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Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful time with your friends and family. Thanksgiving means that it’s also the start of the holiday shopping season, especially with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Travel Tuesday deals. Though shopping for travelers can be tough, especially if they already have all the usual gear. In this video/post, we explore 5 gifts for travelers that have everything!

Why create another travel gift idea list?

We previously did a video/post on the top 10 gift ideas for travelers. I was thinking of doing another list, but I think my old recommendations still stand. My only reservation is that the list included items that many travelers already have. So I wanted to come up with a list of unique or different items that might not be on many travel gift lists. I believe that these are items that any traveler would enjoy receiving.

5 gifts for travelers that have everything

These recommendations are based in order of cost and should be gifts that excite any traveler, even those who might already have everything travel-related.

1. Compression packing cubes:

I know you’re thinking that I always talk about packing cubes! And you’re right. Though these are like the next evolution of packing cubes. Compression cubes are basically packing cubes with extra zippers to compress your items. While packing cubes are great and I continue to use them, I have been using compression cubes more and more, especially when trying to conserve space in my suitcase.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive set, I recommend these compression cubes from Tripped Travel Gear. We’re actually doing a giveaway for five sets at the moment too, so make sure you enter before December 6th for a chance to win one of their six-piece sets.

2. Merino wool clothing:

This is one of the items from the previous list that I created, though I think it’s something that any traveler would want, even if they already have some. For me personally, I can usually get two or three days of wear from my merino wool clothing before they seem to develop an odor. That means that I can carry fewer clothes and pack lighter during trips since I get more usage out of them. There’s a lot more to merino wool, so check out our old video on the topic for more information on the benefits of the fabric. Again, it’s something that I think a lot of travelers would love to receive, even if they already have other merino wool products.

Man wearing a navy blue merino wool hoodie from Woolly Clothing Company while hiking through The Narrows in Zion National Park

There are a lot of vendors producing merino wool clothing now. Though if you’re looking for a recommendation, check out Woolly Clothing Company. I have a few of their shirts and a hoodie that I love. They also make shorts and pants. You can also find them on Amazon.

3. Smartphone camera lens:

I know a lot of you are traveling with less gear nowadays, especially since our phones have become such a great way to capture photos and videos. Though if you or someone you know is looking to take your photos to the next level, you might want to consider a smartphone camera lens kit. These kits can include wide and macro lenses, giving you the ability to capture more in your shot or even close-up photos.

These kits typically come with either a clip-on lens that you position over the camera lens, or a screw-down lens that works with a custom designed case. While the screw-down lens and case are probably the easiest way to go, they are more specific to your phone model. On the other hand, you can probably use a clip-on case with multiple models in case you have different phones in your group or even plan to upgrade soon.

In terms of recommendations, we used a smartphone camera lens kit from Sandmarc throughout our national park roadtrip. We found it to be a great way to take more interesting pictures especially with the wider lens. Though there are many options and brands sold on Amazon.

4. Away suitcase:

Suitcases are one of those things that range in price significantly. A standard four-wheel suitcase can range from $20 to over $1,000. There is definitely an increase in quality in the more expensive suitcases, but I honestly don’t think you’re getting as much of a quality increase from the mid-range to luxury suitcases.

One luggage brand that seems to be extremely popular at the moment is Away. Away suitcases are extremely well-designed and many have unique features like a built-in laundry bag, compression compartments, and rechargeable battery packs. The luggage also has a lifetime warranty, so if your wheel happens to break, they’ll fix it for free.

If you or someone you know is in the market for a suitcase, this is an excellent gift. Their carry-on suitcases start at $225, and I think it’s something that any traveler would appreciate getting. And since their luggage come with a 100-day trial, they can be returned to the store for either a refund or exchanged for another model, even if the suitcase has been used. Also, if you happen to get the American Express Green card, it comes with a $100 credit toward an Away suitcase. So, it might be something that you consider either for yourself or that special traveler in your life.

5. GMT watch:

In the past, I’ve listed watches as an underrated travel item. I know that a lot of people just use their phones to keep track of time nowadays. However, I do think that a watch still has its place while traveling. I tend to use my phone a lot when traveling, especially for photos, videos, and maps. It’s not uncommon for me to run low on battery power. This can be difficult when you have time-sensitive activities like flights or tours.

What is a GMT watch?

The GMT watch is a watch with a distinct hand that rotates once around the dial every 24 hours. The hour hand essentially goes half the speed of the normal clock hand, which makes two rotations around the dial every 24 hours. This GMT allows you to track another time zone. And many GMT watches, such as this Christopher Ward watch, allow you to track even a third time zone using the rotational bezel.

GMT watches are useful when traveling since you can keep track of your home time zone on your wrist. Also, a lot of watch fans will tell you that there is something romantic about the GMT complication. I definitely didn’t understand it until I got one as well. Even apart from the functional use of tracking another time zone, it can serve as a reminder of the special people in your life who are apart from you.

GMT watches come in different styles and price points

This is definitely a luxury gift, but one that I think most travelers would appreciate. Like with everything, there are GMT watches that fit many different price points. You can find some quartz GMT watches from companies like Timex, and watches for significantly more with automatic movement. If you’re comparing different models, I recommend looking for watches with a decent water resistance rating and a sapphire crystal which is very scratch resistant. I personally prefer a travel watch to have at least 100M of water resistance. While I don’t normally swim with my watch, I still like the extra water resistance for unexpected rainy conditions and high humidity. The sapphire crystal is also very resistant to scratching, which is perfect when you’re on-the-go. And of course, automatic watches do not use a battery, but are instead powered by springs that are compressed through movement or hand-winding. These aren’t required features, but for travelers who are moving around, these can be fairly useful.

Maximize your points during your holiday shopping

And finally, just a reminder to also maximize your points earnings when shopping. I recommend checking your American Express and Chase offers, using cashback portals, and taking advantage of the quarterly bonus categories on cards like the Chase Freedom. For example, I made an early Black Friday purchase at Macy’s, and ended up stacking several discounts. I bought an item for $335, though I used Top Cashback which was offering 8% on purchases at the time. In addition, I also used my Chase Freedom card which is offering 5% or 5X on department store purchase this quarter. While I normally calculate the value based on a travel redemption, for the sake of simplicity, I’m listing the cashback rate of 1 cent per point. In this case, while I paid $335, I’ll be getting back about $27 back via Top Cashback and nearly $17 worth of points, which means I earned over $40 back on that transaction alone.

If you’re looking to purchase an item online, make sure to check Cashback Monitor to see if any programs are offering a promotion. And don’t forget to pay with cards that offer a bonus or have a specific offer.

What do you think of these gift ideas? Are there any items that you think I should have included in my list, especially for travelers that already have everything?

Trip Astute has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Trip Astute and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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