The gift of travel isn’t really about the actual gift, is it? It’s an invitation to exploration. A challenge to push boundaries. A window into the world of wanderlust! …Okay, maybe that’s a little overblown. But the fact remains: When you give someone a gift connected to travel, the joy that it brings extends well beyond the day you give it.
The gifts in this guide are sure to make trips better in one way or another for years to come. No throwaway fashion or cheap plastic here, we’re focused items built to last — common sense tech and gear that the folks you’re buying for will carry with them from one trip to the next. Sure, the products may get a little banged up, but they’ll endure. Just like the memories that anyone receiving these gifts is sure to make on the road.
Bear Walker Skateboard
Price: $185-285 (request quote for a full custom board)
I’ve added boards to my travel gift guides before. I’m just the sort of person who likes cruising through new cities on a skateboard, I guess. Makes me feel alive and a part of the local urban life. Once you venture outside of the city, if you find a nice rolling decline along a cool country road you can get some amazing photos. Plus it’s a way to connect with local culture (skate culture!).
Of all the boards I’ve owned (and I have five within arm’s reach right now), this one is the most built for life on the road. There’s no grip tape to shred your clothes, it’s got an easy handle to make carrying completely un-awkward, it lays flat, perfect for overhead compartments, and it is distinct — so if someone steals it and you see them again, you’ll know.
Best of all, this board is stylish as hell. Seriously, Bear Walker’s custom designs — like the two he did for Uproxx IG giveaways — are just superb works of art. His limited edition boards are just as epic, rare, and dialed into tastes that align with the travel/creative/adventure vibe. Even his stock boards are beautiful, sure to get tons of compliments when you’re out there on the road.
BOTTOM LINE: Get one of these for a skater you love, someone eager to cruise through the world without a care.
Buy it here.
Nikon Z50 16-50mm VR Kit
It’s going to be hard to find a better camera on the market for the price. I’ve been working with this model since October and I’ve found it fits my three ultimate criteria: great photos, excellent sturdiness, and exceptionally high ease of use.
To get more specific, this is the perfect “influencer camera” — it will hold up on the road and take pictures perfect for social platforms. I’ve gotten some great prints with mine too, very similar in quality to my DSLR, but this is far smaller and much more manageable at fests, on hikes, and tossed in a backpack.
BOTTOM LINE: If the person you’re buying for is the sort who accidentally ends up beating up her cameras, doesn’t know much about photography, and still wants to get the exceptional shots that even the best phone could never get, this is the “the one” to buy.
Buy it here.
23k Gold Aviators w/ Cobalt Blue SkyTec Polarized Lenses
Oh, you hesitate to spend $330 on sunnies even for someone you care about? Wait until you (or they) try these. These are the aviators of McQueen and Newman — updated with spectacular blue glass that’s both badass and gives you an incredible view of the world (I don’t know exactly what SkyTec Polarization is, but I like how things look through these better than any other specs I’ve tried).
Now before you say, “But he’ll sit on them and forget to bring the case!” Let me tell you: I never put mine in the case. I’ve sat on them 30 times. They endure. They’re made to last and — if the person you’re gifting can manage not to lose them (which he or she should be able to do) — they’re absolutely worth every penny.
BOTTOM LINE: Stylish as hell with superb glass and excellent quality.
Buy them here.
Solgaard Shore-Tex Daypack
This is exactly and completely the daypack that you need. It’s simple and straightforward –fits a laptop, some headphones, a sweatshirt, a little bit of food, and a pair of board shorts. Boom. What in the world else do you need?
Best of all, this pack is made completely from recycled ocean plastic. Do you get how cool that is? It’s actually decreasing the waste in the world. And speaking as a person who bangs bags around, this pack endures. I take mine everywhere and toss it on the ground like a high school senior just trying to get to graduation. No scratches, no tears — after six months it still looks new. Ready for a cool extra perk? There are metal straws inside to remind you not to exacerbate the world’s plastics problems.
BOTTOM LINE: Give this to someone who gets minimalism, likes nature, and cares about the environment. They’ll be all about it.
Buy it here.
