The Best Unique Travel Gifts for Your Globetrotting Friend

Every friend group has that one buddy who can compare the coffee from coast to coast, drop the names of obscure cities in the Ozarks, and has probably made out on an Emirates flight. They’re busy. They’re worldly. They’re a lot of things, but they’re mostly always traveling.

What do you give the person who spends half of their week in transit? When your world is whatever space your Amtrak cabin allows, you have to be choosy with your schlepping; when you’re moving in-between airports, metros, and everything else on wheels, it’s hard not to turn into this guy: 

We would like to help, because either you’re the one reading this on a JetBlue flight (IYKYK) who deserves a silky eye mask, or one of your pals is about to fly down to the Men in Music Business Conference, down in Orlando, and they’re only 19, so they’re going to need a better rolly suitcase. Whether you’re looking for the best travel gifts for men, women, boyfriends, bosses, moms, doms, or space-exploring billionaires (a reality check, perhaps?), here’s a list of our top picks for the best and most unique travel gifts. Bon voyage.  

The Best Luggage Gifts

If your traveling friend is still using the athletic bag they were issued in high school as their primary luggage situation, it’s time for some zhuzhing. Away makes arguably the dopest bags in the game right now, with an emphasis on taking the “lug” out of luggage. The Everywhere Bag and F.A.R Duffle 55L are on sale right now, and swoll with compartments for safely stashing all of their stuff as they dash to their gate.

The GOAT. Away’s signature carry-on comes in 11 colorways, including this deep electric blue rolly from its Y2K-inspired collection, which makes a sassy nod to “the frost and gloss of the early 2000s.” It has a durable exterior, a compression pad for clothes, and wheels that spin out in every direction (so your giftee won’t have to).

Is your traveler always busy sipping something, and looking to charge their phone? Wrangler makes some super-affordable smart luggage, which has not only a USB port, but a cup holder for your airport Starbucks oat-milk chai. And you can snag it for under a hundred bucks, in non-boring colors like burnt orange and olive green. 

This is slick little carry-on is one of Amazon’s best-sellers, and it boasts a 4.6-star average rating from over 2,100 reviews. As one fan writes, “Bottom line, this is an excellent option for the money,” because it’s lightweight, expandable, and equipped with multi-directional double spinner wheels.

Can you have a crush on a suitcase? Floyd’s carry-on is a 1970s dream. Just look at that golden, honey mustard shell and those cherry-colored wheels. It’s even lined with satin [swoon].

The Best Luggage Tags

Your pal likely has a vaccine card case or two at this point in the pandemic, but they could always use another snazzy luggage tag to help them spot their precious cargo/keep it secret, keep it safe. Opt flames, neon, or any pattern that will stand out at baggage claim/whilst they pound down a margarita at The Filling Station at LAX.

The Best Portable Alarm Clocks

Look, we know you’re about to remind us that wE cAn JusT uSe ThE onE oN oUr PhoNes, but look at how sick these are! Plus, you’ll give your giftee peace of mind knowing that these will still ring if you fell asleep without charging your phone. Maybe it’s the seafoom green colorway, but this Peakeep Battery Travel Alarm Clock feels like it would be a comforting thing to see on your nightstand when you rise and grind

A Clip-On Camera Lens for Zoom Calls and Travel Photography

Two bummers in life: looking like shit on video calls, and realizing how quickly camera phone photos feel dated when you revisit shots from your 2014 trip to Tokyo and realize they look like pixelated garbage. One solution to rule them all: a clip-on lens that you can use on both your webcam and your cell to instantly widen perspective and improve image quality. 

The Best CBD Tincture for Traveling

One VICE editor tried this mellow CBD tincture by Standard Dose, which is like the Glossier/Goop of CBD, and concluded that 1) It tastes vaguely like butter, and 2) doesn’t feel over or underwhelming. It’s a potential lifesaver for nervous flyers, jet lag, and generally mellowing out in stressful circumstances. 

The Best Sleep Masks for Travel

The right eye mask will help you sleep in a train, plane, automobile, hotel bathtub, or floor of your friend’s apartment on a particularly noisy block of Bed-Stuy. A massive chunk of the VICE shopping team owns the Brooklinen eye mask. It’s so silky, you might try to drink it, but just coddle your peepers with it to pretend you’re still in bed when you’re on your second layover. 

