MoMA Design Store’s Travel Essentials Gift Guide

Items for exploring by planes, trains, bikes and more

Presented by MoMA Design Store

After a few months of virtual travel with the MoMA Design Store team—from Copenhagen to Malmö and Tokyo—we learned about some of their favorite restaurants, museums and shops, and also explored the countless practical and stylish goods on offer in their own store. From self-watering planters that keep your leafy friends alive while you’re gone, to navigation gadgets, practical accessories and more, we’ve selected the following products because they’re useful before, during and well after you return from your travels.

George Sowden Water Bottle

Made by HAY and designed by George Sowden (a founding member of the Memphis Group), this sleek bottle (starting at $35) is available in several colorways and two sizes. Its interior is coated with stainless steel—keeping beverages cold for 24 hours or hot for 12 hours. Ultimately functional, this design doesn’t eschew practicality for style.

Waterproof Bumbag

This Rains bumbag ($70) is waterproof and features a taped zip closure to keep your valuables super-safe and dry. Made from polyurethane and polyester, it’s sturdy and stylish. Wear it over your shoulder or around your waist as you stomp around and explore—with your cash and camera held within easy access.

Self-Watering Pots

Available in three sizes, these self-watering pots (starting at $34) make sure your plants are getting just the right amount of liquid—even when you’re not around. Simply fill the reservoir beneath the terra cotta planter with water, and your plants can access it as they need; absorbing it through the permeable material. Brilliant for those heading out of town (or notorious plant-killers).

Multi-Colored Japanese Fans

Bright, bold and yet delicate, these gorgeous fans ($28) have been handmade in the same Japanese factory since 1585. Designed by Rikki Sato, this specific iteration is made from bamboo, cotton and polyester. Available in three colorways, they are cheerful accessories for when the weather starts heating up.

Japanese Pleated Tote

More than an appealing design, this bag‘s ($48) pleated body is also practical, as it expands to accommodate whatever is placed inside. (It can grow to several times its original size.) Made from biodegradable, corn-based PLA, this clever tote is also water-resistant and eco-friendly. Available in blue, yellow, black or red (which is made from recycled polyester) it’s a stylish Japanese design that originated in 2006.

Smart Bike Helmet

This safe and stylish helmet ($169) is also smart: outfitted with Bluetooth speakers for hands-free turn-by-turn nav, phone calls and music; and an LED light on the back to signal braking and turning. Though its primary function is protection, it also features an SOS sensor to detect falls and alert preset contacts. With a leather brim, the helmet has several detachable components for cleaning too.

SmartHalo Bike Accessory

Using your smartphone while riding a bicycle is difficult and dangerous, but SmartHalo ($149) is a bike accessory that allows for smartphone-level navigation, fitness-tracking and messaging—with added anti-theft features and an LED light for nighttime riding. The system is small enough to attach to the center of a bike’s handlebars, and it comes with a unique key so riders can leave it attached without worrying about it going anywhere—and it can stay there for three weeks on a full charge.

Yayoi Kusama Pumpkin Key Ring

An iconic artwork that’s instantly attributable, Yayoi Kusama’s spotted pumpkin is miniaturized for this key ring ($40). There’s an extra charm attached that features a tiny illustration of Kusama on one side and the words “LOVE FOREVER” on the other. It’s a thoughtful way to carry Kusama’s message of love and world peace with you all the time.

Ostrich Loop Travel Eye Pillow

For those who have trouble sleeping on planes (or trains, buses or cars), this soft and cozy eye pillow ($40) offers a little escape from the rest of the world. Crafted to fit anybody, the pillow is essentially a scarf shape that can be rolled, wrapped and contorted to your preference—be it around your head as an eye mask, or rolled up as a pillow. Filled with micro-beads, it contours to fit everybody.

Face of the Moon Stress Ball

From Japanese designer Makiko Yoshida and the team at h concept, this three-inch diameter stress ball ($40) is a kooky way to ease tension. Complete with the moon’s face, the ball morphs into various facial expressions as you squeeze it. Equal parts weird and cute, it’s a welcome distraction for anxious flyers of all ages.

MoMA Edition Crewneck

An instant classic, MoMA and Champion’s sweatshirt ($70) debuted for the museum’s Items: Is Fashion Modern? exhibition and remains a playful take on the classic, collegiate style crewneck. With “MoMA” appliquéd on the front, the sweatshirt is made from a cotton blend and available in size small through XL. Art fans, represent.

Images courtesy of MoMA Design Store