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12 Gifts for the Traveler in Your Life

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Whether your favorite explorer travels by plane, train, or automobile (or kayak, cargo ship, or sled), they need thoughtful essentials to make every trip one to remember. Here are some of our latest favorites.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. THULE SUBTERRA CARRY-ON; $280

thule subterra carry-on
Thule

With a durable exoskeleton, oversized wheels, and a 7-pound weight, this carry-on is both tough and easy to transport. The divided main compartment keeps clothes separated—clean from dirty, wet from dry, and work from play. A zippered mesh pocket makes for fast access to keys, cash, and passport.

Find It: Thule

2. COTOPAXI ALLPA TRAVEL PACK; $200

woman wearing cotopaxi allpa backpack
Cotopaxi

Adventurous travelers will love this next generation of backpack that's bursting with smart features. It's carry-on, trek-ready, and tech-savvy all at the same time. It has a durable outer cover, suitcase-style mesh zipper panels on the inside, padded hip straps to distribute weight off the shoulders, and a zippered laptop pocket. It comes with a high-visibility rain cover that stows away when not in use.

Find It: Cotopaxi

3. MOMA OSTRICH PILLOW GO; $60

moma ostrich travel pillow
MoMA

From the Museum of Modern Art's Design Store comes a contoured travel pillow for the person who never leaves style behind. Composed of high-sensitivity memory foam, it adjusts to three positions that secure in place, thanks to hidden buttons. The soft stretch-fabric outer layer is washable. Plus, it compresses for easy packability.

Find It: MoMA

4. TIMELESS JOURNEYS: TRAVELS TO THE WORLD'S LEGENDARY PLACES; $26

Inspire someone's next journey with this gorgeous new volume from National Geographic, the world's authority on global adventures. Packed with stunning photography and deep knowledge, the book visits 50 bucket list–ready locations on every continent, including Easter Island, Kyoto, Mesa Verde, Carthage, Pompeii, Victoria Falls, Cappadocia, and Chichen Itza, among dozens of others.

Find It: Amazon

5. EAGLE CREEK PACK-IT SPECTER TECH™ STRUCTURED CUBE M; $30

pack-it specter tech structured cube m
Eagle Creek

This ultralight packing organizer is especially designed to keep collared shirts, button-downs, dresses, and skirts crisply folded. It comes with a folding board you fold clothing around that's just the right size for the bag. Use the cube's compression zipper to reduce its size way down, then slip it in your suitcase or carry-on. It's made from durable ripstop that is water and stain repellent.

Find It: Eagle Creek

6. TRAVEL ESSENTIALS BEAUTY BOX BY ALLURE AND CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER; $40

Beauty box from Allure and Conde Nast Traveler
Shop Latitude

Stay fresh on the go with this loaded beauty box curated by Allure and Condé Nast Traveler. It includes Talika Eye Therapy Patch, Noxidoxi Face Mist, Sisley Express Gel Mask Packet, Canyon Ranch Conditioner, Canyon Ranch Shampoo, Spongelle - the Spongette in Coconut Verbena, Missoni EDT, Living Proof Dry Shampoo, WetBrush Pop Fold in Black, and Bite Multistick in Gelato.

Find It: Shop Latitude

7. WILDSAM FIELD GUIDES BOOK SERIES; $18


Amazon

These aren't your classic travel guides. Each of the nine volumes in this series is crafted by locals with insider knowledge, so your favorite explorer gets an authentic experience in each destination. Take Nashville: Of course the guide delves into country music, but it also explores songbirds, the Fugitive Poets, women's suffrage, comfort food, fly fishing, and homelessness. Other guides include Austin, San Francisco, Detroit, New Orleans, Brooklyn, Charleston, New England, and the Southwest.

Find It: Amazon

8. KODAK PRINTOMATIC INSTANT PRINT CAMERA; $70

kodak printomatic instant camera
Amazon

Skip the Instagram filter for the real thing: Kodak resurrects old-school instant photos in a modern way with the Printomatic. It instantly and automatically prints high-quality, full color photos on Zink (for "zero ink") photo paper. The 2x3-inch prints are made for traveling, sharing, and displaying: They're durable, water-resistant, and adhesive-backed.

