Best Gifts for Travelers - 2018

This time of year, globetrotters around the world wish for unlimited airline miles or hotel credits to come from the North Pole. You may want to leave those big ticket items to fill Santa’s sleigh, but here are some of my favorite stocking stuffers for the avid travelers on your gift list:

Trtl Neck Pillow

Sleeping on planes is quite literally a pain in the neck and traditional carry-on pillows are bulky, taking up way too much space for those of us who prefer to travel light (and I have been known to lose them on planes and in airports…). This pillow attaches to luggage handles, weighs half a pound and is scientifically proven to keep your head, neck and spine in an ergonomic position while you rest.

Try the World

When foodies aren’t wandering the planet sampling foreign cuisine, this monthly subscription that delivers the snacks, drinks and spices of the world to their doorstep. Carefully curated boxes can inspire gourmand’s to book trips based off newly discovered tastes or allow them to revisit the flavors of favorite destinations.

DJI OSMO MOBILE

This affordable steadycam can use any smartphone for its monitor and all the vacation footage is simply stored on the free app. Weighing in at just over one pound, the Osmo goes anywhere and the battery lasts up to fifteen hours. The handheld gimbal is protected by a carrying case and can be accessorized with a tripod, extra batteries, cleaning cloth and base.

Solar Powered Charger

I received a portable power bank as a sample a few years ago and it saved my phone’s battery when we camped in the Sahara Desert earlier this year. This is a must for anyone heading out on a camping trip or multi-day trek sans power outlets. Hang the bank from a backpack strap to charge in the sun while you hike and connect to electronics via USB — this can be used for phones, cameras or tablets.

Cashmere Travel Set

Even jet setters who prefer glam over grunge know travel is sometimes anything but luxurious. For long haul flights, chilly hotel rooms and homesick spells, pamper travelers with this cashmere set including a blanket, eye mask, socks and carrying case (which doubles as a pillow, when necessary).

Best Ski Resorts to Visit BEFORE It Snows

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Outdoor enthusiasts can slip off to one of North America’s top ski destinations even if they’re not counting down to opening day on the slopes. Beat the queue at the gondola by visiting before trails open for winter while each mountain still boasts a busy schedule packed with festivals and outdoor activities — and before hotel prices soar.

Whiteface Mountain, New York

The site of the 1980 Winter Games, this upstate town is the perfect place to live out Olympic fantasies with its bobsledding and ski simulation experiences, open all year. Visitors can also ride a glass elevator to the top of the ski jump, take in panoramic views from the ski lift or hike and bike the mountain trails.

Mont Tremblant, Quebec

This multi-season, multi-sport destination nestled high in the Laurentians is a popular golf destination during warm months with two world-class courses and the Tremblant Golf Academy. Its spring-fed mountain lake offers sightseeing cruise while night hikes guide adventurous travelers along rock dusk trails in search of the mountain’s legendary giant, Tonga Lumina.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

On the edge of the famous Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Hole is popular for picnicking and hiking year-round. Grand Adventure Park features a massive ropes course with bridges, zip lines, balance beams and cargo nets suspended 25 feet off the ground and the nearby bike park challenges all skill levels with ramps and jumps.

Whistler, British Columbia

Whistler Village is bustling no matter the season. Gondola rides offer unparalleled views of the village below and surrounding mountains. Adrenaline junkies can get an up close look at bears and other wildlife on nature tours while beer connoisseurs have the option of explore local craft breweries. The family adventure zone has a luge track and mini golf as well as ropes courses, mazes, trampolines and bouncy castles.  

Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont

Kids of all ages can make a splash in the outdoor water playground on Mors Mountain with eight pools, four water slides and an inflatable water playground. Llama trekking tours lead visitors along mountain trails for a unique perspective and those looking for an active getaway can spend their time in Vermont zip lining, hiking, biking, geocaching, kayaking and canoeing.

Follow the Foliage on Our New England Fall Road Trip

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Autumn is one of my favorite times of year to be in the northeastern corner of the country. In New England, summer’s end ushers in crisp mornings and sunny afternoons ideal for hiking, wine tasting and apple picking against a backdrop of fall foliage. Leaf peepers and pumpkin spice latte lovers looking to embrace the new season can follow us down the eastern seaboard with stays at hotels offering harvest festivals, guided outdoor activities and farm-to-table restaurants.