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10 Unexpected Holiday Travel Gifts

santa claus globeIf you have a traveler or two on your shopping list, cancel that trip to the mall. You don't have to search through boring racks of discount luggage to find perfect presents for your fellow globetrotters. Sure, suitcases and language translators make nice gifts -- but you can do better than that!

This year, present your loved ones with travel gifts that are, well, a little less traveled. Read on for 10 ideas.

While most guidebooks are destination-specific, this interesting series focuses on practical tips for eight different types of travelers. If you've got a solo traveler, an avid volunteer, a foodie or an adventurer on your shopping list, he or she will love one of these Traveler's Handbooks. Each volume offers comprehensive advice and anecdotes from experienced travelers in each specialty who've been there and done that. Price: $7.99 - $9.99 for Kindle editions, $16.99 for paperback.

For the adventurous female traveler who often finds herself in remote places without public facilities, the GoGirl just might be the perfect stocking stuffer. This "female urination device" (FUD), made of medical-grade silicone, has a unique funnel shape that allows women to pee standing up just as easily as their male counterparts can -- making backcountry hikes, long road trips and other out-of-the-way journeys much more convenient. Price: $7.49.

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Help a traveling friend or family member keep their data secure on the road with the Royce RFID Blocking Passport Wallet. All U.S. passports issued since 2007, as well as many credit cards, have embedded chips that use radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to store information. This stylish leather wallet is designed to prevent this data from being skimmed by enterprising thieves with RFID readers. Price: $50.

Long flights, endless waits at the airport and interminable (and bumpy) bus rides all call for a diverting round of Scrabble. This portable game from Hasbro comes in handy on more enjoyable occasions too -- like lazy days on the beach or nights by the fire in a ski cabin. The Game Folio edition of Scrabble packs neatly in its convenient zippered carrying case. Its letter pieces snap right into the board, so your recipients won't have to deal with alphabet squares flying into their faces if their plane hits turbulence (turn the board upside down and the letters stay put). Price: $34.99.

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If you can't afford to buy a trip for your favorite traveler, Excitations are the next best thing. Choose from an ample variety of excursions across the U.S., like a kayak tour for two in San Francisco Bay ($175), a walking photo safari for two in Boston ($80) or a big cat feeding tour for two in Miami ($150). Excitations will email or mail an experience certificate to your recipient, or you can print it out for an instant gift. After receiving his or her Excitations certificate, your lucky loved one selects the date and location of the excursion.

gorillapod Perfect for avid photographers, the GorillaPod has three flexible arms that can either stand straight or wrap around a wide variety of surfaces -- so you can suspend it from a tree branch for an aerial shot or rest it on a table to stablize your camera in low-light conditions. The GorillaPod comes in a wide range of sizes to accommodate various camera types. You can choose from different colors too. Price: $19.95 and up.

Can't pry your favorite road warrior away from his or her laptop? Give the gift of Internet security. SurfEasy plugs easily into PCs and Macs, and enables you to browse the Internet through an encrypted channel so you don't have to worry about the security of your data in public Wi-Fi hotspots. SurfEasy also shields your IP address from the websites you visit to make it harder for them to track you online. Price: $69.99.

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Tech-savvy travelers can recharge their cell phones, tablets, digital cameras, iPods, GPS devices and other gadgets in an environmentally friendly way with this solar-powered universal charger. (Fortunately for travelers to the notoriously rainy British Isles, the charger also plugs into the wall in case sunlight isn't readily available.) The device consists of three blades that spread out to absorb the sun; it can be placed outside or affixed to a window. Price: $100.

Remember the old days when you could get the instant gratification of printing out a Polaroid snapshot just seconds after you took it? That's the retro appeal of this Polaroid Z2300 Digital Instant Print Camera, which combines the sharability and convenience of digital images with the indulgence of printing out your latest snapshot right on the spot. The camera includes an integrated printer that produces two- by three-inch photos in less than a minute. Say cheese! Price: $179.99.

The Gift of Travel

What's every traveler's dream gift? A trip, of course! Amtrak Vacations, Southwest Airlines, American Airlines and BedandBreakfast.com are a few examples of travel providers that offer gift cards for flights, trips or places to stay around the world. These gift cards give recipients the freedom to customize their vacations, and they'll definitely be thanking you (a lot) when they're building sandcastles in Tahiti or hiding away in a mountain lodge in Switzerland.

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--written by Caroline Costello and Sarah Schlichter


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