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What travel gifts did you get for the holidays?

Just curious what travel gear everyone received for the holidays (I love to live vicariously through other people's gifts). I wasn't expecting much in the way of travel gear but my daughter evidently decided to shop around for some fun travel items and I love everything they got me!

  1. Fitkicks Live Well footwear, which is casual fitted footwear made out of knit fabric (with a rubber sole) that you can wear on an airplane, or hotel or while exercising and so on. I tried them on and they are very comfy and flexible.

  2. Baggallini On-the-Go Sunglasses pouch - it opens up like a glasses case (bending), but has an attached carabiner and an attached zippered pouch as well.

  3. World Map Laundry Bag, which has a compact built-in pouch and carabiner.

  4. High & Dry quick-wicking microfiber scrunchie and headband duo that works to pull water from the hair roots and ends. You can also use it to keep your hair free during your skin-care routine.

  5. And a small (3" x 1.75") hard travel case made by Kikkerland that is very cute and would be handy for storing things that you don't want damaged or lost (it's a colorful plaid). Maybe AirPods or jewelry?

Posted by
260 posts

I received a set of packing cubes. I’ve never used them before but have been curious about them for awhile as so many people rave about them on this forum. Looking forward to trying them on my next trip to the Netherlands and Belgium in April.
I also receives a map of the world where you scratch off the countries that you’ve visited, 18 and counting. 😃

Posted by
7347 posts

Wow, Mardee, Santa was good to you this year!

I didn’t get anything travel related, but I did buy three UK adapters yesterday, and our living room coffee table is currently covered this week with a large homemade calendar with a post-it for each day to facilitate discussions with my husband for our next trip.

Where are you planning to use your fun gifts in 2023?

Posted by
6613 posts

sboh, you will love your packing cubes! It took me awhile to use them but now I'm a convert! And what a cool map! Hmmm, my birthday is coming up in a few months... 🤣

Jean, that's a good idea about the post-it notes! I've been putting my plans on hold till the holidays were over but now I can get back to it. I'm going to Naples, FL for 2 weeks the end of January and then I'm heading to Scotland in May for 3 weeks - can't wait! How about you? What's your next trip?

Posted by
8732 posts

I’m creating my 2023 travel booklet. I use a thin pocket sized day calendar from the 99cent store.

I take my subscribed magazines ( Nat Geo Traveler, Sunset and Smithsonian …all gift subscriptions from friends) and start cutting out words and phrases. I also rip out colors from ad pages. I make a collage on the booklet cover.

I print out flight details, cut them out and tape them inside the cover. I travel with a couple of scotch tape rolls bought at the 99 cent store so through out my trips I tape business cards ( hotels, motels, restaurants, car rentals, etc ) and create a trip booklet that I can reference.

I find creating them therapeutic and over decades have referenced them to offer lodging, restaurant and shopping ideas to friends.

Posted by
14067 posts

Mardee! Fun gifts!

Thanks to your eagle-eyed shopping skills, I got myself a Longchamp Le Pliage tote which I wrapped and put under the tree to me from Santa, lol. I've already moved my winter accessories from a daypack to the tote which I always put in the car with me.

I also got:

For stocking stuffers for others I got MyMiniGrip portable bottle openers that will go on a keychain or is small enough to fit in my purse. Had trouble opening bottles in Italy in the fall and thought this would be good. So far it works well but the gripper side is sticky and I can already tell it will pick up hair and crumbs and effluvia from inside my purse.

@sboh, I agree you'll like the packing cubes. DO do some trial packs with them over the next few months ahead of your real packing for your trip. Depending on the kind you may have to fold your clothing differently for them to work best and it's easier to figure that out ahead of time.

Mardee....Jean's post it note system is something to behold, lol! I hope she'll bring it to the meet up next week!

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335 posts

We got TwelveSouth AirFlys, bluetooth adapters that allow you to use your bluetooth headphones/earbuds for in-flight movies and the tour transmitters/whispers. The wired over-the ear headsets on tours make me crazy (as do the dangling earbud wires on the plane), so I am looking forward to testing out this solution.

