It’s the holidays! And, that means the chaotic frenzy of gift giving is here for many people. Do you get the question from your mom, sister-in-law, maybe even your significant other, what do you want for Christmas? Well, if you need some gift ideas for yourself or another female traveler, here are some of Marissa’s favorite travel items at different price points. These are true faves. Nothing sponsored here!
Spoiler alert: Her two favorite items on this list are number 8 and 9!
Budget-friendly range ($)
1. Collapsible water bottle
The first time I bought a collapsible water bottle was to visit Iceland and now I am hooked! I am a huge water drinker always, but particularly when I’m flying and want to fight dehydration. I also love the fact that it cuts down on disposable plastic water bottles in our landfills. Plus, think about how expensive bottles of water are in the airport. It’s madness.
The collapsible aspect of it means it’s really easy to pack and fit into a bag when you’re done. You fill it when you are past security and liquids are fair game again. If it’s collapsed in your bag while you go through the XRAY, it usually doesn’t get flagged in security.
Then, you can use it for hiking, city wandering, wherever you’ll want to be able to hydrate. This is more handy for destinations that have safe drinking water from fountains and sinks.
The Que bottle is a great option. There are others on Amazon but this one is definitely BPA free, 100% food-grade silicone and leakproof. Plus, they donate a portion of their sales to non-profits that help raise environmental awareness and promote sustainable practices.
2. Cute compression socks
One of the side effects of getting a bit older is that our bodies really start making it clear they don’t appreciate air travel. If after a flight you get swollen ankles, your legs feel “heavy” or you have a stiff back and aching feet, compression socks can actually help. Not to mention helping prevent those scary blot clots you hear about getting on airplanes if you don’t move around enough. They work by helping blood in veins circulate better and return to your heart which promotes whole body health as well as supporting your lymphatic system that helps your body function better at the cellular level.
It’s honestly a great idea to wear them on flights but until now the options were just so hideous. Comrad offers cute options in lots of different colors and patterns that still perform as well as the medical type you’d buy at the drug store. I don’t know why, but it makes the idea of wearing compression socks a little better when they’re actually fun to look at.
Plus, Comrad socks are made from an antimicrobial blend fabric that is moisture-wicking like an athletic sock and naturally odorless with a cushioned, antimicrobial toe and heel for comfort. The manufacturing plant is family owned and they focus on sustainable and ethical practices with eco-friendly packaging.
3. Good quality hand sanitizer
A must-have travel accessory is hand sanitizer, especially for the plane, but my biggest issue is that it dries out my hands so badly. The Aesop rinse-free hand soap is alcohol-based, non-sticky gel (sticky is the worst!) with mandarin rind, rosemary and cedar which give it a nice woodsy/citrus scent. Way better than that heavy alcohol scent. The oils prevent hands from being stripped of moisture and it actually has hydrating properties.
So, if you’re looking to up-level your hand sanitizer game and avoid alligator hands, this is a good option.
Mid-price range ($$)
4. Portable Speaker
Trust me it’s so much more fun to get ready to set out exploring when you have some pump up tunes to listen to in your hotel room. Or, if you love podcasts like me, you want to be able to keep up and listen to them in the morning with your coffee. You can also strap it onto things like a bike if you’re doing some adventure activities. Maybe even use it to do some room workouts with audio.
Having a portable speaker to bring with you is awesome and it comes in handy in so many different scenarios when traveling. There are a ton of good options out there, but I chose this Bose one because it’s really small (~3”) and lightweight but has great sound. Plus it’s totally waterproof with a silicone strap to attach it to things and is hardy to rough handling with a 6-hour battery life.
5. Cozy scarf for flights
Living in Chicago, in the winter I often go from one extreme temperature to another when I’m traveling and a MUST for me is a cozy scarf that can double as a blanket for the chilly plane but then easily come off when I land in my much-awaited tropical destination.
I highly recommend traveling with a large, wearable scarf that is versatile enough to keep you warm on the jetway, on the plane and maybe even be your cozy blanky on a long-haul flight.
Save the room in your luggage and wear the outfit that is appropriate for your destination. So, if you land somewhere warm, wear a maxi dress and blanket scarf but then whip it off, roll it up and stuff it in your bag and voila, you’re ready for the sunshine!
6. Great beach towel/blanket
Who likes water soaked towels with heavy sand caked on it from the beach? Nobody? Right. Nobody. It sucks to have to deal with that, especially when you’re staying at an AirBNB and you are washing your own beach towels.
