Over 40 Last-Minute Gifts for Techies, Travelers

Sexier Santa?

The Charging Station of Your Dreams

Great Useful Stuff is home to all kinds of wonderful, well, stuff, but we’re particularly enamored of the All-in-One Multi Charging Station and Organizer, which has space to charge up to six devices (with sized spaces perfect for phones, tablets, laptops, and even wearables like your FitBit). Bonus: There’s space to stash your mail, keys, and more in a compartment to hide a power strip and built-in cable management holes to tuck cords away. You can get it in brown genuine leather, black leatherette, super cute bamboo, and white high-gloss perfect for both modern and shabby-chic homes. You can also buy a color-coordinated black or tan powerstrip (sold separately) to blend in with your decor.  $94.99, GreatUsefulStuff.com

Industrial charging station
A Steampunk Charging Station

This Industrial Table Desk Lamp Charging Station is really a cool steel electrical box that has been repurposed into an awesome, multifunction conversation piece. It comes with a cool 3,000-hour Reproduction Edison Marconi Style bulb and can work as a bedside lamp and charging station for your laptop and phone at the same time. The steel has been aged, brushed, and given a clear coat to protect and enhance the finish, and all the plugs are safety plugs, so safe for households with kids. $99, Etsy.VintageIronworks

Nomad knapsack
All-in-One Diaper Bag, Messenger Bag, Backpack

Perfect for the traveling parent, who can use a convertible bag that easily transforms. It’s a messenger bag at the office, a backpack on the train, and a diaper bag for outings with the kids. The rugged yet stylish Sons of Trade Nomad Knapsack features adjustable straps, a large flat interior pocket with snap closure, several smaller pockets, two snap-expandable exterior side pockets to easily fit bottles of all types (for baby or parent) and a “Capable Changing Kit” — a zippered mesh pouch that can be carried separately or used to convert the Nomad Knapsack into a diaper bag. It includes a wipes case, a removable water-resistant baby changing pad, and clips designed to attach the bag to a stroller. Constructed of durable matte canvas, with black cotton straps, leather trim, and antiqued brass hardware, the Nomad Knapsack is water-resistant and conveniently easy to clean inside and out. $159, KitselKds.com

Aspire Switch
Acer Aspire Switch 10 Bundle

The lightweight but versatile all-in-one Aspire Switch 10 easily transforms from touch-screen tablet to notebook to tent to display, making it a travel companion that won’t weigh you down. The sleek and stylish model only weighs 2.6 pounds when connected to the keyboard — and it’s half the size stripped down to a tablet. It features an especially durable Corning Gorilla Glass 3 cover and a battery that provides a full day of wireless power, and it works with the post-Siri personal assistant, Cortana. It comes with an Intel Atom quad-core processor, 64GB memory, a 2.0 MP camera, Windows 10, McAfee security, Office Mobile, and BYOC, which enables you to build you own cloud giving you access to your photos and files on any device.  The only downside is that the Office programs — including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint — are mobile apps, meaning they come without all the bells and whistles of their landlocked program parents, but that’s a bonus when you’re traveling. $349.99, Us.Acer.com

Patience and Sarah
Hitting the Road With Janis and Jean

For me, travel means a road map, a tank full of gas, an open road — and a great audio book. There’s one your girlfriend will surely love, Patience and Sarah, the 1969 lesbian classic now on audio for the first time and a 2016 Grammy Award Nominee for Best Spoken Word Album. It's narrated by award-winning musician Janis Ian and Emmy-winning actress Jean Smart (Designing Women, Samantha Who?), with each actress performing one of the characters in this two-woman point-of-view love story. Partially funded by Ian (she sold a custom Les Paul guitar to help pay for initial costs) out of love of Isabel Miller’s classic, which won the American Library Association's first Stonewall Award in 1971 and is said to based on two real-life women (the painter Mary Ann Wilson and her “companion,” Miss Brundage who lived together in a Boston marriage during the early 1800s). You don’t have to be gay to love this story, though; it’s for anyone who knows what it’s like fall in love with someone you aren’t supposed to and dealing with the repercussions in order to maintain that love. Even better: It’s one of the first lesbian novels with a happy ending, and while it’s great for any (middle) ager like me, teenagers have loved it for decades, so it’s a great young adult gift too. $19.95, Audible.com

Video Drone
Why Let The NSA Have All the Fun?

