If you haven't yet found that perfect little something for the frequent traveler on your holiday shopping list, consider stopping by one of the following travel stores. These boutiques carry items for every breed of traveler—from the trend-conscious jet-setter to the adventurous backpacker on a budget to the road-tripping family of four. We asked each of the stores to recommend a best-selling product that would make a fabulous holiday gift.
- Location—525 Hayes St., San Francisco (415) 487-1001 www.flight001.com
- Niche—Retro hip. Everything for the design-obsessed traveler, from upscale European luggage to aromatherapy travel candles. Also has a branch in New York City.
- Typical customer—Twentysomething hipster wearing thick glasses.
- Locations—Vallejo, San Jose, Concord, Capitola, San Mateo, San Rafael, and Walnut Creek, Calif. (888) 386-5386
- Niche—Family and cruise vacations. Practical merchandise, such as games for kids, money belts, and first-aid kits. AAA members receive a 10 to 50 percent discount on purchases.
- Typical customer—Parent planning a family road trip to Disneyland or couple preparing for their first cruise vacation.
- Location—56 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, Calif. (800) 310-3220 www.distantlands.com
- Niche—The Home Depot of travel. This full-service superstore sells everything and anything related to travel including rail passes and plane tickets.
- Typical customer—Sophisticated, independent world traveler seeking gear, gadgets, and guides for exotic destinations.
- Location—5550 College Ave., Oakland (510) 547-2688
- Niche—Yuppie vintage. Owner Paul Silvera scouts out a destination each season (this winter, Venice) and sells related trips and home and travel items.
- Typical customer—Wealthy professional with a penchant for collectibles and unique vacations.
Powell's Travel Store
- Location—701 SW Sixth Ave., Portland (800) 546-5025
- Niche—Books galore. Need a guide to African safaris? Restaurants in Rome? If it exists, you'll find it in this spin-off of Powell's City of Books.
- Typical customer—Educated, upper-middle-class traveler who likes to listen to NPR and drives a Volvo.
AAA Travel Store
- Location—600 SW Market St., Portland (800) 452-1643 (Travel Stores are found in most AAA Oregon and Idaho district offices.)
- Niche—Practical travel. Shop here for hanging toiletry kits, motion sickness bands, and a large selection of luggage.
- Typical customer—Sensible, budget-minded traveler who is planning a cruise or a trip to Europe.
Europe Bound Travel Outfitters
- Location—195 W. Broadway, Vancouver, B.C. (604) 874-7456 www.europebound.com
- Niche—Rugged outdoor adventure and European travel. Shop here for sleeping bags, water filters, trekking poles, and Let's Go London.
- Typical customer—An outdoors-oriented traveler—perhaps a college student—who isn't afraid to brave the elements.
Wide World Books & Maps
- Location—4411A Wallingford Ave. N., Seattle (206) 634-3453 www.travelbooksandmaps.com
- Niche—Firsthand expertise. The store offers an enormous selection of travel books, but it's also known for its helpful staff.
- Typical customer—Anyone searching for very specific travel-related information, or a map of the Caspian Sea or Afghanistan.
Photography courtesy of Replogle Globes
This article was first published in November 2002. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.