Holiday Gift Guide – It seems more challenging than ever to think of unique gifts for friends, family and coworkers.
So many people to buy for… such a stressful time.
You are faced with spending a lot of money AND with the challenge of coming up with the perfect present.
It is so much easier when you start with great ideas.
Here’s our holiday gift guide filled with top picks for everyone on your never-ending list.
This is the ultimate gift guide for the hard-to-buy-for-people in your life.
Our Top Travel Holiday Gift Guide
To help you in your quest, we have compiled a fantastic list of interesting gifts (National Geographic Book 100 Countries, 5000 Ideas) for the people who already have everything they could possibly need and want
Read on to find out why we think each of these ideas are so great.
Best Gift for National Park Lover
Do you know someone who loves learning about and visiting National Parks?
This book makes an incredible gift.
Maybe it will inspire them to visit all 59 National Parks.
National Parks of America: Experience America’s 59 National Parks by Lonely Planet is a as an excellent resource.
The pictures are gorgeous.
What we love best is it gives you sample itineraries for each park, depending on how long you will be there.
It isn’t a guidebook meant to take with you on your trips.
It’s more a book to enjoy at home before you go and throughout the years as you plan trips.
It’s also great for someone who wants to learn more about them.
Best Gift for Someone Who Loves Road Trips
This is a great gift idea for a young adult for a college graduation gift.
This book, 50 States, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do, by National Geographic, is fantastic for adventurers who like to plan as they go OR plan in advance.
Road-trippers will love it.
It also may work to inspire the love of travel in young adults.
Those with lots of US travel experience may already be familiar some information in the book.
However, I learned a lot from it and used it when we visited several states even though I’ve traveled across the country many times, including to all 50 states.
Best Gift for a Frequent Traveler
A money belt, anti-theft wallet, or clothing that conceals money and IDs makes a great gift.
You can never be too careful when you travel.
There are some great options that are affordable, stylish and comfortable too.
Many anti-theft wallets and pouches have RFID protection as well.
Best Gift for Someone Who Takes Lots of Pictures
Picture Keeper Pro with 500 GB
Free up memory on your computer and your smartphone.
The Picture Keeper is a handy device that will enable you to maximize your phone’s and computer’s storage by easily capturing those pictures off your phone and computer.
You want to keep your photos and videos forever but how do you store them and manage them?
The Picture Keeper offers a simple solution to save your pictures and videos so you can access them easily and free up space on your devices.
Best Gift for the Person Who Wants Less Stuff
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up book
This idea seems kind of ironic to be in a holiday gift guide but we often feel like we want less stuff.
Do you have friends who talk about decluttering and who want to downsize?
The Life-Changing Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing book will be motivating for anyone who wants to par down their belongings.
It is a home-changing and mind-freeing book which promotes the idea of surrounding yourself with things you love.
We love that it changes our paradigm from what we might lose by getting rid of stuff to what you will gain by minimizing your possessions.
Get this book for yourself or someone else… it’s a life changer.
Best Green Gifts
Simply Eden Products
Handmade locally in Eden, Utah, Simply Eden is a company that uses their goats’ milk for their soaps, lotions, and creams.
They also make lip balms, candles and more.
True entrepreneurs, the staff is committed to making safe products.
They have a shop in Eden or you can order from their website.
They are truly a local company and are committed to supporting other artists and small businesses in their area.
Simply Eden’s shop carries locally made jewelry, baked goods, chocolates, artwork, and more.
Glass Water Bottles by Faucet Face
These glass water bottles are a unique alternative to water bottles.
First, we love that they can be used “on the go” instead of a plastic disposable water bottle or even a reusable water bottle.
We also love that they also serve a dual function:
You can keep them in the refrigerator so you always have fresh, cold tap water to enjoy at home.
We like using them at family mealtimes.
The bottles are so artistic and colorful.
We have had lively discussions about them when our guests have seen them.
These bottles are made from thick, sturdy glass, which is so much safer and healthier than plastic receptacles.
The twist on/off caps are easy to use, and they coordinate with the main color on each bottle.
They are BPA free.
The Faucet Face bottles pictured here are:
Hose Water; one with a hummingbird print; and Tap is Terrific.
At 8″ tall and 2.75″ wide, they will easily fit in your car cup holder.
We love glass being it is non-toxic, green, easy to clean, and won’t stay in a landfill forever.
Even better? When you purchase one of these bottles, Faucet Face donates 2.5% of its sales to a clean drinking water charity called Third Millennium Awakening (TMA) through its 1 for 100 program.
Faucet Face also donates a complete water filter for each sale of five or more individual bottles to a family in rural India.
These glass water bottles become a gift that keeps on giving.
Genuine Cork Skin Tall Umbrella by Pelcor
We love living and giving green, and it doesn’t get much better than this traditionally ecologic product from Portugal.
Made from genuine cork skin from the Mediterranean, each umbrella is made from biodegradable, renewable, recyclable materials.
With a lifetime of 250-350 years, the cork oak yields cork after the first 20 – 25 years of life.
Thereafter, cork can be harvested every nine years.
And due to the nature of cork, no two umbrellas are ever alike.
Water resistant and hypoallergenic, the umbrella opens easily.
This model, at 91 cm, includes a carrying sleeve with shoulder strap.
Opteka Solar Charger
You know someone with a SmartPhone who would love this solar charger as a gift.
Harness the renewable power of the sun by putting the Opteka 6000mAh in your window or dashboard and draw power for any of your electronic devices.
I love mine. It provides enough of a charge to get me through several phone calls or emails.
It is such a simple, unique gift that your special person probably doesn’t own yet.
Flip-it! 6 Pack Intro Kit
It seems they have everything, but they probably don’t have this.
