11 Brilliant Gifts For The Traveler in Your Life

Amazon / UncommonGoods
Amazon / UncommonGoods

Many of us have at least one loved one who never can stay in one place for too long. For that frequent traveler in your life, heavy books or gift cards to local restaurants probably aren’t going to cut it. This holiday season, get them one of these products that are made to complement their adventures.

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. Zendure Portable Charger

Long-haul flyers can take solace in always having a little extra juice for their phones and e-books. Zendure’s portable charger raised more than $216,000 on Kickstarter, for good reason. It’s crush-proof, so no need to worry about it getting squished in suitcases or overhead bins. It turns on automatically when you plug your device in, and it can hold 95 percent of its charge on stand-by for up to six months between trips. It comes in silver or black, and for a few more dollars, you can upgrade to more battery power.

Find It at Amazon for $60 and also at these other retailers:

2. The New York Times: 36 Hours Europe

The wanderlust-prone are sure to find a city they’ve never been to in The New York Times’ book-length collection of their popular “36 Hours” travel series. The newly updated European edition features 130 cities across the continent, with itineraries that highlight the best that each destination has to offer—and shares a game plan for visiting each of them in just one weekend. For those whose travel horizons extend beyond Europe, there are also U.S. and Latin American versions.

Find It at Amazon for $40 and also at these other retailers:

3. Polaroid Cube +

This tiny HD camera will fit in any suitcase, no matter how full. It’s just 1 cubic inch, but can shoot video in full HD or capture 8-megapixel images. It’s waterproof and shockproof, so it’s perfect for rugged adventures and city travels alike. Plus, with a 128° angle lens, it can capture more of the scene than a regular camera.

Find It at Amazon for $174.

4. Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones

Every traveler needs a way to block out some of the less glamorous aspects of jet-setting. Bose’s headphones come with a high recommendation from The Wirecutter, whose reviewers spent 30 hours testing 20 different noise-cancelling headphone models. The lightweight, comfy QC25 model has great noise-cancellation, and collapses down to a smaller size for storage.

Find It at Amazon for $229 and also from these retailers:

5. Rifle Paper Co. Passport Pocket Notebooks

Rifle’s passport-themed notebooks are a stylish reminder of the joys of travel. The miniature booklets are the perfect size to carry around in a back pocket or small bag, with 64 unlined sheets and natural vellum pages. They come in packs with two different designs, so if you really like them, you can even keep one for yourself!

Find It at Amazon for $10.

6. Logitech Keys-To-Go Ultra-Portable Bluetooth Keyboard

It’s easier to write those emails home on a standard keyboard rather than tapping away at a touchscreen. For those who don’t bring a full laptop on their trips and opt for a tablet or iPad instead, Logitech’s Bluetooth keyboard—available in black, gray, blush, or smoky blue—has full-size keys. It's also still light, easy to carry in a bag or even a large coat pocket, spill-resistant, and can be used for up to three months on a single charge.

Find It at Amazon for $45 and also at these other retailers:

7. Espro Stainless Steel 12-Ounce Travel Press With Coffee Filter

Road-trip lovers can enjoy great coffee no matter what pit-stops they counter with Espro’s travel brewer, essentially a fancy French press in an insulated cup. It has a two-filter brewing process that eliminates the grit that accompanies French presses, and halts the extraction process once the plunger is pushed down all the way, so your coffee doesn’t continue to brew. No need to strain it out of the cup. The insulation keeps it warm for four to six hours. The cup comes in a few different colors as well as a version made for brewing tea.

Find It at Amazon for $35 and also at these other retailers:

8. National Parks Explorer Map

For the roving outdoor explorer in your life, consider this map of some of the best wilderness destinations in the U.S. It comes with tree stickers so they can mark off the national parks they have checked off their bucket list. With 59 parks in total, the vintage-style design shows off the many places that could serve as their next vacation plan.

Find It at Uncommon Goods for $55.

