PhotoThe first time we took our daughters on a cruise, I bought everyone a bathing suit cover-up for a holiday gift. Over the years I’ve given them hanging bags for toiletries, passports for our national parks, and annual calendars for a planned travel destination. Finding the right gift can be difficult, so I buy my family travel items they will need and enjoy. Here are some of my favorite gift picks:

Fleece jackets I never travel anywhere without a fleece, even in the Caribbean. They’re comfortable and comforting on an airplane or train and they pack a lot of warmth when it’s cold. Best, they get plenty of wear at home. My favorites are from LLBean. They’re available in a range of colors, reasonably priced, and they come with a lifetime guarantee.

Luggage tags Luggage tags take a beating and I go through a lot of them. One of the most fun and useful gifts I have given are personalized metal luggage tags from Shutterfly. You can select a favorite photo or one from your travels and there’s room for a cell phone number and email address on the back. They’re distinctive and mine have held up well.

Freezable lunch box Food was always an issue for me while traveling, but not since I found PackIt. They offer freezable lunch bags in a variety of sizes, colors, and patterns. You place the flattened lunch bag in your freezer overnight and the frozen bag will keep your food chilled for ten hours. While it is not TSA-approved, TSA agents have told me that if it is frozen you can take it through security. I have successfully used mine on several flights; just pack the unfrozen bag in your suitcase on your return trip. I like them so much I own three different sizes.

All-purpose travel bag I have a closet full of travel bags. It’s tough to find one appropriate for every destination and I was forever buying new ones; that is until I found a Longchamp bag and now I am hooked. Longchamp bags are available for men and women, come in different sizes and colors, are easy to clean, and best of all, they fold up neatly to store or fit in your suitcase.

Hanging bag for toiletries A bag to organize your toiletries is one of the most useful travel items. It hangs on a hook in the bathroom, makes locating essentials easy, and folds up neatly when it’s time to pack. You can find these in many colors, patterns, and sizes anywhere travel accessories are sold.

Hat Packable hats are an essential travel item and it can be hard to find one that fits and looks nice. I love Tilley hats; they’re well-made for men and women in styles appropriate for cold and warm weather. They are easy to pack and clean and once registered, come with a lifetime guarantee.

Travel books It’s useful to have destination travel books both for planning and an onsite guide. I prefer ones that are lightweight and pack easily, such as the Lonely Plant Pocket Guides and Eyewitness Travel Top 10. Language books for travelers are helpful and appreciated.

Gift card or certificates Use your imagination and make someone’s travels more enjoyable with a prepaid treat. Cruise lines let you give a specific gift, such as wine, spa treatment, dinner at a specialty restaurant, or an onboard credit. Other ideas include: tickets, credit, or gift cards for a restaurant, play, museum admission, or even a Bed and Breakfast or hotel night.


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