Posts in the category "Souvenir Sunday":

Souvenir Sunday at Phoenix Sky Harbor Int’l Airport

PHX cat figures

It’s Souvenir Sunday – a day to take a look at the fun, inexpensive and locally-themed items you can pick up when you’re Stuck at the Airport.

This week’s picks come from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, where the Cactus Candy seemed far easier to carry than the potted cactus.

PHX - cactus candy

PHX Cactus

But even better than cactus or cactus candy were these additions we found for our growing list of locally-themed animal ‘poop’ candy:

PHX Scorpion scat

PHX Rattlesnake Droppings

PHX javelina droppings

Souvenir Sunday: bags made of Southwest Airlines seats

Southwest Airlines duffle

When Southwest Airlines did a cabin design that included, among other things, 80,000 lighter seats, they were left with 43 acres of leftover leather.

That leather ended up in Portland, Oregon with Looptworks, a company that takes high-quality excess material and upcycles it into limited edition, high-quality goods.

In this case, Looptworks has taken the leather from those old Southwest Airlines seats and turned it into a line of fashionable and functional bags that include a convertible tote ($150), a duffle ($225) and a backpack ($250). In addition to keeping the leather out of the garbage, the company partnered with a non-profit to employ disabled adults to deconstruct and clean the repurposed material.

Southwest LUV SEAT

The duffle and the tote are available on a 4 week turnaround time and Looptwork is about to launch the backpack and a toiletry bag.

Vending machine full-o-art at Kansas City Int’l Airport

Here’s a fun new airport amenity that should soon spread to more airports around the country: Kansas City International Airport has a vending machine that dispenses locally made art and souvenirs.

KCI_SouveNEARVendingMachine.

Curated by SouveNEAR, a company that produces and sells authentic local goods, the machine is located in the Southwest Airlines area of KCI’s Terminal B and is stocked with jewelry, original art, small-batch hand-printed T-shirts and a wide array of travel-sized mementos by Kansas City-based artists and makers.

Prices range from $2.50 to about $40.

SouveNEAR co-founders Suzanne Southard and Tiffany King spent months surveying art going on around Kansas City at galleries, art fairs, and indie craft shows and travelled to other cities to see what people are making to help them figure out what they wanted the collection to look like. “In some cases,” when we really liked artists but their existing offerings couldn’t fit our machine, we worked with them to develop items specifically for SouveNEAR,” Southard and King said via email.

KCI_SouveNEAR vending machine two

The art-filled vending machine has been in place at KCI for just about month, but sales have been so strong – and response from travelers and artists so positive – that SouveNEAR is already planning to add additional machines at KCI and to install new machines at other airports around the country.

“Finding meaningful souvenirs is always a challenge, especially when you’re rushing to find something at the last minute,” said Southard. “We want to provide a convenient way for people to get mementos that are artistic and that have a real connection to the city.”

Souvenir Sunday at Portland Int’l Airport

Elves for sale at Portland International Airport

Elves for sale at Portland International Airport

I had the great pleasure of visiting Portland International Airport this week to help Travel Portland welcome the tallest freestanding cuckoo clock in the country to the spot where it will entertainingly tell time till the end of March 2015.

PDX CLOCK

I also had a chance to see, smell and taste some of the Oregon-sourced delicacies offered up at the farmer’s market that pops up twice a week at the airport.

PDX MARKET TABLE

The market is the brainchild of Christian and Annette Joly, who own Caper’s Cafe at the airport, and they were on hand during my visit offering tastes of cheese and freshly sauteed mushrooms as well as intoxicating whiffs of Oregon truffles, from a table also laden with fresh Oregon produce and other tasty treats.

PDX Oregon market

Souvenir Sunday: last minute gifts for travelers

Santa

Still puzzling over a gift for the road warrior or frequent traveler on your list? How about a plane ticket?

That’s what a recent poll from Switchfly discovered people really want.

More than half of those interviewed (65 percent) said they would be delighted to receive an air travel gift for the holiday. Thirty-five percent of respondents said they’d prefer a gift of a first-class upgrade, while 31 percent would rather have a plane ticket to a foreign country.

Buying plane tickets for your friends and family can be complicated – and costly – so consider instead one of the travel-related gifts on this list.

Some help travelers be more efficient on the road. Others may improve a travel experience, help someone out of a jam or just serve as a pleasant perk on a stressful travel day.

Best of all, the items here can be purchased on-line and delivered to an email inbox at the very last minute.

Because we know you’re a busy traveler too.

Words and pictures for travel

The classic DK Eyewitness Travel Guides were recently revamped and now have updated itineraries, new content, even better images and improved usability. The books are still a bit heavy for those who need to travel light, so it’s a good thing that most all the guides, along with the DK Top 10, Eyewitness Family Travel and the Eyewitness Back Roads series are now available as e-books.

Rosetta’s Stone’s courses in 30 languages can also be delivered as e-gifts and can help travelers with down-time on long plane rides learn how to order a great meal or close a deal in another country.

TSA-compliant conveniences

Day of Relaxation Gift Set from Minimus.biz

Relying on hotel toiletries can be a hit or miss proposition, so most frequent travelers stuff their TSA-compliant 3-1-1 bags with tiny tubes and bottles of lotions and potions from brands they love or an assortment of items snitched from hotel bathrooms along the way.

The gift of replenishing those minis is made easy with an e-gift certificate from Minimus.biz, a website that carries more than 2,500 travel and individual-sized items (including food) and a nice variety of gift and personal care travel kits.

Another option is a subscription to Birchbox, which will send your favorite traveler a box filled with five beauty and personal care samples for the next 3, 6 or 12 months. (Prices start at $30 for women and $60 for men.)

Birchbox chooses the grooming products in the amenity kits offered to travelers flying in JetBlue’s Mint premium cabin between JFK and LAX or SFO and has a couple of JetBlue discount codes out there that anyone can use for subscriptions and product discounts.

For the hassles

Just about every airline offers gift cards for travel that can delivered electronically. But for those days when a buddy is stuck at an airport due to bad weather, an ailing airplane or a canceled or just-missed flight, a gift certificate for a service at an airport day spa, such as XpresSpa, or a day pass or full year’s entry into a club lounge may be the answer.

“One option for e-gifting lounge access is — if a friend or family member is a frequent traveler, purchasing a lounge membership online for them could make a lot of sense. For example, United offers their United Club membership for $500 per year, while Delta offers their Delta Sky Club membership starting at $450,” said Lounge Buddy co-founder Brent Griffith.

The Plaza Premium Lounge, an independent all-travelers-welcome lounge with branches in London, Vancouver, Hong Kong and 15 other airports, offers e-certificates for gift cards that are good for a package of 5 to 10 visits that can be used by one person or shared around.

Need more ideas? In his Seat 2B column, Joe Brancatelli has a great list of tried and true gift ideas for road warriors.

(My story about last minute gifts for travelers first appeared on CNBC Road Warrior in a slightly different version.)

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