The most useful gifts for frequent fliers and travel obsessives

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It is part of the LA Times 2022 Gift Guide. View the full guide here. The LA Times may be compensated if you make a purchase using some of our links.

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Whether you’re obsessed with travel or not, you know how one feels.

This is someone who will eagerly tell you which mileage-reward program to choose, when to get repaired at LAX, where to sleep in San Diego, which pillow is best for a 14-hour flight, and how much the resort fees are. It is his own invention.


Of course these friends will be happy with gifts that play to these interests, but if you don’t speak the language, buying can be difficult. Whether you’re a nomad or not, here’s some help.


Trtl Travel Pillow

(Christopher Reynolds /)
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Unlike U-shaped pillows, this one resembles a scarf or bandana and relies on internal support (an adjustable plastic brace and Velcro strip) to prop up your head while you nap. You have to decide between leaning right or left. It’s thinner and lighter (5.2 ounces) than most travel pillows, and, simply put, it doesn’t look so flimsy. Once aboard, “loop, wrap and nap” (Trtl’s slogan). Droolers, don’t worry—it’s machine washable.

$49.99 Feather Truttle

Zendure SuperMini Portable Charger

Zendure Super Mini Portable Battery Charger
(Christopher Reynolds /)

The device, the Zendure SuperMini, is a 20-watt, 10,000-mAh portable charger with USB-A and USB-C ports. (It also comes with a USB-C-to-USB-C connector cord.) This crater, which fully charges in three hours, can charge two devices at once or use a USB-C (USB-C) cable while charging. which is faster than USB-A). other devices via USB-A. (If you need the USB-C wall charger, that’s a separate purchase of $20 or more.) At 3.1 by 2.2 by 1 inch with curved corners, the Supermini fits nicely in the palm of your hand . It also comes in zippy bold colors, including blue, silver, black, purple, mint green, and pink.

$59.99 Feather Zendure


Nidra Deep Rest Eye Mask

Nidra Deep Rest Eye Mask
(Christopher Reynolds /)

This mask wears lightly yet blocks out all light, thanks to a deeply molded eye-cup design that gives you room to blink. (Ignore loved ones who say you look like you’re wearing a bra on your head. They’re just jealous of the closed-eye look you’re about to achieve.) An adjustable Velcro strap ensures the perfect fit does. Make sure it rides low on your nose to keep out the light.

$21.95 Feather sleep

Grip All-in-1 Wireless Charger

Phone Holder and Charger by GRIP
(Christopher Reynolds /)

Unless you want to ride shotgun in your car from a half-asleep friend or family member, this is a vital road-trip device to have. The charger (15 watts) is mounted on your dashboard – or, if you prefer, your windshield or old CD player (see, that thing is still useful!). Instead of a cord connection, it has a pair of automatic arms that open and close to keep your phone in place, so you can safely view directions while it charges. Compatible with most Qi-enabled (wireless) devices. Fits phones up to 3.5 inches wide and 8 inches tall.

$25 Feather grasp


Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

noise canceling earbuds

It’s scary how well these work (and that was an unintentional pun). The process of linking to your smartphone takes several steps but is simple. A selection of earbud fittings (small, medium, large) gives you a comfortable fit, and somehow the sound conforms to the shape of your ear. Also, these earbuds are smaller and lighter than the previous version. In a room or yard with rival sounds, the magic of these things becomes apparent: They appear to be cut out from the rest of the world – not entirely but substantially so. Whether my earbuds were delivering Beethoven or chicha libre, the voices from the television — and my wife’s — were barely intelligible. (It’s nice that there’s a quiet mode and an “aware” mode.) And the way they recharge in their own little box is nice, too.

$299 Feather boss

apple airtag

AirTag by Apple
(Christopher Reynolds /)

AirTags make sense if you use an iPhone and worry about losing things. Attach one of these tags to your checked luggage, backpack, keys, or car, and you’ll be less likely to misplace them. There are two easy steps to link one to your iPhone. Remotely, the tags use Bluetooth technology and Apple’s Find My app to show location and make noises if you want. (But the noise is much quieter.) Once you’re close to your item, if you have an iPhone 11 or a more recent model, Apple’s Precision Finding is designed to guide you closer. (Even if your loved one is using an older phone, in my experience, the Find My app gets you within 20 to 30 feet of your target.) AirTags are 1.26 inches in diameter and weighs 11 grams (less than half an ounce). The battery is designed to last at least a year, and your iPhone will let you know when it’s low on power.

