Shopping

Travel Tidbits from an airport near you

Earlier this week, we told you about a new Prince-themed store that opened recently at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Here are some more new shops to look for at the airports in Sacaremento and Las Vegas.

The folks at SouveNEAR, who place vending machines filled with work made by local artists at airports, are expanding their network.

Created to be “an indie craft fair in a box,” SouveNEAR fills these vending machines with an eclectic collection of art prints and originals, T-shirts and apparel, handmade jewelry, gourmet food items and other travel-sized mementos. Prices range from $5.00-$50.00. 

Right now they’ve got their art-filled machines in multiple locations at Kansas City International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, Oakland International Airport and Cincinatti-Northern Kentucky International Airport.

In September you’ll be able to shop for local art from SouveNEAR machines in Sacramento International Airport (SMF) an in Las Vegas at McCarran International Airport (LAS).

Sacramento International Airport also has a new shop called The Well in Terminal A selling locally-sourced gifts in a “hydration-focused” environment.

In addition to selling gifts and gourmet foods from Northern Califorinia, the shop has a self-serve water bar and stocks a variety of reusable drinking bottles.

It came in the mail

Sharing today some of the tasty and useful items items that arrive in the mail at StuckatTheAirport.com.

These hand rolled, organic energy bars with sustainable ingredients from Kate’s Real Food were a hit in my house. We ate several (not at once..) before realizing that the calorie-count panel notes each bar is more than one serving. But these taste so good we weren’t likely to eat just half a bar and save some for later.

The StuckatTheAirport.com team visited Vermont recently and missed the opportunity to buy some real Vermont maple syrup. So we were pleased to find a bottle of organic Runamok Maple Syrup in the mail.

Their list of products includes everything from bourbon barrel and whiskey barrel-aged syrup to syrup infused with intriguing ingredients such as ginger root, Hibiscus flowers and cardamom.

We’re tasting the coffee-infused maple syrup, which is one of those “Why didn’t someone think of this before?” breakfast items.

And these no-show cotton and spandex blend Invisasox, with versions for men and women, arrived just in time for hot weather walking on the holiday weekend.

Souvenir Sunday at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

It’s Souvenir Sunday, a day to take a look at some of the fun, inexpensive and locally-themed items you can buy at airports.

You can’t go wrong with one of these colorful souvenirs from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. Flowers – fresh, wooden, plastic or ‘future’ (as in bags of bulbs) – all look appealing.

And none of these souvenirs is anywhere near expensive.

And then of course, there’s cheese, stroopwafels and chocolate.

Have you spotted a great souvenir at an airport? If you do see something that’s fun, locally-themed and low cost, please snap a photo and send it along to StuckatTheAirport.com.

If your souvenir is featured on Souvenir Sunday, we’ll send you a travel-themed gift.

Closer look at Jewel Changi Airport

World’s tallest indoor waterfall at Jewel Changi Airport-photo Harriet Baskas

I’ve been in Singapore this week checking out – and experiencing – the new pre-security attraction at Changi Airport called ‘Jewel‘.

Housed inside a toroidal (doughnut-shaped) glass and steel structure designed by noted architect Moshe Safdie, the Jewel attraction sits next to Terminal 1 on a piece of land that once housed a parking lot.

Inside there’s a lush four-story tiered garden, more than 280 retail and dining outlets, a Yotel short-stay hotel, and a multi-screen IMAX theater. But the attraction’s centerpiece is without a doubt the 140-foot-tall Rain Vortex that is now the world’s tallest indoor waterfall.

A few ticketed activities in Jewel’s ‘Forest Canopy’ will open in June, including a 164-foot-long glass-bottomed bridge, nets for bouncing and walking above the forest, mazes, topiary sculptures and more.

Shopping galore

In addition to global brands such as Adidas, Coach and Levi’s, Jewel’s many shopping venues include a good number of new-to-market shops.

There’s the first Pokémon Center outside of Japan, shops selling gift foods and plenty of Singapore brands, such as In Good Company (clothing) and Supermama (design and crafts items).

Gift by Changi Airport carries many specially-made Changi Airport-themed items, including the airport’s signature orchid, spice and plant-sourced scent and work by sought-out local artists.

From Shake Shack to fine dining

Dining options in Jewel Changi Airport range from fast-food to fine dining and include cuisines from Asian to Western. Singapore’s first Shake Shack (with unique to Singapore menu items) is here as are numerous cafes that offer ‘outdoor’ dining with a view of Jewel’s forest and waterfall.

Bonus amenities for travelers

Many passengers have long layovers at Changi Airport or have many hours to wait between hotel check-out time and late-night flights.

For those passengers Jewel has early check-in counters, bag storage facilities and a pay-per-use lounge.

But the best bonus amenity by far is the YotelAIR hotel.

The newest in the Yotel chain of “cozy” in-city and airport hotels, the YOTELAIR in the Jewel Changi Airport has 130 cabin-sized short-stay rooms.

Each room has its own shower and toilet, TV, WiFi and a space-saving ‘Smartbed’ that can change positions at the push of a button.

There’s a gym for guests, but during my four-hour stay I discovered that the best part of this YOTELAir is the patio that sits out front. It was a perfect, private spot to have a coffee, gather my thoughts, view the waterfall, the forest and all the shoppers going by.

Photo – Harreit Baskas

Opening rates at the YOTELAIR are S$140 (about $103 US) for overnight  stays in a Premium Queen Cabin and S$80 (about $59 US) for day stays of four hours. (Shower-only packages will be S$20 – about $15 US).

Even more last-minute gifts to buy at airports

Getting ready to travel for the holiday? Do you have all your gifts? Yesterday, Stuck at The Airport  shared a list of great gifts you can buy at airports shops.

Here are some more, from Jacksonville International in Florida and Hollywood Burbank Airport in California.

At Jacksonville International Airport, Made in JAX, located in the pre-security courtyard, offers a variety of items crafted by Northeast Florida artists and artisans from Jacksonville, Amelia Island and St. Augustine.

Amelia Island Marketplace, modeled after one of Northeast Florida’s most popular tourist destinations, has a variety of souvenirs for beach lovers and apparel from local sports teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars, Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp , Florida Gators and Florida State Seminoles. 

At Hollywood Burbank Airport, there are adorable pet-themed gifts at Up, Pup ‘N’ Away in Terminal A. 

Have you found some great holiday gifts in airport shops this year? Share a photo if you can.