Budget Friendly Gifts for Travelers

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Nancy Brown and Nala in Arizona

It’s the most wonderful time of the year (according to my daughter.) Or the most chaotic. We’re talking about the winter holidays and finding budget friendly gifts for travelers. Personally, I’m always on the look out for quality, affordable luggage, travel gear and travel apparel that is fashionable and functional. From stocking stuffers to quick drying fleece, SPF swimwear, carry-on luggage and adorable fish-themed tops and leggings for travel, or around the house, this holiday gift guide for travelers has got you covered from head to toe.

adiral ifly luggage, x-series luggage, carry-on suitcase, travel gear
iFly luggage introduces X-Series. Hard-sided Admiral with scratch resistant exterior. Photo © Nancy D. Brown

Designed with the same materials as Tumi, iFLY luggage has recently introduced the new X-Series luggage and specifically, the hard-sided Admiral. I confess that I was skeptical when I learned that Walmart was carrying this budget-friendly luggage. I was pleasantly surprised with the Admiral carry-on, priced at $99. Available online at Walmart.com and at Walmart stores, the Admiral has a removable laundry bag & wet pocket for the active adventure baby boomer,  or road warriors. With 360 degree wheels, tie-down straps to keep clothes in place, scratch resistant, a James Bond look and lifetime warranty, this iFLY luggage is perfect for my college student, and, unlike out-of-state tuition, this suitcase doesn’t break the bank.

admiral ifly luggage, x-series luggage, carryon suitcase, travel gear
Admiral luggage with tie-down straps, wet pocket, laundry bag & zip pockets. Photo © Nancy D. Brown

Coolibar UV Swimwear
One of the most amazing experiences I had this year was to swim with whale sharks near Isla Holbox on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. Ethical tour operators in Cancun, Mexico instruct guests not to touch the whale sharks and we were not allowed to wear sunblock, as it has a negative impact on the fish, as well as fragile coral reefs. Thankfully, I have all sorts of sun protective clothing and UV protection swimwear. Recently, Coolibar sent me some new tops to try and I wear their swim tights all the time – in and out of the water! The St. Lucia tunic retails for $89.50 and the swim tights (I have them in graphite and black) retail for $59.50. When I travel, I pack my swim tights and wear them as pants in the day time and at night – no one knows I’m wearing UPF 50+ swimwear.

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Wearing Coolibar St. Lucia tunic & swim tights in Big Sur

Made in Alaska

Here’s a win win for gift ideas. Your purchase of small fins half zip performance apparel garment (or any purchase from Salmon Sisters) allows this Homer-based, woman-owned specialty business to donate a can of wild Alaska salmon to the Food Bank of Alaska. The young Alaska fishermen offer original designs inspired by Alaska’s wilderness and the North Pacific fishing industry. While the company makes women’s, men’s and kids clothing, they also sell Xtratuf boots adorned with fish and octopus (an Alaskan boot staple) as well as wild Alaska seafood.

I can’t wait to wear my small fins half zip when I go fishing in Washington this spring. Made from a combination of bamboo fleece and organic cotton, the blue top, swimming in fish, is not only adorable, it’s moisture wicking and offers warm insulation. The Salmon Sisters top retails for $114.99 and includes a can of wild Alaska salmon donated to the Food Bank of Alaska on your behalf.

salmon sisters, small fins half zip fleece top, travel apparel, homer, alaska
Salmon Sisters small fins half zip top. The woman-owned company donates a can of wild Alaska salmon for every sale.


Continuing with the made in Alaska theme, I also discovered FisheWear, another woman-owned business. Alaska entrepreneur Linda Leary creates functional fishing apparel and gear in Anchorage. The grayling dry bag is not only a great way to keep clothes dry when fishing or kayaking, it’s also pretty darn cute! With a suggested retail price of $120, the dry bag has a zippered front pocket with a waterproof zipper and waterproof welded seams.
fishewear dry bag, anchorage, alaska, travel gear

Looking for winter wear that is both functional and affordable, I continue to enjoying wearing outdoor clothing from Northern California-based White Sierra. In the top photo, I’m wearing White Sierra Alpha Beta Quarter Zip II with fleece headband and Women’s Power Pant. Hiking in Bryce, Utah I’m wearing Women’s Pebble Peak Wool Quarter Zip top. Use coupon code Nancy33 to get 33% off everything on the clothing website.

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Hiking in Bryce, Utah

Stocking Stuffers
Along the same line as packing cubes, Meebands help travelers keep their clothes organized inside luggage. The Meebands Starter Kit, priced at $25, includes packing bands that wrap around outfits and save space in your carry-on or gym bag. The kit comes in a small canvas storage bag and includes 10 black or white Meebands and a mesh laundry bag. The Meeband is also handy for keeping your yoga mat tight.

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As I mentioned already, I love to fish! This year I was fortunate to fish for silver salmon in King Salmon, Alaska and fish for King salmon on the wild and scenic Rogue River in Southern, Oregon. I wasn’t able to fill my Yeti Hopper cooler with kings, but I’m willing to try my luck with the fishing Gods again in Washington next year. I found these Groovy Grayling Leggings from the ladies of Fishewear. Their clever logo emphasis is on Fi”SHE”wear – get it? Next time I fish for Grayling in Alaska, I want to be wearing these groovy grayling leggings from Fishewear. They also make a gorgeous dry bag (see above) and dry bag backpack. Priced at $110, the Grayling leggings are not cheap, but Fishewear’s founder and president, Linda Leary assures me these leggings will keep any fisherman warm during those cold days fishing on the river. Wishing you tight lines this holiday season!

fishewear groovy grayling leggings, travel apparel, travel gift ideas, fishing gift
These groovy grayling leggings from FisheWear will keep you warm fishing or traveling

Disclosure: On the What a Trip blog, products, travel gear and apparel are received for review purposes. The majority of holiday gifts for the traveler have been tested and are recommended and approved by me.