Travel gift guide, August 2018

Travel in Style with These Great Gifts and Gadgets for Every Budget

We may pack our itineraries with exciting new places, but when it comes to packing our bags, most of us still travel the same way we have for years. It's time for a travel makeover. Give your vacationing life a little more flair with these new ideas in travel products (like this chic-looking but totally affordable backpack full of picnic supplies, described later) that are sure to elevate the way you go from now on. 

Shirt Trekker Shirt Case, $40
Shirt Trekker Shirt Case, $40

We call it The Shirt Clam. You can see why. Much like a mollusk, a hard shell clamps around soft, easily damaged innards, protecting them from harm. In this case, your easily wrinkled garments will arrive flat rather than crumpled and sloppy. Shirt Trekker Shirt Case is also water resistant to maximize the protection. You don't even have to wait for vacation—the handy shirt shell is ideal for storing workclothes at the gym and during bike commutes, too.

Flight 001 Clear Carry-On Quart Bag
Flight 001
Flight 001 Clear Carry-On Quart Bag, $10

While we're on the unglamorous subject of personal organization, here's a way to make it glamorous. Do you really want to stick with Ziploc baggies to carry your liquid allowance through airport security—or would you rather be the envy of TSA officers and baggage inspectors in airports around the world? Never again will you do last-minute battle with a bunched-up jumble of junk as you go through the scanner. The size of the Flight 001 Clear Carry-On Quart Bag is TSA-appropriate, it seals with a plastic zip, and because the sides are sturdy it retains a good shape. Once you get to the hotel, the bag can double as a holder for all your little standing bottles in the bathroom. Sometimes it's the simple things.

Picnic Time 'PT-Colorado' Insulated Backpack Cooler
Picnic Time
Picnic Time 'PT-Colorado' Insulated Backpack Cooler, $38

Don't you wish you were one of those Martha Stewarty people who shows up at every outdoor occasion with a chilled bottle of wine and a tasteful selection of cubed cheeses? Well, the Picnic Time 'PT-Colorado' Insulated Backpack Cooler is an affordable way to make that happen—and unlike traditional hampers and baskets, this modern-looking backpack is an easy way to tote your feast without getting bogged down. You'll get place settings for two: plates, wine glasses, knives, forks, spoons, napkins, and a set of salt and pepper shakers. Champagne and sunset not included.

Asana Pillow: 2-in-1 Neck Pillow and Yoga Mat, $60
Asana Pillow: 2-in-1 Neck Pillow and Yoga Mat, $60

In packing, it's always smart to find ways to use the same item for multiple functions. That's the beauty of the Asana Pillow: 2-in-1 Neck Pillow and Yoga Mat, which, quite simply, turns the mat you use for your cat pose into a pillow to use for a cat nap. The polyester-and-nylon mat, which is best suited for outdoor yoga and not the hardest floors, is thin enough to double as a beach mat as well—and the whole thing is machine washable.

Map Maker Passport Holder, $24
Map Maker Passport Holder, $24

Sometimes, we just buy things because they're cute. Designed by artist Nikki Cade and constructed of tough polyurethane, the adorable Map Maker Passport Holder from Anthropologie has a gold-and-navy interior with a few slots for extra documents and cards in addition to the main compartment for your passport. Cade designed a matching luggage tag, too. Holiday gifts sorted!

Eagle Creek Wayfinder Waist Pack
Eagle Creek
Eagle Creek Wayfinder Waist Pack, $56

The term "fanny pack" is dead, not least because saying it will get you slapped in England (look it up). No, now we call them "waist packs," and no matter what you've been told, we need them now more than ever. Eagle Creek's version comes with a special fleece-lined pocket made expressly to baby your smartphone or tablet. With slots inside pockets inside zips, this is basically the Inception of waist packs, except that you won't need somebody to explain it to you. Instead, this well-organized pack keeps everything close to the hip while you're doing more important things with your hands, such as snapping photos, eating, or googling what "fanny" means in England.


Victorinox Etherius Global Carry-On, from $207
Victorinox Etherius Global Carry-On, from $207

It's pretty, it glides along the floor like a dream, and even though it's hard-sided, an expansion zipper will give you a few extra packing inches if you need them. The Victorinox Etherius Global Carry-On is remarkably light (a little over 6 pounds). Inside, Y-shaped compression straps keep your clothes in place, while exterior zipper grips click into the case itself as part of a TSA-approved locking system so you don't need to buy a separate dangling lock. The one problem is that you must prepare for the emotional distress you feel the first time the airline baggage handlers put a scratch in that gleaming finish. But—sigh—that's what it's for. On the bright side, airline and transit damages are under warranty for the first year after purchase.