The Live Video Camera Drone is a flying 12mp camera drone that sends live video back to you up to a quarter mile away. It’s controlled by a 2.4 GHz radio remote, displaying live video on a built-in 5 1/2" screen. It's easy to learn how to fly, snaps pix at 4384 x 3288 pixel resolution, and records 1080p high-definition video, saving both onto an included 8GB microSD card. (Oh, if you’re worried about the government? The drone has built-in firmware that prevents the drone from flying into restricted airspace.) Creepy in others’ hands, wonderful in yours. $1,400, Hammacher.com

Ruffle fanny pack
Ruffled Skirt Hip Purse

Lesbians love our fanny packs, but femmes have often been reluctant adopters of the ubiquitous bags because they tend to be ugly and overly utilitarian. (But if you go on an Olivia Cruise, you'll see at least 200 fanny packs.) That’s why it’s such a delight to find these Kinies Design belt bags that look like ruffled skirts. Attractive and cheeky, they have a large central pocket and smaller built ins for cells phones, iPods, and more. And, well, worn on the back makes your booty look big! $29.99, Etsy.com/Shop/Kinies

Toolbox Toiletries Bag

Buy your man this cool hard-shell toolbox so he can maintain his good looks even when he’s out of town. One of the toughest Dopp kit/toiletries travel cases on the market, it will protect his swag from the indignities of overzealous flight attendants and baggage carriers who try to cram one more thing onto an already full flight. Even if his suitcase ends up on the bottom of a giant pile, the cases will protect your clothes from spills or leakages from toiletries. Also has comfortable rubber handle grips and removable silicone netting. $39.99, Tooletries.com 

Rejuva Socks
Not Your Grandfather’s Travel Socks

Here’s the deal: Compression socks are great for travel and any time you’re sitting or standing for long periods of time — and they are usually so-o-o ugly. Not anymore. RejuvaSocks come in cool patterns (we love the Houndstooth or Argyle Smoke), feel like normal sports socks (wide toe box for wiggle room, moisture-wicking fabric, nicely stretchy), and offer 15-20 mmHg renewing support. These are either hipster socks for Grandma or perfect ones for you. $20.99, RejuvaHealth.com

Night Runners
Safety Dance (er, Run)

Developed by athletes and funded by a popular Kickstarter campaing, the Night Runner 270° Shoe Lights clip on to your shoelaces and safely light the way from dusk till dawn without the hassles of headbands, belts, or straps. Designed for urban running, trail running, hiking, biking, and walking (but also good for camping), Night Runner uses two LED lights to illuminate the path directly in front of you. The bilateral wing design guarantees 270-degrees of visibility up to 30 meters. They’re light, high-impact, and water-resistant, with back-facing distinctive red taillights that show drivers where you are. $59.95, Nightrunner270.com

Wax Apothecarey Candle
The Perfect Travel Companion

Funky hotel rooms, relatives with musty basement guest rooms … face it, holiday travel doesn’t always put you up in style, which is why you’ll love this travel-size Tobacco Candle from Wax Apothecary, which smells great and also offers aromatherapy that promises both comfort and relief for headaches and migraines (two things in abundance during the holidays). These handmade herbal botanical artisan candles are handmade in California, using local ingredients and 100 percent essential oils in the spirit of an old-world apothecary (soy, no chemicals or additives, kosher, vegan, and even the wick is lead free). This four-ounce candle burns over 15 hours. $12, WaxApothecary.com

Battleship USB
You Sunk My Battleship

Make him feel like a kid again with this awesome Battleship USB Hub, another amazng Kikkerland product, which comes with five USB ports. Every time you plug it in, you’ll be thinking of the game that entertained so many kids in the 1970s and ‘80s. $23, Kikkerland.com

cafe press mug
Hello, Tech Support

 Got an IT gal in your life (or anyone who’s been on hold with Apple support for three hours)? They’ll love this funny Tech Mug that offers that very common IT refrain: “Have you tried turning it off and on again?” $11.95, CafePress.com

