Holiday gift guide: TPG’s 21 travel-friendly picks for 2021
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Editor’s note: This post has been updated with more recent information.
Each year, we curate some of our top gift picks, giving you the perfect guide for the jet setters and road warriors on your list.
Without further ado, here are TPG’s 2021 holiday gift picks:
Apple iPhone 13
This year, Apple announced a handful of travel-friendly upgrades in the iPhone 13 family, making this fan-favorite smartphone even more indispensable for those on the go. Improvements include a big battery boost, better cameras, video enhancements and more. Power users would be best off with the Pro models, which pack even more upgrades this year — namely, a dramatically enhanced display and a new telephoto lens. For everyone else, the standard iPhone 13 is our pick.
Buy: Apple, $799
Allbirds Wool Runners
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen that I have a single pair of travel shoes: Allbirds Wool Runners. I find them to be incredibly comfortable and versatile. I can wear them from the gym to meetings and dinner without compromising on style or comfort when I’m on the road. They come in a variety of models and colors, too.
Lonely Planet: Best in Travel 2022
We’ve spent nearly two years locked out of most countries. Now that the world is reopening, how about fueling your travel wanderlust with Lonely Planet’s guide to the must-visit destinations for next year? Here’s to hoping that the world becomes your oyster once again in 2022. (Editor’s note: Lonely Planet is owned by Red Ventures, which also owns The Points Guy.)
Buy: Amazon, $17.99
Barefoot Dreams CozyChic Throw
We’ve all been spending much more time at home this year, so look no further than the CozyChic Throw if your couch could use an upgrade. This throw blanket receives rave reviews from the team at TPG, with some staffers saying that it’s the softest blanket they’ve ever experienced.
Buy: Barefoot Dreams, $147
Drunk Elephant The Little Kits
My knowledge of skincare products is primarily limited to the small samples that you’ll find in airline amenity kits. So, I turned to my TPG colleagues, who overwhelmingly recommended the Drunk Elephant travel-size essentials bundle. Packed with cleansers, serums and creams, it’ll keep the traveler on your list looking fresh, even stepping off a long-haul flight.
Buy: Amazon, $90
At $29, an AirTag is one of Apple’s more affordable devices — but it’s also one that can save you a ton of money too. These item trackers are a handy insurance policy against lost and misplaced wallets and keys, and they’ve even helped me locate my checked bags through the Find My app. When you’re nearby, you can play a sound on your AirTag, and the latest iPhone models even support precision finding, guiding you directly to your missing item. It’s a no-brainer for the forgetful person in your life.
Buy: Apple, $90
Leather Passport and Vaccine Card Holder
This year’s hottest new travel accessory is your vaccine card. It’s essential to keep your certificate in a safe, clean space, ready to display whenever you’re globe-trotting. Carrying it together with your passport will help minimize the chances of misplacing or inadvertently damaging it.
Buy: Etsy, $10
DJI Mini 2 drone
This drone made its debut in last year’s gift guide, and it’s back for another holiday season. While I’ve long been a fan of DJI’s drones, the Mini 2 has the broadest appeal, both for travelers and recreational users. At 249 grams, it’s pretty portable and is just shy of the FAA’s 250-gram limit, allowing you to fly it without prior registration. It packs some serious chops into its small package: three-axis stabilization, 4K video, 31 minutes of flight time and up to a 10km range for video transmission. This is a small but mighty drone.
Buy: Amazon, $449
Junior Flight Logbook
If you are shopping for kids who are budding aviation enthusiasts, you might want to get them started with their first flight logbook. In it, they can record 20 flights, with details such as aircraft type and flight time. There’s a separate boys and girls version, too.
Buy: Junior Frequent Flyer, $14.99
Disney’s 50th Anniversary Memorabilia
This year, Disney World celebrates 50 years of making memories with a collection of merchandise geared at Disney fans. There are throwback pins, patches, shirts and more with a 1971-themed take on modern-day goodies. There’s even a $500, three-tiered 50th-anniversary box, packed with everything from 1971 reproduction maps and tickets to limited-edition commemorative pins, coins, a MagicBand and more.