9. City Map Glass

Let your favorite cross-country explorer celebrate their favorite city with tumblers depicting the street grids of some of the biggest metros in the U.S. Designed by the Boston-based Brian Johnson, there are currently 17 different city glasses to choose from, each etched with part of the urban street grid, neighborhood names, and the city’s geographical coordinates. Whether you’re looking to honor someone’s hometown pride or future travel plans, these cups make it easy to toast to some of America’s most exciting destinations.

Find It at Uncommon Goods for $16.

10. Trunkster Carry-On

The price tag on this one may seem high for a suitcase, but this isn’t just a bag. You can track its location via a smartphone app, and it has a built-in scale to ensure you never go over your maximum weight. There’s a removable power bank with USB ports to charge your devices located on the top of the suitcase. Plus, it’s exactly the size of most airlines’ maximum carry-on luggage allowance.

Find It at Trunkster for $345.

11. Men's Organizing Travel 4-Pack & Women's Organizing Travel 4-Pack

Keeping organized on the road can be tough, but these cloth bags make it easy to keep essentials separate and handy. They’re printed with images of what should go inside, whether it’s underwear, a hair dryer, or dirty clothes. There are two sets—labeled as men’s and women’s—with different images, in case your favorite traveler needs a bag for earbuds more than one for a hairdryer.

Find It at Uncommon Goods for $45 and up.

11 Patriotic Products to Celebrate the Fourth of July

Amazon
Amazon

Whether you’ll be lounging by the beach or grilling in your backyard this Independence Day, don’t forget to show off your all-American spirit with a little swag. Here are 11 products to help you celebrate Fourth of July—all of which would pair nicely with your collection of presidential bobbleheads.

1. Declaration Of Independence Signatures Mug; $15

Mug decorated with the signatures from the Declaration of Independence.
CafePress, Amazon

The names of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence are on display on this ceramic coffee mug. Studying the signatures each morning might inspire you to perfect your own John Hancock.

Find it: Amazon

2. Stars And Stripes Cufflinks; $55

Cufflinks with images of stars and stripes on them

Cufflinks Inc., Nordstrom

Brighten up your wardrobe with a splash of American pride. One half of this cufflinks set is striped red and white and the other is blue and spangled with stars. Together they make a patriotic accent piece.

Find it: Nordstrom

3. Fireworks Light Show Projector; $41

Portable fireworks light projector.
Uncle Milton, Amazon

If you want a low-hazard Fourth of July that still delivers thrills, consider getting a light show projector. When it’s pointed at a wall, the device displays vibrant fireworks animations accompanied by realistic sound effects. And it works indoors, so you can count on your Independence Day party ending with a light show no matter the weather forecast. (There's also a Disney version available for just $20.)

Find it: Amazon

4. Inflatable Cooler; $14

Inflatable American flag cooler filled with ice and drinks.
Fun Express, Amazon

When preparing for a picnic or barbecue this Fourth of July, don’t bother breaking out your tiny roll-away cooler. This 54-by-28-inch inflatable trough holds enough bottles and cans to keep your party going well past sunset. Once the cooler has been drained and deflated, it folds neatly for easy storage.

Find it: Amazon

5. American Trivia Cards; $15

Even players who paid attention in American history class might find this game challenging. Each box comes with 150 cards of United States trivia. Some questions—like what was the first state to grant women the right to vote—highlight important moments in our nation’s history. Others—like how many columns the Lincoln Memorial features—are a little more random.

Find it: UncommonGoods

6. U.S. Navy Blanket; $200

The U.S. military has been going to Faribault Woolen Mill Co. for its blankets for over 100 years. This one is crafted from 100 percent wool and weighs 3.5 pounds. The design is inspired by the blankets supplied on Navy ships—and if it’s tough enough for the Navy, you can bet it will withstand a Fourth of July picnic. We like the gray version, but it comes in several different styles and colors.

Find it: Faribault Woolen Mill Co.

7. American Flag Cornhole; $90

Two American flag cornhole boards with bean bags.
GoSports, Amazon

Baseball faces some stiff competition from cornhole for the title of No. 1 American pastime. This lawn set includes four blue bean bags, four red bean bags, and two boards decorated to resemble the American flag.

