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.

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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.

7 Ways to Take Advantage of the Bullet Journal Method

iStock.com/Neustockimages
iStock.com/Neustockimages

If you haven't heard of the bullet journal, it's the productivity method du jour—one that combines the features of a planner, calendar, to-do list, diary, and more. It's not a specific product (although the founder of the method, Ryder Carroll, has created a special notebook for it) as much as a way of creating a journaling system that works for you.

Proponents say the method helps you focus your time and your goals, in part through periodic "migration" sessions that force you to review how you've been spending your days. And yes, it's popular on Instagram—because many bullet journalers have filled their notebooks with colorful flair. (But that part is entirely optional.)

While core components of the bullet journal system like monthly spreads and daily logs are great, many bullet journalers like to add other features that fit their own life. After all, the beauty of the method is the customization and flexibility. We've rounded up a few ideas for new and not-so-new bullet journalers alike to try.

1. Track—and fuel—your creative projects.

Let's say that, like most people, you have a day job. But at night, you're writing the next Great American Novel—or at least some short stories. You might get an idea related to one of those projects on your morning commute or while taking a walk in the park at lunch. There's no time to pull out the manuscript, and if you email yourself the idea it might get lost in a jumble of newsletters and other alerts.

Instead, just start a new page for the project in your journal, note it in your index, and scribble away. You can come back to it later, and fill in other, non-sequential pages in the journal as the mood strikes. Your journal probably isn't the best place to write whole stories, but it's perfect if you just had a mini-breakthrough you want to take down, or even as a way to keep track of potential prompts and inspiration.

2. Improve your habits.

Habit trackers are some of the most popular add-ons to the regular bullet journal time-oriented spreads. You can make yours cute—tracking the number of glasses of water you drink a day by coloring in a big glass, say—or more minimalist, perhaps by listing the habits you want to build (yoga, waking up early) on the left next to a chart of days and coloring in the days you manage to do the habit. You can also create a page just to log you often you do one particular thing—drinking alcohol, for example. Some people even use their bullet journals to track food and digestive symptoms, either by creating a section for a food journal or just noting in their daily log when they eat a certain food and how it makes them feel.

3. Save money.

You can create a custom spread for your monthly budget, track all your expenses, or just track your purchases in a particular category (say, eating out) if there's a particular type of spending you're trying to curb. The design can be as crafty as you like—whether you're coloring in bricks that represent each $50 saved toward a house or just filling in columns noting every time you make a purchase. The key is that, as with health habits, writing something down can serve as a powerful motivator and/or deterrent, since you know you'll have to come face-to-face with yourself at the end of the month.

4. Plan your meals.

Nothing combines health and finance goals quite like planning your meals. You can make your meal plan a section of your weekly spread: Carroll, the bullet journal's creator, likes to set up a list of meals on the left page of his notebook and a shopping list of ingredients on the right. Dividing the items by categories (like meat, produce, and pantry staples) can speed things up at the store, too. It's great to do this at home so you can check the fridge and see what you're missing. Then, when you're done shopping, note how much you spent at the bottom of the list. You can track that to develop insights about your grocery budget.

Over time, you can also create lists to help you with meal planning, perhaps "Favorite Weeknight Dinners," "Easy Work Lunches," etc. Some people also like to create a master grocery list of frequently bought items they can consult whenever they're at the store, just in case they forget to write staples down on their weekly shopping list.

5. Remember the good things.

In our flurry of to-do lists, project deadlines, and meal plans, it can be easy to forget about the things that brighten our days, whether it's an especially funny joke from a colleague or a milestone in a child's development. Create a "memories" page (don't forget to log it in your index!) where you record the great stuff that happens, and pull it out to reflect whenever you're having a gray day. Some bullet journalers like to put pages like this toward the back of their journals to separate them out from the time-oriented spreads. A memories page is also a great opportunity to bust out some thematic artwork.

6. Track your reading lists.

Another great way to encourage better habits is through a reading log. Like a memory log, many people like to put this toward the back of their journal, although ultimately the placement is totally up to you. You can keep track of all the books you read this year, perhaps with notes on what you thought of them—a definite resource when you're drawing up those year-end best-of lists to share with other reading pals!

7. Pair it with an app.

While the bullet journal is touted as "the analog method for the digital age," most of us don't want to go full-on analog. There's now an official companion app that will help you organize and search your old bullet journals, help you learn the method, offer prompts, and serve as a log for when you're away from your journal. It's designed as an addition to the journal, not a replacement, so you still need to put in that time with pen (or pencil, or watercolor brush) and paper.

Bullet journals also pair well with apps like Evernote—for example, you can use Evernote on your smartphone to snap photos of text you scrawl down to save digitally for later use. (Maybe those on-the-fly notes on your novel go into an Evernote notebook that you consult when you have a bit more time, for example.) That's a good option for longer-term projects that might span a couple notebooks.

Many people also use both bullet journals and an online calendar, using the latter for fixed events like birthdays and doctors appointments and the former as more of a way to time-block the day and focus on goals. After all, the beauty of the bullet journal is that unlike digital space, the paper in your notebook is finite—which helps you realize that so is your time and energy. That makes it easier to plan accordingly.

This Ingenious Hanger Makes Hanging Pants a Breeze, No Clips or Folds Required

Hurdle Hanger
Hurdle Hanger

Get ready to clean out your closet. No, we don’t mean going all Marie Kondo on your clothes. There’s a new type of clothes hanger that promises to change the way you store your clothes, taking the headache out of hanging up your pants.

The Hurdle Hanger, which has currently raised more than $33,000 on Kickstarter, calls itself the “one-second pants hanger.” Rather than relying on cumbersome clips or requiring bulky folding techniques, the hanger design employs one very simple change: It hooks into the belt loops of your pants.

The angular hanger is open on one side so that you can slide the bar through the belt loops of your pants, letting you secure your pants in one smooth motion rather than struggling with the pant clips that will just wrinkle your waistband anyway.

A person slides the Hurdle Hanger through the belt loops of a pants to hang them.
Hurdle Hanger

Just slide the hanger bar through the belt loop (or loops) farthest from you, then hang the belt loop closest to you from the hook. There is another hook midway across the bar that secures the middle belt loop, keeping your pants from drooping while they hang. In another subtle touch, you can use the same hook to hang smaller items, like belts or hats, off the side.

The Hurdle Hanger is an example of smart design at its finest—the kind of idea that, when you see it in action, makes you think, “Wait, how did no one think of this before?” It takes a once-cumbersome task and makes it seamless, eliminating at least some of the burden that may be keeping you from accomplishing the chore of hanging up your clothes. No more messing with clips or trying to shove pants through the cramped hole in the hanger to fold them over.

There are already open-end pants hangers that make it easier to slide a folded pair of slacks into your closet, but the belt loop hooks take the Hurdle Hanger to another level. You might even get inspired enough to start hanging your jeans.

A 10-pack of hangers is $20 on Kickstarter—though anything that makes you actively excited to organize your closet is priceless.

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