Before the last-minute gift buying panic sets in, sit back and take a look at our top 10 gifts to give yourself or to a fellow travel lover. We've made this list based on our many years of traveling light, efficiently and comfortably.
Big Bear wears a Sony noise-cancelling headset to listen to his old-school iPod Nano.
No. 1 - A Raden carry-on suitcase is the high tech answer for anyone who wants to stay connected and charged. Two built-in chargers mean that you'll never have to worry about losing power during a trip. Just plug into one of the two USB ports and you'll be good to go. Wondering whether you'll be charged for extra weight because you over-bought souvenirs? The suitcase's integrated scale will let you know the good or bad news before you arrive at the airport to a big monetary surprise. And what if the crowds at baggage claim make it hard to see your bag on the carousel? The location technology built into the Raden bag will tell you when it's near.
No. 2 - Plastic compression bags can be purchased cheaply at stores like TJ Maxx, but they are also available directly from the Travelon company. The stack of clothes in the first picture is enough for a week's vacation trip (7 T-shirts and 2 pairs of pants). The second photo shows them folded into the bag and the third one shows how little room they take up in a carry-on suitcase once the air is squeezed out. If you haven't tried this trick yet, you'll never go back to over-stuffing your bags.
No. 3, 4 and 5 - Old School electronics work great for trips. Of course, you'll want to bring your new iPhone and laptop, but why drain your charges during long plane rides? For in-flight use, we go old school with a 3rd generation iPod Nano, a first generation Kindle e-reader and wired Sony headsets. The wired headsets are great noise cancelers and can be bought for about $30 on Amazon. The old Nanos and Kindles are about $30 on eBay. You can load hundreds of books and songs on them and make even a long flight fly by while you catch up on "War and Peace."
No. 6 - A Nikon Coolpix camera is a great gift for snorkelers, scuba divers, and for anyone who might get rained on during vacation. The camera is waterproof to 100 feet and shockproof to 7 feet. The scuba photo was taken with this camera in Roatan last year.
No. 7 - The 1st Class Sleeper from Travelon might not fool you into thinking that you are really a First Class passenger, but it will really help you snooze on overnight flights. With just a few puffs, the neck and back support will inflate giving you more comfort than you could have imagining if you're cramped into a cheap seat. The sleeper inflates so easily that you won't be embarrassed blowing it up.
No. 8 - This inflatable pillow is also from Travelon and blows up in just 4 puffs. After losing standard neck pillows or dropping them on dirty airport floors, we've become converts to this little pillow that folds right into a pocketbook.
No. 9 - A miniature jewelry box shaped like a suitcase is very handy for keeping your gems safe and organized.
No. 10 - Anti-theft pocketbooks and wallets can give you some peace of mind. These bags have locking zippers and block RFID (radio frequency identification). Thieves have been known to access credit cards wirelessly, so the blocking technology gives you extra safety from identity theft. A huge assortment is available from Travelon.