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 Thoughtful Gifts For Curious Kids

Indulge inquisitive minds this year by giving the kids in your life gifts that will reward their curiosity well beyond playtime. These 11 options will keep them entertained, stimulated, and might even help them answer a few of their "why" questions on their own.

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. The Great Treehouse Engineering Adventure Science Experiment Kit

This narrative STEM set lets kids build Pepper Mint's treehouse in the rainforest of Borneo so that she can help on a research expedition. Made for ages 8 and up, the various experiments that kids need to learn to help Pepper make the most of her trip. The projects include making a rotating rain shield, wiring LED lanterns for nighttime, and learning how gears and pulleys can help shift heavy things around the treehouse with minimal effort. And if land-based adventures aren't quite their thing, another Pepper Mint set about an underwater voyage will take them out on the open seas.

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

2. TinkerToy Super Building Set

When your preschool-aged cousin has outgrown basic blocks, the next step is building anything with wheels. This giant set of 200 rods, spools, washers, and connectors lets kids engineer cars, buses, bikes … or swords with which to stab you in appreciation. But, even then, imaginative STEM play! The pieces are durable, flexible, and made in a zero-waste green facility in Pennsylvania, so you'll feel less bad when you step on a missing spoke.

Find It at Amazon for $50 and also at these other retailers:

3. Worldwide Buddies Mexico Story Box

This culture-in-a-box set will teach kids all about the customs and traditions that make various countries unique and special. The first Worldwide Buddies kit is full of Mexican treats—it includes a book, bilingual playing cards, a stuffed axolotl toy (the critically endangered underwater Mexican salamander), and various other games and activities that will keep los niños engaged and occupied for weeks. And in January, the Chinese culture package will be debuting, just in time to celebrate Chinese New Year.

Find It at Worldwide Buddies for $39.

4. Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit

When we first learned about this coding wand, we couldn't wait to get it for the little Hermiones and Harrys we know. Kids ages 6 and up can create their own Wizarding World with a few flicks of the wrist while reciting a spell (err, programming the code). It's compatible with Mac, PC, Android, and iOS, so no matter which house they get sorted into, their spells should work flawlessly once they've completed their lessons.

Find It at Amazon for $80 and also at these other retailers:

5. Kidvelope

For adults who want to spend more time bonding with distant kid relatives (and not have to resort to Fortnite or some other video game), try some classic snail mail and silly selfies. Kidvelope is a new activity kit that emphasizes intergenerational communication through mission-based play. Kids and adults will work together, sending messages back and forth through the Kidvelope site and the good ol' USPS to solve puzzles, create secret messages, break codes, and, in this first kit iteration, attempt a rescue mission in outer space. As an older generation might say: Far out!

Find It at Kidvelope for $22.

6. LittleBits Avengers Hero Inventor Kit

They want to be a superhero? Let them build their own gear! Kids 8 and up can design, code, and customize smart-gloves with their own sounds and powers. Voice command? Check! Matrix light design? Obviously. Save the world? One kid at a time.

Find It at Amazon for $84 and also at these other retailers:

7. Nintendo Labo Variety Kit

Created around the concept of "Make, Play, Discover," the Nintendo Labo kits let kids build and customize pre-cut cardboard sheets into items they can then code with the included software for interactive, experimental play. The variety kit comes with cars, a house, a piano, a motorbike, and a fishing rod—so even if your intended recipient doesn't like getting their feet muddy, they can still tell outlandish fish stories with the best of them.

Find It at Amazon for $70 and also at these other retailers:

8. Fishing Boat Model Kit

Speaking of fishing, encourage teens to make model boats the new model cars. This wooden cut-out craft kit from HouhaDesigns would pair nicely with a copy of Moby-Dick. (Just don't let any play-acting destroy the sweet rowboat!)

Find It at Etsy for $15

9. Brio Builder Activity Playset

Let toddlers and preschoolers put their penchant for hitting things to good use by working on their fine-motor skills in the process. Kids can hammer away on these durable nuts, bolts, and wheels as well as practice using a wrench. They'll be ready to help you put together your IKEA purchases in no time!

Find It at Amazon for $70 and also at these other retailers:

10. DIY Fermentation Kit

Kids love helping out in the kitchen, but if they're hanging around too much while you're home-brewing, let them try fermenting something that they can actually sample—like pickles. This kit comes with plenty of recipes for when they're ready to branch out into other condiments (like sauerkraut or kimchi), plus it'll teach them patience. Cukes don't pickle overnight!

Find It at Uncommon Goods for $42.

11. MindWare Pattern Play

Need a quiet-time activity that won't leave crayon marks all over the walls? This rainbow-bright wooden puzzle set comes with 40 distinct pattern cards to master again and again. Kids will be so distracted by the vivid colors and pretty patterns that they won't even realize they're getting a solid introduction to math and geometry concepts like symmetry, congruence, and spatial judgment.

