9 Gifts for Dads Who Love to Travel

By Maya Stanton
January 12, 2022
57 F89 B53 5 E65 43 E3 936 B Fab9716 B9184
From heavyweight portable speakers and fancy firepits to effortless tees and go-to bags, we've got the gifts that'll make his day.

Shopping for the father who's been around the world can be tough, but whether they're clinging to a beat-up gym bag or rocking the latest titanium luggage, we've got the gear to take their travel game to the next level—no terrible ties or World's Greatest Dad mugs involved. These are our favorite Father's Day gifts for dads who love to travel.

1. For the Fashion Phobe

(Courtesy Unbound Merino)

Wool may seem like a strange choice going into summer, but hear us out: As a moisture-wicking, quick-drying, breathable fabric that doesn't wrinkle or retain odors, it fits the bill any time of year. A basic black tee is a building block of any wardrobe, and Unbound Merino's version can go days without needing to be washed, even when hitting the trails and working up a sweat. Between the flattering fit and the classic style, it's a great option for travel – especially if he subscribes to the 'pack one outfit and re-wear ad infinitum' school of thought. Merino wool crewneck t-shirt, $65;

2. For the Fire Starter

(Courtesy BioLite)

If your dad struggles lighting the grill but refuses to let anyone else handle the matches, BioLite's FirePit could be the answer. With 51 air jets providing the oxygen needed to get things going, he can adjust the size of the flames either manually or via Bluetooth, thanks to a USB-powered fan that's good for 24 hours after a single charge. The portable pit's mesh body allows for maximum airflow, and it comes with a grill grate, so you can cook hibachi-style on a whim. Best of all, the fan system eliminates the smoke from the equation, so he'll get all of the heat with none of the eye-stinging, clothes-infusing effects of a traditional fire. FirePit, $200;

3. For the Music Snob

(Courtesy Marshall Headphones)

For the audiophile who won't leave home without his tunes, Marshall's new Stockwell II speaker takes the show on the road – and it doesn't compromise on quality. The brand known for its rockstar-approved amps brings the same attention to detail to the smallest member of its on-the-go line, from the easy-pairing Bluetooth to the adjustable knobs for treble and bass to the guitar strap-inspired handle. At a hefty three pounds, it's not necessarily the thing to throw in your carry-on, but with more than 20 hours of play time at a range of 30 feet, plus a water-resistant exterior, a built-in power bank, and a quick-charge feature that buys you an extra six hours of entertainment, it's great for road trips, pool parties, picnics and more. Marshall Stockwell II speaker, $250;

4. For the Swim Fan

(Courtesy Rheos Gear)

What dad wants to waste a day on the water combing its depths for missing eyewear? With styles for adults, kids, and babies too, the floating sunglasses from Rheos Gear eliminate the issue for the whole family. Boasting lightweight frames and polarized, UV-protected lenses – not to mention a lifetime warranty – these shades pop back up to the surface as soon as they're submerged, and they come in a variety of styles and colors, one of which is bound to suit his taste. Floating sunglasses, $50;

5. For the Overpacker


(Courtesy Topo Designs)

We’ve professed our love for the Dopp kit from Topo Designs before, but its unique triangular shape really does make a difference. It’ll do the trick whether you’re shopping for the dad who likes to Jenga his pack or the one who stuffs his suitcase and forgets to leave room for a bulky toiletries case: He can flip it over and wedge it between two rows of clothes, and when he gets to the hotel, it’s narrow enough that it’ll sit upright on skinny bathroom sinks or shelves. Even with a small footprint, though, its interior is deceptively spacious, so the bright lining means nothing gets lost in the depths. Dopp kit, $34;

6. For the Caffeine Addict

(Courtesy Soma)

Anyone who takes their coffee setup seriously won't want to compromise when they're out of town, and Soma's brew bottle lets them make a single-serving pour-over in the same vessel used to drink it. It works equally well for hot and cold brews; for hot, dad'll just need to run a few cups of water through the hotel coffeemaker, pour it over the grinds, and go, while the cold method is a good option for camping or other low-power situations. All he has to do is set it up the night before and keep it chilled until it's ready, then empty out the grinds and hit the road. (And if he prefers to get his fix from a more mild source, the bottle works with tea as well.) Brew Bottle, $40;

7. For the Outdoorsman

(David Scrifes)

