GEAR TO GET
The Coolest Gifts For Every Traveler
Whether it's a slick new digital camera or a good old-fashioned puzzle book, these 12 products will have everyone on your list covered.
GIFTS FOR UNPLUGGED ADVENTURERS
1. For fending off foot fatigue
The size of a pair of balled-up socks (and the same four-ounce weight), the compact Roll-Upz ballet flats by Spare Soles are a sure bet for security-line-weary travelers, as well as a Plan B for strolling down cobblestoned streets. flight001.com, $20.
2. For battery-free fun
They may not come with tricked-out graphics or digital score trackers, but Crate and Barrel's 72-sheet travel Word Scramble and Sudoku puzzle booklets, complete with pencil, have one huge draw: They'll never run out of juice en route. crateandbarrel.com, $8 each.
3. For in-flight time checks
It may be fashionable to think that smartphones can replace watches, but wait till you have to turn off your cell on the tarmac. The rainbow-hued, doodad-free, silicone Flat watch from Ops! is the no-commitment, no-complications solution for determining how long until descent. amazon.com, $25.
4. For baggage-claim bravado
The Lucha Libre luggage tag from Flapjack Toys, modeled after the elaborate masks worn by Mexico's theatrical luchadores, is the perfect mix of pop-culture playfulness and hands-off-my-bag menace—sure to set any sensible black suitcase apart from the pack. flight001.com, $12.
5. For artfully lo-fi photos
Hand-assembling a camera sounds like a job for the pros. Not so with the 43-piece Paper Pinhole Camera. After 90 minutes with a ruler, a pencil, some glue, and a little patience, you'll end up with dreamy, soft-focus images (using 35mm film) that no one will mistake for JPEGs. lomography.com, $25.
6. For navigating new territory
Before Google Street View and GPS mapped every journey down to the last detail, explorers relied on something much simpler: the humble compass. A one-inch version worn as a necklace charm makes for a clever, functional, and retro take on an all-time favorite travel tool. fredflare.com, $14.
GIFTS FOR TECHIE TRAVELERS
1. For media maintenance
A 10-inch display, nearly full-size keyboard, 160-gigabyte hard drive, and up to 11 hours of battery—more than enough for catching up on downloaded movies—make HP's Mini 210 netbook a workhorse in show pony's clothing. Plus, the under-four-pound wonder has fun extras like a webcam and an integrated media-card reader for uploading photos and video on the go. shopping.hp.com, from $330.
2. For a campsite night-light
First Joby reinvented the camera tripod, and now it has given the standard flashlight a hands-free upgrade. This 6.5-ounce Gorillatorch has flexible legs for gripping tent poles and tree limbs, a battery life of up to 80 hours, and (for all you romantics out there) a dimmer switch. joby.com, $30.
3. For frame-worthy photographs
The Samsung PL200 has no shortage of standout features: a whopping 14.2 megapixels (enough for poster-size prints), a 7x zoom, and a built-in image stabilizer, to start. But the intelligent LCD screen trumps them all, adjusting automatically to environmental light; you'll never squint again. samsung.com for stores, $180.
4. For cruise-ship communication
These Lego Walkie-Talkies might look like toys, but with a one-mile range and easy-to-use controls, they're a simple and fun way to keep track of your brood on a family cruise or at an amusement park. Copy that? toysrus.com, $20.
5. For germproofing your toothbrush
Here's some good, clean fun: A USB-powered ultraviolet lamp tucked inside the UVmini toothbrush sanitizer kills 99.99 percent of the germs from, say, a hotel bathroom's countertop or the bottom of your trusty toiletry bag. uvmini.com for stores, $25.
6. For tray-table movie marathons
Apps, e-mail, movies, maps—what more does the iPhone need? Maybe something to lean on. The superlight MoviePeg stand, made from a combo of rubber and plastic, makes a world of difference when you want to stage a screening on the fly. movie-peg.com, $8.