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The 2016 American Traveler Gift Guide

Do you have that loved one who’s always planning their next road trip? Or how about someone who has a wall full of post-it notes for places they want to visit? Maybe you know a weekend warrior who is always snatching up great airline deals, but you have no idea what to get them for the holidays? We’ve made another impeccable list to help make this festive season the celebration of exploration it deserves to be for you and your best travel buddies.

prAna Sustainable Apparel

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As many travelers know, the importance of protecting and preserving the wonders of the world is essential so future generations can also enjoy exploring the planet. Supporting businesses that are sustainable, eco-friendly and give back to their environment are at the top of our Christmas lists. The prAna company offers a wide range of apparel and accessories made from organic and recycled textiles that celebrate and utilize fair labor for making all their products. Clothes are made to last and are ideal for travelers who need something durable, stylish and that promote a great cause. My husband loves his soft flannel shirt that’s fair trade certified and my Mariette dress is versatile enough to work with any season. I look forward to adding more pieces to my wardrobe from prAna, especially their cozy-looking yoga line for my daily practice on the road. Retail: Varies, use code MHMF16ECW to receive 15 percent off your purchase.

Burton Women’s Tinder Backpack

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For my weekend trips and vacations back in the U.S., I’ve fully ditched my rolling suitcase. Although it serves its purpose, I love how a backpack can double as a day bag and a carry-all for my stuff, especially on shorter trips. The Burton Tinder Backpack is something I wish I had all along throughout school, study abroad and road trips for its rucksack style and durability. There’s a separate padded section for a laptop with a zippered side, so you can pull it out quick at airport security. Strapped are also thick and light so you can easily carry it around all day, or up a mountain, in a snap. Retail: $63.00

AirBnb Giftcard

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While melting into a perfectly fluffed hotel bed will always make my heart flutter, I’m finding that I do love alternative forms of accommodation too. Especially when I’m on the road for the long haul, it’s nice to have extra space to settle into and amenities I wouldn’t otherwise have at a resort or high-rise boutique. On my last big road trip from Boston to Miami for New Years, my group and I booked an Airbnb rental right downtown. It happened to be a giant condo perfect for four people, with access to a pool and parking. It’s ideal when you travel with a group, want your own space but still like to share common areas and hang together. Retail: Varies. Get $35 off your first booking using this link.

Razer Kraken Pro Neon Headphones

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My favorite part about traveling through the U.S. is how friendly people are from coast to coast. But when I’m dealing with a long layover in Miami or need to relax for an hour in my noisy hotel room downtown, I like to have a solid set of headphones to help me reach zen – or, just block everyone out for a little while. I also like loud colors and a little bit of style to help stand out. Razer put out an amazing product called the Kraken Mobile. Now, these headphones are usually reserved for gamers, but I’m finding them to be perfect on a morning commute or while traveling too. Lightweight, foldable and boasting awesome sound, the Kraken Pro headphones also come in a rainbow of neon colors. My hot pink design comfortably goes over my ears and makes the journey to my new destination all the more pleasant. Retail: $80.00

Native Eyewear Kodiak Sunglasses

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Even with spending much of my time as an expat in London, the rare days it can get sunny definitely call for a great pair of shades. Cold days can bring glare too, so I like to always have a pair on hand whether I’m in the city or on a beach somewhere. The Kodiak sunglasses from Native Eyewear have a super high-tech polarized lens feature that can block out harmful UV lights and blue light too. Especially when on a road trip, the sunglasses make for an easy ride and come in a wide range of colors and styles. They come with a lifetime guarantee as well, perfect for my accident-prone self. Retail: $149.00

GoTenna communication device

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Nothing makes me rage more than being in a crowded city, at a music festival or in the middle of nowhere when my smartphone stops working. Usually it’s at the opportune time when I’m supposed to be meeting someone and can’t get in touch, or I’m hopelessly lost.  The GoTenna device is a complete lifesaver in these situations. You can activate the packet-sized device, which uses radio signals and smart protocols to send text messages regardless of cell service. You can also send location pins to find your friends almost anywhere. It’s super sleek and works almost like a walkie talkie between two parties. Even if you’re separated several miles it can sync through your Bluetooth and send texts easily. Retail: New GoTenna Mesh, $149 for a pair, $289 for a four-pack

Kiva.org Gift Card

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If your year has been anything like mine, you’ll be happy to see it in the rear view window. To try to balance out all the garbage that’s happened in 2016, I do my best to give back when I can and try to give others a lending hand. One organization I’ve supported for years is Kiva, who facilitate microloans for people all over the globe to support their growing businesses and enhance their livelihoods. Kiva steps in when banks will not and helps out those who need it most. I can lend $25 and in time, the loan is paid back. I can then withdraw my fund or re-loan it to a new person. It can be a wonderful investment to teach little ones about giving and an affordable way to make an impact. Although I often lend to people abroad, there are plenty of individuals and groups in the U.S. who are looking for loans too. Kiva offers gift cards to can give for the holidays to just about anyone. Retail: Starts at $25.00

Lomography Instant Camera

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I have a big fancy camera and a smartphone for snapping pics. But I often take so many snaps that just stay in my phone and are rarely seen again. I miss the days of traveling where I used to be careful about how much film I’d use, choosing carefully what to take photos of and what should be remembered. On a recent trip to Morocco, I took along the Lomo’Instant Camera for a change and was delightfully surprised. It uses old-school, simple setting to take vibrant instant photos that pop right out after the flash and whir of the shutter. You can give these photos away instantly or start creating and albums, collage and other projects as soon as they develop. It’s ideal for budding photographers or anyone who loves the art of framing travel photos for fun. Retail: $133.00

We’re giving away a LOMO’Instant Camera and many other prizes this holiday season over on our International Traveler gift guide – check it out and good luck!!

Eileen Cotter Wright

Author Eileen Cotter Wright

Eileen Cotter is a freelance travel writer, social media manager and owner of Pure Wander. She's been to more countries than your kindergartner can count, and she's our resident expat extraordinaire. Follow her on Twitter @Crooked_Flight

More posts by Eileen Cotter Wright

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