Crosley Chalkboard
The Coolest Turntables on the Go

Vinyl has made a huge comeback, and now there are super cool turntables to play vinyl records on. Our favorites this year happen to be portable and can go anywhere. The Crosley Cruiser Turntable–Chalkboard lets you doodle, design, or jot down notes and lyrics on the outside of this three-speed portable turntable featuring built-in stereo speakers, RCA outputs and headphone jack. This is a fun, funky, customizable Cruiser, and it comes with chalk and an eraser. $99.99, AlwaysFits.com

Messenger turntable
Or You Can Get…

The CR8016 Messenger Turntable. Yes, a turntable in a messenger bag world travelers will love. Three-speed, auxiliary input, built-in stereo speakers and loads of cool cred. $89.99, AlwaysFits.com


Homedics Shiatsu
For Your Tired, Sore, Stressed Loved Ones

If your gift recipient sits for long periods (gamers, desk jockeys, road trippers) this is one of the season’s best gifts and well worth the money. The HOMEDIC Quad Shiatsu Massage Cushion With Heat is kind of the best massage chair experience you can get at home. It works four ways (percussion massage — so popular now — as well as kneading and rolling massage functions and a combination of the two) in three massage “zones” and adds heat. Soon-to-be blissful users can set the massage range to their own height using the remote control. $199, Homedics.com

Fluid Stance Level
Sitting Is the New Smoking

This is the year that CNN’s lesbian journalist Jen Richardson (president of the NLGJA) declared, “Sitting will kill you.” For those strapped to a desk eight hours a day, standing desks have become a popular go-to, but it turns out standing in one position for hours is killer on the body too. Enter my newest obsession: the FluidStance Level, an awesome balance board that creates a subtle instability under your feet while you stand — it increases your heart rate by 15 percent, makes your legs feel great, and fires up your core and balance muscles while you work (but not enough to distract you) — which is why companies like Adidas and Sonos are now purchasing them in bulk for their employees. This Silicon Valley fave and winner of Inc. magazine’s Best in Class Design Award, the Original Bamboo Level is made entirely in the USA of military-grade aluminum and renewable bamboo and 98 percent of materials are sourced within 500 miles of the brand’s Santa Barbara, Calif., headquarters. (It comes in maple and walnut as well and in limited edition colors for the holidays.) This is a chic-looking balance board (none of that blue gym plastic) that’ll get you moving, even while you’re tied down with responsibilities. (Oh, and the company donates 1 percent of its topline sales, 1 percent of the equity of its company, and 1 percent of its employees’ time to First Descents, an organization that provides life-changing outdoor adventures for young adults affected by cancer.) $289 and up, FluidStance.com

Mahabis are unisexy
The Reinvented Slipper

Whether at home or on the road, these minimalist Mahabi unisex slippers are perfect: sheep’s wool with a collapsible heel and a detachable sole that you can remove to go in and out of the house. $59 and up, Mahabis.com

Razer Nabu
The New It Wearable

You’ve tried FitBit and FuelBand among others, but the new wearable to check is Razer’s new Nabu X Smartband. A fitness tracker meets social wearable that vibrates when you get an incoming alert from your phone and LEDs that will light up in customizable colors, the Nabu and Nabu X is not only a fitness tracker but also keeps you in the loop with on-screen notifications and has the ability to exchange social information, all with a handshake. $49.99, RazerZone.com

Making FitBit Sexier

I love my FitBit — it’s a perfect fitness and sleep tracker for me and I wear it all the time, but that silicon rubber band makes for an unfortunate sporty look at every gala ceremony, business conference, or date night I go to. Hence a recent thrilling (and affordable) find: FUNKtional Wearables, jewelry and accessories engineered to securely conceal fitness and activity trackers. There’s a broad range of affordable (mostly under $50) jewelry styles from the Brianna (an elegant hammered gold bracelet would look good on Empire’s Cookie) to the Cody (a studded vegan leather snap bracelet that would fit in at Folsom Street Fair). Don’t think this is for girly types only; among the unisex styles is my fave — the sleek Tory Bracelet that can go from day to night, doesn’t look too fancy, and comes in brushed gold, gold, brushed silver, sterling silver, and hematite. Even cooler: 10 percent of December sales goes to Best Friends Animal Society. Prices vary, FunktionalWearables.com  

