Gifts for travelers
When it comes to travel, one gift does not fit all, though some do suit many. Just as travelers run the gamut from laid-back staycationers day tripping to a local vineyard to full-out explorers climbing mountains in remote areas, so does their gear.
Wish your loved ones a bon voyage with these gifts for frequent travelers. Whether they're road-trippers or jet-setters, there's something here for everyone.
To see more holiday gift guides, visit newsday.com/giftguides.
Tegu Pocket Pouch(Credit: Tegu)
NAME Tegu Pocket Pouch
WHAT IT IS A set of eco-friendly building blocks that will keep tots entertained on long trips.
THE GOOD The blocks, which are created with beautiful Honduran hardwoods, have magnets safely embedded within them, so they're less likely to topple over. They're also square, which means they won't roll all the way to the back of the plane if your little one does knock them down. The set, which packs neatly into the pouch, includes eight blocks in two shapes: four cubes and four short planks.
THE BAD It would be nice if it came with a few more blocks.
INFO tegu.com -- The Washington Post
Zip + Flip Penguin Pillow(Credit: KIKKERLAND.COM)
NAME Zip + Flip Penguin Pillow by Kikkerland Design Inc.
WHAT IT IS A cute, plush penguin that easily transforms into a comfortable neck pillow for kids for plane, train and car travel.
THE GOOD It's a polar opposite of what it looks like on the outside. Unzip the bottom, flip the penguin inside out, push the microbead stuffing to the side and you've got a handy U-shaped neck pillow for your next road trip or flight. If the pillow gets dirty, just clean it with a damp cloth and mild soap. It's also available in a black bear design.
THE BAD It is aimed at kids, so the pillow may not fit around all adults' necks.
INFO shop.walkerart.org -- Washington Post
COST $12.99-$18.99 at phonefetcher.com
WHAT IT IS An eye-catching cord that connects your smartphone to your purse for instant retrieval.
THE GOOD This simple device solves the problem of having to dig through a purse, gym bag or backpack in that frustrating race to find your phone before it stops ringing. One end attaches to a purse handle, the other fits snugly into the phone's earphone jack. Just tug on the cord and -- voila! -- phone in hand. The bungee cord PhoneFetcher is long enough so you can use your phone while still attached. Comes in a variety of colors and styles.
THE BAD If your phone is buried beneath heavy items, and you have to tug too hard, the phone may release from the cord. -- MALERIE YOLEN COHEN. Special to Newsday
Discovery Trekking Ultra Fast-Dry Towel(Credit: discoverytrekking.com)
NAME Discovery Trekking Ultra Fast-Dry Towel
WHAT IT IS This thin moisture-wicking towel is both absorbent and quick drying.
THE GOOD Thirsty towels can take up a good portion of a backpack. This one is thin enough to double as a wrap and works like the thickest Turkish towel out there. It's also embedded with silver as an odor-fighting antimicrobial. The towel is also lightweight, multifunctional (you can also use it as a wrap or a blanket) and has ultraviolet protection. The towels dry four times faster than most others, including microfiber.
THE BAD Sunscreens, lotion and deodorants may clog fibers and reduce effectiveness.
COST $12-$35 depending on size. INFO discoverytrekking.com -- MALERIE YOLEN-COHEN. Special to Newsday
1 Voice Sleep Headphones Eye Mask(Credit: 1voicenyc.com)
NAME 1 Voice Sleep Headphones Eye Mask
WHAT IT IS A huge sleep mask made of memory foam and covered in velvet, with built-in headphones.
THE GOOD It's comfy and big enough to block out light and pour soft, noise-canceling music into your ears. The Eye Mask connects to a phone or MP3 player with a long cord, and speakers are embedded in foam, so they won't bother you if you sleep on your side. Perfect for long flights or unfamiliar hotel rooms, or those times when you'd like to block out crying babies, party noise or just fall asleep to quiet tunes.
