Right on schedule, millions of Americans will travel this holiday season, but many of us travel all year long and could use some help - mentally, emotionally, recreationally - getting through the process. Here are a few gift suggestions for that loved one on your list who always calls you from the airport or car and is forever en route:
These are ideal not only for keeping all your gels and lotions safely behind closed zippers but once you arrive at your destination, it hangs easily for full viewing and accessibility.
Perfect for the caffeinated car traveler who wants the java hot on mile 400. The stainless steel mug plugs into the cigarette lighter and it is done. Also, it's a green gift as you can avoid wasting to-go cups and lids.
This is absolutely my #1 sanity helper. I buy these by the bag and have them in my car, purse, backpack and all suitcases. I still recall that one trip where I ran out (shudder) - it was awful. Perfect for the sensitive soul trapped on a plane with a dozen screaming babies.
E-Reader Perfect for the voracious reader on the go. Even old school paper book lovers (like myself) have to admit, it's tempting to think about carrying thousands of books around in a slim tablet.
Wikipedia has a terrific comparison of all the different models.
Okay, so maybe it's not technically 'tape' anymore but these audiobooks tap into an open secret about adults; we like being read to too. Available nearly everywhere these days but I do this place is having a big sale right now. And what about those long distance drives across country? Or even those who face a long commute every day? I know I'd rather have Grisham, King or Patterson in my carpool than nobody at all. Last summer, I drove across the Dakotas while listening to erotic vampire thrillers. Now, every time I see a grain silo, I get a queasy/horny feeling in my gut. I kind of dig the contrast.
For the traveler who doesn't want to let up on the fitness regimen, these collapsible dumbbells fill with water, easy for packing and, ultimately, lifting. I know quite a few folks who swear by them.
I recall playing this as a kid but I'm told, it remains a classic. It's a great way to keep the little ones (and big ones!) engaged in a family conversation while taking in the world around them - something a DVD cannot do.
Loom (For Kids)
A couple years ago, I traveled by train to the BlogHer convention in Chicago. I was delighted to see the little girl next to me busily working on her loom, something I had spent hours doing as a little girl on family trips. I'm so happy to see this portable craft is alive and well in today's teched-up world. After all, one can never have too many pot holders.
Used by flight crews, these collapsible shelves make it easy to pack and unpack and keep track of your clothes in between. These could be the answer to my 'everything-in-a-ball' outcome of my suitcase.
Or any other color, really, as long as it isn't black. I stand at many baggage claims and I'm still amazed how little color I see coming down the chute. (Even my own teal bag is turning black.) I do, however, see lots of garish ribbons tied to the handle in the great hopes of quick identification. Which reminds me….
Despite the airlines handing out their own sweet little paper slips for ID, they just don't have the style of a personalized tag. There are so many cool ones out there these days. Etsy has a charming selection too.
Free travel tip from my 8-year-old nephew, Robbie:
He keeps a couple dollars between his iPod and its cover case, just in case of emergency. It's the new school version of keeping a quarter in your sock for that emergency phone call. (Did your mother make you do that, or just mine?)
Safe travels this holidays season!
BlogHer Section Editor, LIFE & GREEN; Contributing Editor, Animal & Wildlife Concerns; Proprietor, ClizBiz