If you are looking for the perfect holiday gift for the travel lover on your list, here are a few of my favorite suggestions.
1. A great digital camera: While many of us have a good camera on our phones, you need something more if you are going to get serious about capturing those great travel images at a high enough resolution that allows you to make beautiful enlarged wall art when you get back home. For a good overall mid-range camera, I like this Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5 16.1 MP Tough Digital Camera with 9.3x Intelligent Zoom. While the features are stellar, I also like that it comes in orange. Pretty and practical. You will want to add a good folding tripod in order to be sure you have some stability when photographing evening shots or to allow you to set up a timed picture of your whole group with the castle in the background. This AmazonBasics 52-Inch Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod is a good option at a great price. If you want a full package deal, this Canon EOS Rebel T5 18MP EF-S Digital SLR Camera Bundle is a super buy with everything you need all in one including the tripod.
2. Luggage that is easy to use and airline compliant: You can’t underestimate the value of a well-designed, efficient and economical travel bag. With the new updated size restrictions for carry-on luggage on airplanes, many of us have bags in our closets that no longer fit the specifications. Here are couple of good options to replace those old worn out travel bags.
a. Athalon Luggage 21 Inch Hybrid Travelers Bag, Black is a more duffle-like style with wheels and handles to fit whatever travel format you prefer.
b. For a more “suitcase” style, I like this Samsonite Luggage Hyperspace XLT Spinner. And I love the color options as well that makes it stand out from the thousands of black bags on the luggage carousels.
c. My last choice has both the soft fabric construction with the hard side edges and corners. The Ricardo Beverly Hills Luggage Crystal City 20 Inch Expandable Spinner Carry-on Bag is beautiful and sturdy.
Most options have matching luggage available in larger sizes as well in case your travel plans require a larger bag. You will just have to check it for your flight.
3. GPS Units for in the car and on your hike: With gps units, there are two major uses and options. For road travel and locating specific tourist spots and addresses, you need a gps to use in your car. Remember, that if you are traveling out of the country and rent a car with gps built in, it will most likely have the directions in the language of the country you are in. I always be sure I have my own personal gps unit with me that I have pre-loaded with the addresses of our night-time lodging. I love Garmin products for the best gps choices such as this Garmin nüvi 54LM 5-Inch Portable Vehicle GPS with Lifetime Maps (US & Canada). We didn’t get the lifetime map option on our gps when we bought it years ago and I wish we had. We have had to purchase at least three map upgrades since we’ve had it and it would have saved us money in the long run had we gotten the lifetime maps in the first place. If hiking and geocaching is your passion, then a hand-held model such as this Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator is a good choice. Either way, Garmin makes a great gps product and has very helpful customer support and services.
4. Electrical converters for all types of electrical outlets and voltage: Traveling with your electronics can be difficult if you are not prepared for the variety of currents and outlet styles you will find in other countries. This Conair Travel Smart Hi/Low International 1875 Watt Converter & Adapter provides all you need for wherever you desire to visit.
5. Rosetta Stone language program: I firmly believe in making an attempt at learning the language of the country you are visiting. Rosetta Stone has set the bar high in quality language education programs that you can learn from in your own home. While I would consider the Rosetta Stone Learn German- Power Pack V4, Rosetta Stone has programs for any and every language in the world. Find the one that fits where your travel dreams are taking you and immerse yourself in the language. A better understanding of language basics allows you to have a deeper cultural experience as you travel.
6. Camelback: While most people think of using a camelback for hard core mountain climbing, we found on our recent trip that it would have come in handy for those long day hikes up to castles. My favorite choice is the Camelbak HydroBak 50 oz Hydration Pack.
7. Good collapsible hiking staff: I am still in love with my Leiki walking staff which I wrote about prior to our recent trip. I used it several times as we hiked to waterfalls as well as some of the walking paths to the castles. I pretty much don’t leave home without it now.
8. Solar charger: Technology is advancing all the time in the area of solar chargers. I think it is a great option for travels anywhere in the world. The Solio Bolt Solar Charger is small enough to fit in your bag and powerful enough to charge your phone or tablet anywhere. It will pack nicely and uses a pencil to stand it up so it’s facing the sun. Throw one of these in your travel bag and you’ll never be at a loss for powering up your devices. I recommend keeping it charging during the day while you are out and about so that it is available and ready to charge your device during the evening while you sleep.
9. Kindle: I love my kindle and wouldn’t think of traveling without it. Kindle has come out with options for everyone on your list. If you want to just have a great e-reader, they have the Kindle Paperwhite, which is what I got my husband last year for Christmas. Load it up with some great books and he can read for hours whether it’s on the plane or in the airport waiting for a flight. If you want something with a little bit of everything, like games, books, music, etc. Then you need to look at the Fire HD 7, 7″ HD Display. I like to have more options than just reading and I love my Kindle Fire. I always keep a few kids games and books on there as well for those times that I’m traveling with my grandson. It really helps to pass away the hours.
10. Packing cubes: I hate having my bag a mess when I travel. I like to be able to find everything when I need it. I have started using travel packing cubes like the TravelWise Packing Cubes . They come in different sizes and colors. If you are sharing a travel bag with someone else, the different colors would come in handy to keep your personal items separate and easy to locate. I like that I can pack it once and go.
My last tip for your holiday shopping is something that I never used to think was necessary until I used it. I highly recommend that if you shop on-line and have a kindle or like to watch movies downloaded directly to your TV… Join Amazon Prime. I originally wasn’t sure about this and decided to try it for one year. The savings on shipping and prices has more than paid for itself. Savings, ease and convenient to use. What’s not to love?
Many of you know, we just returned from two weeks in Germany and Austria. I love to travel and experience new places and new things, so I’m already thinking about where I want to go next. Maybe the US Virgin Islands in December. Or my son and I have talked about tackling a portion of the El Camino in Spain next fall. Wherever we decide to go, it’s always good to have the latest and best travel accessories.
Happy Holidays and Happy Travels from all of us at Connie’s Corner.