When it comes to gift-giving, the traveler in your life might cause you to pause. After all, they’re clearly savvy, adventurous and well-outfitted—and a simple gift card probably won’t do. Never fear: Smithsonian.com’s travel staff has compiled a list of great gifts for people who’ve just got to get away.
Crumpled City Maps ( $16.95)
Forget folding maps—why not crumple them instead? Crumpled City Maps are tough, waterproof and save tons of space. They can be tucked into a pocket or thrown into a backpack for maximum stress-free sightseeing, and they’re available for almost 50 international cities. Bonus: Each map contains tips on "Soulsights," locations the map maker says were specifically chosen to "move, touch and inspire the modern traveler."
Try the World Boxes ($49-$205)
Travel doesn’t have to end once the suitcases are unpacked—for recipients of Try the World boxes, that is. Featuring foods from all around the world, this subscription service is curated by celebrity chefs. Each box focuses on a single country and includes seven gourmet products. You can buy a single box or invest in a bimonthly or semi-annual (three boxes a year) subscription to keep the delicious eats flowing.
Throwback National Parks Tees ($32-$36)
Sure, these vintage-style tees look cool—but they also have a purpose. Proceeds from these throwback tees fund conservation and wildlife preservation projects in national parks. They’re the brainchild of Parks Project, a group founded by nature lovers passionate about getting more young people involved in national parks.
Carry-on Cocktail Kit ($18)
Let’s face it: Travel isn’t always glamorous, and dwindling amenities can leave just about anyone in need of a stiff drink. Travelers armed with the Carry-on Cocktail Kit can relive the golden age of air travel without leaving their seat. Each kit contains tools to elevate a simple on-board, mini-bottle of booze into an elegant cocktail. Turn whiskey into an old fashioned, complete with aromatic bitters, gin into a craft gin and tonic, or vodka into a Moscow Mule with small-batch ginger syrup. With details like jiggers, cocktail spoons, linen coasters and craft-produced add-ins, drinking from a plastic cup has never felt so fancy.
olloclip 4-in-1 Lens ($79.99)
Suitcase space is at a premium, so savvy travelers know when it’s time to pare down. An obvious choice is to choose to take photos with a mobile phone instead of a bulkier camera—but is that a death sentence for travel photography? No way: With a tool like the olloclip, iPhone photography can be a true work of art. This 4-in-1 lens features a fisheye and wide-angle lens along with two macro lenses (10x and 15x) to take professional-style photos with nothing more than a phone. The super-light lens can even be worn as a pendant so there’s never a missed photo op.
Dolfi Next Gen Washing Device ($129)
There’s nothing wrong with a little vacation stank, but sometimes a weary traveler just wants a few clean clothes. That wish can be granted without unwanted trips to the laundromat, furtive scrubs at the sink or wasted time waiting for clothes to dry with the help of the Dolfi, a truly high-tech device that promises to make clothes-washing passé. This tiny device uses ultrasonic technology to shake clothes clean—and it generated so much excitement that it has scored over $840,000 in crowdsourced funds to date. In production now, the Dolfi will ship soon. Preorder for the world traveler in your life—the device is such a conversation piece that you’ll gain major cool points along the way.
Nothing can ruin an adventure more quickly than being busted at security with a too-large toiletry item—or, even worse, having a toiletry bottle explode all over the contents of a backpack or suitcase. Enter GoToob: little silicone tubes that store liquids and gels and dispense them with a squeeze. These colorful tubes are food-safe, rugged and carry-on approved. Best of all, they never, ever drip. Vacation: saved.
The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey ($17.62)
Sometimes the biggest adventures retrace the ones already taken. That’s certainly the case in The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey by Rinker Buck. The book follows Buck, his brother, three mules and a dog named Olive Oyl as they attempt to retrace the 2,000-mile Oregon Trail in a rickety covered wagon. Along the way, they face their personal limits and the history of the trail itself. The result is a work of nonfiction that’s been a runaway bestseller. And for good reason: It’s a great gift for armchair travelers and seasoned explorers alike.
Golden Age of Transport Luggage Labels ($9.95)
Luggage labels just aren’t a thing anymore—they went the way of the dodo long ago. But that doesn’t mean they’ve been forgotten. Golden Age of Transport Luggage Labels is a box of individual, peel-and-stick luggage labels that celebrates the art and excitement of a bygone era of travel. From ocean liners to railroads and airlines, these 20 stickers can bring a bit of vintage travel flair to just about anything.
States of Emergency Kit ($16)
Travelers far from the luxuries of home will appreciate this kit, which anticipates any number of mini-emergencies with a collection of adorable fixes. You name it, the States of Emergency Kit’s got it (on a microscopic scale). The unisex kits come with everything from breath freshener to deodorant, stain remover, pain relievers, a bandage and a single safety pin. The slim tin features one of 18 state designs, and refills are readily available. They’re the perfect pocket-sized lifesaver for any traveler.
Detour Location-Aware Audio App ($19.99/year)
Every traveler should take a detour now and again. That’s the philosophy behind Detour, an audio tour app featuring in-depth ways to explore San Francisco’s hidden gems. The tours, which are put together by professional sound designers and NPR alums, offer a different look at the city, from a scientific tour of Golden Gate Park to true stories behind the city’s iconic Painted Ladies. New SF tours launch each month for subscribers, and the app features maps and activates based on the listener’s location. Though the service is San Francisco-focused for now, the company recently released recordings for places like Marrakesh, London and New York City.