THE BAD For now, the mask may not fit to extend over the ears. According to a company rep, this is being rectified with new sizes on the horizon.
INFO 1voicenyc.com -- Malerie Yolen-Cohen
L.L. Bean's Carryall Tote Bag(Credit: llbean.com)
COST $49 at llbean.com
WHAT IT IS A roomy tote that can double as a beach or day bag.
THE GOOD The bag features a top zipper as well as multiple outside compartments with sections for office supplies; a spacious interior with a wide bottom for clothes, toiletries and snacks; and a side strap for sliding the whole thing onto the handle of a rolling suitcase. A zip-down organizer panel has plenty of room for storing maps, brochures, guidebooks and any other travel documents you need.
THE BAD Though the sea thistle mosaic design is attractive, it would be nice to have a wider assortment of designs and colors. -- Tribune News Service (TNS)
Cork Globe(Credit: uncommongoods.com)
COST $129 at uncommongoods.com
WHAT IT IS This cork globe from Suck UK lets travel buffs mark -- and show off -- all the places they have been to or wish to visit.
THE GOOD This three-dimensional globe makes a striking desk accessory and will give you plenty of inspiration for planning your next vacation. It comes with five red pushpins that you can use to map out your next journey, showcase the places you've already seen, or attach pictures, tickets and mementos to special spots around the world. The 10-inch sphere is supported by a stainless steel stand. It also comes in a 5.5-inch mini globe design.
THE BAD More pushpins would be nice to mark off more places you might want to visit. --The Washington Post
The Smith backpack(Credit: State Bags)
A hipster twist on the classic backpack, this unisex, fully-lined beauty features a cool fold-over top, plus lower side pocket perfect for wallets and phones; $110 at statebags.com. With each purchase, the company will deliver a backpack filled with school essentials to an American child in need. More information: http://bit.ly/1YfqBpS
The Giving Hat(Credit: Kmart)
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital receives $1 when you purchase the Giving Hat, which sports healthy reminders--"Give Thanks," "Smile" or "Laugh A Lot," seen here worn by Bella Thorne; $5 at Kmart stores and kmart.com. More information: http://bit.ly/1NpxCTA
'Ruff Guide to the United States'(Credit: Kendall Media)
Does your dog want to learn to surf? Fly in a seaplane? Camp in a safari tent in Yellowstone or stay in the lap of luxury by the Atlantic Ocean? Of course she does, and you can come along, too. Give this book, featuring 365 of the best dog-friendly attractions and accommodations in all 50 states, to the traveler in your life who hates to leave Fido at home; $25
This low-price mini personal video cam, shaped like a UFO and smaller than an "I Like Ike" button, pins right to your clothing and takes 80 minutes of decent, albeit a bit shaky, videos (720p resolution). $69.99 from mecam.me. More information: http://bit.ly/1PApYWf; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1OSwYfi
This little waterproof personal light is only 2 inches square, but packs a punch in deep darkness. Backpack ready, it also has a color-changing mode that turns any hotel room into a dreamy, romantic space. $29.90 from enevu.com. More information: http://bit.ly/1OSxx9d
Tunics By Tina Stephens(Credit: Tees by Tina)
The 100 percent rayon Tina 3/4 Sleeve Tunic is light, stylish, packs easily (and de-wrinkles while you shower), covers the bumpy parts, and looks great with leggings. Change shoes and jewelry after a day of sightseeing, and you're ready for a fancy dinner. $98; More information: http://bit.ly/1GBMtaC; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1Hh8KFl
Youvee Sunscreen Swipes(Credit: Adventuress)
Uniquely packaged in an easy-to-pack sealed finger pocket, the fragrance and paraben-free swipes allow you to apply 30 SPF -- with no greasy residue -- on the go. $33 for 24 swipes; More information: http://bit.ly/1GPpVTv; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1jXebEB
