10 essential Christmas gifts for the savvy traveller in your life
If your loved ones are heading away in the New Year, save them a few bob with a travel-related gift.
Still haven’t even started the Christmas shopping? I know the feeling.
Whether it’s technology or a gift to make the holiday go smoother, there’s something for every budget — so it doesn’t matter if you’re a spendthrift or a Scrooge.
1. For the hard-to-please
You know the type — they’ll talk about a week in Santa Ponsa, and end up on a Caribbean cruise. And if you book them a city break, chances are they wanted to go to Berlin, not Barcelona. Well, help is at hand in the shape of the ClickandGo voucher, above. It can be used against all types of holidays — short city breaks, cruises, all-inclusive packages or exotic destinations.
And there’s the added bonus of a discount — spend €100 and get an extra €25 on the card; from €150 to €299, it’s an extra €50; from €300 to €999, it’s €75; and for €1,000 plus you get an extra €100 spending power. And they’re not inflexible like some gift cards — they’re just like cash, with no restrictions on the clickandgo.com website, and they don’t go out of date.
2. For the well heeled
Samsonite bags are high-end, reliable and rugged — but boy, do they charge for the quality. So much so that one suitcase could cost as much as a cheap package holiday. But if you want to impress, without spending too much, Arnotts has a special offer on Samsonite’s Arnavoin upright case. It’s a good size at 55cm, and is down in price from €149 to €89, while stocks last.
3. For the fussy teenager
There’s nothing else like holidaying with a teenager, thankfully. You know the drill — headphones on at the airport, on the plane, at the pool. Conversation? Forget it.
And the big firms love to cash in, with headphones costing an arm and a leg. And if you want them without wires — much handier for the gym and walking around — the sky’s the limit.
Thankfully, you can look like the rich aunt or uncle with wireless headphones made by Kitsound. Its Manhattan headphones are as cheap as they get —just €39 in your local Tesco — but the sound is every bit as good as something you’d expect to pay hundreds for. They connect to your phone or tablet via bluetooth, are easily charged, and even come with a cable if your battery is low.
Forget about the teens — get them for yourself.
4. For the sports nuts
Rugby has lot a bit of its allure — but few events are as atmospheric as a Six Nations away trip. Bag a seat in the Stade de France for Ireland against les bleus from €399, plus €65 tax, with Killester Travel on 01-833 6935, with match ticket extra.
If that’s beyond the budget, check out a season ticket (bookable now) for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open golf tournament in the K Club in Kildare next May, and rub shoulders with the likes of Rory McIlroy, below. Working out at only €70 for the four days, it’s much cheaper than paying at the gate, and children are admitted free with each paying adult.
Check out the deals on dubaidutyfreeirishopen.com.
5. For the France-bound fan
Missed the last sports event bandwagon? Luckily, another one is already rolling into town. Euro 2016 in France will be the big event of next year, and everyone’s going... Packages will be available from the likes of Abbey Travel or Marathon Travel, but DIY-ers are already looking at the options.
One idea is to take the ferry, with Stena Line quick off the blocks with a deal to France. Fares start from €476 for a car plus four passengers return, travelling from Dublin or Rosslare via Dover or Folkestone to France — securable with a €100 deposit. See stenaline.ie/euro2016.
6. For the snap-happy
Taking photos with your smartphone might be simple, but the end results aren’t always classic images you’d put in a cherished photo album.
If you travel a bit, or just want to take memorable pictures of the kids, a digital SLR is the only way to go. And these cameras — with lenses you can switch for far-off shots or close-ups — have caught up with the times. Canon are the leaders in this regard, and it’s a cinch to transfer your high-quality shot from the camera to your smartphone or tablet via NFC or Wi-Fi, via an app on your phone.
The EOS 750D is one of the best I’ve tried — the images are stunning, and you can switch to video mode, making your video recorder redundant. And you can pop your pix onto social media in seconds to show off to the world.
Off on an exotic trip, honeymoon or exciting city break? This is the camera for you — whether you want to control all the dials, or just point and shoot. It’s not cheap, from around €750, but it will put you among the professionals. Shop around for prices, as there can be sharp differences from store to store.
7. For the show-off daredevil
I’ve never understood the appeal of action camcorders, but then again, I’m not a snowboarder or scuba diver. But those in the know swear by them, and the GoPro Hero4 Silver is one of the best you can get for a decent price.
It shoots pictures, good-quality video and can survive the kind of battering that you wouldn’t dare inflict on your smartphone. It’s also got Wi-Fi and bluetooth so users can share their thrills on the slopes and elsewhere.
Available for €429 at Harvey Norman.
8. For the named driver
Google Maps hasn’t killed the SatNav just yet. Try using your phone abroad when looking for an address, and be prepared for a bill from hell. Satnavs, because they’re out of fashion, are also cheap, and getting cheaper. What’s more, they’re still the best way to find where you’re going on that driving holiday.
A decent model is the TomTom 50, currently knocked down €95 to €149.99 at Argos. It’s got full Irish, UK and European maps, and updates are free for life. The only payment you’d have to make is for updates on speed camera locations, which is free on higher-level models. A decent bit of kit for the price.
9. For the selfie nut
Travelling nowadays has got that much harder — smartphone, tablet, plugs, adapters... you could fill a small case with all the hardware needed to power our devices. And if you’re constantly on the phone, taking selfies, there’s a double whammy — you’re eating up your phone’s feeble power and taking up plenty of memory space. But there’s help in the form of the Imation Link iOS External Power Drive. It’s got 16GB of capacity for your photos, videos and files and also charges up your smartphone. Better still, it’s on sale in the likes of PC World, reduced from €89 to €49.99.
10. For the business traveller
Is the traveller in your life always jetting off on business trips?
There’s nothing worse than standing behind some dope at airport security: bottles of liquid at the end of their bulging bag; ditto a laptop, iPad, and just about anything else that’s going to slow everyone else down as they root around their luggage.
The Airport Club card helps you bypass many of the amateurs with a season pass giving fast track access at Dublin Airport. At €200 a year, it’s really aimed at the weekly traveller to make it worthwhile, but it does give a 10pc discount on shopping at The Loop.
Other options are available, rising steadily in price, for unlimited parking and lounge access. See airportclub.ie for details.
PS. All prices correct at time of print, so hurry to catch a bargain!