Holiday gifts

Frommer's' Best Travel Gifts

A lot of things that are sold as travel gifts aren’t really travel gifts at all. Tiny bottles of shampoo? Teabag sets? No, in our book, a good travel present is something that makes travel better or easier. We combed this year’s prime offerings to find travel gadgets and toys that truly improve the way we go—and we found them at every price point, so no matter what you want to spend, you’ll find the ideal travel tool.
Nautilus Travel Snorkel
A simple solution for a simple problem: Snorkels are too awkwardly shaped to pack easily, forcing you to rent —and to suck on a mouthpiece that many have sucked before. So this one folds up in a ball. Done.

Flight 001’s 4-in-1 Adapter
Flight 001 sells some of the funkiest, most colorful travel accessories on the market. Its set of electrical plug adapters compresses most of the shapes you'll ever need into two interlocking Playskool-colored pieces—hard to misplace, easy to stow. If you’ve ever juggled bags of adapter pieces or fiddled with boxy all-in-ones, you’ll appreciate the finesse.

Trakdot Luggage
Stick this newly introduced, FAA-approved device in your luggage, and you'll be able to track it—even if the airline can't. Using GSM and an app on your smartphone, it tells you which airport it’s at, and if it's within 160 feet of you, it can ping your cell phone. It's slightly larger than a deck of cards, which should fit nicely in the lining of your bag.

$50 plus $13 annual fee,
Train Reaction
For an affordable gift, this simple doohickey enables you to piggyback two wheeled suitcases together so they roll as one. The smaller one leads, and the larger one trails. Of course, you'll have to pay baggage fees if you check them both.

Jackery Mini
We all use smartphones to take vacation photos now, and that takes a toll on battery power. This external USB charger may be the most conveniently sized on the market—it's a little bigger than a tube of lipstick. Despite its small size, it packs backup juice: It took our iPhone 5S from 17% to a full battery in about 90 minutes.

BubbleBum Inflatable Car Booster Seat
From the manufacturer: "Made specifically for children ages 4-11, this booster easily deflates and folds into a portable pouch so parents (or kids) can take it with them on the go!" The maker also reports it meets all U.S. Federal motor vehicle safety standards as long as you use a lap/shoulder seat belt.

Mosaic by Mixbook
Create a photo book out of your vacation snaps—while you're still on vacation. It's pretty easy: Download this app, select 20 of your images from your Photo Stream, and Mosaic does the rest. You have your finished 7-by-7-inch, linen-covered book in four days or less—maybe even before you get home.

$20 plus tax and shipping,
Shavetech USB Rechargeable Travel Shaver
Budget accommodations can make a vacation financially possible, but they often lack adequate power outlets for charging cameras and phones. This solves that problem: Plug it into your laptop or another USB charger and after four hours, it'll store enough juice for 30 minutes of trimming. But pack a USB extension cord for maximum versatility—the swing-out plug doesn't give much reach.

The only thing airlines don't charge us more for is the crusty leftovers we find smeared on the tray table. These re-usable covers are made with food-safe antimicrobial fabric so you don't have to eat off the stains left by passengers on previous flights. The inventors have children in mind—the kids' version comes with a four-pack of crayons for coloring it during the trip. Yes, it's like diapering your tray table, but you’d rather look silly than sticky.

ZAGGkeys PROfolio+
Leave the laptop at home. This iPad case has a built-in, illuminated keyboard that does the same job. It connects to your iPad by Bluetooth. When it's open, it doubles as a stand (which is easier on the case than leaving it to flop open), and when it's closed, built-in magnets turn off your screen. Looks just like a laptop, but lighter and slimmer.

$129 for iPad, $109 for iPad Mini,
The makers call it a "life logger”—but it’s more like a motion-picture GoPro with a brain of its own. This 58-gram camera, designed by the professionals who built motion trackers for movie special effects, that turns random moments of your travels into unplanned art. You wear it, but don't trigger it. Instead, five sensors (including an accelerometer and magnetometer) decide the best time to snap shots of your point of view throughout the day, accumulating a gallery of your adventures without poses or artificiality.

Like Google Glass for frequent fliers, these goggles are preloaded with relaxation programs that can put you in a calm state for long flights. Here's how the manufacturer puts it: "Equipped with earphones and high-tech electronics that use MP3 files to synchronize sound with light, the audiovisual stimulation glasses overstimulate the brain to eliminate brain chatter. The user is taken on a psychedelic odyssey into a state of relaxation, in which their mind is maintained at the edge of sleep." We won't deny that this is entirely frivolous. But we also admit having nutty uncles who would love this kind of thing.

Samsung Galaxy NX
The new Galaxy NX comes with a cool twist that's suited to helping travelers make new discoveries. Its "Photo Suggest" feature uses a built-in GPS to call up a map (on its 4.8-inch HD display) of images that were taken by other people nearby—so you can find the perfect angle for the ideal vacation snap. (You can also choose not to share your own images, if that's your preference.) It's not just a gimmick; the camera's pretty good, too, with 20 megapixels of detail. But the price is professional-level—and if you need help finding better spots to take a photo, you’re not. Bring it down, Samsung!

$1,600, body only; $1,700 with 18-55mm lens,
Satechi’s Smart Router & Adapter
On the one hand, it’s an all-in-one electrical adapter that fits outlets in some 150 countries. That’s cool. But it also does something more: It can extend the power of your hotel’s Wi-Fi connection by 100 feet—and do it securely, so you can work by the pool while you’re using your hotel room’s Internet. And if your hotel room only has wired Web access, it can create a wireless network out of it. Oh, and you can also plug one AC plug and 1 USB into it for charging. Yup—it’s kind of like the Swiss Army knife of connectivity.

Frommer's EasyGuide to Paris
And, of course, the new Frommer's guides make perfect presents for the travelers in your life. Our new line of titles has been redesigned to be lighter and less expensive than before—grab yours today in our online store!