20 Gifts Under $20 for the Frequent Traveler

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While unpacking from our latest trip, Brooke and I decided to make a list of the most useful items we take along.  These items have been fantastic during our travels, and they would make great, low-price gifts or stocking stuffers!  We recently covered how to score a $200 Amazon gift card (twice) using your Amex Platinum card. We also wrote about quite a few deals to get $10-$15 in free stuff from Amazon. One Amazon deal for $10 off is still available!  With this in mind, and the upcoming holiday season, we offer a few gift ideas from Amazon for the frequent traveler in your life.  Put those gift cards to good use on your family & friends (and let’s be honest, yourself too!)

Disclaimer:  Prices on Amazon change frequently.  Prices are valid at time of writing.  

All Items on this list are shipped and sold by Amazon, and they will qualify for the $10 off deal!

Also, check your Amex cards to see if you were targeted for the $15 off $60 at Amazon offer for additional savings!

  1. Smartphone Kit for Rental Car ($18.91 – 3 items) – Rental car companies charge for everything, including XM radio and GPS.  Fortunately, most people already have a device that can provide navigation and music.  The following three items will make it possible to use a cell phone as a GPS and for musical entertainment!
    • Smartphone Vent Mount ($8.82) Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 1.56.12 AMThis device is magical for mounting a smartphone as a GPS!  Clip it to any car vent, slip the included metal plate into your cell phone case, and mount your cell phone effortlessly.  We tested it on four different rental cars during our trips to SF and Hawaii and it performed like a champ.  Just don’t forget to take it with you when you return the rental car!
    • Retractable Auxiliary Line-in Cable** ($2.99) Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 1.54.59 AMMost cars today are equipped with an auxiliary port.  This cable allows you to plug a smartphone directly into the car’s stereo system for full stereo sound from Pandora or your own playlist.  It is also retractable to make it packable without tangling.
    • Dual USB Car Charger** ($7.01) Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 1.54.27 AMUsing a smartphone for GPS and entertainment can drain the battery.  The driver’s phone and another device will stay fully charged with this little gadget.
  2. Multi-Plug Outlet with USB ($14.57)Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 2.39.44 AMDuring travel, outlets are often in limited supply.  This simple, compact device allows you to charge up to five devices from a single outlet.  Also, make friends at the airport by allowing other people to use the extra outlets.  Sharing is caring. 🙂
  3. International Outlet Adapter with USB and Surge Protection ($14.99)Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 2.46.52 AMThis handy adapter can be used in over 150 countries!  Simply plug it in and charge electronic devices via a standard outlet or USB.  It also provides surge protection in case the accommodations are a bit sketchy and prone to power surges.  This was very useful on our trip to Dubai!
  4. Headphone Splitter ($8.00)Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 3.14.57 AMIf you know a couple who likes to travel, this is a great gift for them.  Brooke and I like to watch movies during long flights, and this little accessory lets us both listen with our own pair of noise-cancelling headphones.  No more sharing a single pair of earbuds!
  5. Waterproof Cell Phone Case ($12.99)Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 12.36.32 PMThis case is awesome.  We use it mostly when going to the beach, to keep the water and sand out of our phones.  It was also nice to have for our recent snorkel trip.  The case allows you to use the phone through the clear, plastic front.  An iPhone 6 will fit, in case you were wondering!
  6. Jewelry Organizer ($12.52)Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 12.15.33 PMAnyone who has traveled with jewelry knows the nightmare of tangled necklaces or lost earrings!  This organizer keeps all of your items in one place and free of tangles.  It is lightweight and rolls up, with places for rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets.
  7. Compression Packing Bags – 12 Pieces ($19.99)Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 2.11.09 AMThese bags are huge space savers in luggage!  By sealing the bags and rolling them to squeeze out all of the air, clothes can be significantly compressed.  We find these to be especially useful for transporting dirty clothes back home.
  8. Water Shoes with Grip for Men or Women ($17.99 – $19.99)

    If your friend is an adventurer, these shoes are ideal.  We love our water shoes for wet/dry days.  Whether it’s trekking a muddy trail to a waterfall, snorkeling a rocky beach, or whitewater rafting, these shoes offer great traction and foot protection.

