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Who knew that airport security rules would make finding the perfect travel kit so easy? Everyone who’s anyone now offers TSA-compliant sets. Frederic Fekkai’s Bon Voyage ($75) and Gloss Faves ($40) make hair-styling on the go a cinch. The resealable plastic bag of Bliss’s Foam for the Holidays ($25) contains head-to-toe, 1.8-ounce cleansing and moisturizing products — the same ones W hotel guests get.
Topping out the men’s kits are the classic, streamlined Art of Shaving Carry-On Kit ($60), with 1.7- to 2-ounce oil, cream, brush, and balm, and the contemporary Anthony for Men’s Grab + Go Portables ($35, photo right), with 2-ounce facial cleanser, scrub and astringent packed in a clear zip-top pouch alongside shampoo, shower gel, and shave cream.
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Practical but luxurious double-duty products always make our list of travel gifts. Philosophy’s ultra-rich 3-in-1 shampoo, body wash, and bubble bath ($10–$30) comes in just about any fragrance you could want. Bobby Brown’s Pot Rouge ($22) for lips and cheeks is available in 10 flattering shades. Pair one with Benefit’s Big Beautiful Eyes ($32; www.sephora.com), a thin kit with concealer; pink, cocoa, and chocolate shadows to highlight, contour, line, and define; and two brushes. Speaking of brushes, the four in Japonesque’s Touch Up Brush Set ($24) slide into a sleek, slender cylinder.
Noisy planes, trains and buses got you down? Get the In-the-Ear Bluetooth earphones ($299 with iPod adapter) from Etymotic Reasearch. They’re lightweight, wireless, and can fit right in your ear. Plus, they can be used with your iPod. Looking for something cheaper? Sharper Image offers Traveler’s Noise-Cancellation Headphones for $69.95. The extra-large “earcups” are comfortable — perfect for long trips. They run on one AAA battery.
If you don’t want to block out the noise but rather share it, check out these great mini iStereo docks from the Sarut Group ($20). These Japanese designers have once again created a hip, compact, and slightly wacky product in their Lego block docks, which come in black, blue, red, white, yellow, and green. They work with the iPod Classic, iPod Nano, and iPod Mini. Perfect for just about everyone on your list.
Unfortunately, it runs off the iPods power, and when you’re traveling internationally finding a compatible power source can be a pain. So pair the dock with the Turbo Charge iTurbo from Sharper Image ($24.95). Weighing less than an ounce and fitting comfortable in your pocket, this tiny charger runs off of one AA battery and can go everywhere you or your favorite traveler goes. Sharper Image even has a similar charger for cell phones. Brilliant!
The Essential Traveler
A good traveler is a prepared traveler. And with the Avid Traveler Essentials gift set ($49.99), prepared you’ll be. The kit comes with two clear vinyl zipper bags and includes every product you’ll need: Purell hand sanitizer, Imodium, Neosporin, duct tape, four single-use thermometers, toilet paper and a seat cover, and lots of other stuff. Plus, everything’s in TSA-approved sizes. The Large Ready Organized First Aid Kit ( $14.99) by Johnson & Johnson is a less expensive option that includes 170 items, including Imodium, a cold pack, a variety of band aids, cleansing wipes, antibiotic ointment, Tylenol, and more.
Gifts for the Greater Good
Been dreaming of a green Christmas? Consider a “gift lease” from Rent Mother Nature, a group of New England-based family farms that will make a gift of farm-fresh livestock and trees. Cows, goats, bee-hives and lobster farms can be leased, in addition to fields of wheat and rice. The cause — helping out family farms — is a good one. Prices range from $49 to $250.
Bottled water from exotic places isn’t quite the rage it used to be now that we know how much junk is spewed into the environment transporting the stuff halfway around the world to your refrigerator. Antipodes, makers of one of the world’s purest waters, has recently published a statement regarding their carbon-neutrality, which means you can drink their product with a clear conscience, and make a gift of it to family and friends. Here’s how you can order yours now.
—Alexis Kelly and Laura Kidder