Know someone who has a penchant for travel? Whether it's for work, play, or a combination of both, any of these items would be welcome gifts under the tree this year.
Kobo Clara HD
As an alternative to the Kindle Paperwhite, the Clara HD is an entry-level e-reader that sells for the same price of $140. Small and lightweight, it has a 6" 300ppi HD Carta E Ink touchscreen, and ComfortLight Pro with blue-light reducing technology that allows for reading in direct sunlight as well as at night. Other valuable features include adjustable font sizes and a built-in dictionary.
Lander Traveler Backpack
This backpack is tailor-made for travelers, with an ample 35L capacity, roll-top cargo section, and a crash pad that can hold a laptop up to 17" in size, along with a tablet, smartphone, and other precious electronic devices, and is made of TPU-coated rip-stop material, is waterproof, impact protective, and breathable. The backpack is airline carry-on approved, and comes with separate pockets to hold things like boots, dirty clothes, and smaller items - perfect for the avid traveling who's moving from hostel to hostel, or traveling light on various adventures. US$175
Belkin Pocket Power 15K Portable Charging Bank
I never travel anywhere without my portable charging bank, and this one can recharge a smartphone or tablet multiple times over. It has two USB-A ports that can charge two devices at the same time, and a 15,000mAh battery that could provide up to 105 additional hours of video playback, depending on the smartphone. Arguably most important, and the reason it's worth shelling out a few extra bucks for a portable charger from a reputable brand, is that the batteries have sensors to monitor heat, voltage, and circuitry so you don't have to worry about your connected device overheating, or a power surge. US$50
Belkin Valet Charger Power Pack
If the person has both an iPhone and an Apple Watch, consider this handy power bank, which can charge both devices simultaneously via its 6,700mAh battery. Connect an iPhon via the USB port and a Lightning cable, and place th Watch atop the built-in Magnetic Charging Module. You can recharge the Watch up to eight tims per charge of the unit, or an iPhone up to three times. Plus, it's super-compact, so easy to pop into a backpack, briefcase, or purse for travels. US$100
Shimoda Explore 30 Camera Bag
If the person is a budding photographer, he might appreciate this compact and durable backpack, which can carry all of his photography equipment while he travels, plus a laptop and other essentials. It has an adjustable harness so the pack's weight doesn't put pressure on the wearer's shoulders, distributing it to the hips and front torso instead. A removable belt feature lets you convert from a mountain pack into a minimalist daily commuter or urban explorer. Adjustable torso height offers three size options allowing approximately three inches in vertical torso adjustment, comfortably fitting short or tall, male or female torso heights. Each shoulder strap features a fast access sleeve for items. Unfasten the belt and slide it out when you have lighter loads or city adventures. It accommodates Small, Medium DSLR and the new Medium Mirrorless and Large DSLR size Core Units; or double the configuration by stacking and shifting how the Units are placed. With a 30-litre capacity, it has a 13" laptop sleeve as well.
V-MODA REMIX Mini Portable Bluetooth Speaker Carrying Case
What makes this combination particularly neat is that this miniature Bluetooth speaker comes with a carrying case, making it convenient to bring with you for travels. The case comes in black vegan leather, and is tailor-made to fit the speaker, which measures just 8" wide, offers up to 10 hours of playtime, and can also function as a headphone amplifier when in wired analog mode. The case folds flat like an envelope when it isn't being used, and folds out to fit the speaker, protecting it from dust and scratches. The speaker is US$200, and the fitted case is US$35.
SureCall N-Range Cellular Signal Booster
If travels are by car versus plane, especially in areas with spotty cellular signal (such as someone who heads up to the cottage several times per year, or often drives in rural areas for work or play), a signal booster could come in handy. This one uses patent-pending Extended Range Technology (ERT) that amplifies a signal immediately at its strongest point to boost it at maximum power before feeding the signal directly to the device. In doing so, ERT has a greater ability to receive a signal from the cell tower, connect the user's cell phone or device, and return the signal back to the cell tower for improved calling, texting and 4G LTE data using distant or very hard to reach cell towers, says the company. The result will be clear calling, uninterrupted texting, and faster data speeds in weak cell signal areas of the road for all North American carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Bell, Telus, Rogers, Telcel, and more. Place the device on the NRange air vent phone mount antenna, and get hands-free support for all signals including 2G, 3G, 4G LTE data and more. It's simple to install, so families can easily transfer it from one vehicle to another. The kit comes with the N-Range antenna, phone mount antenna, and power adapter. It magnetically attaches to the exterior of the vehicle and the air-vent cradle mount indoor antenna provides a secure and hands-free hold that delivers the improved cell phone signal directly to the device.
Weiser Kevo Touch-to-Open Smart Lock
Make sure that people can still get into the house while you're away, like the dog walker, cleaning person, or neighbour in case of emergency, without having to leave a spare key under a potted plant on the porch. With this smart lock, you can share electronic keys with people using the Kevo app. Then, log into the app to see a history of when the door was opened and by who, or get real-time notifications. Use it with a device like a Ring Video Doorbell so you can see and speak to someone while away, and remotely unlock the door to let the deliveryman drop an important package inside, for example, while you watch him leave, then remotely lock the door again. Once back home, you can lock and unlock the door by simply touching it, and, with Kevo Plus, even ask Alexa to lock the door if you've already turned in for the night and forgot to lock it.
Amazon Prime Subscription
In addition to free shipping on items they buy online, this subscription also includes access to Amazon Prime Video. The best part for travelers: pick a desired series, and they can download of every episode in a season in one click, for watching offline, like on a plane, subway, or another country, without incurring data streaming charges. Let your phone do the work (while on Wi-Fi at home, of course), then binge the series without needing a Wi-Fi, or even cellular, connection.
Panasonic Lumix DCTS7 Digital Camera
Sure, most of the latest smartphones are waterproof and contain great digital cameras. But not everyone has a premium phone. And let's face it: even with a waterproof rating, would you take your new iPhone into a pool, or in the water at the beach? A dedicated waterproof digital camera is always the best option to keep your more expensive phone at home, and this point & shoot model also includes Wi-Fi connectivity, so you can still share snapshots immediately by transferring them to your computer or phone. Plus, it's extremely rugged: not only waterproof up to 31 metres, but also shockproof (up to two metres), freezeproof (down to -10 degrees Celsius), and pressure-resistant to 220 lbs. It has a 20.4MP, 28mm wide-angle lens, 4.6x optical zoom, and a 3" rear monitor. MSRP $580
Marshall Mid A.N.C. Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Another item I never leave home without when traveling is a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, especially if I'm traveling by plane. But they can also come in handy for travels by train, bus, subway, and even car (passengers only, of course) - anywhere where you'd like to block out consistent ambient noise, like the hum of an engine. These are Marshall's first active noise cancelling headphones, but they also include Bluetooth aptX so you can listen without wires, and at a higher quality than traditional Bluetooth. They offer up to 20 hours of wireless playtime when active noise cancelling is engaged, or 30 hours without ANC. - more than enough to last for an international flight, or a full month of commuting to and from work. Employing an on-ear design, they come with a plush headband wrapped in soft microfiber, with a brass-plated Marshall logo and black anodized metal detailing. 3D metal hinges rotate freely and adapt to your head for an ergonomic fit. True to the Marshall brand, they come with a guitar-inspired travel case that features a rich velvet red lining and a durable vinyl shell that is collapsible when not in use. MAP $380
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