2010 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
Where is that elf when you need her?
You still have to shop for a pile of gifts that won't bust the budget for on-the-go families -- including your own -- and Black Friday and
If you were super-organized, you might have squirreled away "surprises" from your last family vacation -- those souvenirs the kids wanted but you nixed -- and can now present with appropriate fanfare. I wasn't that organized this year and my kids wouldn't let me buy even one more ornament for the tree. ("Enough already!" They said in
Still too much work for this stressful season? Think about what makes you and your gang happy and cozy when you travel and purchase some of those things for your favorite travelers. Maybe it's a book for the kids about where you're going. (
Since I can't stand to be without something to read at an airport, on a beach or on a train or ship, I prefer e-books. With an e-book, I don't have to tote bulky travel guides and I can share titles across multiple Kindles in my family, as long as we have the same account. Give one to your favorite traveler and include a guide for the place they are going next, or select a novel set in that locale. Include a children's book set in wherever the traveling kids are going to visit. (Your local children's librarian can steer you in the right direction.)
Not to be outdone,
Amazon's latest Kindle
is 21 percent smaller, though with the same 6-inch display, 17 percent lighter, double the storage capacity and it offers free
out-of-copyright books and a battery life lasting up to a month. You can also read your Kindle on your other devices.
is a great choice -- just
If you know someone who frets when they are out of cell range from their kids on vacation -- say on a cruise ship, campground or on top of a ski slope -- give them the Motorola MB140R Two-Way Radios. They fit in a pocket and have a range of up to 10 miles. (You can buy them at www.amazon.com.)
You know how upset tweens and teens get if their iPods or smartphones run out of juice -- especially when they are stuck in
the car for hours with the family. They'll thank you for the
Energizer Energi To Go iPod Charger With 2 AA Lithium Batteries
-- rechargeable lithium polymer power
packs designed to charge everything from phones to MP3 players, digital cameras, netbooks and laptops.
Prices start at
Maybe your wish for the holiday season is for your family to get unplugged on vacation. Tempt them with To
Go! Games from
If someone you know can never find their suitcase on the airport carousel, give them some brightly colored luggage tags or a new lightweight suitcase like those from Lands' End's (www.landsend.com) Flight Wise collection. The cases come in a variety of colors, including canyon orange and chili pepper.
Check out Burton Snowboards Unisex Adult Wheelie Flight Deck Luggage. It meets airline carry-on rules yet has a volume-enhancing CRAM stretch zipper zone, removable laptop case and comes in bright, easy-to-spot plaids and designs.
And if you've been that person in line (like me) frantically taking shoes out of your suitcase so that you won't be
overweight, get them a travel scale/alarm clock from
The right gear can make or break a trip. For those contemplating a long flight or car ride, get the Total Pillow Versatile Neck & Body Pillow that twists into a variety of shapes and is filled with tension-easing microbeads. The kids can use it for a headrest, floor pillow or seat cushion.
Buy your outdoors lovers some cushy socks that will keep their feet toasty and dry. I'm partial to my lightweight down jacket from Mountain Hardwear that crumples into a ball and fits into its own stuff sack, doubling as an airplane pillow. (You can find other versions from Marmot and Patagonia, among others.)
But there is one thing that will never fail to please the travelers you love: The promise of a trip to come.
Are you listening, elf?
- Taking the Kids and Checking Out the Holiday Lights
- Christmas Trees and Manger Scenes
- Taking the Kids and Giving the Elves a Hand for the Traveling Family
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- How to Fall Into a Real Travel Bargain This Year
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- Save Your Money or Your Trip?
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- Walking Tours Bring Europe's Cities to Life
- Taking the Kids to Oahu Beyond Waikiki
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- Are Loyalty Programs Worth It?
- Big Exhibit? Avoid Lines and Hassle
- The Continental - United Merger: What's New
- Munich: Metropolis with Small-Town Charm
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- Coping with Europe's 'Season of Strikes'
- 'Private Sale' Sites: Deals on Luxury Hotels and Cruises
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- Glamour Camping
- Flying? Get on the Web
- Glamour Camping
- Spain: Parties and Processions in Andalucia
- London: Taming London in a Week
- Taking the Kids to Mesa Verde National Park
- Fall Vacation Travel: A Great Season
- Airfare Searches: Know the Right Places
- 'Tax Free' Airport Stores: Bargain or Hype?
- Organize a Tour and Travel for 'Free' But with Strings
- Oh No You Didn't! 5 Ways Travelers Have Lost Their Manners
- Travel Complaints That Fail: 5 Kinds of Emails You Should Never Write
- Air Travelers Let Your Voices Be Heard
- Car Rentals: You Missed the Scratch on the Roof
- Hey, What Happened to My Internet Connection?
- Taking the Kids RVing in Colorado
- Taking the Kids to Nantucket
- Praying and Partying in the Streets of Istanbul
- Revenge of the Hotel Clerks: Things They Do to Difficult Guests
- Sorry We Forgot About That $500 Change Fee
- Beware of Tour Operator 'Savings' Claims
- New Vacation Rental and Hotel Options
- Steven Slater Airline Meltdown Hardly a Surprise
- Taking the Kids to Boston Time Traveling Back in History in Boston
- Stockholm's Island Getaways
- Shorter Vacations? Tighter Budgets? Welcome to the New 'Normal' in Travel
- Do You Really Want to Take Your Pets Along?
- Travel Taxes: Bad, Getting Worse
- What to Pack for a Weekend Getaway
- Naughty No More: New York's 42nd Street
- Taking the Kids to NYC for the First Time
- Taking the Kids: Grandparents and Kids Take on the Big Apple with Elderhostel
- The World's Top Architecture Museums
- Taking the Kids: Seeing More Than the Typical Sites in New York City
- Rambling Through the Ruins of Europe's Castles
- Taking the Kids to NYC for the First Time
- Eco-Friendly Camping is About Putting Nature First
- Take a Magical History Tour
- Fall Travel Bargains Will Abound and Here's Where to Find Them
- If It's Called Secure Flight, Why Do I Feel So Insecure?
- Using Opaque Travel Web Sites Effectively
- Eldergadget: Creative or Condescending?
It's vacation and the teens are awake and ready to roll before 8 a.m.! The 22-year-old White has come down to Grand Cayman, his parents and sister in tow, to inaugurate Skate Cayman an 11-week summer program
Taking the Kids Camping & the Great Outdoors
Just being in a tent is an adventure for young kids, says Nancy Ritger, an Appalachian Mountain Club naturalist who has camped with her three teens since they were bab
Whether you want to learn to dive with your tween or snorkel with your kindergartner, teach your grade-schooler to sail or fly on a trapeze, you'll find plenty of opportunities at Caribbean resorts -- at prices that are surprisingly affordable.
Kids on a Plane! 5 Fixes for Unruly Junior Passengers
Kids on a plane. No four words incite more acrimonious debate among air travelers. On one side, you have childless customers who just want a little civility while they're locked inside a pressurized aluminum tube. Talk about oil and water.
Children in First Class: 3 Suggestions for the Kids 'Up Front'
The overwhelming number of travelers I spoke with said kids should be able to fly in first class if their parents could afford to pay the freight. But they were quick to add that they expected the children to behave.
(c) 2009 EILEEN OGINTZ DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
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