Gifts for the Frequent Traveler
Whether your favorite frequent travelers are always in the air, always on a road trip, or always hoofing it across some hundreds-of-miles-long trail; whether they're traveling begrudgingly for work, or gearing up for the vacation of a lifetime, they're going to need some...stuff. Not necessarily a lot of stuff, but some specific and crucial necessities for the going, and a few more for the being there. Stuff to make the trip easier, more comfortable, and more fun. Stuff like the frequent traveler gifts in the list below.
Note: Travel gifts are listed as they were at printing. Prices are subject to change.
Samsonite Omni PC Hardside 3-Piece Luggage Set
These hard-shelled suitcases aren't the most attractive out there. They're kind of the luggage version of those shiny puffy coats that make you look like a homeless person wearing a trash bag. But, also like the puffy coats, hard-shelled suitcases are real good at their job. Maybe the best.
I've checked plenty of duffel bags and soft spinner suitcases in my days, and they always end up getting trashed over time. Either torn, skid, or broken at the zipper or wheels due to rough handling or, worse, left out in the rain during loading / unloading, so they come off the carousel wet. And so does all my stuff inside.
This 3-piece set of 360-spinner bags from Samsonite is made of scratch-resistant, ultralight polycarbonate the company says "looks as great on the 100th trip as it does on the first." It's not super expensive either, and gets good marks on performance from those who own the set.
The Omni PC set includes 20", 24", and 28" bags.
Maxpedition Soloduffel Adventure Bag
The smallest in Maxpedition's Adventure Bag series, this duffel serves well as a gym bag or quick tripper. It has a 22L volume and overall size of 10" long x 7" wide x 19" high. A removable shoulder strap hides away in a zippered pocket when you don't need it, and fits both right- and left-armers with equal comfort when you do.
True to Maxpedition style, the Soloduffel has a full clamshell design with modular exterior.
Vetelli Hanging Toiletry Travel Bag
In addition to its classic Italian design and construction backed by a lifetime guarantee, Vetelli says their leather and canvas toiletry bag "stands out in a crowd of boring nylon." Unraveled, the kit reveals 2 zip pockets spanning its full width, and 2 smaller snap pockets sharing the width of its bottom third.
Open Vetelli's dopp kit extends 20.9" long x 12" wide. Rolled up and buckled shut it's 8" x 12".
Universal International Power Adapter
I own one of these blue nuggets, and can attest that it works like a charm, at least in the EU and UK. The manufacturer says the adapter's compatibility expands to over 150 countries in North America, the EU, the UK, and Australia. The multiple USB ports in addition to the standard US outlet came in real handy for me too, as did the retractable prongs so the adapter packs as a flat cube.
Portable Armrest Extender & Divider
Soarigami's Portable Armrest Extender and Divider attempts to settle the battle for the armrest by dividing an existing armrest in half, and then making it bigger on both sides. Slip the center over most armrests ranging from 1-1/2" to 2-3/4" wide, and fold out its side flaps. Flaps are tapered so the extended ledge won't gouge into your side.
AirTamer Travel Air Purifier
Typically, I'm all too happy to touch things in public places and then put my fingers in my mouth, but the airplane is where I draw the line. Confined space, large numbers of people and, ugh, their children, recycled air...even though they look like hypochondriac tool bags, I can't really blame those who wear surgical masks and douse their immediate surroundings in Purell when they fly. I'm too lazy to do the anti-bacterial gel wipedown, and my face is far too dashing to cover with something that looks like a diaphragm, but I could definitely go for an AirTamer.
The travel-sized AirTamer won't kill the cooties on tray tables and seat backs, but its electrostatic purification powers will remove the contaminants from up to 439 cubit feet of air per hour. Without the assistance of a filter and without making any noise. Which is more than I can say for the chronic snorer with the bag of Popeye's fried chicken who inevitably ends up in the seat next to me. AirTamers clean the immediate vicinity of atomic-sized pollutants (e.g., viruses, bacteria, pollen, dust) by emitting a constant stream of negative ions that push the offenders out of wearers' personal space. Units, powered by 2 lithium coin cell batteries, can run continuously for up to 180 hours. Perfect for those long flights to Asia and the moon.
Where I've Been Scratch-Off Map
What a fun way to track your world travels, or clever gift for your favorite ostentatious globetrotter with a mild gambling compulsion!
One side of the 17" x 24" map is covered in a metallic patina that scratches off like a dried-out scab as you vacation in Bora Bora, rock climb in Patagonia, or attend a quality control conference in Poland. Every 1 in 1,275,000 maps also awards a pot of gold to the lucky Paddy who scratches off Ireland.
The map comes in a travel tube, and the back of it is white with black outlining, so you can fill in your flight paths, and have something to doodle on at the Athens airport while you wait for the pilots to finish their strike.
J-Pillow Travel Pillow
I know it looks like a big ol' dumb...J...but the J-Pillow is the undisputed champion of all the travel pillows I've ever tried*. Its bubble letter "legs" create a golden ratio of ergonomic support for my head and neck. I can lean back and tilt to the right or left without the weight of the former dragging down the latter and cricking it up at a 45-degree angle while I sleep. The chin rest also prevents Bobbing Head Syndrome so you don't jolt yourself awake just as the dream about the chick on your girlfriend's girl magazine is getting good.
