also comes in a convenient case that easily slips into a purse or carry-on bag.
The MCMLXVI Goblets From Robert Mondavi Winery
Last year, beloved Napa Valley winery Robert Mondavi partnered with luxury French porcelain house Bernardaud on the limited-edition MCMLXVI collection of Limoges magnums, accessible only by an NFT designed by the artist Clay Heaton. This year, the partnership continues in the form of a stylish new spin on a traditional goblet. The MCMLXVI goblet comes in gold, platinum or matte black—but for the perfect pairing, gift a set of all three.
Timeless Paris: Ateliers Emporiums Savoir Faire
One of the great pleasures of exploring Paris is wandering its smaller streets and happening upon the tucked-away ateliers, boutiques and artisan workshops that have seemingly been there forever. In this charming book, which feels more like a travel journal, artist and designer Marin Montagut helps recreate that experience by taking us inside 19 such spots. Through photos, drawings, watercolors and collages, you’ll “visit” places like Maison du Pastel, which has been making hand-rolled, custom pigments since 1729; Ultramod, which has been supplying designers with fabrics, trimmings and buttons since 1832; and Herboristerie de la Place Clichy, a historic pharmacy that makes special tinctures and remedies. Also included are a few small specialty museums and other hidden gems.
CurrentBody Skin Dr. Harris Anti-Wrinkle Mask
On a red-eye flight from his home base in London, leading aesthetic doctor Steven Harris tried to sleep using the airline-issued flight mask, but was too aware of the tight muscles around his brow—which were both making it tough to unwind and, no doubt, causing wrinkles. Six years, multiple peer-reviewed studies, a patent and many celebrity fans later, Dr. Harris launched this next-gen face mask, which uses raised silicone dots to help relax muscles, lower stress levels, encourage sleep and prevent wrinkles. And there’s nothing to charge or even an on-off button—just don the silky mask and drift away.
The Galileo by Glamcor Portable Light Ring
Whether your travels include lots of WFH Zoom calls or you just like to keep your Insta followers apprised of your latest meal, good lighting is essential. Named for the pioneering astronomer, this useful gadget has an easy clip-on for your phone or other devices in its center, and a surrounding light ring that can be adjusted (via a remote) to your preferred brightness levels and color temperature. There’s also a Bluetooth feature, and the 18-inch ring folds in half (and the tripod folds down) for easy portability and storage in the included travel case.
Cuyana Mini Leather Organizer Set
Even the most efficient traveler has, at some point, found themselves digging deep into their carry-on in frantic pursuit of an errant charger. This stylish set from luxe accessories brand Cuyana comes in a supple pebble leather in vivid colors and three sizes, and promises to keep essentials tidy and chic all at once. For a truly personalized gift, consider having it monogrammed.
Hyperice Hypervolt Go 2
While many gyms, spas and even wellness-focused hotels suites are starting to feature percussion massage tools to help guests work out tight knots, this handy tool from Hyperice allows you to ensure you’ll always stay loose while on the go. Light but still powerful, the Hypervolt Go 2 fits easily into a carry-on bag, while its ergonomic design helps it fit comfortably into your hand. It’s also got patented QuietGlide technology for a near-silent operation, two adjustable attachments, three massage speeds and over two-and-half hours of battery life.
Smythson Large World Atlas in Mara
Every new year should start with a fresh leather-bound Smythson travel journal, but here’s a standout gift that even the most diehard Smythson devotee will fawn over: Smythson’s luxurious world atlas, with gilt-edged pages encased in elegant crocodile-embossed calf-leather. The colorful maps are the perfect source of inspiration to help plot out travels for the year ahead, and having it monogrammed will make it a timeless addition to any library.
Tumi x McLaren Aero International Expandable 4 Wheeled Carry-On
Tumi’s McLaren collaboration has clearly resonated with travelers, judging by the new additions to the line this year. There’s one in particular we’ve got our eye on this winter: the sleek Aero International four-wheeled carry-on, built with durable CX6 carbon fiber that gives it an automotive aesthetic. Another signature Mclaren touch: compression straps inspired by the brand’s six-point harness. Form and function are both top of mind, with four dual-spinner wheels and a roomy interior that expands.
The Impossible Collection of Champagne
Consider this the ultimate compendium for the Champagne enthusiast in your life: Assouline’s opulent new tribute to the nectar of the gods is a glossy 236-page tome, presented in a handcrafted wooden clamshell case and delivered along with a pair of white gloves. Inside, author Enrico Bernardo—who was named best sommelier of the world in 2004—guides us through the 100 most exclusive bottles from Champagne, layered with personal anecdotes and insightful tips. While amassing these storied wines in one cellar might be an impossible feat, this book is the perfect alternative.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay HX Headphones
This pair of cans will from Bang & Olufsen will let you tune out your fellow passengers in style. As with all the Danish brand’s premium audio products, they sound fantastic, producing sound that is clear and well-balanced. They’re also notably design-savvy and easy to wear, two things you can rarely say about headphones.
