Have a diehard traveler on your holiday shopping list? Want to get him or her something that’ll actually be used and appreciated?

If so, check out this list of killer gifts for road warriors:  prices range from a few bucks to a few hundred, and there’s sure to be something here that’s in your favorite traveler’s sweet spot…

1. Eagle Creek Travel TowelEagle Creek Travel Towel

Available in 2 colors and 4 sizes, the EC Travel Towel is super soft and absorbent, bacteria resistant, and dries incredibly quickly.

It’ll pack down to a relatively tiny size, and is a perfect substitute for less absorbent hotel towels or great for trips to the beach or trail-side pond.  $9.95 to $19.95, depending upon size.  Click on the image or numbered listing to learn more.

2. Klipsch Image S4 noise-isolating ear buds

Klipsch Image S4 enhanced bass noise-isolating ear budsYou can spend close to $250 and not achieve the sonic performance of the $80 Klipsch Image S4’s

Cnet raved about their performance; check out their review in this brief video review:

3.  Apple 32GB iPod TouchiPod Touch 32GB

What can you say about the 3rd Gen iPod Touch?  It’s a fantastic music & video player, terrific pocket computer, and a great portable game player all in one…  and more.

For the traveler, the iPod Touch can be equipped with a number of very useful apps to make travel easier and more enjoyable, not to mention that the 16GB,  32GB and 64GB models are capable of making domestic and international calls for pennies, courtesy of the Skype app.

Facing a long flight? Download a couple of movies, or the entire season of your favorite TV show.  Need to bone up on your French?  Install an app to help out.  Looking for a great restaurant?  Not a problem. The Touch can do it all.

4. Ex-Officio Trip’r Long Sleeve shirt

Ex-Officio Men's Trip'r longsleeve shirtI’ve posted about the Ex-Officio Trip’r before on Practical Hacks.  Made of 100% nylon and vented for comfort, the Trip’r is a great looking shirt that’s equally at home on a hiking trail or in a trendy restaurant.

Wash it out at night, hang it up, and it’ll be fully dry well before morning.  I loved my first Trip’r so much, I bought another.  No one will mistake this for a Brooks Brothers or Jos Bank dress shirt, but it’s good looking in its own right, comfortable, and durable yet soft on your skin.

Oh yeah – they’re perfect for casual Fridays as well.

UPF 30+; 2 hidden chest pockets;  normally $75; on sale at Amazon for $37.98


Lewis N. Clark Wrinkle Wiz travel size5. Lewis N. Clark Wrinkle Wiz

A couple of female friends who are frequent travelers swear by this stuff!  They report that not only does it remove wrinkles from clothing, but it prevents static cling as well.  Wrinkle Wiz comes in a handy, TSA-compliant 2 oz. bottle and is safe on all types of fabrics.  $10.

6. Osprey Talon 22 back/daypack

Osprey Talon  22Whether you’re biking, hiking, sightseeing, or going to the beach, the Osprey Talon 22 is a fantastic backpack.  Osprey has a well deserved excellent reputation in adventure/backpacking circles, and for good reason.

Osprey packs are light weight yet tough, beautifully designed as well as handsome, and are actually available in differing sizes for varying torso sizes.

The Talon 22 measures 18″ x 8″ x 9.5″, and weighs 1.7 lbs.; its capacity is 1200 cubic inches.  Available in 2 torso sizes and 3 colors; $99 at Amazon

7.  Kiva Keychain Pack

Kiva Keychain PackResiding at the other end of the pack spectrum is the Kiva Keychain Pack.  Featherweight, the Kiva Keychain Pack is just that – you can pack it in its own tiny pocket and literally put it on a keychain.  Yeah, the straps aren’t much more than ribbons and you won’t be hauling your new bowling ball around in it any time soon, but if you’re looking for a super lightweight daypack for transporting a lightweight jacket, travel guide, and perhaps a small souvenir or two, it’s more than adequate.  $17 Click on the numbered subhead, the link in the first sentence, or the picture to the right to learn more.

8.  Canon Digital Camera

Canon S90Canon is unquestionably the king of digital point and shoot cameras, and their line includes several standouts – particularly the S90 and the G11 (successor to the much lauded G10).

The S90, pictured here, crams an amazing amount of technology into a tiny package.  Measuring just 3.9 x 2.3 x 1.9 inches and weighing 6.2 ounces, the S90 features the same 10 Megapixel sensor and image processor as the G11, and sports a bright F2.0 lens for excellent low light performance.

Also of note is its beautiful LCD display.  Featuring 461,000 dots and a 3″ screen, it’s bright, luminous, and is easily viewed at angles and in bright sunlight.

