12 great gifts for traveling geeks. Please help with the list!

People often complain that it’s impossible to buy me a cool, geeky gift because I buy them for myself. (Actually, I only buy a few after much, much thought and deliberation.) I’m sure your family and friends have the same problem, so let’s prove them wrong with this post.

This isn’t my Christmas wishlist. (I have some of these and not others.) It’s just a list of cool gifts to drool over. I think a real list of geeky gifts was needed as I’ve seen several geeky gift lists lately that are terrible. Really useless gadgets. You’ve probably gotten one or two of those.

Here are some I’ve thought of. Please add any others you think of!

  1. A new phone. Like the Nokia N900 or Motorola Droid. Now you may say that they just got a new phone, but every geek wants the latest phone. And it doesn’t hurt to have two or three different ones to try out. (You should make sure the phone works with the cellular network they have. You can always buy an unlocked phone that will work with all networks. While it’s more expensive, it’s much more useful and therefore cooler. 🙂
  2. Digital book reader. If your geek travels a lot – or even if they don’t, they’ll enjoy a digital reader. If they already have one, you can upgrade them to the newest. (I like the ones like the Kindle
    and Nook that can download books wirelessly.) If they already have one, you can buy them things like a new cover or an attachable light. (The thing that most surprises people is that the Kindle is not backlit.)
  3. A smaller laptop. Note that not everyone wants to work on a smaller computer all the time, but they still appreciate having one for situations like conferences and travel. So buy them the latest netbook. Note that size isn’t everything. Battery life and weight are also important. (If your geek is a free software fan, make sure you buy one that works well with Linux. Some come with Linux preinstalled. Most will run Linux or Moblin.)
  4. A bigger monitor. While your laptop can never be too small, your monitor can never be too big. Not many people have a 30 inch monitor! (Note that as one of the commentors pointed out, resolution is also important – this one has a very high resolution of 2560×1600 which might be more than you need.) 
  5. A really cool suitcase. I think the Zuca Pro sounds really cool. (And I don’t have one. 🙂 [Update: I got one for Christmas! It is awesome – here’s my review.]
  6. Cool travel gadgets that are useful but not just extra stuff to carry. Like Eagle Creek Pack-Its. On the rare occasion that Frank and I travel at the same time, we fight over them. The one to fold suits works awesome.
  7. New types of computers on the market. Like Litl’s webbook.
  8. Kind of cool, not very common gadgets. Like this memory card for your camera that automatically uploads pictures when you come within range of a wireless network. I don’t think it’s the perfect gadget but it’s a cool idea. (You can buy them on Amazon too.)
  9. Eagle Creek inflatable neck pillow. This may not count as a geeky gift but if you know someone that travels internationally in coach, you should buy them one.
  10. External hard drives. You can never have too much space for backing stuff up. Or backing it up and taking it with you.
  11. All-in-one power adapter. This is probably the least expensive, most useful gift on the list.
  12. Moving alarm clock. Judging by the popularity of my 2005 post, Clocky, the moving alarm clock, is a very popular gift.
  13. Power strip. Hotel rooms and conferences venues are always short on power outlets. This compact Outlets To Go Power Strip even includes slots for USB chargers. The downside is it has three prong plugs. They often don’t fit well, so if you don’t need them I wouldn’t go with that option.
  14. Robot vacuum cleaner. I know several people that have the Roomba and are very happy with it. I know many others that would like one. (I’ve always wondered how it’d do with toys on the floor …)

And I probably should divide the list into <$50 and more than $50 as geeky toys tend to get expensive … and maybe into travel stuff and nontravel stuff …

What else? What gadgets, toys, electronics do you want?

16 Replies to “12 great gifts for traveling geeks. Please help with the list!”

  1. Most of the items on your list make perfect sense as a geeky gift. However, note that not all geeks would want to get an arbitrary phone. Much like choosing a computer, choosing a phone involves some personal taste and personal choices, such as between phone operating systems.

  2. Geeks differ from everyone else in that they also care about the resolution of their monitors. That 28″ model is “just” a 1080p HDTV. If you’re investing in a big monitor for someone they’ll appreciate high resolution as much as a size, especially if they sit right next to it. 1080p is a fine resolution for movies and so on but it’s not actually that huge as big monitors go.

  3. If your recipient is more “DeWalt or Makita” than “Canon or Nikon” cordless power tools or accessories such as hole saws are always nice.

  4. If I already have 7 out of the 12 gift ideas you listed on my online wishlist at myregistry.com does that mean I’m a geek?

  5. This geek hates e-book readers, smartphones, and netbooks. He happily accepts any cash you were going to spend on any of those items for him, though 🙂

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