By Howard Hian | December 3, 2013MP Columns
It’s that time of the year for my list of “go to” places to shop. My favorite online “stores” have four things in common: quality goods, superior customer service, knowledgeable staff and consumer friendly product guarantees. Here they are along with my suggestions for travel related gifts.Eagle Creek
Their Pack-It Specter system is terrific and the new double zippered Compression Cubes are remarkable; lightweight, water resistant and they come in cool colors. The All Terrain Money Belt is perfect for keeping spare cash out of sight. It can get past TSA non-body scanning (no metal parts). www.eaglecreek.com and 1-888-824-9460. Magellan’s
It’s a favorite for travel goodies and clothing. The World Time Alarm Clock packs easily and doubles as a flashlight. Keep out exterior and interior airplane sounds with their Folding Noise Cancelling Headphones. Clothes-wise, look for their own brand of quick dry shirts, pants, underwear and socks. www.magellans.com and
If you aren’t familiar with the company, its OR insignia may ring a bell (and, no, it’s not an abbreviation for Oregon). It is another of my preferred retailers, whether for clothing or gear. This year, their Sombriolet Sun Hat with UPF 50 fabric kept me sun-safe and dry in Mexico. www.outdoorresearch.com and 1-855-967-8197.
They use “Endurables” in their motto and live up to the name. Their classic hats are legendary and even come with an owner’s manual; most float and repel rain. Additionally, they come with an insurance policy for loss. In Alaska, I wore both their TTMC Cap and TWC7 Outback model. www.tilley.com and 1-800-363-8737. Keen
Need shoes? This is the place for you. Their product line includes hiking shoes and boots, light trail models, city boots, lace ups, sandals, slip-ons and sneakers. I love the distinctive shoe/toe design which provides a perfect fit for my foot. Add a pair of socks (they come marked left/right) for the perfect gift complement. www.keenfootwear.com and 1-866-676-5336. Teva
This is the revolutionary company that first created the sport sandal 30 years ago. On a couple of trips to Mexico this year, their Original Sandals were the perfect item for beach and walking. But Teva is not all about sandals anymore. Now, footwear for trail, bike and snow are also available. www.teva.com and 1-800-367-8382. Entertainment Book
This is the grand-daddy of coupon books. It features discounts and promotions for travel, entertainment, restaurants, sports, shopping, services and attractions. There are lots of new promotions, including monthly and weekly web specials, digital options and out-of-town alternatives. www.entertainment.com and 1-888-231-7283.
Safe travels, enjoy the journey and happy holidays…
Thanks to the various websites for information, photos, etc.