These are BPA free plastic tops that fit onto different bottle sizes, enabling the user to get every last drop of thick liquid out of a bottle, be it shampoo, honey, ketchup, glue, salad dressing, or cleaning products.
This is perfect for your environmentally-conscious friend:
Getting more out of each product means you have to buy less frequently and recycle less-than-empty bottles less often.
They are washable, reusable and come in many different sizes.
With Flip-it! there is no more waiting and no more wasting.
We like they come with a mesh storage bag so we can store them until we need them again.
Best Made in USA Gifts
Because we have too much stuff, we just love consumables.
We especially love made in America products.
Give something that is sure to please and tastes great.
Hammond’s Candies hand-rolled lollipops, candy canes, and ribbon candy come in so many flavors, you will have a fun time choosing.
Most of them are allergy-friendly too.
You will be supporting a family business and support an “art” they have been practicing since 1920.
Since then, they have extended their line to gourmet chocolates, specialty caramels, marshmallow creams, and so much more.
Hammond’s Candies are available at their store in Denver and at specialty retailers.
There were a few displayed in the holiday candy section at Target and near the registers at Michaels.
Update: You can now find some Hammond’s Candies offerings on Amazon. All natural root beer lollipop, anyone?
Ultimate American Socks by United By Blue
The fact that these socks are 100% crafted in the United States are just one (big) reason to love them.
They are made from the most ultimate of renewable American natural resources:
The American Bison.
They come in an attractive, recyclable sliding box, which makes them even more gift-worthy.
Printed on the inside of the box, the receiver will enjoy learning about the journey of their socks, from Philadelphia, PA where the socks and packaging are designed, to the American West where bison down is collected from ranchers, to Uxbridge, MA where they are blended with American merino wool, and combed, carded and spun into sock yarns.
From there, they travel to Osage, IA, where the socks are knitted and packaged.
Know someone who is cold all the time?
These socks will ensure their feet stay warm and comfortable all winter long.
As if all of this isn’t enough?
For every product sold, United by Blue will remove one pound of trash from our world’s rivers, lakes and oceans.
Support a true USA product!
Louisville Slugger Personalized Bat
If you are ever within driving range of Louisville, KY, be sure to check out the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory.
You can see Louisville Slugger bats being made right in front of you; they even give you a free mini bat to take home.
Can’t make it to Louisville?
You can order a custom-made, personalize bat; a team logo bat; and collectible bats online.
For the personalized Louisville bats — our favorites — you choose the size and finish.
They will even include the gift recipient’s name on the bat.
Best Gift for Frequent Flier
Travelrest – The Ultimate Pillow
Buying for a frequent flier?
Weighing less than 7 oz, this ergonomic travel pillow is easy to take on long distance trips.
We love that it is simple to inflate and collapses easily.
It even adjusts for children.
The best part?
It provides excellent support with proper head and neck alignment.
This travel pillow will make long flights more tolerable.
Another bonus is that it is washable too.
Read more about the Travelrest Ultimate Pillow here.
And a very very close runner up is the Aeros Pillow Premium Sea to Summit.
Best Travel or Camping Gift
Divine LEDs Ultra Bright LED Lantern
This might be one you even buy for yourself.
This is a practical item that works great when camping and also as an emergency backup light at home for when the power goes out.
We know some Divine LED owners who use them outside in their backyards and decks.
What’s great about them is that you can control how bright you want the light to be.
It is lightweight and compacts easily so it is perfect to travel with.
It is even water resistant.
Made from military-grade materials, it is extra-durable.
It is the perfect gift for someone who loves the outdoors and for any homeowner too.
Best Gift for Outdoor Enthusiast
Vitchelo Headlamp Flashlight
The Vitchelo Headlamp Flashlight is a best-seller for a reason: It is a great product!
It is lightweight, durable, and it even comes with batteries.
There is an option for turning on the red light or the white light.
This is perfect for all of your outdoor activities, including running, walking, hiking, fishing, cycling, camping and more.
Use it for working in your garage, crawl space, attic and basement; it’s perfect for when you are working with your hands and can’t carry a flashlight.
Kids would love this gift too.
It would be fun for them to use for when they play outside or for creative play in the house.
Best for our needs, being we are outdoor enthusiasts?
It is waterproof too!
Best Gift for Someone Who Has Everything
This throw, picnic blanket, table cover, and wrap skirt serves multiple purposes.
It’s available in different colors to suit the recipient’s taste as well.
We’ve used it on the beach to hold our towels and cooler and another time as a swim cover at a hotel.
For an outdoor party, we covered a circular wooden table and dressed it up with this throw.
It’s versatile and fun!
Animal Print Water Bottle:
This comes in three prints: zebra, giraffe and cheetah.
It holds 17 ounces and is stainless steel.
It’s a sleek and streamlined water bottle.
Easy to tuck into a purse or briefcase.
There is a screw on/off cap which eliminates leaks.
It should fit most car drink holders.
Tweens and teens would like this too.
Best Homeowner Gift
The Home Book
A Complete Guide to Homeowner and Homebuilder Responsibilities, by David MacLennan, George Wolfson, and Douglas Hansen.
With its 271 glossy pages of practical, thorough, easy-to-understand guidelines, this is a lifesaver for homeowners and remodelers to learn how to avoid costly mistakes when taking care of their homes.
This would make an excellent gift for first time home buyers, purchasers of new construction, and existing homeowners who are considering remodeling their present home.
It covers maintenance, repairs, and concerns over everything from floors, ceilings, roofs, gutters, cabinets, appliances, driveways, walkways, walls, moldings, foundations, basements, windows, doors, decks, patios, and more.
Save time and money, and retain the value of your home for years with this book as a resource.
