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Christmas Gadget Gift Giving Guide

Delight the special someone in your life by placing one of these items under the tree this Christmas.

Here is a small selection of some of the items reviewed during the last year.  They've been chosen for their low cost, their novelty value, and their usefulness.

Ranging in price from almost free and with most items priced well under $50, you're sure to find something that will be both a creative choice and also a useful gift.

I own, use and recommend all these items myself.


Cell Phone Headset - Free ($3.94 shipping charge) offered a variety of styles of (nearly) free headsets to fit most models of cell phones - no longer exists

There is a growing awareness of the danger of cell phone radiation when you use your phone regularly, and a headset is the best way to reduce this danger.

And headsets are also safer when driving, and many times more convenient in all situations.

There was an off-beat website that offered to give you - for free - a headset for your cell phone.  There is no catch - I've tested their service anonymously myself.

Clearly they make a meager profit from the shipping charge, but at a total cost of $3.94 to get a headset delivered to your door, you surely can't complain!


Salk International’s Airport Transit Guide - $9.95

All you need to know about getting to and from airports all around the world

This book saved me over $40 last week when it told me how to get from the train station to the airport in Munich by suburban train rather than taxi.

It offers comprehensive information about getting to/from airports, and what to expect at airports, all around the world.

If it saves you, too, a single taxi fare, it has more than paid for itself.

(Update - the latest 2007 edition is still $9.95)


Key Chain Tote Bag - $12.85

This roomy lightweight carry bag compresses to a tiny size that you can carry with you everywhere

I always have my Key Chain Tote Bag with me when traveling.  It easily fits in a pocket, and when/if I buy something, it becomes a roomy carry bag.  A tremendous convenience when traveling, making it easy to buy something that unexpectedly catches your eye while touring around.

Reviewed here.

Now seems to be discontinued, some available in the closeout section of (Nov 07).


Travel Coin Purse - $14.85

The lovely Travel Coin Purse easily fits in your pocket or handbag and is a convenient way to keep coins and other travel essentials with you

Most other countries make much greater use of coins than here in the US, with coins worth up to as much as US$4 each.

This convenient coin purse also has space for notes, credit cards, tickets, and other items, and with a non-slip finish is more difficult for a pickpocket to steal.

Suitable for men and women.

Reviewed here.


WonderVase Traveling Flower Vase - $14.85

The WonderVase is made of special plastic.  It packs flat, but when filled with water takes the form of a lovely flower vase

This is an off-beat item which will certainly impress the recipient with your creativity and sensitivity.

It provides a convenient way to freshen up a hotel or other room with flowers while traveling.

Perhaps best presented to someone complete with flowers!

Reviewed here.



SIM Saver - $19.95

This tiny and light-weight device copies the information from your phone's SIM, so if you lose your phone/SIM or change SIMs, you don't also lose all your precious contact information

This is an essential accessory if you have a GSM type cell phone (most recent phones from AT&T, Cingular and T-Mobile are GSM).

It enables you to save a backup copy of your phone book data, and to copy it to other SIMs.

(Note - now obsolete, modern phones have much better address books which are saved in the cloud.)


Reflective Flashing Emergency Roadside Cone - $24.85

The Pack-a-Cone collapses to store in your trunk, and extends to full size, complete with a bright flashing light for maximum visibility

There's a reason why emergency vehicles are festooned with flashing lights all over.  Many drivers just don't notice parked vehicles until it is too late.

This inexpensive safety device helps you be noticed if you have to stop your car on the road side.

It is a great gift for everyone to keep in their car.  It takes little space, is easy to use, and might just save your life.

Reviewed here.


First Class Sleeper - $29.85

What an amazing improvement in comfort this inflatable seat back cushion offers!

This really does work, and has given me relatively comfortable sleep on flights where I'd formerly toss and turn and not sleep at all.

You simply inflate it and place it behind you on the seat.  After your flight, it collapses into a small lightweight carry pack.

Reviewed here.


New Carry-on Suitcase - from $40 to $350

The Briggs & Riley U-21NX has been torture tested by me and proven to be extraordinarily rugged and reliable

If you haven't purchased a long-lived and fully warrantied Briggs & Riley suitcase, the chances are your current wheel-aboard might be getting ready for retirement.

Our multi-part series on how to choose a wheeled carry-on bag tells you what to look for and then gives detailed evaluations on 11 suitcases ranging from $40 to $350 in price.

Review series starts here

David's favorite suitcase


Noise Cancelling Headphones - about $50

The Plane Quiet NC6 is our recommended model of noise cancelling headphones

Noise reducing headphones are a great way to reduce the stress of long distance flying.

Now cheaper - and better - than ever before, these are increasingly a 'must have' for fliers.

Multi-part review series.


SteriPEN Water Purifier - about $140

The SteriPEN uses UV light rather than chemicals to quickly sterilize drinking water for you

Regrettably, you have to be careful with the water you drink when traveling in much of the world.

And if you're going backpacking, even seemingly fresh clear stream water can sometimes be full of harmful bacteria.

The SteriPEN is idea in both situations. It is small, light, and simple to use.  It quickly (a pint in less than a minute) purifies water for you to safely drink.

Reviewed here.


Travel Insider Touring - $1500 and up

You can fly to London or to any other convenient city in Britain

Leaving the best to last, maybe you want to buy yourself a treat, too!

Why not consider our Tulip Time Spring River Cruise in April, one of our two Scottish tours in May next year, our Black Sea Discovery River Cruise in late August or our Danube Christmas Markets cruise in late November.

Tulip Time Spring River Cruise (sneak preview)

Scotland's Castles and Monsters

Scotland's Islands

Black Sea Discovery River Cruise (sneak preview)

Danube Christmas Markets Cruise (sneak preview)


Still More Ideas....

If the twelve ideas above don't help, perhaps visit our 2005 or 2003 Christmas Gift Guide - maybe one of the items offered on these other two pages will be just what you are looking for.

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Originally published 10 Dec 2004, last update 30 May 2021

You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.



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