For the dad who's stuck in the office but dreaming of outdoor excursions, these National Parks–themed antiqued-brass lapel pins say it all. They come courtesy of National Dry Goods, a company co-founded by a Lonely Planet alum, with designs running the gamut from Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir to Yellowstone and the Rockies. We like four-piece set, which includes the Grand Canyon, the Great Smoky Mountains, Yosemite, and Yellowstone, but in case the dad in your life prefers, say, Acadia over the Grand Canyon, the pins are sold individually as well. 4-Piece Parks Series gift set, $40;

8. For the Gadget Guru

(Courtesy Jackery)

The odds of his phone making it through a full day of sightseeing without a boost are slim to none, so a portable charger is a must. With plugs for iPhones and micro USB-powered toys like Bluetooth headphones and speakers, Jackery's Bolt 6000 has enough juice to top him up multiple times throughout the day, and it charges devices quickly, so he won't be plugged in for long. Even better? The whole thing is self-contained, which means no extra cords to get in the way. It's one of the few accessories we take with us everywhere we go. Jackery Bolt 6000 portable charger, $30;

9. For the Impromptu Adventurer

(Courtesy L.L. Bean)

Everyone needs a bag they can pack in a hurry when a cheap last-minute deal beckons, and L.L. Bean’s signature duffle helps answer the call. Made from the same tough cotton canvas as the company’s near-indestructible beach totes, this no-frills weekender has an understated nautical feel that never goes out of fashion. A roomy compartment holds the essentials for a few days away, with two pockets, one inside and one out, to corral the important stuff; add sturdy, rolled handles and a removable shoulder strap for ease of carry, and he’ll be airport-bound in no time. Signature Made in Maine duffle, $149;


Save up to 50% on Hotels

1 rooms, 1 guests
Keep reading
Product Reviews

Sunscreen 2019: Find the Best, Safest Products for Coral Reefs (and for Your Skin!)

More than 14,000 tons of sunscreens wash off swimmers, paddlers, snorkelers, surfers and other watermen and waterwomen into the oceans each year. If you care about coral reefs, read your sunscreen’s ingredients label to ensure you’re not poisoning yourself and the environment in the quest to avoid sunburn. Does Your Sunscreen Kill Coral? Most of us have been educated from an early age on the dangers of sun exposure, and we cover any exposed skin with a thick layer of sunscreen before we venture out. What most of us don’t know is that when we dive in the water, the chemicals found in most sunscreens kill coral, cause deformities in fish and bioaccumulate in the environment, eventually ending up in the human food chain. Choose Reef-Friendly Sunscreen Ingredients Fortunately, you don’t have to choose between sunburn and healthy coral reefs. There are alternatives to coral-killing sun block if you’re willing to read a label or two. Avoid Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Octocrylene, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor, PABA, Parabens, Triclosan, and any nanoparticles or 'nano-sized' zinc or titanium. The only truly reef-friendly active ingredients are non-nano zinc oxide and non-nano titanium dioxide. Read the Label, Not the Hype Sadly, you can't rely exclusively on manufacturer claims. Picking a sunscreen that says 'reef-safe' or 'reef-friendly' on the package isn’t good enough, as those terms aren’t regulated, according to the Surfrider Foundation. Only reading the label closely will point you in the right direction. Reef-Safe Sunscreen Is Also Good for Your Health Picking a reef safe sunscreen is not just good for reefs – and in some cases required by law – but it’s better for your health too. Caroline Duell, Founder and CEO of sunscreen manufacturer All Good, says, 'All chemical UV absorbers are damaging to the DNA and endocrine systems of coral. Coral are animals. Humans are animals, and studies are now linking damage seen in coral to human systems as well. Even if you’re worried about your kids’ health more than the environment, reef safe sunscreen is a must.' Learn more about sunscreen, take the River to Reef Friendly SunScreen Pledge and then try these top-rated, reef-friendly sun protectants.

FamilyProduct Reviews

What’s the Perfect Father’s Day Gift for a Travel-Loving Dad?

