10 Great Gifts for Frequent Travelers

by Carrie Kirby on 22 April 2014 (1 comment)

Sponsored by Skype — Use Skype Credit to call mobiles and landlines home and abroad at low rates.

In these days of per-bag airline fees, we all want to travel light. And yet, friends seem compelled to send us on our way with bon voyage presents that weigh us down. If you must give more than a hug goodbye to a traveling friend, why not go with one of these weightless or lightweight ideas?

1. A Subscription

Buy a membership to a home swap site, a house-sitting site, or other service where your giftee can find free lodging or helpful services. Or, a subscription to audiobook service Audible can help pass long hours of driving.

2. A Tablet

You can't beat the convenience of a tablet while traveling. A tablet can be used to download books for long flights and look up driving directions via wi-fi (or via data service if you opt for one of the pricier tablets that have that capability). It can even double as a laptop – without the extra weight – with the addition of a portable keyboard.

3. A Carry-On that Actually Fits

Airlines are cracking down on passengers who try to sneak oversized bags onto the plane. Smarter Travel put together this list of the best carry-on bags that will not get you sidelined at security.

4. Skype Credit Gift Cards

When you say goodbye to a loved one heading on a long trip to distant lands, it may seem like all communications will be cut off. Domestic cell phones might not make calls from overseas, and pay phones are becoming few and far between – not to mention high international calling rates.

If you want to hear from your world traveler, give them an easy way to stay in touch with Skype Credit. Skype Credit allows travelers to make calls to mobiles and landlines around the world at very low rates. Make it easy for them to pay for that service with the gift of Skype Credit gift cards, which can be purchased for as low as $10. Your traveling friend can also use Skype Credit to connect to one of Skype’s 2 million WiFi hotspots around the world, or send inexpensive SMS messages.

5. Storage Clothing

Travelers can be targets for thieves, and carrying expensive phones, tablets and music players makes them more vulnerable. Wearing gadgets, passports and cash on the body is not only safer, but it frees up the hands. The QUEST vest ($145), available at The Grommet, has 42 hidden pockets, one with an RFID blackout lining. The Sholdit scarf ($40-$79), has a built-in zipper purse.

6. Performance Clothing

For men, Ministry of Supply sells moisture-wicking dress shirts like the $98 Apollo 2, which boasts “NASA phase change material.” What does that mean for travelers? It means you can wear a shirt on a stuffy airplane without sweating through it, then breeze into a heavily air conditioned office while still feeling comfortable and looking crisp.

Wool & Prince makes wrinkle- and odor-resistant wool shirts that can be worn many times without washing. For both women and men, TravelSmith carries a line of no-iron clothing.

7. A Quality Notebook

At some point every traveler wishes they had somewhere to jot down a few poetic lines about the sun setting over the ocean, or realizes that they should have written down that address before their cell phone ran out of power. Send them on their way with a compact and durable notebook, like a Moleskine.

8. Photo Services

If your loved one isn't sharing enough photos from the road, treat them to an upgraded Flickr account – for $25 a year you get unlimited uploads.

More skilled photographers with higher-end equipment might prefer a subscription to 500px Plus, also $25 a year.

Or send gift credits to Shutterfly or Snapfish so they can make beautiful photo books upon return.

9. A Great Water Bottle

It doesn't sound sexy, but carrying a water bottle saves money on the road and helps keep travelers healthy. You might be surprised to find out that there aren't many drinking fountains available at most destinations outside the United States

A pouch-style bottle is easiest to pack, a Bobble has a built-in filter, and Clean Bottle unscrews at both ends so you can get it really clean and dry inside before refilling.

10. A Concierge or Assistant

Big spenders have been able to join concierge services like Quintessentially for years. But now travelers of more modest means can outsource tracking down tickets or other tasks, with low-price services such as Fancy Hands, which starts at $25 a month for five tasks.

Sponsored by Skype — Use Skype Credit to call mobiles and landlines home and abroad at low rates.

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iPad without a doubt is #1. It is my #1 travel companion and the best $500 investment I've ever made. Free wifi is so easy to find while traveling nowadays.