It’s coming up on the holiday season. The Black Friday Christmas buying binge is about to begin. It’s a difficult time of the year to be anti-stuff. But some stuff can save you money, make you more mobile, and help you travel. This is that stuff. These are perfect gifts to add to your Christmas list, give you favorite traveler, or buy yourself.
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The Gift of Great Coffee ($5)
Melitta Ready Set Joe Single Cup Coffee Brewer makes it so easy to brew a single cup, you’ll never lust after a Keurig again. And it’s cheaper … by a lot. And you can bring it along on your travels if you’re picky about your coffee. It’ll save you $2 a day if you’re currently getting your coffee on the outside. 100 days of coffee a year is $200 — that’s enough for a week of camping in Florida or along the coast of Oregon.
The Gift of Inspiration ($15)
180° South is a movie every traveler should watch. Vagabonding is a book every traveler should read. Same with Desert Solitaire. There are a ton of great travel books out there to inspire, educate, and enjoy. They’re all great presents.
The Gift of Being Cable-Free ($50)
Cable TV is expensive — $30 and up per month. That’s $360 a year, a plane ticket somewhere, or more. A streaming device like the Roku or Netgear’s NeoTV will help you cut the cord. Both can stream Hulu Plus and/or Netflix (which cost money but are both significantly less than a cable bill). I’d give the nod to the NeoTV because it includes YouTube Leanback (lean back and just watch). Jacques Pepin is on YouTube, so that’s a win.
The Gift of Infinite Books ($70 or $120)
Reading and traveling go hand-in-hand. Amazon’s Kindle is still the best e-reader around. Borrow e-books from your local library, and it’s a hell of a deal too. Traveling with a Kindle gives you unlimited reading options. However, if one of your favorite things to do while traveling is to hunt down fun books, this might not be for you. Downloading a copy of A Moveable Feast while in Paris is a different experience than scoring an old copy from Shakespeare and Company. I still like my books on paper, but for a lot of people, a Kindle is the perfect travel companion. I’d opt for the non-3G models. Use local WiFi or your phone to connect when needed.
The Gift of Skipping Lines ($100)
Signing up for Global Entry (and giving the government your finger prints, iris scan, and first-born) costs $100. If you travel abroad a lot and are sick of waiting in line for customs, this might be the perfect gift for you. Each time you use it, you might save yourself an hour of waiting time. How much is your time worth? Tempting.
The Gift of Traveling Laptop-Free ($200)
The Nexus 7 is the best travel tablet for one big reason: Google Maps. Download the offline version of wherever you are, use the Nexus 7’s GPS, and you’ll never be lost abroad. If you’re not “doing work” on your trip (keyboard and desk and document stuff), it’s plenty of computer to stay connected — leave the laptop at home. Skype, email, video playback — it’s got you covered. But I’d skip the 3G version. Use your smartphone as a hotspot or find free WiFi and save the $50-$100. I want one of these. Badly.
The Gift of Global Connectivity ($300)
The Nexus 4 is the perfect vagabond phone. It’s unlocked, so it’ll work in any GSM-powered country (which is basically every country) after you purchase a local SIM card. T-Mobile and AT&T are both GSM-providers in the US. The phone will work with any of their plans, but the two deals that’ll save you money while you’re in the US are the Straight Talk Bring Your Own Phone plan ($45/month for unlimited data, text, and minutes) and T-Mobile’s Monthly 4G plan ($30/month for unlimited data, text, and 100 minutes).
StraightTalk uses either the AT&T network or the T-Mobile network depending on your location and phone, so you can choose which is best for your area. Neither plan requires a contract, so you’re not locked in and can cancel it if you’re going to be abroad for a while (use Google Voice to keep you number consistent). This phone is both a travel win (use your phone abroad) and a savings win (cheaper per month). I want one. It’s just … a very generous gift.
Happy holidays! Good luck saving money and staying mobile. Got other ideas? Leave a comment!