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6342 posts

Santa brought me a bluetooth keyboard that will work with either my Android tablet or my iphone. This is a luxury item in terms of adding weight to our bags, but it sure comes in handy for keeping up with emails and business while gone, especially on longer trips.

And I was able to provide Santa with a Portuguese grammar book to give back to me. I went ahead and bought it because it is the only one I have seen, or even found online, that focuses on European Portuguese, not Brazilian. The store only had one copy, and I wasn't taking any chances! Best of Portugal tour, here we come!

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11250 posts

We both got Apple AirPods to listen to music on our long flights.
I have traveled with packing cubes forever and could not pack without them!

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7347 posts


My husband & I are going to England & Wales for two weeks. It’s his first time there, and I’m sure a few things have changed in London since I was there in 1975! The day he flies back home, I will fly to Ljubljana for a couple of days and join the RS Best of the Adriatic tour. That’s my first time to Slovenia & Croatia.

My husband loves to play golf, so eventually we (or he) will do a trip to Scotland. He might do that with some golf buddies, so I would probably go a different month to a different country so we don’t need to leave our dog at a sitter’s home. …unless you talk me into going after you’re back from your Scotland trip! ; )

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7347 posts

@Pam, I’ll try to remember to bring the calendar next Saturday! The England/Wales days have several ideas on them; I haven’t added anything, yet, for the Slovenia/Croatia days.

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2945 posts

I got travel underwear and socks. They are lighter in weight and more more breathable than regular undergarments for added comfort when sitting for long periods of time.

Posted by
193 posts

Santa brought me a wine opener and travel stopper. Claudia, I love how you create a visual for your travels. I do something similar: a brightly colored pocket folder for each trip or possible trip. I add stickers, bling jewels, and lettering to the front of the folder to reflect the destination(s). Into the folder goes articles, notes on planning discussions, and then as we get closer, paper copies of trip arrangements. The folder comes with me, and when we get home, it goes into the file cabinet folder for "trips" each year.

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2332 posts

I got a new pair of my favorite shoes for travel, with plenty of time to get them well worn in by our trip in June. A new fleece sweatshirt. And a new dual voltage curling iron/straightener.

Posted by
101 posts

I received a few travel gifts, all of which I had put on a wish list lol. But it was a set of bags to keep swimsuits in after they're wet (useful for both my son's swim class and for our trip to the Blue Lagoon next year), a set of compression packing cubes, and a duffel bag that folds up super tiny that I am taking with us on our trip so that on the trip home we'll have room for a bunch of souvenirs (I know myself and how I shop on vacation). There's a slight possibility we'll get a medium spinner suitcase from my ILs but I'm not holding my breath.

As for travel gifts I gave - a Rockland carry on suitcase for my husband in his favorite color (orange), a neck wallet for my brother and one for my FIL, and Travelon purses (two different styles) for my SIL and MIL. Oh and I gave my son and my nieces kids travel guides to London and Paris for our trip next year, and scavenger hunt books for those two cities as well.

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4196 posts

My kids must think I like to travel. I got a collapsible water bottle, one of those zipper pocket infinity scarves, little paper coffee bags, and a 3 D viewer to put your phone in and watch travel stuff in 3 D when I am not going somewhere.

Posted by
2390 posts

Nothing gifted to me for travel this year, though thanks to your list Mardee, I just ordered some of those Fitkicks in a fun black/white pattern (on sale!). I'll replace a pair of less than satisfactory ballet flats that I wear on the plane. Happy new year to me! :)

Posted by
355 posts

I got the LL Bean Personal Organizer Toiletry Bag (small size). While I en route I have everything organized in different baggies - liquids, solids, things for the plane, etc. However I realized on the last trip that this wasn't very convenient while I am there, especially when sharing a bathroom. Now I can condense all of those baggies into one container for convenience during my trip.

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7347 posts

Linda, I have the same toiletry bag in a medium size, and I love how organized everything is in that bag! The hook is handy for several rooms that have a tiny sink and no ledge to set a normal zipper bag. I bring a collapsible silicone cup because I don’t trust that bathroom glasses are clean (watched too many videos), and it easily fits in the front zipper.