Shield TV
Streaming Media: The Next Generation

By many accounts, this year’s must-have tech gift is the Shield, the Android streaming media player by NVIDIA that leads the market in speed (it’s 34 times faster than others), resolution (it’s 4K and 60 Ultra HD) and access to the world’s largest app ecosystem (you know those apps on your Android phone? Now they are on your computer). The season’s gift bundle is a no-brainer: for under $200 you can get the Shield media player, gaming controller, and remote control, and give yourself top games, hit shows, blockbuster movies, live sports, your favorite music, or even viral videos — and you can use Google’s voice commands to do the work for you.  (Seriously, just ask, “Who plays the gay guy on Undatable?” and watch Google work.) You can cast a show or pictures to your TV from your PC, Android, or iOS device with built-in Google Cast with a processor that delivers up to 25 times the performance of Amazon Fire TV and Roku. And because 4K resolution delivers ultra-sharp image quality that's four times sharper than last-generation 2K HD TVs, you’ll see images in scenes that have never been clear before. Try checking out Sens8 on Netflix 4K and marvel at the difference. $199, Shield.Nvidia.com

HP backpack
The Ultimate Tech Backpack

HP’s fashionable Odyssey backpack is designed specifically for traveling or hiking with your tech in tow, whether it be your laptop, notebook, tablet, or gaming gear. The top zip wide open to reveal a large compartment with dedicated spots for various tech, including a sleeve for a tablet or e-reader, holders for a stylus or pens, and a mess pocket. A second zipper opens a well padded, full length laptop compartment large enough to accommodates notebooks up to 15.6 inches diagonal and which zips three-quarters of the way open for easy access at TSA checkpoints. One of the best features is a handle on the front that allows the backpack to be carried like a duffel bag instead of over the shoulder.  Days after it’s been opened, your giftee is bound to still be finding new cubbies and special features like the spots begging for a carbineer clip, the hidden wallet pocket, and the adjustable exterior straps that enable you to tie down a jacket, newspaper, or poster tube and keep your hands free (making it perfect for Comic-Con!). The contoured shell has spots of contrasting colors, while the insides unveil a unique digitized camouflage lining. The ubiquitous padding not only protects tech but keeps it from bruising your back. For your comfort on long treks (whether through the airport or into the woods), the exterior padding is covered with air-mesh and air channels to promote circulation. $47.99, HP.com  


Bunjee Lanyard
Phone Leash

Know someone who always has their phone in their hand — when they aren’t forgetting it in taxis and restaurants? Give them piece of mind with one these devices from MyBunjee.com. One end slips over the mobile phone while the other end is secured to your clothes, bags, or body. The bungee makes it harder for someone to steal the phone from you; if you drop it, it won't smash, and it makes it a lot easier to find in your bag. My favorite is the lanyard that hangs around my neck, but there are also wrist bands or belt loop hooks.  The company also makes a useful “Phone Wallet,” which attaches to the back of your cell phone and holds IDs and credit cards.  $12.50, MyBunjee.com

Boatbound is Airbnb for boats
Um, Can I Borrow Your Boat?

Knowing somebody who owns a boat is like manna from the heavens, but for the unlucky 99 percent of us who don’t, there’s finally a new option — and it makes a perfect holiday gift. Boatbound is like an Airbnb for boats, is the nation's largest “pier-to-pier” platform, where you can basically rent a boat for a day or more and live like the one percent. You can rent one that’s bareboat (just the boat) or captained (yep, someone else drives it) and the boats range from tiny fishing boats and pontoons to luxury yachts already moored in pricey marinas. Perfect gift for romance (sunset cruising?) or family gatherings (giant boat, party of 20?) or just the gal who likes to fish. Prices range from $129 a day and up, BoatBound.co

Serena Williams teaching a MasterClass? Yes, please
If Only College Were Like This

