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It’s finally time for my Annual Sometimes Annual Infrequent Occasional Gift Giving Guide for your Favorite Traveler!

The holidays are here and most retailers aren’t waiting around for Black Friday, they’re starting their holiday sales today (the holiday shopping season is a week shorter this year).

So, here we go, seven simple items for any traveler.


1. Belkin 3-Plug and USB Portable Power Strip Thingy – $17

Link to Amazon

I simply love this little power thing and take one with me on every trip.  I’ve actually purchased 3-4 more for the house as well.  It’s genius because the main plug can rotate to a vertical or horizontical orientation, allowing you to maximize space.  Three plugs are usually plenty for me, and the USB outlets on the side are a nice touch as my electronics move more and more towards USB power.

Simply put: I cannot travel without this thing.  It’s like $17 and is a no-brainer.

2. Anker PowerCore Slim 10000 – $26-31

Link on Amazon

For years I’ve recommended the thicc brother of this: the legacy PowerCore 10000.  The new slim version went on keto and packs the same amount of power to recharge your devices on the road.  I’ve gotten 2 complete recharges of my iPhone using my PowerCore and do not leave home on a trip without it.  The slim version will be my next purchase because it will fit really nicely in my camera backpack.  Since both of my cameras can be powered by a USB battery when their battery runs down these USB chargers are absolutely essential for me.  That said, even for a non-photographer they’re great for peace of mind on a long hiking day or driving day when you’re abroad and don’t know when you’ll have an outlet next.  The slim version is $5 more than the regular one, so feel free to choose whichever one makes more sense.

3. Bluffworks Gramercy Blazer – $220

Bluffworks Blazer

Link to Bluffworks

With apologies for the gratuitous chest hair in the above picture, I love my Bluffworks Gramercy Blazers and take them on nearly every trip.  They have plenty of pockets, many of them hidden, and they’re machine washable.  I can stuff one in a carry-on and walk from the airport right into a meeting without having to worry about wrinklage.  Bluffworks Black Friday sales are hard to beat, and $220 for this blazer is a great deal (it’s still a lot of money but it’s worth it in my opinion).

Oh, and it can also stand up to a complete and thorough weightlifting workout.

4. Sony Noise-Canceling Headphones – $280

Link on Amazon

I personally own the Bose QC-35 headphones, which are lovely.  But the Sony headphones are better AND they’re cheaper.  I like Sony’s noise-canceling algorithm better than Bose and the sound quality is just as good, with crisp highs and deep lows.  I love jamming to my music when I’m on a plane or sometimes just sitting at home when I need to focus or clean and could use some loud obnoxious heavy metal.  Caveat: not everyone will like the over-the-ear style of headphones.  Many people say they don’t like it because they can’t lay down to sleep with them on.  I don’t really have that problem, it just doesn’t bother me, but if you do, I feel comfortable recommending the Bose in-ear noise-canceling buds for a little cheaper than the Sony headphones above.

5. OMG SOMETHING FOR GIRLS, GHD Platinum Universal Voltage 1″ Straightener/Styler/Hair Thing Device – $249

Link on Amazon

This comes highly recommended by my girlfriend.  We’ve been on two big international trips now and I can vouch that she travels smartly (except for her choice in travel companions, what can I say other than I’m a lucky dude).  Hair devices are always hit and miss because they usually don’t play well across the Atlantic when you need a different voltage.  This straightener works around the world and does, I dunno, hair things.  PLEASE don’t take my word for it, take my girlfriend’s.  She takes it everywhere with her and uses it at home as well.

6. Skin care nonsense: Cocoa Butter Lip Stuff – $6

Link to Amazon

I don’t like Chapstick or those similar gloopy products.  This cocoa butter stuff looks like a glue stick from back when you were in elementary school but keeps everything organized and skin-cared on long flights.  Plus it’s kinda chocolate-y, so win win.

7. Rick Steves’s Travel as a Political Act – $17

Link on Amazon

I don’t like discussing politics, despite having very strong political beliefs, but this book is a must-read for every traveler.  Widely-loved travel author and host Rick Steves shares tales from around the world, and even looking at the USA from an outside perspective to broaden perspectives and help us all understand the impact we can have (or not have) simply by traveling and interacting with people and cultures different from our own.  A simple read that goes far beyond travel, in my opinion.



Happy holiday shopping!  What did I leave off that you can’t live without on the road?  Let me know in the comments below and I’ll update the post if I agree!


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