If the current economic mess does not bother you one bit, or you were able to snag yourself a piece of the $700 Billion bailout pie, then this list of travel gifts is just for you.
Forget cheap luggage, as part of the traveling elite you should only settle for the best of the best. Here are some gifts that should help give you some ideas on what to get yourself, or a loved one who was really, really nice this year. I’ll start at $250, and make my way up to cool $1 Million.
Timbuk2 Checkpoint Ballistic fabric rolling suitcase
We’ll start off with our feet firmly on the ground, and offer a couple of reasonably priced travel products. Timbuk2 have been a very popular luggage and bag manufacturer for quite some time, but they only recently introduced their first rolling suitcase.
The bag features removable skateboard wheels, internal secret pockets and is available in 2 sizes. The medium bag is suitable for carrying on board with you, but the large one will have to be checked.
At just $250 ($275 for the large), it is very nicely priced, and certainly something I’ll be adding to my “been a good boy” list this Christmas.
Price: $250 for the small, $275 for the large
Watch HDTV on the road with the Slingbox PRO-HD
The Slingbox has long been one of my personal favorites. With Sling, I can watch my home TV, no matter where in the world I am. If I am stuck in an airport lounge, I can tune into local home channels on my PDA. When I arrive at my hotel, I open my laptop and watch some stuff off my DVR.
Until recently, the only limitation was that the streamed content was in a fairly low resolution. The $299 Slingbox PRO-HD changes that.
This remote TV streamer can finally capture your home TV signal, and send true HD content over the Internet. Of course, you’ll need a very beefy home broadband connection, as well as a sturdy connection at your destination.
But once you have it all setup, you’ll be able to sit back in your hotel room, and watch some HD content streaming over the Internet from thousands of miles away.
Suunto X10 wrist-top computer
GPS, digital compass, barometer and altimeter. These may sound like the instruments used on the flight deck of your next trip, but they are actually a couple of the features in the new Suunto X10 wrist-top computer.
The watch features a Google maps compatible GPS receiver, PC connectivity, an internal rechargeable battery and can even tell you the time in up to 330 feet of water.
Archos 7 multimedia Internet tablet
When it comes to multimedia on the road, Archos have one of the best products on the market. The new Archos 7 combines multimedia playback with Internet and email access. The device has a high resolution 7″ display and can be purchased with 160GB or a whopping 320GB of storage.
With that much storage, you’ll be able to carry enough TV and movie content to keep you entertained for over a month. The built in browser and online media tools allow you to surf the web or download more content when you are in range of a Wi-Fi hotspot.
With the optional accessories, you can even add a helmet mounted camcorder or an FM radio remote.
Price: From $449 (160GB) to $549 (320GB)
Sony Vaio TT ultra portable notebook with Blu-Ray player
Laptop computers do not get much sexier than this. The Sony TT has it all; 4GB of memory, 256GB SSD drive, an LED backlit display, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G, webcam, noise canceling headphones, carbon fiber frame, a Blu-Ray player/recorder, fingerprint scanner and an HDMI video output.
All these goodies make it the most expensive ultra-portable notebook in the world. When you add a second battery and a laptop case, you’ll pay just under $4500 for this 2.8lb beauty.
When everyone else on your flight is watching the latest Rob Schneider flick, you can pop in a Blu-Ray disk of the Dark Knight (or Wall-E if you are traveling with kids).
Price: From $2095 up to $4500 depending on the configuration
How about a nice picnic in the English countryside?
As a young lad, I absolutely loved picnics. There is something magical about having jam cakes and lemonade surrounded by nature. If you have someone special in your life you’d like to impress, then why not hop on board your Gulfstream and have Harrods deliver one of their magnificent hampers.
For a mere $7300, you can purchase the Harrods “Chairmans Choice” hamper. Filled with delicacies like Beluga Caviar, 30 yr old single cask Macallan and a bottle of dry Y de Château Y’quem to rinse it all down.
Of course, Harrods will gladly cater to the less well off, and have hampers starting at just $80. If things are the other way around, and this hamper seems too cheap, then check out the “Snow Queen Hamper” from Fortnum and Mason. The Snow Queen retails for a staggering $37,000.
Price: £5000 ($7300)
The “Henk” suitcase is without a doubt one of the most expensive pieces of luggage you’ll ever own.
Even if you are used to dragging your Louis Vuitton through the airport, the $31,000 Henk “travel friend” is surely able to impress even the most luxurious traveler.
Henk suitcases are handmade from technology usually reserved for Formula One and aerospace parts. The suitcases feature innovations like retractable shock absorbing wheels, a central locking mechanism and several anti-theft measures.
Each case can be completely customized to match your desired color, inside and out. The case can be made from a variety of leathers as well as carbon fiber. The end result is the kind of luggage simply too valuable to ever consider ha
nding over to the airline, so make sure you have access to a private jet.
Price: EUR 25,000 ($31,000 USD)
Netjets Marquis card – the ultimate giftcard
Some people celebrate Christmas with a giftcard for Starbucks, others might be more content receiving a Netjets Marquis card. This fractional ownership card is perfect for those of us that do not want to commit to a long term plane leasing program or if you just need a backup plan when your own Gulfstream is getting an oil change.
The card comes with 25 hours of prepaid flight time on one of the planes in the Netjets fleet.
At just $126,000 it is one of the quickest ways of gaining access to your very own private jet. As with most giftcards, this one also comes with some hidden fees. The recipient will have to pay for his or her own landing fees, deadhead fees and you will even have to pay the same $2.50 September 11th security fee as the commoners at the airport.
Price: From $126,000
107 day Cunard cruise with a 24 hour butler service
Fancy getting away from it all? How about a pleasant cruise on board the Queen Victoria, the newest liner in the Cunard family. Once a year, this magnificent vessel departs Southampton for a 107 day/night cruise around the world.
You’ll get to spend some time in fantastic places like New York, Curacao, the Panama Canal, Cabo, Auckland, Sydney, Shanghai, Singapore, Dubai, Istanbul and Athens.
The “cheap” rooms for this 107 day cruise start at a modest $22,000, but to travel in true luxury, you’ll have to fork over $72,731 (per person). This may seem like an insane amount of money, but that works out to just $680 per day. And when you realize that this includes your room, all meals and the impeccable service, it isn’t that bad a deal at all.
The suite is one of the “Queens Suites”, and comes with a 24 hour complimentary butler service, fully stocked personal bar, personalized stationary, board games, a computer games console and fresh fruit delivered to your room every morning. You even get to pick your own kind of pillow and duvet.
You’ll need to start packing soon though, the ship leaves January 2nd 2009. If you really, really like to spend some time on a cruise ship, you could consider buying your own 4 bedroom suite on the Magellan. This residential cruise line will gladly sell you their top of the line home on a ship for a cool $18,000,000.
Price? $72,731 (per person, based on a 2 person occupancy, single occupancy is $145,349)
Leading Hotels of the World round the world trip
There are many “experience” packages out there for travelers, but none of them come close to the “round the world in 80 days” experience put together by the Leading Hotels of the World group.
$1 Million dollars gets you an 80 day trip where you will travel from continent to continent in the luxury of a private jet. Forget the hustle and bustle of the airport, or the horrors of the security checkpoint, this is the true way to enjoy seeing the world. Of course, that price is per person, so unless you plan to travel alone, you’ll need fairly deep pockets.
While you are burning through your money, you’ll even be able to say you were doing some good, because 10% of the price will be donated to the Elton John AIDS foundation.