'Tis the season to be jolly and well, shop. So, I thought I'd share a list of potential gift ideas with you that you could proudly give to the traveler in your life. By the way, all of these gifts were chosen because they're great for people like me who live life on wheels but four of the five suggestions below would make awesome gifts regardless of where you fall on the spectrum of physical ability.
5. The Black & Decker ASI300 Air Station: It's $45 and well worth it. It's not a glamorous gift, I know, but this bad boy has literally saved my bacon on more than one trip when the tires on my chair were running low on air post-flight.
4. The SmartDrive MX2: This 12.5 lb. beauty transforms a manual chair into a push-assist, power chair via a Bluetooth connection between the motor, that clamps to the rear axle of a chair, and a band the chair user wears on his or her wrist. I haven't had the chance to try one of these yet but I'm hoping that will change soon. At just under $6,000 this isn't cheap but compared to the two shoulder surgeries I have enjoyed. Who knows? If I get this maybe I'll tackle some of San Francisco's hills on my own!
Sidebar: In this instance please note that the italic enjoyed represents sarcasm. Here's another bit of good news, you can get a script for SmartDrive and off-set some of the cost by way of insurance.
3. Tumi Alpha 2 Carry-on Garment Bag: Alright, let's get it out of the way, Tumi bags are expensive. Priced at $495 there's no denying it, but I think they're worth every penny. I have used several less expensive brands through the years and there's nothing worse than rolling through an airport with a garment bag on my lap and a strap breaks. That, my friends, is a bad day at the office.
I prefer garment bags because they lay flat on my lap. Hence, I can roll with them without an issue. Additionally, most of my business trips are between three and four days so the size of this bag is perfect. My version of this bag comes in a really cool brown/taupe color that Tumi discontinued. Why Tumi? Why? I would have loved to get my bigger version of this bag in the same color.
2. Bose QC35 Wireless, Noise Cancelling Headphones: Full disclosure - I'm still using an iPhone 6, so I have a headphone jack but the present - in the form of the iPhone 7 and some Android devices - and the future, is definitely wireless and I'm stoked!
I can't tell you how many pairs of headphones I have ruined rolling through airports. One minute they're in my ears and the next, my they're being violently ripped out of my ears as I somehow manage to roll over the headphone wires; ugg. I've had enough. No more wires!
Universally priced at $349 these over-ear headphones are cheaper than comparable models from Sony and Sennheiser but they certainly aren't a bargain. Nonetheless, they're on my list to Santa. I've been good. I promise!
1. Bellroy Travel Wallet: I've owned one of these for years and I absolutely love it. Why? Because as I have shared with my wife Claudia many times: "See that purse on your shoulder? Well, this wallet is like having a purse in your pocket." Boom! I told her, right? Not really. She and I both know one fact that's beyond debate - I'm a dork. But seriously, this wallet holds different types of currency, boarding passes, business cards, credit cards, a travel pen and my passport. Seriously, I love having everything in one place.
At $119 it might not be for everyone on your list but for that special someone who travels a lot, it's a gift he won't soon forget.
There you have it. My top five gifts for the traveler in your life this holiday season.
My true wish for everyone reading this column is that each of you enjoys a happy, safe holiday season in the company of family and friends. Gifts are nice but they pale in comparison to the relationships each of us is privileged to enjoy. The holidays are great because even in the midst of the hustle and bustle, hopefully we steal a moment here and there to remember what truly matters … the people in our lives.
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