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Best Holiday Gifts For Travelers 2013
Briggs & Riley is the best performing of the many luggage brands I’ve used in two decades of hard travel – and it makes a great gift.
omega watches My annual weeklong series of gift guides started on Black Friday with a list of suggestions for golfers , and I followed that up with gift lists for skiers & snowboarders , gifts f or cyclists , and for fans of wines and spirits . Today I close by tackling gifts for the frequent (or simply passionate) travelers on your holiday list, with the best specific recommendations in a wide range of prices, from $17 to $4,500.
fake omega watches Some people travel for their jobs, but I travel for a living. Just in the month before Christmas I visited five countries across the Americas, Asia and Europe, plus several long distance domestic trips, and in the span of just ten days I reached 2014 gold status on one airline and platinum on another. In 2013 I visited more than a third of the US states from my home in New England, including the far corners, Florida, California and Alaska. To say I fly a lot is an understatement, but I also drive and travel by train a lot. Over the years I’ve broken a lot of luggage, flown through a lot of sleepless nights, watched a lot of inflight movies, and packed and unpacked over a thousand times, so when it comes to the best things for travel, I know what I’m talking about.
copy watches Luggage: I know nothing lasts forever, but a lot of luggage doesn’t even make it close. Cheap bags tend to quickly suffer catastrophic failure, but even most of the more expensive ones I’ve used have disappointed, especially with broken zipper pulls, always the first thing to go, and while minor, this makes the bag really annoying to open and close. Simple and obvious hint for luggage makers – use better zipper pulls! But I’ve also had total zipper meltdowns, and the other biggies are broken straps and handles, especially retractable handles for rolling luggage, which love to stop retracting. Occasionally the whole thing gives up the ghost through fabric tears, and in recent memory I’ve said goodbye to bags from leading brands like Travelpro, Eagle Creek, ClubGlove, Mountainsmith and Samsonite, all, in my informed opinion, too soon. This past spring, after a prolonged demo, I wrote about my new go-to luggage brand, Briggs & Riley (you can read the original more detailed piece here ). Nearly a year and tens of thousands of hard miles later, I’m still using those two bags, one a standard rolling duffel, the other a split level version, and neither shows the slightest sign of wear and tear. I’ve used them to haul everything from ski boots to dressy business clothing, and I won’t say I’ve been happy with the bags – I’ve been ecstatic. The retractable handles seem bulletproof, as do the fabrics, zippers and wheels, yet they are still quite light. In fact, they are both in the cargo hold below, somewhere over the Carolinas, stuffed full of cycling gear, as I write this. They make every sort of bag across several lines, but all are high-end, and the split rolling duffel bag I use is a “large upright duffel” from the “Baseline” collection, which features their signature outside handle system to allow for totally flat interior packing, composite feet and corners for durability, and a fiberglass frame for strength with light weight. It holds a considerable 7,681 cubic inches and weighs just 11 pounds (MSRP $479). The single compartment bag is the Expedition Rolling Duffel, from their BRX “adventure travel” line. It has the same external handle, more pockets, is made from very strong and durable but lightweight and weatherproof 420 denier synthetic fabric, and packs in 6,899 cubic inches in just 9.7 pounds ($320). After my experience, I feel pretty comfortable recommending anything from this venerable made in the USA company that was established in 1933.
replica omega specialities Noise Canceling Headphones: You can tell the frequent fliers by the fact that they have high-end, over the ear models of noise canceling headphones, the first things to come out of the carry-on and the last to go back in during a flight. They are a must. I watch a lot of movies on my iPad or laptop, and they are great for this, and also a big upgrade if you are using the plane’s onboard entertainment system. But I know lots of road warriors who use them for music or with nothing at all, simply to drown out background noise and get more rest, or while reading. Like I said, they are a must. I bought and typically use the Bose QuietComfort3, and I’ve been quite happy as they offer excellent active (the only way to go, forget passive) noise reduction, good sound quality and are comfortable and convenient. However, earlier this year I tested a pair of top of the line MM 550X Travel headphones from Sennheiser and liked them even more (they went back to the manufacturer, so I’m back to using my Bose). The noise cancellation was about the same, which is to say excellent, but the sound quality was better, especially for music, and they had
Safe drinking water is something no traveler can take for granted, and the CamelBak All Clear delivers it at the push of a button.
replica omega speedmaster enhanced features like SRS surround sound, Bluetooth 2.1, adjustable volume, quick mute to hear the flight attendant, and integrated phone controls, all features the Bose models, which simply have on/off, lack. Good noise cancelling headphones are a great gift for frequent travelers, and if money is no object, go with the Sennheiser ($500). If money is a moderate object go with the Bose ($349). If these are still too expensive, you might want to look for a different gift. I’ve tried a number of low priced noise cancelling headphones and they were not good, and none still work, whereas I’ve used the same Bose models very regularly for six long, hard years. You pretty much always get what you pay for, but this is especially true with noise canceling headphones. Read my earlier comparison and shopping guide for much more detail on buying noise canceling headphones.
