This year has been pretty weird and hard to handle, but don’t forget that the dad(s) in your life and the graduating seniors shouldn’t get lost in the bad that’s happening. At some point we’ll be able to travel again, even if it’s just close to home or road tripping. We’re seeing things start to open, and even if we aren’t taking advantage of those early opportunities to stay healthy, having a travel bag packed and ready is a great thing to work on, and you can even use those things at home. As always, here is my list of awesome things for your loved ones, broken down into price categories:
Budget – under $50
There are natural sprays for everything, including those to make your travels way better. Purchase sprays individually, or ones that go together in a Jet Lag Kit or Stay Well Kit. $19.95+ on SpectraSpray – my review is here
2. Nabee Compression Socks
Sitting on long flights and/or walking all day, can really be bad for your circulation. I have issues with swelling ankles and feet and have found that compression socks are a necessity for my life. I love the fun patterns that Nabee has. Just because you’re doing something to help you stay healthy, doesn’t mean you can’t look awesome doing it. $29.99 from Nabee.
3. AeroPress Go
Does your dad/grad love coffee? Are they always jetting off somewhere? Even if they just enjoy camping or needsto free up some space in their home (or college dorm), the AeroPress Go is perfect for those that just want a good cup of Joe at home. It makes amazing coffee, is super easy to use and clean, and fits inside its own mug. $31.95 from AeroPress or Amazon - my review is here
4. Airplane Pockets
I really hate the airplane seat pocket. Mostly because they aren’t large enough for things I want to have during my flight, but also because I’ve found so much trash in them when I’ve flown. Get your dad/grad a set of Airplane Pockets that slip over the tray table (covering it with an anti-bacterial fabric) and give them 4 pockets to hold their phone, glasses, pen, snacks, book and whatever else. If you follow me on IG, you’ve seen these in action on my trips. $29 on Amazon
5. Well Told drinkware
Since no one’s going anywhere for the foreseeable future, why not give them something to remind them of a favorite trip or destination, or a big trip they have hopes of. Well Told Design makes beautiful drinkware with etched maps and more. I have a pair of London pint glasses, but I’m hoping to add to the collection soon. $18+ on Well Told - my review is here
6. Belkin Mini Surge Protector
We have several of these – one for travel and some for our house. These surge protectors are so useful, because you can turn one outlet into three sockets and two USB ports. the back swivels, so you can fit it anywhere and then plug in all your gadgets. It has come in handy in those rooms that have maybe one free outlet (read: 95% of hotel rooms) that isn’t at the bathroom vanity. Give your dad the convenience of always having enough power outlets. $16.89 on Amazon
7. Bamboo utensils from The Other Straw
When we all start traveling again, even if it’s just around town, we’re especially going to want to eat out, even if that’s just at food trucks. I’m really loving these great bamboo utensils from The Other Straw. Not only are they eco-friendly and nice to look at, but they come in their own pouch for keeping them clean in between uses and TOS donates 50% of their profits to fund ocean cleanups. $9.56 on The Other Straw
Moderate – $50-100
1. Timbuk2 Rogue Laptop Backpack 2.0
I am a huge fan of Timbuk2 bags. They have ones that are great for everyday and ones that also work well for travel. The Rogue 2.0 is perfect for toting your laptop on trips, along with snacks, books and all the other things you want in-flight. They can work as great weekenders, or for those that light to pack super light, which is usually me if I travel alone. The less I have to carry, the better, and a backpack is easy to get down the tiny airplane aisle. It can be paired with the Packable Travel Tote for coming home with extra goodies. $89 on Timbuk2 | $39 on Timbuk2
There are so many travel pillows to choose from, but one of the best I’ve tried is the FaceCradle. Not only is it perfect for the ever-diminishing airplane space, but it’s great for tall people, and for using on trains and in cars as well. It has a bunch of different ways to use it. We have the regular version and the lite version, and we sleep like babies on the plane. $49.99 on Amazon - my review is here
3. Barrier Method Neckie
