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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Last-Minute Gifts for Travelers 12.22.12

The Holidays are upon us, which means you’re probably visiting friends or relatives and you have to show up with gifts for Christmas, Hanukkah or, in some cases, a birthday. But what to get for people who already have everything, are super picky, you don’t know as well as you used to or you just don’t have time to shop for? If you will be traveling to see them and you don’t want to wrap stuff up to ship ahead of you, or are a super procrastinator and do things at the last possible moment, then you have options! First of all, your carry-on bag is probably not big enough to hold much more than your clothes and toiletries, so consider some small, but amazing options:

Get them a copy of Shereen Travels Cheap – You know I had to say it. But if you truly have someone who is always searching for bargains on everything or for the person who aspires to travel the world, but then never goes because they say they can’t afford it, this is the perfect gift! There are hundreds of tips in this book to help even the most inexperienced traveler or Internet researcher get the most for their money. College students, seniors and every age in between have said this book was easy to read, was amusing and gave them excellent money-saving tips within even the first few pages. It packs small, but is a wealth of information. Pay $14.95 and help them save thousands!

Get them gift cards – Usually, this is a big no-no on my list of gift ideas, because I feel like it’s not trying, but if you know someone who loves to travel, this is the most useful gift you can get them. Choose from their favorite airlines, hotels or get them an annual pass to airport lounges. You can get them something for where they are going, like Disney gift cards. If you are simply clueless, buy a gift card for a reseller site, like Travelocity or Hotels.com. At this late stage, you can get a lot of gift cards emailed, too.

Get them a QuikPod – For the solo traveler on your list (or even a couple), this thing is the greatest invention ever, and super affordable. The QuikPod has a camera mount and a telescoping handle, so you can take pictures of yourself – or you and your travel companion(s) – and also get some cool background in the shots. It takes up minimal space (even in the package) and is one of the best things I’ve ever bought, because I no longer have to ask passersby to take a photo or figure out how to angle the camera on my purse while also hitting the timer button and running back to position. It’s fabulous when you are traveling off the beaten path…or need to use it to beat someone, as it’s very sturdy and could make a good self-defense weapon. Ha! Two useful products in one!

Get them an Eye-Fi memory card – Got a budding photographer on your list, social media addict or a blogger to buy for? The Eye-Fi card is perfect! With built-in WiFi, it magically sends any photos or videos taken with it (you know, with a camera) to an iPhone, iPad, Android device or computer. Instant back-up! Not only that, you can set up your card to also send your photos and videos straight to an online sharing site, including Flickr, Facebook, Shutterfly and even YouTube. Pictures don’t need to be uploaded at the end of the day to be able to add them to a blog, making it so much easier to share and save. While they aren’t technically inexpensive, starting at $40, they can be a lifesaver, especially if a camera gets stolen on a trip, because all their memories will be backed up. It also saves a lot of time for those that make a living with photos or a blog, or just like to take many pictures everywhere they go. Plus, it’s smallness will make it easy to slip into your carry-on.

Get them some iTunes credits – Is your traveler all about their gadgets? Do they have a smartphone, iPad, iPod and more? If they are a connected traveler, then a card full of audio and visual possibilities is perfect. They can buy apps, music, movies, games and more to keep them from ever getting bored anywhere they go.

Get them a universal gadget wrist charger – This is one of the new fun things I’ve found over at ThinkGeek, for the person who is always running out of battery! Give them this futuristic looking “bracelet” and they can charge their device while using their phone, iPod or gaming device. When you can’t plug in for more juice, plug your device into yourself…sorta. Fantastic gift for those that are forgetful or always in transit. Comes with 9 connectors to be used on the most popular devices.
Get them a BackTrack personal GPS – For the person who habitually gets lost wherever they go. The BackTrack is a small, digital GPS from Bushnell that can clip onto a bag, belt loop or fit in a pocket. It comes in many colors, too, though I think the pink is fun. They can save their starting point, run around and sightsee and then find their way back to their car, hotel, a coffee shop or wherever else they originated from. Super easy to use and highly portable. Does not work inside, so if they get lost in a parking garage or mall, they’re out of luck.

Get them a CityPASS – Last week I posted about a great deal on five cities that offer the CityPASS. Buy them for the holidays and if they are used for the first time December 15th or after, they remain valid until the end of February, instead of the normal 9 day validity. CityPASSes are great for travelers, because they allow them to see and do more on a budget. Pay one price and get the most popular (and sometime obscure, too) attractions included. If you have a gift recipient that will be going to Hollywood, Philadelphia, Seattle, Atlanta or Boston, then get them some cool experiences. On average, CityPASSes save half off regular attraction rates, which is a huge savings if they get to all of them. Even if they are just going home to one of these cities, chances are they haven’t done some of the activities included and would like the chance to go back to the ones they have.

Do you like these ideas? They can certainly fit the bill for travelers you need to buy for. Do you have other ideas that are useful, fun and easily packable?

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