Frequent travelers will appreciate our selection of unusual presents – organized by parenting style — whether it’s Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or any other occasion.
The Energizer Parent
Kids rely on mothers, fathers or both for the support they need – whether it’s with real life issues or day to day needs. That’s why we love the myCharge All-Terrain 3000 mAh Portable Charger, a military grade power charger which stores enough juice to power 22 hours’ worth of charging for all the i-devices, except computers, in the family. (In our unscientific experiment, All Terrain charged three or four phones from about 50% to full before losing its juice.) It is waterproof, temperature proof, dirt proof and shock proof, in a rubber case that even your dog won’t penetrate. AllTerrain arrives charged out of the box, perfect for last minute planners, and can be recharged with a wall outlet, auto or computer USB port (you’ll have to buy accessories if you’re using more than a USB port, and that is slow going). Feel almighty powerful once again.
The Supportive Parent
Rejuva compression socks are an ideal present for big walkers, long haul flyers and anyone who sits for a long period of time, because their stretch weave promotes circulation. The medical grade legware for men and women helps those who suffer from deep vein thrombosis, as well as joggers, pregnant women, and theme park weary parents. What we love about Rejuva is style — unlike most compression hosiery sold in pharmacies, Rejuva comes in attractive colors and patterns, as befitting millennial Kelsey Minarik, who launched the company in 2010 after suffering from a blood clot after a long flight, at age 22. The long-lasting, quick drying Rejuva legware is priced from $29.99-$69.99.
The Chauffeur Parent
Ideal for the Northern California car pooler in your life, Kango is a clever and super-handy, family-centric transportation provider, available in the entire San Francisco Bay Area, including the peninsula and South Bay/San Jose. The app-based service enables parents to schedule rides and childcare, and also includes a Parents Connect tool so that schools, neighbors, soccer teams and community groups can use it to car pool or arrange play dates. We love this because all drivers and child care providers (unlike other ride-share services) are interviewed in person, and have undergone periodic background checks, fingerprinting through TrustLine, and training in the safe installation of car seats and booster seats, which they provide. Kango works on a $9 monthly subscription service, plus fees of $16 per ride minimum, and / or $15-$20 per hour for at-home childcare for one child, plus a $1 “safe ride fee.” Gift certificates for carpool relief are available.
The Helicopter Parent
Gifting a loved one who’s constantly overhead, monitoring and guiding every move in the family? We love the new DJI Phantom 4 Quadcopter, the adult toy that makes helicopters look so old school. Drones have been a plaything for geeks and professional photographers for several years, in fact, the leading manufacturer, the China-based DJI, claims that their brand of drones alone has flown more than 12 million miles. The latest model (not cheap at $1,300) features sensors that help it avoid obstacles automatically; software that helps it figure out who or what to follow; and tools that help it return back to the pilot (within its 3.1 mile control range). Phantom 4, with 28 minutes of flight time and a maximum speed of 44mph, is also more stable than its predecessors. A more down to earth prosumer gadget, the DJI Phantom 3 ($488) and its HD camera will fly for 25 minutes and transmit a live video feed from midair – enough to help any busy parent survey their world easier, faster, and with great beauty.
Jut take a look.
The Soothing Parent
EllieFunDay baby blankets are gorgeous, custom embroidered, organic cotton throws that any traveler, of any age, will cherish. We love them because they soothe a traveling infant just as much as homesick parents, and can be used to cover an airline pillow of mysterious origin, serve as a shoulder wrap in transit, or just radiate love on the road. They are sold by a social good enterprise that promotes the virtues of “handcrafted for life,” helping the marginalized women in India who sew them rise out of poverty by providing a fair wage, counseling, healthcare, and assistance with shelter and food. Now available in chic Barney’s department stores, you can select a baby blanket made with love and hope, embroidered with a Barney’s lion in pink or blue, or request one of several other designs. The EllieFunDay website features the blankets ($68 and up) as well as fair wage baby hats, bibs, burp cloths and other products.
The Prepared Parent
Camping parents, beach-goers, backpackers and students already use the nifty, pump up Aquabot water bottle in many ways, in addition to staying hydrated. We love it because travelers can take advantage of its spritz, mist, shower or spray settings for impromptu bathing, washing sand off your feet, revitalizing hair curls, removing stubborn wrinkles while ironing, or starting a waterfight from 25 feet! That must have been what motivated Nick Rhea back in 2008, when, on a family trip in Alaska, he realized he could build a pressurized water bottle and do more with less water. Yes, you’ll have to pump it into those thirsty little mouths so it is not the easiest water bottle… but Aquabot ($20-$28) is so refreshing that hot weather travelers of any age will love it. Check out Lunatec’s Aquabot; Lunatec Gear also makers of a clever, reusable, stay-clean washcloth and an antimicrobial dish scrubber useful for backpackers, RVers, boaters, and outdoor enthusiasts.
The Gaming Parent
Busy adults know that opening a present in front of children is always easier if the kids get something, too, and this item hits the double bottom line of fun and education. That’s why we love the Peel, Play & Learn Mini Play Set geography game designed for ages 6 to 12. A placemat sized fabric USA map with the state capitals comes with a variety of fabric stickers and tags that will have every traveler testing their knowledge of geography, map reading and the location of the 50 states. If you lose the map, the backseat crew can stick the fruit, veggies, iconic landmark, and other paste-on images wherever they want, to keep the whole family busy learning. It sells through the monamelisadesigns site for $40 and claims to be indestructible. Hope so.
The Healthy Parent
The thought of getting away to spa, dine well and exercise thrills most parents. That’s why we love Canyon Ranch, the noted spa with locations in Massachusetts, Arizona, Turkey and several day spas, including aboard 19 different luxury ships like the Queen Mary 2. Leading the pack of highly regarded health retreats since 1979, Canyon Ranch focuses on lifestyle: medical checkup, healthy eating, cooking classes, exercise routines, and fun fitness activities at their destinations, all included in one price. Massage and other wellness treatments (for a fee) can be part of the very professional mix. Their popular Parent-Child Getaways allow adults to bring a child ages 14 and up, to share one room, at 25% off the total fee, which runs $1,800 per person for a two-night stay through June; rates vary by destination.
The Blissed Out Parent
LeSport the Body Holiday is a tropical all-inclusive wellness resort on the north coast of beautiful St. Lucia. With five restaurants and bars, you’ll never feel deprived by the focus on eating naturally, or get bored by outdoor activities like yoga, sailing, Scuba, Pilates and other classes. Their Ayurveda Centre offers several spice-based therapies, and the Wellness Centre ranges from New Age to more traditional treatments to satisfy all flavors of spa-goer. Active, quiet, relaxed or recovering, it’s all here. We love that a daily massage treatment is included in rates, which start at $400 per person per day. The Body Holiday has many single rooms within its 155-room compound, where a lucky parent (or teen) can stay on their own without paying a single supplement. The WellFit special occurs each July and August, when the resort opens to ages 12+ and provides special youth services at The Spa.
The Nostalgic Parent
A souvenir of a favorite journey, or of the home left behind, is something many frequent travelers save room for in their carry-on. That’s why we love Panorama Pops, a set of expertly drawn 3D mini books. About 4” square, there are 22 different titles (most about iconic destinations like Venice, Japan, San Francisco, Rome, Boston and more) consisting of paper cutouts of skylines and monuments, accordion folded into a tiny package. That’s why we love these small hardcover books; compact, inexpensive ($8.99 from Candlewick Press on Amazon, delightful and evocative, they will intrigue travelers and dreamers alike. Just ignore the label that says for ages 5-9. We did.
Please share your favorite parent presents in the comments below.
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