12 Gifts for the Traveler in Your Life

iStock
iStock

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."

12 Items Every Taco Lover Needs

Amazon
Amazon

October 4 is National Taco Day. Let’s tacobout some products you can buy to show your love for this most excellent of foods every day of the year.

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. TRICERATACO HOLDER; $22

Two dinosaur shaped taco holders with tacos in them.
Amazon

Yes, you could buy some more standard stainless steel taco holders, but why not get these punny and whimsical stands instead? They’re made of BPA-free plastic and are dishwasher safe. If carnivorous dinos are more your speed, try the TACOsaurus Rex.

Find it: Amazon

2. SHORT SLEEVE TACO SHIRT; $16 - $25

Subtly show your taco appreciation with this button up shirt, which is equipped with a tiny taco print and is made of 100 percent cotton. (They recommend buying a size up from your usual size.)

Find it: Amazon

3. TACO WAIST PACK; $11

A fanny pack with tacos on it.
Amazon

Don’t call it a fanny pack: This taco-adorned waist pack has three compartments and an adjustable strap that will accommodate taco bellies up to 46 inches.

Find it: Amazon

4. TACOS: RECIPES AND PROVOCATIONS; $21

This book, written by New York City chef Alex Stupack, is filled with essays, gorgeous photographs, and, of course, recipes. Learn how to make tortillas from scratch, whip up delicious salsas, and top it all off with fillings that are anything but basic. The book promises to “change the way you make—and think about—tacos forever.”

Find it: Amazon

5. TACO HAT; $20

A hat that looks like a taco.
Amazon

Perfect for Taco Tuesday or Halloween (or both!), this hat measures 8 inches by 18 inches.

Find it: Amazon

6. TACOS VINTAGE TEE; $20

This retro shirt comes in men’s and women’s cuts and five different colors.

Find it: Amazon

7. TACO CAT BED; $48

A cat in a bed that looks like a taco.
Amazon

This adorable, cozy taco bed is perfect for your feline friend. Made of padded fleece and microfiber yarn, it has wire in the trim to help it hold its shape and comes with catnip-stuffed pepper toys.

Find it: Amazon

8. TACO DOG COLLAR; $20

A dog collar with tacos on it.
Amazon

This dog collar is both durable and stylish: Made of polyester with a plastic buckle, it’s adorned with a mustachioed taco.

Find it: Amazon

9. KIDROBOT TACO PILLOW; $30

A cute taco pillow with a happy face on it.
Amazon

This friendly-faced pillow will look great on your bed or couch. If photorealism is what you’re looking for in your taco, consider this one.

Find it: Amazon

10. TACO SOCKS; $12

These crew length cotton socks are adorned with avocados, peppers, limes, hot sauce, and tacos. On the bottom, they say “If you can read this” and “bring me some tacos.”

Find it: Amazon

11. TACO POOL FLOAT; $11

A pool float shaped like a taco with a face on it.
Amazon

At 5 feet long, this vinyl taco float is made for lounging in the pool. It comes with a patch kit for easy repairs.

Find it: Amazon

12. TACO KITCHEN TOWEL; $15

Made of microfiber fabric, this tea towel—which measures 16 by 24 inches—is both cute and functional: Made of microfiber terrycloth, it’s ultra absorbent, and the dyes won’t fade.

Find it: Amazon

16 Magical New Harry Potter Products

Business Wire
Business Wire

Another September has arrived, and with it, the realization that—once again—you won’t be going to Hogwarts. But don’t cry into your butterbeer: These Potter products from Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma, and Target will help you forget that you’re a mere Muggle.

1. HOGWARTS CANDLE LANTERN; $99

Pair this turret-like lantern—which is made of aluminum and glass and features an antique bronze finish—with a pumpkin juice candle from Wick and Fable to get that Hogwarts at Halloween vibe.

Find it: Pottery Barn

2. HOGWARTS COMFY THROW; $13

Don this fleece throw—which looks exactly like a Hogwarts student robe—for studying in your house “Common Room” (a.k.a. your living room) or before mealtime in the “Great Hall” (a.k.a. your kitchen). Get some treacle tart on your robe? Don’t worry—it’s machine-washable.

Find it: Target

3. GRYFFINDOR APRON; $40

As all wizards know, food is the first of the Principal Exceptions to Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration: Tasty treats don’t just appear out of nowhere—someone has to make them. Now you can display your house pride in the kitchen with this cotton twill robe. The neckband is equipped with a d-ring to make adjustments a snap.

Find it: Williams Sonoma

4. HOUSE BACKPACK; $63

These adorable canvas backpacks (available for all houses) feature interior and exterior pockets, a padded laptop pocket, and a roomy interior. See if you can make it even roomier with an Undetectable Extension Charm!

Find it: Pottery Barn Kids

5. VELVET TRAIN CASE; $59

Arrive at Platform 9¾ in style with one of these chic velvet toiletry cases.

Find it: Pottery Barn Teen

6. TRIWIZARD CUP LAMP; $18

Great for your bedside table or your Halloween costume, this cordless, battery-powered acrylic lamp will make you look like a Triwizard champ.

Find it: Target

7. MIRROR OF ERISED JEWELRY CABINET; $399

If you don’t have room for the full-length mirror, this jewelry cabinet is the next best thing: It opens to reveal hooks, shelves, and pegs for all of your baubles.

Find it: Pottery Barn Teen

8. WALL DECALS; $16

What better way to show of your hoggy hoggy Hogwarts pride than with these house crest vinyl wall decals? Each set comes with five decals, which reviewers give high marks.

Find it: Target

9. HOUSE CREST COOKIE CUTTERS; $17

These detailed cookie cutters are fun for witches and wizards of all ages. Plus, they’re dishwasher-safe.

Find it: Williams Sonoma

10. HOGWARTS MAP; $129

This vintage-looking aerial map of Hogwarts is a true work of art. It’s printed on canvas and has grommets for easy hanging. And it won’t talk back like the Fat Lady!

Find it: Pottery Barn Kids

11. WIZARD CHESS; $40

It’s not life-sized, but this set is a detailed replica of the smaller board Harry and Ron play with in Sorcerer’s Stone.

Find it: Target

12. FAUX BOOK LOCKBOX; $139

Whether you’re hiding a Hallows or a Horcrux, this 20-inch-long facade—which looks like a shelf straight from the Hogwarts library—will keep all of your most precious things safe.

Find it: Pottery Barn Teen

13. GOLDEN SNITCH SNACK BOWL; $40

Made of gold-plated aluminum, this adorable bowl is perfect for serving up all kinds of snacks, from jelly slugs to Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans. (Just watch out for the earwax flavor!)

Find it: Pottery Barn

14. QUIDDITCH PILLOW; $50

This Quidditch pillow—which is made of cotton velvet—has a delightfully retro vibe. There’s also a Snitch pillow, a Hogwarts letter sham, and this throw pillow featuring one of Harry’s signature spells.

Find it: Pottery Barn Kids

15. DEATHLY HALLOWS BLUETOOTH SPEAKER, $79

This gold-gilded Bluetooth speaker is compatible with all smartphones. It’s also cordless, which means you can take it with you—and listen to the Weird Sisters—wherever you go.

Find it: Pottery Barn Teen

16. ETCHED SCENE SHEET SET, $79 - $149

These cotton percale sheets come in every size from Twin to King and are adorned with scenes from the Hogwarts grounds and the Forbidden Forest.

Find it: Pottery Barn Teen

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER