Sure, the holidays are about shopping for others — but why not gift yourself something that will improve your travels all year long? I pulled together a list of 7 gifts I’d buy myself for the holidays — no stress about whether or not I can stuff them into my carry on needed! (And if you’re looking for a gift guide for frequent travelers – this is a good place to start!)
Most of these recommendations include affiliate links, which means I’d earn a small commission if you made a purchase, but I’ve purchased all this stuff myself independently and only recommend things I love.
An Airport Lounge Pass
There’s nothing worse than being stuck in an airport during a long layover or unexpected flight delay. Your options are: spend your life savings at the airport bar, or sit in an uncomfortable seat at the gate and kills time reading. No thanks!
Lounge access is a game changer – you’ll get free food and drinks, comfy chairs, free WiFi, power outlets and more (some lounges even have nap rooms, showers and mini movie theaters). With Priority Pass, membership options range from $89 to $429 annually and you’ll get either discounted or free lounge access at over 1,200 locations worldwide with the mobile app. Even if you’re not planning to invest in the year-long membership, consider treating yourself to a one-day pass at the airport spontaneously during your holiday layover this year. You deserve it! (Plus, save 10% if you sign up through this affiliate link).
One thing to consider: if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card, you likely already have Priority Pass as it comes as a free benefit to cardholders.
Let’s face it: if you’re a frequent traveler, your gym membership is likely a waste of your budget. I finally learned my lesson in 2018 and ditched a monthly gym membership for ClassPass, which allows you to sign up for fitness classes in your home city but also all over the US. I can flexibly work out near home on the weekends, and near my office during the week. And on a recent work trip to NYC, a ClassPass gym was located right next to my hotel. Score!
Sign up through my referral link, and we’ll both get $50.
PADI Dive Certification
This one’s a little more expensive, but a gift that I’m definitely buying myself in 2018. Nick and I tried scuba diving for the first time when we visited Maui in November, and I’m officially hooked. We’re planning to take the e-learning class and get certified through a San Francisco or Monterey dive shop after the holidays. I can’t wait!
Don’t live near the ocean? Many dive shops allow you to get certified in a lake (Lake Tahoe and Lake Michigan both have programs) – or, complete your confined pool dives at home and obtain a “referral” to wrap up your open water dives at a certified local shop on your next tropical vacation.
Travelers spend a lot of time on the road, or sitting in airports. But you can beat the boredom with an entertainment subscription!
I already have Netflix and Spotify (pro tip: download Netflix content and Spotify playlists before you board a flight) but since I’ve been doing more road trips lately, Audible (audio books) is another option I’m exploring. If you’re a big reader, the Kindle Unlimited subscription also costs only $9.99/month and includes unlimited eBooks.
Waiting in line for security, taking off your shoes and taking out your laptop is a huge hassle that wastes time at the airport – give yourself the gift of more time (who doesn’t love that?) by enrolling in TSA Precheck. I did it a couple years ago, and it’s been life-saving! You need to fill out an online application and make an in-person appointment to get pre-checked, but honestly, the appointment was pretty easy to get and took approximately 10 minutes. Well worth it.
If you’re an outdoorsy person, AllTrails is a must-have app that provides detailed reviews, maps and photos of nearby hiking trails. I love using it to find the best nearby hikes! The pro subscription, which let’s you download maps to use while you’re offline (essential if you’re not hiking in a metro area), is $2.50 per month or $99 for a lifetime membership. I became a pro subscriber right after I moved to California, and love it.
Drybar Gift Card
Redeye flights can leave you looking haggard, so why not buy yourself a blowout before that holiday event? The Drybar has locations in many states, from California to New York, Massachusetts, Florida, Texas and Colorado and with blowouts priced at $45, you can treat yo’ self for less than $50. And if you’re really into it, you can purchase a two-blowouts per month membership for $80 (which lets you roll them over month-to-month and gives you a freebie the week of your birthday).
Some images in this post were sourced from Pexels.