Posted by
14067 posts back up plan if people weren't inclined to use my wish list as a guide was to get on Amazon and order for myself. I'm a big believer in gifting to one's self! Especially after the enabling threads over the last few months resulted in a LOT of time being spent on "research", hahaha!!

Posted by
676 posts

I have bought myself gifts - not for traveling, but ones that remind me fondly of previous travels and make me look forward to new ones. Just received the mugs and am waiting on the calendar to arrive. Little things like these make me happy 😊

A couple of cute Paris mugs from Sur La Table.

And a really cute European wall calendar.

Posted by
6613 posts

Claudia, I LOVE that idea of a travel booklet and am planning to steal it from you! What a good idea!

Pam, oh, nice gifts! I'm planning on getting that Anker power bank but I'm going to wait till closer to May to buy it. I love that organizer and day pack! I wish I could see Jean's note system!

Rebecca, the bluetooth adapters sound very nice. I haven't been on a RS tour but I can imagine the discomfort of those.

Jane, I am seriously thinking about buying an iPad before my May trip and if I do, will probably get a keyboard to go with it. Have fun in Portugal!

Suki, I love my Apple AirPods - I use them constantly, but they are especially good for not only music, but for talking on the phone. The sound quality is very good and beats holding the phone up to your ear.

Jean, that will be a wonderful trip - I love England and Wales! I'm planning a trip there probably in 2024. And your second trip sounds great - have fun! I will definite post a trip report when I get from Scotland - I'm very excited about it.

Trotter, nice! I have one pair but they're not that great. Maybe it's time for a new pair.

BigMike, really? I had no idea there was such a thing. That's intriguing.

KC, I love your travel folder ideas, too! So many creative people here!

travel4fun, what are your favorite shoes? I always like knowing stuff like that. I have two pair of mine (Oboz) but I would not be averse to buying another pair.

Kristi, I want to be on your Christmas gift list next year. :) Those are very nice and thoughtful gifts - that's a great idea to give travel guides for trip.

TexasTravelmom, Ha, your kids and my daughter! Those gifts sound very neat! What are the little paper coffee bags for?

CL, I think you will love those Fitkicks! I'm already planning on asking for another pair for my birthday in March. They are so comfortable! Yes, I went the ballet flats route for my trip this year and never again. I would up leaving them behind.

Linda, good idea! I love my toiletry bag (from Tom Bihn). Although I did have to take everything out and put it in a zip lock bag at CDG this year - but luckily I'm not flying into CDG on my next trip.

Especially after the enabling threads over the last few months resulted in a LOT of time being spent on "research", hahaha!!


Posted by
6613 posts

Julie, those mugs and that calendar are very nice! I would buy the mug for my sister, who loves Paris, but she doesn't drink coffee or tea. 🙄

Posted by
2794 posts

Santa brought me
* a cute plaid tote/personal item, but I'm afraid his sleigh has more room under the seat than United allows. We'll see if the tote is too large when I do a test pack.
*a 12oz water bottle with strap to snap onto my XS purse.
*gift cards for Amazon, also Visa gift cards; I'm sure there's something travel related I will find.

Non-travel related, Santa helped me order new chairs for the family room. And he'll will enjoy the sparkle from the five Waterford ornaments I ordered for next year's Christmas trees (1/2 off sale).

Posted by
14067 posts

Ohhh Julie…I love those mugs!

Posted by
2945 posts

Thanks, Mardee, but getting socks and underwear for Christmas is like taking a tepid bath with a bar of soap. Just blah. I had to maximize my acting skills to look happily surprised.

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323 posts

I received a few of these great books for travel
coming up and also a couple “dream travel” spots. I think these are great for a first time traveler that prefers creative wandering as opposing to “checking the boxes” or a seasoned traveler to these spots. They are very fun books. I use them to create my own itinerary for some unique experiences.

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7347 posts

Mardee, I’ll describe the planning calendar system since I can’t attach a photo. I’m a very visual person and also very methodical & organized (former engineer), so it’s reflected in this “tool”.

