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What Everyone's Buying on Christmas Island: Cheap Liquor and Special Stamps

April 8, 2014 at 1:36 PM | by | Comments (0)

Welcome to "What Everyone's Buying," a new series on souvenirs, wherein we investigate what tourist trinkets are the hottest selling in hotspots around the world.

As you may have already gathered from our previous posts, Christmas Island has a good lot to offer when it comes to nature, beaches, diving, and endemic species. When it comes to souvenirs, however, the island runs a bit dry unless you're looking for crab toys, crab t-shirts or books about crabs. So the majority of visitors, both long- and short-term, opt to head to the island's supermarket and its duty-free liquor variety.

The selection is excellent, including even "traveler edition" flavors of Absolut, and prices are half that of mainland Australia, so wine and liquor is a huge score for those wanting to imbibe without breaking the bank.

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What Everybody's Buying in Melbourne: Wine!

March 7, 2014 at 10:41 AM | by | Comments (0)

Welcome to "What Everyone's Buying," a new series on souvenirs, wherein we investigate what tourist trinkets are the hottest selling in hotspots around the world.

In a country almost the size of the U.S., Australia has plenty of things to see, do, and bring home to your friends and family as little memento of your travels. One thing which Aussies take seriously is their wine, and this is doubly true in the Melbourne area. With vineyards around the country churning out award-winning bottles, bringing home a super special sip is often on the list.

Melbourne is located around 90 minutes away from some of the more popular wineries, (like Chandon and de Bortoli) for tasting, wining, dining, and best of all, purchasing favorite bottles. And if you'd rather follow a path less trodden, lots of smaller, boutique wineries dot the landscape in the Yarra, Goulburn, Rutherglen, and Alpine Valleys.

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What Everybody's Buying in Queensland, Australia: Lucas' Papaw Ointment

January 31, 2014 at 12:25 PM | by | Comment (1)

Welcome to "What Everyone's Buying," a new series on souvenirs, wherein we investigate what tourist trinkets are the hottest selling in hotspots around the world.

Okay, we know that Australia has some once-in-a-lifetime things to see, do and experience, but friends at home only really care about what you're bringing back for them. No, we're not talking about baby koalas or even a few boomerangs to trial in your own skies, as we've got a gift recommendation that's multipurpose and a good reminder of a great time down under: Lucas' Papaw Ointment.

Who would have thought that so much joy would have been had from a little red tube of mashed up tropical fruit? Take it from us that this stuff is the real deal.

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One Perfect Present: A Tiny Toiletry Ideal for Dopp Kits

December 19, 2013 at 4:22 PM | by | Comments (0)

There's so much crap travel gear out there that, all this week, we're wading through the muck to feature travel items truly worth giving as gifts. Every day, we'll feature one item we personally love and recommend and think you need in your travel life.

This present idea is divided into two, one for a guy and one for a gal.

For him: So LUSH Cosmetics, a company that makes much more than cosmetics, has these super cool things called "shampoo bars." Instead of relying on the iffy quality of hotel shampoo or messing with packing your own 3oz container of hair wash, throw one of these small, solid bars into your luggage.

There's 10 different bars, each with a distinctive scent and purpose. For example, our favorite—the campfire-scent "Soak and Float"—works to soothe irritated scalps and banish dandruff. Other bars address thinning hair, oily scalps and tangled tresses. Keep them in a tin for easy grab n' go.

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One Perfect Present: An All-Purpose Travel Hat Handmade in the USA

December 18, 2013 at 4:14 PM | by | Comments (0)

There's so much crap travel gear out there that, all this week, we're wading through the muck to feature travel items truly worth giving as gifts. Every day, we'll feature one item we personally love and recommend and think you need in your travel life.

Don't run to the nearest Target the night before a trip to buy whatever woven synthetic topper "will do for now." A small investment in a custom hat, which is actually also an investment in the survival of a classic New York City business, is the answer.

Thanks to the impulsiveness of milliner Satya Twena and her brilliant Kickstarter campaign, the Makins Hats factory in Midtown Manhattan is coming back from closure, in time to save the collections, the American-made equipment, hat shapes dating back to the 1930s, and even the jobs of the skilled staff.

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One Perfect Present: A Ridiculously Lightweight, Hard-Shell Suitcase

December 18, 2013 at 8:39 AM | by | Comments (0)

There's so much crap travel gear out there that, all this week, we're wading through the muck to feature travel items truly worth giving as gifts. Every day, we'll feature one item we personally love and recommend and think you need in your travel life.

Luggage may be a popular graduation gift, but any walk through the airport makes it abundantly clear that some travelers haven't upgraded since. Every year brings new technology and materials for staying under weight limits while enduring everything a baggage handler can throw, and lately we've been very impressed with one such new-fangled line of luggage in particular: Samsonite CURV.

Not everyone can afford ribbed cases of Rimowa (prices for which hover around $1,000 a case), but take it down a few hundred dollars and there's Samsonite CURV's "Firelite" and "Cosmolite" cases in the same class of durability and style.

