Holiday Gift Ideas for Travelers

Sunday, December 7, 2008

O, joyless.

Yeah, yeah, 'tis the season to be jolly, but it's hard to feel jubilant when the travel industry is behaving more like Scrooge than Santa. In light of accruing vexations, this year we propose giving holiday gifts that return the sparkle and shine to travel. Items that will let your friends and loved ones skate through security in style (no more Adam and Eve footwear), laugh in the face of checked luggage fees (ha, ha, ho) and feel pampered in coach (Princess, your silken pillow awaits). They might even start appreciating that "extra time" the airline so generously granted them at the airport. More important, these presents can help turn a future voyage into true joyage.

-- Andrea Sachs and Christina Talcott

Security Simplified

No more sweeping the airport floor with your naked feet. Dress up heels and toes in n-a-p Travel Slippers ($10; Brookstone, 800-846-3000, and area stores). The soft, bootie-like footwear has more heart and hug than the airport's disposable models, and they work well for in-flight naps and on hotel carpets.

Bulky toiletry bottles take up premium space in a quart-size, zip-top baggie; so use that coveted real estate wisely with Soft-Touch Dispensers ($1.29 each; the Container Store, 888-266-8246, The three-ounce holders are shaped like holiday light bulbs and are more pliable and stackable than hard-plastic holders. Colored caps help deter travelers from shampooing with sunscreen.

Those who bemoan the drugstore's paltry trial-size selection need a gift certificate from (, an online company dedicated to all things small and TSA-approved. Products cover all facets of life on the road, from eating (squeezable packets of PB&J, hummus on the go) to toiletries (sunscreen packets or tubes, after-shave lotion) to miscellaneous (shoe polish, bug repellent wipes). Certificates come in increments of $25, and prices start at less than a dime.

Skip the conveyor-belt tray and minimize the trauma to an expensive computer with the Targus Zip-Thru Air Traveler Laptop Case ($79.99; Targus, 714-765-5555, and such retailers as Staples). The multi-pocketed carrier opens like a book and has a protected section on one side for a computer, eliminating the need to remove a PC at security. Once through the X-ray machine, simply zip and fly.

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