My Favorite Travel Gifts for 2013

I love to travel. I also love travel accessories that can simplify my next adventure or address a specific or unique travel need. And with a grand family adventure just a few short months away, I’ve been searching high and low for a select few travel accessories that will compliment this adventure.

Travel gift ideas

The result? Here’s my top ten favorite travel accessories I hope to find under my Christmas tree this year. Enjoy!

Not a traveler? No problem! You don’t have to travel to enjoy many of these items.

This Traveler’s Holiday Wish List

Ah yes. The Holiday season is in full swing. Do you have a traveler on your list? If so, perhaps one of my favorite travel gifts might be just the gift you are looking for. And if you know my family, share this list with them so they know what to get me! :)

Panasonix Lumix TS5 Waterproof Camera

The Panasonic Lumix TS5 is one tough camera – water-proof to 43 feet, shock-proof from 6.6 feet, freeze-proof to 14 degrees Farenheit, and pressure resistant to 220 pounds. It’s so tough it’s sure to survive practically anything from adventurous escapes to the kids’ accidental drop onto a concrete floor.

Waterproof cameras

My favorite features of this tough little camera? WiFi connectivity for easy photo-sharing and built-in GPS that takes the guess work out of where that image was taken.

The Lumix TS5 retails for $300 at Panasonic and Amazon.

GoPro Hero 3+ Camera

All I can say is – the GoPro Hero3+ is just so cool! It goes anywhere your adventure takes you. Underwater? Check. Ziplining? Check. The kids’ soccer games? Check. The GoPro Hero3  features video resolutions up to 4K, takes 12MP photos, is waterproof to 131 feet, and has built-in WiFi for instant sharing.


The GoPro is with you all the way, shooting video and images from perspectives you just might not get with a traditional camera.

What I like best about the GoPro Hero3+? It’s easy enough for my kids to use it. Just think of the different perspectives they’ll capture with a GoPro Hero3+ in their hands!

GoPro Hero3+ cameras range from $199 to $399.

LowePro Photo Sport AW Back Pack

A multi-functional day bag that safely houses a D-SLR camera as well as a water bottle and snacks is a must for my daily travel adventures. Tops on my list? The LowePro Photo Sport AW Series camera back pack. This uber-cool camera backpack works well for both active adventure photographers and family photo enthusiasts alike. Safely store that precious camera cargo in the padded side pocket. Then throw in some snacks and it’s off to the next adventure.

Camera Bags

Why is the LowePro PhotoSport my favorite camera bag? Because it safely houses my D-SLR camera and it’s easily accessible when I’m ready to take photos.

LowePro Photo Sport Backpacks range from $99 – $200.

QuadroPod Tripod Mounting System

The nifty and versatile QuadroPod tripod-mounting system is the perfect sized companion for a trip across town or across continents. Simply clamp your device in, twist the legs to whatever configuration you need, and you are good to go! The QuadroPod also makes a great compact camera tripod mount.

QuadroPod Clamp

What I like most about the QuadroPod? My son can safely attach his iPad to an airplane drop-down table to enjoy his movie. Unlike the last time, when it fell to the floor and slid to the row behind us!

The Quadropod + Clamp sells for $40.

WakaWaka Solar Charger And Lamp

No electrical outlets required when you have a Waka Waka Power Charger and Lamp. Just a sunny afternoon is needed to power up the WakaWaka with enough juice to recharge dead cell phones and tablets. And the handy built-in lamp means you’ll not be left in the dark!

Solar battery charger

What I like most about the WakaWaka charger? Each purchase helps support Waka Waka’s mission to end energy poverty around the world. Sweet! A WakaWaka gift is a gift that keeps on giving!

WakaWaka Power chargers are $69.

myCharge PEAK 6000 Portable Charger

With build-in Apple 30-pin and Micro USB cables, as well as a USB port, the myCharge PEAK 6000 can charge up to three devices at one time. It’s compact design makes it an easy “drop-in-the-bag” travel companion to just about anywhere.

Portable Chargers

What I like most about the PEAK 6000? Fewer fights over whose device charges first! Check out the full line of myCharge portable rechargeable battery packs.

The myCharge PEAK 6000 sells for $80.


The SleepPhones mantra says it all – It’s like having pajamas for your ears. The uber-soft headband houses removable earbuds that let you listen in comfort. Best of all, these earbuds aren’t jammed into your ears! SleepPhones might just be the ticket to getting some shut-eye on that next red eye. And great for sleeping in hotels too. You know, just in case you need to block out the snores of your traveling companions!


