13 Best Travel Gifts for Your Older Parents
DOES PASSION FOR TRAVEL RUN IN YOUR FAMILY? IF SO, YOUR PARENTS WILL GET A TON OF MILEAGE OUT OF THESE 10 SUPER-VERSATILE AND COOL GIFTS FOR PARENTS WHO TRAVEL!
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 they’ve logged more miles this past year than you!
If your older parents are either already retirees or they just live like they’ve already retired, give them a travel-focused present that they’ll truly be excited to use, no matter where in the world they’re headed. These dozen cool gift ideas will guarantee smoother and more enjoyable travels.
Cool Winter Wear
Snowbirds your parents aren’t: While the neighboring retirees 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 who love the winter weather (shoveling aside) Patterned Neck Gaiters by Smartwool ($30) will keep them warm. On top of blocking the elements, this neckwear boasts stylish patterns and you can up their cool factor by choosing coordinating prints that will make your parents’ travel photos look fab (hey, they’ve earned the right to match!).
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. They’ll need a roomy suitcase like the Gear Warrior 4-Wheel 90L ($349), or a rugged rolling duffel like the Cargo Hauler 90L ($90). Then, with the right packing cubes, they can separate and organize their stuff—not to mention their dry/clean clothes from their damp or dirty clothes. Consider gifting them the Pack-It Original™ Starter Set ($46) in two different colors (his and hers!) and they’ll have a seamless luggage system wherever they roam.
Fixin’s for 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 ($25). Their weekend trips to the country will now be complete, and your position as their favorite child will be secured for at least one more year.
His and Her Suitcases
For those 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 a Tarmac AWD Carry-On by Eagle Creek ($349) 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!
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 ThermoBall Traction Mule for mom ($55), and the ThermoBall Traction Mule for dad ($50)—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.
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 a complete In Flight Gear Kit by Eagle Creek ($69). The memory foam neck pillow easily clips onto his carry-on, the cozy Cat Nap Blanket will keep him warm on chilly flights, and an eye mask and earplugs will make those long flights seem a little shorter.
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. ($3 and up)
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 ($27 in hardcover). 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!
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)
Keep it Secure
Look both ways! Don't talk to strangers! No running within a 10-mile radius of a pool! Your parents may be older now, but they 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 the RFID Blocker Money Belt ($27) or RFID Neck Wallet ($23). They'll be so proud of your safety-first mentality that they might even let you cross the street by yourself next time you’re together.
Need other cool travel gift ideas? Check out our Ultimate Gift Guide: 25 Best Gifts for Travelers for inspiration fit for any travel-lover on your shopping list.
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By Caila Ball-Dionne on May 28, 2019
Caila Ball-Dionne is a freelance writer and full-time travel enthusiast. You can find more of her writing at CailaBall.com.