23 wanderlust-y gifts for travelers, used by expert travelers

  • Post author:
  • Post category:Travel

The holiday season is officially upon us, and that means it’s time to start thinking about gifts for the loved ones in your life.

Each year, we curate some of our top gift picks, giving you the perfect guide for the jet setters and road warriors on your list.

This year’s guide includes 23 of our top picks for travel tech, luggage, gear and much more — all of which have been tested and approved by the TPG team.

Without further ado, here are TPG’s 2023 holiday gift picks.

Apple AirTags

Apple AirTags

Buy [circuit type=hyperlink circuit_id=”20420169204″] on Amazon for $79.99 (normally $99)
Buy [circuit type=hyperlink circuit_id=”20420170730″] on Amazon for $23.99 (normally $29)

If there’s one must-have travel item this holiday season, it’s an Apple AirTag.

These coin-size item trackers are a lifesaver for those who travel with checked luggage, especially as delayed and misplaced baggage continues to be a global travel issue.

Just pop one into each of your bags — I’d recommend adding one to your keychain and backpack, too — and you’ll be able to track your bags directly on your iOS device. The next time an airline tells you that your bag is “lost,” you’ll hopefully have a much clearer picture of where it is.

Zero Eight Left art

08L coasters

Buy: [circuit type=hyperlink circuit_id=”20420170811″] for $48

What do you get the traveler who loves the journey even more than the destination? Look no further than 08L (Zero Eight Left).

This aviation enthusiast-approved shop specializes in art and lifestyle gear for those who love planes and airports. Pick from airport diagrams, runway maps and aircraft metal art.

My current favorite pick is 08L’s coasters — the Airbus and Boeing six-packs make a great gift for any AvGeek.

Apple AirPods Pro

Apple Airpods pro

Buy: [circuit type=hyperlink circuit_id=”20420169138″] on Amazon for $189.99 (normally $249)

A plethora of top-notch noise-canceling headphones are on the market — trust me, I recently reviewed six of them — but none are as easy-to-use as Apple’s AirPods Pro.

The second-generation Pros bring major improvements to the noise cancellation experience, and the fact that the entire package can easily fit in my pocket makes them a game changer for travel. I used to lug around bulky over-ear headphones, but why bother when you can get great sound quality in a pair of earbuds that fit in the palm of your hand?

Also, the latest generation Pros offer a USB-C charging case, which pairs perfectly with the new iPhone and the latest tech standards.

MZ Wallace Metro Tote

MZ Wallace tote

Buy: [circuit type=hyperlink circuit_id=”20420170812″] for $295

Sometimes your travels call for a bag that’s sized in between a backpack and a rollaboard. Perhaps you have a loved one who treks around the city or bounces between work, home and the gym.

MZ Wallace offers a lineup of bags that are sure to fit that always-on-the-go lifestyle. Their bags come in a variety of colors and styles. My favorite is the Large Metro Tote, which is perfect for bopping around New York City.

Le Labo from Shop Edition

Edition products

Buy: [circuit type=hyperlink circuit_id=”20420170813″] for $184.80 (normally $231)  or 63,000 Marriott Bonvoy points

One of my favorite parts about staying in luxury hotels is trying out all of the fancy scents and bath amenities that I wouldn’t necessarily purchase at home.

While some people like to fill up doggy bags with their favorite scents, this year, I’m going to ask my wife for some of Le Labo’s creations, specifically the formulation designed for Edition Hotels.

This is perhaps my favorite hotel fragrance, so what better way to dream of the shores of Bodrum than by pumping my apartment with this scent?

Plus, Shop Edition lets you redeem Marriott Bonvoy points to cover the cost of your gifts. It might not be the world’s best points redemption, but it’s at least worth noting the option.

Loop Engage Earplugs

Loop engage earplugs

Buy: [circuit type=hyperlink circuit_id=”20420170814″] on Amazon for $27.96 (normally $34.95) 

If your family or friends are sensitive to noise when traveling, you might want to pick up a pair of Loop Engage Earplugs for them this holiday season.

With more than 4,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, including some glowing recommendations from TPG staffers, these are among the best earplugs out there. Also, the loop system should help them stay in your ears when dozing off.

HoomBand Ultimate Eye Mask

HoomBand eye mask

Buy: [circuit type=hyperlink circuit_id=”20420170815″] on Amazon for $117 

Eye masks are another sleep essential, especially when crisscrossing time zones on long-haul flights.

