These 10 items are perfect for travel lovers (and benefit a charitable cause)

Here's your excuse to shop 'til you drop

By Lois Alter Mark,

Let your gift-giving have double the impact by buying from companies that donate to charity with every item sold. 

In case you were looking for an excuse to buy more (or sneak in something for yourself), here are some great travel gifts that do just that. When you buy from these companies, your recipients aren't the only ones who benefit.

Geography Collection by catstudio

Geography Collection from catstudio — Photo courtesy of catstudio

Give travelers a reminder of their favorite trip with one of these colorful hand-embroidered pillows – or dish towels or frosted tumblers. With all 50 states and dozens of cities, countries and landmarks from Acadia to Zion to choose from, these conversation-starting pieces are also a great way to start a meaningful collection.  

catstudio donates 10% of profits to their partner organizations, which include COTS Center, Southern Poverty Law Center, O.U.R., The Learning Lab and Fisher House Foundation.

Vessel 2.0 Backpack

Vessel 2.0 Backpack — Photo courtesy of Vessel

Everyone needs a backpack they can count on, and you’d never guess from their stylish looks that these luxury bags from Vessel are real workhorses. With padded shoulder straps, water-resistant pockets and a trolley handle sleeve, they are the perfect traveling companions. Plus, you can customize colors and textures for a truly individualized bag. 

Best of all, Vessel bags are filled with purpose. For every bag purchased, Vessel gives a school backpack to a child in need. The company has already given out more than 18,000 backpacks. 

National Parks blankets from Pendleton

Crater Lake blanket from Pendleton's National Parks Collection — Photo courtesy of Pendleton

A comfy blanket can make a hotel room feel like home, and giving an heirloom-quality one from Pendleton is like wrapping your recipient in a big hug. Their National Parks collection pays homage to favorites like Crater Lake, Yellowstone and the Great Smoky Mountains, and will be treasured by travelers – even armchair ones – for generations to come. 

Pendleton has been making highly-coveted 100% virgin wool blankets inspired by Native-American designs and legends for more than a century, and they celebrate that heritage by supporting organizations like the American Indian College Fund and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. 

MIXT Studio Write-On Travel Tote Bag

Reversible write-on travel tote by MIXT Studio — Photo courtesy of MIXT Studio

Weighing in at a mere 4.5 ounces, this reversible tote takes up hardly any room in a suitcase, yet is able to hold over 40 pounds of whatever extras you pick up on your travels. It’s made of lightweight, water-resistant Tyvek® and can be written on with permanent marker to personalize it. 

For every tote bag sold, MIXT donates 10% to iACT, a humanitarian organization that helps refugee populations by aiding, empowering and extending hope to those affected by mass atrocities. 

Vintage Baule zipper pouch from Meridian

Vintage Baule Zipper Pouch from Meridian — Photo courtesy of Meridian

These gorgeous pouches are handsewn from authentic, vintage Baule textiles from the Cote d’Ivoire and lined with colorful, handmade block print fabric from Rajasthan, India. Each is one-of-a-kind and has its own story to tell about culture heritage and the history of the artistic process. 

Meridian is a social enterprise brand, featuring unique, heirloom quality work handmade by artisans in developing nations around the world. Every purchase provides a direct income to the artisans themselves.

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Quick Refresh Kit from Knack

Quick Refresh Kit from Knack — Photo courtesy of Knack

This beautifully-packaged gift set is filled with high-quality, travel-friendly toiletries from Ernest Supplies. But Knack also offers A Moment of Play, with toys and games for traveling kids, and A Restful Pause, featuring relaxing luxuries for women on the go. 

All three of these expertly-curated Uplift Houston kits were designed to help the people displaced by Hurricane Harvey. Knack is all about gift-giving, and when you buy one of these sets, an identical gift box or cash donation of equal value is donated to a Texas aid organization. Whatever you purchase, Knack donates 5% of sales to a variety of charities. 

Project Object jewelry from Upper Metal Class

Project Object jewelry from Upper Metal Class — Photo courtesy of Upper Metal Class

When you’re trying to pack light, nothing gives you more outfit options than a few good pieces of jewelry. Handcrafted in Portland, these minimalist designs have maximum impact. Drawing from architecture, math, science and nature, each simple piece makes a statement.  

Designer T is all about giving back, and is a hospice volunteer herself. Upper Metal Class has helped support everyone from kids with cancer to animals to those waiting for organ donations. A portion of sales from Project Object goes toward organizations like ACLU, Planned Parenthood and Bradley Angle, a local non-profit helping victims of domestic violence. 

Kodak Printomatic Instant-Print Camera

Kodak Printomatic Instant-Print Camera — Photo courtesy of Kodak

Talk about instant gratification! Kodak’s compact new point-and-shoot 10-megapixel camera lets you print photos on the spot, no Wi-Fi or computer connection necessary. 2” x 3” photo prints are durable, water- and tear-resistant, and have an adhesive back so you can stick them, share them and simply enjoy them immediately – and anywhere. 

The picture of philanthropy, Kodak supports non-profits like the American Heart Association, and encourages its employees to participate in their communities, giving them one paid day per year to volunteer and win a grant for that organization. Their Print for Good campaign supports literacy worldwide through book drives, book donations and the printing of school materials and supplies. 

Evolution® travel pillow from Cabeau

Evolution® travel pillow from Cabeau — Photo courtesy of Cabeau

Being able to sleep on a plane is a gift. The award-winning Evolution® travel pillow from Cabeau is a great gift for those who can’t. With its patented ergonomic design, responsive memory foam and all-around head and neck comfort, it will have sleep-deprived travelers nodding off in no time.

A portion of sales from their Pink Evolution Pillow are donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation every year. And through Cabeau Cares, the company partners with non-profit organizations like LA Family Housing, most recently assembling baskets of everyday essentials for people transitioning out of homelessness.  

Color-changing umbrella from Stand Up To Cancer

Color-changing umbrella — Photo courtesy of Stand Up To Cancer

With weather unpredictable everywhere you go these days, a good umbrella is a must. This one is sturdy and roomy, and features Stand Up To Cancer’s signature arrows, which change from black and white to orange, red and yellow when wet, raising awareness for the life-saving organization every time you raise it. 

Rain or shine, Stand Up To Cancer has been funding collaborative research for almost a decade. Since then, more than 9,000 patients have participated in clinical trials planned, initiated or completed by SU2C scientists.