mel-gift-logoPopCult Note: Mel Larch (aka Mrs. PopCulteer), the host of On The Road with Mel on The AIR, returns to the PopCult Gift Guide with suggestions for the traveler on your holiday gift list. You can listen to On The Road with Mel Wednesdays at 1 PM at the website, or on this handy little embedded internet radio player…

Wondering what to get the road warrior or world traveler in your life? Consider one (or all) of these items to help them enjoy their travels even more. These recommendations are all things that I use, so just think of them as having the On The Road with Mel Seal of Approval.

American Automobile Association (AAA) Membership

dc15031logoIf I had to single out any one item on this list as a “must have,” this would be it. AAA offers a wealth of services to its members, including 24/7 Roadside Assistance, travel discounts on car rentals, hotels, and vacation packages, discounted attraction and movie tickets, and insurance, just for starters. They also offer trip planning for everything from road trips to cruises to overseas travel.

As a longtime member of AAA, I’ve utilized the Roadside Assistance service a few times for everything from running out of gas (they’ll bring you a couple gallons to get you back on the road) to towing to battery replacement. And their hotel discounts can definitely help stretch those travel dollars further, especially if you’re visiting a major city such as Chicago or New York.

With a choice of three different membership levels (Classic, Plus, and Premiere) at various prices, a AAA membership would be one of the best gifts you could give your favorite traveler. Check their website for details on how to give gift memberships.


sholdit1Keeping your cash, credit cards, and ID or passport safe from thieves is certainly a concern for any traveler. Ever since I had my wallet stolen on a trip to New York in my college days, I’ve always been on the lookout for products to protect those valuable items. There are a wide variety of products out there which serve this purpose, but my personal favorite is the SHOLDIT scarf.

This take on the popular “infinity” scarf features a hidden zippered pocket that allows you to safely and securely carry those small valuables while traveling, attending sporting events or concerts, or any time you don’t want to carry a larger bag or handbag. Available in a wide selection of colors and designs, it’s a stylish travel accessory for women and men.

I bought my first SHOLDIT almost two years ago and since then, have traveled to both New York and Chicago using nothing but my SHOLDIT to carry my valuables. If you’re looking for a way to travel light, protect your cash and credit cards, and look good while doing it, the SHOLDIT is the way to go.

In addition to different styles of the “infinity” scarf (including a nursing scarf with pocket that would be a great gift for any busy new mom), you can find other products for the traveler in your life on the SHOLDIT website, as well as Amazon.

SLIME 40022 12-Volt Digital Tire Inflator

414b-pyerilAny seasoned traveler knows the importance of having a good emergency kit in their car. And if you’re a traveler like me who looks for products that can do double duty, then the Slime 40022 12-Volt Digital Tire Inflator is a winner on both counts.

This powerful and compact combination tire gauge and inflator uses Inflate Right technology to automatically shut off when the proper tire pressure is reached. It’s designed to inflate a standard car tire, with a maximum pressure of 35 PSI. All you need to do is plug it into your car’s cigarette lighter (15 Amp fuse required) and it will inflate a standard car tire in approximately six minutes. It also features a bright, long-lasting LED light for easy night use and rubberized feet for stability.

With Inflate Right, there’s no chance for error–just the perfect pressure for your tires every time, which means cost savings in terms of reduced fuel expense and tire replacement costs.  This compact and lightweight device is one way to help your road trip loving gift recipient stay safe and save money.

The Slime 4022 12-Volt Digital Tire Inflator is available at Amazon, as well as Advance Auto Parts, NAPA, O’Reilly, Target and Walmart. Slime makes several other models that are available at other price points, but the 40022 has been very reliable for me.

I’ve also recommended several travel themed books on my show, including The Next Exit. Updated yearly, this comprehensive US Interstate highway exit directory includes every major and most minor routes for each state, along with every exit  You’ll find information on gas, food, lodging, camping, shopping and more.  It’s one of my “go-to” travel planning tools.  The 2017 edition will be available on January 1st, but if you don’t want to wait and your gift recipient prefers the digital format, it’s also available as an app that you can find out more about at their website. An atlas, such as the ones published and updated yearly by Rand McNally, would also be an excellent and valuable addition to any travel library.

And if you’re looking for stocking stuffers, items such as a sleep mask, luggage tags, travel sized-toiletries, a travel luggage scale, an organizer wrap for electronics or jewelry…use your imagination! Happy holidays and safe travels!