What I like most about the SleepPhones? With a red eye flight in  my near future, I might actually get some shut-eye! I definitely want pajamas for my ears.

The original SleepPhones sells for $40, and a wireless version is $100.

Eagle Creek Pack-It System

The Eagle Creek Pack-It System can transform an ordinary carry-on bag into the ultimate two-week travel bag. I gave several Eagle Creek Pack-It Cubes a run for their money this summer. I wasn’t sure I’d like them. The verdict is in – they are exactly what I need to keep this family of four organized when traveling. I just need more of them!

Packing Cubes

What I like most about the Eagle Creek Pack-It System? They cut down on wasted space in my suitcase, making it possible to travel with just a carry-on bag.

Eagle Creek Pack-It components range from $5 and up.

Kindle Paperwhite

If you love to read, but hate lugging all those books with you, then a Kindle Paperwhite 3G might just be your new best friend. We have three readers in our traveling family, and packing enough books to get us through a trip can really weigh us down. Literally! One of us must “sacrifice” our printed books for a Kindle. That’ll be me, please.


My favorite feature of the Kindle PaperWhite? The X-Ray technology so I can easily find characters through-out the book.

Kindle Paperwhite 3G is $189, and Kindle Paperwhite is $119 at Amazon.

ScotteVest’s Ultimate Travel Vest

What’s a girl to do when she’s got all this stuff to carry, but a hand bag just won’t do? Get a ScotteVest Travel Vest! This practical yet stylish vest has seventeen different pockets discreetly placed throughout the vest. I’ve been coveting this item for quite some time now. Sure hope it finds it’s way under the tree this year!

Travel Clothes

What I like most about the Travel Vest? I can keep essential items on me, no hand-bag required, leaving my hands free for other activities like taking photos.

The ScotteVest is $125, in designs for both Men and Women.

20-Day Grand Journey Through Southern Africa

What’s the #1 item on my Holiday Wish List? An epic, 20 day journey through southern Africa, exploring breathtaking coastlines, deltas and national parks across four distinct African countries. Sipping fine wines in luxury accommodations. Experiencing the Big 5 up close. Trekking across barren deserts and rushing rivers. Sign me up now!

Travel to Africa

What I like most about the Grand Journey? Everything!

The price for this incredible, once in a lifetime Grand Journey Through Southern Africa? A mere $15,000 – $18,000 a person!

Ok, I don’t think this will be under my Christmas tree. :( But hey, this is a wish list, right? And one can dream.

What’s On Your Wish List?

What do you think of my favorite travelers’ gifts? Do you have a coveted travel accessory you’d like to share? Is there a travel accessory you hope is under your Christmas tree?

Are you hoping your loved ones gift you with an African Grand Journey? Let us know in the Comments section below.

Gift box image from Alvanman via Flickr.


    • carolbiederman says

      Hi Corina, I’m sure your sister likes whatever you get her! And if she hasn’t tried the Eagle Creek Pack-It System, she might want to. I was a skeptic, now totally sold on them.
      Happy Friday!

  1. says

    Hi Carol, What a wonderful list! There really is something for everyone here. I love all the tech! I have the Waka Waka and find it so handy that I can charge it from either the wall or the sun. I love the light too. When I travel I often need a light and now I don’t have to pack one.

    The Paperwhite is my favorite Kindle model, though my favorite feature is Whispersync. Like you, I take my Kindle with me when I travel but often my kids want to borrow it. They can download their books within seconds and pick up where they left off reading.

    Thanks for saying what you like best for each gift. My favorite gift? The Sleep Phones. I love the idea of pajamas for my ears. I have a long trip planned soon and I would love this for that plane ride.

    The Eagle Creek Pack It system I found out about here and now I’m hooked. I got some as a Christmas gift for hubby. He travels on business a lot and I think he’ll be a fan.

    Thanks so much for your hard work on this fantastic list!
    Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently posted..How to Choose Which iPad Is Best for YouMy Profile

    • carolbiederman says

      Hi Carolyn, glad you enjoyed the list! And glad I could help a fellow traveler with the Eagle Creek cubes. I initially purchased one cube and one fold-it bag for my hubby’s business trip – he loved that they kept his business shirts in decent shape compared to how he used to pack them. Hope your hubby finds equal success.

