'Tis the season to fret about what to buy the traveler in your life. The jet set is difficult to please, preferring presents that are compact, light and practical-a tall order for anyone's holiday shopping list.
"Your present should help make the recipient more efficient, organized and comfortable for travel," advises Dana May Casperson, author of Power Etiquette: What You Don't Know Can Kill Your Career (AMACOM).
If you're the busiest traveler you know, start dropping hints:
Marking time: Don't just get a standard alarm clock; try one with advanced features and attitude. Atomic Time offers a travel alarm clock that receives a radio signal from the U.S. Atomic Clock in Fort Collins, Colorado, ensuring its accuracy. At $49.95 (street), it's considerably cheaper than its Colorado counterpart. Something keeping your clients up at night? Consider the TravelScape clock (www.westclox.com), which will play up to 30 minutes of soothing nature sounds to lull them to sleep. They can choose from rain, chirping crickets and ocean sounds with the $29.99 (street) timepiece.
Good vibrations: Want to give a gadget? The BreathAlert (www.tanita.com) is a lightweight gizmo that helps detect odors through a small sensor. You can gauge your own breath with this $29.99 (street) device. To calm a stressed-out colleague, why not buy him or her a $15 (street) massage pen from the Discovery Channel Store. A vibrating end stimulates the body's pressure points, while the other end writes.
Paper convergence: There's a way to have both paper-based and electronic organizers. The new eRunner line of planners from Day Runner (www.dayrunner.com) offers space for your cell phone or personal digital assistant, plus any business cards and fiber-based material that a traveler can collect on a trip (such as itineraries, receipts and tickets). The eRunners cost from $25 to $100 (street).
Luggage lovers: For those really good clients, think about luggage. A top-grade Brenthaven (www.brenthaven.com) computer case, with SoftDrive wheels that ease the bumps on the road, goes for $369 (street). Tumi's (www.tumi.com) wheeled garment bag holds several suits, has outside access pockets and a removable laundry bag inside. It will set you back $750 (street).
Safety first: Looking for something else? Try the Mega Combination Cable Lock from Kryptonite (www.kryptonitelock.com). It's an 8mm, 6-foot, braided-steel cable with a resettable lock that has more than 10,000 combinations. At $49.99 (street), it comes with a carrying case to store the lock.
Christopher Elliott is a writer in Annapolis, Maryland. Contact him at www.elliott.org.