The 12 best travel gifts to buy for Mother’s Day

May 1, 2020

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The last few months haven’t been easy on any of us. Still, the calendar pages have kept on turning and suddenly, May has arrived.

That means Mother’s Day is right around the corner, on the second Sunday in May (May 10), just like always. And if we had to guess, moms everywhere could use a little extra love this year.

While Mother’s Day 2020 probably won’t include your typical big get-togethers and leisurely brunches, you can still celebrate the day with friends and family near and far (and by that we mean, on Zoom, in driveways or however you’re managing social distancing). We still aren’t traveling for the foreseeable future, but that day will come. And in the meantime, we figured Mother’s Day is a great opportunity to bring the spirit of travel home to your jetsetting mom, even while she’s staying safe at home.

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If you play your cards right (literally) there’s a little something in it for you, too — mostly in the form of bonus points that you can use for your next trip, or cash back. But seriously, we know you could probably use something to smile about, too.

So, let’s get to it. You’ll want to use a credit card to maximize your online shopping. That way, you’ll start racking up valuable points and miles that you can use to fund your next trip. The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American ExpressBank of America® Cash Rewards credit card and Chase Freedom Unlimited will likely be your best bets unless you have a special spending bonus available on another card. The information for the Amex EveryDay Preferred card, Bank of America Cash Rewards and Chase Freedom Unlimited has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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You’ll also want to take advantage of online shopping portals to rack up miles with your favorite airline. The miles you earn here will be in addition to the credit card points and miles you’re earning — a little something we like to call double dipping. If there’s ever been a time to take advantage of credit card perks for shopping, this is it. Now, some of your old favorite shopping sites may have disappeared from some mileage and cash back shopping sites since your last purchase, but there are still options there.

Shipping is also slower than normal this year, so be sure to be proactive and order your gift in advance. The good news, though, is that depending on what credit card you have, you can get free two-day shipping from a handful of major retailers thanks to a program called ShopRunner. Just keep in mind that two-day shipping may not always be exactly two days given longer processing time and such right now.

Here are some of our top picks for travel-inspired Mother’s Day gifts your mom will love.

  • Frette Hotel Classic Sheet Set
  • MZ Wallace Metro Backpack
  • Homesick candle
  • Four Seasons Bath Terry set
  • Casetify Pangram phone case
  • Riley hooded waffle robe
  • Goldbelly food delivery
  • Flowers
  • Athleta Post Om joggers
  • Shutterfly photo album
  • Wine delivery
  • A charitable donation

Frette Hotel Classic Sheet Set

(Photo courtesy of Frette)
(Photo courtesy of Frette.com)

Your mom needs sheets from Frette. Trust us on this. These 400-thread count sheets made from long-staple cotton sateen are used at luxury hotels all over the world including the Ritz-Carlton New York and The St. Regis Hong Kong. In other words, Mom is about to have the best night’s sleep of her life.

To buy: Luxury like that comes with a hefty price tag — $370 for a twin set, and the price goes up for larger sheet sets. Fortunately, you can get them for a fraction of the price by buying them from Italic, who uses the same manufacturers as Frette without the crazy markups. They start at $85 for a twin set.

Shutterfly photo album

A Shutterfly album filled with fond memories of the trips you’ve taken with your mom is always a good idea, but especially when she’s cooped up at home and reminiscing about all the good times. Put together an album with photos from your favorite family vacation, and she’ll be grinning from ear to ear — especially if you can’t spend the day together this year.

To buy: Shutterfly is having a sale with up to 50% off everything, and albums start at just $14.86.

MZ Wallace Metro Backpack

(Photo courtesy of MZWallace)
(Photo courtesy of MZWallace.com)

This is one of our favorite travel backpacks, and it will be your mom’s, too. It’s versatile and stylish, and no matter where your mom travels next, we know this bag will make her even more excited about her future adventures. It comes in a handful of colors, including black, dazzle (blue) and camouflage.

To buy: This backpack retails for $245, and we have some good news: It’s sold at Saks Fifth Avenue. That means if you haven’t used your $50 biannual credit (up to $100 every year), courtesy of The Platinum Card® from American Express, this is a great way to knock down the price. You can also sign up for MZ Wallace emails and receive 15% off when purchasing directly through the retailer.

Related: What your luggage brand says about you

Athleta Post Om Joggers

Quarantine now, travel later. Mom will love these butter-soft joggers whether she’s watching a movie on the sofa … or, hopefully someday soon, at 35,000 feet in the air. Athleta is known for incredibly cozy, functional athleisure wear, and with a super plush lining and convenient stash pockets, these joggers might be the only thing Mom wears for the foreseeable future. (Go ahead, grab a pair for yourself, too.)

To buy: These joggers are available at Athleta, from $89.

Homesick candle

(Photo courtesy of HomeSick.com)
(Photo courtesy of HomeSick.com)

If you can’t bring mom to her favorite destination this year, bring it home to her. Homesick Candles are 100% soy wax, and each pays homage to a specific city, state or country with a distinct fragrance that tries to capture its essence. Hawaii, for example, has heavy pineapple and coconut notes, while New York City channels Central Park and department stores with oakmoss, bergamot, musk and — we kid you not — concrete. There are also candles designed to conjure fond memories of beach cottages and road trips (think: leather, lime and jasmine).

