The Best Travel Gifts of 2020


This year, our wish list is not just filled with gifts, but goals, too. No matter where we land in 2021, we want to be a little more adventurous, keep sustainability top of mind, spend more time together, take good care of ourselves and document everything in a bigger, more meaningful way. Here are the 31 gifts that will help you and everyone on your list do all that.

November 24, 2020

Go on More Adventures

An assortment of travel gear for adventuring
Full Windsor, The Nutter Cycle Multi Tool
  1. Bike tool —

    Common bicycle malfunctions are no match for this tool, which includes a nylon tire lever, spoke key, flat–head screwdriver and more, all housed in a leather and recycled inner–tube pouch. Full Windsor The Nutter Cycle Multi Tool, US$50

Smartwool PhD® Ski Medium Alpenglow Pattern Socks
  1. Ski socks —

    These merino wool socks are both breathable and cozy, so you won’t have to worry about getting cold feet on the slopes. Smartwool PhD® Ski Medium Alpenglow Pattern Socks, $35

Arc’teryx Mantis 1 Waistpack
  1. Fanny pack —

    Wear it around your waist or slung over your shoulder – either way, this 1.5–litre tote is perfect for stashing the essentials on your way to the summit. Arc’teryx Mantis 1 Waistpack, $50

Nocs Provisions Standard Issue 8x25 Waterproof Binoculars
  1. Binoculars —

    Birdwatchers, rejoice! The founders of San Francisco–based Nocs Provisions couldn’t find binoculars that were anything but bulky and pricey or small and cheap – so they made their own, putting crisp optics into a compact, rugged pair you can take anywhere. Nocs Provisions Standard Issue 8x25 Waterproof Binoculars, US$90

 Outlery Cutlery Set, US$40
  1. Cutlery set —

    We’ve tried a lot of reusable cutlery on our travels, but none is as compact as this set: The fork, knife and spoon unscrew and pack up in a pocket–size tin box. Outlery Cutlery Set, US$40

Lure of Adventure, Canada National Parks Playing Cards
  1. Playing cards —

    As you’re studying your hand, get a dose of travel inspiration: These cards feature original illustrations of each of Canada’s 48 national parks by nature lovers Ali Kazal and Kaycee Powers – visitors to 16 parks and counting. Lure of Adventure Canada National Parks Playing Cards, $30

Ciele Athletics GOCap Century Portage
  1. Athletic cap —

    The Montreal producer of lightweight, breathable and just plain cool running caps uses recycled performance fibre that’s quick–drying and equipped with UPF 40+ sun protection. Ciele Athletics GOCap Century Portage, $45

Pack More Sustainably

An assortment of sustainable travel gear
Ahoy Bags Toiletry Bag
  1. Upcycled toiletry kit —

    Made in Ucluelet, B.C., from vintage sails (complete with original sailmakers’ stitching), this pouch is great for toiletries, but also for stowing swimwear, corralling kids’ art supplies and more. Ahoy Bags Toiletry Bag, from $45

Casca Avro Knit in Ash White
  1. Do–it–all shoes —

    Vancouver zero–waste shoe brand Casca creates pairs to fit all occasions. The 3–D–printed foam insoles are about three times thicker than most (making them ultra–comfortable), the mountaineer–grade soles are rugged enough for a hike and the stylish knit look means they’re perfectly acceptable for dinner out. Casca Avro Knit in Ash White, $198

Meg Hubert Ceramics Go-Go-Go Ceramic Cup
  1. Ceramic travel cup —

    Because ceramics don’t hold onto flavours the way plastic does, you can switch between coffee and tea (or any drink you like) when you’re on the go. Potter Meg Hubert paints each one by hand in her Vancouver studio, so they’re one of a kind. Meg Hubert Ceramics Go–Go–Go Ceramic Cup, $55

The Detox Market, Reusable Rounds
  1. Reusable cotton pads —

    Ditch single–use cotton pads for good: Made of 70–percent bamboo and 30–percent organic cotton, these machine–washable rounds come in a pack of seven, one for each day of the week (they’re even labelled). The Detox Market Reusable Rounds, $25

Field Kit, Travel Soap
  1. Travel soap bars —

    Don’t mix these up with your travel chocolate stash: The break–apart bars, made in Field Kit’s Calgary studio, allow you to snap off what you need, when you need it, so you don’t have to deal with a wet, sudsy bar in your bag. Field Kit Travel Soap, $10 each

A jar of Tanit Tanitabs
  1. Toothpaste tabs —

    Instead of tossing yet another toothpaste tube in the trash (and, ultimately, a landfill), clean with these refreshing tabs: Just bite one and brush as it forms a minty lather. Tanit Tanitabs, $22 per jar of 160; Bamboo Toothbrush, $4

Get Away with the Family

An assortment of travel gear fit for the whole family
Béis, The Backpack Diaper Bag
  1. Diaper backpack —

    Designed not to look like a diaper bag, this sleek backpack is still fully loaded with parent– and kid–friendly features. Besides its many pockets, it has a changing pad, two bottle pouches and a teething ring, as well as a spot for your laptop and a trolley sleeve to give it life beyond baby. Béis The Backpack Diaper Bag, US$138

Pidan, Pet Travel Water Bottle
  1. Pet water bottle —

    If the fuzzy member of your family is along for the trip, bring this game–changing water bottle – it opens up to a wide drinking bowl for quick hydration breaks everywhere from the airport to hiking trails. Pidan Pet Travel Water Bottle, $28

