Photo by morguefile
By Cameron Huddleston
If you're looking for the perfect gift for the frequent traveler in your family but don't want to break the bank, we can help. We asked several travel experts to share their picks for affordable items they pack when they hit the road. These 10 things can help both business and leisure travelers save money, stay organized and be a little more comfortable on all their trips.
Anker 2-Port USB Wall Charger, $12.99. Cheryl Rosner, CEO of boutique-hotel booking site Stayful.com, recommends this inexpensive gadget that lets you charge two devices at once. Because it works with both Apple and Android devices, it eliminates the need to bring multiple chargers when you travel.
Samsonite Electronic Luggage Scale, $17.99. Overweight luggage fees can be $200 or more for a single bag. Brian Karimzad, director of MileCards.com, a Web site for comparing travel rewards credit cards, recommends this portable scale that registers up to 80 pounds. It can help you avoid getting hit with a fee from your airline for an overweight suitcase. Plus, it saves you from being forced to rummage through your luggage at the airport to pull extra weight out, he says.
Griffin SkyView Hands-free Travel Mount, $19.99. SmarterTravel.com features editor Caroline Costello says this clever gadget makes an awesome gift. You can use this travel mount to attach your e-reader, smartphone or tablet to the plane seat in front of you for easy hands-free reading or watching on a flight. This item basically allows you to turn your device into a makeshift airplane seatback screen, she says.
RFID Blocking Passport Holder , $22. Passports issued since 2007 have RFID chips that store personal information about the passport holder. Karimzad says there is a slight risk that data thieves in close range can extract the information from the chip without touching your passport. However, an insulated passport holder such as this one makes it almost impossible for thieves to steal your data, he says.
Jackery Bar Premium iPhone Charger, $29.95. This battery-operated charger recommended by Rosner not only keeps your iPhone charged when you're on the go and have no place to plug in a charger, but also keeps Samsung Galaxy phones powered. It can add up to 22 hours of talk time (two to three full charges) to a smartphone.
L.L. Bean Personal Organizer Toiletry Bag, 29.95. Rosner recommends this highly rated bag for travelers looking for a good way to store and keep toiletries organized on the road. Best of all, it has a hook so you can hang it and free up counter space in a small hotel bathroom, she says.
Wacaco Minipresso, $39. Coffee lovers will appreciate this portable espresso maker that weighs less than a pound and has a built-in cup. It's currently only available for pre-order for delivery in February or March, but Karimzad says you can give the recipient a nice card for the holidays letting him or her know the gift is on its way - and worth the wait.
Carex Seat Cushion, $41.25. Now that airlines have installed seats with less padding in economy class, this memory foam seat cushion will make a difference in comfort, says Airfarewatchdog.com founder George Hobica. They're meant for people who sit for long periods in office chairs or driver's seats, but they're equally effective for long flights, he says.
JCarterHandmade Jewelry Roll, $49. Costello uses this stylish, handmade jewelry roll to keep her trinkets and valuables safe and organized while she's traveling. The rolls are made to order, so you can customize the color and pattern.
Steripen Traveler UV Water Purifier, $49.95. You can't rely on bottled water everywhere, and sometimes you just don't want to pay inflated prices for it. So Karimzad recommends this gadget that uses UV light to sterilize water in about a minute. It claims to destroy bacteria, viruses and protozoa.
For more on this and similar travel topics, visit Kiplinger.com.
This column was printed in the December 28, 2014 - January 10, 2015 edition.