Here are the Ten Perfect Gifts for Travelers who Read, hand-picked by me in 2009. Here are some updates in prices and availability of suggestions still good on a list that has shrunk from 10 to 9.

1. USA Book

USA Book
USA Book

Lonely Planet lays out the whole country in gorgeous, and sometimes unexpected pictures in The USA Book:
A Journey Through America.
State by state, it covers all 50 of them and demonstrates the amazing variety to be found on a virtual road trip covering the territory from Hawaii to  Maine and Alaska to Florida.

Originally $39.99,(now selling for $10.99 at
Amazon [2018].  256 pp, full color,
hardcover, 14” x 10”
Released September 2009

Publisher: Lonely Planet

2. Time’s Great Discoveries: Explorations that Changed History

Great Discoveries
Great Discoveries

This truly scrumptious book should be inspiring travelers for generations to come.  In one fascinating story after another it tells about archaeological, geographic, geologic and even space exploration discoveries that change our concept of man’s past present and future on this earth.You will be right there with the explorers of the past, and shooting into space with the explorers of the future.

Take my word for it, every traveler on your list will be enthralled. with TIME Great Discoveries: Explorations that Changed History (Published in 2009) $10.99 at Amazon [2018] 

3. Periscope Book Light

Periscope Book Light
Periscope Book Light

This nifty invention,Periscope Deluxe ,  folds your book or Kindle in a soft leather cover and lights your words with a strong light on a flexible arm. The size for hardback also will fit trade paperbacks–two slots to accommodate all standard sized books. The smaller one, for small paperbacks and the Kindle, also holds a pad of paper, and leaves a pocket to store a passport, ticket or other papers. I have been using one that the publisher sent me to review and I am delighted. Prices range from $34.95 to $59.95. [December 2018: Special package at the Periscope website of $19.95 for two sizes for books.]

4. Select Wisely Cards

Cards from Select Wisely


What a find for travelers with allergies–particularly food allergies. Go to the web site, tell them what the problem is, they will make a set of cards in any language you specify.

Do you have an allergy to wheat products? Is your problem onions, or seafood, as pictured here? Or do you have a serious medical condition such as asthma or diabetes that may demand emergency care?  Select Wisely has you covered, in any language you need. They add new laminated cards frequently, so be sure to check their web site.

$14.99 per cards. [December 2018]

Order at the Select Wisely ( web site.

5. A Year’s Subscription to Dream of Italy

Dream of Italy Subscription.
Dream of Italy Subscription.

What a great gift this publication would be for the reader/traveler who is in love with Italy .  Whether they are planning a trip, or just dreaming, Dream of Italy will fill the bill. Kathy McCabe’s much praised magazine, Dream of Italy, comes in print or online editions, and right now she is offering a special DVD along with each subscription. See the details by following the link below. Subscriptions $27-87 for print memberships or digital(December 2018 price).


6. Luggage from Travel Pro

Travel Pro Crew 7 Expandable Rollerboard Suiter

My husband and I have traveled with a Travel Pro© bag, comparing it to the wear or another brand, since 2002. The other bag is ready for retirement, and the TravelPro 22″ expandable, with its excellent design, is a little stained, but rarin’ to go. Zippers in tact, seams not fraying. Its’ design seems absolutely perfect. It is one of those “Why didn’t I think of that?” kind of luggage designs. And I’m sure that George Clooney would agree.

This line is featured in the new movie Up in the Air which also partners with American Airlines and Hilton and Sprint. Wow! talk about product placement!

[December 2019 update. Looks like the “7” is only being sold at outlet stores or on Amazon at this late date.  Check out the TravelPro website for newer versions of the same bag.]

7. For the Road-Tripper, a AAA Membership

We have given this gift in the past to give ourselves peace of mind when our sons travel with their families. We know they will have roadside assistance if they needed it.  They can get reduced prices on car insurance and discounts from many merchants. They love the discount prices at hotels and restaurants. And don’t forget the FREE maps and travel advice.