What’s the best Father’s Day gift for a dad who loves to travel? Well, my credentials for weighing in on this question are at least baseline: I happen to be a father and a travel editor. First of all, “travel” for Father’s Day doesn’t have to mean covering a great distance. I’m here to tell you from personal experience (which in this case happens to be supported by clinical research) that neither a fancy meal nor carefully (or not) chosen “stuff” can compare to taking an easy day trip or one-tank escape to a place your dad loves—or a place he’s never been before. Experiences Are Better Than Stuff You’ve read the studies (or, at the very least, you’ve read the summaries of studies in listicle form on social media): Meaningful experiences make people happier than obtaining possessions. A major study at Cornell University was even more specific: “Doing makes you happier than owning.” My Most Memorable Father’s Day In support of “doing” rather than “owning,” please take a look at the photo above, which illustrates my most memorable Father’s Day. The picture of a medieval garden might suggest that my family sprung for a flight to Spain. Nope. All we had to do was take the half-hour drive from our home in the Hudson Valley to one of my favorite museums, the Cloisters, in upper Manhattan. Full disclosure: My wife and two daughters don’t exactly love the Cloisters. Medieval art is an acquired taste, and to date only I, among the four of us, has acquired it. But you don’t have to love ogling paintings and sculptures of angels, martyrs, and the Holy Family to enjoy the Cloisters. We had a lovely few hours strolling the gardens in full mid-June bloom, grabbing a bite to eat at the cafe, and taking in the epic views of the Hudson River from the museum's terraces. Talk to Us: What’s Your Dad’s Favorite Day Trip? Have you got a special day trip in mind for your dad this Father’s Day? Post a comment below. If you’ve got a photo, even better: Post is to Instagram and tag it #mybudgettravel.

