14 gifts travelers will actually want
(CNN) — Christmas, Hanukkah, The Holidays. Whatever you celebrate, there’s usually gift-giving involved.
And if you’re tasked with gifting a traveler who’s always on the go, or has everything, or wants nothing, you may end up stuck in last-minute lines scrambling to find something that fits.
But forget all that. A true traveler wants things that are either necessary or chic — and with any luck, both.
So here’s a handful of gifts for every traveler on your list.
If it isn’t on Instagram, it’s possible it never happened. Or so the saying sort of goes.
And if it’s a hit on Instagram, it might also be worthy of a more permanent home. Like a Chatbook.
Users can create the hand-sized photo books on the Chatbooks site, which syncs right up with Instagram accounts, so there’s no searching and uploading, just choosing which of the ‘grams is pretty enough for print.
What’s most convenient is the feature that allows for pulling photos from someone else’s Instagram (after Chatbooks gets their permission first, of course), making it easy to bestow them a keepsake 2016 highlight reel.
Starting at just $12 for custom photo books, it’s a good “one for you, one for me” kind of gift.
From $12, chatbooks.com
Coordinates Collection bracelet
Think of this as the modern-day answer to the locket.
But instead of a photo, Coordinates Collection customizable jewelry highlights a special location as a reminder of a person, place or thing. Even all three.
For those who want to keep close that place they scaled their first mountain or where they met life loves — or where they met the love of their life while scaling their first mountain — bracelets (or necklaces, or rings) can be engraved with the location’s coordinates.
Colors, shapes, stones and scripts can all be customized at no added cost. Endless sharing of the story behind the bracelet also comes at no added cost.
From $125, coordinatescollection.com
Wine lovers will rejoice at the gift that gives them good wine while they adventure.
The Corkcicle Canteen lets wine go where wine hasn’t often gone before. The stainless steel bottle that goes where glass can’t — like the beach or the pool — can keep whites cool for up to 25 hours, hot sun or not, and the 25-oz canteen holds just about a full bottle of wine.
That wine your adventurers brought back from Cinque Terre? They can drink it on a boat or on a train or in a tree. They can drink it anywhere.
$34.95 for 25-oz, corkcicle.com
Some travelers feel good about gifts that give back.
They’ll also feel good about these pj’s when they’re wearing them.
Sudara Punjammies pants for men, women and kids won’t get the requisite “gee, thanks” response once the receiver knows their gift is making a better, safer life for women in India.
The Indian-made jammies are made by women taught to be seamstresses to keep them out of human trafficking, and give them a new, better community to be part of.
Plus, they’re just really nice.
From $29 for kids, sudara.org
Locksmart keyless Bluetooth padlock
Here to kill all birds with one lock, Locksmart.
Safeguarding checked luggage with this TSA-accepted lock is simple enough, so why not have the same lock double as a suitcase tracker?
With Locksmart’s Travel Bluetooth padlock, baggage stays secure and locatable. A smartphone app can register the lock and, using GPS capabilities, tell the traveler exactly where their bag is, in case there’s a language (or comprehension) barrier with the baggage claim people.
Or if someone walked off with the wrong black bag.
Bluetooth for the win again.
Apple SD card camera reader
Sometimes iPhone snaps aren’t enough, and the big cameras come out to capture better shots.
But nobody’s got time for connecting the camera to a computer, uploading all of the photos and emailing them so they show up on a smartphone for social media sharing.
Enter the very practical Apple SD card camera reader. The memory card slides into the reader, the reader plugs into the iPhone, photos appear on the phone. That’s it.
Travelers can select all photos or just some. Heads up: for those who gift this, be prepared to get bombarded with more photos from said traveler.
F1 Fitness Kit
Staying fit at home can be challenging enough, but add all the elements of being on the go, and it can easily fall off the should-do list.
But this traveling gym may help save the pounds from piling on with all that irresistible vacation food.
