With the holiday season fast approaching, are you wondering what you can buy for that family member or friend who likes to travel? Here are some ideas encompassing a wide price range.
For a big ticket item, nothing beats an iPad. iPads are the Swiss Army knives of travel.
Guide book, reading book, translator; use it to organize travel documents, research anything, check email, send photos, make phone calls with Skype or similar app, occupy down time by playing games, keep a journal. It works with WIFI or purchase a 3G version and a data plan and access the internet anywhere. A less costly alternative is an iPod Touch. It does many things an iPad is able to do when there is access to WIFI. Does your giftee already have an iPad? How about a bluetooth keyboard and case to make writing easier?
Luggage can be another big ticket item, but there are so many options and the choices are so personal it is difficult to make specific recommendations. There is even a suitcase that comes with its own folding seat: www.walkinbag.com. If purchasing luggage, make sure it is the lightest available in the style desired. For the person who always travels with a laptop, consider one of the TSA friendly cases that doesn’t require removal of the computer when going through security.
Small daypacks that double as carry ons are useful. I often use a Rick Steeve’s Civita daypack. It is lightweight and folds to a minimal size. It can fit under an airline seat so I use it for carry-on and then as a daypack during my trip. I also like folding nylon shopping bags that easily fit in my pocketbook. A toiletry/sundry bag makes a good gift. I prefer a bag with variouscompartments that can be opened and hung flat from the back of a door; it helps keep clutter to a minimum in hotel rooms.
There are various bags that assist with packing. Space bags maximize packing capacity. Giant zip lock bags that are available at Ace hardware organize clothing and protect it from moisture and any concern there might be about creepy crawly creatures. Zippered packing cubes, either solid or mesh, are great organizers.
A final note on luggage; for stocking stuffers, try brightly colored neon luggage tags or handle wraps to help identify one’s bags.
Another big ticket item is a camera, but, again, there are many choices and individual preferences. If someone is planning a tropical vacation, consider an underwater camera. For the camera enthusiast, one can never have enough high capacity SD cards or rechargeable batteries. A dual voltage battery charger is a useful accessory. A gift certificate for a photo book to show off all those lovely pictures is sure to be appreciated.
A watch with dual time zones is nice to have. The options range from inexpensive to luxury brands. For a traveling techie, a hub that can charge many devices at once is useful.
How about a pair of comfortable walking shoes (or gift certificate for a pair) for that traveler? Among the more popular brands are Mephisto, Ecco, Keen, Merrell, Rockport. Someone recently told me that she wore FitFlops all through Europe and they were very comfortable.
Women can never have enough handbags. There are some great ones specific to travel that have many security features including being slash proof. Popular brands are PacSafe, Safe Passage, and Vault Pro. I also like the Ameribag Healthy Back bag that helps distribute weight and reduces stress on shoulders.
Wrinkle-free clothing can be a traveler’s best friend. ChicosTravelers line is great, and catalogs, such as Travel Smith or Magellan’s provide additional choices. A gift certificate avoids having to guess at size or taste. A colorful or neutral Pashmina or similar type of shawl can be used for warmth, as a blanket, or a coverup when visiting houses of worship. For someone who is sun sensitive, there are various clothing lines that provide SPF protection. Popular brands are Columbia, Solumbra, Solartex, SPF, and Coolibar.
For a person headed for a cruise or tropical locale, try a packable straw hat. Dry wick clothing makes a great gift for travel. It helps keep moisture away from the body which makes a person warmer in the cold and cooler in the heat. It also dries quickly if it has to be washed out.
Scottvest is a company that makes clothing specifically for travel. I particularly like their multipocketed jackets. When I wear one of mine, I often do not have to also carry a pocketbook. Many of the jackets have zip off sleeves that turn into vests. If you sign up for their daily deal email, you can eventually find whatever you want at 20% discount.
Security is important when traveling. Money belts come in a variety of styles. Some go around the waist, neck, leg, or arm. There are even stylish belts that feature zippered inside pockets. And, speaking of stylish, a leather passport carrier makes a nice gift.
Creature comfort is important when traveling. Very inexpensively, you can make an airplane survival kit for your favorite traveler. Include such things as Wisps which are dry toothbrushes available at local pharmacies, eye drops, nose spray or gel, antibacterial wipes, stain remover pads or sticks. Don’t forget a quart size plastic bag for any of the liquids or gels.Noise canceling headsets may be appreciated by some. They can block airplane sounds, as well as the noise of crying babies. If your traveler is so inclined, include an eye mask, earplugs, and/or travel pillow. Years ago, I found something called a “foot couch” that I love on long flights. It is an inflatable pillow that I use to elevate my feet. Consequently, my feet never swell and my legs never ache even on long flights. A silk travel blanket can be lightweight and take up little space.
I always hate putting anything in the seatpocket as you never know what debris from former travelers lurks at the bottom. Recently, I saw a seatback organizer in a travel catalog. It allows one to store incidental items such as a book, earphones, glasses outside of the seatpocket. What a great invention!
Finally, here are some miscellaneous ideas for the traveller: An attractive travel journal, a coffee table book of a favorite locale, a small flashlight, especially an LED, a small travel first aid kit. For an iPad or Kindle owner, an iTunes card or gift certificate for an ebook, a compact umbrella or one of the new umbrellas that claim to not blow inside out, language learning CDs, membership in AAA, membership in MedJet for emergency medical evacuations, or Divers Alert Network which provides emergency evacuation assistance even for non divers.
Vickie is a former member of the Marco Island City Council and Artistic Director of the Marco Island Film Festival, and has been a volunteer for many island organizations. She is presently on the board of the Naples Mac Users Group. Prior to relocating to Marco, Vickie served as a school psychologist, Director of Special Services, and college instructor and also was a consultant to the New Jersey Department of Education.