Best gifts this year
In decades past, there were many more things people actually needed.
There were more surprises.
We didn’t have so much “stuff” already.
Nowadays, everything is readily available through the internet, easily accessible.
With our “buy it now,” culture, many people are able to go out and buy whatever it is they need or want, whenever they need or want it.
It is much more difficult to come up with unique holiday gifts that are actually useful and/or thoughtful.
Buy a gift for the hard-to-buy-for person with these unique holiday gift guide ideas.
The special people in your life are sure to remember, appreciate, and enjoy them.
Whether these are last minute gifts, or if you carefully planned, your recipients will be sure to remember these unique gift ideas.
Best Technology Gifts and Gadgets for Travelers
Best Technology Gifts and Gadgets for Travelers ~ As the holiday season quickly approaches, you’ll probably begin thinking about gifts and gadgets you’ll want for yourself or to get for the favorite traveler on your list.
We’ve featured a number of posts about technology this year, here are some of our favorites, along with the top choices from those posts:
Best Noise Cancelling Headphones featured these headphones:
- Bose QuietComfort
- Beats Studio by Dr. Dre headphones
- noise cancelling headphones from Genius
- Audio Technica lightweight headphones
Best Portable DVD Players for Travel featured these DVD players:
- Coby 7-Inch Portable DVD/CD/MP3 Player
- Phillips 7-Inch Portable LCD Dual DVD Player
- Sony 9-Inch Portable DVD Player
- RCA Twin Mobile DVD Players
- Philips 7-Inch LCD Dual Screen Portable DVD Player
Best Tablet Computer for Travel: iPad 2 vs. Xoom vs. Galaxy Tab included comparisons of these tablets:
And Should I Buy a Kindle Fire added to the mix with a comparison to the iPad2.
A Travel Alarm clock is always a great gift so Travel Alarm Clock: Reviews of the Best Digital and Atomic Clocks, so in that post we featured these clocks:
- Elgin Travel Alarm clock
- Casio Travel Alarm
- Seiko “get up and glow” alarm clock
- Oregon Scientific atomic travel alarm clock
And finally, a unique gift for a traveler is always a digital luggage scale.
Gift Ideas for Green Travelers
We’ve searched far and wide to create this list of Gift Ideas for Green Travelers and eco-conscious travelers.
Whether you’re shopping for presents for Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, or just for fun, celebrate Cyber Monday the green way with our Holiday Shopping List.
Gift Ideas for Green Travelers: Books and DVDsThe Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace… One School at a Time In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto
Gift Ideas for Green Travelers: Clothing and ShoesGroovy Organic Cotton T-Shirt by Patagonia: Women
Groovy Organic Cotton T-Shirt by Patagonia: MenEcoland Organic Cotton Socks
Gift Ideas for Green Travelers: Sporting Goods & Travel Gear
Gift Ideas for Green Travelers
Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Water BottleMountainsmith Recycled Backpack Reusable Shopping Bags Reusable Produce Bags Wrap-N-Mat
Gift Ideas for Green Travelers: Personal Care ProductsMSR Quick-Dry Towel
Dr. Bronner’s Organic Castile Soap
Olive IQ Vaporizer comes with USB Charging Cable, key chain tool, 10mm adapter and more.
Gift Ideas for Green Travelers: Donations
A Charity Navigator Good Card
Kiva Gift Certificate
Unique Valentine’s Day gifts
Looking for unique Valentine’s Day gifts?
We have the top picks for everyone on your list from your beloved to your new romance, to your children, friends, coworkers, and teachers.
Everyone would love to be remembered, and there is no better way to do it than with these sustainable and (mostly) practical, mostly green travel gifts.
Scratch Off World Map Poster
Right off the bat, you will be proud to give this gift.
The scratch off world map comes in a tube that’s bright and depicts the poster inside.
The map measures 33 x 23 in (84 x 59 cm).
The poster itself is a bit thicker than a traditional poster.
Endangered Species Chocolate Bars
Do you have an animal or chocolate lover in your life?
Support endangered species’ habitat and humanity with these bars made from ethically traded cocoa beans from small family farms.
Choose from tiger, wolf, dolphin, sea otter, chimpanzee and more.
These gourmet chocolate bars will please everyone on your gift list.
They are gluten free.
Bonus: each bar contains educational information about the animal on its wrapper.
Amazon features these delicious fair-trade chocolate your valentine will be sure to love.
Who doesn’t enjoy high-quality, eco-friendly chocolate?
Women’s and Men’s Organic Cotton Clothing by Patagonia
When shopping for travel gifts, my general philosophy is if it isn’t practical, it doesn’t make the cut.
But when I saw this t-shirt I remembered how tired I got of wearing the same four solid-colored shirts every day for six weeks when I traveled around Eastern Europe.
Sometimes it’s good to get a gift that’s unique and fun – even if it’s not totally practical – and this organic cotton T is a great place to start. Patagonia Organic Clothing
Fair Trade Hemp Messenger Bag
The first time I traveled abroad, I only brought my ginormous backpack and a standard-size backpack.
I didn’t think to bring a medium-sized bag for carrying books, water bottles, or a few groceries, but quickly realized how much I would have appreciated having a messenger bag.
This fair trade hemp bag would have been perfect to grab on the way out the door.
Recycled Cotton Journal
Whether you’re in a park in Poland or a coffee shop in Thailand, take a minute to jot down your travel adventures.
You may not think you’ll ever forget where you were when you left your backpack on the bus and had to chase it down the street (even if you want to), but memories blur together over the years and a Recycled Cotton Journal can help you sort it all out.
Organic Cotton Socks
Okay, so Organic Cotton Socks aren’t the most romantic gift.
