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Holiday gift ideas for travelers

We complain that the holiday decorations and commercials arrive way too early, but suddenly, it’s not early anymore. The season officially has arrived and if there are travelers on your gift list, here are some ideas.

Two words: Rooooooad trip! Who doesn’t want to take one?

But unless there is unlimited time and money, a bit of planning is warranted to stay within a budget, use time wisely and catch the highlights. Three new books can help:

USA RV Adventures: 25 Epic Routes Sure, there’s the internet, but this dense, full-color, 550-page guide is even easier to use and saves hours of online research. At about 8 inches by 5.5 inches, it fits into your glove compartment, but its economic size does not skimp on information. Hard to imagine the work that Bonnie and Grant Sinclair have put into this comprehensive, compact guide. Routes within the Lower 48 and Alaska are organized not only geographically, but categorically, like best trips for scenery, seasonal destinations, natural wonders, wildlife watching, regional cuisine, pet parks and more. Also included: side trips within main routes, tips for RV owners, and what to know before you go.

Wanderlust Road Trips: 40 beautiful Drives Around the World Ready to spread your wings a bit? This book gives you a collection of the best international road trips – “bucket-list drives” in Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Graphic maps with high points and rest stops, general information and plenty of full-color photos make this a good idea-gathering tool. Sidebars provide information on websites, airports, lodging, pre-trip reading, car rentals and more. For the slightly less-adventurous, there also are drives in this country and Canada.

America’s Greatest Road Trip! Key West to Deadhorse – 9,000 Miles Across Backroad USA Author Tom Cotter and photographer Michael Alan Ross didn’t sit around thinking about taking the most epic road trip in the continental United States; they did it. They drove from Mile 0 in Key West, Fla., to the actual end of the road in Deadhorse, Alaska, in their Ford Bronco, pulling a small Airstream trailer. The story is broader than a colossal road trip. It gives us the everyday folks they meet along the way, and some of America’s best oddities (think largest ball of twine in the world). Cotter’s stories are complemented by Ross’s photos of people living along the blue highways and backroads, “…the ones busy living their lives, not making noise.” Great for armchair-travel, but their storytelling and photos just might be the kick-start you need to get out there on America’s roads.

Xplorer maps and gifts – Master graphic Canadian artist Chris Robitaille has painstakingly created beautiful maps of states, areas and national parks that have been printed on mugs, glasses, coasters, towels, totes, puzzles and more. Every line, letter and image are hand-drawn. Robitaille works in pen and ink, then adds multiple layers of watercolor washes. The process can take up to eight weeks for each map. The huge selection is sure to hold a favorite travel destination or memory for nearly everyone.

Arden Cove Travel Bags – If you are in search of the perfect travel bag, Arden Cove’s Crissy Full Crossbody purse (with or without locking-clasps straps) may fit the bill. Pickpockets and thieves have grown more clever, but Aden Cove bags are slash-proof, have locking zippers, and use RFID-blocking material in the compartment for ID and credit cards. Also fashioned of water-resistant fabric, the purse has interior D-ring for keychain and interior pockets for cell phone and passport.

Route 66 Calendar Nothing represents adventure and nostalgia more than Route 66, which begins in Chicago, ends at the Santa Monica Pier, and is the core character in numerous books, songs, plays and the early ’60s TV show of the same name. Workman Publishing has a wall calendar that salutes this iconic highway and celebrates the sights along the Mother Road.

Also for travelers: Page-A-Day desk calendars — Rick Steves’ Europe and 1,000 Places to See Before You Die.

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