Buy: ShopDisney, $9.99+
Hotel Lobby Candle
Founded by friend-of-the-site Lindsay Silberman, Hotel Lobby Candle creates hand-poured soy candles inspired by the familiar scents at top five-star hotels. You can bring the hotel lobby aroma into your home, even if you aren’t traveling as much these days. Full-size candles are 9.75 ounces and have a 65-hour burn time.
Buy: HLC, $54
Satechi Foldable Aluminum Stand
Did you know that you can use an iPad as an external display for a Mac computer? Whenever I’m away from the office and need some extra screen real estate, my iPad always becomes my go-to monitor. With Satechi’s portable device stand, you can place your iPad at the perfect viewing angle to comfortably add a second display for your Mac computer.
Buy: Amazon, $39.99
Hydro Flask My Hydro Water Bottle
The travel industry is working to become more environmentally conscious, and we can do our part, too. Hydro Flask’s reusable water bottles have been a favorite of mine — they’re durable and come in various colors. Now, with the MyHydro program, you can design your custom bottle by picking the color of the strap, cap, bottle and boot — and you can even add personalized engraving.
Buy: Hydro Flask, $38
Dagne Dover Ace Fanny Pack
As I’ve been traveling around, I’ve seen more and more people using a fanny pack to keep their wallets, passports and other essentials on their person. Though I haven’t yet succumbed to the trend, Dagne Dover’s model is a TPG favorite — it has plenty of space and even two hidden pockets to store your most essential items securely.
Buy: Dagne Dover, $90
Apple’s AirPods continue to be my go-to pick for in-ear headphones. With a redesigned bud and charging case, dramatically improved audio quality and longer battery life, Apple’s third-generation AirPods ($179) pack a host of pro-level improvements. However, these buds are missing a critical travel-focused feature — active noise cancellation — which will keep me (and other road warriors) using Apple’s more expensive AirPods Pro ($249). Either way, you can’t go wrong with AirPods.
Buy: Apple, $249
Peloton App Membership
A group of TPGers (myself included) purchased at-home Peloton bikes during the pandemic (follow our tag #ThePointsGuy). Now that I’m on the road again, I’ve turned to the company’s mobile app for staying fit at the hotel gym, thanks to the robust library of running, high intensity, yoga and stretching classes. Access to the entire library is included with a bike membership or purchased separately for $12.99 a month with no hardware requirement.
Buy: Peloton, $12.99
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
Many of us have spent more time on our devices than ever. Instead of streaming the latest show, I’ve made it a priority to read more in the coming year. With Amazon’s new Kindle Paperwhite, you can bring a library of books around the world with you in an easy-to-carry device. Thanks to a new 6.8-inch anti-glare display, nearly two-month battery life and waterproofing, reading on the go has never been easier.
Buy: Amazon, $139.99
Anker PowerCore Battery Pack
We’ve all been there — your battery dies while you’re doing something important. I’ve long been a fan of Anker’s line of portable power banks, and I’ve recently been using the PowerCore 20000 PD during my travels. With USB-C support, I can charge all my gadgets for hours on end when I’m away from an outlet.
Buy: Amazon, $66.99
Dyson hair products
I first stumbled upon a Dyson hairdryer in the newly reopened American Airlines Flagship Lounge, and I didn’t make much of it at the time. However, as I compiled the guide, I received rave reviews from travelers and TPG employees who pack Dyson hair products during longer trips. Sure, these appliances are a splurge – but they’re well worth it, both at home and on the road.
Buy: Dyson, $429.99+
The Cocktail Box Kits
With one of these travel-friendly cocktail kits, grabbing your favorite drink while you’re on the road (or having a night in) has never been easier. Each tin box is stocked with all the necessary ingredients (liquor excluded) to whip up three drinks, though you can squeeze out up to 25 cocktails if you replenish the sugar cubes from your own stash. Choose from various popular beverages, and remember to never consume your own alcohol while on a plane.
Buy: Amazon, $22.99
Belkin Wemo Smart Plugs
Did you forget to turn off the lights before heading out? What about turning on the air conditioning before arriving home? With Belkin’s Wemo smart plugs, you can transform any outlet into an internet-enabled switch. The plugs connect to your Wi-Fi network and seamlessly integrate with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. You can then schedule lights and devices and even enable several lights to switch on and off to make it look like you’re home while you’re on the road.
Buy: Amazon, $24.31
Featured photo by ArtMarie/Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.