Before you go racing off to that crowded mall to treasure hunt for your favorite traveler’s seasonal gift, consider the variety, value and ease of shopping online. The trick is to order gifts early, so you can avoid express shipping surcharges that will impact your budget for gift-giving.
Browsing online travel purveyor catalogs is like discovering a travel supplies and comforts treasure trove--you’ll find everything from versatile and easy-to-pack clothing to the latest gadgets for on-the-road safety, convenience, pleasure and entertainment. The goods range from a variety of inexpensive stocking stuffers to
impressive (and pricey) high tech devices that will quickly become the lucky receiver’s favorite road warrior accessories.
If comfort comes first for your favorite frequent traveler, the gift of choice is one that promised snuggly warmth on cold flights, long range or puddle hoppers. As frequent flyers know, most airlines no longer provide blankets for passengers, So, it’s best to bring your own. And there is none is better than the comforting Rumple Puffy Throw Blanket. Available in a variety of bright and soothing colors, the lightweight blanket is made of ripstop nylon, has a water repellent finish and compresses into a 6” x 14” stuff sack that can be tied on to your carryon luggage. If the plane isn’t cold, the stuff sack serves as a comfortable pillow or foot rest. Best of all, this is something for use at home, too, or on camping trips. Available online from REI, Amazon and other outlets, it retails for $99, but you can find online discounts. So, shop around.
For inflight comfort and health, set your favorite frequent flyer up with a pair of compression socks that prevent legs and feet from swelling. A wide variety of these are available online, making it possible to find a pair that suits personal styles. For women, Lily Trotters are particularly stylish. Knee highs come in an array of colorful patterns and are ideal for transitioning from the airplane into the hotel health club or running track. Available online from Amazon or directly from the manufacturer for about $20 per pair.
Men’s compression socks aren’t usually as colorful as women’s – in fact, most are just plain black -- but they work just as well. A variety of brands is available from Amazon or Walgreens.com at prices starting at about $10. Compression socks are great stocking stuffers.
Airplane air is germ-laden, so there are always concerns about catching a trip-killing bug from a seatmate or someone down the aisle. The AirTamer Air Purifier is a small device that streams negative ions into your personal breathing space to keep airborne viruses, bacteria and dust from in front of your nose. You wear the 3” long device around your neck. Long-lasting rechargeable batteries provide seven days of continued use, so you can also take advantage of it in crowded airports, busses and subways. Available from Magellan’s for $79.
Security is another top concern, especially since thieves have new and sophisticated ways to steal a traveler’s identity. A terrific way to safeguard your information is to keep your credit cards, bank cards, medical IDs and other cards with your personal codes and account numbers in aluminum wallets that provide RFID protection and a great way to keep thing organized. Once popular over the counter, these handy wallets are now hard to find – except online. Magellan’s sells them in a nice variety of colors for about $20 each.
TSA-approved luggage locks are also good stocking stuffers, and you’ll find a wide variety of them online, priced from around $10. If you want to get the best, check the rating at ASecureLife.com. All of the recommended locks are available on Amazon.
For frequent travelers who rely heavily on electronic devices and gadgets, make life on the road easier with a portable power source. Not all airplane seats have power outlets, and these power-packed, lightweight devices really come in handy when you need a boost. Get the lowdown on the best at LifeHacker.com, then buy your choice from Amazon, Walmart or another online source.
If your favorite frequent traveler is a shutter bug, buy extra space for photos in the Picture Keeper Connect, an external stick drive that stores photos and transfers them to your computer. It’s an easy and secure way to preserve precious travel moments. Available from Amazon and other online sellers, the stick comes with 16GB to 64GB capacity and sells for about $120 to $180.
These recommended items should get you started in making your shopping list. Don’t wait until the last minute to make your purchases, or you may find that stock is sold out, or delays in shipping might prevent your gift from arriving in time for your holiday giving.