Find It at Amazon for $30 and also at these other retailers:

11 Brilliant Gifts for the Doctor Who Fan in Your Life

Ben Blackall, BBC America
Ben Blackall, BBC America

For Doctor Who fans, December 25 has always a big day because of the legendary sci-fi series’ annual Christmas specials (though this year's will be a New Year's Day affair). It’s during that annual holiday to-do that viewers have gotten their first glimpses of incoming Time Lords, as was the case with 2017's "Twice Upon a Time," the special that gave us a first look at Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor (and the first female Doctor).

A lot has happened in the 12 months since then. In addition to making her debut to record-shattering ratings, it's already been announced that Whittaker and her trusty team of companions will return for another whole new season ... though it won't air until 2020.

To help the Whovian in your life pass the time until then—and scratch yet another gift off your ever-growing holiday list—may we suggest one of these?

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. Thirteenth Doctor Barbie doll

Doctor Who Barbie doll
BBC and Mattel

In addition to being the first woman Doctor, Jodie Whittaker managed to become the first Doctor to get the Barbie treatment. The iconic doll brand, which is beloved by kids and adults alike, teamed up with the BBC to release this limited-edition doll. It bears an impressive resemblance to Whittaker, too—and sports her now-standard rainbow-striped T-shirt, suspenders, cropped trousers, trench coat, and lace-up boots. She’s even carrying her new take on the sonic screwdriver, a.k.a. a Swiss army sonic.

Find It at Hot Topic for $50

2. Thirteenth Doctor Funko Pop!

Thirteenth Doctor Funko Pop! toy
Funko

If your toy aesthetic is more square-headed and whimsical, then Funko's Thirteenth Doctor Pop! will make a fun addition to your cult toy collection.

Find It at Amazon for $11

3. Tardis Teapot

Jumping from one century and planet to the next can be a tiring business, so it’s always prudent to make time for tea. This ceramic teapot, which is a detailed recreation of the Doctor’s iconic time-traveling call box, holds up to 25 ounces per serving—enough for your giftee and any companion they might have tagging along.

Find It at Walmart for $28.

4. Eleventh Doctor Green Coat

Doctor Who: Eleventh Doctor Green Coat
BBC Shop

Regardless of who your favorite Doctor is, there’s no denying that Matt Smith’s double-breasted green coat is one stylish frock. The lined, moleskin coat gets it right down to the very last detail, and also comes with plenty of pockets.

Find It at The BBC Shop for $330.

5. The Doctors: Time And Space Collection

Even if you didn’t know his name, you probably spent part of your childhood with Roger Hargreaves, the author behind the Mr. Men book series. Now your giftee can relive those days with this eight-book collection of Doctor Who-inspired Mr. Men titles, created by Hargreaves’s son Adam. The books’ bold illustrations are accompanied by fun little stories and jokes from the series, which makes them fun for the whole family. (Though the Thirteenth Doctor isn't included in this series, she does have her own standalone title, which is available for $6 (paperback) or $14 (hardcover) on Amazon.)

Find It at Amazon for $31

6. Monopoly: Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Collector's Edition

Everyone’s favorite ode to capitalism gets a Whovian makeover with this special edition of Monopoly, where properties like Park Place take on the name of classic Doctor Who episodes like "The Poison Sky" instead, and old-school tokens like the race car and thimble have been replaced by iconic trinkets including the Fourth Doctor’s scarf and the Eleventh Doctor’s bow tie.

Find It at Amazon for $50 and also at these other retailers:

7. Tardis Watercolor Throw Blanket

Help your giftee show off both their fandom and their creative side with this cuddly throw blanket, featuring a watercolor-like rendering of the Doctor’s TARDIS. Measuring 4-by-5 feet, the blanket is perfect for cuddling up with a Doctor Who binge-watch.

Find It Hot Topic for $20 and also at these other retailers:

8. LEGO Ideas Doctor Who Building Kit

Doctor Who fan Andrew Clark designed this detailed LEGO set via the company’s LEGO Ideas site. The 625-piece building kit replicates the TARDIS’s iconic trans-dimensional engineering quirk, with its small-on-the-outside and enormous-on-the-inside look. The collection's four minifigures, including both the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors, mean that you can even role-play a Time Lord regeneration, LEGO-style.

Find It at Amazon for $115.

9. Fourth Doctor Scarfs

Does your favorite Whovian want to go old school with their Doctor Who style? This recreation of the Fourth Doctor’s oversized scarf—available in lengths of either six or 12 feet—makes a great winter accessory.

Find It at Amazon for $25 and up.

10. Sonic Screwdriver BBQ Tongs

With these tongs, your giftee will want to drag the grill out of storage and cook up a fresh batch of fish fingers (and custard) with these sonic screwdriver-style tongs. Yes, they even have sound effects.

Find It at Amazon for $20 and also at these other retailers:

11. Doctor Who: The Official Cookbook

Fish fingers and custard may not be a traditional dish in most parts of the world, but if you’ve ever wondered what the Doctor’s favorite foods taste like, this book is chock full of 40 “Wibbly-Wobbly Timey-Wimey Recipes.” Fandom never tasted so delicious.

Find It at Amazon for $14 and also at these other retailers:

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