Find It: Amazon

9. ULTIMATE EARS WONDERBOOM PORTABLE WATERPROOF BLUETOOTH SPEAKER; $80

wonderboom waterproof speaker in pool
Amazon

Planning a weekend away with friends? Whether you're headed to a winter cabin in the woods or a house in the Caribbean with a pool, you can create the right mood for the entire party with this portable speaker. Connect it to the music collection with Bluetooth—it provides clear, crisp sound for up to 10 hours on a single charge. It's waterproof, so don't worry about it getting wet—it even goes in the shower.

Find It: Amazon

10. WD BLACK MY PASSPORT PORTABLE EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE; $58

WD external hard drive in six colors
Amazon

A great tool for the avid photographer, music lover, or business traveler, this external hard drive holds essential files in a small, durable format. At just 4.3 x 3.2 inches, it's password protected with hardware encryption, and the included software offers automatic backup to ensure you don't lose files.

Find It: Amazon

11. ALLBIRDS MEN'S WOOL LOUNGERS; $95

allbird men's wool lounger
Allbirds

Allbirds bills their shoes as the "world's most comfortable." Fittingly for a company based in New Zealand, where sheep outnumber people 6 to 1, they've crafted these loungers from superfine Merino wool, each strand thinner than a human hair. The loungers are wickable and breathable, with a casually sophisticated silhouette. Now those long walks through far-off cities won't be so hard on the feet.

Find It: Allbirds

12. BERGTAGEN WOOLMESH SWEATER; $160

Ain't no mountain high enough to outdo this sweater from Swedish company Fjallraven. The layers are designed "to keep the cold out, to trap the warmth in and to be outdoors longer in extraordinarily wild places."

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11 Geeky and Unusual Blankets to Keep You Warm
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Wrap yourself up in one of these quirky blankets.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. STAR WARS; $20.99

Star Wars blanket

This 45-by-60 inch polyester throw—which features a storm trooper, Yoda, R2-D2, and Darth Vader—is the perfect blanket for the young Jedi in your life.

Find It: Amazon

2. POCKET BLANKET; $30

Despite being 63 inches long, this blanket can be folded up to fit in the palm of your hand—making it great for impromptu picnics and beach hangs. It’s water-repellent and puncture-proof to keep you safe from whatever twigs or puddles lie underneath.

Find It: Amazon

3. BLAH BLAH BLAH; $199.99

Curl up with this Scottish lambswool blanket and tune out the world. The woven blanket is covered in connected “blahs” that honor the times you just stop paying attention. It’s also reversible: One side is white and the other black.

Find It: Uncommon Goods

4. TORTILLA BABY BLANKET SET; $48

Make yourself a little baby burrito with this clever tortilla-themed swaddling blanket and hat.

Find It: Uncommon Goods

5. ALICE IN WONDERLAND PAGE; $75

Before you get wrapped up in a good novel, wrap yourself up in this book blanket. This literary throw features Alice and the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland along with a passage from the title. It’s made with cotton and acrylic yarn so it has a little stretch.

Find It: Uncommon Goods

6. HARRY POTTER MARAUDER'S MAP; $34.62

Solemnly swear you are up to no good while wrapped in this blanket that resembles the Marauder’s Map that made its debut in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Luckily, you don’t need a wand or secret password for it to work.

Find It: Amazon

7. TARDIS; $29.95

This fleece blanket is shaped like the TARDIS from the beloved television show Doctor Who. It will go great with your TARDIS slippers, pajama pants, and mug.

Find It: Amazon

8. PERIODIC TABLE; $89.25

period table blanket

How many times have you desperately needed to consult the periodic table in the middle of the night but had no way of doing so? Probably never, but you still might need this science-inspired throw. It’s 75 percent cotton and 25 percent polyester and promises to keep you warmer than an exothermic reaction.

Find It: Zazzle

9. WESTEROS; $34.99

Westeros blanket

Sleep under a map of the Seven Kingdoms (plus Braavos, the Flatlands, and more from across the Narrow Sea) from Game of Thrones. The polyester throw is perfect for staying warm while watching HBO (or planning an invasion).

Find It: Amazon

10. SPACE INVADERS; $33.97

This officially licensed fleece blanket is dedicated to the classic arcade game Space Invaders. It's delightfully retro and will look great next to your old Atari.

Find It: Amazon

11. STAR TREK; $17

Let the Enterprise shuttle you to sleep with this officially licensed polyester blanket. The print is only on one side, with a white underside.

Find It: Amazon

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