$29 for one more $99 for four o’clock Apple

gopro hero 11 black

gopro hero 11 camera
(go pro)

Released in September, this latest GoPro camera shoots 5.3K video, takes 27-megapixel photos, works up to 33 feet underwater, has image stabilization and can shoot 60 frames per second – in some circumstances, 240 frame. Unlike early GoPros, it’s designed to work in tandem with your smartphone, so you can post footage right away. It handles contrast light well, and the lens’ coating repels droplets when shooting in and near water. It offloads content to your phone wirelessly or via a USB-C cable. I wish GoPro wasn’t determined to force us to buy subscriptions to ongoing services, but that’s the way of the world now. Buying for a Video Writer? You might want to spend another $190 to $290 for the Hero11 Black Creator Edition, which comes with extras including a battery hand grip, directional microphone, and lighting.


$549.98 (either $349.98 If you agree to a one year subscription) at go pro

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Riemot Luggage Travel Cup Holder

remote travel cupholder
(Christopher Reynolds /)

This device—handy for anyone traveling with kids or anyone in need of a steady caffeine drip—slides onto the retractable handle of your rolling luggage. That way you have a safe place to store a drink or two. A third pocket can hold your phone or passport.

$29.99 Feather remote

Hydrapak Stash 1L Compressed Water Bottle

HydraPack Stash, 1-Litre Collapsible Water Bottle
(Christopher Reynolds /)

This plastic container collapses down to one-quarter of its filled size when empty—a huge advantage if your packing conditions are tight. The bottle, which holds 32 ounces, is free of BPA and PVC—and using it means fewer discarded plastic bottles in the world.


$26 Feather hydrapack

Nori Press Wrinkle Remover

Wrinkle Remover for Travelers by Nori
(Nori Press)

Sometimes you just want to look street smart—crease sharp and wrinkle-free. Enter the nori press, a travel iron that resembles a set of jumbo salad tongs. I was skeptical, but with this, you can spot-press and remove wrinkles with steam, without the need for an ironing board. (You’ll still need a flat surface, though.)

$120 Feather nori

Rick Steves’ Europe Gift Card

A gift card to Rick Steves Europe
(Rick Steves Europe)

Travel expert Rick Steves, who has spent more than 50 summers on that continent, offers guidebooks to dozens of European countries, complete with maps and accessories (money belts, electrical converters and more). If someone you love is going on a trip, one of these gift cards can help them decide on some of the details.


Note: Steve’s also sells tour and rail passes, but you can’t use these cards for them.

$10 to $500 Feather Rick Steves’ Europe

Petzl Tikka Headlamp

Petzl Tikka Headlamp
(Christopher Reynolds /)

Yes, almost everyone has a torch in their phone. But what if your loved ones want both hands free And some light on the subject? This can happen on the road. So can power outage. This headlamp (350 lumens), marketed for campers, is part of the kit I take with me everywhere I travel. The beach at night, a charming cave, a sketchy outhouse—I’m ready. It takes three AAA batteries (or one rechargeable battery, not included), has three brightness settings and of course, the headband is adjustable.

$34.95 Feather petzl

Columbia Bora Bora II Boonie Hat

a safari hat by columbia
(Mark Stein / Columbia)

Officially, it’s the Columbia Bora Bora II Boonie Hat. Unofficially, this is my worst friend. This hat might be the most versatile thing in my standard packing array. I throw it in my daypack (it folds flat) and know that if the sun comes out, I’ll be relieved. And if the wind blows, the chin strap keeps it from going anywhere.

$30 Feather Colombia

Tashi Travel Portable Bidet

Tashi Travel Portable Bidet
(Christopher Reynolds /)

“Portable bidet” sounds more elegant than “the plastic container you squeeze to squirt on your bottom,” doesn’t it? A carrying bag and carabiner for your backpack.

$29 Feather tushy

Briggs & Riley ZDX Domestic Carry-On Expandable Spinner

briggs and riley suitcase
(Christopher Reynolds /)

Closing tightly, this soft-sided suitcase has four wheels for gliding through airports, a clever system for compressing your clothes, and a guarantee for life—not a typical proposition. It’s pricey, but if you’re a young adult buying their first serious suitcase, it could be their only carry-on for the next 20 years.

$499 Feather Briggs & Riley, also available on H. Savinar Luggage CompanyWith locations in West LA and Canoga Park.

Eagle Creek Pack-It Shows Quick Trip Toiletry Bag

eagle creek tote bag
(Christopher Reynolds /)

This lightweight kit is thoughtfully designed: It has two interior compartments (good for keeping your toothbrush away from your hair gel) and a mesh pocket for those little extras…


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