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Holiday Gifts | © Rawpixel/Unsplash
Holiday Gifts | © Rawpixel/Unsplash
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Culture Trip's Best Travel Accessories to Gift this Holiday Season

Picture of Nikki Vargas
Travel Editor
Updated: 20 November 2017
Every year, Culture Trip keeps an eye out for the best travel gifts and coveted globetrotting accessories to gift the traveler in your life. Whether that traveler is a solo adventurer extraordinaire, a wellness buff, a practical tripper or photography enthusiast, Culture Trip has got you covered this holiday season.
Travel accessories
Travel accessories | © Nikki Vargas/Culture Trip

From the best suitcase on the market today to the ultimate solo traveler’s camera, our Travel Editor has tried and tested the following travel accessories.

The best suitcase for the avid globetrotter

Away x Gray Malin suitcase
Away x Gray Malin suitcase | © Amanda Suarez/Culture Trip

When it comes to travel, the days of opting for the standard issue black carry-on bags are far behind us, especially when suitcases like Away Luggage exist. According to the Away website, their luggage was inspired by hundreds of travel stories to create a suitcase for what travelers actually need; this translates to an unbreakable outer shell, many interior compartments and the pièce de résistance, a built-in USB port to charge all digital devices on the go.

This past October, Away partnered with fine art photographer Gray Malin, to create a line of special edition bags in three colors: coral, ocean and alpine. Each of the three bags features one of Gray’s aerial photographs printed on the inside lining, adding a certain something special to the suitcase.

The best camera for solo travelers

Olympus OMD EM5 II
Olympus OMD EM5 II | © CameraLabs

A solo traveler’s best friend is their camera. An ideal camera companion should have WiFi capabilities to automatically sync photos with your smartphone and should be compact enough to carry comfortably while still providing high resolution imagery. It will also need video capabilities and (ideally) a flip out screen with which to take selfies with. In short, Culture Trip recommends the Olympus OM-D for its high quality photography, convenient size and vintage aesthetic appeal (which looks stellar in flat lays).

The best compact camera case for photo buffs

Olympus OM-D and Away Mini Suitcase
Olympus OM-D and Away Mini Suitcase | © Nikki Vargas/Culture Trip

Over time, we’ve tested an array of camera bags and cases—from bulky camera bags and stylish cross-body bags to now the Away Mini Suitcase. This compact, hardshell case is perfect for small cameras as it protects the camera from damage and features an inner compartment to hold lens caps and other accessories.

The best essential oils for wellness travelers

Saje essential oils, pocket farmacy
Saje essential oils, pocket farmacy | © Try Small Things

While not quite a travel accessory, Saje essential oils are a companion for any globe trotter looking to bring a sense of calm on their journey. We are loving the Saje pocket farmacy, which has five essential roll-on oils to naturally aid in everything from stress and headaches, to pain and belly aches. Having tried and tested these essential oils for ourselves, these natural blends are surprisingly effective. Our two favorites? The Peppermint Halo blend for headaches, which is applied by rolling the oil along the hairline, and the soothing lavender Stress Release blend, which is great for rolling onto pillows to promote relaxation and a good night’s sleep.

The best foldable laundry bag

Kikkerland® Design Airplane Travel Laundry Bag in White
Kikkerland® Design Airplane Travel Laundry Bag in White | © Bed Bath & Beyond

A laundry bag might not be the sexiest gift out there, but for travelers it is essential. This Kikkerland Airplane Travel Laundry Bag from Bed Bath & Beyond folds into a small, drawstring pouch and is easy enough to toss into your carry-on bag. Having touted our own Kikkerland Laundry Bag around the world—from Japan to France—the convenience of having a foldable laundry bag to keep dirty garments separate is key.

The best accessory to replace the ‘selfie stick’

Joby GorillaPod Focus
Joby GorillaPod Focus | © Digital Photography Live

The reign of selfie sticks has finally come to an end. Having annoyed enough travelers, obstructed enough views and even been banned in major tourist destinations, we are more than ready to leave the dreaded selfie stick behind and welcome a new alternative in 2018. Enter the Joby GorillaPod, a small and unobtrusive alternative to the selfie stick craze. The GorillaPod is a flexible tripod that can be wrapped around almost anything to help you take a selfie from a distance.

The best bag pairing for every traveler

Lo & Sons Hanover and plaid scarf from Lockwood Style in Astoria, NY
Lo & Sons Hanover and plaid scarf from Lockwood Style in Astoria, NY | © Nikki Vargas/Culture Trip

When rushing through the airport, there is perhaps nothing more irritating than playing the part of “bag lady” and balancing a carry-on, purse and miscellaneous shopping bag as you struggle to reach for your passport. Now, Lo & Sons has the answer to the perfect bag pairing for hands-free travel. The Hanover Backpack is lightweight and features memory foam straps and a minimalist design with internal compartments that save you from digging for items. Available in an onyx recycled polyester, navy blue polyester or a water resistant black polyester, the Hanover also has a slip in the back that fits onto your suitcase handle.

The Waverley (featured below) is a versatile bag that can be worn either as a cross body, wristlet, shoulder bag or belt bag. Available in black, sienna or grey Nappa leather, Lo & Sons recommends pairing the Hanover with the Waverley (as a belt bag) so as to carry your essentials while easily accessing money, passports and boarding passes on your hip.

Lo & Sons Waverley
Lo & Sons Waverley | © Nikki Vargas/Culture Trip

Having tried this combo out the past few days, we cannot recommend this bag pairing enough for travelers keen on avoiding the whole “where did I put my passport!?” fiasco while in transit.

The best accessory for practical trippers

Loop Travel Adapter
Loop Travel Adapter | © Michigan Guide

Another practical travel accessory is the adapter, a friend to every international passenger. We recommend the Loop Travel Adapter, which works in 150+ countries, can charge up to five devices at one time and—according to the site— is fitted with Smart Power technology that recognizes the device’s unique charging protocol and allows for optimized recharging speeds.

The best beauty essentials for overnight flights

Clinique Moisture Surge
Clinique Moisture Surge | © Ulta

According to Allure, dry skin is a major side effect of traveling. “Typically, skin is comfortable when the humidity is between 40 to 70 percent,” Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, a clinical instructor in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, told Allure. “Most airplane cabins are at about 20 percent. That’s less than half of what we are used to.” The lack of humidity on board planes results in dry, flaky skin that is left parched.

While on a recent layover en route to Indonesia, I rushed to Duty Free desperate for a moisturizer to salvage my skin for the next leg of my trip. I landed on the Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask, which I recommend for any long-haul travelers. Clinique’s Overnight Mask helps replenish the skin’s lost moisture and creates a barrier against that harsh, dry cabin air.