I have been taking road trips for longer than I want to talk about–and my AAA card covered me all those years. I also take advantage of getting an emergency spare key made and passport pictures taken, and I always  buy their U.S. road atlases.

Go to and put in your zip code for your home state. Prices range between $53 and $119. If you already have a card, associate memberships are cheaper for people who live in the same household.

8. Am I Boring My Dog? And 99 other things every dog wishes you knew

A book for the dog lover in your family.

We’re talking about the TRAVELING dog lover in your family, too, because the entire 8th chapter is devoted to tips for travel with your dog.

If you have not yet stumbled upon the delightfully funny and educational blog, Will My Dog Hate Me?, you might want to drop in there to get a flavor of the kind of well-researched but entertainingly presented information in Am I Boring My Dog?. Edie Jarolim, veteran travel writer, hesitantly adopted a dog from a friend who is a dog rescuer, even though she was wracked with worries. How do I know if I’ll be able to take care of a dog? How do I know what to feed it? How do I know when it needs a veterinarian? Will it hate me?

She did what writers do, she researched the heck out of her questions and then put the whole thing in a book to help other people. Am I Boring My Dog lists for $15.00.

9. Electronic Reader: Kindle or Nook

There I said it. Electronic reader.

Now, before some of us are even through debating “paper or electrons” we  have a choice of delivery systems. Will it be Kindle By Amazon or Nook by Barnes and Noble? (Will the next one  come right out with it and be called “Cozy”?) I refuse to enter the shootout and pick one right now, but here are some reviews that may help you decide.[December 2018 note: Of course this information is outdated, but this gives you a starting point.]

Here are the reviews: PC News , Wired,

Nook E-Book Reader
Nook E-Book Reader

Disclaimers: Publishers furnished me with review copies of USA and Great Discoveries. The manufacturers of Periscope and Select Wisely supplied me with sample products for review. The publisher of Dream of Italy has supplied me with a year-long subscription to her magazine.

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About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, or recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She has written for Reel Life With Jane, Life is a Trip and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.


  1. Vera, Thanks for making my life so much easier with this wonderful list! I’m aLWAYs stumped come gift-giving time – this is very, very handy and a no-brainer (for me).

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  4. This is such a great list that I tweeted it; hope it gets lots of readers! I myself have asked for a Kindle in vain for the past two Christmases; unfortunately, I do not have anyone in my life with that kind of gift budget, but I sure would love to have one. I pack very light, but often half my weight is books and magazines!

    1. Thanks Melanie. And I’ll pass your note on to Santa. Maybe if you figure out what you could save in buying books and magazines vs. the Kindle/Nook price for the same–you’d have enough to help Santa out.

  5. Thanks for the list! When I was at the AAA store last month, I also found a rack of Bucky travel products – In particular, a U-shaped pillow filled with buckwheat hulls called “Utopia.” I’ve found it to be the best thing in the world for trips and even reading on the couch! When I went to, I also found they have other travel gear. Great stuff that I’d recommend adding to the list!

    1. So we are not the only ones that think of that as a family gift! I love all the testimonies we are getting here for Travel Pro! It is a real TravelPro lovefest, isn’t it?

  6. I still have my TravelPro luggage that I bought 20 years ago! It’s great. I love this list but these items are pricey. Will you do a companion list for gifts under $25? Please oh please?

    Also, I’d like to know if any of these companies offered you free samples or if you found all of the items on your own?
    .-= Jennifer Margulis´s last blog ..A Kind Letter From A Reader =-.

    1. Jennifer: I tried to offer a range of prices, as you’ll note at the beginning of the piece. Since I hand selected these items and it took me a couple of months, I doubt that I’ll be able to do an under $25–although every book I review would make a good gift and most of them are under $25, not to mention the many wonderful travel movies that can be bought on DVR. Or a gift certificate for a movie theater, with descriptions of up-coming travel movies might make a good gift. There are Amazon links on all of the books I discuss, if you are interested.

      As to free samples–I disclosed which ones gave me products to review at the bottom of the page. Not a huge percentage, actually. I found them through PR releases and web surfing, and my own personal usage.

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