Brian Stacey, director of new product development for Tauck, the cruise and tour company, says his must-haves include Creative Labs' noise-canceling headphones for air travel ($60) and a GoPro camera, right, which he describes as "the hottest thing out there" (newest model, HERO3+ Black Edition, $400). The tiny digital camera can go underwater or "attach to pretty much anything — your helmet, arm, leg, canoe" — and take video and photos while you're moving.
Among the things he takes with him are a bottle protector from TravelSmith ($24) to bring home wine or olive oil without worrying about spills; and a Belkin power strip ($20). With a power strip, he can charge five gadgets with one hotel room outlet. If he's traveling internationally, he only needs one adapter.
Harriet Lewis, vice chairwoman of the tour company Overseas Adventure Travel, has some ideas for stocking stuffers. Among them, scented herbal wipes (Herban Essentials, $16, right), pocket hand-warmers for cold places ($2) and lavender oil ($10 in health food stores). She sprinkles lavender on bed sheets and in her bath, and rubs it on her temples and wrists. (Some travelers sprinkle it on luggage and clothing, as it's said to repel bed bugs.)
Cellphone, iPod, tablet, Kindle, camera — many travelers carry them all, plus chargers and cables. GreatUsefulStuff.com sells Kangaroom storage bags to protect and organize gadgets. A two-sided cord pouch ($25) has 10 see-through compartments with slots you can label and removable dividers so compartments can be enlarged. The compact personal media pouch ($13) has six small pockets and can fit a Kindle or iPad Mini too.
Kohl's carries toiletry kits for young travelers with Batman and Superman logos, and for men, a Dockers brand ($40). ToiletTree has a classy black leather kit ($20), while Flight 001 offers colorful Avery cosmetic bags with Eiffel Tower and white cross-on-red logos ($35).
For charging gadgets overseas, Flight 001 sells a compact adapter, right, with four color-coded plugs, good for 150 countries ($25), along with a dual wattage converter ($30) to use North American appliances overseas.
To keep cellphones working on the go, give the gift of backup power, like Anker's Astro Slim2 external battery ($33). Charge the battery beforehand, and when the phone dies, plug it into the battery. For sunny climes, consider a solar-powered charger. Popular brands include Anker, Solio and Goal Zero, but do your research. Consumer reviews suggest some don't work as well as advertised.
Gifts for bikers — whether long-distance or day-trippers — include DeFeet Blaze wool socks ($12-$15); a handlebar bag like the waterproof Topeak DryBag with map cover ($75); a multitool for repairs and adjustments, like Pedro's ICM ($34.50); and a phone case that can be mounted on handlebars, like the Topeak RideCase ($50).
SITES AND SOUNDS
For the traveler who wants to fill a home away from home with music, consider a small portable speaker. The NudeAudio Move M, right, about the size of a fat wallet, has an eight-hour battery, is Bluetooth-enabled, and has rich sound that rivals much bigger, pricier models ($70).
Travelers who want to show off where they've been might like Flight 001's Scratch-Off Map ($20). A layer of gold film rubs off to reveal countries visited in blue; available soon as a scratch-off 3-D globe puzzle ($32).
BRAVING THE ELEMENTS
Shrug off rainy days while traveling light with the hooded Rainrap ($60). Water beads off the silky fabric, which weighs less than 9 ounces, drapes like a cape and is reversible. It's available in eight two-color combinations.
You can't wear flip-flops in snow, but Pakems are the next best thing: lightweight, comfy, rubber-soled, water-resistant shoes that slip on after ski boots or ice skates come off. They come in five colors, high and low tops, foldable with strapped carry bag ($60-$70).