Budget Travel's Guilt-Free Gift Guide
Silly gifts are so 2008. This year, it's all about presents with purpose. These 13 travel-ready products are practical, affordable, and just playful enough.
Make sightseeing more kid-friendly
The Lego Digital Camera isn't meant just for little shutterbugs: With a 1.5-inch LCD screen, 4x zoom, and enough internal storage for 80 photos (no extra memory card required), the 3-megapixel point-and-shoot, which comes preassembled, is a toy fit for all ages. digiblue.com, $50.
Snorkel whenever the impulse strikes
Body Glove's Enfold Combo comes with a flexible dry snorkel that coils up so small you can store it inside the fog-free silicone mask. When unfolded, the compact duo is as large as other standard dive-quality sets. bodyglove.com, $35.
Sail through security with your laptop
Some TSA rules have actually softened: If your computer is in a mostly metal-free bag like a Built Laptop Sleeve, you don't have to remove it to go through security. The stretchy neoprene cases come in vibrant colors. builtny.com, from $20.
Give your kids a warm, fuzzy feeling
Zoobie's multitasking stuffed animal expands into a pillow and unzips to reveal a fleece blanket—which should help little ones fall asleep in unfamiliar places. zoobies.com, from $25.
Get comfy in coach
The Soft Hugwear Deluxe Travel Essentials set includes a plush blanket, a foam-bead neck pillow with a washable cover, and a satin-lined eye mask—all for the price of one small travel pillow at the airport. walmart.com, $20.
Stay wired off the grid
Keep all of your gadgets going with Solio's Mono solar hybrid charger. Fully charged, it delivers enough juice for five extra hours of talk time on an iPhone, 45 more hours on an iPod Nano, or 350-plus digital photos. solio.com, $50.
Check your location furtively
Dynomighty Design's NYC Subway Map Mighty Wallet, made of tear-resistant Tyvek, doubles as a transit map of New York. The bifold also has slots to stash your cash, credit cards, and subway pass. dynomighty.com, $15.
Drown out chatter without insulting your neighbor
JVC's noise-canceling earbuds reduce ambient sound by up to 88 percent—minus the bulk of $300 earmuff-style headphones. Not only will you be able to tune out a crowded plane, but you won't look overly standoffish. jvc.com, $80.
Sip in secret
No matter what you've filled it with, Nalgene's 12-ounce flask is slim enough that it won't take up precious space in your purse or pack. It comes with a removable insulating sleeve, and the handy leakproof cap measures perfect one-ounce shots. nalgene-outdoor.com, $9.
Find an underwater camera that doesn't soak you
The 8.1-megapixel Vivitar 8400 Underwater Vivicam digital camera costs less than a basic plastic case. It shoots up to 30 feet underwater, and the rubber coating ensures a tight grip, even when fully submerged. vivitar.com, $100.
Play with something other than your iPod
Each Kikkerland Retro Travel Game comes in a pocket-size plastic case that opens up to reveal a full game board. The pieces are magnetic, so you can't blame turbulence for your bad moves. mxyplyzyk.com, $10.
Ditch the clunky travel bag
Cut from water-repellent oilcloth, MY Flat Tote hides scuff marks and cleans up nicely with a damp towel. True to its name, the 15-inch bag also flattens to half a centimeter. myoilcloth.com, $78.
Lighten your load
Eagle Creek's HC2 Hovercraft Duffel 22 weighs six pounds and eight ounces—about three pounds less than standard 22-inch carry-ons. The rugged, collapsible frame also makes stashing it in tight quarters a cinch. eaglecreek.com, $225.