A couple days ago, I visited the Flight 001 (pronounce flight one) store in Chicago to pick up a couple holiday gifts for some future jetsetters. This all inclusive shop looks like the interior of a plane, without the seats or windows or overhead bins. So basically, it's just the shape of a plane cabin. It's incredibly modern, with just a hint of retroness, thanks to its product selection. It has all kinds of unique, fun and functional items for travel, from essentials that any frequent flier would appreciate, to quirky starter kits for novice travelers. The minute I stepped in the store, I saw at least 10 things I wanted for myself. (Of course, I had to practice some self control, since I was shopping for other people.) I was able to find exactly what I wanted, and even some things I didn't expect.
I especially liked the weekend travel bags, since most of my trips lately have been quick ones up to milwaukee. I was tempted to buy a travel blanket, pillow and eye mask (one that read "I sleep with strangers" was particularly amusing). There was also a collection of pouches that hold small essentials, like aspirin, vitamins, chapstick, makeup, etc. Each one had an illustration and funny statement. For example, there was a purple one, with a picture of a pill bottle and it read "heavily medicated for take off;" and another one with the infinity sign that read "There's never an end to a trip just another destination." There were so many choices, it was tough to decide what I wanted to get, mostly because I was making my own wish list in my head.
Flight 001 is probably one of the best places to get gifts for the traveler in your life. They have a few stores around the world, but if you aren'y lucky enough to have one near you, their website is great.
An article in The New York Times also offered some great gift ideas for frugal travelers. The first item on the list was the VIOlight Slim Sonic Toothbrush (sold at Flight 001), which is a compact, electric toothbrush that comes in a bunch of fun colorful, bright designs. The Travel Stub Diary was certainly interesting, especially as someone who saves ticket stubs to museums, shows and other events from my travels. This offers a great place to store all those lose pieces of paper. For all the foodie travelers out there, the Mobile Foodie Survival Kit is amazing! If you stay in rental properties or hostels and cook your own food, this provides all the spices one might need to prepare a quality meal. You no longer have to go out and buy a whole bottle of salt, pepper, basil, oregano, etc., and then leave tje, or have to lug a bunch of spice bottles around the rest of the trip. The "No Foreign Lands" book looked really cool. It is from the Matador Network, a travel site, and offers inspiring quotes about travel. One of note: "Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God." -Kurt Vonnegut. (To see the rest of the list, go here.)
So, if anyone is looking for a fun last minute gift for someone who likes to travel (cough--ME), check out Flight 001 or any of the websites featured on the New York Times list. Or just buy them a flight to anywhere in the world, I'm sure that would make them supremely happy, too!