BROADWAY UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH E.T.C. You've been to a thousand Broadway shows, but have you ever had a private meal with one of the actors? Purchase a Private Act 1 Tour with Broadway Up Close Tours, and enjoy lunch or coffee at Edgar's Cafe with an actor from a Broadway show (pictured, Savannah Frazier from "Amazing Grace," with her lunch dates). $115 per person for tour and lunch; $75 per person for just lunch (two-person minimum). More information: etccustomevents.com
Packable pails(Credit: Ashley Poulos)
These collapsible beach pails solve the problem of hauling bulky sand containers to the beach. Available in four fun colors, the very sturdy pails store flat and take up very little room. $14.99 from packablepails.com. More information: http://bit.ly/1hTQmLS; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1NnS1F9
Cutex Advanced Revival Nail Polish Remover Pads(Credit: Cutex Brands)
Each felt pad is conveniently packaged, fits in your pocket or purse, and is strong enough to remove polish on all 10 fingers or toes. And it's TSA approved. $7.98 for a two-pack with 20 pads. More information: http://bit.ly/1NFFpZX; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1NdPNK4
Moji Foot Pro Massager(Credit: Moji)
This slip-resistant foot massager features large stainless steel omni-directional massage spheres to target heel, toe and plantar fasciitis pain, and improve circulation, after hours of sitting in a cramped airplane seat. Though hefty, it's small enough to slip into a backpack. $39.99; More information: http://bit.ly/1PUMHMF; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1M1bdGb
This ingenious lightweight, spacious four-wheel "spinner" luggage folds to the size of a small briefcase when not in use. The 22-inch Zipsack can hold a week's worth of clothing, pulls easily with enclosed strap and comes in hot new colors. $70 from biaggi.com. More information: http://bit.ly/1LEUsAm; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1M6SBDx
Coolclutch Mini(Credit: brrr.com)
Keep this tiny clutch (large enough for a cellphone and lipstick) in the freezer. Its embedded ice pack comes in handy on hot nights when you need a bit of brrr on your neck. $52; More information: http://bit.ly/20gcxOW
RootStix(Credit: Laila Moire-Selvage)
A marker-like pen that covers gray roots and is perfect for travel. (It also works on men's beards and brows.) A great "girlfriend gift" for those who can relate to hair "in between colorings." $15; More information: http://bit.ly/1MwNWRZ
Girl trunks(Credit: girltrunks.com)
Guys have it easy. They can hike, kayak and surf in their swimwear and never need to change before or after taking a plunge. Thanks to Girl Trunks -- swim shorts and halter swim tops for females -- women can share in this serendipitous approach to adventure. Trunks $79, tops $59, from girltrunks.com. More information: http://bit.ly/1jB2HXn
Compression Socks(Credit: VIM & VIGR)
Move over, beige, there's a stylin' new compression sock in town. Who knew these long-haul plane ride must-haves, with advanced Gradient Pressure knitting technology to improve circulation and alleviate leg swelling, could be so fashion-forward? $32.95 from vimvigr.com. More information: http://bit.ly/1GikkFu
ThinOptics are reading glasses that fit in a credit-card-sized case that adheres to the back of your cellphone and comfortably clamp to the bridge of your nose. You will never misplace those menu readers again. Glasses and phone case $38.95 from thinoptics.com; More information: http://bit.ly/1RqyK6u; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1Xkg6RR
Quick Clava(Credit: seirus.com)
The Quick Clava combines winter head protection with instant neck and face cover. Face and neck wraps stow in the beanie and can be pulled down to stave off frigid temps. Great for skiers or snowboarders or those who just want to glide or hike when the temps dip. $24.99-$34.99 from seirus.com. More information: http://bit.ly/1jTOZhR; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1M8R9H3
'Ultimate Travel'(Credit: Lonely Planet)
