Can you believe we’re approaching the 2020 holiday season?! It’s been a wild year, nothing like I planned it to be- three European trips cancelled, plus several across the US. However, it’s had its perks too- fully remote work and more time with my husband. I am optimistic we will travel again in 2021. There’s no better sentiment to cheer the travelers in your life than this, plus a travel inspired holiday gift. So, here are my favorite gifts under $100 for travelers in 2020 (or would that be 2021?)! These are items I’ve purchased myself or received from friends and family, so this is a tried and true list of gifts for travelers by a traveler.
This is the Fort Knox of bags! From slash proof straps, to locking zippers, to RFID blockers, Travelon bags offer a secure way to keep your goods. They sell everything from wallets to duffel bags. I purchased a purse for myself and a backpack for my husband prior to our Italy trip last year. We were so pleased with the bags, and felt secure even in crowded spaces.
I can’t caution travelers enough about security. Alot of it is just common sense and awareness, but added protection can’t hurt. These bags offer layers of security, one less thing for you to think about when traveling.
A scratch map is like a trophy case for the travel addict. With glee you scratch off another state or country after each trip, watching your map expand. I hung our map at the top of the stairs, in a homemade frame. It hasn’t grown too much in 2020, but alas, maybe next year. There are dozens of scratch map companies out there, but I have a Scratch the World map. It was a gift from my sister, and it’s been great.
A portable, mini blender, Blendjets are perfect for travel! Whether its an office commute or a remote camping trip, the Blendjet is very convenient and a great way to stay healthy. In the company’s own words, “Be anywhere, blend everywhere”. It makes one smoothie per use, and the charge lasts for about 5-7 uses. With a USB port, it’s easy to recharge too. It completely dismantles for cleaning- handwash only, don’t put it in a dishwasher.
I used this daily when I was commuting into the office, but it would work great on any trip. An easy, affordable way to make a healthy smoothie! Or, checkout the recipes on their page- from unicorn smoothies to vodka slushies.
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I’ll admit, all my lady travel companions got one of these! When I found them, I loved the idea. With a zippered pocket hidden within the folds of an infinity scarf, it’s a safe way to carry cash or credit cards, or just an easy way to stow lipstick or a phone without lugging a purse.
There are a variety available online, from Etsy to Amazon. I purchased these, based on reviews and the price. They work out great, and can easily hold small items. My smartphone will fit, but it’s tight. If you’re crafty, try sewing one yourself. I’ve been slowly learning the sewing machine, attempting masks, and have my sights set on this too.
Traveller Collective Rings
When I first discovered the Traveller Collective, I became obsessed. It’s another example of a traveler’s trophy case! The collective produces hammered metal rings- for necklaces, keyrings, etc.,- stamped with city, state, country or continent codes. While collecting a ring for each destination visited would be a bit much for many of us, it’s a great way to commemorate special trips or favorite destinations.
Plus, Traveller Collective is very conscious of the global community. They have a whole page devoted to the work they’ve done- from supporting clean water initiatives in developing countries to financing a long dreamed of trip for a woman who had never left her village. This is one product you can feel good about purchasing.
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Multi-Country Plug Adapter
This may seem like a no-brainer, but a multi-country plug adapter is a must have. Why bother with 3-4 separate units, when you can use just one? I won’t recommend mine, as it’s actually no longer on the market! It still works perfectly, though, so that should tell you something. Look for one with multiple prong settings and USB inputs. When you’re traveling through Europe, this is particularly helpful, as you’ll find different plugs between the countries. In some, like Italy, you may find various configurations between your accommodations! And of course, the US has its own setup, as does Asia!
You can never have too many of these, especially if you’re traveling with other people. They make great stocking stuffers!
Dual Voltage Mini Straightener
If you’re taking a flat iron internationally, be sure to check the voltage! The US operates at 110v, but most of the rest of the world ranges from 220-240v. Some straighteners, and other electronics, have dual voltage which is perfect for travel!
So, how about dual voltage and mini sized? The BaByliss Pro Mini Straightener is perfect for travel. It’s half the size of a regular flat iron, and operates on dual voltage. It doesn’t pack as much of a punch as full sized devices, but it worked for me and saved valuable packing space.
The Travel Mat
I discovered The Travel Mat at the Chicago Travel and Adventure Show earlier this year. It caught my eye when I saw attendees carting what appeared to be a bedroll around, throwing themselves on the floor, and stretching out on the seats. What was this all about?!
The Travel Mat is an inventive alternative to neck pillows. Everyone claims to offer the best neck pillow, but I’ve been through at least a dozen. My most comfortable one was $5 at Home Depot! So, I was intrigued- what made The Travel Mat so special? For starters, it’s just that- a mat, not a pillow. It has versatile neck support, but also provides back support with about 2 inches of cushion between you and the airline seat. It rolls up like a sleeping bag, so you can easily carry it atop a suitcase or backpack.
What sold me though were two other benefits. I’ve been stuck in an airport or two over the years, and a sleeping mat would’ve been really nice. Not that I’m planning for lengthy delays, but if you do get stuck, the mat provides a nice alternative to the airport floor! Additionally, in today’s world, we are more aware than ever how germy airplanes are! The mat provides a nice seat cover, and is washable.
UV Toothbrush Holder and Sanitizer
So, following through on that germaphobic note- a travel sized UV toothbrush holder and sanitizer is a godsend for any germ nerd traveler! I include myself in that group, so no offense intended. I’ve always hated the plastic toothbrush travel cases, they just scream yuck to me. I also don’t really want my toothbrush laying around on the bathroom counter either. Well, hello UV toothbrush holder and sanitizer!
These abound in large sizes for home use, but there are few specifically for travel. Close the toothbrush head in, and a UV light sanitizes it for a few minutes. The holder keeps its charge for quite a while, but will have to be recharged periodically. You’ll find several on Amazon, but I liked this one the best. It has great reviews, has a USB charger, and thanks to its shape, can be stood directly up, keeping your toothbrush off the counter.
Oculus Quest 2
Ok, this not under $100 and I never thought I’d be recommending a VR gaming system- or gaming system of any kind! Back in the spring, when lockdown began, I wrote about 10 virtual reality experiences for the traveler. I mean, visiting virtually is better than not at all.
Well, my husband, the gamer, just purchased the brand new Oculus Quest 2. It’s just in time for the holiday season! Its backwards compatible to the the original Quest, and still offers all the travel experiences plus many more, that I outlined previously. Aside from travel experiences, it’s a fun distraction at home, and is perfect for socially distanced get togethers- you play from your house, I’ll play from mine, and we’ll meet somewhere online. Anyway, I thought I’d include it, despite being over the $100 limit. I mean, we can’t send our loved ones to Paris these days, but at least they can visit the Eiffel Tour virtually!