By Kelley Granger
This holiday season, if your favorite traveler is like me, she’d opt for an experience over a thing any day. (Though I admit shiny and sparkly presents do occupy a very close second). If you can’t quite afford to send your mom, aunt, sister, grandma or best friend on a getaway this year, here are a few suggestions that will improve, enhance and otherwise augment her experience on the next trip.
For Roving Writers | Dempsey & Carroll Correspondence Cards
I’ve often languished over choosing the right postcard to send back home. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but I try to fit a thousand words on the darn thing anyway. If you know a gal with a prolific pen, send her some stationery from Dempsey & Carroll. The company’s elegant correspondence cards feature a number of golden engraved images perfect for traveling (like an airplane or a suitcase) but leave plenty of room for literary magic. Sets also come with lined envelopes, and look a lot classier than the crude man-in-thong postcards you may be tempted to buy. Order your set at http://www.dempseyandcarroll.com.
For Packing-OCD Divas | Brag Co.’s Panty Paks and Shubi
We all know the woman whose suitcase is packed to perfection: Everything in its place, a place for everything. Help make her precision packing a little less painful and gift her a Panty Pak, Brag Co.’s answer to where to stick those “not-so-clean” undies after use. The zipped carrier is shaped like a pair of polka dot panties, and reveals two separate sections to keep the fresh pairs separated from worn ones. Your favorite traveler will also appreciate Shubi, adorable and stylish bags that protect your precious shoes in your suitcase and also protect the soles from coming in contact with clothing. They come in 10 fashionable designs like houndstooth and cherry and white polka dot, and seal with a ribbon drawstring. Visit http://www.shubilove.com and http://www.thebragcompany.com.
For Flying Fashionistas |Lucy Urban Travel Jacket and Lexie Barnes Laptop Bags
Some of us will never compromise good taste just for something that travels well. Luckily with Lucy’s Urban Travel Jacket, your frequent flyer won’t have to this holiday. Wherever she’s headed, this super soft, lightweight and wrinkle resistant jacket will keep her warm and repel raindrops. For drier days, the hood zips right off and an interior zippered pocket will help keep valuable travel documents or cash safe. Speaking of keeping documents safe, Lexie Barnes will not only protect your laptop but do so in chic casual style. The designer of pretty patterned bags makes the Pixie backpack, an informal but convenient way to tote around your computer, sans the shoulder ache. The Utopia is an eye-catching green with a fun, swirly hibiscus pattern, but the Pixie is available in two other choices too. A fully padded compartment measures 14 by 10 inches to fit the average sized laptop. See the specs at http://www.lexiebarnes.com.
For New Mamas on the Move | Hotslings
I’ve long admired those intrepid travelers that I see dashing to the airport gate, carry-on bag on one shoulder, child on the other. If you know a new mom who plans to trek stateside or abroad, baby in tow, do her a favor and put a bow on a Hotsling this holiday. Made from fabric inspired by runways, these slings come in nine sizes to ensure a perfect fit for parent and child while allowing the hands to be free. Hotslings Haute Collection is available at Neiman Marcus, but you can also check out http://www.hotslings.com.
For Solo Sweeties | XShot
Ah, solo travel. Embarking on such a trip can be a rewarding voyage of self-discovery, but it can also leave you without any pictures of yourself standing before those monuments, hiking that crazy trail or doing that once-in-a-lifetime thing. Make sure it never happens again and your favorite traveler has got the photos to back up their tall tales with the XShot. A rod that screws into the base of most cameras and extends to three feet, the XShot ensures they’ll never have to ask another person to take their picture again. It’s only five ounces , can fit easily in a purse when collapsed, and is surprisingly easy and accurate. Get one at http://www.xshotpix.com.
For Road Warrior Women | magicJack and High Sierra
If one of your loved ones is always on the go for business, she’ll sure appreciate staying in touch with the magicJack, a computer accessory that can keep her connected with free calls to the U.S. and Canada from virtually anywhere in the world. The jack plugs into the USB drive on her laptop and the other side plugs into a landline phone, using the internet to make the call. It also provides users with a 10-digit number (with choice of area code) so they can be reached by friends and family as well (calls will be free or charged by their phone company depending on proximity to the choice of area code). The first year of use is free with additional years available for purchase. You also might want to make sure she’s carrying that oversized laptop in comfort so she can keep connected. High Sierra’s Carry-on Wheeled Computer Upright will do the trick with lightweight high-density foam and a compartment that fits most 17″ laptops. For quick trips, it eliminates the back-busting necessity of a carry-on plus a laptop bag as space behind the computer compartment easily packs a couple of clothes changes. There are plenty of pockets for a PDA, cell phone, water bottles and more, and the wheels will let her gracefully glide gate to gate. For more information, see http://www.magicjack.com and http://www.highsierra.com.