Travel TipsProduct Reviews

5 Carry-On Backpacks for Every Kind of Trip

As professional travelers, we put in lots of hours on the road, and with that much time on our hands, we get to know our gear pretty well. The little quirks that don’t seem like a big deal up front can become full-blown annoyances after a week of travel, and likewise, the nerdy details that might not merit more than a shrug at first glance can easily become an obsession once we realize how handy they can be in practice. We put another round of carry-on backpacks through their paces to find our favorites—all of which will fit in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you on most jets, and cost less than $200. 1. For the Weekend Road Trip (Courtesy Topo Designs) Topo Designs makes some of our favorite accessory bags and Dopp kits, so it’s not surprising they make one of our favorite backpacks too—the brand’s bags and accessories are designed to work together as part of a modular system, and the 30-liter Travel Bag is no exception. Pack bags, Topo’s answer to packing cubes, cost a little extra, but they nest inside for a tidy fit, and the Dopp kit does too—no cramming necessary. (If you need more room, clip a smaller bag onto the outside of the pack, or go for the 40-liter version.) But enough about the accessories—the backpack itself earns rave reviews. It has organizational pockets galore: On the front, a large zippered compartment with two internal zippered mesh pockets, plus another section with two open pockets for snacks and chargers and a deep zippered one as well. The main compartment holds three or four outfits, with two big mesh pockets for additional storage. At the back of the pack, there’s a padded laptop compartment, and an external pass-through sleeve to stack the bag on top of your rolling suitcase; it also comes with a removable crossbody strap, so the shoulder and hip straps tuck away if you choose to use it. The zippers even have security loops to protect against sticky fingers, and the stiff nylon material is water-repellant in addition to being practically tear-proof. All in all, our number-one pick.Travel Bag - 30L, $189; 2. For the Urban Excursion (Courtesy Knack Inc.) Launched in late 2018 by a team of former Tumi execs, Knack makes a good case for ditching the luggage and carrying just a single backpack. With a slim profile, clean lines, and crisp suiting-inspired fabric, the expandable Knack Pack displays the attention to detail you’d expect from a contingent of industry pros. Unexpanded, the medium version holds just 17 liters; expanded, that capacity nearly doubles. The packing compartment unzips to lay flat, holding a few days’ worth of clothes with compression straps to lock it all down, with a zippered mesh pocket covering the facing side. One of its savvier highlights is the built-in sunglasses case, lined with fleece and conveniently placed at the top of the pack, but other travel-minded touches include a rain flap that covers the expansion zipper; a zip-away side pocket that hides a water bottle; and padded shoulder straps, reinforced with sternum straps, that tuck into the back panel. Two minor complaints: There isn’t a side handle, and the front pocket is a bit of a head-scratcher, a triangular flap that folds down to reveal pen loops, one strangely shallow pocket, and a row of small slots big enough to hold business cards...and not much else. But for a nice-looking bag with a deceptively generous capacity, we'll allow it.Medium Expandable Knack Pack, $175; 3. For the Long Haul (Courtesy Rick Steves' Europe) This convertible carry-on from Rick Steves' Europe came on our radar by way of a reader's comment—and we have to say, it was a solid suggestion. At about 40 liters, it’s the roomiest of the bunch (and at 3 pounds, the heaviest too), a no-frills pack that excels in its simplicity. The main compartment is nearly suitcase-size, with compression straps, an elasticized pocket running the length of the lid, two loose mesh bags for laundry or smalls, and a document pouch that clips into place so important papers are always within reach. On the front, there are three pockets of varying sizes: a square one for a cardigan or a neck pillow, a small one for glasses, lip balm, and the like, and a really deep one for magazines, tablets, tech gear, and more. The pack can expand a couple of inches if need be, but beware of overstuffing if you want to use it as a carry-on. Though there isn’t a dedicated compartment for a laptop, the side pocket will accommodate one, albeit without any cushioning; additional features include a mesh water-bottle sleeve, handles on the top and side, outer compression straps, and shoulder and waist straps that tuck away as needed. This is the most old-school model we tried—those shoulder straps are only slightly padded, and the floppy nylon fabric gives it the feel of a classic gym bag—and while we tend to prefer more structure and more organizational components, you won't find many travel packs this size at a comparable cost. Convertible Carry-On, $100; 4. For the Outdoorsy Overnight (Courtesy Mammut) If outdoor adventures are on the agenda—with some work on the side—try Mammut’s Seon Transporter X. In something of a reverse mullet, it's business in the back—think: a padded, fleece-lined section for a laptop, tablet, paperwork, and reading materials, plus two orange-zippered mesh compartments and pockets for pens—and a party in the front, with a main compartment housing a ventilated, zippered section for hiking boots, with space leftover for toiletries and a change of clothes or two. (Though the bag technically has a 26-liter capacity, it's definitely for those who travel light—that shoe compartment claims quite a bit of real estate.) As for access points, the big pocket at the front is basically the height and width of the pack itself, with a zippered mesh pocket inside, and the small compartment at the bag's top is good for valuables, with two fleecy open pockets and yet another zippered mesh one. Smart elements include well-padded, ergonomic shoulder straps, top and side handles for ease of carry, and big looped zippers that pull without a hitch, all under the cover of a sturdy, weather-repellent material, in a camouflage print that makes it stand out from the crowd. Seon Transporter X, $190; 5. For a Few Days Away (Courtesy Solo New York) With a spacious main compartment that opens like a suitcase, incorporating a built-in bag for shoes or laundry and four small stash pockets (two mesh and two solid nylon) in the lining around its frame, Solo New York’s 22.6-liter All-Star provides the capacity of a duffel—minus the duffel’s tendency to turn into a black hole, thanks to its organizational touches. On the front, a zippered pocket holds the necessities you'll want to reach on the fly, like sunglasses, tickets, and chargers. The front is padded to protect the laptop section, which also has a sleeve that fits a tablet, so you’ll only have to dig through one pocket for your electronics when you hit the security scanners. Two side handles and one on top make for easy stowing on planes or trains, and the cushy straps tuck away when they're not in use. (It also comes with a long shoulder strap, in case you get tired of hauling it around on your back.) As a whole, the pack is lightweight and inexpensive—in fact, the lightest, least expensive one we tried. At this price point, and considering its five-year limited warranty, it’s a great option for a short trip. All-Star Backpack Duffel, $87;