  9. Snorkel & Mask ($18.99)Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 2.57.54 AMThis may seem like an odd idea, but resort hotels and adventure rental companies like to charge hefty fees for snorkel gear.  Our hotel in Hawaii charged $9/hr or $40/day per set!  Brooke and I brought our own gear and snorkeled for FREE!  These easily fit into a carry on bag and can save serious cash on rental fees.  Bonus, mix up some water & baby shampoo (15:1 ratio) in a travel spray bottle for an excellent anti-fog spray!
  10. Insect Repellant Wipes – 12 pack ($7.15)Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 3.07.51 AMTropical vacations usually include an array of tropical insects to deal with.  These wipes are carry-on friendly, since they are not in a large, aerosol can.  They are easy to take along for a day hike in case the bugs are bad, and they offer all-day protection.  We have had great success with these wipes.
  11. Collapsible Water Bottle ($10.63)Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 3.21.41 AMThis is one of the coolest products out there!  The Vapor Element Bottle holds 1-Liter (34oz) of water, and when empty, rolls up completely for easy packing.  Pack this in a carry on and avoid paying $4 for a water bottle at the airport.  Just refill it past the security checkpoint.  Take it along on a hike and roll it up once you finish it.  Simply a must-have item for all travelers.
  12. Travel Sized (3.4oz/100ml) Toiletry Bottles ($4.99/4 pack)Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 6.11.32 PM
    These bottles maximize the amount of goos and potions your friends can bring along in their carry on bag within TSA regulations.  We highly advocate packing in carry-on bags to avoid the hassle of dealing with baggage claim or lost luggage.  We used these on our trip to Hawaii to pack our sunscreen for a couple weeks, and none of them leaked at all!
  13. Packing Cubes ($19.99/4pack)Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 6.19.08 PM
    Use these convenient packing cubes to separate items within your bag.  Use one for sock & underwear, another for t-shirts, another for swimwear, etc.  These come in many sizes or mixed sets, and make packing, re-packing, and un-packing much simpler!
  14. Hanging Toiletry Bag ($19.96)Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 12.18.39 PMThis bag has come along with me for the past five years.  It holds all of my toiletries, and the hanger gives easy access while at the hotel, airBNB, or hostel.  When I’m ready to roll, I simply close the flap and toss it in my carry on.  Could not be easier!  This also works well for a college student in a dorm room… just a thought.
  15. Portable Power Bank ($19.99)Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 11.42.53 AM
    We use our phones quite a bit during our travels – yelping a new restaurant, taking photos/videos, calling home, navigating, music, etc.  All of this drains the battery pretty quickly.  Fortunately, our USB power bank allows for two full charges (and a little bit extra) on our iPhone 6’s!  Brooke and I can each get a second full charge on our phones before re-charging the power bank.
  16. Tough Braided Charging Cord ($15.49)Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 12.06.19 PM
    Travel can wreak havoc on the standard, flimsy, white charging cord that comes with most iDevices.  I personally destroyed three charging cords before finding this one – due to packing too tightly, or stretching it to reach an outlet.  This 10-foot braided cable puts almost any outlet within reach and withstands the beatings from travel like a champ!  A 4-foot option is also available for a slightly lower price.
  17. Digital Luggage Scale ($16.73)Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 11.51.12 AMAs I mentioned earlier, we are big fans of carry-on luggage.  Usually, there is no weight requirement, but some airlines do impose a limit on your carry-on as well as your checked bag.  This handy digital scale helps us know if we are approaching the limit and if we need to re-allocate some items to another bag.  It is compact and useful to have before the return trip.
  18. Passport Wallet ($15.13)Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 11.58.36 AMKeeping organized while traveling is a big deal for us.  This little wallet helps keep our Passport, plane tickets, loyalty cards, Global Entry card, lounge access cards, and any in-flight drink vouchers in one place.  Airport employees and other passengers really appreciate when you do not have to dig through 10 bag compartments for your travel documents.
  19. Heat Resistant Curling/Straightening Iron Bag ($13.46)Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 12.47.22 PM
    Hair tools are an important part of Brooke’s travel supplies.  She brings along a curling and straightening iron to prepare for fancy nights out.  These bags are perfect for packing hot irons, because they feature heat-resistant lining.  Wrap up the iron and toss it in a carry-on.
  20. Compact Electric Toothbrush ($12.73)Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 12.59.34 PM
    Travel toothbrushes are a dime a dozen.  However, this one provides the benefits of a pulsating electronic toothbrush, while also being very compact and travel-friendly.  It comes with a battery and two brush heads.


I hope our list is helpful for you this holiday season (and beyond).  Do you currently use any of the items we listed above?  What are your must-have travel accessories?  Let us know in the comments below.  Cheers!



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