Portable Travel Footrest
I used to stuff a wad of clothes I knew I'd need during my trip in my carry-on backpack so that I could use it as a footrest on the plane. But recently I discovered that if I put the overstuffed backpack on my open tray table, and top it with my J-Pillow, it makes an even better sleeping wedge (unless its weight breaks the tray table, but luckily that's only happened twice so far), and I'm way more comfortable leaning forward to sleep than I am against the window or, worse, trying to balance against the 2-inch folded-out "wing" of my seat's headrest, and falling off onto the dude next to me.
Yes, I spend a lot of time thinking about how to make my air travel experiences less horrific. My solutions are paltry, but so is everything else about the airline industry these days, except the cost of plane tickets and their "amenity" fees.
Anyway, now that I use my backpack as a head bed, I need a new footrest. This hammock-style, cushy-memory-foam one from Sleepy Ride, which also recruits-and-hopefully-doesn't-break the tray table, is a serious contender.
Pack This! Notepad
Pack This! Forgetful Jones. Just don't forget where you put Knock Knock's handy traveler's prep list once you fill it in.
The Pack This! notepad seeks to eliminate (or at least cut down on) the chaos that can come with getting ready for a trip. Sure, you could make your own list and check things off as you load them up in your Beast Duffel, but what if you forget to add something to the list in the first place? Chargers, razor, dirty clothes bag, swim trunks, passport, Galactic Republic passport, electric converters, deodorant...d'oh! I always forget the deodorant.
TravelJohn Disposable Personal Urinals
TravelJohn Disposable Urinals are for everyone who's gotta go. Just look at the box. Men, women, and children alike with knees knocking, thighs constricting, and hands holding on tight can take relief in taking a whizz nearly anywhere! The personal pee pouches, sold here as a set of 6, come with an adapter that makes them unisex and open for business to anyone, whether sitting down or standing. A spill guard even prevents back flow during use.
ExOfficio says, "17 countries, 6 weeks, one pair of award-winning underwear...OK, maybe two."
ExO's Give-N-Go men's boxers and ladies' underwear (see those here) has been treated with an antimicrobial to help eliminate, or at least downplay, smelly bacteria that collects in the fabric. Made of stretch diamond-weave mesh, they're also highly breathable and, of course, dry real fast after you wash them in the sink with a little hotel bottle of lavender-scented shampoo.
If Atlas Obscura does its job as intended, readers of this quirky non-tourist attraction guidebook are going to walk away (hopefully to the nearest plane) with a much longer Bucket List than they started out with. Possibly over 700 line items longer, if you dig every one of Atlas Obscura's picks for the "strangest and most curious places in the world." Some selections:
- New Zealand's glowworm caves.
- Spain's Baby Jumping Festival.
- Turkmenistan's 40-year hole of fire called the Gates of Hell.
- A weather-forecasting invention that was powered by leeches on display in Devon, England.
How to Travel the World on $50 a Day
Matt Kepnes has spent years traveling the world on the cheap. For the past 5 or so he's been blogging about it under the name Nomadic Matt, sharing his secrets and tips with other wannabe explorers on a budget. So now Kepnes is the proud owner of a wildly successful website, plus a bestselling book How to Travel the World on $50 a Day, plus the bestselling book's latest follow-up, How to Travel the World on $50 a Day: Third Edition: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter (updated for 2017). In other words, Nomadic Matt can now afford to travel more like a baller than a nomad. I wonder which he's going with these days.
How to Travel the World on $50 a Day: Third Edition: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter treats the idea that extensive travel is too expensive for the average person as a myth of Loch Ness Monster proportions. The book points out that the media constantly presents and touts expensive hotels, resorts, cruises, and packages because that's what makes them money. On $50 a day, Kepnes insists anyone can turn that system on its head and score free flights and hotel rooms, enjoy alternative accommodations, and gain comped access to attractions.
Skylodge Adventure Suites
Your traveling fiend friend already has all the gear he or she needs to hit the friendly skies. And maybe s/he's already run with the bulls and bungee jumped in New Zealand. But I'll bet s/he hasn't gone to Peru and slept in a Skylodge yet.
In between rock climbing 1,000 feet up the face of a mountain and zip lining back down, why not spend the night suspended square on the side of it? No, not at the top. And not on a ledge. In a geometric cocoon made of aerospace aluminum and polycarbonate mounted right smack in the middle of only God above, and only certain death below.
Skylodge Adventure Suites hang from the top of a mountain in the Sacred Valley of Cuzco, Peru. Access them via a hike or, better, climb up a via ferrata, the path of metal ladders and bridges installed from ground to lodging. Via ferrata climbers are permanently tied to a steel cable for the duration of the route, so no ropes are needed. The idea is to replicate the physical challenges of rock climbing while keeping the route accessible even to those without prior climbing experience.