Earlier this year, techy entrepreneurs David Rogier and Aaron Rasmussen launched MasterClass, pairing Hollywood directors and Silicon Valley engineers to create an entirely new online learning experience. Now for under $100 and no matter where you live, anyone can sign up to take a course from the world’s best in their fields, including Academy Award winner Dustin Hoffman, best-selling author James Patterson, photographer Annie Leibovitz, Usher, and Serena Williams, among other big names to come. Award-winning directors (including Jay Roach and Bill Guttentag) directed the gorgeously filmed classes, making the overall student experience intimate and meaningful. But classes are still mobile, which means you can learn tennis from the world’s number-1-ranked women’s tennis player, Serena Williams, on the court using your smartphone. “I wanted to make my class feel as though you’re right there on the court with me. It’s like getting a private lesson,” says Williams. Hoffman adds “I never like to give advice, but I wanted to teach what I wish someone had taught me.” When it comes to writing, I can honestly say I learned more from Patterson’s MasterClass than all of college. The classes never expire, come with lifetime access and learning materials you need. $90, MasterClass.com (watch a trailer here)

Speaker Table
It’s a Table. No, it’s a Speaker

It’s both. The La Boite Concept LD 130 is a rather pricey desk-size speaker designed for laptop and wireless devices, but it looks really, really cool. $2,300, PleaseDoNotEnterShop.com

Document Everything

When we travel, most of us snap dozens (sometimes hundreds) of photos, most of them ending up buried in some folder on the cloud or deleted when space is getting short. In fact, recent studies show that 97 percent of all digital images are never printed, which means most of them will be lost forever, especially since some social networks routinely dump images. But with Blurb, you (or your gift recipient) can turn your favorite snaps into a beautifully-designed, highly personal book. These aren’t your grandmother’s photo albums. Blurb, a self-publishing platform, requires curation, but it also gives your images the context you won’t get by scrolling through endless thumbnails of digital images on your phone or laptop. Many same-sex couples this year used Blurb to document their weddings, but others focused on their travels, their adorable pets, the extended family as well as the quirky outliers (Fashion Week, Burning Man, penguins, and haircuts through the decades). Even better, you can create anything, inlcuding your own children's book like the one above, and if you’re too lazy to create your own book, a Blurb gift card is the perfect gift. $20 and up, Blurb.com

You’ll Never Buy Post-Its Again

LGBT advocates cofounded this Kickstarter-backed startup called Tesla Amazing, which is, frankly, kind of amazing. It makes magnetic, statically charged sticky notes that cling to anything. They come in all colors of the Pride rainbow, in seven sizes, and they use static charge instead of glue to stick to virtually any surface. They’re perfect for both home and office reminders, lists, and colorful statements, and if you’re like me, weird places you want to leave a note, like that truck stop bathroom where I felt compelled to leave a note for the manager reminding him that it was not actually female-friendly. (Kids love them too.) $2.99 and up, TeslaAmazing.com

Are You Creating the Next Serial?

They say 2016 is the year of the podcast. And what do you need? An iPhone and this Shure MV88 iOS Digital Stereo Condenser Microphone, which is perfect for anyone who needs exceptional audio for vocal/audio recording, podcasts, YouTube videos, live field reporting, and more. The MV88 is super affordable, connects directly to any Apple iOS device equipped with a Lightning connector (iPhone, iPad, iPod will all do), and is mounted to a 90-degree hinge with built-in rotation. It has some other fancy cred (five built-in DSP preset modes, plus 5-band EQ, stereo width control, etc.) but even if like me you have no idea what that means, we known that because it comes from Shure, the top audio company, it’ll still do an amazing job for you. $149, Shure.com

Doxie Scanner
Paper Sucks, But Doxie Doesn’t

In Marie Kondo’s runaway hit, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, the author suggests you keep virtually no papers. Scan everything and discard as soon as you do. We can’t go that far (after all, we’re magazine people) but scanning is a modern necessity. Unfortunately, everytime I have to scan a document I’m in some backwater roadhouse nowhere near my office (it’s research!). My new solution: the amazingly wonderful (and for me, and perhaps Marie Kondo, life changing) Doxie Go Wi-Fi, a  wireless, rechargeable, super portable paper scanner for everyone. Going paperless (and wireless) has never been easier because Doxie is small and lightweight, has a built-in battery, memory, and Wi-Fi. No computer required; you can scan anywhere. The tiny Doxie (about the size of a rolled up magazine) fits in a large purse or backpack, works with smart apps, and can sync to a PC, Mac, iPhone, or tablet. (No wonder Doxie has editor’s choice and reader’s choice honors from Wired and Lifehacker respectively.) $179 (Doxie Go Plus) or $229 (Doxie Go Wi-Fi), GetDoxie.com