But they’re practical.
When your loved one has been vagabonding around Argentina for 3 days in the same pair of socks, then discovers she has this one last pair hidden under her dirty t-shirts, she’ll thank you.
Certainly you will find more and more companies going green.
And with so many more interesting, sustainable products available, you will hopefully find one.
Depending on your climate, locally grown flowers might not be easy to come by in February.
And even organic blooms might be hard to come by in your city (though a Yelp search for an eco-friendly florist can’t hurt).
Fortunately, you can buy your loved one some Organic Flower Seeds so they can try make a go of their green thumb in the spring.
Unique Valentine’s Day Gifts
Ethical or Secondhand Jewelry
Skip traditional jewelry and instead opt for eco-friendly, ethical jewelry.
If your special someone prefers a classic look, secondhand jewelry is a great option.
Browse the selection at a reputable antique store or jewelry store specializing in vintage pieces.
Acts of Service
One of the greenest gifts you can give your valentine is free: an act of service that you promise to fulfill.
You can create a packet of cards that outline the acts of service, and your loved one can cash them in at his or her leisure.
Need some ideas?
Your acts of service can range from the practical (dish duty for a week, a thorough scrubbing of the bathroom, or picking up the dry cleaning for a month) to the more romantic (cooking a dinner for two, giving your valentine a massage, or making your love breakfast in bed).
This is a great gift because you can customize it to make it the perfect gift for your valentine.
Valentine Vacations: Best Valentine Day Trips and Packages
Looking for somewhere special to take a vacation this Valentine’s Day?
Maybe it’s just a weekend getaway or a longer trip?
Here are some ideas for great Valentine’s Day Travel Options:
For a Cheap Vacation
They have vacation packages for 2 weeks out and you can score some amazing deals.
A few years ago we booked with them for a trip from Washington, DC to Toronto and got hotel and round-trip plane tickets.
For Romance and Wine
Check out San Francisco and beyond
Here are some great ideas for traveling in and around the San Francisco area:
Red and White Fleet ‘s California Sunset Valentine’s Cruise
“Romantics will enjoy views of the city’s spectacular nights cape, live guitar entertainment, hearty appetizers and a hot or cold beverage from the bar.
Nestled into the warm and cozy atmosphere of Red and White Fleet’s historic vessel, the cruise will sail along the dramatically lit skyline of San Francisco, pass Alcatraz and cruise under the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge.”
Pier 43½ at Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco, CA, 94133
San Francisco Zoo’s “Woo at the Zoo”
“The San Francisco Zoo’s annual Valentine’s event offers the original Annual Sex Tour/Woo at the Zoo with Jane Tollini.
“Woo at the Zoo” also features a brunch or dinner.
Reservations are required as this “sense”-ational event sells out each year.
1 Zoo Road, San Francisco, 94132-1098
The Napa Valley Wine Train’s Sweetheart Serenade
The Napa Valley Wine Train is a haven for lovers and Valentine’s Day is a special treat on board.
The tour is offering four options to celebrate love: dinners feature a glass of sparkling wine, a chocolate treat and entertainment by a strolling musician.
1275 McKinstry St, Napa,CA 94559
For Skiing Bliss
Hit the slopes in the Banff
Banff / Lake Louise are wonderful places in Canada with fabulous restaurants and great skiing.
We were there during the summer a few years ago, but during winter there are hundreds of miles of ski trials and amazing lodges and cabins (most with fireplaces).
So after a great day on the slopes you can cuddle up around a warm fire.
For Beachside Relaxation
Nothing says romantic beach side vacation like Hawaii, right?
Here are a few upcoming events:
Romance Remembered at Halekulani (Oahu, HI – www.halekulani.com)
Spend four nights immersing in the Halekulani-inspired romance, delectable cuisine, exclusive amenities and unparalleled world service on the beach at Waikiki.
Waikiki Escape at Waikiki Parc (Oahu, HI – www.waikikiparc.com)
Couples choose between adventure, relaxation, or exploration and celebrate guilt-free indulgences of Waikiki at the chic boutique hotel – Waikiki Parc.
For Coziness Close to Home
Book a Room in a Lodge or a Suite at your Favorite Hotel
With the economy still recovering there are numerous options for cheap hotel nights over this year’s valentine’s day.
For an even cheaper Valentine’s Day – look at rooms the weekend following or prior to Valentine’s Day this year.
The weekend following is President’s Day weekend so rooms still may be on the steeper side.
And of course, the greenest and cheapest Valentine’s Day event is always to make your own locally sourced meal at home.
Still looking for the perfect, green Valentine’s Day gift for your special someone?
Fear not, we have unique Valentine’s Day gifts your valentine is sure to love.
This list is sure to please anyone on your list, but especially the green traveler near and dear to you.
Review of Best Portable Travel Chargers
Portable Travel Chargers – I remember back-in-the-day when my old Nokia phone said I had ‘low battery’ it meant that I had 2 days to find a charger.
Now daily, and sometime multiple times a day, I’m re-charging my Apple iPhone, headset, and Apple iPad…etc etc.
Unless I’m in my office, home, or I’m out of luck.
Travel (commuting, day-trip, multi-days/weeks) these days is something many take for granted, and in many cases it is a necessity.
Due to our growing dependence on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, it has become imperative that you have your device, and it is charged.
I love my smartphone and tablet (iPhone and iPad respectively) because my days of my heavy backpack or book bag stuffed with book, papers and maps and having to travel with the same are behind me…THANK GOODNESS!
In fact I’ve been able to really travel light and use lightweight luggage.
These small, relatively light devices have taken the place of heavy bulky items.
Most people wouldn’t dream of traveling without their electronic devices like smartphones and tablets.