I take four pieces of printer paper and tape them on the edges together to make one 22” wide by 17” tall piece of paper. I mark off 3” wide by 4”tall grids to create 7 blocks across by 4 tall with a top header of each day-of-the-week. Each day number, i,e, May 14 would get a 14 is written inside the top of each grid box. Then I use a set of brightly colored 3x3” Post-Its. If we’re in London for 4 days, all of those will be the same color. By adjacent color changes, I can see how often I am switching locations.

I write the name of the city with a thick kids’ marker in the center of the Post-It. The area above the city name is for my lodging. When I have a place reserved, I will write the name of the hotel on it. Later, I go through my reservation sites, such as and confirm with a checkmark that I haven’t cancelled that reservation.

The area below the city name is for any ideas for that specific day. When I’m first planning, I might write “British Museum” on one of the London Post-Its. As I research & gather more ideas, I will look up which days of the week they’re open and mark it next to it. From there, it’s easy to pick up the Post-Its and switch around days. This is made to be quick & up-to-date, so it’s common for me to cross out some activities and replace some Post-Its if they’re hard to read. I also may write some notes on the blank days as extra reminders.

What I really appreciate is that I can glance at the entire sheet and see if I have all of my lodging reserved. Also, do I have a nice balance of activities? For instance, for England, I really want to see some English gardens. But, do I have them all bunched into the front of the itinerary? Or do I have too many listed. This makes it easy to see, and I will sometimes color-code the activities in different marking pen colors, too, to see “gardens” or “art museums” or “biking”. I also add a large green checkmarks for anything that I bought tickets ahead of time. The only info I don’t put on this is my train ticket info. By the time I’m purchasing train tickets, I have loaded this info into TripIt or my Excel spreadsheet (some years I prefer one over the other).

This sits on my desk in my office with my iPad to the side and any printed info I need as my working/research for several months.

Posted by
9710 posts

Julie — those mugs are absolutely adorable. Which ones did you get ? The Montmartre one and another one?

Jean — thank you so much for writing up your notes-making / planning system. You made it very easy to understand, which is not easy to do!

I have done something a little similar, but using those long skinny “page-marker” type post-its, where I would write the name of an activity or site separately on each one and then move them from day to day until I felt they were well balanced (in accordance also with opening days of course !).

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6613 posts

horsewoofie, nice gifts - and purchases! I have a friend who buys a Waterford ornament every year - they are lovely.

BigMike, I actually like getting socks for Christmas but I agree it's not the most exciting thing in the world. So far no one has bought me any underwear, though. I'm not sure what kind of reaction I would have if they did. 🤣

lisa g, I've never seen those books before, but what a nice gift! I might check out that Scotland one!

Jean, thank you for that detailed explanation! It looks like a wonderful system and I think I need something like that! Especially for lodging - I have a bad habit of forgetting to double-check lodging arrangements. One time I arrived in Munich and went to my hotel, only to find that I had forgotten to confirm the reservation. 😩 Luckily, I was still able to get a room but at a much higher price (sigh).

Kim, I am in awe of you and Jean for coming up with something like that and I can't wait to try it! I have some errands to run today so I think I will pick up some post-it supplies while I'm out.

Posted by
989 posts

My trip this year is a cruise to Alaska and I got some lightweight binoculars to take along for viewing wildlife. Pretty amazing how much you can see in them, but very hard to test out when you are surrounded by houses and don’t want to appear to be looking in neighbors’ windows. : D I also got a multiplug/usb non-surge device recommended for a cruise.

Posted by
82 posts

Sadly, I did not get any travel gifts, but I did give some. I have a few friends who like to go hiking vacation spots (mountains, desserts, etc.) so I gave Kula cloths (pee cloths for women) to them and they were thrilled with them.. I also gave some silk eye masks to some who fly a great deal as well as journals to be used to record their travel experiences. However, I did get a Kula cloth and a journal for myself. The Kula cloth can snap to the outside of a hiker's daypack and snaps up for sanitary purposes. I have not had a chance to use mine yet as I am still dealing with surgery from my torn meniscus but as soon as I am cleared for that, I plan to take it with me on my next outside outing.