Note: This post does contain affiliate links, which means if you purchase something through one of my links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you, of course!).
It's that time of year again: time to break out the scarves and winter coats and cozy socks. Here in the northern hemisphere, winter is definitely approaching – and so are the holidays.
This Friday is Black Friday in the U.S., a day where crazy Americans flock to stores at ridiculous times of day in order to get a jump on Christmas shopping. I actually HATE the idea of Black Friday. But I don't hate sharing gift suggestions.
So I'm compromising here. Below you'll find a bunch of cool things that I think any traveler would be excited to receive this year for Christmas. But the good news is you can get all of them online – no Black Friday shopping necessary.
For everyone who always asks me what kind of camera I use to take the photos you see on my blog, here's your answer. I recently upgraded my mirrorless system to the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II (a mouthful, I know) along with a 12-40mm Pro lens. I am LOVING this new camera and lens. The lens is incredibly versatile and sharp, and the camera has just about every setting on it you could need to take fantastic travel shots. It also has a swivel screen, which helps with video, too.Buy now!
If you're looking for a pocketable camera that takes great photos but doesn't cost thousands, the Canon PowerShot S120 is a great bet. The camera is tiny, and yet packs a punch when it comes to options and photo quality. The little camera also has built-in wifi, meaning you can connect it to your smartphone for instant uploads to Facebook or Instagram.Buy now!
These days, many cameras come with built-in wifi to make it easy to transfer photos from your camera to a phone or computer on the go. However, if you camera doesn't have this capability, this SD card will allow you to do it. Slightly more expensive than your average SD card, but the wifi function really is worth it!Buy now!
Protecting a phone from drops and spills is important – it's something I'm always concerned with when traveling. But I'm also always concerned with how quickly my iPhone battery drains when I'm using it to get directions, check email, post photos to Instagram, and use Snapchat on the go. Enter the LifeProof Fre Power case – not only does it protect your phone from water, dust, and falls, but it also acts as an extra battery, meaning you can recharge on the go without carrying any extra wires around.Buy now!
In the bag
As someone who travels with a lot of tech (camera, lenses, GoPro, laptop, and more), I’m always on the lookout for the *best* carry-on bag/daypack for all my valuable gear. I upgraded to the Camsafe V25 from Pacsafe earlier this year, and have not looked back. This bag has a dedicated section for a camera and lenses, and then a separate section for everything else. It also has all the anti-theft features that Pacsafe is known for like slash-proof material and secure zippers, which draws me to it even more. Having owned two Pacsafe bags in the past, I know the quality of this bag won’t let me down.Buy now!
I SWEAR by packing cubes these days; I basically never go anywhere without them. It doesn’t matter if I’m traveling with a backpack or suitcase, I always organize my bag with packing cubes. By using these, I never have to dig through piles of clothing in my bag in order to find a particular shirt or pair of jeans – I just grab the packing cube of shirts or bottoms, and boom: easy access and no disorganized mess!
I SWEAR by packing cubes these days; I basically never go anywhere without them. It doesn’t matter if I’m traveling with a backpack or suitcase, I always organize my bag with packing cubes. By using these, I never have to dig through piles of clothing in my bag in order to find a particular shirt or pair of jeans – I just grab the packing cube of shirts or bottoms, and boom: easy access and no disorganized mess!Buy now!
For a long time, I swore by my HoboRoll – a compartmentalized cylindrical bag with openings at both ends. It was great for packing things like underwear, socks, etc. Now, Gobi Gear has launched the SegSac – like the HoboRoll, but with an opening at just one end. With four internal compartments, this little guy is the perfect complement to my packing cubes.Buy now!
We’ve all experienced questionable sleeping situations on the road. A silk sleep sheet is the answer – it acts like a lightweight sleeping bag, meaning you don’t have to actually touch those sketchy sheets or mattresses, and you can keep cool in any warm-weather camping situations. These also take up virtually NO space in your bag, making it a no-brainer to pack. I’m currently in the very early stages of planning a trip to Africa next year, and this is already on my packing list.Buy now!
One thing I try to do to be kind to the environment when traveling is to take a reusable water bottle with me. But most reusable bottles take up a decent amount of space in a bag. Thankfully, I discovered the Stash by Hydrapak recently, which is a collapsible water bottle that was made for travelers.Buy now!
For the home
Want a way to show off some of your favorite places in the world? These throw pillows by Airportag are perfect. They have dozens of international airports represented, as well as US states and popular travel quotes. They even have “airport codes” for fictional places, like King's Landing.Buy now!
For the blogger/writer in your life
Get a jump on that New Year's resolution you know you'll make about starting a travel blog. Travel Blog Success is the most comprehensive course out there about travel blogging, covering everything from launching a blog to driving traffic to how to eventually monetize it. Joining the course also gets you access to an exclusive Facebook group, which I honestly think is worth the course price in and of itself.Buy now!
If you're beyond the basics when it comes to travel blogging, check out Bloggers, Brands and Tourism Boards: A Guide to Successful Pitching. This course (written by yours truly!) is the next step in treating your blog like a business. The course is filled with in-depth tips, interviews, sample pitches, and more to help prepare you to set up kickass partnerships with travel brands and tourism boards.Buy now!
Curious about how you can go beyond the blog and break into freelance travel writing? Well then Bloggers to Bylines: A Guide to Freelance Writing might be for you. This course covers everything from the writing itself to how to pitch your story ideas to both online and print publications.Buy now!
Which of these would YOU most like to find under the tree on Christmas morning?