Since they perform a lot of tasks, bringing them while traveling is a must.
But, they all have one critical limitation, they run on internal rechargeable batteries.
Battery life is limited on these small powerful devices because they are small and power process hungry.
Which is why we use and rely on them so much.
Small device, small battery.
The newer the device, the more powerful the device, and the faster the battery is depleted.
The fact is people are living in an age when smartphones have become as important as carrying a wallet.
In the very near future, they might even replace your wallet since mobile financial transactions and proper identification will be conducted and accepted via your smartphone.
Given these realities, you can’t afford to be without a charger when you travel.
I’m a portable travel charger nerd, my wife would say a collector.
I can’t help myself, I’m like a squirrel “Oh…OOH another acorn” gotta have it!
Most of my chargers are small enough in size that I can use on whatever device I’m charging while I’m charging.
It’s important to consider the storage capacity of the charger’s battery.
This value is typically expressed in either Amp hours with a symbol “AH” or as milliAmp hours (mAh).
The storage capacity of your device that you want to charge is typically printed on the battery itself but may also be found in your owner’s manual.
The portable travel charger similarly has a storage capacity, which helps you to determine how many of your devices (or how much of one particular device) the charger can recharge before it needs to be recharged it self.
Some of my portable chargers can fully charge several of my devices; others will only give me an immediate partial ‘in-a-pinch’ charge but I like them all the same because they are smaller and easier to carry.
I honestly do not pay that much attention to the chargers storage capacity, more important to me are:
They must be charged before I can use them to charge my device.
They are compact enough to fit in my pocket (or wallet)
They all have a USB connector port so I can use the appropriate cord which is compatible and I charge any of my devices with it.
I love and highly prefer USB type chargers for this reason.
The Importance of Portable Power Chargers
Portable travel chargers are devices used to power up a smartphone or other electronic devices.
These chargers provide power for your mobile device, and they’re available in a variety of styles, designs and connectors to suit specific needs.
If you’re a frequent traveler, having a portable charger is an absolute necessity as it provides assurances that your phone or device will work when you need it.
Almost all travel chargers today are designed to be compatible with a number of devices.
This represents an excellent value for the consumer who needs to keep several devices up and running while on the go.
One of the most practical gifts you can give or receive is a Portable Travel Backup Battery and Charger.
These are awesomely convenient for those situation when a traditional charge isn’t handy.
These Portable Chargers can be small enough to fit in your pocket, purse or in some cases even a key chain.
These Portable Power Packs can power up a Smartphone or tablet when in a pinch and need a quick boost, or can provide a full charge.
They can also provide a charge for cameras and other electronic gadgets that have rechargeable batteries.
I’m finding myself using these portable chargers even when I do have access to a wall outlet because of their convenience and portability of not being tethered to the wall, car or computer.
What to Consider When Buying a Travel Charger
Consumers looking for a travel charger with plenty of power for a number of devices will quickly discover that the bigger, more powerful chargers tend to cost a bit more and are bulkier.
They also weigh more, which can be an important consideration for someone looking to travel light.
Of course, it isn’t terribly helpful to simply choose the lightest, least expensive travel charger, as these may not have the juice to actually charge various essential devices.
When considering which portable charger to buy, it’s best to consider all of these factors and the ones important to you before making a purchase decision.
Many portable travel chargers come with an array of adapter tips and output connectors.
This makes it possible to charge almost anything, and some companies that manufacture and sell chargers sell additional adapter tips separately as accessories.
Again I highly prefer the ones with a universal USB port so you can use your devices unique cord.
The good news is there are several portable chargers available, including (my favorite) universal chargers and those designed specifically for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
The portable travel chargers mentioned below are my favorites.
But there are NO sub $10 cheap portable travel chargers I have found that I can recommend.
You are going to have to invest more money depending upon what functionality you are seeking, but the more expensive ones do not necessarily before exponentially better performance.
TravelCard Smartphone Charger That Fits in Your Wallet!
The TravelCard Smartphone Charger, as the name suggests, is a compact charger that’s small enough to fit in your wallet.
As far as portable battery packs go, the TravelCard is one of the best designed and is available in different colors.
The TravelCard is made of sturdy aluminum and looks stylish whether in blue, red or silver.
At the top edge of the charger is the micro USB port for charging the device.
There’s also a multi-color LED and an on/off button, all laid out neatly, although in some models the micro USB is replaced by a lightning connector.
They also have a new product in development TravelBuddy, which I’m very excited about.
I’m truly looking forward it getting my hands on this one.
I love its compactness, and that it fits in my wallet or pocket easily.
That is what you are paying for.
I can easily hold this charger and my iPhone while connected and being charged in on hand, and use it.
I have even recharged the TravelCard with another of my portable travel chargers because it is small and more convenient to carry.
The charger measures 3.58 x 2.44 x .16 inches (9.1 x 6.2 x .4 cm), a bit larger than a credit card but should fit in your wallet easily, which is what distinguishes it from regular chargers.
It also weighs 1.5 ounces (42.5 grams) so it is light too.
My TravelCard has given me up to a 75% charge on my iPhone , and I’ve gotten to 40% on my iPad.
However, I really only use it for my iPhone and my wireless Bluetooth headset.
While it was not a full charge, it is more than enough to make an important call, text, or email long enough to get you to a proper full charge.
As far as portable battery packs go, the TravelCard ranks up there with the best.
- Compact design
- Approved by Apple
- Stylish design
- Does not provide a full charge for your iPhone or Android device
- Price is a little bit higher than other chargers
Anker Astro Ultra-Compact Portable Charger
The Anker Astroportable travel charger is capable of automatically detecting your device and charges them up quickly thanks to its proprietary PowerIQ technology.