Everyone’s got a mask or two right now, but Barrier Method was selling theirs before they were all the rage. I always get compliments on my winged mask. With summer coming, the neckie is smaller, but still lightweight and effective. This anti-bacterial mask is both healthy and pretty and can be used to stay well, reduce your allergens, keep your neck warm, among other things. Gift your dad/grad the gift of health and wellness with one of these. They can wear it to the grocery store and on the plane. $50 from The Barrier Method - my review is here
4. Bluffworks Original Khakis or Departure Jeans
It can be hard to find the perfect pair of pants to travel in or with. Bluffworks started with their original chinos and have since branched out into jeans, blazers, shorts, and now women’s clothing. Their pants go from boardroom to sightseeing to rock climbing to dinner out. They look great, they’re stain-resistant, wrinkle-resistant, moisture-wicking and even include security pockets. Pack fewer pieces that have more versatility. Your dad already probably hates to pack, and your grad hates to do laundry, so these pieces work for everyone. $49+ on Bluffworks
5. Tropicfeel shoes
I backed these as a kickstarter, because they sounded amazing. They are pretty much Spring and Summer shoes (though if the fall isn’t cold, you could wear them then too). We travel to Vegas a lot and do a ton of theme parks, which have plenty of water activities. These shoes are like your best sneakers and water shoes in one. I backed them hoping they would be as good as they sounded, and they were. We both have a pair and they are super lightweight, can be worn with or without socks, and look fantastic. They are perfect for all the walking your dad/grad will do on their travels. $100 on TropicFeel
Regular TSA-accepted locks usually suck, and are easy to forget the combination to, especially if you only travel a few times a year. If that’s a problem your dad has too, so he just doesn’t use a lock on her luggage, a Benjilock might just be what he needs. Instead of a combination or a key, it opens with a fingerprint. And if he’s traveling with several people who are using the same carry-on/suitcase, it can hold up to 10 fingerprints. $70 on Amazon, but can also be found at The Home Depot and QVC and Ace Hardware
Splurge – $100+
1. Gift cards
Buy a gift card that can be used for their favorite airline or hotel chain (or Airbnb) or rental car company when they can travel again. It’s nice because you can customize it and make it a bit more personal than a normal gift card. $1-infinity: whatever you want to spend.
2. GlobeIn monthly travel box
If your mom doesn’t quite have the funds to travel (or just misses traveling during Lockdown), but loves cool stuff from other countries anyway. Give her the gift of stuff from around the world with the GlobeIn box. Each box contains at least 4 goodies from other countries and they all center around a story. $144 for a 3-month subscription. (The price per box goes down with longer subscriptions)
I’m sure your mom already has her next trip planned. Why not help her make it more affordable by giving her most or all of her activities for free? You’ll be able to find a lot of participating cities. $50+ on CityPASS website
4. Priority Pass
Hanging out in the airport can be fun, but after a while, you wish it could be better. Buy your dad access to all the airport lounges, so he can get some peace and quiet, free snacks and maybe get some work done or catch a shower. You can purchase him the standard pass for $99/year, or upgrade them to the plus for $299, which includes 10 free visits (generally member visits are $32).
5. Travelon Heritage Carry-All Weekender
This wide-mouth weekender has so much room in it for a weekend or a week or a two-week trip. It’s true! I packed two people’s clothing in it for a week in Vegas. Not only is it spacious, but it’s also super good looking. Your mom will get so much use from this bag and get all the compliments as well. $115 on Travelon + get 20% off if you use code SHEREENTRAVELS20% – my review is here
6. Ebags Fortis Spinner Carry On
Has your dad been using the same beat up carry-on for decades? Or your grad doesn’t even have a real piece of luggage? Then this bag works for either. The hardside shell gives it extra strength to keep their belongings safe, the spinner wheels make it easy to take even on cobblestones, and they can’t overpack, though you can expand it for extra purchases and check it home. $159.99 on Amazon
And if you want to throw in an extra fun thing in for them, you can add a Happy Traveler shirt, bag, coasters, or travel mug for them to take wherever they may go.
What are you doing for the dad or grad in your life this year?
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