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A Few of My Favorite Gifts for Travelers …

LERO-LERO  Luisa Maita
I’m a longstanding fan of Brazilian music and the young Luisa Maita hits most of the right notes – samba, bossa nova, and even Middle Eastern infused strings — with her debut, Lero-Lero. She’s got a great voice and the disc is sensuous and danceable. You’ll be transported to Ipanema even if you’d don’t have a bottle of cachaca at hand for a caiparinha.

SAS Crew Guide 2011

This 22 city guidebook claims to be “The only guide written by airline crew.”  What a great idea:  the exceptionally well-traveled crew for Scandinavian Airlines write short, pointed reviews of their favorite hotels, eateries, shops and activities.  It’s the kind of advice you might get from a friendly flight attendant just before you touched down in Stockholm, New York, Tokyo or Bangkok.  Like the best pearl market in Beijing, or where to find the best baby back ribs in Norway or a three hour guided bike tour in Chicago. Far from exhaustive, it’s the perfect guide for people who have 24 or 36 hours in a city. About $20.  Order from SAS Guides.

High Sierra Wheeled Carry-On Boot Bag
This is the ski bag that enthusiasts have dreamed about. Measuring 22.0″ x 14.0″ x 9.0″, it has two compartments, one for your boots and anything else you can cram in, expandable another 2.25″ thanks to a zippered gusset. A second, smaller compartment, is for gear and clothes. It has a small front pocket and hidden padded backpack straps when wheels won’t do, as well as an ingeniously designed external mesh pocket for your helmet. Travel light, rent skis, and this all you need – and you’ll beat the airlines at the luggage game. $116.94
High Sierra Wheeled Carry-On Boot Bag Boot Bag, Black

L.L. Bean Travel Fly Rod & Reel
Compact, durable and affordable – that’s Bean’s Eight-Piece Travel Series Fly Rod Outfit with Streamlight® II Large Arbor Reel. It fits in a carry-on, briefcase or backpack and will keep the fanatical angler in your life a happier person when they hit the road and anticipate an afternoon on a river. The fact that baggage handlers will never see this rod is a major plus. The 4-6 weight version is $269.

Around the World in Eighty Meals by Nan Lyons.

The premise is that Lyons, a longtime food and travel writer, follows in the footsteps of Jules Verne’s Phileas Fogg in “Around the World in 80 Days.” The result is lively prose and good pictures of more than one delicious meal in Venice, Delhi, Hong Kong and Chicago at some of the best restaurants in the world. $31.95
Around the World in Eighty Meals

Travelon Stop and Lock Luggage Scale

Given airline bag weight restrictions, this is a good investment for every frequent traveler. No one wants to pay the airlines more money for a bag that tops the 50 pound limit. There are electronic versions but this old fashioned manual model works just fine.  $8.90
Travelon Stop & Lock Luggage Scale, Black, One Size

Moon Handbooks
Whether you’re going to the chic (Napa & Sonoma), the taboo (Cuba) or the all-American (Mount Rushmore & the Black Hills) , Moon Handbooks have it covered. They’re well-written, jammed with info and maps, and will get you where you want to go when the battery in your iPad is on its last legs.  $16.95 and up.
Moon Mount Rushmore & the Black Hills: Including the Badlands (Moon Handbooks)

Luxe London

For those who can’t be bothered to wade through apps and searches and menus, the Luxe series offers what amounts to an elegant little cheat sheet that unfolds, accordion style, and fits into your Tods bag. These guides are opinionated and a bit cheeky (“On a budget? Don’t come to London”), heavy on the shopping, and treat museums as pastimes between cab rides. Coining their own brand of English as they attempt pithy restaurant descriptions (Locanda Locatelli is “loungey, low-key and celebby”), they do manage to fit in a surprising amount of what I consider essential London info (concerts at Wigmore Hall and views from Primrose Hill) into a pocket size guide that weighs practically nothing. $9.99
LUXE London

Bossa Nova Around the World
Putumayo’s new collection is a long way from the Jobim/Getz recordings of old and a testimony to the influence of the Brazilian musical movement that’s more than a half century old. There are performers from France, Germany and Serbia who sway to a Bossa Nova beat on this compilation. As for Norwegian Bossa Nova? Hey, it’s not bad, and it will take you to the land of palm trees even if it was created in the land of reindeer. $14.98
Bossa Nova Around the World

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