November 20th, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide: Best Travel Gifts for Parents

Holiday Gift Guide: Best Travel Gifts for Parents


The Snuggie you gave them last year was such a great gift idea—in theory. Sure, Mom and Dad made a show of lounging under the tree in the “so-cheesy-its-cool” sleeved blanket that you bought them last year, but the biggest problem with that gift wasn’t the kitsch factor: It’s the fact that your parents aren’t loungers! In fact, they’re incredibly active, and are such avid travelers that their passports put yours to shame! This year give your parentals a travel-focused present that they’ll truly be excited to use, no matter where in the world they’re headed.

Cool Winter Wear

Snowbirds your parents aren’t: While the neighbors head south for the winter, your mom and dad make the most of the season with snowshoeing, skiing—and guilt-tripping you into shoveling the driveway. For parents that love the winter weather (shoveling aside) Patterned Neck Gaiters by Smartwool will keep them warm. On top of blocking the elements, this neckwear boasts stylish patterns. (MSRP $30)

A Cozy Suitcase for Two How two people can be so in love that they even share a suitcase, you may never know. Your parents, however, are all about saving space. Make that oh-so-adorable travel habit even easier on them with The Pack-It™ System. Whatever suitcase, duffle or overnight bag they use, they can separate and organize their stuff—not to mention their dry/clean clothes from their damp or dirty clothes—with a Pack-it Clean Dirty Cubes by Eagle Creek. (MSRP $22)

Life's a Picnic

Aside from spending time with you, dining al fresco is your parents’ favorite activity. Cater to their love of outdoor eating with an Insulated Picnic Tote. Their weekend trips to the country will now be complete, and your position as their favorite child will secured for at least one more year. (MSRP $64)

His and Her Suitcases

For those the rare occasions when Mom and Dad have so much to pack that they can’t actually share a bag, they’ll need their own rolling suitcases. To help them gear up, put an Tarmac AWD 22 by Eagle Creek under the tree for one or both of them. This travel bag expands for maximum packing space, and has plenty of pockets for organization. They’ll be shocked at how easy it is to roll the four-wheel luggage wherever their next adventure takes them! (MSRP $330)

Not Your Average Slipper Fuzzy house slippers could end up in the same closet as the Snuggie, but these slip-ons are totally different! The NSE Traction Skinny Mule for mom, and the NSE Tent Mule for dad—both by The North Face—are ideal for car ride comfort after a long day of snowshoeing, or staying toasty warm on a camping trip. (MSRP Women's: $50, Men’s: $60)

Back Relief

Every time you talk to your dad, it's bound to come up: his frequent-flier mile obsession. Though the motivation to connect through Dallas on a flight from New York to Boston escapes you, dad is seriously proud of his platinum status. Help him reach his future points-related goals in comfort —however ridiculous the method—with Back Buddy by Eagle Creek. The inflatable lumbar pillow stows easily in a carry-on, and makes those long flights seem a little shorter. (MSRP $28)

Keep it Secure

Look both ways! Don't talk to strangers! No running within a 10-mile radius of a pool! Your parents spent the better part of your childhood protecting you from every danger they could imagine (and boy, were they imaginative!). Now, it's your turn to keep them safe. Protect their passports and credit cards with RFID Blocking Money Belts or Neck Wallets. They'll be so proud of your safety-first mentality that they might even let you cross the street by yourself this holiday season. ($26.50)

Map it Out

GPS? On a smartphone? With ROAMING charges? Not on your frugal parents’ vacation! Instead, help them avoid getting lost with StreetWise maps. The laminated, accordion fold maps are durable, easy to transport, and cover everything from the system in New York to art museums in Florence. Give up on convincing them that there’s an app for that, and stuff mom and dad’s stockings with these handy guides. ($2 and up)

Delicious Destinations

Your traveling parents just happen to be foodies! Help them plan their next culinary expedition with the book No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach by Anthony Bourdain. Whether they’re seeking the best risotto in Venice or the tastiest barbecue in Austin, Bourdain's fully illustrated travel journal will provide them with tons of mouth-watering inspiration! ($23 in hardcover)

Read All About It

They got you Highlights magazine as a kid (remember Fun with a Purpose?), and now it's time for you to return the favor. Send them a subscription to a magazine that fits their travel profile. Aspirational travelers will love  Travel + Leisure and AFAR, while the pitch-a-tent-anywhere pair can get behind  National Geographic Traveler and  Outside. (Subscription prices vary)

Caila Ball is a freelance writer and full time travel enthusiast. You can see more of her work at

Featured Products

Tarmac AWD 22

RFID Blocking Money Belts

Related Links

Holiday Gift Guide: The Best Travel Gifts for Her

Holiday Gift Guide: The Best Travel Gifts for Him

Surviving Holiday Travel

by Caila Ball-Dionne

Caila Ball-Dionne is a freelance writer and full-time travel enthusiast. You can find more of her writing at