Our favorite luggage, gear, and travel tech to give (or get!) this holiday season, no matter who you’re shopping for.
Happy holidays, travel enthusiasts! Looking to elicit the biggest reaction of joy from the loved ones in your lives? Why not give them style and function—the two totems of all travel gear. Fodor’s editors compiled all the things we want from Santa this year as an extra thoughtful cheat sheet. It’s going to be the best holiday ever!
Top Picks for You
For The Extreme Picnicker
If $300 for a cooler seems unreasonable to you, then you’ve obviously never seen a Yeti cooler in action. More than just a cooler, these soft-sided bags can keep ice frozen for days. Completely waterproof (perfect for beach days and boat rides!) the Yeti has built-in ice packs, a zipper for easy access, and a shoulder strap to make the hike from the car no big deal. The best part? It’s carry-on friendly, meaning you can pack this as your suitcase and use it as a cooler once you arrive. Burning Man, here we come.
For the Gamer on the Go
We’d all like to think that on that 5-hour flight to grandma’s house the kids are going to read and color, but the truth is, they probably won’t. So make everyone happy with the Nintendo Switch, which allows the user to access more than 700 games anywhere, anytime. It’s the perfect gift for gamers of all ages who are on the go. New games for the 2018 holiday season include Super Mario Party; Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!; and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
For the (Socially) Active Traveler
Until recently, we might have said you only need a GoPro if you’re a Pro—as in, you’re usually in a helmet and knee pads when you leave the house because most of your activities involve an element of danger or thrill. But Go Pro’s new Hero 7 Black offers features that make it a must for all travelers who want to record and share quality video of their exploits, whether that’s biking Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way or just strolling through a favorite museum. It’s the same waterproof, portable camera but travelers will love that you can now easily share to social networks, live stream your adventures, and condense epic adventures with TimeWarp, a cool time-lapse feature. There’s a built-in GPS, improved HDR images and audio, ability to shoot in portrait mode (hello Instagram stories!), and a much more user-friendly interface, plus Hyper Smooth technology that creates unbelievably smooth video quality. Time to take your travel photography from average to Pro!
For the Designated Photographer
Why do you need a camera if you’ve got a perfectly capable phone? Well, our editors would say that there are times when you do not want to leave that once-in-a-lifetime photo opp to a smartphone, like when you are cruising in the Amazon and your phone won’t quite zoom to capture those rare birds high in the trees, or when you come face to face with a sleepy sloth in a dark jungle and, sniffle, you wish you’d had a decent camera to capture his beautiful face. The Canon EOS-R full-frame mirrorless camera is a compact but solid-feeling camera with a weatherproof magnesium body; a touchscreen you can program to your preferred shutter speed, ISO, or white balance settings; a superb Dual Pixel autofocus; a new mount and an interchangeable lens system, and a silent shutter mode and low-light focus to ensure you don’t disturb sleeping sloths while you capture those perfect vacation memories.
For the Selfie-Taking Explorer
From helping us navigate and translate to allowing us to document and share our amazing experiences, we would be lost without our phones when we travel, so keeping them protected from the elements while we explore is essential to our happy travels. The Torrey phone case is engineered with a layer of Thermoline to regulate and insulate our precious tech to keep it operational in both extreme cold and extreme heat. The slim and lightweight case is impact-resistant for falls of up to 10 feet and the attached lanyard keeps it in hand while we reach, angle, and dangle for the perfect shot.
For Your Sister Who Keeps Borrowing Your Backpack
Okay, so it’s also a gift for you—but she’ll appreciate that this backpack is as stylish as it is practical. The bomber jacket-inspired Aviator Drift Knapsack by Timbuk2 (one of our favorite for travel accessories) manages to have a glossy coated black canvas and a cute faux shearling flap while also being water resistant. The drawstring closure makes it easy to shut on the go, and the air mesh shoulder straps make for comfortable carrying. But fair warning, you’ll probably end up borrowing from her.
For the Trendy Traveler
There’s a reason Away luggage garnered an almost instant cult following when it launched two years ago: it’s lightweight, sturdy, smartly designed to make packing and traveling easier, and it looks, good, too. The already highly giftable “travel uniform” of an Away Carry-On and Everywhere Bag (our testing editor was spontaneously taking stuff in and out of her bag just for fun to show off how organized she was) is now even more giftable than ever with the limited Solstice Collection. Designed to celebrate the day when the Northern Hemisphere marks its darkest day while the Southern Hemisphere observes its longest day, this collection offers two pretty new iridescent suitcase shades and special edition Everywhere Bags in four new luxe leathers.
For the Boss on the Go
The frequent-flying Boss on your list already has her travel essentials nailed down, but you can’t go wrong gifting a high-quality, elegant, luxe-leather Garment Weekender that allows her to pack a power suit and a ball-gown crease-free. The smart, lightweight design has a built-in expandable garment section to accommodate items like long dresses, and a roomy interior that includes two accessory compartments, shoe pockets, and space for all the essentials. Best of all, this bag unzips to lay completely flat which allows for easy packing and easy packing away. Smarts + good looks = boss gift.
For the Athlete
Wireless earbuds are the thing in headphone technology, but have you tried to run with those? Elite Active 65t earbuds are made for those of us on the move—multiple rubber sizes for your ear canal, as well as a special coating, keeps the earbuds locked in while working out. These babies charge quickly too and last around five hours; the docking case also serves as a charger with two additional charges. Stuck on a 15-hour flight? You’ll have plenty of tunes to keep you going. Bonus? These headphones will stop playing audio when you pull them out of your ear.