If you’ve got a traveller on your gift list, then you’re probably looking for something unique and high-tech for the holidays. Here’s Vacay.ca’s gift guide to the best holiday shopping ideas for travellers.
Rimowa Topas Stealth Carry-on Case
Who’s it for: The member of the 1% who’s on your gift list
Where to buy: Luxury retailers across Canada and the Rimowa store on 101 Bloor Street West in Toronto.
The Topas Stealth looks James Bond and certainly has the makeup to have as many lives as 007. Nearly indestructible, the aluminum carry-on case will likely be the one piece of luggage that lasts you a lifetime. This ultra-lightweight model is designed to be stored in airplane overhead bins. It has dimensions of 22.4-by-17.5-by-9.8 inches, which is a touch over the carry-on size limits used by most airlines (about 45 inches total) but who’s going to mess with someone carrying this beauty? The Topas Stealth carry-on piece has a five-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Price: $25 for a two-pack; $28 for XXL size; free for Vacay.ca contest winners (pretty easy to enter — just write 50 words on what you love about Canada)
Who’s it for: Wine collector
Where to buy: Magellans.com
If you’ve ever had liquor confiscated at an airport security checkpoint or been the victim of a spill in your checked luggage, you will understand the genius of Bottle Armor. Bubble wrap, Velcro and a Zip-loc-type seal combine to create a 21st-century travel essential. Bottle Armor protects your wine and spirits purchases that have to be stowed in your checked luggage because of the restrictions on liquids aboard airplanes. Those travellers on connecting flights must often go through secondary security checks, which can come as a surprise. In such a case, duty-free purchases will likely be taken, making Bottle Armor an item that the wine collectors in your life will want to pack just as much as a toothbrush when they travel overseas.
Who’s it for: Music lover
Where to buy: Eagle Eye Sales website
This clever little device is essentially a portable mp3 docking station, but it has the novel ability to create sound from whatever surface it’s adhered to. You simply stick the speaker component to a table, a wall, a rock, a beer bottle, anything, and it will use the vibration in that surface as the speaker for your iPod. For someone who wants to create an instant party atmosphere, the Boombx is a neat little gadget. It runs on two AAA batteries and, although it was developed in Calgary, it’s made in China. The plastic shell feels a bit flimsy and the wires are cumbersome to wrap up around the square body.
Franklin 12-Language Global Translator (TGA-490)
Who’s it for: Jetsetter
Where to buy: Most electronic stores in Canada; here’s the listing in Future Shop
The Franklin translator comes with 12,000 phrases already programmed in and categorized by communication type (ie: “Business” or “Dining”). You can ask for the wine list in French or someone’s phone number in Spanish. Once the phrase is selected, you can show it to the person you’re communicating with or have the device’s recorded voice say it for you. It’s a wonderful tool that can come in handy in all kinds of situations travellers encounter – and is also a terrific conversation starter. A downside is the keypad, which is very small and it can take a while to type out the words. After you give a loved one this device, suggest he or she stick to the pre-programmed phrases as much as possible. Languages include: Mandarin, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
Kiva.org Gift Certificate
Price: $25 and up
Who’s it for: Charitable friend
Where to buy: Kiva.org website
Kiva.org has been helping businesses in the developing world grow since 2005. It connects lenders in first-world nations such as Canada with entrepreneurs in poorer countries. When you give a gift certificate to Kiva.org, you’re introducing someone on your gift list to a world full of opportunities and lasting partnerships. Your recipient will be able to loan the money you give them in your gift card to any borrower in the Kiva.org database. There are almost 650,000 lenders in the Kiva.org community and more than $253 million has been lent out, with a repayment rate of an astonishing 98.93 per cent.