Frequent travelers need the right gear to help make their journeys more comfortable, efficient and enjoyable. If you’re wondering what to buy for the frequent traveler in your life this holiday season, look no further.
We’ve pulled together some of the best holiday gifts for frequent travelers, from cameras and headphones to skin care, pillowcases, personalized gifts and beyond. Whether you’re looking for a holiday present for a frequent flyer, road trip warrior, budget backpacker or luxury hotel enthusiast, there’s a gift on this list for your favorite wanderer.
From $50 at Dagne Dover
Although hanging makeup and toiletry kits are all the rage, we love this alternative bucket pouch toiletry holder. It offers a removable liner, different separators and mesh pockets to store your liquids upright for easy access and no spillage. From bottles to makeup brushes, razors to creams, the bag can fit all kinds and shapes of toiletries and even features spots to zip jewelry or hair ties into the lid. Too big? It comes in a smaller option for $50 — ideal for a carry-on, too.
$249 $234 at Amazon
Travelers don’t necessarily need massive headphones to cancel out irritating noise on a plane in order to enjoy their music or a podcast. The Apple AirPods Pro 2 are compact enough to store in a pocket, purse or any kind of travel bag. This newest model claims to offer active noise cancellation that’s twice as good as the previous generation’s — and in our experience, that’s definitely the case. These small but mighty wireless headphones are a great option for any traveler.
$85 at July
Packing cubes are a necessity for any traveler. These sturdy cubes won’t lose their shape, even after numerous trips and several washes. The eight-pack of cells comes with four different-sized cubes to fit distinct types of clothing, footwear and accessories. For those that swear by July suitcases, these cubes were designed to fit perfectly inside the brand’s trolley bags, though they’ll also fit nicely into most types of roller bags. We love that they’re also available in four different colors — charcoal black, forest green, snow white and sky blue — and feature a mesh top to easily view what’s inside each of the cubes.
CNN Underscored Best Tested
$274 at Away
Any traveler needs a quality companion in the form of a roller carry-on bag. The Away Carry-On won our title of best overall hard-shell carry-on luggage in our testing because it offers the complete package: durability, thoughtful organization, smart design features and a chic look that can fit any traveler’s style. (It’s offered in eight different colors!) Plus, at a competitive price point, this bag will become your traveler’s favorite accessory. And if that traveler in your life is a notorious overpacker, consider Away’s The Bigger Carry-On for $295, which can fit more while also still fitting into most airlines’ overhead bins.
$65 at Paravel
Paravel is one of our favorite travel brands, and this backpack is one of Oprah’s favorite things, too. Not only are Paravel’s products cute, durable and practical, but they’re also made with sustainability in mind. This Fold-Up Backpack, as the name suggests, folds flat for easy storage when at home or to pack inside a suitcase. But when exploring a new destination or treading through the airport, the bag expands and features two zip pockets and can fit a day’s worth of essentials, including a 15-inch laptop. The backpack comes in six colors and can be monogrammed with your favorite traveler’s initials for an additional $15. It also comes in a mini size for $45.
$60 at Monos
This functional kit from Monos actually works as many different items in one — a travel wallet, handbag, passport holder, cord organizer, amenity kit, e-book holder and beyond. With all sorts of diverse storage spaces, loops and pockets, this versatile vegan leather kit makes for the ideal travel companion. The best part? It easily attaches to both the Metro Backpack and Metro Duffle for a mix-and-match situation that can benefit any type of traveler.
$27 at Amazon
Travelers won’t be able to contain their wanderlust when flipping through this coffee table book that includes 225 of the world’s most incredible places. From tropical rainforests to ancient ruins to deserted islands, these magnificent photos showcase some of the world’s most epic destinations.
CNN Underscored Best Tested
$60 at Amazon or Ostrichpillow
This travel neck pillow is an absolute game-changer. It’s made from a high-density memory foam material and topped with a silky-soft, jersey-like fabric. In our testing, what we loved most about the Go Neck pillow was its 360-degree design that fastens with a Velcro strap to keep your neck from slouching forward or from side to side. It’s easy to carry, too, as the pillow compresses to 60% of its size for easy transport.
