Eight Days of Giving: A Gift Guide For The World Traveler

I’m continuing my Eight Days of Giving with a gift guide for the world traveler in your life. In my family, our most active world traveler is my daughter Vanessa. She takes a big trip abroad (or two!) every year and has been to some wild and incredible places – earlier this year she climbed Mt Kilimanjaro, she swam with humpback whales in Tonga, and my favorite, our wonderful mother/daughter adventure to Japan last fall.

woman trekking in Patgonia
Vanessa trekking in Patagonia

Since Vanessa is the avid world traveler in our family, I’ve collaborated with her for this post, and she’s sharing some of her favorite travel picks from her many adventures.

woman at airport with carry on for trip to Africa
packed for three weeks in Africa

Let’s start with the luggage. Vanessa prefers to travel with carry-on only (that’s my girl!). She even went carry-on for three weeks to Africa this summer including all of her trekking gear.

north face base camp large duffle on A Well Styled Life
shop North Face Base Camp Large Duffle here

She brought a Northface base camp duffel which folded into her trusty Nordstrom carry-on bag. This Northface base camp duffel is the perfect choice for a rugged adventurer- it’s durable, waterproof, lightweight. It made it to the top of Kilimanjaro! Hers is a size large.

Nordstrom Chevron Spinner similar here

She’s had her pink Nordstrom carry on for over three years, and it’s never missed going above the seat of her plane. In fact, her bag was so easy to wheel and fantastic during our japan trip, I bought one in blue when I got home.

Vanessa in The Lost City of Petra, Jordan (carrying the Herschel backpack)
Vanessa in The Lost City of Petra, Jordan (carrying the Herschel backpack)

Her Herschel Supply Co. backpack is her “personal item” to carry on for most trips abroad, including her most recent trip here to California for Thanksgiving. It’s very spacious and smart looking. She doubles it as a gym bag.

A good travel neck pillow is a must for long trips.


travel pillow
Shop Travel Pillow here

After lots of research, my daughter chose this one for her trip to Africa this summer. It’s comfy to sleep on and shrinks nicely to fit in your bag. It’s worth lugging around for your trip to have it on a long flight!

Like me, Vanessa is also a fan of Drunk Elephant skincare. She loves bringing their mini sizes on trips (like I do) so that she doesn’t have to use hotel face products. entering airport with backpack and travel spinner from Nordstrom

For long travel days, my girl picks comfy and cozy clothes. These Rothys sneakers were her favorite when we visited the store earlier this week. Vanessa loves that you can easily slip them off at a security line up at the airport, or walk around a city for hours, they are so comfortable. And, when you get home from a long trip they can pop in the washing machine. Don’t forget you can get $20 off your first pair of Rothy’s with my discount code. Click the link here. 

Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life wearing Halogen cashmere wrap in Iceland
Here’s me in my Halogen wrap on our trip to Iceland.

A large cashmere wrap, like this one from Halogen, is perfect to keep warm while wandering around a new place. It doubles as a blanket on cold flights, train rides, or bus trips. It’s a travel essential.

For long travel days, comfy black leggings are a must for my girl. She changes into them for the long flight so she can relax in comfort. These Alo leggings are her favorite. They have a high waistband and are SO soft. They’re currently 30% off at Nordstrom so I ordered a pair to wear to the gym.

Apple Air Pod Pro
Air Pod Pro here

Last but certainly not least- are noise-canceling headphones. These are an investment piece, and you might think they are on the pricey side (she waited years to buy them). But when you’re sitting on a long haul or red-eye flight for twelve hours with a screaming infant behind you, you would do pretty much anything to have them. The AirPods are tiny and convenient for traveling, with the new noise-canceling edition just released.

I love to buy stocking stuffers. I’ve hand made needlepoint stockings for everyone in my family and it’s a special time for us on Christmas morning. Here are a few stocking stuffers for your travel lover:

Do you have any travel lovers in your family?graphic for a git guide for the world travelee

Have a great day and remember to wear what makes you feel confident!