Love & Lore, Family Travel Wallet
  1. Multi–Passport holder —

    With slots for four passports, plus a pen loop, currency pouch and slip pocket for documents, this zippered wallet is the family travel essential that keeps it all together. Love & Lore Family Travel Wallet, $40

Omy, Pocket Games & Coloring (City)
  1. Activity roll —

    This portable roll of colouring sheets, riddles and games – one metre long in total – will have your kids travelling the world as they shade in city scenes from the Sagrada Família in Barcelona to the Statue of Liberty in New York. Omy Pocket Games & Coloring (City), $15

Mudpuppy, Ocean Swim! Travel Game
  1. Travel game —

    Turn go–to screen–time moments in airports and restaurants into playtime moments with this packable ocean–themed game – the drawstring bag that carries the pieces doubles as the board. Mudpuppy Ocean Swim! Travel Game, $16

Grech & Co., Kids’ Sunglasses
  1. Kids’ sunglasses —

    You’ll feel the need to keep up, style–wise, when your little one is in these fashionable frames made of recycled plastic from Danish brand Grech & Co. Bonus: They fit from 18 months to 10 years old, so – fingers crossed – you won’t be replacing them for a while. Grech & Co. Kids’ Sunglasses, $34

Take Care on the Go

An assortment of travel gear to help you with your well-being
The Yukon Soaps Company, Wild Side Yukon Gin & Tonic Shave Soap and Wood-Handle Brush
  1. Shaving soap —

    The juniper berry– and fireweed–scented lather from this retro solid soap made in Mayo, Yukon, primes skin for an extra–clean shave. The Yukon Soaps Company Wild Side Yukon Gin & Tonic Shave Soap, $12; Wood–Handle Brush, $8

Living Apothecary, The Travel Set
  1. Tea set —

    This tea trio (with infuser) has a blend for whatever you may need on the road: There’s peppermint–forward Bye Bloat, calming Take Care with camomile and lavender, and rooibos–based Radiance. Living Apothecary The Travel Set, $48

Artifact, Moroccan Tangerine Clay Masque + Brush Kit
  1. Clay mask —

    A welcome addition to your toiletry kit for the winter: Rhassoul clay from Morocco’s Atlas Mountains draws impurities from the skin, while argan oil and shea butter nourish, and cacao and green tea provide a needed boost. Artifact Moroccan Tangerine Clay Masque + Brush Kit, $59

Sade Baron, Fresh Luxe Refreshing Body Mist (30 ml)
  1. Face mist —

    After a long travel day, this aloe vera and orange blossom mist from Toronto–based mother–daughter brand Sade Baron is just what your skin needs. Sade Baron Fresh Luxe Refreshing Body Mist, $14 (30 ml)

Bala, Bangles Resistance Weight in Deep Blue
  1. Wrist weights —

    These one–pound weights slip onto your wrists like bracelets, adding resistance to your hotel room workouts without weighing down your bag. Bala Bangles Resistance Weight in Deep Blue, $65

Modjūl Leather Mask Lanyard
  1. Face–mask lanyard —

    Keep your most important accessory at the ready with a lanyard handcrafted in Quidi Vidi, Newfoundland, with Italian leather and brass snaps. Modjūl Leather Mask Lanyard, $28

Halfmoon, Crystal Collection Silk Eye Pillow in Clear Quartz
  1. Eye pillow —

    Take five with this cooling eye pillow filled with clear quartz gemstones and organic wheat berries that helps soothe dry, strained eyes; or, heat it up to relieve tension. Halfmoon Crystal Collection Silk Eye Pillow in Clear Quartz, $38

Document Your Journeys

An assortment of travel gear to help you document your trips
Fujifilm Instax Square SQ1
  1. Instant camera —

    The latest instant camera from Fujifilm combines a simple design with user–friendly upgrades, including a selfie mode (perfect for leaving behind souvenirs with new–found friends on your travels) and bigger square prints. Fujifilm Instax Square SQ1, $160

Pikto Premium Layflat Textile Cover
  1. DIY photo book —

    Let the beautiful hardcover books from Toronto–based Pikto motivate you to take your photos off your phone. With hinged pages, the album lies flat when open, so you can display your best travel photography on your coffee table. Plus, the drag–and–drop design tool makes putting it together a cinch. Pikto Premium Layflat Textile Cover, from $110

Ferris Wheel Press, Brush Fountain Pen in Sandcastle Clay and Ink Charger Set
  1. Fountain pen —

    You might be more likely to jot in your journal or scrawl postcards to loved ones if you have a luxurious writing tool – like this copper, brass and stainless steel fountain pen coupled with three 5–ml vials of vibrant ink, all designed and crafted in Toronto. Ferris Wheel Press Brush Fountain Pen in Sandcastle Clay, $184; Ink Charger Set, $20

Poketo Travel Journal in Colorblock + Petite Folio in Blush
  1. Travel journal —

    You can wax poetic if you would like, but this journal is also meant to be a practical archive of your trips – and a resource for return visits – with sections for recording itineraries, hotels, restaurants and packing lists. Keep it inside the vegan–leather folio, along with documents, receipts, even your passport. Poketo Travel Journal in Colorblock + Petite Folio in Blush, US$37

Courant Carry
  1. Power bank —

    Don’t be caught with a drained battery at a key photo–taking moment: This minimal wireless bank will top you up (it holds up to two full charges) and look good doing it, thanks to a chic pebble–grain Italian leather exterior. Courant Carry, US$150