Kraken neon
The Year’s Best Headphones

New year, new headphones — dozens and dozens of generally indistinguishable headphones are out now, so how do you choose? Ask us. Among this year’s favorites are the Razer Kraken Pro Headphones, which are easy to pack with foldable ear cups and a fully retractable microphone, or the Razer Kraken Mobile. The former is the most popular gaming headset (making audio totally immersive) and the latter, which works with Apple iOS, comes in quirky neon colors, with serious audio quality, and is a great wear. Are you more gym bunny than gaming couch potato? Trainer by Gibson TH100 Headphones designed With Usain Bolt (the reigning 100m world record holder) are must haves for athletes and gym goers. They’re Bluetooth enabled, wireless on-ear headphones with built in controls and a great sort of double band (one over the top and one back of the head so even if you’re running they stay put). They have LEDs that light up at night, have a weather seal so you can get caught in the rain or sweat profusely without a problem, can go into safe mode (so you can still hear around you if needed),, and can play for nearly a dozen hours on one charge (or standby for 190 hours). (Oh, and the Gibson has a 10-foot range so your phone doesn’t have to be attached to your hip for once.) Razer Krakens: $79 and up, RazerZone.com; Gibson: $249, Amazon.com

Amazing Race courtesy CBS
Forget the Highways, We’re Going on Water

If you saw them on The Amazing Race you probably know how cool the Schiller Water Bikes are. Arguably the most advanced water bike in the world, they’re a fave of first adopters, tech CEOs, celebs, and some high-end hotels. Now you too can ride over vast distances of lakes, rivers, and oceans with this state-of-the-art engineering S1 bike, which can go about 6 knots per hour (7 mph). (Forbes called it the "world's most radically redesigned bicycle.”) $4,500 (includes shipping), SchillerBikes.com  (Photo of The Amazing Race courtesy CBS)

Hands (and Bra) Free

Half the women I know stow everything — cell phones, car keys, cash and credit cards —  in their bras when they run. But fashion’s pocket isn’t the best place to be carrying electronic devices. Instead there’s the Hip Appeal’s Lycra hip wrap, which pulls on and features several hidden and zippered pockets to safely carry phones, cash, cards, or iPod while you’re running or on the go. The slim, curve-hugging fabric blends in with your outfit, so no one’s the wiser to your hidden assets. $25.99, HipAppeal.com


Artisan Leather Briefcase Backpack

N’Damus has become one of Britain’s premier purveyors of luxurious artisan leather bags. One of our favorites is this Regency travel bag, which features solid brass fixtures, two short handles, and a long detachable adjustable leather strap, top brass zip closure, luxury Vlisco print cotton interior, internal zip pocket, and an internal leather mobile phone pocket.  N’Damus also has fabulous iPhone cases and an amazing ostrich passport cover.  $2,611, NDamus.com 

A Groovy Gift That Supports People With HIV

Order one of these fabulous bags in red and the premium vegan/synthetic leather handbag brand, Angela Roi, will make a donation to support HIV and AIDS treatment and care, nutritious food, and loving support to children and families with HIV in Africa. Our favorite is the Jules Bucket Bag, which fits a 13-inch laptop and has a detachable clutch and 14k satin gold hardware. $145, AngelaRoi.com

Play it Again
A Sports Drink Great for Travel

Play Again Now Recovery Oral Liquid Gel is actually a sports nutrition supplement popular with athletes, but because it combats daily body soreness and prevents post-workout pain, it’s perfect for anyone doing seriously traveling too. While it has no carbs, caffeine, calories, or gluten, Play Again Now combines high-molecular-weight, oral liquid form of hyaluronic acid — produced naturally in the fluid that protects the body’s joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments and connective tissue — and MSM. Whether you’re backpacking the Himalayas or just hitting up Planet Fitness, Play Again Now can help.  $49.95,  PlayAgainNow.com