All the ports on the device will identify the device you connect and provide the fastest charge possible.
The Anker Astro was able to fully charge my iPhone.
It was able to provide a pretty significant partial charge on my iPad mini before having to be recharged itself.
Anker Astro differs from other chargers in terms of size, measuring only (3.5 × 0.9 × 0.9 in), no bigger than a lipstick.
It weighs only 2.7 oz. and can recharge in three to four hours, much faster than a standard portable charger.
When you order the unit, it comes with an 18 month warranty, a guide, a convenient travel pouch, the micro USB cable, and the external battery.
Anker Astro Ultra-Compact Portable Charger Pros
- Compatible with several mobile devices
- Offers full charge for my iPhone and other devices
- Charges fast
Anker Astro Ultra-Compact Portable Charger Cons
- Doesn’t have a lighting connector
- Doesn’t work with older mobile devices
My wife prefers the PowerSkin POP’n battery charger by PowerSkin because it has small little suction cups on the charger that attached to her iPhone.
has small hand so this allows her to use the phone and charger simultaneously.
Levin Solstar Solar Portable Charger
I love solar chargers, but I really REALLY REALLY love the ones that you pre-charge via the sun and then use to charge my smartphone.
I own several of these and they are my preferred choice.
I have them in my home office window and dashboard of my truck so they are always available to recharge any of my devices.
I like that they are charging my devices from the free energy of the sun.
The Levin Solstar charger has many features that distinguish it from other chargers, but the most significant is the fact that this is a rain resistant solar charger.
The Solstar is also shockproof so it won’t break easily.
The Solstar is capable of charging mobile devices using solar energy, making it an environmental friendly device.
As long as there’s sunlight, you can charge an iPhone or iPad or whatever easily.
Thanks to the robust rain resistant design, you can take it hiking with you and not worry about a little rain damaging it.
The Solstar doesn’t just look tough, it is tough.
Thanks to its shock-proof feature the device will continue working even if you accidentally drop it.
Aside from solar charging, the unit comes with a powerful polymer battery that allows for high speed charging of devices at the same time.
Finally, the unit is light, compact and has an anti-explosion feature built in.
It should be mentioned that I have never used my solar chargers to charge my iPhone or Ipad by directly placing it in the sun and charge them.
In a future update I will be using, testing and reviewing direct solar chargers like the Anker® 14W Dual-Port Solar Charger with PowerIQ™ Technology.
I know my solar chargers will charge my devices, but I do not do this myself.
One for preference but also I know this solar charging feature is for emergency use, as it is very much slower compared to regular battery charging.
It can take 6 to 8 hours to charge an iPhone while it is off.
But it can provide a quick 5% charge in about 40 minutes so you can make a call or send a text.
Even so, the fact that it has such a feature means you have an additional option available.
Levin Solstar Solar Portable Charger Pros
- Rain Resistant
- Charges mobile devices quickly
- Ideal for use in long flights or hiking
Levin Solstar Solar Portable Charger Cons
- The solar panel is meant for emergency use and has limited capacity
- Solar panel takes time to charge
An honorable mention needs to be given to the Opteka Solar Charger.
This is the one I have for home use and it has performed and held up pretty well.
I can’t remember exactly what I paid for it, but I know the prices have come down considerably.
And I use/keep the Poweradd™ Apollo Portable USB Charger Power Bank in my truck and for when the family is on a hike or outing.
EasyAcc Ultra Slim Portable Battery Charger
The EasyAcc® Ultra Slim Portable Battery Charger is as functional as it is stylish, offering you a wide array of colors to choose from.
Regardless of the color you choose, you’ll get ample battery charging capacity, so there’s no need to worry about the battery on your mobile running low.
The EasyAcc charger is compact and can fit in a small bag or pocket.
The aforementioned power capacity provides up to 5-6 full charges for an iPhone and 1.5 to 2.5 charges for an iPad.
The unit also has dual USB output, allowing you to charge an iPad or a few smartphones at maximum speed.
The EasyAcc charger also has a sophisticated lock technology that comes with a standby time of up to six months after it is fully charged.
And as mentioned earlier, this charger is portable, perfect if you like to go out camping, hiking or mountain climbing.
The charger is also easy to use.
Based on customer feedback, it is also durable.
EasyAcc Ultra Slim Portable Battery Charger Pros
- Holds charges for extended periods
- Easy to use
EasyAcc Ultra Slim Portable Battery Charger Cons
- Separate purchase of AC adapter required
- A bit heavy compared to others
Powerslayer Smart Wall Charger for Mobile Phones and Tablets
I know, this is not a portable travel charger.
But I love the Powerslayer by Velvetwire it and use it every night to charge my iPhone (or iPad) while I sleep without fear of over-charging or damaging my iPhone.
The Powerslayer wall charger has been specially designed to provide power for a variety of mobile devices.
Unlike others, it monitors the charging process so you don’t have to worry about something going wrong.
The Powerslayer has a microprocessor built in that serves as the charger’s tracker.
Unlike other chargers, it only provides the power that the device requires, so no power is wasted during the process.
The Powerslayer is a USB charger and includes special software that automatically turns on and off as necessary.
So the Powerslayer should be compatible (has the USB connector port I’m so fond of) with virtually all the iPhone, iPod, HTC, iPad and Samsung Galaxy.
The charger has a 10 watt output for quick and efficient charging, and it is also Energy Star and UL Green Leaf rated.
This is a very convenient feature so you don’t have to worry about turning it on or off.
The unit has a triangular LED indicator turns orange when you are charging and green when the device is charged fully.
The Powerslayer isn’t just a fast charger though, as it also protects your mobile device from overcharging.
