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A gift guide for travelers: gadgets, comfort, luggage

What’s in your bag when you take a trip? What gadgets, tools and comfort items are essential?
The Associated Press crowdsourced that question on a Facebook thread as fodder for a holiday gift guide for travelers. We heard from folks around the world, from millennials to retirees, from frequent-flying business travelers to once-in-a-while vacationers. Here are their recommendations, plus a few of our favorites.

Associated Press


• A universal travel adapter that converts electric current around the world. The travel store Flight 001 has a "5-in-1" color-coded adapter , $35.

• Portable chargers to keep devices running on the road. Anker’s PowerCore 26800 , $48, can charge an iPhone more than six times. For hikers and beach bums, Anker’s PowerPort Solar Lite, $51, was deemed the best solar charger by the New York Times’ Wirecutter product-testing company.

• m The Tile, $35, to keep track of belongings. Attach the Tile to an object like keys or bags, or tuck it inside a passport case or wallet, and you can locate the item with Bluetooth technology. For outdoor gear, try Tile Sport.

• Tiny Bluetooth speakers, like the $28 Oontz,
to fill a hotel room or vacation rental with music.

• Power strip or cube tap (a cube-shaped adapter with multiple outlets) to charge multiple devices in hotel rooms and airports.

• Headlamp for hiking, reading and crafting. Or the mini Lumio lamp and battery pack, which opens and closes like a book, $150.

Packing, luggage

• Compression storage bags so packed clothes take up less room. No vacuum needed for Roomier Life Roll-Up Space Saver Bags, $16 on Amazon: The air is expelled through an opening when they’re rolled up.

• Packing cubes and ultralight nylon packing bags for organizing. Flight 001’s Spacepak bags, $42 and up, have dual compartments to separate dirty and clean clothes, and also have air vents for compression.

• Hand-held scale for weighing bags.

• Colorful luggage tags.

• Luggage. For inexpensive and serviceable, Target and Costco; sturdy and sensible, L.L. Bean; stylish, upscale and durable, Tumi. For organized hipsters, the $220 Nomatic backpack/duffel bag. For day bags, Bagallini, LeSportsac and REI’s $33 compressible Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Daypack. For high-tech, Bluesmart smart luggage includes a built-in weight scale, a GPS tracking device, a battery to charge a phone and laptop, and autolock activated by cellphone.


• Travel pillow. The new m Trtl travel pillow looks like a neck wrap rather than the traditional U-shape. It supports the head and neck with a system of ribs inside a soft fleece, $30.

• Ear plugs and contoured sleep masks that don’t crush eyelids and lashes.

• Bose noise-canceling headphones: expensive at around $350, but the brand of choice for frequent flyers.

• White noise machines like LectroFan, $35.

Comfort, hygiEne

• Travel-size toiletries: toothpaste, sunscreen, deodorant, mouthwash, lotion, antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizer, lip balm, perfume, tissues. Gift a Birchbox subscription for $10 a month and the recipient will get five samples of personal care and beauty products per delivery for hair, skin and style, all in TSA-compliant sizes for carry-on liquids and gels not exceeding 3.4 ounces.

• Toiletry bag that can be hung up upon arrival.

• Tennis ball-size T Spheres, aromatherapy-massage balls, can be heated or frozen, $35.

• Soaragami armrest divider, $30. Have fun explaining it to the stranger on the plane sitting next to you in coach.

• Travel yoga mats.

• Inflatable Ten Toes stand-up paddleboard, $500 and up.

• n Bike helmets that fold flat. Morpher helmets are certified safe in the United States and Canada by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, $149. e_SClBPractical, fun

• To make a hotel room or vacation rental homey, a flat-folding mesh laundry hamper; plastic foldout flower vase and 2-cup travel kettle for boiling water.

• m Flight 001 sells a $65 mini-bar kit with tiny glass bottles, metal flasks, stir spoon, funnel and recipe booklet. The vials are sized to be TSA-compliant, but remember that it’s not legal to drink your own booze on an airplane.

• Rain ponchos that fold into tiny flat squares.

• Disposable underwear.

• Pashmina or cotton print scarf, for warmth, modesty or even as a picnic or beach blanket.

Gift cards, etc.

• Surprise someone at a destination with a bottle of Champagne or flowers in their room, helicopter tour, dinner cruise, show tickets or attractions pass.

• Give air travel using the new Skyhour website or app. One Skyhour costs $60 and is worth an hour of flight time. Recipients can search for and book flights, just like they would on any booking site. More than 350 airlines participate.

• For Disney fans, the Gift of Disney Vacations program can pay for an experience, ticket or entire vacation at a Disney park.

• Kindle or iTunes gift card.

• Priority Pass membership for airport lounges.

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