gifts they might actually want

The 71 Best Travel Gift Ideas, According to Frequent Travelers

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

Travel is back, but it’s a little more stressful than it used to be. Which means that the travelers in your life could benefit from some new and better gear to optimize their upcoming trips. The best travel gifts are often the most practical, from things that will make that long flight seem shorter to items that make a hotel room feel like home. But time away from home also calls for a few little (as in TSA-size) luxuries, from beauty products to cozy shearling slippers. We’ve compiled a list of 71 gifts for people who travel recommended by frequent travelers, including expats, flight attendants, travel writers, travel bloggers, travel agents, couples who travel together, and one consultant who flies multiple times a week for work. We also added a few of our favorite travel products we’ve discovered here on the Strategist.

In-flight accessories

Sleepy Ride

For those who struggle to find a comfortable sleeping position while cramped in economy class, writer Alyse Whitney recommends this airplane-friendly foot sling called the Sleepy Ride: “The 21-inch-long, 7-inch-wide footrest is made of plush memory foam, but is flat enough to fold up neatly in a little pouch that I tucked into my backpack. The straps are adjustable and hook around the tray table in front of you so that it becomes a foot hammock, rocking gently with the motions of the plane.” Not only does it make your seat more comfortable, it also helps prevent swollen ankles and feet.

Too often, airplane eye masks work better in concept than real life. Especially the flimsy ones that are sometimes handed out for free on international flights. Scott’s Cheap Flights founder Scott Keyes says that having a “decent, $10 to $20 mask can make all the difference,” especially if the mask has contours that allow your eyes to open and shut without touching the fabric. His preferred brand is Nidra, which he says “blocks out the entirety of the light.”

“A full-grown Capri Sun” is how Strategist contributor Caroline Bankoff describes this foldable, washable anti-bottle that can be reduced (when empty) to the size of an iPhone. A light packer’s dream, the size of the Vapur “adjusts to the amount of water that’s in it, so I can fit it into any bag,” and it gets smaller as you drink out of it.

“I’d recommend a Hydro Flask so you can avoid paying the pricey fees for water at the airport and refill anywhere once you get through security,” says flight attendant Jennifer Nors. Hydro Flask also happens to be a favorite water bottle of Strategist managing editor Maxine Builder, who says that it “really is as nice a water bottle as everyone says it is.”