It’s December 1! It’s December 1! Meaning I can spread my Christmas cheer by singing loud for all to hear! finally talk about the holidays and not have you guys roll your eyes in response. (Let’s forget the fact that I’ve been listening to my holiday playlist on iTunes since Nov. 2. Have you purchased the Glee Christmas album yet? If not, you’re sorely missing out.)
I’ve never really had to shop for other travelers before. Most of the giftees I normally buy Christmas presents for tend to stay grounded. But that’s changed of late. And I’ve found it easier to shop for such people (I’m being vague in case any of the gift receivers happen to read this post), because it’s just like shopping for myself! To an extent.
(Here’s a picture of me and running buddy Autumn all dressed up for Santa-Con two years ago. Just cuz. This is a Christmas-themed post, after all, and I need Christmas-themed visuals.)
So what would I, being your average twenty- or thirty-something traveler, want for my travels? I made a list. (I’m all for making lists. You should see my home office and its Rubix cube of Post-Its. Seriously.) I didn’t check it twice, though, so pardon all typos. I’m busy. Guidebook and Trivial Pursuit deadlines quickly approaching. So let’s cut to the chase, shall we?
The Tech-Savvy Traveler
While I can easily pack for a 10-day trip with just the use of a carry-on (and additional laptop bag), it’s often my electronics that weigh me down. And as I travel with multiple cameras, a laptop, a Kindle and an iPod, that means a whole lotta cords, batteries, memory cards and the like. I typically stuff them all in a drawstring bag, which results in one big tangled mess. Then I found this handy electronics organizer, the Grid-It, and my life the lives of my giftees were forever changed.
The iPad is an obvious, right? I only got my first eReader (a Kindle) for my birthday in February, so I won’t be springing for an iPad anytime soon. But I’d say it’s the ultimate traveler’s toy. If I were to have an iPad, I wouldn’t need to carry my MacBook or my BlackBerry on all my trips. (Though let’s be honest, I probably still would.) If you’re simply looking for an eReader for the sake of keeping up to speed on your reading, I adore my Kindle. And the price has been drastically reduced thanks to the introduction of the iPad. And how cool was it to be able to download all three of the Millenium trilogy on our honeymoon while in the middle of the jungle in Borneo?
The Frequent Flyer
How many times have you teetered on your own scale while balancing a 75-pound suitcase on your feet, trying to figure out just how much that sucker weighs? (What, that’s just me? Whatever.) Just saying—all travelers would benefit from owning a luggage scale. If nothing else, it will save you mad cash from having to buy a bag from the airport when you’re inevitably five pounds over (or forced to pay overweight fees or dole out extra money to check a second bag).
I skimp when it comes to toiletries and beauty products, as in I only pack the bare bones (a toothbrush, toothpaste, sunscreen moisturizer). Frankly, this is because most of the places I stay have decent enough bath products to hold me over during my visit, and also because I’m too lazy to wear make-up and the like when I’m not on the road, so my non-beauty routine becomes even more whittled down while I’m traveling. But, as I’ve found through jet-setting with other women, not everyone abides by my “less is more” policy. That’s where Minimus comes in. Selling your favorite brands (with as obscure ones as Kiss My Face and Tom’s of Maine) in three-ounce-or-less, regulation-size bottles, you can still carry all your favorite products in compact containers (and without going through the hassle of checking a bag, too!).
While I often take two cameras and a host of lenses on my travels, one thing I am forever leaving behind is my tripod (because it’s super heavy and you have to draw the line somewhere). Then one time SVV stuck a mini-tripod in my bag—the cheap kind that come with a lot of camera kits—when I was going somewhere with great sunsets, and thus needed a steady hand and longer exposure, and my camera-toting travel was forever changed. Now I never go anywhere without one. I love the Gorillapods the most, as they’re flexible and adapt to your environment—and not only work on point-and-shoots but are sturdy enough for a DSLR.
I nabbed these adorable luggage tags and accompanying passport holder for my sister before her round-the-world trip. I’ve been debating about going back and getting a few for myself. The problem is I don’t allow myself to mosey on down to Flight 001 unless I have a mission; otherwise, my bank account suffers severely. What can I say: I’m a shopaholic and just can’t get enough of their trendy (albeit pricey) travel accessories!
The Business Man
This is probably an arena in which I have the least amount of experience (the only businessman I know, my father, hardly cares about material things), but a blogger friend posted this Etsy find—a chic messenger bag/laptop sleeve made from recycled suits—awhile back, and it’s been on my mind ever since.
Hey, that’s us! I’m a firm believer that the couple who plays together, stays together. Thus, what better gift than a getaway? We had two good friends who just tied the knot, and as opposed to giving them dinnerware as a gift, we contributed to their honeymoon fund instead. Nine times out of 10, I prefer giving experiences over crap. So if you’re looking to spend a bit more on a couple, why not spring for a night or two at a hotel? My new favorite obsession is scouring Jetsetter (a Groupon-style travel site owned by Gilt for whom I now write) for stellar hotel deals and tours. Log onto the site, sign up for the newsletter so you know what destinations are right around the corner (most property sales run for five days on average) and be prepared to buy your favorite couple a weekend’s stay at a posh Caribbean resort—or beyond. Do so and you’ll no doubt go down in the Gift-Giving Hall of Fame.
I’ve never traveled with kids, but I can imagine how boring a five-hour, cross-country flight would be to a squirmy, energetic eight year old. Heck, at 27, I feel their pain! That’s why I’m constantly tempted by these travel-sized games of Boggle, Scrabble, Trouble and Monopoly that Flight 001 sells. The only problem is that, more often than not I travel alone, so who would I play with? I guess it could be a good ice-breaker for getting to know my seatmate on long hauls…
The Arm-Chair Traveler
My new favorite hobby is creating photobooks of my trips. I did it for my mom’s birthday in October (as you can see above), and I might have done it for quite a few family members for this Christmas (I’m not telling). These scrapbooks of sorts make great gifts for others—and they show a good amount of thought, too, as they require more effort than adding something to your online shopping cart and pushing “purchase.” I alternate between both Shutterfly (for an encyclopedia’s worth of layout options and when I’m making a more whimsical book) and Blurb (for a cleaner, more professional look). If you don’t feel you’re that creative, you can always give a gift card for either service and have the giftee make his or her own.
The Heavy Packer
This was a last-minute add, due to a massive sale. SVV’s long been a huge fan of Tumi luggage. I understand why: It’s simple, chic and incredibly durable. I often use his rolling bag when we travel with a checked bag—and I’ll agree, it is awesome—but can’t justify splurging for my own. (That stuff isn’t cheap, yo.) But Rue La La is having a huge Tumi sale—many bags for up to half off—through midnight tonight. Get over there and buy yourself (or your giftee) an item—but hurry, a lot of the items have sold out already! (or buy it full price elsewhere if you missed the boat)—and revel in the fact that there’s a lifetime warranty, so should something happen 10 years down the road, you’re still covered. How amazing is that? (And if you’re not a member and need a Rue La La invite, click here.)
So that’s it. That’s all I’ve got. It’s all she wrote. What did I leave out?
And more importantly, what’s on your Christmas list this year?
**I was not given any free products for the sake of this post, nor was I compensated for mentioning any of the above items. With as opaque as the Internet has become, I thought it worth noting.