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One Perfect Present: A Frequent Flyer-Approved, Handmade Leather Case

December 16, 2013 at 4:28 PM | by | Comments (0)

There's so much crap travel gear out there that, all this week, we're wading through the muck to feature travel items truly worth giving as gifts. Every day, we'll feature one item we personally love and recommend and think you need in your travel life.

In a small leather shop in Colorado, "in a town full of wildlife nestled against Rocky Mountain National Park," there's a small company named SkyTop Trading. It's the type of manufacturer whose merits spread by word of mouth, and they'd like to keep it that way; each item is handmade by craftsmen of quality saddle leather with the promise that "it will outlast you."

We first spotted a SkyTop briefcase on our friend, Sid, who commutes half-way across the United States to then travel half-way around the world on business. He's a frequent flyer for his day job as well as in his free time, piloting his 1962 Beechcraft Bonanza. Every mile of the way, that gorgeous SkyTop is in-hand or on his back.

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Where to Shop in Providence, RI If You've Only Got a Weekend

December 9, 2013 at 11:57 AM | by | Comments (0)

Providence, Rhode Island may be branding itself "the creative capital," but this Northeastern gem won't do as much damage to your wallet as nearby Boston or New York. The locals are proud of their hometown, which means you'll have plenty of opportunities to stock up on Christmas presents while also supporting local artists and business owners.

Win-win, right? Right! Here are our favorite four shopping spots in Providence:

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Frankfurt Airport's Christmas Market is Worth a Long Layover

December 5, 2013 at 8:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

With security lines, crowds, and other less than awesome features—an airport isn’t necessarily the best place to welcome the holiday season. Some airports are looking to change this, however, and one in particular has embraced the holiday spirit in grand style. Germany's Frankfurt Airport is the must-visit airport for December, as they've installed a full-on Weihnachtsmarkt, or Christmas Market.

FRA is boasting decorations, trees, lights, and all of the usual holiday trimmings as they do their best to bring a traditional German holiday market atmosphere right to the terminals. The over 300 shops and restaurants at the airport are in the holiday spirit with Christmas specials and other deals and, on Christmas Eve, many of the stores will even stay open later than usual—just in case you need one more thing for that special someone.

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Let Dallas Airport Worry About Shipping Your Holiday Shopping

December 2, 2013 at 11:58 AM | by | Comments (0)

Today is Cyber Monday, and that means there’s all kinds of discounts to be had across the internet. However, after scoring a few digital deals, we suggest hitting the terminals and concourses to look for the next big thing in holiday gifts, and that’s because Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is all about shipping and shopping for the next few weeks.

The airport is offering to ship gifts back to where you call home—no checked baggage free required—for those items purchased at the airport. Things started up on November 22, and the option will run through December 24. It’s called "You Shop, We Ship," and is available to all travelers who grab something valued at $50 or more in the airport—but there are some certain restrictions depending on the store or the seller. Let’s just say that the copy of US Weekly from Hudson News isn’t going to be eligible for this promotion.

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Wish You Were Here: Under the 250,000 Holiday Lights of Burlington, Vermont

November 27, 2013 at 8:51 AM | by | Comments (0)

With the University of Vermont just up the hill and the shores of Lake Champlain on its western edge, Burlington is a city to spend some time with anytime of the year. Sure the nearby mountains and ski slopes are pretty darn enticing during the winter, but we find plenty of charm, character, and cuisine right within the boundaries of The Queen City.

This weekend is when they’re flipping the switch on all the holiday lights and decorations at the Church Street Marketplace. This pedestrian mall features plenty of local shops, restaurants, and other places to poke and peruse, and there’s some national chains on hand as well for when you just need something from Starbucks or Macy’s. The local retailers are a great place to cash in your American Express Shop Small promotion this weekend, as there’s plenty of spots to support Small Business Saturday.

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Five Gift Card Options for Your Favorite Frequent Flyer

November 26, 2013 at 10:53 AM | by | Comments (0)

We’re just days away from the official start of the holiday shopping season, and of course we’ll still have travel on the mind. Although we certainly wouldn’t mind a 60” television for a low, low price we’d much rather score some travel swag. So we suggest letting your fingers do the shopping for the travel tidbits that your friends and family will love the most and grab a few gift cards. Here’s our picks for some of the best options:

· Flight 001
Travel adapters, witty luggage tags, and packing bits and bags are all an option, and we certainly wouldn’t be sad if we received any—or all—of these items. Give the gift of a gift card, and your pals will enjoy the online offerings of the Flight 001 store for hours and hours. Battery boosters, bento boxes, and even a real nice Spork can all be yours for the choosing. Gift cards are available online beginning at just $5, and if you want an in-store card those start at $25. If online isn’t an option you check out Flight 001 in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco—among a few other spots.

· eBags
Your trip begins and ends with your suitcase, and often our trip lingers as our luggage remains in the kitchen for days after our adventure has come to an end. Any traveler worth her weight in in-flight peanuts needs a good bag, so why not help her find the next great carry-on over at eBags. They have options from Tumi, Travelpro, Samsonite, and more—plus their in-house brand. Phone cases, packing cubes, and other bits and pieces round out their offerings. Pick your own amount to load on a gift card, or choose from $25, $50, $100, or $500. Things are sent over electronically, and your shopping is done.

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