NEW YORK (AP) - What makes a good holiday gift for a traveler?
If you have big bucks, splurge on an e-reader or a netbook.
But if you're on a budget, go for clever stocking-stuffers, likea laminated cardboard wine wheel to help wine-challenged foodiesinstantly determine good pairings, $8.85 from Magellan's, or afunky $17 passport wallet from Flight 001. One of thepassport-holders, designed by the Anne Taintor vintage humorcompany, bears the words "I love not camping" along with a pictureof a 1940s-style blonde with bright red lipstick, in front of askyscraper and a palm tree.
Priscilla O'Reilly, a spokeswoman for the Overseas AdventureTravel tour company, says a Kindle ($260) or other electronic reader isgreat for travelers who love to read on the road but who don't wantto lug books around.
Netbooks, which are small and less powerful than regularlaptops, are another splurge gift, lightweight to carry and easy touse in cramped spaces like tray tables.
"With the proliferation of onboard Wi-Fi, I've thought about atablet PC or a netbook," said Brett Snyder, who spends a lot oftime on airplanes and writes a blog at http://CrankyFlier.com . "The seat pitch is soawful on some of these airlines that a full laptop is hard touse."
Netbooks make good gifts for ocean voyagers too: "What avidcruiser doesn't want to keep a blog of his or her trips or justhave a place to store photos and short videos?" said DougStallings, cruise editor for Fodor's Travel , who recommends the HP Mini311 Netbook, a little over 3 pounds and about $400.
For those lugging regular-sized laptops around, a laptop caseapproved by the Transportation Security Administration can helpspeed the way through security checkpoints, Snyder said.
Stallings also recommends the Flip Video Mino HD for travelers who like tomake videos of their trips, and the iPod Nano , which plays not just music butalso movies, a great diversion for the interminable waiting that'spart of going anywhere.
Wendy Perrin, consumer news editor at Conde Nast Travelermagazine, who blogs at http://www.perrinpost.truth.travel ,recommends the Powermat , $100, a new gadget that chargesmany small electronic devices, such as MP3 players, PDAs, cellphones and handheld game-players, without all the cords andchargers.
For families on the go, Perrin recommends the Sit'n'Stroll combination stroller-car seat,about $250. "When our kids were little, we could not have travelednearly as much as we did without it," she said.
One small but "super-useful" item for traveling families is the Snack-Trap , $5, which keeps Cheerios, raisinsand other bite-size goodies "inside the cup so they don't spill allover the airplane seat, the car floor, etc.," Perrin said. "I don'tsee how a traveling family can live without it."
For travelers concerned about fitness, a heart monitor and aniPod are the perfect combination, said Pauline Frommer, creator ofthe Pauline Frommer guidebooks — http://www.frommers.com/pauline .
"With those two pieces of equipment, I know I can wrestle a goodworkout out of whatever equipment might be in the hotel's gym, orhave an effective jogging session, which I hate, but will resortto," she said. "The music keeps me going and the monitor shows meif I'm actually getting done what I need to get done."
She said the heart monitor, with a watch and a strap that goesaround the chest, "has totally transformed" her workouts by helpingher achieve target heart rates. Heart monitor watch/strap sets canbe had for as little as $50.
From the travel supplier Magellan's — http://www.magellans.com — perennialbest-sellers include the Taxi Wallet, a $49 thin leather walletwith separate currency pockets for U.S. and foreign money, plus abuilt-in snap pouch for change; PacSafe backpacks, starting at$100, with lockable zippers and wire-reinforced slash-proof strapsand compartments; and a bottle pocket, $16.85, a padded carrier tokeep wine from breaking or spilling.
Other classics on Magellan's list include a talking alarm clock,$29.85, and a voice-activated clock, $32.85.
Stallings, the Fodor's cruise editor, says travel clocks aregreat gifts for cruise passengers, because "one of the mysteries oflife is why cruise-ship cabins do not have clocks."
New items this year at Magellan's include Moleskine City Notebooks , $18.85, for manymajor cities around the world, with maps and essential destinationinformation added to the inviting blank pages of the classicjournals; and pocket-sized fold-out language cards called 30 Words(they actually include 700 words), with pronunciation andcolor-coded categories, $12.85.
The travel product company Flight 001 — http://www.flight001.com — known for itsfun and stylish offerings, has brightly striped neck pillows, $20;a hanging toiletry bag, $28, designed by Hadaki, geometric print onblack with four zippered pouches; and an in-flight comfort kit,with an inflatable neck pillow, earplugs, eye mask and wet wipes,$22.
TravelSmart newsletter's holiday catalog — click "TravelMerchandise" at http://www.travelsmartnewsletter.com/ —also has many inexpensive gift items, like a $25 umbrella thatfolds up to just eight inches, and a handheld digital scale, $24,good for weighing anything from bass on a fishing trip to luggagefor a plane trip.
TravelSmart editor Nancy Dunnan says the newsletter'sbest-selling items include the tiny Adventurer's 7-In-1 Tool, $20,with an LED flashlight, compass, digital thermometer, magnifyingglass, safety mirror, whistle, and dry storage compartment formatches and medicine; a portable jewelry case, $21, that keepsnecklaces tangle-free and earrings, pins and watches safe; and anelectronic dictionary-clock-converter-calculator, $65, that amongother things converts temperature and measurements, tracks time anddate, and is thin and small enough to be used as a bookmark.
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