That’s me and my fork….we’re on the move and so is everyone else these days. Everyone is travelling, exploring this planet’s furthest corners.
Whether you travel yourself or want to buy a gift for someone who does, these are practical, useful and unique. Oh yes, and most of them are fairly inexpensive too!
1. Lonely Planet has compiled the dream travel book – their list of the 500 most thrilling, memorable, downright interesting places on this planet, ranked them in order of their brilliance.
These are the places Lonely Planet’s editors think you should experience; there are sights that will humble you, amaze you and surprise you. They’ll provoke thoughts, emotions or just an urgent need to tell someone about them. Before you plan your next trip, read Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel List (called Ultimate Travel in North and South America)….but beware, it will have you planning your next 500 trips! $25 at Lonely Planet
2. I hate overnight flights. Why haven’t airlines figured out that we humans like our feet slightly elevated when we sleep? Even a simple footrest would make the journey more endurable.
For those flying economy, here’s a take-along footrest that easily and harmlessly attaches to the tray table, creating a comfortable hammock for your legs and feet. The Fly Legs Up comes with pillows too, but frankly I’d pay the $69.99 just for the hammock. And it can be used to create a comfy bed for children, who are, let’s face it, all arms and legs when sleeping. At flylegsup.com
3. I know it’s cliché but give them a pair of socks. Most seasoned travellers know about swollen ankles after a long flight. This results from blood pooling because there’s little movement of muscles during long periods of immobility (think centre seat), and can result in deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The makers of Travelsox Graduated Compression Socks boast that more airline pilots use their socks than any other. They help to reduce swelling and improve blood flow, reducing the risk of a DVT. Travelsox’s Silver Drystat technology adds moisture control and prevents odor from bacterial growth. About $20 www.Amazon.com
4. Those little pillows you get on the plane need something to rest against. Unless you’re at the window, there isn’t much.
Enter the Trtl Travel Pillow. A clever V-shaped structured foam support inside the scarf holds the neck in an ergonomic position. It’s compact and weighs just 148 grams. And it’s been given the thumbs up by serious travel publications. $22.98 at www.amazon.com
5. While on the subject of flying – or trains or buses – these can be mobile incubators. I have a travel writer friend who sanitizes the tray table as soon as he sits down. He says it’s kept him healthy across thousands of flying hours. If you’d rather not test your own immune system, or want a really useful stocking stuffer, how about Traveler’s Protection Balm, from The Lost Explorer? With the lovely scent of eucalyptus and anti-viral ravinsara oil, it smells good and protects against wayward germs. $38 at thelostexplorer.com
6. How do you pack three pairs of sandals in a small suitcase and have room for your clothes?
You start with Cambiami’s clever, leather-soled sandals and add stylish, interchangeable T-straps that easily switch out for a whole new look. Now you can pack an extra dress or two! $128 at www.cambiami.com or at amazon.com
7. My suitcase usually looks like it’s been stirred after the first week of travel; this makes finding things difficult. Shacke Pack’s handy set of water resistant bags is perfect for someone like me. I can separate by categories, and store things within my suitcase. Clothes are organized and less likely to be crushed during the journey. A laundry bag is the final bonus and the whole set is a boon to enthusiastic travellers. $25 at www.amazon.com
8. Plug them in! The colourful Flight 001 5-in-1 Adapter comes with colour-coded world map so you can find the right adapter for any of 150 different countries. There are two USB outlets as well. And the white, detachable charger is powerful enough to charge all their essential travel devices, even a tablet and DSLR camera. Remember that adapters do not convert electricity, so while a 110 hair dryer can be adapted and plugged into a 220 outlet, it will fry it. Most advanced electronic devices are able to handle dual power, so just plug them in. $35 at http://www.flight001.com
9. Osana Mosquito Repellent Bath Soap contains natural citronella is highly effective against the little biters. It smells clean and fresh, and because it is all natural and non-toxic, it’s safe for the whole family, as well as the environment. Apparently the fragrance repels mosquitoes. Three bath sized bars and a travel bar: $24.95 at Osanabar.com
10. Here’s a nifty two-in-one gadget. Meem’s smart cable serves as a phone (or tablet) charger as well as a back-up device, perfect for the snap happy travel lover. Plug into a power source on one end and smart phone on the other, all those 500 photos, as well as videos, contacts and calendars get backed up, while the battery life gets replenished. The phone fell out of the kayak? No problem. Plug Meem into your replacement phone to restore everything. $59.95 buys you 32G at www.meemmemory.com
11. It’s so convenient to have a water bottle handy when you need one, especially if it’s in your pocket. The Collapsible Water Bottle takes little space but it can literally pop into action when needed. Made of silicone it flattens to just over an inch to pop into your pocket. It’s BPA and odor free, and dishwasher safe. $25 at uncommongoods.com
12. I’ve seen lots of maps one can hang on the wall, but who has wall space? This globe comes from one of my favourite websites. It’s made of cork, so your travel lover can use coloured pins, thumb tacks or even diamond stick pins to mark their travels and indicate their favourite destinations.
One of these on a side table can be a source of interesting conversation with friends…. you might discover new and unusual places they’ve visited to add to your bucket list. From $50 from www.uncommongoods.com
BONUS: A Baker’s Dozen:
13. After watching the 200th black suitcase emerge from the baggage carousel, I have decided to buy one of these. There are several funky designs from different manufacturers and some very chic ones. Your choice. This one is from Samsonite. They run about $35 but naturally this depends on the size of the suitcase. One thing is certain, it will stand out in the black crowd!