This tabletop book ranks the top 500 spots in the world, based on the reports of Lonely Planet's intrepid travelers. The fact that the Temples of Angkor, the Great Barrier Reef and Machu Picchu top the list (in that order) provides some idea of this catalog's adventurous scope and focus. Photos are stunning; $24.99
'Star Wars'-inspired flip-flops(Credit: Havaianas)
Ooh La La Boutiques headband(Credit: Ooh La La)
Fend off cold in style with this extra wide headband (in five colors) with faux diamonds in the center; $30 at select Ooh La La Boutiques. More information: http://bit.ly/1LYv5yJ
Earbud holder(Credit: Restoration Hardware)
Earbud wires stay tame and untangled in this snap-close Italian leather case from Restoration Hardware; $15 in black or brown. More information: http://bit.ly/1GkQM9K
Shoe Dust Bags(Credit: Henri Bendel)
Mini Bag(Credit: Havaianas)
Stash a phone in this rubberized mini bag and avoid the dreaded wet phone syndrome -- or use it as a funky evening bag; $20. More information: http://bit.ly/1VZsOTs; Find the best price: http://bit.ly/1GkSKHp
Cat Nap Sleep Mask(Credit: Sephora)
Fun kitty cat sleep mask in luxe leopard brocade backed by skin-soothing satin; $12 at select Sephora stores and sephora.com. More information: http://seph.me/1MSRtZx
Magnetic Analysis Chess Set(Credit: Chessusa)
For gaming travelers, 8-inch Black Magnetic Analysis Chess Set with case; $39.95 at chessusa.com. More information: http://bit.ly/1RWgNO5
Mitten Flask(Credit: Surlatable)
Fleece-lined mittens by DCI hold a tiny, 4-ounce flask; $20; More information: http://bit.ly/1LnRXo4
EYN smartphone case(Credit: EYN Products)
NAME Black EYN case for smartphones
COST $9.99-$29.99 at eynproducts.com
WHAT IT IS This EYN (it stands for "everything you need") smartphone case doubles as a wallet, allowing a user to stash credit cards, driver's license, cash and keys in a built-in storage compartment. The case includes a wrist strap and mirror.
THE GOOD No matter what iPhone you have, there's a design for it. There are cases to fit everything from iPhone 4 to the 6 Plus as well as Samsung Galaxy S4. It also features a hinged back for built-in storage space, it can hold three bank cards and cash, and the packaging is sturdy. It also has a kickstand feature for watching videos and FaceTime chatting.
THE BAD It can sometimes be difficult to open.
Escort Passport Max 2(Credit: Escort Radar)
NAME Escort Passport Max 2
COST $599 at escortradar.com
WHAT IT IS This radar detector gives you a heads up when you're about to enter a speed trap.
THE GOOD It uses global-positioning technology to warn drivers about known speed traps and eliminate the pesky false alerts that plague many radar-detector users. It will also alert you if you are exceeding the speed limit. It comes with built-in Bluetooth wireless technology which can be used to access the Escort Live radar-detector app. The real-time ticket-protection network provides alerts from other users in the area, and gives you access to local speed limit data.
THE BAD The device is pricey, but will ultimately pay off with how much it should save you on speeding tickets. -- The Washington Post
5 Blades Travel Razor by eShave(Credit: MCT )
NAME 5 Blades Travel Razor by eShave
WHAT IT IS A sleek nickel-plated razor that breaks down for storing inside its own easily packable metal canister. The handle uses Gillette Fusion blades.
THE GOOD This thing looks a lot more like art than something as pedestrian as a men's razor. But appearance aside, this razor is so nicely balanced in the hand, it's actually fun to shave. Most important, it was designed to easily expel accumulated hair with a single run under the water. Why can't every manufacturer do this?
THE BAD Expense, plain and simple. This will appeal to guys who are financially comfortable or to generous families of more financially uncomfortable guys who really deserve something special as a gift that's going to make one of life's drudgeries a pleasure. Sometimes the splurge really is worth it.
AVAILABLE FROM eshave.com
Crumpled City Maps(Credit: Palomar)
NAME Crumpled City Maps
WHAT THEY ARE These waterproof, lightweight maps can be creased, squashed and easily bunched into your back pocket.
