Frommer's Gift Guide: Great Stuff for Travel
By Frommer's Editors
Let us break it to you: They don't want yet another inflatable airline pillow. They never even used the last one. No, if you've got a travel lover in your life, they want one of these products—all of which were selected by Frommer's editors for making travel better, easier, safer, or smarter. Many of these ideas will cost you less than $100, and all of them will make you look like the most inspired gift-giver of the holidays. You don't even have to give Frommer's credit. That's our gift to you.
F1 Mini Bar Kit, $65
It really works! Four little glass bottles, two little flasks, a funnel, a stirring spoon, and a little booklet of recipes—Flight 001's Mini Bar Kit is all you need for a little light adult refreshment on the go. Everything zips into a tidy pouch that's just 6 inches (15 cm) long. www.flight001.com.
Mifold Booster Seat, $40
See this little thing she's slipping into a backpack? It's a booster seat for kids. And it conforms with U.S. safety standards. Essentially, the Mifold booster seat works by holding the vehicle's seat belt down, snug around your child. You don't need a bulky throne for that. When you collapse the Mifold for transit, it's barely the size of a library book. We're so excited, you may have to hold us down. www.mifold.com
The Airhook, $28
Who cares if they stare? You've just turned a standard economy seat into your own mini theatre using the Airhook! All you do is use your closed seatback tray to hold this little contraption in. After that, you can flip down a ring that serves as a cupholder for drinks of up to 16 ounces or you can hold your iPad or phone at eye level in the Airhook's built-in device slot using an attached bungee cable. It all uninstalls as quickly as it takes to unlatch the airline tray table, and it folds away in your bag. theairhook.com
F1 5-in-1 Universal Travel Adapter with USB, $35
Flight 001's supercool 5-in-1 Universal Travel Adapter outlet set, which tidily nests within itself in a briliant Jenga-like cube, has been one of Frommer's' longstanding recommendations. It's simply the prettiest and most compact plug adapter available. As it was, this smart little package was good for trips to more than 150 different countries. But it's been improved: Now it comes with an additional piece with two USB ports. It's still pretty, and it still assembles into the most compact space imaginable, except now it works for even more devices. www.flight001.com
Universal Travel Outlet, $49
F1's 5-in-1 is bubbly and handsome, but to charge four things at once, there's this Universal Travel Outlet workhorse from Brookstone. On the prong side, a variety of shapes and pins swing out to match the outlets of wherever you find yourself. And on the charging side (pictured above), you can plug just about anything in. Add the two USB ports and you get four spots to simultaneously juice your stuff. www.brookstone.com
Eagle Creek Packable Daypack, $32
Daypacks present a special problem, luggage-wise. Usually, your carry-on bag is too big to use as a good one, and even if you could, no one wants to dump everything out every morning just to use as a carryall. Here's the solution: The Eagle Creek Packable Daypack swiftly folds into its own pocket (pictured above) and its weight is negligible. Unfolded, it's a backpack with adjustable straps, a roomy main space, a wallet-sized front pocket, and an elastic side pocket for water bottles. It works so well, we became instant converts. www.eaglecreek.com
Therm-a-Rest Compressible Travel Pillow, $20–35
When you first receive this product, it's so vacuum-packed and puny you might suspect you've been had. But give it a wash and leave it out—thanks to a core of high-tech foam, it blooms into a big pillow: the largest version is 16.5 x 27 x 4 inches (42 x 66 x 10 cm). When it's time to go, the Therm-a-Rest Compressible Travel Pillow recompresses down to about a quarter of its size (and even more if you squash extra hard) and stores inside its own pocket. And unlike most expandable pillows, this one comes in fun prints you wouldn't mind nodding off on. www.thermarest.com
Sholdit Infinity Scarf with Pocket, $16–$40