To buy: Homesick candles retail from $29.95. For a limited time, you can get free shipping on all domestic orders, as well as 10% off orders under $59 and 20% off orders over $59.

Flower bouquets

Every mom loves to get flowers, and they’ll no doubt put a smile on her face no matter your budget. Our top picks are 1-800-FLOWERS, Urban Stems and Venus Et Fleur (the latter of which specializes in long-lasting preserved “Eternity Roses”). Best of all, you should be able to enjoy a little cash back for yourself if you’re arranging a flower delivery. Right now, 1-800-FLOWERS is offering 15% cash back on Rakuten, 15% off when you sign up for emails and, if you’re lucky, you might be targeted for an Amex Offer, such as 1,500 Membership Rewards points after you spend $50 or more. We’re also seeing Amex Offers for Teleflora, where you can get $15 after spending $50 or more.

Chase cardholders may be in luck, too. We’ve seen targeted offers for 10% cash back at 1-800-FLOWERS and Urban Stems.

To buy: Bouquets start at $29.99 on 1-800 FLOWERS, $45 on Urban Stems and $44 on Venus Et Fleur.

Four Seasons Bath Terry Set

(Photo courtesy of FourSeasons.com)
(Photo courtesy of FourSeasons.com)

Maybe a spa getaway isn’t in the cards for this Mother’s Day. But she can enjoy some well-deserved rest and relaxation with a DIY spa day complete with these towels from the Four Seasons. We recommend the Bath Terry Set, which includes two bath towels, two hand towels and two washcloths. All the towels are made from 100% cotton terry, and finished with the hotel’s exclusive jacquard border. In short: When you think about fluffy towels from a luxury hotel, well, this is it.

To buy: You can buy the set of six on Four Seasons’ website for $199.

Related: How to make your home feel like a five-star hotel

Goldbelly food delivery

While we can’t be traveling and dining in at our favorite restaurants right now, that doesn’t mean mom can’t have a delicious meal from one of her favorite spots. Goldbelly delivers popular food from some of the country’s top restaurants anywhere in the country. We’d recommend a bagel brunch (and don’t forget the babka!) from Russ and Daughters in New York City or show-stopping rainbow cookies from Zola Bakes. We rounded up even more of our favorites if you need more inspiration.

To buy: Prices vary depending on what you order, but a New York brunch package with all the fixings from Russ and Daughters starts at $169, while a six-pack of rainbow cookies from Zola Bakes starts at $30.

Riley hooded waffle robe

(Photo courtesy of RileyHome.com)
(Photo courtesy of RileyHome.com)

We’d argue there are few things better than slipping into a comfortable, fluffy hotel bathrobe when you check in to a luxury hotel — and Riley’s fits the bill perfectly. Let Mom cozy up in this hooded waffle robe, and she’ll be lounging around the house pretending she’s at a five-star hotel in no time.

To buy: You can buy the robe on Riley’s site for $109, and get 15% off with code “COMFORT15.” You can also embroider and customize the robe for no additional fee, although keep in mind that personalized items are final sale.

Wine delivery

Mom could likely use a glass of wine (or two), so why not have some delivered right to her door? Play your cards right and you can get even more money off your order. We’re seeing Amex Offers such as:

  • $50 off purchases of $150 or more from wineaccess.com.
  • $30 off purchases of $100 or more from wine.com.
  • $15 off purchases of $50 or more from winc.com.

Even if you’re not targeted for any of these offers, check around these websites for ongoing promotions and offers. For example, Wine.com is offering $15 off $200 with code “WINE15.”

To buy: Prices vary depending on the site and wine. But for reference, a bottle of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, the ultimate mom-approved wine, is $16.99 on Wine.com. It’s sold out on wineaccess.com, but a similar bottle of Tinpot Hut Sauvignon Blanc is $20. Winc.com, a wine membership service, starts at $60 for a month-long subscription.

Casetify Pangram phone case

(Photo courtesy of
(Photo courtesy of Casetify.com)

Mom is likely spending a decent amount of time on the phone with you these days, and even if you can’t travel with her right now, we have a fun idea up our sleeves: Give her the gift of a phone case from Casetify embellished with a “boarding pass” to the city the two of you can’t wait to visit next. You can pick from a handful of major destinations, ranging from Houston to Tokyo and everywhere in between. That way, every time she goes to pick up her phone, she’ll be reminded of the trip you’re dreaming about taking together. We promise, you’ll be on your way there before you know it.

To buy: The cases start at $40 on Casetify’s website.

Donate to a charity

Instead of buying gifts, you could also donate to a charity that needs help now more than ever. Right now, people are finding it difficult to make ends meet; doctors and nurses are saving patients using makeshift masks; and restaurant workers are out of the job — it’s an incredibly challenging time for people all over the world. Donating to a charity close to Mom’s heart — in her name, of course — is sure to make her day.

Featured photo by David Rius & Núria Tuca/Getty Images.

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