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Holiday Gift Ideas

Recently, we asked you to suggest travel gifts. As we sifted through all of your recommendations, they fell, more or less, into four categories:

  • Comfort
  • Convenience
  • Cool
  • Just Plain Weird, Yet Potentially Useful



When Agatha Christie traveled abroad she always took one really good soft pillow--she said "to me, it makes all the difference between comfort and misery." Well, Art from Olney, Maryland has pretty much the same idea, but with a twist. Art says his whole outlook on flying has changed since he discovered inflatable neck pillows. They fold up nice and small, so they're ideal stocking stuffers, and they keep your neck from being sore on long trips--especially airplanes.

And now that you're comfortable enough to doze, Steve from Flint, Michigan says you can't beat a pack of ear plugs...10 for a buck at Wal-Mart. He's says they're useful if you get stuck in the last row of a 727 and if you have to sit next to an engine. They also come in quite handy if you're sitting next to a talker and you're not up to chatting.

Some others of you suggest just getting a good pair of headphones to block out the noise.



A guy named Jim from Iowa says he doesn't go anywhere without "Soap Opera Body Shampoo." It's a custom scented, one-product-fits-all for travelers...you can use it as shampoo, soap, quick laundry detergent and apparently it's good for washing dishes too. I'm not sure that I want the same stuff on my head that I use on my boxers, but if Jim likes it then it's good enough for me. You can order it by calling 1-800-562-5222.

Barry from Los Angeles suggests giving an automatic night light. He's found it very useful for avoiding broken limbs during those late night trips to the bathroom when you're in a strange hotel room or cruise ship cabin.

Catherine lives in Seattle and she recommends a few accessories that can be attached to a keychain; small compass, folding scissors for opening local CD's and difficult Doritos packages, a whistle for keeping away thieves and unwelcome suitors and a small flashlight...Catherine says there's a good one made by MAGLITE that's the size of a AAA battery

And Carol sent me an email with these simple words: "Silk Underwear: warm, lightweight, dries fast."



Listener Janan from Maine says there's no point in traveling anywhere without a Swiss Army Knife--how ever could you get through Paris without that corkscrew?

But Jonathan from Manhattan says forget about it...pick up a Leatherman instead--it's like a Swiss Army Knife on steroids with lots of neat accessories like a little saw built in!

Sarah lives in New Hampshire and she writes that Magellan's has great "stuff" for travelers and one the best things she's picked up is a small nylon wallet/purse, which has five sections designated with different color zippers. She uses it to keep different currencies separate but easily available. On her last big trip she had pounds, dollars, Dutch guilders, and Indian rupees--all handy and easily distinguishable.


Just Plain Weird, Yet Potentially Useful

Our Assistant Producer Fritz Faerber gave me this one last year and I can't believe that someone else actually thought of it! Kitty writes that the most useful, lightest-weight and most-compact travel gift is a box of Ziplock Bags. You can use them for leftover soap, to pack up leftovers, or to carry home small souvenirs like seashells. She suggests sprucing them up by getting the freezer kind that have a "label" panel on the front. That's where you can write your friend or loved one's intended destination--maybe even decorate with a palm tree or a pyramid.

Even weirder...Tandra in Scottsdale says every world traveler needs...ready for this...a golf ball. Tandra writes that it comes in awfully handy in case you need to plug the lavatory when the little rubber thing on a chain is long gone. Hmmm....

As for my own personal suggestions...check out the store Restoration Hardware. They're selling great looking airline napkins that you can button onto your shirt, whether you're at home or in the air. Besides that, everyone can use an eye mask for sleeping on planes or trains...and I'm always a fan of anything by travel writer, Paul Theroux.

Haven't been inspired yet? Read on for more suggestions from our listeners.

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