No roller bag this year, I’m on the duffel/backpack wave. Luckily, this bag can do both. It’s also incredibly stylish and so durable that you almost long to bang it up. The straps, buckles, and zips on the Baboon bag are heavy — made to last a long time. The outside of the various models are monochrome, with wildly colorful interiors. As for the pockets, etc, this bag has what you need and nothing more. Sure, it’s got some interior and exterior compartments, but it’s mostly a “toss everything in and go” bag.
The lack of excessive add ons makes this the right pick for me and if you’re shopping for a stylish traveler who appreciates simple design, it’ll probably be the perfect bag for them, too. It’s long enough to fit the Bear Walker board shouted out above inside and can become a backpack with ease.
BOTTOM LINE: If you’re shopping for a traveler whose desires lie at the intersection of durability, style, and function, this is the bag to get.
Buy it here.
VOORMI River Run Hoodie
This is the thinnest piece of wool clothing I’ve ever worn — featherweight and highly breathable. As such, it’s perfect for stuffing in a day pack and wearing on the trail (or to the brewery afterward). When it comes to travel clothes, versatility is key. The breathability of this hoodie compels me to wear it on warm-weather hikes. The comfort has me treating it like a base layer when things get cold.
On the road, there are a few qualities you want any clothes item to have: form, function, a little bit of style, and a ton of durability. VOORMI’s “precision blend” wool is heavy on those attributes and they’re on display here. This is a shirt that will past the smell test (it wicks moisture and doesn’t get funky-smelling), and can be stretched, pulled, washed in a sink and dried in the shower. It’s exactly what you want when you’re wandering the wilds. Plus it looks good.
BOTTOM LINE: If you’re buying a gift for someone who is on the trail, in the river, and on the move, this is the way to go.
Buy it here.
Polaroid OneStep 2 Festive Edition Starter Set
If you’re someone who really likes photography, it’s natural to have your main camera — a DSLR or mirrorless — and a walk-around camera for the in-between times. For most people, that’s a run and gun camera that can slip in a pocket or around the neck. But tell me seriously, is there any better run and gun than a Polaroid?
Not for me, there’s not. The classic Polaroid is just so fun. Sure, the I-Type film is pricey, but you can also give the pictures away — a lovely gesture when meeting and accepting the hospitality of strangers. The battery recharges and the bottom of the camera can fit a tripod or selfie stick. There’s also a clear cool factor. For everyone on that mid-century vibe, which is a lot of people in this day and age, the look of Polaroids is tough to beat. And while so so soooooooo many digital photos end up forever and ever lost to cyberspace, these photos go on fridges and mantles and walls.
BOTTOM LINE: If travel is about making memories, this gift is a fantastic way to make those memories tangible.
Buy it here.
BauBax Travel Jacket
You ready to hear someone rave about a jacket? Because I am going in on this one.
This jacket is insane. It’s on some NatGeo meet McGyver shit. Seriously, it’s got about thirty pockets and each of them has a “feature” that makes the jacket like one big, wearable Swiss Army Knife. There’s an extendable pen, a whistle, a bottle opener, an inflatable neck pillow, a water bottle… I mean, seriously — I’ve owned this thing for two months and I keep finding new things in my pockets. Daily.
I swear it’s Santa’s elves sneaking them in there. Yesterday I found a plastic baggie in my chest pocket and it was a little micro pen set. Today I found a sleeping eye mask.
As far as style goes — this a classic bomber jacket, something every traveler needs anyway. It’ll make whoever you give it to feel like Indiana Jones meets a bush pilot meets Roald Dahl when he was in the RAF. Badass, is the point.
BOTTOM LINE: Buy it for someone who likes to be prepared and stylish at the same time. They’ll be talking to you about this jacket for freaking years.
Buy it here.
Adobe Creative Cloud
Price: Subscription Price Varies
What to say about Photoshop, Lightroom, and the rest of the Adobe suite that hasn’t already been said. I’ve tried the others, I’ve used the easier, cheaper photo-editing suites. They can’t compete. Adobe cares about creatives and storytellers and every new feature shows that.
Could I go on about this? Yes. But ultimately, my photos and how I presented them got better when I got Adobe and that’s what the traveler in your life wants.
