The person who coined the phrase “getting there is half the fun”, clearly never had to travel by air, train, bus, or car during the holiday season. No amount of planning can ever guarantee a smooth journey, but having the “right tools for the job”, as they say, will go a long way towards making the layovers, gridlock, and lines much more tolerable. In that spirit, below you’ll find 10 of our top picks for the pragmatic traveler in your life.
Filson Original Wool Shirt
Flannel shirts are warm and cozy when the temperature drops, but the material doesn’t breathe well on stuffy plane flights. Cotton oxfords also do a poor job of regulating your core temperature properly when traveling between heated indoor and colder outdoor environments. Wool alternatives like the versatile shirt from Filson made from 100% virgin Merino, however, provide warmth and excellent breathability to take you from coast to coast with ease.
Buy Now: $145
Outlier Autumnweight 60/30 Chino
Even the most broken-in denim can be unruly on long, claustrophobic flights. Classic chinos, on the other hand, may be too formal or stiff. This leaves many misguided travelers thinking sweat pants are the right option. Thankfully, Outlier’s Autumnweight 60/30 Chino blend of cotton, nylon, and elastane provides superb freedom of movement along with pragmatic water resistance against spills. Pack a pair on your next trip and not only will you look good for your poorly scheduled after flight meeting, but you’ll also be relaxed.
Buy Now: $225
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC1 QuietPoint Headphones
Contrary to what Bose may want you to think, noise canceling headphones don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. These Audio-Technica ATH-ANC1 QuietPoint headphones feature one of the most compact on-ear designs on the market, along with excellent balanced sound quality and noise cancellation, for a street price of under $100.
Buy Now: $130
TOPO Design’s Daypack and Accessory Bags
TOPO’s durable 1000d Cordura pack will last for years while keeping critical travel gear like your phone and 15″ laptop secure on your back. True gadget heads should consider investing in a few of the company’s new accessory packs as well, to keep cords, chargers, and other electronic knick-knacks neatly organized.
Tumi Alpha Luggage
This piece of luggage is designed for the long-haul thanks to an expandable garment bag and an internal capacity of 59 liters. The 4 wheeled system also allows for proper weight distribution and conveniently locks in place when you’re idly standing by. No matter how poorly the TSA handles it, you can also rest easy knowing your stuff is safe, since Tumi’s durable ballistic nylon construction is second to none.
Buy Now: $795
Jack Spade Tarpaulin Dry Dopp Kit
Make a statement while protecting your toiletries with Jack Spade’s dopp kit. Its simple, stripped-down design compliments even the most stylish of luggage, while its durable, water resistant Tarpaulin material will prevent even the most severe grooming accidents from ruining your stuff. For a personal touch, write in your buddy’s name and address for him.
Buy Now: $45
Unlocked iPhone 4S
If you’ve been waiting to take the plunge on a new cell phone and travel internationally regularly, then consider picking up the unlocked version of Apple’s latest handset. It’ll cost you a pretty penny upfront compared to the subsidized models offered by your carrier, but the ability to swap in local SIM cards at your destination will invariably pay for itself in data and voice savings. Plus, you’ll have all of your music, movies, apps and Siri personal assistant just a pocket away. Plus, the phone is practically a replacement for any compact camera out there with plenty of photos apps to help unch things up. The other good news is that you’ll still have your carrier upgrade available when the iPhone 5 comes out, and selling your unlocked iPhone 4s on the secondary market at that point will likely cover the remaining cost of your new 5 with money to spare.
Buy Now: $699+
Sen7 Fragrance Atomizer
That new bottle of cologne looks pretty stunning on your night stand, but it definitely isn’t practical when packing. The Sen7 atomizer provides easy stowage for your favorite fragrance while on the go (which can come in handy when layovers take showering out of the equation). The metal casing also preserves the quality of the fragrance, and it can be refilled indefinitely.
Buy Now: $38
Bellroy Travel Wallet
This wallet is a manageable 13.5 x 9.4cm in size, yet still holds all of your travel necessities including a passport, currency, 8+ cards, boarding passes and even a micro travel pen. Best of all, despite all of that critical functionality, you won’t find a spot of Velcro on it.
Buy Now: $120
Moleskin City Notebook
Your phone may act as a surrogate memory and personal assistant at home, but gut-checking data rates and unpredictable charging stops can hinder its value abroad. Luckily, Moleskin’s city collection of notebooks are excellent old-school alternatives for 50 of the world’s biggest cities. Each features large-maps of the city center and public transportation systems, an alphabetical street index, organizational tabs for names and addresses, as well as plenty of blank pages to jot down the memories.
Buy Now: $12+
Do your travel plans call for a little more time in the great outdoors? Then be sure to check out our 10 must haves for the adventurer too.