New college students typically live in small spaces with a limited number of belongings. And man bags? They can hold only so much. This makes compact, business and adventure travel gifts perfect for the dads and grads on your gift list. Here are some of my top choices for Father’s Day and graduation gift giving.
Functionality: Any gift item that allows seamless navigation between day-to-day activities and travel is worth its weight in gold. My personal top picks include hanging toiletry bags, wrinkle-resistant business clothing and a well-stocked rolling backpack. Messenger bags are also a popular unisex gift item, and they come in a variety of designs suitable for living life on the road without too much aggravation. Access to a portable power supply is always an issue. If you’re not sure which devices your gift recipient owns, opting for a universal charger is a great way to play it safe. One company that makes these is called myCharge. Their power packs range from $50 to $100 and charge everything from cellphones to iPads and electronic readers.
Entertainment: Whether Dad is enjoying the perks of an executive lounge or stuck in the cheap seats by his departure gate, long layovers can be a drag. College students may also have long bus rides home for holidays. Tablet devices like the Kindle Fire provide a way to surf the Web, watch movies on the fly and download a new book in seconds. We paid roughly $200 for ours, and it has been my husband’s go-to entertainment item since the day it arrived. For music fans without travel access to Wi-Fi, a set of ear buds allows enjoyment of a personal play list from your Android or iPhone. The House of Marley offers several designs, each with an array of ear tips to allow individual users to customize a comfortable fit. Prices start as low as $30, and color schemes are varied enough to be hip with a wide age range.
Size: Miniature head lamps typically used to navigate dorm-style hostels at night provide the perfect solution for dads needing hands-free access to solve a roadside breakdown and college students not wanting to wake up roommates during a late-night study session. Petzl makes several compact versions in the $20-$30 price range. My husband and I each have one and have used them around the world to navigate a variety of lighting challenges. Travel-size first-aid kits, alarm clocks and grooming supplies are also helpful items to consider.
Myscha Theriault/McClatchy-Tribune News Service