Few friends or relatives can benefit more from useful gifts than those who spend a significant amount of time on the go. Whether they venture away a weekend at a time or spend weeks in Europe, gifts designed for avid travelers have been created with a focus on putting the nix on common travel issues, from lost sleep to keeping valuables safe and sound.
Not quite sure what to get your favorite traveler this holiday season? Bearing in mind the slow economy, Rogue Valley travel gurus offer a host of suggestions they say travelers would be thrilled to get from Santa this year — and all for $25 or less.
Travel Pillow & Blanket
Always a winning gift idea, think comfort. With new airline regulations and cost-saving efforts resulting in pillows and other amenities coming with a $5 or more charge, extra-cozy travel pillows are available at local stores and online for the cost of paying two or three pillow fees, says Jacque Mitchell, assistant travel guru at Travelhost in Medford.
Some innovative options are found online. Komfort Kollar, a memory foam-filled neck pillow (around $25) attaches with Velcro around the neck to keep the pillow in place and avoid disrupting much needed rest.
An alternative, SkyRest Travel Pillow ($25) is an inflatable wedge-shaped pillow that stands between 11 and 17 inches (front to back) on airline tray tables to allow a natural resting position.
With increased airline security, carry-on bags are falling under stringent weight restrictions, making for longer check-in times and difficulty knowing if souvenir shopping will result in penalty fees.
Connie Brook, owner of Express Travel in Medford says her agency gives travel scales that cost well under $15 to clients who purchase vacation packages to help vacations run smoothly. They can also be purchased locally or online.
"This way, when you go somewhere and buy things and don't know [the weight] when you come back "¦, you stick it on the scale and hold it up to find out," she says.
For travelers headed any place from Disneyland to Europe, travel wallets are a convenient way to keep passports and large bills safe from the unexpected, says Debbie Stevens, a travel store clerk at Medford's AAA Oregon store.
"It keeps passport information safe and no one will see you pull out large amounts of money," she says. "They're a big item, especially for international travelers."
At the AAA Travel Store, wallets are available that fit around the waist or leg for about $13.
An alternative for in-room security, a "Can Safe" mimics hairspray, soda or room deodorizers offering a compartment for large bills, jewelry or other valuables. Can Safes range in price from $15 to $25.
Vacation friendly gadgets
Ensuring that travelers aren't left without needed hair dryers, alarm clocks or laptop access, Travelhost's Mitchell says a converter strip is one of the more useful gift ideas for travelers. The power voltage converters enable travelers to use hairdryers, alarm clocks and even laptops by plugging into a 220 outlet (common overseas) and converting the power to a more typical 110. Various settings and plug-ins are available for various countries and low and high settings to differentiate between low versus high wattage gadgets. Converters are available online and in local retail stores for between $20 and $25.
Travel Wrap, Book & Light
For travelers who are already well prepared, think comfort and novelty.
Ingrid Boldt, owner of Ashland's Lithia Travel, says her traveler "must have" is a virgin wool pashmina wrap.
"One of the nicest things that I can give fellow friends who are frequent travelers, especially ladies, is a very, very soft pashmina wrap," she says. "I like a very light, virgin (cashmere) wool scarf "¦ it's just wonderful. I would never travel on a plane without it."
Adding comfort and warmth, wraps are available on sale around town sometimes or online starting around $20 (and, of course, also far surpassing $25). If you find a good deal on a wrap, add a nice bookmark with a light attached (just $5 at local book stores or online) or a book on the place your traveler plans to visit soon.
And if your beloved traveler has all the dreams of traveling but none of the money to go with it, why not buy him or her a subscription to a beautiful travel magazine. There's nothing wrong with dreaming, and it certainly costs less than $25.