Key Features:

  • New 10-megapixel High Sensitivity System; DIGIC 4 Image Processor
  • Improved low-light image performance, plus a Low Light scene mode for ISO settings up to 12,800
  • Customizable control ring for easy access and operation of manual or other creative shooting settings
  • Wide-angle 3.8x optical zoom with Canon’s Optical Image Stabilizer; bright f/2.0 lens
  • RAW + JPEG shooting and recording modes; capture images to SD/SDHC memory cards (not included)

I’ve had a Canon PowerShot D10 on my wish list for a while now, but after learning more about the S90 – partly through some great reader comments here, it’s replaced the D10 on my list.  It’s $449 $399 at Amazon

9.  SearchAlert TSA Locks

SearchAlert LockThe concept of the SearchAlert lock is simple:  it’s a TSA-approved lock that enables you to determine at a glance in baggage claim if the TSA has inspected your bags.  It does so through a simple sensor:  green indicates that the lock has not been opened by a TSA inspector; red indicates that your the lock’s been opened and your bag has indeed been searched.  Who cares?  Well, you ought to.  If your bag has been searched, inspect its contents right there in baggage claim in order to make sure nothing’s been pilfered.  In the unlikely event that something has gone missing, you can start the paperwork right away!    2 locks for $19.85 at Magellan’s

10.  Kindle Global Wireless Reader

Kindle Global Wireless ReaderBy now everyone’s probably familiar with the Kindle, and I imagine most of us have a friend or two who’ve made the leap.

If you’re a frequent traveler, the Kindle is a great way – the only way – to bring several “books” with you and have them all weigh no more than 10.2 ounces.

You can download books in less than a minute, and the new generation Kindle affords you global (most countries) wireless coverage.  What’s more, a fully charged battery will last for up to a week!

See the page at Amazon for full details:  Kindle – $259


Do you have any suggestions for great gifts for travelers?  If yes, please share by commenting.

NOTE:  This post contains affiliate links.

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12 Comments on 10 awesome holiday gifts for travelers

  1. Michael W. says:

    I have an iPod Touch 32 gb. You forgot to mention one great feature: you can download books! There are apps that include books, and some of those also allow you to get additional books from the Gutenberg Project. Combined with the great battery life, this should be good for a few hours on the plane.

    I also downloaded a chess game. :-)

    Finally, I am learning how to convert “fat” 4gb or so DVD files to compact 1gb h.264 files – which I can then move to the Touch to watch. Great for watching some instructional DVDs without lugging around a disk player!

    Let us know when you get the Canon – it’s one I’ve been watching but a little afraid to commit at that price without a solid review first.


  2. Michael Leis says:

    I have these earphones, and they are fantastic. very comfortable on long wear. Great sound


  3. Miguel Marcos says:

    Not just books but articles as well. I use Instapaper and offload NYT and other articles to read at a later moment. Instapaper reformats the article appropriately for view on the Touch (or iPhone).

    Another offline tool, Byline, caches your RSS feeds from Google Reader.

    PDFs can be downloaded as well. I use GoodReader for PDFs because it has the capability of reformating the PDF text to the Touch’s display.


  4. Berg says:

    Good list. I don’t have Klipsch earphones (mine are Altec), but sound-isolating buds are the BEST, plus you don’t need batteries like you do with the sound-cancelling earphones. With my earphones in and sound coming through, I literally can barely hear jet engines or crying babies, and can listen at a very low volume to accomplish this. Also double as earplugs in a pinch.

    I love my itouch for travel, but someone needs to invest an adapter that enables one to be able to plug it into an ethernet cable instead of only receiving wifi, since many hotels these days give you cables for internet, but don’t have wireless.

    And that Talon 22 is an impressive pack. Saw it at the store the other day, and couldn’t believe it was only 22L. I like that it’s a zippered opening as opposed to top-loading, and it looked like you could put a LOT in there. And it’s light as heck, of course.


    Berg Reply:

    *Invent, not invest.*


  5. Miguel Marcos says:

    Berg, take an Airport Express with you. I know it’s an extra piece of hardware but it’s small. It will give you your own personal wifi network if all that’s available is Ethernet.

    Here’s an example:


  6. Berg says:

    Thanks, Miguel! I can’t believe I never thought of doing that. I actually have an AE that I barely use, so I will have to try this out. I do wonder if it’s difficult to configure the hotspot without a computer, though, or if the itouch can do that on its own.


  7. Berg says:

    Just to update, I stopped by my local Mac store and asked about using an Express to make a hotspot for the itouch. Unfortunately, it appears as if you need a laptop with Airport utilities in order to set up the Express as a router, so I don’t think it’ll work with an itouch. Darn. I was so looking forward to using that! This seems like such a common issue that you’d think someone out there would make a simple adaptor!

    I thought maybe this thing would work, but I guess it doesn’t…



    Till Reply:

    Check in the FT Tech forum. I bet somebody there knows a solution.


  8. Berg says:

    Miguel: again, thank you! Surprising that even the Mac “geniuses” aren’t aware of this work-around. Guess the only thing left to do is put it to the test!


  9. Miguel Marcos says:

    I’ve posted on The Well Mac conference about this, too. There are quite a few knowledgeable mac-ies there so I’ll see what they say. Nevertheless, tidbits is pretty reliable.


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