JetBlue’s bizzaro holiday gift guide

During a time of the year when we’re all inundated with holiday gift guides, sales and press releases it’s always fun taking a step back and laugh at the madness. I have to admit that I thought twice about clicking on JetBlue‘s gift guide earlier today, but I sure am glad that I did.

The guide, which is built off of their Facebook page is a complete fabrication — a series of impossible products that poke fun at the air travel industry and that help narrate the crazy world in which we live. Case in point, the Knee Jockey:

When you’re not jetting, legroom can be difficult to find. But not when you have a Knee Jockey-the holster for your knees. Just strap on the Knee Jockey to lift and tuck those knees to your chest, giving your legs the extra centimeter of freedom they deserve.

Perhaps the best part is the obvious effort that went into this: someone had to hire the models, graphic designers and marketers to come up with this page — it’s just so well done. And I can appreciate that, in a way. Nice work guys.

You can check out the full gift guide at JetBlue’s facebook page.

7 reasons to spend the holidays away from home

Christmas is traditionally a time for family, but it can also be the ideal time to travel. Who says you have to stay home for the holidays? Here are seven reasons to spend the holidays traveling.

Travel deals

While the holiday season can be one of the most expensive times to travel (especially with those annoying extra fees), it can also be a time of great deals to certain destinations. Especially when you compare what it might cost to fly home to visit family within the US, the price for flying to an international destination may seem downright cheap. Last year, it would have cost my husband and I $400 each to fly to Florida to spend time with my family. For $200 more per person, we opted to go to Spain for 10 days instead.

Check out last-minute flights both on and around the holiday and you might be surprised at what you find. And don’t be afraid to fly on Christmas Eve/Day or New Year’s Eve/Day. This year, I saved $400 on my ticket to South Africa by flying back at 11:30pm on New Year’s Eve.Experience Christmas in another culture
Stockings hung by the fire, leaving cookies out for Santa – these are great traditions to enjoy with your family, but why not try something new this year. So how Christmas is celebrated in Italy, or Mexico, or Russia. Spending time around the holidays in another country can provide you with a unique look at another culture as you see how those people celebrate this special time of year.

Free days off
Many companies shut down for a few days over the holidays, which means you can use a few extra free days to pad your supply of vacation days. A trip that may have used up seven days will only require four if you schedule it from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day.

The end of December is often a better time to request time off as well. Many offices that do stay open operate on only a skeleton crew due to slower business around the holidays.

No taking sides
For children of divorced parents, the holidays can be an exercise in juggling. Add in two sets of in-laws, and you’re looking at four holiday commitments over 48 hours. The rushing and clock-watching is enough to drive you straight into a vat of eggnog. And if you put your foot down and say you can only commit to one family per day, well then you’re playing favorites about the different families.

Instead of rushing from house to house, giving each party just a few hours, schedule a special day with different branches of your family tree before Christmas and then spend the holiday stress free.

Two words: Christmas bonus
If your office still gives out a holiday bonus (lucky you!), what better way to spend it than on an unforgettable trip. Before you have a chance to be “practical” and put the cash towards home improvements, or to slowly spend it on meals out and new clothes over the next few months, take that chunk of change and put it towards a trip you’ve been dreaming of.

Give back
The holidays are a time of giving, so why not use this time to take part in a voluntourism group. Spread your charity work around the globe by heading off a volunteer vacation.

Escape the commercialism
Christmas should have more meaning than presents and parties, but it’s hard to separate the meaning of the holiday from the commercialism that threatens to overtake it, especially when you are bombarded by ads reminding you daily just how many shopping days are left. Escape the onslaught and head to your version of paradise. Lounge on a deserted beach, go mountain climbing, trek through the dessert or just retreat to a little cabin in the woods.

And as a bonus, if you are traveling with a companion, you’ll now have one less person to buy gifts for. Just consider the trip a present to the both of you.

Galley Gossip: Gifts for the flight attendant (and frequent flier)

Here it is, what you’ve been waiting for, my 2008 list of holiday gifts for that special flight attendant (or frequent flier) in your life…

1. STARBUCKS GIFT CARD – Because there’s a Starbucks in every city – and every airport. Most travelers I know can’t start the day without a good cup of coffee. Note I said good. The coffee on the airplane is not good, and you know it, so don’t act surprised when I pour you a cup. It doesn’t matter which airline you fly or whether the flight attendant double bagged it or not (double bagging is the act of leaving an extra coffee packet in the bottom of the pot), it’s just not good and that’s not the way to start your day. Last year my mother bought me a $100 gift card and I’m still using it, and I’m always glad to have it on those early morning and late night departures.

2. HAND LOTION – Do you find yourself washing those hands with soap and water in the airplane lavatory quite often? That explains why your beautiful hands have aged 20 years in the last few hours. Moisturization is key at 35,000 feet. I don’t know a flight attendant who doesn’t carry a fruity smelling antibacterial hand lotion. Me, I prefer anything with Shea butter.

3. BUBBLE BATH – When you spend your days cramped inside a germ infested flying petri dish, and your nights showering in nasty ankle deep water at your hotel, there’s nothing better than a nice hot bubble bath at home to wash it all away. My bubble bath of choice is Milk Bath, by Fresh. Add the matching soap and lotion, as well as a candle, and you’ve got yourself one happy flight attendant. Remember, when your flight attendant is happy you’re happy.

4. AIRLINE CRAP – Most of the travelers I know have some sort of airline collection hidden somewhere. I’ve written about my own personal airline museum, so you already know about the bottle of wine that makes a perfect flight attendant gift. But anything airline related will do this holiday season. I’ve got my eye on a cute bag tag from Ann Taintor, as well as a bag handle wrap in red that reads NOT YOURS, designed by I’ll just add the tag and the wrap to the REMOVE BEFORE FLIGHT thingie that my husband brought home from a motorcycle convention last weekend, a thingie that has already been attached to my bag.

5. SOMETHING TO READ –You know you’re going to need a distraction during flight, especially if you get stuck seated next to a crying baby, or even worse, an adult baby who wants to cry about everything that’s wrong with your flight. Or what if your flight is delayed due to a mechanical or bad weather this holiday season? It happens. It’s that time of year! So please come prepared for the worst. That means you need to bring books and magazines, and a lot of them, and when the flight is over please don’t forget to leave behind the good ones in the seatback pocket in front of you. The Old Patagonian Express, by Paul Theroux is an old favorite of mine. It’s about traveling by train, not plane, which is something you might want consider next time you travel. One of the items on my book wish list is a set of books, the Louis Vuitton City Guides, which is the perfect gift for the traveler who has it all.

6. MASSAGE – A must for the one who spends too much time cramped inside confined spaces. Whenever the husband returns from an International flight, I always book a massage for him as soon as possible. There’s nothing worse than a cranky traveler bringing all that crankiness home with him. As for me, I actually own a Homedics foot massager. It works great. I love it so much the husband finds it disturbing.

7. IPOD – Though The Shuffle is nice, the one that can play movies is even nicer. Leave that DVD player at home and forget about lugging that ginormous laptop. Don’t you know less is more, especially when you have to cram everything into that one carry-on bag, the bag that now weighs 50 pounds, the bag you’ll be dragging from city to city.

8. LAPTOP NOTEBOOK- Now that we have internet onboard some of our flights, a laptop will make the hours pass faster. Oh I know you already have a laptop, that ginormous one I mentioned above, but what you need is one of those new teeny tiny machines like the Acer notebook. I just bought one for $350 at Walmart. It makes the perfect gift for those who want to keep in touch with loved ones while on the road. Plus being able to do those trip trades on a layover without having to take the crew van back to the airport an hour earlier doesn’t hurt. I mean what flight attendant can’t use an extra hour of sleep in the morning?

9. NICE WATCH – Flight attendants have to wear a watch because people are constantly asking, “How much longer?” And because some of you may actually have a heart attack onboard, we need to time how long we’ve been doing those chest compressions. (Please don’t make us do the chest compressions!) One of my favorite watches is the IWC pilot’s watch. Yes, I do own one, even though I’m a flight attendant, not a pilot. While it may be a little big and look ridiculous wrapped around my wrist (and goes off at security), I love it and that’s why I wear it. Need to know the time, ask me!

10. A HOME COOKED MEAL – Because let’s face it, when you spend your days and nights on airplanes and in hotels, there’s nothing better than the comforts of home.

Gadling’s Gift Guide: $250 upwards

Recession reschmession.

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.

Price: $299

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.

Price: $499

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)

Henk Suitcase

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.

Price? $1,000,000

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New York City package deal from Carlton Hotel

The Carlton Hotel on Madison Avenue, NYCWant to have a classy winter rendezvous in New York City? Between December 21st, 2008, and March 15th, 2009, The Carlton on Madison Avenue has a droolworthy “Winter in the City” package deal.

“The Carlton on Madison Avenue has a cozy ‘Winter in the City’ package, which combines comfy delights, including a ‘Comfort Foods’ menu featuring dishes such as truffled mac & cheese, poached lobster, and peanut butter hot chocolate, exclusively created for guests opting for the package, and passes to ice-skate at Rockefeller Center.”

The package, which starts at a reasonable NYC price of $385 (pre-taxes and gratuities) per night, includes a 2-night stay at the luxury Madison Avenue Carlton Hotel, a private consultation with a furrier at Saks (I know, right?), a New York City snow globe welcome gift, and all the grand amenities of the Big Apple.

If I didn’t live here, I would beg for this for Christmas. Contact The Carlton for more information and availability!