      You are right about the Whispersync. That’s a close second for me. More like my son, who like your kids, used to borrow my Gen 1 Kindle (which I still have) and download books when he so quickly read through his.

      And I too want those SleepPhones. We are off on a long flight in the Spring and if I don’t get them for Christmas, I know I will be buying them on my own.

      Happy Friday!

    • carolbiederman says

      Hi Christy, thanks! If I don’t get the SleepPhones for Christmas, I know I will be buying them for myself come the Spring! I’ve got a long flight, including a red-eye, and I need as much help as I can to get some rest on that flight. Not to mention my travel companions snore!

      Happy Friday!

  2. says

    Hi Carol,

    I was smiling as I was going through your wishlist because I knew Carolyn would love this as well, for the lovely tech kind of list of things she shares :)

    I think my only wish would be to run away to a far-away place where there is NO connection to the Internet and the other world – just peace and quiet, and lots of days to relax and unwind! Yeh…that’s what I honestly wish for :)

    I think your list is lovely, and I would go for those earphones that I love as they block all kinds of sounds and give you time for yourself. Even the travelers vest is awesome with so many pockets, perfect to getaway to any place.

    Thanks for sharing, and you never know, you might get your dream to travel to South Africa coming true. You can never say what’s up with Santa 😉 Happy weekend :)
    Harleena Singh recently posted..9 Ways to Cope As a Single ParentMy Profile

    • carolbiederman says

      Hi Harleena, yes, you are so right about Carolyn! I’m pretty sure a SleepPhones is in her near future.

      You know, I agree with you about the getting away from the internet part. We try to do that for one trip each year. Mainly, we need to get my husband to leave his laptop at home, else we are guaranteed to lose him in the evenings and early mornings as he “checks in” to the office. Our Spring 2014 trip will hopefully succeed in that front! I know I will be “checking out” for the week.

      It’s interesting …. the most popular gift items on my list based on comments are the SleepPhones and the Vest. I’m hoping to get both before our Spring trip. I hate using purses or handbags.

      Africa … yes one day, but not sure that Santa has room on his sleigh for it this year! That’s ok. There are so many places to visit that even though I am not heading to Africa any time soon, I am enjoying the places we do get to see!

      Happy weekend.

    • carolbiederman says

      Yes, I agree on those SleepPhones! And like you, I am hoping Santa has my list and delivers me a pair.
      Wow – so you’ve met the ScotteVest team! I don’t have any of their products – yet! Hence why they are on my with list. Been coveting them for a while, reading reviews, trying to decide which to get, and if they were worth the premium price. Decision made, now just need to save my pennies and get one before we head out on our next adventure.

      Thanks for stopping by, have a great weekend.

  3. says

    Love the travel gifts. So many great ideas. We love traveling, so this make great gifts for … me! LOL! Many years ago, pre-kids, my husband and I did go on an African Safari. It was amazing and I hope to someday go back with the girls. But yeah, it’s definitely a trip that we’d have to save a few years before we could afford to go!
    Shannon recently posted..Blog Round-Up: Week of December 2, 2013My Profile

    • carolbiederman says

      Hi Shannon, glad you enjoyed the list. It was a lot of fun searching for my favorite travel products – I am getting ready for a trip in a few months and realized my shopping list for that trip made a perfect blog post.

      I have a friend who recently went to Africa sans kids. She took her father – how awesome is that! I’ve priced and planned a trip to South Africa for our family, but alas, the airfare alone kills it every time. One day … one day it will happen! But for now, I will explore the so many other destinations out there that our budget can handle.

      Happy weekend!

    • carolbiederman says

      Hi Sicorra, thanks! I had a tough time deciding on which waterproof camera I want to get. We’ve traveled with the disposable ones in the past, but the photo quality has always been a bit “off” for me so this trip I want a better waterproof one. We will be doing lots of water-based adventures so I really want to take some awesome photos.

      And if nobody gets me those sleep phones, I’m going to buy them for myself!

      Happy weekend!