Blissy makes an equally smooth Mulberry mask in silver that says, “Take one breath in, and one breath out.” 

The Best Crossbody Travel Bags

We don’t know about y’all, but we lose, like, four water bottles and at least one pair of earbuds a year—and we’re not proud of it. Who knows where our items of past lie? Not us. Anyway, a little crossbody bag is the ideal way to keep even more of your stuff strapped to your chest and within reach without bringing (another) carry-on on the plane.

The best lightweight personal bags

No one is asking, but if you want a hot tip from our team that is based on years of schlepping around JFK with bags that are heavier than their contents: go for a lightweight “personal item” bag. Your back will thank you. Those gift-with-purchase tote bags are fine, but not ideal for withstanding spilled water bottles and getting hoisted through security. That, my friend, is what über lightweight and easily packable puffer matieral is for. We’re down to clown with anything on the P Train, and are especially smitten with these bags; the wildly spensi and gorgeous ERL tote reminds us of our last spiritual trip, and the Eillys puffer shoulder bag is pure softboi Minecraft sorcery.

The Best Portable Face Misters

Getting your face Jungle Cruise-levels of misted and moisturized feels amazing, but no one tells you that water, for all of its literal wetness, will just end up drying out your face even more. The French skincare brand Caudalie, however, has made a mini mister that uses antioxidant-rich grape water instead to keep you looking as glowy and fresh as Dionysus on a spa day. 

If you have especially oily skin, Tower28’s refreshing facial spray uses hypochlorous acid, which your body naturally creates to fight skin flare-ups and bacteria. The SOS spray has also received the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance, so you know it will still be gentle.

The Best Portable Chargers

We won’t talk later, Brad. We’re finishing this conversation right now, because we gave you not one but two portable chargers in this bundle, which is the JUICE. As one reviewer writes, “These charged a total of four cell phones quickly off a single charge. Plenty of battery left for us to be able to take pictures of the fireworks at the end of the evening.” 

You may not be able to lend your boo a hand when they’re travelling out about in the world, but you can lend them a paw. Cheers to a unique—and adorable—travel gift.

The Best Tech Travel Bag

Chargers, power banks, cords, dongles… does it ever end, people?!??!?! Probably not [sobbing emoji] which is why this smart tech case can help a traveler save a lot of time in hunting down converters and cables. 

The Best Noise-Canceling Wireless Headphones

There are a lot of great headphones and earbuds out there, depending on what you’re looking for: booming bass, a soundtrack for running, a steady stream of white noise (or nothingness). This set of wireless headphones is not only affordable, but approved by VICE editor Hilary Pollack. As she writes in this VICE article, “I truly love that they show you how much battery life you have left right on the case, and that they pair so easily with my phone, computer, and even gym equipment (and to reiterate, they’re THIRTY BUCKS!). No wonder they have 23,000+ reviews on Amazon”

If you’re ready to splurge on your traveling gnome, AirPods Pro are the GOAT. They’re spensi, sure, but your giftee will be using these every day.

Of course, if you’re on a tighter budget (or this is a more casual relationship), you’ve still got unique travel gift options that feel swanky but don’t cost a lot of money—like this combo headphone-eye-mask, which is pretty much genius and has more than 8,000 enthusiastically positive reviews. 

The Best Travel Cocktail Kit

Whether your friend needs a stiffener because they get a little nervous in the air, or they just like to knock one back to help them drift off before they hit cruising altitude, each of these W&P Design Carry On cocktail sets is TSA-compliant and contains everything you need to mix two top-shelf drinks without getting a beverage cart smashed into your knee.  

The Best Discreet Sex Toys

In case you haven’t been paying attention, we’re huge stans of traveling with sex toys. Anecdotally, TSA has never whipped out any of our big ass dildos whilst we go through airport security, but sometimes, you don’t have space in your luggage for Big Bertha. That’s where discreet sex toys cum in handy—take this Dame Fin finger vibrator, for example. It’s the size of your pinkie, and comes with an optional tether that attaches to your finger for added control. Or, perhaps you’d rather bring along the We-Vibe Bond Remote Vibrating Penis Ring for some spank sessions in the local Marriott? After all, it’s waterproof, rechargeable, and has 10 intensity levels that’ll get you off before continental breakfast, with time to spare.

Safe travels.

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.

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