From $26 at Amazon
Hand sanitizer is a must when it comes to travel, but it doesn’t have to be boring, smell bad or dry out your skin. Noshinku’s sanitizer mist is small enough to pass through airport security regulations. The blend uses essential oils and alcohol derived from organic cane sugar to soften and sanitize hands simultaneously. The Noshinku four-pack is the perfect stocking stuffer, complete with eucalyptus, bergamot, spice and lavendula scents.
$56 at Hotel Lobby Candle
For some, hotels are simply a place to get a quick night of shuteye. For others, hotels are a lifestyle. Enter Hotel Lobby Candles, a brand created by travel and lifestyle influencer Lindsay Silberman. A scent from the Cities collection (Paris Nuit, Miami or New York) is perfect for any travelers longing for a luxury hotel experience from their favorite city they can emulate in their very own home.
CNN Underscored Best Tested
$379 at Amazon
Although we love our Apple AirPods, sometimes you just need a big pair of noise-canceling headphones, especially apt for tuning out of the rest of the world. This set from Bose took our title as the best noise-canceling over-hear headphones thanks to terrific noise-canceling capabilities and a slimmed-down, chic design. Check out our review of them here.
CNN Underscored Best Tested
$20 $15 at Amazon
Although there are many affordable and functional options on the market, this sleep mask from Mavogel is our best overall pick. Sleep can be so elusive — especially on long flights or in unfamiliar hotels — so your favorite traveler will love this premium, no-pressure cotton mask. It fully blacks out all the light while feeling comfortable around the eyes.
From $89 at Amazon
Keep skin and hair looking soft, silky and smooth while traveling with the Slip Silk Pillowcase. Made from 100% Pure 22 Momme Mulberry Silk, the case can be slipped over any hotel pillow or used to make any other travel or sleep situation just a little more comfortable.
$59 at Amazon
Jet lag may affect you, but it doesn’t have to affect your (or your favorite traveler’s) skin — at least not if you’re applying the Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask. It hydrates and soothes parched, tired skin using ingredients like hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. The vegan, cruelty-free product can be used as an overnight mask or as a moisturizer during a long flight. See more of our favorite beauty gifts here.
$76 at Cadence
This set of six capsules from Cadence makes it easy to tote around your favorite liquids — and even other small essential items like vitamins or rings — while traveling. The Build Your 6 set allows you to customize the colors and labels on each of the leakproof and magnetic capsules. They can stick together to create a single pod of travel necessities. Even better? The capsules are TSA-approved, so you can bring them in a carry-on bag. Read our full review of Cadence Capsules here.
$22 at Amazon
A quality TSA-approved power bank will ensure your favorite traveler’s devices stay fully charged during their travels. This slim but powerful portable power charger can charge an iPhone 12 just more than two times. At just more than $20, this is a great product to ensure any traveler can access hours of music streaming, map-following and much more.
$628 at Amazon
The Canon PowerShot’s easy-to-use point-and-shoot options mean even those who aren’t photographically savvy can snap great memories. It comes in a bundle with a memory card, spare battery, camera case, tripod and more, making it the perfect option for a budding photographer on the go.
$29 $26 at Amazon
Most oenophile travelers want to bring wine home when on vacation. But suitcase wine breakage is real, and getting home with wine bottles in one piece can be difficult. This set of six WineHero reusable plastic bubble wrap bags made from flexible, durable PVC plastic and heavy-duty lock seals ensures vino arrives home intact.
$195 at Augustinus Bader
This cult beauty brand that’s a favorite of celebrities, dermatologists and beauty bloggers uses TFC8 (a Trigger Factor Complex) to nourish skin and promote cellular turnover. The technology was originally created by studying burn-damaged skin and finding ways to renew it. The kit includes travel sizes of cleansing gel, serum and cream to moisturize, restore and renew dry, fatigued or jetlagged skin.
From $9 at Amazon
There’s a long list of benefits to wearing compression socks on long flights. From preventing swelling to deterring potential blood clots, fighting leg fatigue and more, they should be a staple in any frequent traveler’s wardrobe. This set of three pairs from Charmking is available in more than 30 different patterns and color combinations (from basic black to bold hues), so you can pick out the perfect set. They offer a formidable amount of compression while also offering breathability.