Find it: Amazon

8. U.S. Map Cutting Board; $20

Wooden cutting board in the shape of the U.S. map.
Totally Bamboo, Amazon

This 100 percent bamboo board eschews the traditional rectangle shape in favor of the outline of the American mainland. You can either keep it in the kitchen and use it as a cutting board or bring it out to the party as a serving platter for fruits, cheeses, and other hors d'oeuvres.

Find it: Amazon

9. Boston Tea Party Tea Sampler; $15

Six piles of loose-leaf tea.
Solstice Tea Traders, Amazon

A sip of one of the teas in this sampler will put you in touch with your inner revolutionary. Each of the six loose-leaf varieties—bohea black tea, oolong, congou black tea, souchong, singlo, and hyson—was among those tossed over the sides of British ships during the Boston Party. Whether you drink the tea or chuck it into the nearest harbor is up to you. (If you're looking for something to put on display, UncommonGoods also sells a slightly pricier, more elegant option with five teas.)

Find it: Amazon

10. State Map Prints; $27 and Up

A poster featuring a colorful map of Wisconsin
Bri Buckley, Society6

These unique prints by Bri Buckley highlight the beauty of each U.S. state in vibrant color. Each state map is available in both a modern and a vintage style, and like most Society6 art, the design is also available on tapestries, shirts, pillows, tote bags, and more.

Find it: Society6

11. Bald Eagle Pool Float; $15

A man and a woman ride a bald eagle pool float
Swimline, Amazon

Cool down the patriotic way this Fourth of July. This massive 8-foot-by-6-foot bald eagle pool float can fit up to two people comfortably, and will look great floating around your pool during your backyard barbecue.

Find it: Amazon

A version of this article first ran in 2017. It has been updated for 2019.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and 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!

Turn Your Phone Into an Instant Camera With KODAK's New Handheld Printer

KODAK
KODAK

Instant cameras are all the rage, but when you're already carrying a high-end camera everywhere you go in the form of your smartphone, the idea of carrying around an extra gadget might seem like more work than it's worth. You don't have to choose between the convenience of your phone's camera and the fun of having a tangible memento. KODAK's new SMILE digital printer combines all the fun of using filters and image editing on your phone with the delight of having a printed copy of your photo.

Blue, green, black, red, and white KODAK SMILE printers printing photos
The KODAK SMILE line of instant digital printers
KODAK

The handheld Bluetooth printer—which is roughly the same size as KODAK's SMILE instant digital camera—lets you edit photos on your phone, then print your image instantly on 2-inch-by-3-inch sticker paper. Using the KODAK SMILE app, you can add Instagram-esque filters; rotate images and change contrast, brightness, and other characteristics; and add stickers, text, doodles, and borders.

Most uniquely, you can add augmented reality elements to your photos, so that when you (or someone else with the KODAK SMILE app) point the app at the physical print, the image is replaced by a short video clip. The effect is something like the moving photographs in Harry Potter—you can surprise your friends by asking them to view a photo through the app's AR function, then watch their delight as the still image begins to move.

The KODAK SMILE app
KODAK

KODAK sent Mental Floss both the SMILE instant camera and the SMILE printer to test, and while there's a lot of fun in snapping photos on an instant camera and accepting whatever weird flaws that photo might have (though you can do some light editing on the SMILE camera before printing), in our opinion, the breadth of image-editing features and convenience of being able to print photos you've already taken on your smartphone makes the digital printer the better option if you're trying to choose between the two.

This is especially true if you're going on vacation or trying to capture a night out on camera; it's just easier to whip out your phone rather than break out another camera, and it's easier to edit photos on your phone than to manipulate photos on the SMILE instant camera's small screen.

Blue, black, green, white, and red KODAK SMILE instant-print cameras
The KODAK SMILE line of instant-print digital cameras
KODAK

The SMILE printer is available on Amazon and Walmart for $100 and comes in five different colors: white, black, blue, green, and red. The SMILE instant-print digital camera is also $100 on Amazon and Walmart and is available in the same colors.

While the camera and the printer both come with a starter pack of sticker-backed ZINK photo paper, you can get 50 refill sheets for $24 when you run out.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and 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!

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