• Gifts for Road Trippers 2011

      The holidays are here, but the roadtrippers among us are not dreaming of sugarplums. No, they’ve already got their sights set on spring break! Whether they’re armchair travelers or road warriors, we’ve found something sure to appeal to the adventurers on your list.

      Road Fever, which chronicles a record-setting run from Tierra del Fuego to Alaska in 23 ½ days, is both inspiring and entertaining. Ride along with Tim Cahill and Garry Sowerby as they zoom to a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records on an exhausting, hilarious, and—at times—terrifying trip through the Americas. Not only is this a riveting account of an amazing race, the book also offers a lot of insight about sponsorships and qualifying for the Guinness book. It’s a great choice for prospective “adventure travelers” and readers who enjoy a rollicking wild time.

      For Route 66 buffs, the newest edition of Drew Knowles’ Route 66 Adventure Handbook works as both a great guidebook and an entertaining read. Bring the nostalgic ambiance of the Mother Road into a den or office with the Route 66 neon wall clock.

      What’s more appropriate for car travelers than maps? For a high-tech gift that’s sure to please, consider Microsoft’s award-winning Streets and Trips software. Low-tech is a great option, too. No batteries or cell signal required for Rand McNally’s Large Scale Road Atlas. There are lots of road atlases out there, but this one is a standout with its spiral binding and large print.

      Got some youngsters on your list? The License Plates USA 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle is a collage of license plates in the shape of a map of the continental United States. There are also USA puzzles featuring state birds, here and here; and featuring both state birds and state flowers.

      For on-the-road fun for kids, consider Jeff Sechler’s new collection of fun-to-play car games, “Are We There Yet?” It’s available in paperback.

      Here at RoadTrip America, we’re always recommending the good old-time technology provided by CB radios. Cobra’s HH Road Trip 40-channel hand-held model makes a great gift. It moves from vehicle to vehicle without permanent installation and also brings access to access to 10 NOAA weather channels.

      For dreamers and planners with some wall space, the “executive wall map” of the United States by National Geographic is especially beautiful with its warm, subtle color scheme. We’ve got this one hanging in RoadTrip America’s offices, where it gets more attention than just about everything (except maybe our chainsaw bear cub). Truly lovely and inspiring, it comes already laminated. (The small image does NOT do this map justice -- it's beautiful at its full 43" by 30" size.)

      For those who like to “rough it,” we’ve got two suggestions. First is a handy little item we first saw demonstrated inside a bookstore! We don’t recommend following suit unless you want to freak out the employees, but this magnesium fire starter works great wet or dry and makes a great little stocking stuffer. We have not tried it ourselves, but the Original Off Road Commode attaches to your trailer hitch to provide you with a comfortable throne in the wilderness. Note the nice camouflage design—dress similarly and you’ll be invisible when nature calls!

      Calendars are classic gifts. America’s Back Roads 2012 edition is perfect for those who dream about moseying across covered bridges through hardwood forests. National Parks and California Coast also have wonderfully evocative photographs that bring “out there” to whatever wall they’re hung on.

      Last but not least, a mini power inverter makes a great gift for every road warrior. This one even has a USB port, making it easy to power up and use laptops, tablets, DVD players, and cell phones.

      These are just a few suggestions – please share your own below!