It’s well known that having your device plugged in and charging well after it has been fully charged causes it to be overcharge, which can damage the device and even be a fire hazard as well.
Because of the way the Powerslayer has been designed, it can charge any USB device you have.
Its quick charging time makes it ideal for tablets and smartphones.
It’s also worth noting that the Ultra-low Adaptiv Standby uses only a tenth of the power that the standby on other chargers use, which makes this an energy saver.
Clean Charge, Clear Conscious!
Another charger I’ve just received and have not been using that long is the Tylt Energi 2k Smart Charger with built-in battery.
I can charge my phone or tablet while simultaneously charge the built-in battery of the charger for a charge later if I need it.
How it works is that while the Tylt ENERGI Smart Charger is plugged into the wall and your device is attached to the charger (via your cable which comes with and is compatible with your device) via the universal USB connector port it is charging your device.
As soon as your device is/has a full charge, the charger stops charging your device and switches to charging it’s own internal battery for later use.
Picking the Best Portable Travel Charger
No matter how powerful or stylish your mobile device is, you will need a charger to make the most of it.
In fact, the more feature-laden the device is, the more likely you need a charge quicker since those devices use a lot of power.
You can use (as I do) a portable travel charger as your primary day-to-day charger, and commute or travel with it as well.
The importance of a portable travel charger cannot be denied; you simply cannot afford to be on the road without one.
Obviously you need to do some research to determine which one is most effective for you and your situation, but with the products above, you now have a place to start your search.
As you can see, each of the products above have specific and unique features, so there’s no single best charger available.
Remember when shopping for a portable travel battery charger the higher the AH or mAH, the more fully, number of times and number of device that can be charged.
It will always be a trade-off of higher AH/mAH’s vs size of the device.
Rather, it all depends on what fits your style.
Green Baby Toys ~ The Best Natural Earth-Friendly Toys
It’s a scary world out there for parents.
All of the BPA (a hormone disruptor), toxic paints, and phthalates (endocrine disruptors) in pacifiers, teethers, and toys is enough to make a mama want to give up toys altogether.
Fortunately, there is an abundance of safe, green toys.
From wood trucks and rattles to toys made from silicone, rubber, and recycled plastic.
Online and in natural toy stores across the country.
Here are some of our favorite green baby toys.
Before we get started on baby toys, here’s one of our all-time favorite green kid toys.
It’s made from 100% recycled plastic milk jugs and it’s even made in America.
We LOVE this toy made from 100% recycled milk jugs AND made in USA too!
— GoGreenTravelGreen (@GoGreenTraveler) December 12, 2015
For the first year and a half of my son’s life, he was content to play with an empty shoe box or a handful of crinkly scraps of wrapping paper.
This didn’t stop me from filling his shelves with a variety of green baby toys.
That is, toys that are made in a sustainable manner.
I’m always in search of the next great multitasking moment, and green toys simultaneously satisfied my desire to protect the planet — they’re made with natural, recycled or reclaimed materials — and my child.
Since babies experience things by biting, sucking and drooling on them,
I looked for playthings that were made without toxic glues, paints or varnishes and that were composed primarily of natural fibers or wood.
It turns out that greener toys also often encourage kids to use their imaginations: Without flashing lights, music and sparkling colors, a little one is left to stretch his and her creativity.
Top green baby toys
Looking for your own child or looking for a great gift for a baby shower, birthdays or the holidays?
Consider one of these earth-friendly baby toys.
Natural Rubber Panda Teether by Hevea
This adorable teether has won awards from parents in the US, Germany, and the UK.
It is made of 100% rubber – no phthalates, colors, PVC, EVAtane, silicone, or BPA.
Packaging is made from recycled and biodegradable materials printed in soy ink
Jane Teething Necklace by Chewbeads
It can be hard to by stylish when all of your attention goes to baby, but Chewbeads offers a fashionable necklace for mom that’s also baby-friendly.
Made of 100% silicone -no BPA, phthalates, cadmium, lead, or other metals.
Fantasy Blocks by Haba
This 26 piece set contains an array of colors and shapes that will help your little one grow and learn.
They are made of solid beech wood and non-toxic, solvent-free dye.
Wooden Rattle by Green Sprouts
This simple wooden rattle is the perfect toy for any baby.
It is made of solid wood with no coatings, stains, or paints.
Punch and Drop by Plan Toys
This brightly colored toy improves hand-eye coordination and is made of solid wood.
It is made from organic recycled rubber wood.
Scoop and Pour Tug Boats by Green Toys
Your baby will love bath time with these fun, sustainable boats.
We love that they are made from 100% recycled plastic.
Sophie the Giraffe Teether Toy by Vulli
Cute Sophie has a squeaker and her neck is easy for little hands to grasp.
Great for teething babies!
It’s made of 100% rubber and coated with food paint.
It is phthalate and BPA-free too.
Motley Pacifier Chain by Haba
This brightly colored pacifier is cute, natural, and perfect for your little one.
It is made of wood and coated with natural, water-based, non-toxic lacquers.
Stacking Cups by Green Toys
These colorful cups stack in dozens of ways and make playtime and bath time fun for everyone.
It is made from 100% recycled plastic milk containers.
Green Baby Toys
These earth-friendly baby toys and green baby toys are safe for kids and are sure to satisfy the most environmentally conscious parent.
Your little one will have a blast with them!
They are great for gifts too, especially someone having a green baby shower.
Eco-friendly toy companies like Plan Toys, MiYim and Sprig continue to be at the top of my wish list.
For older kids and fun for the entire family and my personal favorite choice are Space Rails.
Strolling with the Best Product for Baby
Whether you are a first time mom, or on the second or third child; we all know that it is our responsibility, as a parent, to use safe and environmentally friendly products in the care of our precious little ones, and big ones, for that matter.