$60 $55 at Amazon
For travelers who can’t function without a quick shot of morning joe, just add ground espresso and boiling water to this mini-machine and make your own espresso. There’s no need to plug it in or use batteries, just give it a few pumps and you’ll be caffeinated in no time.
CNN Underscored Best Tested
$57 at Amazon
This portable and powerful speaker from Sony won the title of the best portable Bluetooth speaker for travel in our testing. Don’t let its compact size fool you — it can produce a great sound. What we love most is that you can pair two XB13 devices together to create a stereo sound. For a traveler, this compact speaker is a no-brainer for throwing in a backpack or carry-on bag before heading off to explore a new destination.
$125 at Rains
Constructed from Rains’ signature waterproof fabric, this extra-large duffle is both functional and stylish, complete with a rolltop snap closure. The weekender bag offers a single main compartment and an exterior zip pocket for additional storage. It’s available in two colors — black or Silver Pine — and offers waterproof protection no matter where your favorite traveler ventures.
$100 for a 5-year membership at CBP
Give the gift of ease: Frequent travelers can speed through customs when returning to the US with a Global Entry membership, which also comes with TSA PreCheck. Although your favorite traveler actually has to apply for the membership themself, you can foot the bill by using your credit card to pay for it. The best part? If you have travel credit cards like the Capital One Venture Credit Card, the Platinum Card® from American Express or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, this “gift” will actually be fully credited to your statement, as these cards come with a Global Entry fee credit.
$38 at Amazon or LifeStraw
Staying hydrated on the go is a necessity for any traveler. This is the water bottle that we think every traveler — from camper to backpacker and even luxury traveler — should have. That’s because it’s got a built-in filter so you can fill it up from just about any water source and know you’re drinking clean water. Plus, you can fold it up inside any carry-on bag for easy transport since it’s fully collapsible. You can read our full review of it here.
$46 at Amazon
The ideal gift for architecture and design buffs who also love to travel, “The Hotel Book” showcases some of the most stunning and emblematic hotels around the United States. The hardcover book, which will sit beautifully on a coffee table, offers some seriously picturesque travel inspiration, from luxury haunts like the Amangiri to quirky, original spots like glamping cabins and vintage motels.
$200 at Monos
A stylish accessory for both personal and business travel, this water-resistant, nylon or vegan leather travel backpack comes in a variety of colors. It features plenty of storage space and can fit up to a 16-inch laptop in the dedicated outer pocket. With the included QuickSnap Modular Kit System, travelers can hook on other Monos products (see the aforementioned Monos Folio Kit) for seamless, hands-free travel. This bag is a versatile and stylish option for any traveler.
$44 at Beis
This combo travel set from Beis includes a passport holder that doubles as a wallet or cardholder, a luggage tag and a transparent pouch for storing things from liquids to snacks and anything else. The passport holder even comes with a pen and holder for filling out any customs forms or jotting down any vital information when traveling.
$45 at Away
We’re big fans of Away, from the OG roller bags to the packing cubes and the brand’s newest drop, a ’90s-inspired, bubbly and colorful collection. But one of the brand’s other products that also makes a perfect gift is The Packable Sling Bag. It can double as a shoulder sling, fanny pack or handheld bag in which you can easily slip your keys, boarding passes, passport, phone and a few other handy items. It even comes in a limited edition color, “Psych!” as well as the standard blue and black and bright color tones.
CNN Underscored Best Tested
$300 at Amazon
Traveling readers will appreciate Amazon’s Kindle Oasis, which won the title of best overall e-reader in our testing. It has warm light and page-turning technology that makes a digital reading experience feel (almost) like reading a real book. It’s apt for beach bums and adventure travelers, too, withstanding accidental immersions in the pool or drops in a muddy pond.