Airtag Passport Cover by Lighthouse Goods
Created by a Houston-based product designer—and inspired by his own loss of a passport—this was the first passport case on the market that was specifically made to fit the Apple AirTag device, which helps you electronically keep track of important belongings. Made of a durable and high-quality synthetic (and vegan) leather, the case has an integrated strap design and a small notch in the cover in which to slot in the AirTag. The bundle comes with a matching snapless luggage keychain (also designed to securely hold an AirTag) and a handy vaccine card protector sleeve that fits into the passport case, for easy accessibility at the airport. Available in black, blue and green.
Grown Alchemist Handcream
Packed with rosehip and camellia oils, this hand cream is a nourishing well of moisturization—and it does the job without leaving a layer of grease behind. Help a loved one in need by preventing the winter blues brought on by dry skin.
Porter-Yoshida Tanker Boston Bag
For years, Japanese brand Porter-Yosida could only be found in its home country. But, thankfully, its cult nylon bags have made their way stateside. This roomy duffel is hardy enough to lug gym gear or ferry his cargo for a weekend in the country and is guaranteed to attract approving nods from in-the-know menswear aficionados.
Sennheiser IE900 In-Ear Headphones
Most audiophiles like to do the majority of their music listening at home so they can control their environment. But if you’re looking for a premier sound option for the road, Sennheiser’s latest in-ear models should do the trick. Thanks to the brand’s new X3R transducer and XWB driver, these tiny headphones sound as powerful as much bigger over-ear models. You’ll have to plug them in—they come with three connectors so they’ll work on practically any device—but you’ll also never have to worry about your music cutting out.
Leica M6 Camera
If you have a true photography buff on your gift list, chances are they harbor a deep reverence for the original Leica M6. Originally released in 1984, the beloved film camera earned a cult following until—and after—it was discontinued in 2002. But 20 years later, camera enthusiasts are abuzz with word of Leica’s re-release, which stays true to its original form with some exciting new upgrades mixed in. Subtle changes to silhouette give it a more modern feel, while new coated glass surfaces make it less vulnerable to light—but film loyalists will recognize it as a refreshed tribute to a timeless icon.
Montroi x One&Only Fragrance Collaboration
Even if a One&Only resort isn’t on the travel itinerary this winter, this exclusive fragrance collaboration between One&Only resorts and the Dubai-based travel accessories brand Montroi promises to take you on an olfactory journey around the world. Each of the 15 signature scents is inspired by a different resort: Arabian Hideaway is heady with notes of jasmine, sandalwood and bergamot, in tribute to the One&Only the Palm Dubai; the protea-inspired Far & Away transports you to One&Only Cape Town; Coastal Rainforest bottles the lushness of One&Only Mandarina in Mexico; while One&Only Portonovi in Montenegro was the muse for the medley of rhubarb and rose in Mimosa Breeze.
Yniq Lindsey Vonn Eyewear
Celebrated Olympian Lindsey Vonn’s partnership with Swedish luxury eyewear brand—she’s a part owner—has resulted in a range of functional yet ultra-stylish new glasses that can be toted anywhere from Megève to the Maldives. The line marries fashion with cutting-edge science, using advanced lens filter technology and computerized metal production machines. Vonn’s unisex Shield, inspired by goggles, come in black, rose gold, and silver, while the more delicate Edition One comes in gold, rose gold, and black.
Polaris Annual Membership, Ultimate Plan
If you prefer to give experiences, not objects, consider this the gift that keeps on giving thrills: an annual membership to powersports powerhouse Polaris Adventures. The new subscription service gives members unlimited access to all the ATVs, snowmobiles, slingshots and motorcycles they can ride, anywhere in the country—with vehicles delivered right to their door. From stargazing ATV trips to the Mojave Desert to off-roading adventures in Wyoming, you can add a high-octane component to every trip.
Ettinger Handmade Leather Attache Case
The family-owned UK leather accessories purveyor Ettinger has a storied legacy, complete with a Royal Warrant in hand. While the brand regularly reinvents itself and updates its designs, sometimes a true classic is the way to go. With that in mind, Ettinger re-creates its timeless 1930s-era attache case, made for CEO Robert Ettinger’s grandfather, with a smooth leather exterior, supple tan suede interior, hand-stitched needlework and handmade brass locks and hardware.
The Gift of Space
Sending a bottle of rare Bordeaux by return rocket to the International Space Station and then sipping it back on Earth a year later may sound like an odd way to celebrate the holidays, but shipping items into space is becoming a thing. “The industry calls it payload,” says Geordie Mackay-Lewis, CEO of Stellar Frontiers, which arranges space transport for private clients. “It can be anything from sending someone’s ashes to the moon or creating your own satellite that holds a favorite memento like a photograph of a loved one.” Traveling and returning from space could exponentially increase an item’s value, as the owner of a bottle of Petrus 2000 discovered after sending it to the ISS to age for 14 months. The wine, which cost about $7,000, was auctioned at Christie’s for just over $1 million. These private space launches will expand, says Mackay-Lewis, as uncrewed spacecraft conducting zero-gravity experiments become more common.—Michael Verdon
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