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Originally published December 7, 2014 at 6:29 AM | Page modified December 15, 2014 at 5:35 PM

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Gifts for travelers, from carry-on bags to tech gadgets

Five people who travel for a living tell what luggage and gadgets make their road life easier.

The Associated Press

Won’t leave home without them

My goal, when I travel, is to take as little luggage as I can. I once shocked my then-teenage daughter by going to Europe for three weeks with just a small carry-on bag. Sure, my outfits were limited and boring, but I didn’t care. I was there to see things, not be seen.

Still, there are a few things I almost always take with me. Provide these for the traveler on your gift list — or for yourself.

• Sarong (summer) or shawl (winter). I use a sarong as a beach cover-up; light blanket for a plane, train or bus trip; a casual skirt (and yes, men wear versions of them in some places, including what’s called a kanga in East Africa).

In winter a shawl can be draped around your shoulders or worn as a scarf, and also can serve as a light blanket.

• I always take along a headlamp for reading in bed. Many cheap, and not-so-cheap, hotels have crummy bedside lights. A headlamp also is handy when traveling in less-developed countries that suffer power outages.

• An intangible gift: Be sure that your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of travel — and remind your friends/family to check theirs. Some countries require six months (or three months) of passport validity to admit you. If your passport will expire before that, your trip could end before it begins.

— Kristin Jackson, The Seattle Times


What’s the best travel bag out there? What’s the must-have gadget for travelers?

Here’s what five people who travel for a living — from Lonely Planet’s founder to the CEOs of Norwegian Cruise Line and Marriott hotels — say they can’t leave home without. Their answers may be of interest if you’re looking for holiday gift ideas for people who love to travel — or if you want to treat yourself.

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE CEO KEVIN SHEEHAN: Sheehan travels so much that he’s rarely in one place long enough to actually plug a charger into a wall. So he relies on portable chargers to keep his devices charged on the go. Mophie has a number of universal external-battery chargers that can recharge cellphones, iPods, iPads and other electronics when batteries run out. Mophie has just launched a power station plus product with built-in cables.

FROMMER’S GUIDEBOOK FOUNDER ARTHUR FROMMER: Frommer says he can’t travel anywhere without a laptop that has a keyboard; he writes so much that a tablet just won’t do. His “indispensable choice” is the “ultracheap, ultralight” Acer Chromebook. You can find one for under $200, so it “doesn’t present the anxiety of loss or theft that a thousand-dollar MacBook Air would.” Chromebooks are designed for use with Wi-Fi, and with most data stored in the cloud. Frommer says that isn’t a problem in his travels because Wi-Fi is “so ubiquitous around the world that you are seldom without it.”

LONELY PLANET FOUNDER TONY WHEELER: Wheeler often recommends a fold-up bag, “something that you can carry along for those occasions when unexpected shopping, gifts, whatever, overloads your usual bag.” But lately he’s suggesting a refinement on the concept: a fold-up daypack like the Eagle Creek packable daypack. Wheeler is working on a book that he bills as an update on Paul Theroux’s classic “The Great Railway Bazaar,” but instead of taking trains across continents, Wheeler is traveling entirely on low-cost air carriers. On many of those airlines, you’re allowed only one carry-on, so he squirrels the fold-up daypack into his larger carry-on, then hauls it out for daily use while at the destination.

MARRIOTT CEO ARNE M. SORENSON: Sorenson needs an adapter that not only works with different voltage systems and outlets around the world but also has more than one USB charging port. Walkabout Travel Gear sells a universal adapter that not only boasts of working with every voltage system “on the planet” but also has two USB power ports and can support high-powered devices like iPhones and iPads.

YAHOO TRAVEL EDITOR PAULA FROELICH: Froelich, who chronicles her frequent trips in online videos and at, tried out a lot of bags before settling on her favorite: Rimowa Salsa Deluxe. “It’s the most perfect luggage,” she said. “It’s lots of money and worth every cent. I did my research and this was perfect.” Salsa Deluxe options range in price from $450 to $895. They’re made of lightweight but durable polycarbonate, with a trademarked Multiwheel system, an extendible telescopic handle and an add-a-bag holder built into the case shell.

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