Holiday Gift Guide: The Best and Worst in Travel Gear

Gear Guide — By Rachel Greenberg on November 23, 2009 at 2:57 pm

At NileGuide, we have come to find that for every “why-didn’t-I-think-of-that” travel accessory on the market there is an equally ridiculous product for sale too. Here is a list of our Best and Worst gifts for sale this holiday season, for every kind of traveler on your shopping list:

The High Maintenance Flier

Best: Cup Pilot $19.99 How much good can that shallow airplane tray table indent do to control a sloshing beverage? Pretty much none. This ingenious product allows you to savor your in-flight beverage without any fear of it spilling all over you and your fellow passengers.

Worst: In-Flight Organizer $34.85 We know some people REALLY love their Skymall, but come on…is this really necessary? Seat back pockets were invented for a reason, and this product doesn’t seem to do much more than take up already precious leg room.

The Germ-A-Phobe

Best: Plane Clean Air $19.95 It might look a little industrial, but this tiny air filter snaps onto your overhead fan nozzle and manages to filter out 99.5% of all viruses, bacteria, and allergens from your breathing air. Although it might not make a big difference for short flights, it seems like a great idea for longer ones where you’re bombarded with recycled air in your seat for hours at a time.

Worst: Face Mask $21.85 There’s really nothing more unsettling than someone walking around a public area with a face mask for no apparent reason. And according to this product’s description, it should be used in “large cities”. Yikes! You wont be making friends with any urban locals with this look…

The Light Packer

Best: Quick-Dry Boxer Briefs $25 It might seem a little gross at first, but if you’re committed to traveling light, these are the briefs for you. These boxer briefs dry in a matter of hours, so as long as you have a sink every night to wash them in, technically you’ll only need one pair for your whole trip! They’re also made with anti-bacterial fibers that act to control odor. 

Worst: Brief Safe $11Yes, you read that right, now look at the product photo. These briefs offer a fly-accessed 4″ x 10″ secret compartment with Velcro closure to store your valuables. And, if you were wondering how to make your secret-money-pocket-tidy-whities any more unappealing to robbers, don’t worry, they come with pre-fabricated skid marks. Eew.

The Tobacco Connoisseur

Best: Mini Cigar Bar $269 Although we don’t endorse smoking, if you’re going to enjoy a good cigar while traveling you might as well do it in style. This decadent and sophisticated leather satchel comes with a leather cedar lined humidor, lighter, acrylic glasses and room for one bottle of either bourbon or scotch.

Worst: Smoking Mittens $32 These mittens are one part pathetic, one part genius. If you’re traveling to a climate cold enough to warrant mittens just to be outside for a few minutes then we feel bad for you already, but if the only reason you’re going outside is to smoke, then maybe you should have to suffer the consequences!!

The Wino

Best: Packable Wine Glasses $14.85 These plastic glasses are BPH free, indestructible, and perfect for picnics, day trips and wine enthusiasts, wherever they may be traveling. Toss two of these in your day pack, and you can enjoy a bottle of local vintage on-the-go anytime, anywhere! Worst: Wine Rack $29.95 This ridiculous product marries the sports bra and the Cammelback in a way none of us could ever have imagined. Although it does claim to increases your bust size while giving wine drinkers a place to store their wine for easy sipping throughout the day, it seems altogether too creepy to be of much use…other then for a good chuckle. The Dog Lover

Best: City Walks with Dogs $14.95 This book of maps highlights paths perfect for taking your canine on a walk. The guides cover multiple San Francisco neighborhoods, and they’re a great way to get to know a new city or explore one you’ve lived in for years. There’s also a City Walks with Dogs for New York City.

Worst: The Dog Snuggie $14.95 It was just a matter of time before this atrocity against animals was invented. We don’t care how cold your pup gets on the airplane, we’re calling PETA.

The Photographer

Best: Lowepro Flipside 300 Backpack $74.95 This tough, water-resistant camera case looks just like a normal backpack from the outside, but open it up, and you’ll find an intricate compartment system for every camera gadget you could ever want to travel with…including a tripod! It protects your gear safely, and even comes in three colors.

Worst: Hand Held Tripod $21.95 We can’t really think of a faster way to look like a huge dufus while sightseeing than holding one of these out in front of you. Not only are you likely to knock out the tourist in front of you, but what happened to good ‘ole fashioned, “Hey! Do you mind taking my picture?”.

The Foodie

Best: Travel Spice Kit $24 Who says you can’t cook gourmet meals while traveling? This adorable, portable spice kit offers 15 different spices you can throw in your bag and use with locally bought ingredients while on your next trip. Great for camping or cooking in that rental apartment or hotel kitchen suite.

Worst: Banana Bunker $11.95 Although we have to admit bananas are a great traveling snack…and they do bruise easily…we’re still not sure that excuses anyone from buying this product. If the lewd shape doesn’t turn you off, then maybe the fear that airport security might find it while searching your bag will.

The Anxious Flier

Best: Virgin America’s Fear of Flying iPhone App $4.99 With an intro narrated by Sr. Richard Branson’s soothing voice, this App talks through flight procedures from beginning to end…including an explanation of all the funny sounds you hear before a flight takes off. The App boasts a 98% success rate, and fearful flier Whoopi Goldberg endorses it!

Worst: Easy AirTravel $47.95 For almost fifty bucks this product promises to reduce aviatophobia (the fear of flying) completely by dissolving pills in your mouth, two at a time, until the fear subsides. This sounds way too good to be true, especially because you’re warned to “avoid strong mint flavored candy that may reduce the effectiveness of the remedy”. Seems a little suspect to us. Save your money and buy Tic Tacs.

The Sleeping Bag Sleeper

Best: Tauntaun Sleeping Bag $99 Any Star Wars fan would agree that although this sleeping bag lacks practicality, it MORE then makes up for it in style points. Not only does it allow you to sleep literally inside your Star Wars fantasy, it’ll probably give the owners of the couch your mooching off of a good chuckle. If it’s good enough for Luke Skywalker, it’s definitely good enough for us…

Worst: PoshAir Ltd $619 These exceptionally bulky in-flight sleeping bags are really no more then a sack you can zip yourself into. The sleeping bags seem to be marketed to private jet fliers only ($619!), which is a good thing since you’d probably have to buy an extra seat in coach just to fit this thing.

Know of any other products that make the best and worst list? Leave us a comment and let us know. For more gift ideas, check out last year’s Holiday Travelers Gift Guide.

Tags: gift guide, gifts, holidays, shopping


  • hallechome says: has the BEST travel products!

  • Nicole Lerner says:

    I’ve gotta say, I’m tempted to buy many of these products now, just because of their sheer ridiculousness. Loved ones, look out! You may find a banana bunker in your stocking this year!

  • Eli says:

    That “Plane Clean Air” filter is utterly useless. Nobody breathes directly from the overhead nozzle. The germs you need to worry about are coming from the passengers sitting nearby.

  • rachel says:

    Eli, I’m sure you’re right…in reality the appeal is probably more psychological then practical!

  • Leather Totes says:

    I think you made some very good points, although I would have to say I disagree overall. I have seen some posts that sort of contradict your point of view. Still love the blog, thanks for the hard work!


Get Trackback URL