These Tesalate towels were born in Australia and are awesome if you’re going to the beach. Sand repels from them and they are ultra absorbent and rapid drying. The scenario of the soggy sand-caked towel just doesn’t happen with these. They aren’t terry cloth. They are a unique fabric that is thinner but still sturdy and very comfortable to lay on and large enough for a person but they can fold up really small. Plus, they come with a travel pouch. You would never pack a beach towel in your suitcase if you didn’t have to, but these are compact and fold up to the size of a large article of clothing.
They’re perfect for adults but I can see it really coming in handy if you have kids too because they are usually the culprits of burying the wet towels in the sand. 🙂 Plus, they come in really fun patterns and colors. Like a little touch of that Aussie party personality.
7. Travel perfume
If you’ve never smelled Le Labo fragrances, do yourself a favor and order this set, even if it’s for yourself. Le Labo is a perfumery out of New York but they are made in France out of real botanicals and the perfumes are amazing. They are not cheap, but this travel set is awesome because it is really affordable and it allows you to not only sample their top-selling fragrances but also smell like a million bucks when you travel. I have never had more people compliment my perfume than when I’m wearing a Le Labo scent.
Plus, they are a company with personality. Here are a few of their values:
- We believe it is more humane to test cosmetics on New Yorkers than on animals
- We believe celebrities should pay full price
- We believe in the soulful power of thoughtful hands: hand-picked roses, hand-poured candles, hand-formulated perfumes and handshake agreements
- We believe we/you should put away our modern tools and take the time to smell the roses along the way
Gifts for deeper pockets ($$$)
8. Versatile tote bag
This item and the next item tie for my favorites on this list. Sometimes, especially as a frequent traveller, there are items worth investing in that make traveling easier. Because, let’s face it, travel often isn’t easy.
The Longchamp bag is so great because for starters, it is designed to fold up very small so it is very easy to fit in even the most cramped suitcase it but the other really nice selling point is that the nylon material it is made from is great for all types of environments, including the beach, pool or boat. I often try to fit everything into a carry on and personal item, so it is key for me that I can pack this in my suitcase but then once I get to my destination, pull it out and then I have a great tote that can be for days on the water or exploring the city or temples and bringing along camera gear, water bottle, sweater etc. It’s the perfect size.
It’s also really well made so it is durable enough to stand up to all the non-ideal scenarios I put my tote bags through. Not a joke I’ve worn through like 3 bags in 3 years before I bought this one which I’ve had for over 2 years now and use regularly.
9. Personal item bag for the plane
So, this is my other favorite item on the list. They call it the most thoughtful travel bag and I truly believe it is. I took a leap when I bought it as an early adopter on the crowd funding site, hoping it would be all they said it would be, and it absolutely has delivered.
It is designed to fit perfectly under the seat of all the US airlines and the larger, long-haul carriers. But, the real magic with this bag is that they really thought of the most convenient placement for every pocket so that when you are in your seat and trying to be a contortionist to get things out from under the seat in front of you, it is so easy. Your items can be accessed from the top zippers and there are the perfect pockets for just about everything you carry with you so you can stay organized. It’s also designed to be able to get the stuff out at security really fast when you’re getting all that side-eye from the people behind you.
Plus, it opens flat like a suitcase when you’re packing it and that design really lends to being able to fit A TON in this bag. It makes it so much easier to do carry on only when I have my roller bag plus my Bento Bag. People are amazed by how much I can bring on a trip without checking a bag.
I can try to describe it all day long, but there is a short video on the website that really covers the features.
10. Handbag that gives back to women
OK, I don’t actually have this item. This is on my wish list as well and this is more of a luxury item price-point wise, but this company has such a cool mission and vision supporting women around the world and their bags are just stunning.
Nena & Co. was launched by a woman named Ali who wanted to bring her Guatemalan culture and the beautiful weavings of the artisan women to other ladies around the world. The more she learned from the artisans, the more she realized how important it was to create opportunities for them to earn a decent income through traditional weaving and leather craftsmanship. Nena & Co. is dedicated to paying fair wages, designing products that pay tribute to the beauty of the hand-loomed textiles, and to only using quality materials and craftsmanship.
Her mission now is to support the artistry of cultures around the world with ethical business practices and by creating sustainable income opportunities for the artisans that hand weave fabrics and craft leather goods.
It is so crazy how fast the bags sell out. And, because they are all one-of-a-kind, if you snooze, you lose. They drop bags on a regular schedule and you can sign up to be alerted when a bag drop is about to happen. They can sell out in minutes so you need to be logged in and ready to browse and pull the trigger quick.
There is more depth to their story on their website, but warning – once you check it out, you’re going to want a bag!
Check out our upcoming destinations! We will be rolling out new trips regularly and have some excited things in the works!
Rise & Rove is a modern group travel company with curated, led trips across the globe for like-minded, rad women. Small group size, unique activities, boutique accommodations, experiences with locals. Come solo, leave with new friends!