Holiday gift guide: TPG’s 19 travel-friendly picks for 2020
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The holiday season officially kicks off this week with Black Friday and many of us are now drafting those holiday gift lists and trying to figure out what to give. If you’re looking for some fun — and travel-friendly — gifts for the jet setter on your list, look no further.
Here are TPG’s 2020 holiday gift picks!
Apple iPhone 12
Over the past few years, Apple’s smartphone series has become the go-to for most travelers I know. Personally, I’ve used the Pro as my primary smartphone and camera, but this time around, the standard model offers an almost identical list of features. Notable Pro-level upgrades include a telephoto cam, bringing the rear camera array to three, plus more base storage (128GB vs. 64GB) and a stainless steel finish (vs. aluminum for the base model), but if you can get by without that zoom cam, you’re good to go with the standard iPhone 12. Buy: Apple, $799
Snap up a discounted Clear membership for the traveler that wants to save more time at the airport in 2021. Clear uses eye and facial biometrics to quickly screen travelers at airports as well as guests at stadiums across the country. That means no fumbling for ID or touching germy kiosks. Save $50 on an annual Clear membership for yourself or someone on your gift list. While the annual membership normally costs $179, you can purchase it for just $129 using the promo code: TPG129. Buy: Clear, $129/year using the promo code TPG129.
InBooze Cocktail Infusion Kits
Many of us have honed our mixology skills during the pandemic, but it still doesn’t hurt to have a professional lend a hand. InBooze’s infusion kits make it easy to spruce up your cocktails, with each $15 set making up to 10 drinks. Left alone for a few days, the dehydrated fruit, herbs and spices do their work to add flavor to your choice of liquor, simplifying the cocktail-making process — as long as you have enough time to wait. Buy: InBooze, $15
Lonely Planet: Ultimate Travel List 2
While most of the world remains off-limits to Americans, that won’t always be the case. It’s time to dream about where we want to go, even if this isn’t the right time to visit. Lonely Planet’s latest roundup of the “500 best places to visit on the planet” features highlights near top destinations all around the world, from Albania to Zimbabwe. There are plenty of U.S. gems to discover, too, including national parks like Denali and Acadia, and other must-visit attractions, such as Disney World and the French Quarter in New Orleans. Buy: Amazon, $25
Google Pixel 5
I’ve always toyed with the idea of moving to Android, but as a MacBook user and iPad owner, I’m too tied into Apple’s iCloud ecosystem for that to be a sensical move. If you do have more flexibility, though, the Pixel 5 is a fantastic option, offering high-end features at a mid-range price. It sports exceptional photo quality in low-light scenarios, a stellar astrophotography mode and integrates seamlessly with Google Fi, our preferred mobile service for anyone traveling abroad. Buy: Amazon, $700
The Disney Monorail: Imagineering a Highway in the Sky
There was a lot to love about my first childhood trip to Disney World, but there’s only one element of that adventure that I remember so clearly it could have been months ago, rather than decades: my first ride on the monorail. This hardcover book brings the monorail’s development to life, celebrating the park’s unique transportation concept through its 1959 launch. It’s a must-have for any theme park or transportation enthusiast. Buy: Amazon, $36
DJI Mini 2
I’ve been a loyal DJI customer for the last few years, and while older drones certainly do the trick, I’m always impressed by how quickly the company rolls out new innovations, packing so many features into such a tiny package. This latest model, the Mini 2, weighs 249 grams — just shy of the FAA’s 250-gram limit, so you can fly it without registering with the government. Despite the small size, you still get 3-axis stabilization, 4K video, 31 minutes of flight time and up to a 10km range for video transmission. This is one incredible, compact drone! Buy: Amazon, $449
My girlfriend scrolls through her favorite food accounts on Instagram when she’s feeling hungry — I head to Goldbelly. Growing in popularity during the pandemic, this food delivery marketplace makes it easy to order your favorite eats from all around the U.S. You’ll pay a premium over local delivery, but shipping is often included, and you can’t beat the appeal of ordering fresh New York bagels for delivery in Nebraska or biting into a Maryland crab cake in Minnesota. Yum! Buy: Goldbelly, $50+
Sharper Image Portable Air Purifier
Will this coffee mug-sized HEPA filter save you from contracting COVID-19? It’s hard to say, but there’s no question that we’re all paying much more attention to the air we breathe, and adding a device that removes allergens and other unwanted particles could certainly help you feel better, if nothing else. USB power makes it easy to get the fan whirling, too, making this purifier a smart addition to anyone’s car, workstation or bedside table. Buy: Amazon, $40