$20 at Amazon
Any traveler bringing jewelry along on their trip needs a safe space to store their most precious items. This travel jewelry case from Benevolence is one of Oprah’s Favorite Things of 2022 — and we can see why. The plush velvet case offers dedicated spaces to store rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets and more and can be zippered to keep jewelry safe and untangled. Plus, at just $20, this case is the perfect gifting option that won’t break the bank.
$875 at Rimowa
This polycarbonate trolley bag from Rimowa is lightweight but durable enough to withstand the stress of frequent travel. Complete with the brand’s multi-wheel system (the spin is truly magnificent, whether you’re rolling along carpeted hotel hallways or a smooth airport floor), a telescopic handle and adjustable flex dividers, this carry-on bag comes in a variety of colors and your choice of a glossy or matte finish.
From $26 at Uncommon Goods
Help your traveler track where they’ve been with this innovative scratch-off map. Scratch off each country as they’re ticked off any traveler’s bucket list for a colorful display of adventure sure to bring back terrific memories.
$38 at Amazon
This color-coded adapter set was made for anyone who frequently travels abroad. The set features four different adapters for different countries, plus a cube with two USB ports. It’s easy to find the right adapter thanks to the varying colors based on plug shape and size.
$80 $44 at Everlane
Everlane’s Tourist Shirt is the perfect fit for travelers of all kinds. It’s a cotton, loose-fitting button-down for women that’s wearable in a number of ways. Your favorite traveler can sport it all day tied over a tank, paired with jeans when touring around or dress it up at night over a dress.
$11 at Amazon
If you’re buying for someone who’s planning an international trip in the coming months, consider this versatile passport case from Melsbrinna. We like this option because not only does it fit a passport, but it also has space for documents like a boarding pass or vaccine card, credit cards, cash and even a pen, and a snap button closure keeps everything in place during transit. Plus, it comes in 10 different colors and designs to best suit any traveler’s style.
$390 at Amazon
Make any travel experience (even a middle seat) feel more luxurious with the Jet&Bo Cashmere Travel Set. The pack comes with a soft blanket, sleep mask, socks and a carrying case (all cashmere, of course). The items won’t wrinkle and will get softer with each use.
CNN Underscored Best Tested
$230 $180 at Amazon or Samsonite
This bag from Samsonite took the title as the best budget checked suitcase in our testing. At just $180 from a recognizable travel brand like Samsonite, the traveler in your life will look forward to checking a bag on all of their upcoming travels. We loved how smooth-rolling and lightweight this suitcase was, as well as how much it could fit thanks to its expandable zippers.
From $19 at Amazon
Perfect for the hedonist traveler, sway and relax anywhere in the world with the Kootek Travel Hammock. The large size fits up to two travelers and the hammock folds up into a small bag that can be easily tucked into a backpack or suitcase.
$1,158 at Amazon
The newest of the DJI Mini family, the Mini 3 Pro is a lightweight, compact drone that weighs less than 250 grams and offers 4K/60fps video and 48MP photos. With 34 minutes of air time and vertical shooting capabilities, this drone will capture all those special travel moments but still fit in a carry-on.
CNN Underscored Best Tested
$40 $26 at Amazon
Travel is no reason to skimp on dental hygiene. Consider gifting your favorite traveler this rechargeable travel toothbrush. In fact, we loved the Philips One by Sonicare so much that we gave it the title of best electric toothbrush for travel. It’s slim and compact, so it can be slipped into any travel bag and carries up to 30 days of battery life in one charge — long enough to last for most vacations.
From $35 at Groove
Even the most active or adventurous travelers may still want to accessorize. Groove rings are made from durable silicone with breathable grooves, which means you can still wear a comfortable wedding ring (or otherwise) even when hiking Everest, running the Chicago Marathon or just hopping on a long flight. The perfect gift for your partner or favorite pair of newlyweds, these rings come in pink, basic black and everything in between.
$35 $30 at Amazon
A quality travel blanket can make any journey more comfortable. This option from Eversnug is a solid one no matter if the journey involves air travel, road trips, train travel or anything in between. The micro plush blanket is a great option for keeping warm and when not in use, it can be stored in the included pouch to be used as a pillow.
Looking for a travel credit card? Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as our best travel credit cards of 2022.