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2011 Holiday Travel Gift Guide

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With Cyber Monday specials across the internet, today is the day to score deals on travel as well as travel products. Gadget guy Phil Baker shares his pick of holiday gifts for your favorite traveler this year.

I’ve looked at dozens of products over the year and here are some of my favorite travel gadgets that make great holiday gifts.

Compact computer bag – Seattle-based designer and manufacturer Tom Bihn has introduced the Cadet, a laptop briefcase designed to carry your laptop or iPad, a few files or magazines, power supplies, pens, notebooks, and other small accessories. The Cadet, made in America, is also a checkpoint friendly laptop bag. It has a slide-out protective laptop sleeve as well as an ultrasuede-lined phone pocket, designed specifically to fit iPhones. ($170)

Portable scanner – One of my favorite tech products is the Fujitsu ScanSnap, a portable scanner that works with any computer. It’s great for scanning receipts, sketches and documents, turning each into a PDF that can be emailed or saved. ($199)

The bomber jacket electronics case is designed for carrying travel essentials in your briefcase, but also makes a great man’s bag that lets you carry your phone, medicine, business cards and keys. It’s full of pockets and is made from an ultrasoft pebbled grain mocha colored leather. $59 from Levenger.

LifeProof case – One of this year’s most popular iPhone cases in the LifeProof iPhone case that protects the iPhone from 7-foot drops and immersion in up to 3 feet of water. What’s so special about it is that it’s no bigger than an ordinary iPhone case and everything functions normally. Now there’s no need to be concerned with spilling coffee on it or letting your kids or grandkids use your phone. ($80) The company has also developed a line of accessories for mounting the case on a bike, motorcycle or belt.

Canon PowerShot S95 – The Canon S95 is one of the new breed of pocket-sized cameras that take pictures that are superior to normal compacts. It has an oversized sensor, a 4 to 1 zoom lens with full autofocus. I took it on a trip to Europe this summer and used it more frequently than my DSLR and got images that were nearly as good. It’s being replaced in a month or two by the S100 ($429), with a few improvements including a longer zoom range. But that means the S95 can be purchased now for $289, making it an incredible deal.

Jawbone’s Jambox wireless speaker provides incredible sound from a small brick-sized box that’s great for a hotel room or office. It connects to your music player or smartphone by Bluetooth and doubles as a speakerphone. Two drivers and a small dome speaker produce a wide audio spectrum. It can be updated with apps, software and new features. Plays for about 8 hours using an internal rechargeable battery. ($199)

P5 stereo headphonesBowers & Wilkins, a British audio company, has created headphones that are beautifully designed and provide excellent sound. Made of steel, aluminum and leather, with no visible plastic, it folds into a thin, padded fabric case less than an inch thick, making it great for travel. While they’re sound-isolating headphones, they have no electronic noise cancellation as do the Bose Quiet Comfort series. But they sound better and reduce outside noise somewhat by sealing on your ears ($300). On the other hand, if you’re looking for noise reduction earphones, you can’t beat the Bose Quiet Comfort 15 at the same price.

While you may get stares from the restaurant’s sommelier, the Vinturi Travel is a portable version of their wine aerator that lets you aerate your wine, one glass at a time. Weighing just 4 ounces, it comes in a case and costs $40.

The Cambridge Explorer duffel bag made in England is a huge carry-on bag that can hold your clothes and most anything else. It’s made of smooth, full-grain tobacco leather and opens wide for packing. 23”W x 12”D x 13”H for $599.

Are you shopping for a traveler this holiday? Tell Peter and Phil what’s on your list…

For more gift ideas, check out:

By Phil Baker for PeterGreenberg.com. Phil Baker has more than three decades of experience in consumer and computer technology product development and program management. Check out his blog at www.philipgbaker.com.

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