Gifts for travelers, from bags to gadgets

Tumi’s Alpha 2 Deluxe Wheeled Leather Briefcase is a go-to bag for the Travel Channel’s Anthony Melchiorri.
Tumi’s Alpha 2 Deluxe Wheeled Leather Briefcase is a go-to bag for the Travel Channel’s Anthony Melchiorri. Tumi

What’s the best travel bag out there? What’s the must-have gadget for travelers?

AP Travel asked seven people who travel for a living – from Lonely Planet founder Tony Wheeler to the CEOs of Norwegian Cruise Line and Marriott hotels – what they can’t leave home without. Their answers may be of interest if you’re looking for holiday gift ideas for people who love to travel – or if you want to treat yourself.

Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Kevin Sheehan: Sheehan travels so much that he’s rarely in one place long enough to actually plug a charger into a wall. So he relies on portable chargers to keep his devices charged on the go. Mophie has a number of universal external battery chargers that can recharge cellphones, iPods, iPads and other electronics when their batteries run out. Mophie has just launched a “powerstation plus” product with built-in cables.

Frommer’s guidebook founder Arthur Frommer: Frommer says he can’t travel anywhere without a laptop that has a keyboard; he writes so much that a tablet just won’t do. His “indispensable choice” is the “ultra-cheap, ultra-light” Acer Chromebook. You can find one for under $200, so it “doesn’t present the anxiety of loss or theft that a thousand-dollar MacBook Air would.” Chromebooks are designed for use with Wi-Fi, with most data stored in the cloud, but Frommer says that isn’t a problem in his travels because Wi-Fi is “so ubiquitous around the world that you are seldom without it.”

Lonely Planet founder Tony Wheeler: Wheeler often recommends a fold-up bag, “something that you can carry along for those occasions when unexpected shopping, gifts, whatever, overloads your usual bag.” But lately he’s suggesting a refinement on the concept: a fold-up day pack like the Eagle Creek packable day pack. Wheeler is working on a new book that he bills as an update on Paul Theroux’s classic “The Great Railway Bazaar,” but instead of taking trains across continents, Wheeler is traveling entirely on low-cost air carriers. On many of these airlines, you’re only allowed one carry-on, so he squirrels the fold-up day pack into the larger carry-on, then hauls it out for daily use while in the destination.

Marriott CEO Arne M. Sorenson: Sorenson needs an adapter that not only works with different voltage systems and outlets around the world but also has more than one USB charging port. Walkabout Travel Gear sells a universal adapter that not only boasts of working with every voltage system “on the planet” but also has two USB power ports and can support high-powered devices like iPhones and iPads.

Yahoo travel editor Paula Froelich: Froelich, who chronicles her frequent trips in online videos and at, tried out a lot of bags before settling on her favorite: Rimowa Salsa Deluxe. “It’s the most perfect luggage,” she said. “It’s lots of money and worth every cent. I did my research and this was perfect.” Salsa Deluxe options range in price from $450 to $895. They’re made of lightweight but durable polycarbonate, with a trademarked Multiwheel system, an extendable telescopic handle and an add-a-bag holder built into the case shell.

Travel Channel’s “Hotel Impossible” host Anthony Melchiorri: Melchiorri never knows what he’ll need “traveling all over the country, in all different climates and circumstances.” His go-to bag is a leather Tumi wheeled briefcase: “The bag allows me to pack almost anything I may need on the road.”

“The Insatiable Traveler” blogger Susan Portnoy: Portnoy, whose interests range from photographic African safaris to cool places around the U.S. like Brooklyn Bridge Park, has a few must-haves that also make great stocking stuffers. Among them: the Mini Cree LED Flashlight Torch, compact but with a powerful, adjustable beam and a clip so she can attach it to her bag or belt; the soft, warm Cabeau Fold ‘n Go blanket with portable case, which she also uses for back support on long flights, not being a fan of neck pillows; and Coleman Camper’s Toilet Tissues, which stay neat in their own plastic carrying cases, fit in a pocket or small bag, and last much longer than a tissue pack, whether you have a runny nose or are roughing it in wild places.