Thursday, December 13, 2007

Fifth Day of Christmas (Shopping): Travel Gifts

I'm going to have to speed up my gift ideas postings before Christmas is upon us. Accordingly, gifts for the travelers in your life:

Little Luxuries
Go Mama Go (1809 14th St.) has a bunch of small items that make trips a little easier and more pleasant. Consider subtly scented luggage refreshers in fun patterns. For tired eyes, silk covered eye pillows and eye shades may help. Find all three of the above on a table in the center section of the store. Go Mama Go also stocks mini Archipelago Botanicals face and body products small enough to make it though airport security. For a little on-the-road soothing for mind a tummy, you can also pick up travel tins of five tea bags each. Flavors range from fruit-infused black teas to holiday spice, and a variety of greens.

To freshen the guest bedroom or hotel room, Candleman (1745 Connecticut Ave.) has Botanicus candles in mini tins. For Yankee Candle haters these are strong but not cloying candles scented with essentials oils -- from a Maryland company to boot.

We would all love to have the cashmere hoodie and travel blanket from Horchow. If you can't justify breaking the bank on a blankie for big kids, West Elm (1020 G St.) has very soft cotton bamboo blend throws. Weird, bamboo.

Pack It
Stop using those paper luggage tags from the airline flight desk. Now that you're an adult, try durable and more attractive alternatives. Go Mama Go stocks plain and elegant leather tags in neutrals and soft contemporary tones. Home Rule (1807 14th St.) stocks vinyl tags in bright colors and psychedelic patterns. Candida's World of Books (1541 14th Street) has super durable hard plastic and nylon webbing ArtTags with attractive photos of world landmarks encapsulated within. At Go Mamma Go and Pulp (1803 14th St.) find passport covers to coordinate with you new luggage tags.

Go Mamma Go also carries every size zip pouch and reusable shopping tote. Designs here are modern, not froo-froo, and include small metal mesh zippered bags on keychains, leather pencil cases, and bags made of woven plastic.

Stay Fresh and Clean
Germ phobes will appreciate adorably packaged Cheeky Monkey hand wipes from Pulp. Whole Foods has some less adorably packaged but nicely scented antibacterial hand gels. Fight travel breath with mints in novelty tins from Pulp. High maintenance travelers will like beauty products from Blue Mercury (Kiehls, Bliss, Dermalogica, Acqua di Parma). With a rotating stock of special holiday gift sets, it may be easier than usual to find travel-appropriate sizes.

Travel Books and Maps
Travel narratives will get your giftee in the mood for the journey ahead. I particularly like Bill Byson's yarns. In a Sunburned Country should be required reading for anyone going to Australia. Find numerous other travel stories at Candida's World of Books

In a twist on the traditional guide book, Go Mama Go has pocket size guide books to major US and international cities. The guides are bound in durable vinyl and even include a useful compass on the spine. Candida's stocks guides from the major publishers as well as maps. For your relatives who always get lost in DC, pick them up a full or pocket size local map.

One of my favorite romantic ideas for travelers is Places to Check Out: A Do-It-Yourself Travel Guide, a spiral-bound notebook decorated after the design of US passport pages for your travel thoughts. Any sort of travel journal is well suited for the introspective globetrotter. Try Written Word or Pulp for some nice ones.

For anyone who's ever griped about travel, there are books for the surly adventurer. At Kramer's or Candida' have a look for the following: Jon Krakaeuer gives us a ton or reasons never to go into the back country from Into the Wild to Into Thin Air and Under the Banner of Heaven, a story of fundamentalist nuts holed up in the desert southwest. Stephen Clarke indulges in a favorite pastime of Americans in Europe -- poking fun of the French-- in his book A Year in the Merde. The paranoid will like Worst Case Scenario Handbook: Travel. Folks who have had a State Department assignment or leisure travel experience in the developing world might like the Jetlag Travel Guides. Countries explored in the Jetlag series include Phaic Tan, San Sombrero, and Molvania.

Nostalgic Traveler or Homesick Ex-Pat
Candida's carries travel books that are more than just guides to other locales. To get in the cultural spirit of your favorite places, you can find poetry, travel narratives, fiction, and cookbooks from around the world.

Remind your giftee of his favorite place(s) on the globe with a photo from Claude Taylor’s Gallery (1627 Connecticut Ave.) A great coffee table book is Transit Maps of the World from Proper Topper in Dupont or Georgeotwn; some of the maps themselves are art and others will help you figure out where you took a wrong turn in Rome. Food can be another happy reminder of time spent abroad. Try some sweets and treats from World Market or pre-fab international cooking kits from Whole Foods or Trader Joe's.

1 comment:

Executive Gift Shoppe said...

These are great tips for anyone looking for unique gifts. We specialize in men's gifts and try to keep our selection "unique". Its so easy to get someone the same old boring gifts, finding interesting things that people might not get for themselves is tougher. Thanks!