Finding the perfect eye mask is no easy task, but HoomBand’s version continues to receive rave reviews from travelers, myself included. It even has Bluetooth connectivity to play relaxing meditations.

With this gift, you’ll help your friends and family doze off during their next flight — and they might not even ask you again for extra miles for a business-class upgrade.

5 Stripe Hoodie, Aviator Nation

Aviator Nation hoodie zip

Buy: [circuit type=hyperlink circuit_id=”20420170816″] for $189

Everyone has their travel uniform, and these days, I’m seeing more and more people walking around the airport in Aviator Nation sweatshirts.

I didn’t originally know why, but after my wife bought me one earlier this year, I’ve been hooked. If you’re looking for a gift that’ll make travel more comfortable, an Aviator Nation sweatshirt is it.

iPhone 15 family


Buy: [circuit type=hyperlink circuit_id=”20420170817″] starting at $799

For as long as TPG has published an annual holiday gift guide, the latest iPhone models have made the cut. This year is no exception, especially with the abundance of travel-focused improvements Apple brought to the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro lineup this year.

Upgrades include USB-C charging ports (that can even power other devices), an Action Button on the Pro models for easier access to your favorite apps and the introduction of the Dynamic Island on the entry-level iPhone 15.

TUMI – Alpha Continental Dual Access Carry-On Luggage

Tumi carry-on luggage

Buy: [circuit type=hyperlink circuit_id=”20420170818″] on Amazon for $1,050

No holiday gift guide is complete without a suitcase, so why not set your sights high with one of the very best? Tumi’s Alpha 2 Continental four-wheeled carry-on is a popular sight at airports worldwide, and for good reason.

The bag is incredibly durable — my current Tumi carry-on has lasted nearly a decade — and its multiple pockets make for easy access while on the road. Additionally, it’s stylish and comes in four different color options, making it the perfect choice for any road warrior in your life.

Anker Prime 67W USB-C Charger

Anker USB charger for travel

Buy: [circuit type=hyperlink circuit_id=”20420170819″] on Amazon for $37.99 (normally $59.99)

Cable clutter can be frustrating, so I do whatever I can to minimize the number of power bricks and cables I carry in my travel backpack.

With Anker’s 67-watt USB-C charger, you can leave all your big and bulky power bricks at home. This small cube easily fits into your backpack, and it boasts two USB-C ports and one USB-A port for easy charging of up to three devices.

No wonder the TPG team swears by it.

Riemot Luggage Travel Cup Holder

Travel mug holder for carry-on luggage

Buy: [circuit type=hyperlink circuit_id=”20420170820″] on Amazon for $9.99 (normally $13.99) 

We’ve all been there. You just picked up a coffee at the airport, and now you need to figure out how you’ll hold the cup, wheel your bag and carry your purse or briefcase without spilling the drink.

Enter this Luggage Travel Cup Holder. It fits perfectly on the handle of your rollaboard, and it’s the perfect place to put your coffee when you’re hustling to the gate.

It’s already saved some TPG travelers from multiple spills, and it’s the gift that certainly pays dividends.

Wanderlust Passport — A Travel Journal

Wanderlust travel journal

Buy: [circuit type=hyperlink circuit_id=”20420170821″] for $36

There are many digital tools available to track your travels. However, sometimes a pen and paper will be your best bet. Also, if you want to help a loved one get started on journaling their travels, consider the Wanderlust Passport.

This notebook features maps and open-ended prompts to help jog their memories, and it includes pockets to store ticket stubs and receipts. This would make a great gift for adventurous kids and teens.

Q Slim Portable Charger

Portable charger for travel

Buy: [circuit type=hyperlink circuit_id=”20420170822″] on Amazon, $28.79 (normally $39.99)

If your friends and family members aren’t yet traveling with a portable power bank, it’s time to change that. On a recent long-haul flight, the power outlet was broken, forcing me to either drain my battery or resort to using a power bank.

When gifting a power bank, Q Ultra’s 10,000mAh model is a good bet. Not only does this power bank have enough juice for all your devices, but it also has built-in charging cables for added convenience.

Aluan Handheld Mini Fan

Mini fan for travel

Buy: [circuit type=hyperlink circuit_id=”20420170823″] on Amazon for $9.99 (normally $11.99) 

Whether it’s a long-haul flight that doesn’t feature personal air nozzles or an Uber ride with broken air conditioning, don’t leave your loved ones’ thermal comfort in the hands of someone else.