THE GOOD A no-fuss, convenient solution for the travel buff who prefers printed maps to GPS devices -- without the slapstick of trying to properly refold a map. The maps are printed on a special technological material that can be crammed into your pocket, backpack or the carrying pouch provided with no worry about refolding. Cities range from Amsterdam, Barcelona and Berlin, to Cape Town, Chicago and Hong Kong, and each map provides details about a large part of the city, including streets, monuments and a sightseeing index.
THE BAD Of the 40 maps available, Chicago, New York and San Francisco are the only U.S. cities.
INFO palomarweb.com-- Washington Post
Bottle Bright(Credit: Clean Ethics)
NAME Bottle Bright
WHAT IT IS An environmentally friendly effervescent tablet that cleans all water bottles.
THE GOOD Are you loath to use last year's CamelBak or other hydration packs or bottles for fear of ingesting something nasty from its hard-to-clean tube? Clean Ethics has devised a potent, chemical-free formula that cleanses even the rankest carriers. It takes just 20 minutes to eliminate gunk, stains and smells from plastic or stainless steel water bottles, coffee mugs, and yes, even CamelBaks using one chlorine-free, biodegradable Bottle Bright tablet. It will even get rid of stains in your coffee carafes.
THE BAD You might have to soak an item overnight to remove bad stains.
COST $5.99 for a 10 pack, $10.99 for two 10 packs
INFO cleanethics.com -- MALERIE YOLEN-COHEN. Special to Newsday
WHAT IT IS A man's travel Dopp kit that looks like a toolbox.
THE GOOD This durable hard-shell case for toiletries keeps shampoo bottles and toothpaste from exploding, as they might inside soft-sided Dopp kits. It's also compact, lightweight (1 pound) and well built, with silicone netting that keeps items securely in place, and neoprene lining that prevents leakage into your luggage. The case is available in three colors: red, gray or black. The Tooletries rugged macho looks will please every traveling home improvement guy in your life.
THE BAD You can't stuff "a bit more" into a hard-shell case as you could with a softer, more forgiving exterior.
COST $39.95; TheGrommet.com-- MALERIE YOLEN-COHEN. Special to Newsday
Cleanse by Lauren Napier(Credit: Lauren Napier)
NAME Cleanse by Lauren Napier
COST $6 travel size (three wipes), $18 Luxe Box (12 individually wrapped wipes) and $40 for the Abundance box (50 wipes) at at laurennapier.com
WHAT IT IS A set of individually packaged facial cleansing, exfoliating and refreshing wipes created by celebrity makeup artist Lauren Napier.
THE GOOD These easy-to-carry purifying face wipes take the place of several beauty products. While most facial cleansing wipes are infused mostly with skin-drying alcohol, Cleanse is water-based and also contains aloe, cucumber, oat-kernel extract and other natural, restorative ingredients. Perfect for long flights, the wipes are convenient for freshening up before landing.
THE BAD Because they are made with mostly natural ingredients, Cleanse wipes are not as proficient at removing heavy mascara as other, harsher makeup-removal wipes.-- MALERIE YOLEN-COHEN. Special to Newsday
Naot Footwear(Credit: Juneau)
NAME Naot Footwear
WHAT IT IS Shoes, boots and sandals with insoles of natural cork and latex designed to replicate the shape of a foot.
THE GOOD Worn by contestants in the movie "The Hunger Games," by detectives on television's "Law & Order: SVU" and on Fashion Week runways, Naot Footwear designs are also perfect for long walks, standing all day and especially for the rigors of travel. Soles are engineered for support and comfort, designed like your "footprint in the sand." The best part: They don't look like fusty "orthopedic" shoes, and can compete with some of the cutest shoes and sandals on the market.
THE BAD Retail price is on the high side for sandals, but many would say they're worth it for the comfort.
COST Prices start at $120
INFO naot.com -- MALERIE YOLEN-COHEN. Special to Newsday