We may not be able to travel to Europe, but you can still learn to make homemade gnocchi with a chef in Italy, phyllo pie with an expert in Greece or paella with an instructor in Spain. For just $36, you can schedule a one-on-one lesson with chefs all around the world, through a virtual cooking class. Simply book the class you want, shop the ingredients list and get ready to make a fantastic feast from the safety of your own home. You can even join your recipient of choice as a second guest for 18 bucks. Buy: Traveling Spoon, $36
At many hotels, you can move your laptop or smartphone between the lobby, pool and your guest room without losing your Wi-Fi connection. That’s thanks to something called a “mesh” network, where multiple access points work together as one. Google’s Nest Wi-Fi brings that same technology to your home, enabling seamless connectivity across multiple floors and rooms. Setup is easy, and it’s backwards compatible with older Google Wi-Fi access points, too, making it the perfect gift for that friend or family member who can’t quite seem to figure their network out. Buy: Amazon, $169+
Outside Inside Travel Axe Throwing
Can’t bring your friend or family member to the new Miraval Berkshires for some quality entertainment at the hatchet-throwing course? Grab this handy travel set! Unlike the real thing, these axes are made of foam, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally chopping off a (tree) limb. Safety is clearly a priority, making this affordably priced game a fun fit for anyone old enough to throw. Buy: Amazon, $35
Rimowa iPhone cases
Rimowa luggage doesn’t come cheap, but it can easily be worth the investment, lasting its owner for many years. While this doesn’t seem like the ideal time to recommend gifting a suitcase, Rimowa’s new iPhone cases are a solid fit, bringing that familiar luggage aesthetic to your smartphone’s backside. Cases are available in a handful of colors, with polycarbonate versions running $90 and aluminum and leather options bumping the price to $115 a pop. Buy: Rimowa, $90
Hotel Lobby Candle
Founded by friend-of-the-site Lindsay Silberman, Hotel Lobby Candle is launching its first lineup of hand-poured soy candles just in time for the holidays. Inspired by the familiar scents at top five-star hotels, HLC lets you experience that lobby aroma at home. If you’re looking for one as a gift, be sure to order as quickly as possible — thanks to Silberman’s strong social media following, they quickly sell out. Buy: HLC, $54
Solar Power Bank
Do you really need a gadget that charges your devices using nothing but the awesome power of the sun? Who knows — you might! Because 2020. I’m especially excited about the Qi charging support, letting you fuel up your smartphone without a cord. And, if all else fails, this model even includes a built-in compass, and a pair of integrated flashlights, too. Buy: Amazon, $29
Laughing Cherries Caftans and Robes
Shopping for someone who already has it all? It’s time to think outside the box. These reasonably priced comfy caftans and robes might just be the perfect gift for that friend or family member who’s always a bit of a challenge when it comes time to pick out a thoughtful gift. A favorite of TPG’s Benet Wilson, they’re especially fitting for lounging around the house or even popping onto the occasional Zoom. Buy: Laughing Cherries, $35
Fire TV Stick 4K
Often available for roughly half the usual price, Amazon’s Fire TV Stick is still a steal at 50 bucks. It brings most of your favorite streaming services to any TV with an HDMI port — I’ve even plugged it into my portable projector, for big-screen family flicks. It’s become my go-to entertainment gadget both at home and on the road, since it’s compatible with many newer hotel TVs, too. Buy: Amazon, $50
Instant Pot Duo
We may not be leaving home, but somehow we’re still very busy, leaving less time to make dinner than anyone planned. This handy kitchen gadget is the ideal solution — pressure cookers get your dishes done in a fraction of the time, and since this one’s electronic and self-contained, it’s pretty hard to mess things up. Your loved one can use all that time they’ll save to get more adventurous in the kitchen, learning to cook a new travel-focused dish. Another version adds an “air fryer lid” for a grand total of 129 bucks. Buy: Amazon, $79
Apple iPad Air
I’ve always gravitated towards Apple’s “pro” series of products, even if I don’t have a single professional use for that particular gadget. My iPad Pro addiction is evidence of that, but now that the Air model does everything I need, I’m happy to move the pro version to the “nice to have” column. This year’s iPad Air looks and feels like its Pro sibling while offering a speedier processor, improved speakers and support for higher-end accessories, including Apple’s slick Magic Keyboard ($299) and the latest Apple Pencil ($129). It’s sure to bring joy to any iPad aficionado on your list. Buy: Apple, $599
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