Holiday Gift Guide 2023

Holiday Gift Guide 2023

BY Matt Meltzer | November 5, 2023

Yes, we’re well aware the jack-o’-lanterns on your porch haven’t even had a chance to get rotten. And many parts of the country are still wearing shorts. But Bing Crosby is back on the radio and you’ve already heard Mariah Carey twice today, which means we’re squarely into the holiday season. It’s time to start thinking about what gifts you’ll be putting your name on this year, and which ones you might drop hints about wanting.

If you’re a traveler — or plan on shopping for one — there’s a world of inventive products out there that people will actually use. Whether you’re looking to spend big or give gifts on a budget, you can find something on this list that’ll be perfect. Here’s a look at 18 gifts that always come in handy and might just be the best gift ever.

Under $50

Designer Cologne Atomizer

Have you ever had a really great cologne that you want to take on vacation, but it came in a regrettably large bottle? TSA rules give you only bad choices: leave the cologne at home and smell like hotel lotion for your entire trip or, possibly worse, check a bag you could have carried on. Here’s a better solution: has taken some top designer colognes and put them in .27-oz sprays so they barely take up room in your toiletries bag. You can smell like Tom Ford Ombre Leather as soon as you land.

Price: $14.99-$54.99

World Travel Adapter Kit

Much like that pesky metric system and languages that aren’t English, other countries have curious and confusing power outlets that can thwart even the most adroit of Americans. Never Google Translate “Where can I buy a power adapter?” again with this world adapter that magically takes your U.S. plugs and makes them fit pretty much anywhere in the world. It’s even got USB ports.

Price: $34.99

Pebblebee Global Trackers

Apple Tags are a nice idea, unless you happen to be one of the 144 million people who use Android phones. Green Text Nation isn’t doomed to a life of missing personal effects like they are missing group chats, though. These Pebblebee Bluetooth trackers work with both iOS and Android, and let you track your keys, suitcases or anything else with whatever phone you please.

Price: From $29.99

Compression Socks

Be prepared to hear the dreaded, “Oh wow. Socks,” when your friend opens up this pack of colorful compression socks. That tepid thank you is going to get a lot warmer the first time they wear them on a long flight and their feet don’t magically gain three sizes. Comrad makes an especially cool line of compression socks, which include ankle socks for those who like to wear shorts on the plane without looking like an amateur softball player.

Price: $8-$140

Perilogics Seatback Phone Holder

There’s nothing worse than throwing on a nice, light plane movie like “The Irishman” or “Lawrence of Arabia” and having to watch it on your phone, switching hands 100 times as you try to hold it up. And sure, you could use the phone holder in your seat back, but how often do you think that gets cleaned? Better to have your own cell phone holder, which clips right onto the back of your seat and has touched zero other people’s phones.

Price: $12.97

Sarcastic Planner or Journal Cover

“Journaling” is right up there with “sober curiosity” as THE wellness trend of 2023. Still, handing someone a spiral notebook for Christmas seems a little lame. That is, unless said notebook has a cover reading “People I want to punch in the throat.” Etsy has a whole line of snarky planners and notebooks that get a lot more profane than that. If you want something a little more uplifting, the Happy Planner has some cool stuff too.

Price: $10-$34.99

Phillips One Toothbrush

There are electric toothbrushes, and then there are Sonicares, which to the toothbrush savvy are like the Rolexes of dental hygiene. Packing a regular-sized Sonicare can be cumbersome, though, and you run the risk of leaving it in a hotel room. Better to opt for this thinner travel version, which gets you that same machine-fresh clean at a price that won’t make you cry when you realize it’s still on the Hilton bathroom counter.

Price: $25.96


Ekster Trackable Wallet

Ekster makes one of the sleekest money holders on the planet, a thin, spring-loaded wallet that fans out your most important cards at the push of the button. All of it is covered in soft leather and slimmer than a pack of gum. For $36, you can also add Ekster’s special tracking card, so you can find your wallet when it inevitably ends up in your hotel room mini-fridge for reasons you can’t explain.