Travel TipsProduct Reviews

11 In-Flight Essentials to Pack for Your Next Trip

While we can’t do anything about the seatmate who takes over your shared armrest, or the drink cart that bumps your elbow with every trip down the aisle, or the lack of legroom in coach, we’ve put our frequent-flier miles to good use and collected the gear to make your time in transit as enjoyable as possible. From pillows and earplugs to blankets and socks, here’s what you should stash in your carry-on for a smooth, no-friction travel day. 1. Charge Up (Courtesy Anker) Yes, most planes have in-seat outlets these days, but if you’re on a short hopper flight, your aircraft probably won’t have a plug. Avoid outages with Anker’s tiny power bank—at just four inches long and weighing less than five ounces, it’ll keep your devices humming along until you’re back on the ground. Anker PowerCore 5000, $22; 2. Get Some Rest (Courtesy Travelrest) When it comes to long-haul travel, catching those Zs is critical, and Travelrest’s memory-foam neck pillow is one of our most highly rated nap-time tools. Between the under-chin support that keeps your head from dropping, an angled back that cradles your neck just-so, and a velour cover that feels extra-cozy against your cheeks, you’ll be nodding off in no time. Travelrest Ultimate Memory Foam Travel Pillow, $40; 3. Avoid the Noise (Courtesy the Grommet) Whether you’re blocking out your seatmate’s snoring or trying to catch every last word of your favorite podcast, a solid set of headphones is non-negotiable. These Bluetooth earbuds from ISOtunes come with a noise-reduction rating of 27 dB and a selection of foam tips—much more comfortable than, say, Apple’s hard-plastic AirPods. Plus, with 10 hours of playback time, they’ll take you from check-in to deplaning in one go.ISOtunes Audio Professional Noise Isolating Earbuds, $90; 4. Organize Your Essentials (Courtesy Flight 001) With labeled pockets and pouches for your tablet, smartphone, passport, and more, Flight 001’s in-seat organizer is a Type A personality’s dream. Unfold it and hang it from your tray table’s hook, or keep it zipped and put it in the seat-back pocket in front of you—either way, you’ll have instant access to your gear. Seat Pak Pro, $40; 5. Stay Moisturized (Courtesy Skinny & Company) Recirculated cabin air is notoriously drying and germ-ridden, but a good lip balm can help keep your skin's moisture barrier intact. Skinny & Co.’s formula relies on coconut oil, beeswax, cocoa butter, and vitamin E to prevent against the painful cracks and chapping that allow bacteria to sneak into your system, and it feels light yet substantial when applied. Stash one tube in the aforementioned organizer, one in your Dopp kit, and one in your coat pocket, and you’ll be covered on all fronts.Lip balm, $17 for three; 6. Get Comfortable (Courtesy Slip) First-class tastes on a main-cabin budget? Slip’s pure-silk pillow and eye mask will keep tangles, flyaways, and sleep creases at bay, so you’ll arrive at your destination looking refreshed. The set is a bit of a splurge, both in terms of cost and how much space it takes up in your bag, but if you’ve got a serious beauty routine, you’ll want to make sure it’s protected, especially when you're crammed into a middle seat in coach.Beauty Sleep to Go! Travel Set, $120; 7. Guard Your Ears (Courtesy Pluggerz) Changing air pressure on takeoff and landing often wreaks havoc on sensitive ears, especially during cold-and-flu season, when congestion can result in all kinds of aches and pains. Travel-specific earplugs, like this pair from Pluggerz, alleviate the pressure and keep your ears from popping, even when everyone around you is suffering. Pluggerz Uni-Fit Travel earplugs, $10; 8. Corral Your Cords (Courtesy Aseismanos) If you’re an artist, by all means, load up this adorable waxed-canvas pencil case from Aseismanos with your must-have pens and tools, but don’t fear if you’re less creatively inclined—you can still put it to good use. At 7-½” long by 2-½” wide, it perfectly accommodates a small, two-port plug, an extra-long phone cord (complete with Cable Bite), and a small charging cable or two, and it’s slim enough that it'll slide seamlessly into your bag, no matter how full.Small pencil case, $28; 9. Keep Your Blood Moving (Courtesy VIM & VIGR) To reduce swelling, improve circulation, and give tired legs an energy boost, compression socks are the way to go. Most of the offerings on the market tend to be orthopedic in style, but with colorful patterns in cotton, nylon, and merino wool for men and women alike, these fun little numbers from VIM & VIGR grant you all of the therapeutic benefits with none of the seatmate side-eye.Compression socks, $33; 10. Stay Warm (Courtesy Bloomingdale's) In-cabin temperatures can be unpredictable at best, so you'll want to be prepared if you’re susceptible to the chills. This light, quilted blanket from Sparrow & Wren will have you snuggled up quickly, thanks to its down fill and generous 50" x 70" size.Sparrow & Wren Packable Down Throw, $45 (regularly $90); 11. Pack It All In (Courtesy Topo Designs) Too many items for one central organizer? Split your gear between a few smaller pouches, and your bottomless tote will seem much more manageable. These accessory bags from Topo Designs are ideal: Stash eye drops, lip balm, and Advil in the smallest; hand sanitizer, lotion, and a compact in the next size up; and laptop chargers, power cords, and social-media equipment in the largest. Made from hardy Cordura fabric and boasting bright-red zipper pulls, they’ll withstand potential snags and tears, and they’re easy to spot in your bag too. Accessory bags, from $15;