Flight001’s F1 Fitness Kit comes with exercise essentials like a manual to make a travel workout routine, a lightweight jump rope when it’s time for cardio and resistance bands with three difficulty levels for when it’s time to get pumping.
Plus, it folds to a very flat 0.5 inches, so there’s no excuse not to carry it.
There are suitcases, and then there is Raden. This single piece of luggage is so smart, it all but packs itself.
The Raden case eliminates the more annoying elements of travel — overweight luggage, dead cell phones, sad faces when baggage doesn’t turn up on the carousel.
It comes in three sizes, carry-on, medium and large, with a built-in rechargeable battery that once fully juiced can charge one phone up to four times, or two phones two times since there are two USB ports.
The case pairs with Raden’s mobile app and can determine weight ahead of check-in because the suitcase handle works like a scale. Proximity sensors use Bluetooth to tell the traveler where the case is, even sending a little ping when it’s coming down the carousel.
From $295 for A Series carry-on, raden.com
GoPro Hero 5
What’s a trip without a GoPro?
The beloved tiny recorder keeps besting itself, and this latest iteration actually listens to its operators.
A little like Siri, intrepid videographers can tell the 2-inch touch display camera when to turn on and off and when to pause and play. It can even be told to record video or shoot bursts.
The Hero 5 is waterproof at 33 feet without a special case, and there’s just a single press shutter button to make use even easier.
Which all comes in handy when hands are otherwise occupied gripping zipline cables over a Belizean jungle.
For those who thirst for the outdoors, there’s now a water bottle with next to no bulk.
The Hydaway collapsible bottle starts out looking a little like a hockey puck, but then expands to hold up to a good 12 ounces of water. It comes with a carry handle and a flip up straw for easy sipping, perfect for tossing in a pack on a hike or for biking and then stashing in a pocket or zipper pouch once it’s empty.
If only all travel stuff could collapse down into neat, pocket-size piles.
Ebags Professional Weekender
Some people simply aren’t the wheelie bag type. And others never want to check a piece of luggage in their life.
For those, the Professional Weekender.
If a jetsetter could dream up every ideal compartment a backpack could come with, they’d probably be these. Designed to be packed like a suitcase but carried like a backpack, the Weekender comes with a compartment for shoes at the bottom, while clothes go neatly on top.
There’s a separate slot for laptops and a toiletry front flap for quick access during security checks. An easy-access pocket at the front is perfect for keeping passports and boarding passes handy.
And it has a professional look like its name suggests, because not everyone is going for the backpacker look.
Regularly $199.99. Currently on sale at ebags.com
Owen & Fred custom luggage tags
The glamor days of travel aren’t gone yet.
Reminiscent of the steamer trunk era when travel was luxurious and style wasn’t secondary, Owen & Fred custom embossed leather luggage tags provide a pleasant diversion from all the dismantling and disrobing now associated with travel.
Plus, they’re great for the traveler who thinks they have everything for two reasons: luggage tags are always handy and even grown-ups still get a little excited to have something with their name on it.
From $45, owenandfred.com
Pinch Provisions travel kit
Gone are the days of travelers trying to remember every item they should never leave home without.
Pinch Provisions has it all taken care of with the travel kit.
Stocked with 18 essentials like a stain remover, emery board, pill container, wrinkle remover, breath freshener and a deodorant towelette, the travel kit ensures all manner of inevitables — like spilled airplane food, canceled flights and unplanned rendezvous — are made less painful.
And it all fits in the palm of a hand.
Everything’s a little better with music, but there’s not always a Bluetooth speaker or iPod dock at the ready. That doesn’t matter with Chromecast Audio.
With the audio cable that turns any speaker into a smart one, music can be streamed with WiFi vs. Bluetooth, meaning no troublesome pairing and higher quality sound.
Another plus? The music keeps playing even if a call or text comes through.
If travelers already have music on their phone, they can play that or tap Pandora, Spotify or YouTube for tunes and then DJ right from the phone.
Impromptu dance parties have never been easier.