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10 road-ready gifts for travelers
Every traveler needs cool stuff. Everyone else needs December gift ideas. Behold, our 10-step solution to both problems
The season of joyful tidings is more often a season of panic shopping.
These 10 gifts for travelers will make their trips easier. More important, they'll make you look thoughtful and highly organized.
It really is a fantasy season.
1. Re-timer glasses
That's why we're intrigued by the latest jet lag cure from the scientists in Australia behind Re-timer, a pair of glasses designed to alter sleep cycles.
The glasses work by shining a light that mimics sunlight, sending signals to the brain to keep the body alert and awake, even at unusual hours. The idea is to wear the glasses intermittently a few days before travel to help adjust the internal clock to a new time zone.
Not just for weary travelers, the Re-timer is also meant to appeal to shift workers or anyone in need of a decent night’s rest.
Re-Timer; US$275; re-timer.com
2. Pringle cashmere scarf
Pringle worked with international stylist and "10 Magazine" editor Sophia Neophitou-Apostolou to create this classy, simple scarf for its travel basics collection.
The scarf doubles as a wrap and blanket, making it a convenient travel accessory that keeps you warm when it's cold and cool when it's warm.
It comes in black, gray and beige, and is 85 x 200 centimeters.
Cashmere scarf; US$695; www.pringlescotland.com
3. Powertraveller Solarmonkey Adventurer
Traveling in remote places without access to electrical outlets usually means mourning dead batteries and living without gadgets.
Powertraveller’s intriguingly named Solarmonkey Adventurer is a solar charger that uses natural light to give 5 Volt devices such as iPads, smart phones, GPS and e-Readers enough juice to soldier on.
In the right light, its clamshell solar panels can charge its internal battery in 12 hours.
It's lightweight (265 grams), has an internal battery with 2,500 milliamp hours, is water resistant and shock proof. It even comes travel-ready, with a carabiner to attach to a backpack.
Solarmonkey Adventurer; £85 (US$137); powertraveller.com
4. Piggyback Rider NOMIS Carrier Deluxe
Kids are great, but they have a troublesome habit of gaining weight. And whining when they're tired of walking.
This lightweight backpack for carrying kids under 60 pounds (27 kilograms) solves both problems.
The pack allows children to stand (not cling to your back like a rheumatic chimp), thereby distributing their weight to your core and giving them a better view of what's going on around them.
Features include a front pocket for your phone, rear pocket for small items, safety harness and multi-use storage bag.
Piggyback Rider NOMIS Carrier Deluxe; US$110; www.piggybackrider.com
5. Philips DiamondClean HX9332 Rechargeable Sonic Toothbrush
The quickest way to make yourself feel more human on the road is to brush your teeth -- especially if you've got a great toothbrush.
This electric brush comes with a travel case equipped with USB connection, allowing you to recharge it via your computer. It comes with two brushes and operates in five modes: clean, white, polish, gum care, sensitive.
Philips DiamondClean HX9332 Rechargeable Sonic Toothbrush; HK$1,698 (US$220); www.philips.com
6. Patagonia Advocate Shoes
Shoes -- the space-eating bane of packers.
That's why we like Patagonia’s Advocate collection, which offers lightweight, packable footwear that frees up suitcase space for that I-might-need-this jacket that you won't end up wearing.
The range includes soft-flex styles for women and men, like the Advocate Stitch (pictured).
Fashioned from microfiber, rubber and partially recycled soles, these shoes are vegan friendly.
Patagonia Men's Advocate Stitch shoe; US$70; www.patagonia.com
7. Kobo Glo e-Reader
If you're a considerate traveler and an avid reader, the new Kobo Glo eReader was designed for you.
A front-lit design makes it convenient for reading on a plane without disturbing fellow travelers when the lights go down.
Other features include a no-glare, high-resolution 6-inch E Ink screen that the manufacturer says is just like reading on paper.
The Kobo Glo eReader connects to Wi-Fi and comes in black or white with a selection of Kobo SnapBacks in four colors.
Kobo Glo e-Reader; £99.99 (US$160); www.whsmith.co.uk
8. Otis Batterbee Luxury Travel Gift Set
Steerage class eye masks passed out by airlines are as good at sanding wood doors as they are at putting you to sleep.
Otis Batterbee’s Luxury Travel Gift Set is a matching tweed trio: velvet-backed eye mask, inflatable travel pillow, small travel bag. The eye mask is infused with lavender scent to help encourage shut eye before it’s time to land.
The set comes in three fabric patterns, including "mono spot" (pictured).
Luxury Travel Gift Set in mono print; £165 (US$265); www.otisbatterbee.com
9. ONA camera bag
Serious photographers have a serious problem -- lugging around all their heavy gear in hideous, bulky camera bags.
ONA bags offers a range of camera bags, some of which are camouflaged as satchels or messengers bags.
Roomy, padded interiors can fit a DSLR body, lenses and various accessories. Some models hold laptops, too.
The Brooklyn for women (pictured) is made from leather and comes in black or chestnut.
For men, the larger Union Street (in black or several other colors) can accommodate a laptop, as well (US$289).
The Brooklyn; US$329; The Union Street; US$289; www.onabags.com
10. Microsoft Wedge Touch Mouse
This portable travel mouse with BlueTrack technology is small enough to fit in your pocket and works on virtually any surface. Four-way touch scrolling for navigating up, down, left and right makes it ideal for Windows 8 users.
It arrives without cables or USB transceivers, making it easy to connect to Bluetooth-enabled devices.
Microsoft Wedge Touch Mouse; US$70; www.microsoft.com