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Taking the Kids: Finding the best gifts (with little effort) for your favorite travelers

Eileen Ogintz, Tribune Content Agency on

Gift card or gift? Certainly, cards are easier and appreciated, especially when they come from a company the recipient likes. Say from for their pooch, or everything outdoors from, or

But even these days, when we are all overworked and overscheduled, not to mention overextended, there is something wonderful — even magical — about watching someone you love opening a gift they love and will use again and again.

It’s not that difficult to manage. When it comes to gifts for your favorite travelers, whatever their ages, think about their passions (outdoors, theater, art, food, Disney…) and where they hope to travel next. Also consider how they feel about helping the environment. Many companies, including Patagonia, REI, Royal Robbins now make products created at least in part from recycled materials. (For the favorite man in your life, who lives in cold climes, I like Royal Robbins’ cozy Snowcap-Lined Flannel Shirt, which is lined with recycled fleece ($115).

If you are going the gift card route, consider giving an experience. A different kind of tour perhaps for those heading on a cruise from Tours by Locals. Many family tours cost less than cruise tours and are guaranteed to get you back in time. Tours from Context Travel are also a good bet.

Tinggly offers over 2,000 experiences in more than 100 countries (moonlight snowshoe?). Consider giving a guided tour to a museum or historic site.

If you know where your favorite foodie is traveling next, give them a food tour or a cooking class in the city they are visiting. We went truffle hunting in Italy. A restaurant gift card for a unique spot in that region would also be appreciated. Gift your solo travelers a gift card for EatWith, which matches travelers with locals in some 130 countries who enjoy hosting dinners.


New parents would appreciate a gift card for which provides rental gear wherever a family is staying — everything from high chairs, toys, cribs, wagons and strollers, baby baths, even baby backpacks for hiking.

Of course, the committed outdoors-loving new parents certainly would love a baby carrier (the Osprey Poco LT is even equipped with a built-in sunshade ($285).

How about a spiffy new coat from (starting at under $50), a sleeping bag with its own case ($99) or compressible Highlands dog pad ($39.99) for the four-legged traveler in your family.

The littlest snow bunnies – and their parents – would appreciate L-Bow mittens and gloves with a patented extra-long sleeve that goes outside their winter gear over the elbow and keeps their mittens and gloves on (starting at $19.99).


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