With all of the advances in materials and the emphasis being placed on convenience versus safety of products these days, it is hard to know what the right choice is for the best product for baby.
This is especially true when it comes to baby furniture, carriers, or strollers.
Everything seems to be made of plastic, which we hear or read, is most often made up of toxic materials.
What is the right choice?
Are there products out there that are completely safe for a baby?
One of the most important products for the family on the go is a stroller.
The first thing that pops in my mind is, “How can a product that is made mainly of plastic and rubber be good for my child?”
I’ve done some research and found a baby stroller that might meet the specifications of the environmentally friendly parent.
The product is called the Indie Stroller – Natural Edition and is made by BumbleRide.
It is most definitely not the cheapest option; however it does seem to be the best “green” product on the market, as far as strollers are concerned.
Let’s look at some of the specs of the product.
The seating area of the stroller is made using 50% bamboo fiber.
This type of material is said to be good for temperature regulation and moisture absorption, not to mention, a natural product.
I’m not quite sure what the other 50% is made up of, however.
The exterior fabric of the unit is made from 50% recycled materials, again not sure what the other 50% of the material is made of.
If I had to make an educated guess, I might say maybe it is made up of organic cotton.
Here are some of the other specs of the stroller, which, by the way, is a great for the jogging mom or dad:
- The weight of the product is 20 lbs
- It has a 360 degree swiveling front wheel with a locking mechanism
- An adjustable reclining backrest with multiple adjustment settings
- Rear suspension which is good for various terrain in hiking or jogging
- A height adjustable handle
- A large storage basket for all of baby’s necessities
- A removable cup holder, making it easy to clean after each use
- A 5-point safety harness
- 12 inch inflatable tires
- A sun canopy that is rated for sun blockage at SPF 45
- Easily foldable and has a carrying handle
- It is car seat compatible with Graco Snugride, Graco Snugride 32 and 35, Peg Perego Primo Viaggio SIP 30/30, Chicco Keyfit 30, Combi Shuttle, Britax Chaperone, and Baby Trend Flex Loc.
The product has great reviews from customers on the manufacturer’s website.
After doing a little more investigating, I still can seem to find what the other 50% of the seating area and fabric are made up of, but as I said earlier, this product seems to be the most environmentally friendly stroller that I’ve found and is the best product for baby
Eco-Friendly Baby Products
There is nothing more precious than our children. We do everything we can to protect them from danger or harmful situations.
This should include protecting them all of the harmful chemicals, materials, and pollutants that are found so often in everyday living.
I have become more conscious about the materials that are used in making clothing, toys, or products we handle every day.
It used to be hard to find products that were made eco-friendly, or a term we are becoming more familiar with, “green,” but not there are many choices of eco-friendly baby products, including green baby toys.
I have done some research and come across some interesting, and safe, products that are friendly for babies.
Many of these are geared toward the family on the go or things you would take with when traveling for the day or for the week; while others are everyday earth-friendly products that are necessities.
Cloth diapers used to be a thing of the past, but as we all start to become more environmentally conscious, we are realizing that disposable diapers do more harm than good.
With that said, cloth diapers are becoming a thing of the present. One product that I came across was Sustainablebabyish Organic Bamboo Fleece Fitteds.
These are organic cloth diapers made from organic bamboo and cotton fleece and they also carry “soakers” which are covers that prevent leaking. They are available in newborn to extra-large (which fits 32 lbs and over).
This company implements a “one diaper-one tree” program that plants one tree for every one diaper purchased.
What little traveler doesn’t need a blanket?
There are several organic blankets and quilts on the market.
I chose to review one made by Aden and Anais called the Oasis Organic Dream Blanket.
The blanket is made from organic cotton muslin.
The blanket is 47 in. x 47 in. in size and is four layers thick.
The material used has self-regulating properties, therefore when baby is wrapped in it or swaddled, it is nice and warm and cozy for them.
With all of the different designs of baby slings and green baby carriers on the market, clumsy strollers are becoming a thing of the past.
There are simple one-piece cloth carriers to more intricate back pack carriers for babies.
All of these styles can be found made in organic materials.
One of the mid-size carriers I found is the Organic Collection Baby Carrier by Ergobaby.
The carrier can be worn on the front, back or hip.
It is made from 100% Oeko-Tex certified Organic Cotton and has an ergonomic design which keeps the baby in a natural sitting position.
The carrier is accessorized with a hood and storage pocket.
This is such a lightweight and versatile carrier that it is good for the everyday walk, a trip to the grocery store or a long hike.
Babies spend a lot of time traveling in car seats, which can also double as a convenient carry for the trip into the gas station or grocery store.
This is one purchase I really regret not buying my kids when they were small.
They were in their car seat so much, and if I would have thought about eco-friendly baby products back then, I would have done whatever I could have in this area.
For those chillier days, you will need something to cover your baby.
The Orbit Baby Footmuff – Green Edition is the perfect product.
It is made with organic cotton and is chemical-free and meets all car seat safety standards.
The Footmuff attaches to the car seat or a stroller and not only gives baby a comfortable lining, but covers baby from the neck down and totally encloses around the feet.
It has a convenient zipper to easily get baby in and out and also an adjustable flap to fold down if the weather is nicer.
It comes in both small and large sizes; both sizes come with an extension for the foot area to use as baby grows.
There are many accessories and daily necessities that can be found in chemical-free and organic materials.
When you are considering a product for your baby, be sure to check the Good Guide to be sure it’s safe.
When you choose eco-friendly baby products, you are doing your part in protecting the environment and are also giving your baby the best start possible in living a healthy and eco-friendly life.