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Holiday Gift Guide for the Traveler in Your Life

I’m not big on gifts–either for birthdays or holidays. As I travel around I pick up some small gifts for people because I think they’ll enjoy them. Gift buying doesn’t revolve around any specific days. As I have some friends who enjoy traveling, I should think about gifts I can get them for their next trip.

There’s more than just gadgets that travelers need to get around–most travelers already have a decent camera and smartphone with all the necessary free apps. Low-tech products are still the most versatile items to bring on short or long journeys.

As you search online for gifts, be sure to check offers through your airline miles’ website–you can multiply the purchase amount for your own travel benefits.

I’ve compiled a list of products that I either already own or that are on my wish list (hint, hint).

Get some rest with a travel pillow

I noticed the Cabeau Evolution travel neck pillows at the airport awhile back, but I just couldn’t bring myself to spend the money. I gave in on my way home in November (it was even on sale at the airport!). I had hoped to find it in a store, but never did. There are two versions of this pillow–I originally bought the memory foam pillow and found the high neck pads helped me sleep. It also tightens enough to prevent your head from falling forward like with other pillows.Cabeau Evolution pillow

There’s another version called the Evolution Cool pillow, which is more expensive. Unlike the original Evolution pillow, the cool pillow doesn’t overheat your neck. I had to take the pillow off a few times during my trans-Pacific flight because it was so hot.

cabeau evolution pillow

Now that’s compact

The best part about these travel neck pillows is that they can be scrunched up into a small bag to fit in your backpack. Of course, you could always tie it around the outside of your backpack too. Either way, this makes storage easy for when you’re not traveling.

A different kind of light reading

I love my Kindle. Alright, my mom gave me hers before I set out a few years ago, but it’s now basically mine. I love reading, but I don’t want to lug around tons of books wherever I go, so this was the best option. Plus, it gave me an opportunity to read classic literature that I missed out on during my education (Project Gutenberg has a ton of free books as does Amazon).

I still use the first generation Kindle. If it still works, why replace it? I have seen newer ones that have a similar size screen but a smaller overall body for even lighter travel. These are especially good for anyone who takes public transportation to and from work–I used to read a lot on the trains around Tokyo, Seoul, and Taipei.

Alternatively, you could purchase some ebooks for someone who already has a Kindle–travel guides and history books make great gifts. I’d also recommend books by Laird Hunt and Haruki Murakami.

Enjoy a quieter flight

I need to earn more money and buy this for myself. Bose QuietComfort noise-cancelling headphones are amazing. I tried them out at Costco. The store was busy and noisy and these headphones eliminated almost all the noise. They’re also very comfortable to wear, so I might be able to sleep with them on in combination with my Cabeau Evolution pillow. Most importantly, they eliminated more noise than my reusable earplugs that I’ve used on numerous flights to this point (I still find airplane noise too much with them in).

World wines shipped to you

You could splurge on some wine. It’s a great gift that you could share with the recipient. If you have MileagePlus with United like I do, you could earn more miles by shopping at a few of the online wine shops and having it shipped to someone’s door. I recently did this for my mother’s birthday (I wasn’t expecting the package to arrive in two days, so it arrived a bit early). I would definitely recommend shopping at as the selection and prices were good. They also included a free bottle in with the three that I ordered (I have a feeling it was a holiday promotion).

Lucky wine

Everyone loves free wine

Screw shopping, let’s get a beer!

Sometimes the person on your list just doesn’t need anything. But that same person could always use a good beer. A great option of the beer lover on your holiday list is Dogfish Head’s new beer called Beer for Breakfast. This is Dogfish Head’s beer to rival Founders Breakfast Stout. This a rich stout with an even flavor of coffee, roasted malt, and chicory. There’s even a bit of maple syrup and scrapple in the brew.

dogfish head beer for breakfast

Courtesy Dogfish Head website

There are more beers that you could buy, which I’ve written about before. Or you could just buy a variety pack to make everyone happy.

There are plenty more gift ideas for travelers, but these are some of my favorites. Of course, you could just buy an plane ticket or an upgrade for you favorite traveler (I also accept travel lounge memberships).

What’s are your recommendations for gifts for travelers?

Happy Repeal Day!

Alright I’m a day late on it, but it’s still close enough to Repeal Day. December 5 is the day to celebrate the 21st Amendment that repealed Prohibition. This year was the 80th anniversary of the amendment. Just as Homer Simpsons pointed out, “Prohibition. They tried that in the movies and it didn’t work.”chocolate-wine-shot

In honor of Repeal Day, here is the chocolate wine shot from Jacuzzi Family Vineyards in Sonoma, CA. It’s a chocolate shot glass filled with wine. You’re supposed to drink about half of it before eating the shot glass with the remaining wine inside.

Put That Chardonnay in Your Pipe and Smoke It

Ever wonder what wine would pair well with Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon? No, I’m not talking about those Wine’s That Rock (I tasted one of them and it was awful).

It appears some wineries in California are infusing their wines with cannabis. There is no word on which brands are offering the pot wine, or even if they’re being sold outside the wineries. Nonetheless, hippies who want to act sophisticated at a party now have something to drink. It’s also perfect for the yuppie who doesn’t want to admit that he still smokes.

It reminds me of another terrible wine I had back when I was a poor college student. The wine claimed to contain hints of leather and tobacco, which explained why it tasted like I drank a smoked shoe. Marijuana in wine might add a slightly better flavor and aroma than that wine from college, but it’ll probably have a greater effect on short-term memory.