Holiday Travel Gift-Giving Guide
With the holiday travel and gift-giving season quickly approaching, we thought it would be the perfect time to do a round up of the latest travel items we’ve recently worked with.
As you can imagine, we review a number of travel related items each year including luggage, nifty gadgets, and clothing. Many of these are new and innovative products that are designed by start-ups and others are from long-established companies. We carefully select the items to review that we think make sense from our own travel experiences, but occasionally, we’ll decide to review something a little out of the box to see how it performs. For this piece, we’ve come up with five items that are perfect for organizing all of your must-have items while on board a plane or cruise ship and enable you to pack more efficiently, especially when traveling internationally.
Delsey Cruise Spinner Garment Bag
Fall and winter are busy times for the cruise industry with people booking sailings for holiday travel, Caribbean trips in the winter months, followed by Trans-Atlantic crossings in the spring. If you’re planning a cruise this year, the Delsey Cruise Spinner Garment Bag should be high on your list of items to consider purchasing. This is one of our favorite pieces of luggage because it holds so much and lets your hanging clothes arrive with nary a wrinkle. You also don’t have to unfold every item that’s been meticulously wrapped in plastic garment bags (which is my other preferred method for packing hanging clothes).
The piece opens up to expose a generous space to hang all of your dresses, jackets, slacks, blouses, etc., but also has zippered pockets, corner pockets, and shoe pockets for packing all of your other clothes, bathing suits, shoes, and accessories. There are hooks so you can hang the entire bag over a door or closet rod (if you choose to) once you arrive on board or at your hotel. With a carry-on piece of luggage for valuables, cosmetics, and another pair of shoes or two, you should be good to go for a relaxing vacation and stay wrinkle free. While this piece of luggage is ideal for a cruise (since many women wear sundresses on board the ship and oftentimes cocktail or formal attire in the evening and men need jackets or suits), it’s also perfect to use for any trip where you’ll be packing a lot of hanging items. Price – $219.99
Soft Shell Joey Travel Jacket
This lightweight travel jacket from Global Travel Clothing Company has more pockets inside and out than you’ll ever need for all your techie gadgets as well as built in creature comforts. Smartphones (and not the Samsung Galaxy 7 when flying!), headphones, iPad, passport, battery chargers, sunglasses, bottled water, keys, etc., can be conveniently stored throughout the interior and exterior of the jacket and you can easily reach your devices and know they’re all securely in one place without having them strewn out in a combination of purses, backpacks, and computer bags. When going through security, you can remove the jacket and place it in a bin and not worry about anything being in your pants or short pocket, avoiding security delays.
On the plane, pull up the hood and pull the eye mask over your eyes to sleep. If your hands are cold, pull the cutout cuffs over your hand. If it gets warm during your travels, both the hood and sleeves are removable with a hidden zipper. Water resistant, the jacket is the perfect layering piece and as I found out when traveling to the blustery coast of Massachusetts recently, a really great windbreaker. You can also cinch the waistband for a snugger fit, if desired. Price – $189.99 *To order your jacket at a $10.00 discount, please click on this link and use the code “pratesiliving10”.
BirkSun Solar Backpack
When you don’t wear a travel jacket or it’s spring or summer and too warm for a coat, where do you store all the above-mentioned items? When we travel and are out sightseeing, I prefer to carry a backpack rather than a handbag or purse. It’s larger and can store everything in one place. Now, if only you could charge your iPhone without carrying a portable battery pack…well…you can with this backpack. You just need a little sunshine.
The BirkSun Solar Backpack is waterproof and has a built-in lithium battery and solar panel on the back of the bag. Inside there’s a digital power management system with a 4-light LED indicator display making it easy to create power from the sun and charge your smartphone without an extra battery. The bag itself is generous in size and boxy, so it will hold a lot of stuff. There’s also a 15-inch sleeve for a laptop. You can order it in an array of colors. The bag weighs about 2.4 pounds prior to putting anything in it, so it’s not super lightweight, but it’s a performance backpack and will keep your phone or tablet charged and your items dry while traveling. Prices start at – $129.00
25” Genius Pack Hardside Luggage
This is the first piece of hardside luggage we’ve had since owning those heavy luggables from long ago (this bag weighs 8.2 pounds). After reading reviews of some of the hardside pieces cracking from the usual tossing around at the airport, we weren’t sure if it was the right choice with all of our travel, but then we discovered there was a crush proof version made by Genius Pack.
Lightweight and easy to maneuver with eight gliding 360-degree spinning wheels, this bag is sleek and well designed inside and out. There are marked zippered pouches for many of your standard items, a secluded laundry compartment to keep the rest of your clothes clean, and a written packing list on one side of the bag with most everything you should need for travel. We also like the integrated lock system on the exterior of the bag that locks the suitcase and the zippers securely with a code. It’s much easier than remembering to bring TSA locks and then hunt down the little keys in your handbag.
I packed the same-size soft-sided bag (25”) with my travel items (using the zippered extension to fit everything in) and then transferred the same items to the Genius Pack and surprisingly, everything fit without a hitch. I’m also a fan of this bag for carrying shoes in the zipped laundry side to keep them secure and separate from my clothes. Price – $168.00
Pacsafe Toursafe AT21
This anti-theft durable, yet lightweight, wheeled carry-on was the perfect choice to haul cameras and computer equipment, and clothing around on a recent trip from Atlanta→Boston→four islands in the Azores→Lisbon →Boston→Nantucket→Boston→Atlanta on nine different flights and a ferry ride in a two-week time period. Made of a combination of strong molded plastic on one side and padded nylon with zippers and pockets on the other, this piece of luggage is built tough and ideal for the road warrior that needs an efficient and practical carry-on piece of luggage that you also don’t worry about when you need to check it. The company’s new eXomesh® technology offers theft protection that extends the full length of the bag as well as damage from a conveyor belt or luggage handlers. They also have included ToughZip™ innovation that prevents tampering with the zipper. An exterior padded pocket (that can be secured with a lock) is perfect to store a 15-inch Macbook or iPad.
Inside the bag, a drawstring compression system condenses and securely stores your belongings with the addition of interior straps, so things won’t shift much during travel. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to see just how much you can pack inside. There’s also a large mesh zippered bag to keep smaller items, magazines, or a book secure and in place. For extra protection, exterior straps are secured once the bag is zipped and ready to go. Price – $239.95
We hope you’ll find these suggestions and reviews for travel pieces helpful when searching travel items and accessories for yourself or for gifts this holiday season.
Note – The prices quoted above are the manufacturer’s listed price on their website, but you may be able to find some of the same or similar versions on other online sites at lower prices. Companies are always updating their products, so those mentioned and reviewed may have newer versions available.
Disclosure – We received these products from their manufacturers. As always, the opinions expressed our own. There is an affiliate link in the post.