Price: $67 ($36 more with tracking card)

Merino Wool Shirt

This might sound gross, but bear with us: With the right merino wool shirt you can wear it for an entire 12-day trip and never do laundry. Unbound Merino makes crewnecks, polos, hoodies and even pants, saving you space in your suitcase and laundry money in your budget.

Price: From $85

Noise-Canceling Headphones

Thought freedom from crying babies was the exclusive province of people sitting in first class or those who could drop several hundred dollars on a pair of Bose noise-canceling headphones? These 1MORE SonoFlow wireless headphones will instantly silence a plane full of people and make your white noise (or German death metal, if that’s your thing) crystal clear for well under $100.

Price: $71.99

Prime Steaks From Wild Fork

If you’re not familiar with Wild Fork markets, they’re probably the best place to buy high-quality meat that delivers nationwide. Treat the steak lover in your life to a USDA Prime Tomahawk, bone-in cowboy rib-eye or A5 Wagyu New York steak, all cuts rarely found outside gourmet butcher shops and high-end steakhouses.

Price: Varies by steak

Dopp Kits and Toiletries Bags

Yes, you can get toiletries bags as giveaways everywhere from the Macy’s fragrance counter to a Minor League baseball game. But a high-quality one can last forever and become part of someone’s travel identity. This hanging one from Victorinox is, quite literally, the Swiss Army knife of toiletries bags, complete with everything from a zippered toothbrush pocket to a small bottle holder. Best of all, it’s designed to take up minimal room in your suitcase.

Price: $80

Packing Cubes

Experienced, efficient travelers swear by travel cubes, which allow you to pack wild amounts of stuff into a small suitcase by organizing your belongings in separate spaces. Plenty of cheap ones are on the internet, but a high-quality set like this one from Monos can last for years and keep clothes protected from exploding toiletries and other travel hazards.
Price: $90


Getaway for Two Collections

Getting a room at a luxury hotel for your parents is a lovely gift. But what if they’d rather use that luxury night in, say, New York? Or Miami? Tinggly lets you prepay for a night in one of its collection of over 10,000 hotels worldwide, so the couple can opt for a luxe staycation close to home or a splurge night during a second honeymoon.

Price: $399

High-Quality Carry-On Luggage

Luggage is one of those things that firmly falls into the category of “you get what you pay for.” Savvy shoppers can find a great carry-on for only a few hundred dollars, like this hard-sided suitcase from Away that can take all the stuffing, slamming and squashing you (and the airlines) dish out. If you’re looking for something a little more stylish, this Chestnut Weekender from Olive and Cocoa looks like the sort of thing Hercule Poirot might have packed on the Orient Express.

Price: $275-$434

Lounge Membership

In this modern world of hectic travel, nothing feels better than posting up in a serene lounge when the airport around you is a madhouse. You don’t need to be an elite flier to do it, either. A membership with Priority Pass gets you into lounges all over the world. So even when you can’t find a seat in a tiny foreign airport, you can find a haven with Wi-Fi and free beer.

Price: $99-$469

Massage Gun

If you’ve never used a massage gun, it’s a little bit like packing up your nearest Massage Envy and opening it up in your hotel room. The ones pros use are big and expensive, but this Hypervolt Go-2 massage gun gets the job done just as well, and fits neatly in your carry-on. It’s got three different speeds, both flat and round head attachments and is so quiet you could probably use it on the plane without disturbing anyone.

Price: $129

GoPro HERO12 Black

Want to be the hero of your favorite adventure-sporting niece or nephew? Show up your sibling and get their kid the newest GoPro on the market, the brand-spanking-new HERO12 Black. It ups the picture quality considerably with HDR 5.3k and 4K video, HyperSmooth 6.0 video stabilization and a nearly 180-degree field of view. You can throw in a year’s GoPro subscription for $24.99 that comes with damaged camera replacement…just in case.

Price: $399.99

Peloton App Membership

For frequent travelers who live in hotel gyms, few tools make fitness on the road easier than a Peloton app membership. A growing number of hotels have Peloton bikes in their fitness centers, and those that don’t usually have treadmills and weights so members can still do most of the app’s running, strength and bootcamp classes. It turns every hotel gym into an instant group fitness class, and though other fitness apps exist, few have their hardware in so many places.

Price: $129-$240 per year