Several TPG members swear by the Aluan Handheld Mini Fan, and I’m definitely going to pick one up this holiday season, too.

SABRE Door Stop Security Alarm

Door stop security alarm for travel

Buy: [circuit type=hyperlink circuit_id=”20420170824″] on Amazon for $13.25 (normally $14.99)

Danger can strike at any time, so show your family and friends that you’re looking out for them with the Sabre 120 dB Wedge Door Stop Security Alarm.

This door alarm is small and lightweight — making it great for travelers — and it’ll provide extra piece of mind in hotels and Airbnbs.

Belkin BoostCharge Pro

Belkin charger

Buy: [circuit type=hyperlink circuit_id=”20420170825″] on Amazon for $125.26 (normally $131.76)

While I enjoy using multiple tech devices, cable clutter is a big pet peeve of mine. That’s why Belkin’s BoostCharge Pro has become a fixture on my nightstand.

This all-in-one dock can wirelessly charge up to three devices with just a single power cable. Additionally, with the introduction of Standby Mode with iOS 17, iPhone users can dock their phones and peek at all their important widgets even without touching the device — a game changer when I first wake up in the morning.

JetKids by Stokke BedBox Ride-on Suitcase

JetKids rolling carry-on luggage

Buy: [circuit type=hyperlink circuit_id=”20420170826″] on Amazon for $183.20 (normally $229)

Kids also need carry-on bags, so why not get one they’ll be excited to use?

If you’re shopping for a future world explorer, the Stokke JetKids Ride-On Suitcase should fit the bill. Not only does it come in six colors, but kids can also ride on top of it when they get tired — a win-win gift.

DJI Mini 4 Pro

DJI drones

Buy: [circuit type=hyperlink circuit_id=”20420170827″] on Amazon for $759

I’ve long been a fan of DJI’s drones, and the Mini 4 Pro has the broadest appeal, both for travelers and recreational users. Weighing less than 249 grams (or less than 8.8 ounces), it’s pretty portable. Since the device is just shy of the Federal Aviation Administration’s 250-gram limit, you can fly it without prior registration.

This drone packs some serious pro-level chops into its small package: a 48 MP photo capability, 4K video and 34 minutes of flight time. Better yet, this is one of DJI’s first drones to support vertical content capture for Instagram and TikTok.

It’s a small but mighty drone.

“Villeggiatura: Italian Summer Vacation” Assouline Coffee Table Book

Assouline travel book for Italy

Buy: [circuit type=hyperlink circuit_id=”20420170828″] on Amazon for $105

Even if they’re staying at home this holiday season, you can quickly transport your friends and family members to paradise with an Assouline coffee table book, such as the “Villeggiatura: Italian Summer Vacation” edition.

With stunning photos, interesting stories and eye-catching colors, an Assouline book is a great way to explore a favorite destination without getting up from the fireplace.

Apple MacBook Air (2023 model)


Buy: [circuit type=hyperlink circuit_id=”20420170829″] on Amazon for $1,049 (normally $1,299)

Even though it’s been more than three years since the pandemic started, “work from anywhere” is very much still the norm with many employers. As such, choosing the right travel laptop is more important than ever.

Loved ones will want the best mix of performance, portability and battery life.

Apple recently debuted a slew of new MacBook Pros that excel at all three metrics — including battery life that can top 22 hours — and the company’s MacBook Air continues to impress more casual users.

Microsoft also recently improved its portable laptop game, with the $799 Surface Laptop Go 3 being a great introductory option for those looking for a more budget-friendly choice.

Vuori joggers

Vuori joggers

Buy: [circuit type=hyperlink circuit_id=”20420170830″] for $94

I asked my wife for her top travel-themed holiday gift recommendation, and Vuori’s Performance Jogger was at the top of her list. I then asked the TPG team the same question, and a handful of staffers had the exact same response.

The joggers are available for both men and women and come in various colors. If there’s a frequent flyer in your life, here’s an easy way to make them more comfortable on their next journey.

Lonely Planet’s “Best in Travel 2024”

Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2024 book cover

Buy: [circuit type=hyperlink circuit_id=”20420170831″] on Amazon for $16.19 (normally $17.99)

Know someone who is seeking some inspiration on where to travel in the new year? Consider gifting them with the 2024 edition of Lonely Planet’s best-selling “Best in Travel” guidebook.

This title will provide the ultimate trip inspiration, and it packs some great recommendations that are sure to impress even the most discerning travelers. Note: Lonely Planet is owned by TPG’s parent company, Red Ventures.