Holiday Travel Gifts – 2011

Our guest post comes from Howard Hian who was recently awarded a Gold Medal/First Place Award from the North American Travel Journalists Association’s annual international writing contest.  His prize winning story, Houseboating with My Pirate Pals, was in the Intergenerational Travel category.  In 2010 he also received a second place award in the Cancun International writers competition for his feature, Quintessential Quintana Roo.

TravelPro’s WalkAbout Lite 4’s 20” Carry-On at Sacramento’s New Terminal

The past year I’ve discovered various travel items that would make excellent holiday gifts.


The brand sounds like an educational project but Outdoor Research carries a good looking line of sports, outdoor and travel clothes that fit my three basic needs: quick dry, lightweight and easy to pack. Take a look at the Sun Runner Cap and Sombiolet Sun Hat for protection from harmful rays. For a catalog of their products, go to


Teva’s Raith and Teko Light hiking Socks at the Grand Canyon

Shoes: Although Teva sandals are legendary, they offer a wide variety of casual, hiking and multi-sport models. Teva’s Raith Event provided a perfect fit for my recent trip to the Grand Canyon. The Gnarkosi model is my choice for water wear (especially creek walking). Have fun browsing at

Shoes: Acorn’s handsewn SportMocs are comfortable and perfect for semi-dress or casual wear, plus they’re easy-on, easy-off at TSA security checkpoints. My wife loves her EarthRoamers; they are stylish and durable. For the complete line of shoes, slippers and socks, logon to

Socks: Teko is all about premium performance socks. My light hiking ones are cushioned, wool-wicking, comfy and durable. Order a pair of the Lifestyle model for a dressier look with the same components. The website is

On the Plane

Luggage: My choice here is TravelPro’s WalkAbout Lite 4’s 20” carry-on. It features dual spinner wheels and two outside zipped compartments (one of which is padded to protect your laptop). Their entire collection of suitcases, bags, etc., can be found at

Magellan’s Travel Vest

Travel Vest: This is my favorite article of clothing. It becomes a third carry-on, its pockets filled with my cell phone, keys, wallet, paperback, passport, etc. It’s lightweight, dries quickly and looks good. That and loads of other interesting travel merchandise can be found at

Comfort: The inflatable “Business Class Foot Rest” provides leg support that relieves strain on the lower back. It’s another goodie from Magellan’s.

Noise: Airplane din, babies crying and loud talkers mostly go away with PlaneQuiet Platinum’s sound reduction headset. It also provides hi-fi audio and is compatible with in-flight systems, iPod, CD, DVD, MP3 players and laptops. For a special gift for the audiophile in your life, consider an upgrade to the Solitude X Active Noise Canceling Headphone. The motto at Pro Travel Gear is “Be a traveler not a tourist.” Their catalog of products can help you achieve that goal at

Computer: Wilson Software features Hold ‘em, 7-card stud and Omaha, all with tournament and cash game variations. The games have great graphics, realistic simulation, an advice tab, odds calculator, stats and a replay button. If you want to improve your game and tune up your skills, or just kill time while traveling, this is the product for you. I attended a recent WPT Boot Camp and Wilson’s computer analysis was used in the classroom. Become a winner at

When You Get There

Save Money: The Entertainment Book, soon to celebrate its 50th. anniversary, offers several innovations. It’s still in coupon book form but also available in digital format and as a phone app. As they say, “Give the gift of savings that lasts all year long.” Purchase options can be found at and don’t forget to sign up for their email blasts.

DuraTent’s Picnic Tent (this is the small one!)

Picnic Sidekick: It is a lightweight tabletop “tent” that packs easily and is handy for the beach, camping or any outdoor event. It comes in two sizes and keeps your food and utensils protected from insects, wind and sun. See it online at

Bio-True: It’s a new product and a good one. This multi-purpose contact lens solution lubricates my eyes and keeps them comfy while flying, at my computer and swimming or hiking; a travel size bottle is available. Retailer locations can be found at

Note: While online at the sites look for sales, discounts and, if in doubt of what to give, consider a gift certificate.

Happy holidays, safe travels and enjoy the journey…

Howard Hian