BOTTOM LINE: If you know and love a traveler who likes taking photos and doesn’t have this, you should get it for them. You’ll receive immense gratitude and deservedly so.
Buy a subscription plan here.
If you’re staying in hostels, which I do, or showering at gyms while road tripping, or using lockers in train stations, you’re going to need a lock. And then the issue becomes forgetting the code when you’re rushed. After all, you have about 20,000 passwords and codes jangling around your head these days.
Tapplock makes that easier. It runs off your fingerprint. That easy. No tumbler to crack and no code to remember. Just place your finger on the sensor and go. Better still, it’s totally track-able — like a Find My Phone feature for a lock.
BOTTOM LINE: Get this if you want to make hostel life one step easier for someone. It’s light, tough, and full of functions.
Buy it here.
myCharge HubMax Portable Charger
Can I review this product in one sentence? Let’s try:
In 2020, any serious traveler needs a portable charging system for their phones, headphones, and other small accessories and this one combines price, function, and size into the best package that I’ve encountered. What else needs to be said?
BOTTOM LINE: Get it for… well, get it for any traveler who doesn’t have one already.
Buy it here.
JBL Pulse 4
Is this a LOT of speaker to bring on the road? Yes. Absolutely it is. It’s very extra. And yet I bring it on every trip.
Why? It’s a portable party. Literally — lava lamp, light show, and top-of-the-line speaker all at once. The sound quality is fantastic and the visuals, which are automatically synced to the beat of the music, are entrancing.
Is it heavy? Yeah. I’ll take out a few sweatshirts and ditch my second pair of shoes — I want music and I want the music to sound good and if that same music player can make my hotel room feel like Studio 54, all the better.
BOTTOM LINE: Do you know a traveler who likes vibe over easy portability? They might worry that this is heavy, but not after they hear and see it.
Buy it here.
HIPCAMP Gift Certificate
Everyone is on the Hipcamp wave all of a sudden. It’s being called the Airbnb of camping by every travel outlet on earth (solid pitch!) and I’m fully in on that. You can book campsites and pre-set tents, cabins, trailers, and yurts at people’s homes and near National Parks in situations when public camping isn’t available or convenient, or is sold out.
The camping experiences I’ve tried via Hipcamp were clean, nicely designed (providers clearly learned the lessons of aesthetics that Airbnb taught), and full of lovely views. But clearly the best part is that you don’t have to set up and breakdown the tent in most of these cases. That means you get all the outdoor impact of camping, but going for a single night feels realistic and not like a hassle. Huge wins!
BOTTOM LINE: Get this for anyone who wants to camp but doesn’t because it’s too much of a production.
Buy it here.
Lily Aldridge Summit & Haven Perfume
Price: $50 each
Did I really add perfume to a travel wish list? Yes, but hear me out.
You start to smell on the road. You get that road funk. And its directly in contrast with the fact that — besides the smell — travel might just be the sexiest activity on earth. These two perfumes, both inspired by Lily Allen’s travels, smell sexy but aren’t chemical. Rather than masking your road smell like Axe Body Spray or even CK, they enhance it.
You smell like a traveler, but a clean sexy one. Anyone who goes on long journeys knows that, if space allows, a little boost like that can go a long way when everything you have to wear is failing the sniff test.
BOTTOM LINE: Get this for the one you travel with and want smelling good.
Buy it here.
My Top Three Travel Books Of 2019
I’ve never advocated bringing guidebooks on trips. At their best, travel books should inspire not create a paint-by-numbers scenario. They should offer visual and written daydream fodder — so that you get hyped and start making your own travel plans.
These three books do that. Better still, they’re all freaking beautiful.
I love picking these three together because we’re talking about three of the best travel publishers on earth doing what they do best. You’ve got Lonely Planet tracking travel trends like nobody’s business, NatGeo picking the dream trips that will make you feel like Bear Grylls, and Moon Guides helping you truly understand why travel is such a beautiful (and important) past time.
BOTTOM LINE: Splurge on all three and anyone you give them to will have their coffee table travel inspo covered for a good long while.
As an Amazon Affiliate, Uproxx may receive commissions on certain purchases from this list. Uproxx received certain items on this list as requested samples or test items.