New gifts for seasoned or would-be travelers
Holiday giving can include bags, books, gadgets and guides
Paul Sakuma, Associated Press
NEW YORK Travel guides for iPods, a gadget that reads the night sky and announces the constellations, and toiletries in 3-ounce containers are a few of the new gift ideas for travelers this holiday season.But don't overlook basic options like books and bags. Here are some gift suggestions for various types of travelers, from teenagers taking their first trip overseas to frequent flyers.
Teenagers: Today's teenagers aren't just taking class trips by bus to the state capital. High schools are offering everything from senior trips to the Caribbean to a week in Paris for French class. International programs are also a popular alternative to summer camp.
A duffel bag with wheels is a good luggage option for younger travelers. Beware of cheap models with thin fabric that easily rips away from the zipper if the bag is packed too full or thrown on an airport luggage carousel. Rolling Adventure Duffels from L.L. Bean www.llbean.com or 800-221-4221 are sturdy and come in a variety of colors and three sizes, $79-$99; they have a shoulder strap, cinch straps and a telescoping retractable handle.
For kids who want to phone home from overseas, an international calling card may be an easier, cheaper alternative than a cell phone. Sprint sells a $10 international card; you can get it at Radio Shack.
Document holders worn around the neck are a safe, efficient way for teenagers or any traveler to organize passport, tickets and itinerary. They're often sold in the aisle where you find wallets. The travel supply company Magellan's www.magellans.com or 800-962-4943 sells a passport/ID holder for about $10.
Both credit cards and cash have drawbacks for kids. It's hard to budget yourself when using plastic because you don't know how much you've spent. And you can't use a credit card to buy a soda from a street vendor. But cash can't be replaced if lost or stolen, and it may be hard for kids on a group itinerary to get to a currency exchange office.People to People Ambassadors www.studentambassadors.org sends 30,000 American students overseas each year and recommends two options. Before the child leaves home, order foreign currency from Wells Fargo; and/or get the child a preloaded VisaBuxx debit card. You can monitor VisaBuxx expenses online while the child is traveling, add more funds electronically and cancel if lost or stolen.
Gearheads and gadgeteers: It's not just 20-somethings and geeks who stuff their bags with electronics. "Don't leave home without it" now applies to digital cameras, laptops, cell phones, and iPods for travelers from nearly every demographic.
An MP3 player or digital camera makes a great gift for any traveler who doesn't have one. But if the travelers in your life are already outfitted with basic electronics, burnish their gear with some supplies.
A battery recharger and a set of rechargeable batteries make a good gift for traveling photographers. A new line of rechargeable batteries called Hybrio are ready to use right out of the package instead of requiring initial charging; a charger and four AA batteries is $20. Details at www.hybriousa.com.
For overseas travelers, you can purchase adapters and converters so that electronics and appliances can be used around the world. Magellan's has a guide to what's needed, where, at www.magellans.com/electricwhiz.For iPod users, go to the iTunes store at www.apple.com/itunes/store/ and search Audiobooks for the "Travel and Adventure" category. You'll find everything from Henry David Thoreau and Rick Stevens to Soundwalk tours of New York City and "Tee and Tour" golf tours of Scotland. Click on the title for a full description; an option pops up called "Gift This Audiobook."