‘Tis the season for gift giving, and chances are you’ve got a few people on your list that are near impossible to shop for. If your loved one has the travel bug, look no further than this list to get inspired for the holiday season. We’ve compiled a guide with gifts in every price range to please even the most difficult-to-shop-for world wanderers.
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And if you’re reading this in hopes of being the receiver of one or more of these items? No problem –- forward this to your family and friends so they can get inspired to give to you.
$50 or Less
For the ultimate in stocking-stuffer swag for your favorite traveler, bypass your local drug store and head straight to Minimus.biz, the only online store (that we know of at least) that sells everything a traveler could need in travel-sized packets. Create an entire care package for someone on your list at minimal cost – individual salad dressings are about $0.50, a tiny lint brush is just $0.69, laundry detergent is $0.65, shampoo is about $1.25, and mini deodorants are $1.25 – plus hundreds of other items that any traveler would find useful on the road. Best of all, the products are all name brands so the gift receiver doesn’t have to sacrifice their favorite products in favor of saving space.
Everyone knows a traveler with a passport cover worn from use. A leather passport cover from Bloomingdale's will help keep that precious travel document safe and stylish. Choose from several genuine Italian leather covers in gold or silver metallic. Each is embossed with the United States passport logo and costs $42.
Or, if your traveler is super trendy or a girly girl, why not give them the velour passport case by Juicy Couture? It comes in flashy pink and has leather trim. It is also available at Bloomingdales.com for $38.
True travelers are typically itching for their next trip, so why not help kick-start their planning with the book "1,000 Places to See Before You Die" by Patricia Schultz, available on Amazon.com from $12.50. The book recommends places both on and off the beaten path – from the Great Wall of China to Connecticut’s Litchfield Hills. Avid travelers will get a kick out of reading about the places they’ve already been and planning for their next adventure.
For the armchair traveler, check out "Honeymoon With My Brother", by Franz Wisner, also available on Amazon.com from $16.29. Wisner tells the story of being left by his fiancé and taking the already-paid-for honeymoon with his estranged brother -- their two-week vacation turned into a two-year trip around the world.
If you have an avid cruiser on your list, "What Time is the Midnight Buffet?" (from $12.95) is the perfect gift. Novice and seasoned cruisers will love the story of one couple’s escapades on their 25th-anniversary cruise.
Hotel enthusiasts will love the book "Hip Hotels Atlas" (from $34) – a compilation of some of the coolest and most individualized hotels in the world complete with over 1,000 gorgeous photographs. Another option, if you know where your favorite traveler will be heading on their next adventure, is a guidebook -- always a welcome and practical gift. Check out our guide to guidebooks for help choosing one to give this holiday season.
For most of us, air travel means trying to secure the least expensive ticket and getting to our destinations with as little inconvenience as possible. Why not put some of the fun and glamour back into air travel -- it is possible even for those traveling on the most restricted of tickets with airport lounge day passes. The passes typically cost less than $50 and include one-day admission to the airline’s airport lounge. In certain cases, if the traveler decides to purchase a full club membership, the price of the one-day pass will be deducted from the cost. The passes are non-refundable and non-transferable. American Airlines ($50), Delta Airlines ($25) and US Airways ($40) all offer day passes. However, American Airlines is the only one which lets you purchase the pass online; Delta and US Airways require a trip to the airport club lounge for purchase.
$100 or Less
For travelers on a budget, even the cheapest airfares can seem astronomical in price. You can ease the financial burden of flying when you give your loved one an airline gift card. Both American Airlines and Southwest Airlines offer gift cards for purchase this holiday season that are redeemable online.
Southwest’s gift cards are available in any amount from $10 - $1,000, and American Airlines’ are available in amounts of $50 or $100. We put the cards in the $100 category because we think it is the perfect amount to make your favorite traveler’s next flight more affordable.
For some, pictures are enough. But serious travelers know that there is no better way to recall their experiences in a foreign land than by reading and re-reading their travel journal. Instead of scribbling their notes on random scraps of paper, the receiver of the World Travel Journal, available from Crane & Co., will love having all their notes in one place. This handsome travel journal is bound in tan leather and has 180 writing pages plus world city maps and useful information like contact phone numbers, dialing codes and weather information. The retail price is $46, but with tax and shipping the total is approximately $60.
$500 or Less
Even if they're cramped in coach, they'll feel like a first-class passenger with this Cashmere Travel Set ($245) from Red Envelope. A silk-lined eye mask, supersoft slippers with suede soles and a sumptuous 100% cashmere throw are perfect for pampering you or the ones you love. Is it possible to look forward to a flight? Just maybe.
The Old World Map from Pottery Barn ($179) is not only attractive, but a useful way of keeping track of a person’s travels. The map is geographically accurate and inspired by an antique, but best of all, it is framed and mounted on cork, allowing its owner to keep track of their world travels with push pins. The map comes with 20 black tacks and is ready to be mounted on a wall. This is a beautiful addition to an office or living space and a wonderful conversation piece too.
If you’re willing to spend $500 or more this holiday season, why not give the traveler on your list what he or she most wants – a trip! No matter what style of vacation they prefer, you can find one in the $500 price range. The road tripper will love a self-driving tour of Ireland – one package in our Bargain Box includes round-trip airfare, six nights’ accommodations and a rental car from CIE Tours. Prices start at $576 per person from New York City (JFK) or Boston; $598 from Chicago and $668 from Los Angeles, and are available for travel in January and February 2006. One caveat -– the price is based on double occupancy, so you’ll just have to take the trip too!
For the hotelophile or luxury lover, the Ritz-Carlton Bostonis offering a twist on the beloved traditional crackling fire of winter. The luxury property is the first to offer the services of a fireplace butler and menu. Guests who are booked for the package will enjoy an executive or garden-view suite with wood-burning fireplace serviced by the fireplace butler and a choice of woods.
They'll also receive a welcome amenity, American breakfast for two and overnight valet parking. From November 21, 2005 to April 10, 2006, an executive suite is $525 and a luxury garden view suite is $750.
If you’re looking for the perfect gift that keeps on giving, look no further than the lines of luxurious hotel bedding offered by hotel chains Westin and Marriott. Westin made headlines with its “Heavenly Bed” –- a vision of white with layer upon layer of snuggly down and high-quality linens, all atop a pillow-top mattress. The Heavenly Bed is known among business travelers the world over as the ultimate in comfort. The pillow-top mattress alone will cost you $800 - $1,450, but there are featherbeds and down comforters and pillows available for less. A sheet and pillowcase set complete with down pillows will cost approximately $500 for a queen-size bed. A duvet cover costs between $210 and $300, while the insert will run you between $110 and $165.
Marriott’s “Revive Collection” is also available for purchase this holiday season. The beds are priced from $700 (twin mattress) to $1,300 (California king mattress). If you don’t want to spend that much, consider buying select pieces of bedding. The featherbed ($175 - $220) paired with the duvet insert ($170 - $210) and Bird’s Eye striped duvet cover ($135 - $175) is a lavish gift that will make its receiver feel like he or she is on vacation every time they get in bed.
The Independent Traveler is an interactive traveler's exchange and comprehensive online travel guide for a community of travelers who enjoy the fun of planning their own trips and the adventure of independent travel. You can access our wealth of travel resources and great bargains here at www.independenttraveler.com, or at www.bargainbox.com.