  1. That particular pillow is the only one I have ever used that actually is comfortable for hours. Even then, I wore it upside down and backwards. But, whatever works!

  2. Mary Hamilton says:

    Hi Jennifer – thank you for the post. I love to travel and am always looking for new ideas to improve the experience itself through the products. I have a lot of the Apple products, but not the Air Pods Pro. If you purchase them directly from Apple, Apple will engrave them for you which is a really nice touch.

    I’m fairly new to your audience and am really enjoying your posts!

  3. Great suggestions, Jennifer. I’d love to know which leather backpack people recommend.

    1. @Cynthia: As mentioned to Jennifer, I’ve had mine for years and it was actually purchased from a flea market artisan vendor whose specialty was leather goods however; Amazon has one called Kattee that might interest you or at least give you an idea what to look for in design. ie.: Features, Size etc. -Brenda-

  4. Julie Anne says:

    Compression socks, if you know the recipient doesn’t have a pair.

  5. Great suggestions. Thank you….

  6. Good ideas! I haven’t seen a travel pillow that works for me, so I’m excited to see this one. I’ve purchased and donated a few over the years and pretty much gave up. My DH has the Bose headphones and I’m envious on every trip, but I’ve never wanted to carry the bulky case. The Air Pods look great.

  7. Like Brenda, above, I never travel without my leather backpack. It leaves me hands free and carries all my necessities of travel. Comfy clothes & footwear but not sloppy are a must. I also have a light jacket/sweater to put on, as I find airplanes can be cool. I have noise cancelling headphones. I find the pods bother my ears. I always check my luggage so I don’t have to lug it through airports, into bathrooms, or try to lift a bag into the overhead luggage compartments.

    1. Planes go from freezing to overheated so quickly, I love to layer too.

  8. Jennifer

    Love all your suggestions on fashion, cosmetics, etc


    Any product you recommend best for bags under eyes

    Thank you


    1. A good creamy concealer and sleeping with your head elevated are the best I have found. I also use a Rose Quartz roller around my eye area to help reduce swelling.

  9. Purchased the new Baggallini backpack last month for my trip to Spain. It has 2 water bottle holders and most importantly 2 different areas that are RFID plus I liked the safety zippers. Although it’s a smaller version of what I’m use to I was still able to pack everything I needed.

    1. I’ll have to check that out. Safety zippers sound like a great idea.

  10. Do appreciate your suggestion of the Air Pod Pro as was mulling over the idea of similar, as a gift for my husband but was hesitant since have absolutely no knowledge about such. So thank you, Jennifer.

    As to travelling; due to health issues don’t do as much as we use to however our children (and their families) certainly do. Re their consensus; favourite carry-ons are made by ‘Away’ luggage. (Preferably their nylon design as lighter than the aluminum / optional built in removable battery for phone charging/ exterior pocket etc. to name three things they have mentioned.) Last but not least re stocking stuffers; RFID Blocking Sleeves ( theft prevention for passport and credit card information ) is another idea that one might want to add to the list. (Amazon.com have a good selection.) -Brenda-
    P.S.: Something I never traveled without was my leather backpack no matter the destination as often preferred it over any hand/cross body bag.

    1. I always worried about the safety of a backpack for my wallet, passport, etc. How did your’s close?

      1. Zippers! Main bag and pocket outside with magnetic snap over-flap concealing both, plus one smaller zippered compartment inside. I’ve had mine for years but as Jane and Joanna (below) have pointed out they have come a long way in design…. ☺. -Brenda-

    2. I bought a roll aboard by Briggs and Riley. It is the best one I have had, it rolls well, is very light and has a full interior with no braces for the handle. It is pricy. I used it to Italy in Oct. in a group tour. The two that had AWAY brands cases were unhappy with the interior and the nylon one got cut in a bus transfer. Just another suggestion. I bought the bose sound cancelling ear/head phones and they truly keep out all sounds. I have the regular air buds and I do like the idea of the smaller size so may try the new ones. Bose ones are in a large case that takes up room in your carryon. Everything is on sale now!!!! I could have saved big money today…..

      1. No Question about it, this is the time of year to shop:)

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