replica omega de-ville CamelBak All Clear: “Don’t drink the water” is a warning that has been associated with travel for as long as I can recall. It is especially true for active travelers such as hikers, rafters, climbers, cyclists, safari goers and other adventurers who make their home away from home in the wilderness or far off the beaten path. But it is also true for business or leisure visitors to many less developed countries, even in big cities and beach resorts. I write broadly on food topics, have a high threshold for what I consider dirty, and often ingest things that more conservative travelers would not touch, yet the only time I have ever gotten really sick from food or drink while traveling in nearly 20 years was from a sealed bottle of water – in first-world Ireland. You can’t always rely on the availability of bottled water, and even when you can, you can’t always rely on its provenance or purity. The alternatives are not great: most purification tablets taste like crap (and take a long time to work), boiling is usually impractical, and while pumping a filter might work for wilderness camping, it’s not something you want to be doing daily in your hotel. That’s why the CamelBak All Clear is so awesome. It’s easy, it’s portable, it’s under your total control and it almost instantly makes any water, tap or stream, drinkable. Its tagline is “60 seconds to purified water. Anywhere.” That pretty much says it all. I’ve used CamelBak hydration products happily for 15 years, and tried just about every purification alternative while camping, visiting Africa and rafting, and this is the best. It’s a BPA free, extremely rugged water bottle with built in UV technology that neutralizes microbiological contaminants and brings water to EPA standards at the push of a button. It uses rechargeable lithium ion batteries that can purify 80 bottles worth (16 gallons) on a single charge, has an LCD display in the lid that verifies success, and then you can carry the water with you, securely sealed. Going to a questionable city on business? Just throw it in your checked luggage and fill it from the bathroom tap in your room for peace of mind and peace of health. Going on an expedition? Fill it from a stream and enjoy safe water in a minute. The thing I love about this is that it makes a great gift for business or leisure travelers, active or passive, and sooner or later, they are going to use it and be glad they did. It’s only $99 and lifetime guaranteed.
For the well-traveled, there is no watch as well-traveled as the Omega Speedmaster Professional – the only watch ever worn on the moon.
Omega Moonwatch: Need a luxury gift for a traveler? Look no further than Omega’s famous Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional watch (Reference # 3570.50.00). I wrote on fine watches for many years, and there are so many great companies, models and price points that it is generally impossible to recommend just one model, but for the theme of travel this particular Swiss mechanical timepiece stands out – because it is the most well traveled watch in human history, the only watch ever worn on the moon (as well as plenty of other firsts and one of a kinds, from aviation to polar exploration). It was also the choice for space travel for decades before and after the first moon landing, including the Gemini and Mercury programs, and was even worn by both parties, the NASA and Cosmonaut astronauts, during the historic Apollo-Soyuz space rendezvous. It was chosen by NASA as the only approved watch for the Apollo (and other manned) programs because at the time it was it was the only wristwatch tested that passed all of the agency’s severe condition tests including zero gravity and magnetic fields, extreme shocks, vibrations and temperatures ranging from -18 to +93 degrees Celsius. This watch famously allowed the crew of damaged Apollo 13 to precisely time manual engine firings to return safely to earth, and in 1978 NASA again chose the Speedmaster for the “new” Space Shuttle program. Today the Omega Speedmaster comes in a wide variety of models and styles with various features, but this particular version, a chronograph with three subdials, black face, black bezel with tachymetric scale and stainless steel case (the astronauts wore a custom long fabric band to fit over their spacesuits rather than the stainless bracelet shown), is the one that went to the moon. If it was good enough for the late, great Neil Armstrong, it is good enough for me, which is why I put my money where my mouth is and bought one for myself more than five years ago, a splurge which I appreciate every time I wear it around the world. Also, because it has no date indicator, it is very easy to reset in just seconds every time I change time zones, which is very frequently. But the real reason this watch makes a great gift for the traveler is because it is a true classic, the kind that never goes out of style, and for fans of travel, it represents the furthest and greatest trip in human history ($4,500).
Eagle Creek Pack-It Packing Solutions: In the luggage piece above, I mention that my Eagle Creek luggage hasn’t held up as well as I would have hoped. However, I can’t say that about the company’s very comprehensive line of “packing solutions,” many of which I have used for more than a decade and rarely leave home without. In fact, I have three of them (plus a toilet kit) with me in my luggage as I travel at this very moment. Basically, the Pack-It line of products includes zippered soft-sided containers in many different sizes and styles, mainly in three lines. The Pack-It folders are envelope-style flats with a rigid bottom that let you stack several folded dress shirts and/or pants, close up the four Velcro flaps, and arrive at your destination with all your dressy clothes neat and ready to wear. Different size Pack-It folders hold different amounts of clothing. Then there are the Pack-It cubes, single and double-sided briefcase shaped containers, most with one side of mesh, that are perfect for separating certain items, from socks to underwear to casual shirts to belts. I usually use one of these to hold all of my golf clothes on a golf trip so I can easily find exactly what I’m looking for. Pack-It sacs are purse shaped, with three closed sides and a zippered opening, good for toiletries, bottles, jewelry and smaller items, though they make a size for a pair of shoes. Basically these are all super light and thin, really don’t add any tangible space or weight to your checked luggage, and instead probably allow you to pack more, efficiently. But the real boon is that you are ultra-organized: instead of a large checked bag packed full of clothes, you have it subdivided by use (dress clothes, gym clothes, undergarments, whatever you like) and in addition to organization it keeps your clothes neater, less wrinkled, and separates items you want separated (shoes, dirty laundry, etc.) I have purchased Pack-It folders and cubes of various sizes, none of which have ever worn out, and I love them. To make holiday shopping easy, Eagle Creek also sells them in variety sets, such as the World Traveler Set, with one from each of the three lines, usually $40, now on sale for $28. Larger cubes and folders start from just $17. The good thing about this choice is that any type of traveler can benefit, you can even use them at home and you can never have too many (my wife is constantly borrowing mine).
Safe Travels and Happy Holidays!
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Best Holiday Gifts For Wine & Spirits Lovers 2013
Best Holiday Gifts For Skiers And Snowboarders 2013
Best Headphones For Frequent Travelers: Bose vs. Sennheiser
Frequent Travelers: Luggage For The Long Haul
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