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Holiday gift guide: TPG’s 21 travel-friendly picks for 2021

November 26 2021
11 min read
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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:

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Apple iPhone 13

(Photo courtesy of Apple)

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

(Photo courtesy of Allbirds)

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.

Buy: Allbirds Men’s, Allbirds Women’s $98

Lonely Planet: Best in Travel 2022

(Photo from Amazon)

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

Barefoot Dreams CozyChic Throw

(Photo courtesy of Barefoot Dreams)

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: Amazon

Drunk Elephant The Little Kits

(Photo from Amazon)

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

Apple AirTags

(Photo courtesy of Apple)

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: Amazon

Leather Passport and Vaccine Card Holder

(Photo from Etsy)

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

(Photo from Amazon)

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

Junior Flight Logbook

(Photo courtesy of Junior Frequent Flyer)

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

(Photo courtesy of Disney)

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

(Photo courtesy of HLC)

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

(Photo courtesy of Amazon)

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

Hydro Flask My Hydro Water Bottle

(Photo courtesy of HydroFlask)

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

(Photo courtesy of Dagne Dover)

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 AirPods

(Photo courtesy of Apple)

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: Amazon

Peloton App Membership

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

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

(Photo from Amazon)

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

Anker PowerCore Battery Pack

(Photo courtesy of Amazon)

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

Dyson hair products

(Photo courtesy of Dyson)

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

(Photo from Amazon)

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

Belkin Wemo Smart Plugs

(Photo from Amazon)

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

Prices are accurate as of the publication date. Check out more TPG gift guides here and the TPG guide on the best cards to use for holiday shopping.

Featured photo by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Rewards Rate

6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 points
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  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees