Last minute shopping gifts? Here are 10 ideas

If you’re stuck with a last minute present to buy. Here are 10 gift ideas. Most are quick and easy. Some of them don’t require that you leave your house.

Two suggestions can be found at your local grocery store. No, you don’t have to cook.

For a couple of them, all you need is a phone, the internet to find telephone numbers and your credit card.

1. A journal with plain pages. Add a pen, a pencil, a box of colored pencils, glue stick and tape in a zip lock bag. If you can find a journal with a plain colored cover with no designs, pick that one.

The idea is for the traveler’s own thoughts to fill the pages without any suggestions. The pencils say, “Create.” The tape and glue stick is for the traveler to affix any interesting item he or she picks up along the way. Ticket stubs, interesting food wrapper, a leaf, etc. . .

2. An Entertainment Coupon Book— I am so fond of these books. Buy one for your family members to get them to travel in their own city. There are restaurant deals as well as deals on admission prices to various attractions and buy one get one free tickets to certain cultural shows. Leafing through the pages is a trip of future possibilities.

My son and I just saw BalletMet Columbus’s version of The Nutcracker for half price this past Tuesday. For two excellent seats towards the back of the orchestra, I paid $32. When we head up to Cleveland, we take my husband’s parents’ book with us to the West Side Market, a food mecca that’s been around since 1902 . We’ve run into other Entertainment Book holders while standing in line at Dohar Meats, one of the many vendors with coupons in the Cleveland area book.

3. Matt Harding’s book, “Where the Hell is Matt? Dancing Badly Around the World” Harding’s book tells the story of the behind the scenes of his Where the Hell is Matt videos when he danced his silly, simple dance around the world and eventually, people danced with him. It’s moving and funny and makes one think that this is a guy one would like as a friend. Plus, Harding’s version of the world is perfect for a New Year of good cheer.

4. A gift basket you put together with local foods from your state. Think jams, jellies, sauces, chips, candy, pasta, beverages–anything and everything. Call your basket a “Taste trip of ……..” and fill in the name of the state. You can make up your own label. You don’t need to artfully make a basket either. Get a gift bag, wrap items in tissue paper and you’re done.

5. A gift basket of foods around the world. Head to the grocery store and buy an item from as many countries as you can think of. Use # 4 as a guide. This can be a “Bringing the World to You” sort of gift.

6. A gift card to a movie theater and a list of movie suggestions for what to see. With the wealth of movies being released this season, a movie gift card is perfect for offering a travel opportunity to someone through the big screen. Along with your list, add details about where each movie will take the audience.

7. Money for an oil and filter change. For people who have about everything on the planet, wouldn’t this be useful? You could add a funny item for the dashboard or a funky air freshener for the rear view mirror.

8. A membership to a museum or a zoo. Call the museum and purchase a membership for someone. I bought a membership for my dad to the New York Historical Society this way. For families, this is a great gift.

9. Dinner out. You can call a restaurant to order a gift card in someones name if you don’t have time to pick it up or live in the same city. We did this for a friend of ours wedding present.

10. A night in a hotel or at a bed and breakfast. Give someone the gift of a night away from home. The hotel could even be where the person lives. Staying in a hotel in the town where one lives is a great way for a fresh view in the New Year.

One for the Road: Globetrotter’s Logbook

Last time I mentioned the Globetrotter’s Logbook series, I focused on their newest guide, a niche book devoted to six Flemish cities. But now that I’ve had a chance to personally use their flagship product, Counties of the World, I wanted to be sure to pay special tribute to this unique mini-book, which might just be the perfect holiday gift for that special traveler in your life. The best part about giving (or receiving) one of there tiny travel gems is the smart and crafty packaging. I opened an airmail envelope (from Belgium, where this book is published) to reveal crisp brown parcel packaging, tied in natural cord with vintage stamps, postmarks and my name personally scripted in heavy ink. Unwrapping the classy packaging reveals a stylish moleskine-type book enclosed in its own little box, perfect for protecting it from the harsh elements of constant world-travel.

This precious little travel journal is a must-have for explorers. The bulk of the book contains quarter-page listings for every country of the world, complete with important stats and mini-flag pictures for each. There are several ways to keep track of which countries have been visited, as well as registers for tracking vaccinations and 100 flights. Look closely and you’ll find other treasures hidden within the pages of this slim logbook – facts, figures and inspiring quotes decorate the pages, and there are blank spots too, for scribbles about the details of very special journeys.

Aspinal’s Envelope-Wrap Journals

You may love your steeped-in-history Moleskine travel journal. However, Aspinal of London’s Envelope Wrap Journal may give the legendary Italian notebook a run for its money in the coolness department.

Hand-made from soft, supple calfskin, and hand-waxed to a high-gloss finish, Aspinal’s journals contain 300 pages — choose between feint lined or “plain buttery cream” — for you to encourage your budding Hemingway.

Available from pocket-sized to extra large, before setting off on your next journey choose between either antique brown (if you’re heading somewhere “Old World”) or black (if you’re jetting off to a cosmopolitan destination).

With such a nice journal, don’t overlook the perfect pen:

Nomad Travel Journals Help Keep the Cobwebs Away

If you want to keep a travel journal, but the totally free-form nature of a Moleskine scares you, then maybe you want to look into a journal that comes pre-printed with some “hints” about what to write.

Nomad Travel Journals are small enough to fit inside a roomy pocket, but large enough that you can log plenty of memories. With space for entering details on Local Knowledge, Most Memorable Daily Event, Weather Conditions, and more, Nomad’s Journals are a great way to help you remember that whirlwind tour. Though there isn’t a lot of space for drawing or affixing unusual-looking bus passes, if you’re a noodler instead of a doodler, these’ll probably thrill you.

For the more rural adventurer, Nomad also makes Camping/Backpacking/Hiking Journals, Flyfishing Journals, and others. Each journal runs $15. If you want a burnt orange case to protect it, the price is $25.


GADLING’S TAKE FIVE: Week of February 4

There was a tremendous out of activity going on here at Gadling this week. There were mentions of huge music festivals; silly hitchhiker’s auctioning off their names and enough Valentine’s suggestions to eliminate any and all excuses. We understand that you may have missed something in the frenzy and so now it is time to catch-up. Here are some picks hand plucked by me that are worth viewing once more.

5. How Was the NFL Experience?:
Those of use who were either snowed in or couldn’t get closer than our television sets to experience some of the NFL Superbowl action down in Miami for some reason or another, can now check out Willy’s play-by-play coverage for the NFL Experience. The event wasn’t exactly the big game, but sports lovers may find this one inspiring enough to experience it on their own next year.

4. How Environmentally Friendly Are You? Take the Ecological Footprint Quiz:
Afraid? Be very afraid. If you think you’re the environmentally friendly type take this quiz to find out just how happy or unhappy the planet is with your actions.

3. Army of Bjork:
Round of sound to Erik for giving Bjork some additional play with this video found on Travelistic. I never knew of this event until recently which looks to be held annually in Brooklyn so for all the other Bjork fans and people-watchers I hope that this one comes in handy.

2. How to Buy An Island:
C’mon, who doesn’t want their own little chunk of land off a beautiful turquoise ocean? If I had the dough I’d surely grab my own tropical island or two. If you’re a bit closer to making it a reality than I am check out this easy two step plan to get one.

1. Backing up your Travel Journal:
Always looking for a plan B, C, or Q to backing up your photos and precious travel works? Neil points worry-warts and smart-thinkers alike to a nice cheap gadget that can back up your goodies in addition to other back up methods. I’ve never heard of this one, but it sounds worth a try.