  4. says

    Great tips! I particularly love those cameras and vest. It looks so sleek even though it appears to pretty much be able to hold everything one could possibly need! I admit that an African safari doesn’t hold a ton of interest to me, although it is one of my dreams to pet a lion. I’d probably get eaten since I adamantly believe all cats love me, even big cats! Of course, I have scratches to prove otherwise but I just think if they had a chance to get to know me better … it’s probably a good thing I’d rather hang out at the beach. Safer, I think! Have a great weekend!
    Tanya recently posted..Bacon Peanut Chocolate ClustersMy Profile

    • carolbiederman says

      Hey Tanya, thanks! I can’t wait to try out the vest – I have bringing a hand bag with me but yet I need a place to store my phone, keys, chapstick and a few other small items. Hoping this vest is my answer!

      Too funny about the lions! A true cat-lover you are. Not me though – I’m allergic and I think every cat in the nation knows it! When ever we are at people’s houses who have cats, the cats zone right in on me. It’s actually quite amusing, if I wasn’t sneezing so much!

      Happy weekend!

  5. says

    We got waterproof, shockproof cameras for our grandsons last year. They can view their photos and videos on their tv at home, a laptop, or on the cameras. They love them! they were about $125 and they take very high quality pix. They take photos when we take them to the zoo or around the house. They make movies of themselves in all sorts of hilarious scenarios. They were terrific gifts!

    I have a trench coat I bought from Scottvest last year. It was on sale for $90 & it has even more pockets than the vest. However it’s not as compact as the vest, so the vest is probably better for travel. If you sign up for their email you will get some sale notifications from them from time to time. I hope you get your vest!!!
    Maggie recently posted..Save $700-800 Every Year: 5 Easy TipsMy Profile

    • carolbiederman says

      Hi Maggie, yes, those tough cameras are perfect for kids, aren’t they! My boys take the most amusing videos when we are on the road … and at home too!

      So I take it you like the ScotteVest trench coat? I looked at that, but for my body style, trench coats don’t normally fit me well. I am on their email list, have been for some time hoping the vest would be one of the daily specials. I actually asked them last week via their on-line chat window if the vest would be a daily special some time soon. Sadly, she said that it probably won’t be. Too popular. But I have four months until me trip so I’m going to keep watching their emails, and hoping the vest makes it one day. :)

    • carolbiederman says

      Hi Sue, thanks! I’m hoping to get all of these items, myself! Just hoping somebody tells my family about my wish list. lol
      Enjoy your upcoming holiday! Can’t wait for ours … gotta wait until April, though.

    • carolbiederman says

      Hi Corina, me too on those sleep phones! Happy holiday shopping. And if you want to avoid the crowded malls, but don’t want to pay shipping for online purchases, check out my post on Free Shipping Day!

  6. says

    I have the kindle paper white on my list. I have a few of the tablets but I get distracted with all the apps and I’d be more focused to read if all there was available were the books :)

    • carolbiederman says

      Hi Donna, I know, doesn’t that GoPro look awesome? I want to get it and strap in on my 10 year old’s head … just to see what he’s up to! Would be a pretty cool perspective for our upcoming trip too!

      Funny you mention Dyson and mattress. We bought ourselves new mattresses during the holidays last year. And you never know … Santa might be reading this! :)

  7. says

    Oh, boy, Carol… Way to light a fire under my inner travel bug! :-) The multi-charger and the Pack-It system would be on my must-have list, along with my Kindle Touch (which I’d love to upgrade to a basic Paperwhite). They’d go with me to all the states I’ve yet to visit, here in the U.S., and then the Canadian provinces, Ireland, Scotland, England, Italy, France, and, when it’s safe to travel there again, Egypt. :-)
    Ellen M. Gregg recently posted..Christmas SnowMy Profile

    • carolbiederman says

      Hey Ellen, glad to be of assistance! :) It lit mine as well! I’m still searching cool and new travel items. Just found this one called the Scrubba Washbag. Pricey, but since I do laundry when we travel, might be worth it for me.

      If you haven’t used the Pack-It system yet, I highly suggest you get one or two and give it a go. That’s what I did. Now I’m hooked.

      Love your travel list! Ireland is high on my list … ah who am I kidding! They all are! Even the ones I’ve already been to. Not enough time, nor money, though.

  8. says

    For this year, I would love a Go Pro Hero 4, a solar charger, a Fujifilm Instax Share Printer, a mini WiFi router, Dot&Dot travel accessories (set of packing cubes, packing folders, slim tubes)

    • carolbiederman says

      Hi Grace, great gift ideas! I still have several of the same items on my holiday wish list. I’m not familiar with the Dot& Dot system. Will have to look that one up!
      Happy Friday!

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