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Columnist
Great holiday gift ideas for intrepid travelers
By Gail Todd | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 12/5/2009 10:18 PM

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"Have you heard about any great travel gifts this year?" asked my old flying partner, Nancy, when we met for our monthly lunch at Lambert Field in St. Louis. "Last year, I got Eagle Creek Pack-it Folders for everybody, and they loved them. I wonder what's hot this holiday season."

So, with time on our hands and a quest to find the perfect travel gift, we hit the concourses and surveyed several passengers and then flew to our computers and checked out possibilities. Here's what we discovered:

• Travel tickets. Many frequent fliers said their gift giving was up in the air - literally. They were purchasing miles to give to their loved ones. Go to any airline Web site and you'll find their going rates for air miles. Some of them also sell memberships to their airport clubs. And they all offer shopping online. You can purchase flight attendant dolls, model airplanes and several other souvenir products while you book your flight.

• Travel comfort. Products to make air travel more comfortable were also high on the list. A mini jet-set kit that includes neck and lumbar pillows, eye mask, ear plugs and reflexology socks could make a center seat feel like first class.

A pop-out, lighted magnifying glass allows you to find the flight attendant call button in the dark. Unfortunately, there's nothing that actually makes them come.

A travel-on-the-go kit containing earplugs, hydrating lotion tablets, dental flossers, lip ointment and a hair band is packed in a tin container the size of a deck of cards.

Individual packets of laundry soap, shampoo, shaving lotion and hand soap only need water to activate. You can pack them in your carry-on without including them in your liquid allotment.

And finally, face masks infused with strawberry aroma therapy, cucumber gel or apricot and almond oil used just before landing might make you feel like you actually had an enjoyable flight.

• Travel gadgets. For the traveler who likes to be connected in several ways there is a vest with its own wiring system to keep your gadgets organized.

You can also find a portable power outlet that allows you to charge two items at a time, when you're lucky enough to find an airport outlet.

But our favorite might be the solar-powered backpack that charges your phone, computer and camera while you walk through town on a sunny day.

You'll find all these items and many more at the following Web sites: magellans.com, letravelstore.com and flight001.com. Some of the sites offer free shipping, and others have specially priced featured items. All of them have an inventory that includes travel clothes, books, toys, electronics and every other gizmo that a road warrior could want.

If you're still having trouble finding that perfect gift, you might want to fire up the computer and do your shopping through cyberspace. Order now and your packages should arrive before the fat man dons his red suit and hits the jet streams.

It seems that travel-related gifts fly with everybody these days.

Gail Todd, a freelance writer, worked as a flight attendant for more than 30 years. She can be reached at gailtodd@aol.com.