If you’re wondering what to give the traveler in your life for the holidays this year, I have the answer. Make that, answers.
Here’s my list of high-tech and low-tech items, some expensive gifts and some inexpensive stocking stuffers. I think any of these gifts would be welcomed by a frequent traveler.
By the way, I’ve tried and tested the items on this list, so I speak from personal experience.
Humangear GoToob Travel Bottle (3oz–3 Pack, $16)
Like many travelers, I prefer to bring my own liquid soap and shampoo from home, rather than use hotel products. The GoToob’s meet TSA and other countries’ liquids regulations. They’re food-safe, leak resistant, and easy to fill and use.
Flight 001 Clear Carry-On Quart Bag ($10)
Those quart baggies most air travelers use for carrying liquids and gels in their carry-ons wear out quickly and often leak. The durable Flight 001 bag meets TSA requirements and is heavy duty enough to withstand frequent use without tearing or opening.
ELASTRAAP Luggage Strap ($13)
With so many pieces of luggage looking similar, regardless of the manufacturer, it’s important to differentiate your bags’ appearance to help you quickly identify them at baggage claim, and possibly stop someone at the airport carousel from taking them. I recommend wrapping your bags in the long lasting ELASTRAAP, which comes in many bright colors to make your bags stand out. They’re slip resistant and don’t loosen their grip on your luggage.
Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag ($99)
Air travelers know how difficult it is to find a personal bag which has good capacity and stays closed, even when “stuffed to the brim.” Timbuk2’s Classic Messenger Bag is such a bag. It comes in multiple colors, is divided into two compartments, has a built-in organizer, an internal water bottle holder, and an adjustable strap with an “airmesh” shoulder pad. It has a waterproof liner to keep your belongings dry, even in an unexpected downpour.
Skross PRO PLUS USB World Adapter Dual USB ($45)
This is the best compact electrical outlet adapter I’ve ever used. It works for both grounded and ungrounded outlets and can provide power directly to USB devices. I’ve used it in Europe, South America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. It can be used in the U.S.
Mophie Juice Pack ($60–$150)
Heavy smartphone users, especially travelers, always seem to run their smartphones’ batteries to almost dead where recharging is impossible, well before the travel day is over. The various models of the Mophie Juice Pack cases can alleviate that problem for many iPhone and Samsung Galaxy users. I use the Juice Pack Plus with my iPhone. It gives me more than 120 percent extra battery power in a sleek impact-isolation case system.
Kinsa Smart Stick Thermometer ($20)
Sometimes travelers get sick. I’ve always carried a thermometer with me when on the road. Years ago my glass thermometers broke in my bag, so I changed to an electronic one, but it seems that each time I need it, its battery is dead. To the rescue, for those with iPhones or Android phones, comes the Kinsa thermometer. It’s a small temperature probe at the end of a cable which plugs into your smartphone’s headset jack. It’s fast, accurate and works via a free app on your cellphone, which powers the unit.
Olloclip 4-IN-1 Photo Lens ($70–$80)
For many travelers, their old compact point and shoot cameras were long ago replaced by smartphones. While smartphones take really nice photos, their lenses don’t have the zoom and macro qualities available in the compacts. The Olloclip changes that with the “4–IN-1,” which adds a fisheye, a wide-angle and two macro (10X and 15X) snap-on lenses to smartphones. Olloclips are available for some iPhones and Samsung phones.
AHAVA Dead Sea Water Mineral Hand Cream (3.4fl oz-$23)
This is absolutely the best hand cream I’ve ever used. It sits on my desk ready for use at all times, and is always packed in my travel kit. To me it’s an essential for cold weather travel. I’ve used other hand creams which work well, but none that are absorbed so quickly without leaving my hands greasy. Just a little used periodically keeps my hands and fingers in great condition.