Sholdit's products are pretty nifty. The company's speciality is infinity scarves—sewn in comfy, body-hugging circles instead of long strips—that can be used as neck wraps, shrugs, shoulder slings, or head scarves. For our money, or hiding it, the coolest ones (the Convertible Infinity Scarf with Pocket in "cozy cream" is pictured above) come with built-in pockets so travelers don't even have to carry a handbag. The bad guys may not be able to steal your purse, but they'll covet that hip scarf. www.sholdit.com
Sholdit's hide-stuff-in-your-wrap trick can be performed in a standard scarf, too. RainScarf is the flexible accessory for people who would rather sport that traditional look. There are two zippered pockets to hide goodies in a place no pickpocket would suspect, but there's another secret, too: It's waterproof. When rain comes, you can use the scarf as a hood. www.justsolutionsproducts.com
Rogue Front Pocket Wallet with RFID Blocking, $49
To thwart pickpockets, you're often told to put your wallet in a front pocket. But those are too small—most wallets poke out. That's why this one was invented. Its rounded edge nestles better in the cut of a front pocket. As an added bonus, the Rogue Front Pocket Wallet is made with RFID signal-blocking materials, which means scammers won't be able to wirelessly grab any of your personal information. So—is that a wallet in your front pocket, or are you just happy your money's secure? www.rogue-industries.com
PADI eLearning course, from $179
Open water SCUBA diving certification from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors comes in three steps: the classwork, the pool segment, and then the supervised dive in real water. If you love someone who has always wanted to learn to dive, nudge them toward that dream by gifting them the classwork portion. They can do it all online and then take the results to any PADI-certified location, where they can complete the training separately. Hey, maybe you'll get to go along on a vacation to paradise when it comes time to put all that instruction to use. Gift cards (pictured above) are sold through www.padi.com.
F1 Fitness Kit, $48
You can get in shape in a hotel room with the sweet F1 Fitness Kit including a 9-foot (2.7 m) jump rope, three progressively tougher resistance bands, a tiny manual, and a cinch bag to hold it all in. (We said you can, not that you will. But at least bring one along to give yourself the push.) www.flight001.com
It's never too early to give your children unrealistic impressions of how comfortable airline travel is. As a rolling hard-sided suitcase, this contraption can give your little one a ride at the airport. Once on the plane, the BedBox can either fit in the overhead bin or convert into a footrest that extends your child's economy seat into a cot and holds the weight of the extension—a thin washable mattress completes the look. jet-kids.com
Nuu-Muu Dresses, $58–$88
Cute dresses, right? Something you could actually be active in on a trip, yet the prints are adorable? Go ahead—stuff one into the corner of your luggage. Treat it terribly. Get it wet. Yank it out of your bag at the last minute before dinner. The Nuu-Muu is as ready to go as the most seasoned traveler. The fabric is quick-drying and doesn't need ironing. There's even a hidden pocket in the back for a few valuables. And whether you wear an XS or a 3XL, there's a size for you. www.nuu-muu.com
Claridge's: The Cookbook, $40
Claridge's, London's legendary Mayfair hotel, is shorthand for world-class luxury hospitality, and it has been catering to the world's fanciest artists and designers for over two centuries—its origins stretch back to 1812, but it has never lost its cool factor. The hotel's executive chef, Martyn Nail, has collaborated on Claridge's: The Cookbook, a new book that divulges some of its most succulent food secrets, from cocktails to pastries to its well-known chicken pie. www.octopusbooks.co.uk.
Oru Foldable Kayak, $1,300
And last, something for someone who has everything—except storage space. The Oru Foldable Kayak, made in San Francisco, brings origami to adventure. Each kayak ingeniously collapses into a portable parcel the size of an artist's portfolio (33 x 12 x 29 inches/ 84 x 30 x 74 cm). The smallest version becomes a vessel 12 feet (3.7 m) long and tips the scales at only 26 pounds (11.8 kg), a fraction of what rigid boats weigh. It'll hold, as well: Materials, including a custom polypropylene, have been rated to 20,000 folds. Too expensive for you? Orus are rentable, too, starting at about $300 for four days. www.orukayak.com
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