and Christina Talcott
Anyone who has ever tried to squeeze a cruise ship under the Christmas tree or jam an African safari into a stocking knows how hard it is to buy for the beloved travelers on your list. In many cases, it's not just size and scope we must consider, but also the price tag. Sure, we'd all love to surprise our spouse with two round-the-world plane tickets or send our sibling off to a spa in Bali, but c'mon, we have bills to pay, especially the ones we rack up over the holidays.
So we've scoured stores, catalogs and Web sites for travel-related gifts in all price ranges, from under $10 to over $100. The $10 HeartWarmer thaws cold hands as well as the $485 cashmere travel blanket; the $9 ski-mountain-themed playing cards are as entertaining as the $299 portable video player.
Whichever gifts you choose, we hope the thought behind them makes your recipients' trips even merrier.
Here are some of our favorites:
Buck Head Suiter Duffel Bag, $90 at eBags, 800-820-6126, .
The suiter duffel is the Transformer of the luggage world. Completely open, the garment bag holds and protects full-size suits. Then, when the sides are zipped up, the carrier converts into a spacious duffel, for all of your non-pinstripe outfits. (Your biz attire, however, might come out creased like a duffel.) The carrier is generous with pockets, too, providing pouches for smaller items such as tie pins and socks.
Ultimate Hoodie Microfleece, $70 at Scottevest, 866-909-8378, .
This high-concept hoodie is the James Bond of sportswear. The microfleece jacket has 11 pockets, each one with a different function &
to attach a key, to hold a stylus, to grip a bottle. The highlight, though, is the arm pouch, which is sized for an iPod or other small music player and has a secret tunnel through which headphones can be threaded. Yes, even super-agents hate cold ears and fingers.
Cashmere Travel Blanket, $310 to $485 at Horchow, 877-944-9888, .
Even if you fly coach, you can still inject some first-class style and comfort with a cashmere travel blanket. The ultra-luxe swatch of fabric comes in various sizes and designs: stripes with ultrasuede trim, bold hues (shocking pink, for example), cable knit and colorful zigzags. The zippered carrying case doubles as a pillow cover, because VIP heads can rest only on the best.
"Transit Maps of the World" by Mark Ovenden (Penguin), $25 at most bookstores.
For the public transportation nut on your list, here's "the world's first collection of every urban train map on Earth." Maps and histories of more than 100 subway systems are depicted in loving detail.
Lightweight Travel Pack, $70, Patagonia, 800-638-6464, .
Give your favorite vagabond this lifetime-guaranteed backpack and the warm feeling that comes from knowing that the manufacturer donates — percent of every sale to conservation and environmental projects. The pack comes in green, red, blue and black, is quick-drying and light as a feather. When not in use, it can be rolled and stuffed into its top pocket &
conservation of space indeed.
Gifts for globetrotters
and Christina Talcott