American Nomad Blog
About this blog
American Nomad covers the best of U.S. travel—from vacation deals to festivals, weekend getaways, travel tips, and more. A seasoned traveler and Moon author, Laura is the perfect guide to help discover new gems when traveling domestically.
- A Southern Girl's Wintertime Adventure in Yellowstone
- One Novelist's Odyssey Across America
- Gearing up for a Family Camping Trip
- Mint Juleps and More at Oak Alley Plantation
- Avoiding Identity Theft While on Vacation
- Money-Saving Travel Tips from Nomadic Matt
- Fashion, Fun, and Convenience for the Modern Traveler
- In Search of Irish Museums Across America
- The Inspiring Journey of a Solo Kayaker
- Getting Fit for Treks in Yosemite and Elsewhere, Part 2
- Getting Fit for Treks in Yosemite and Elsewhere, Part 1
- Experiencing Yosemite with YExplore
- Two Travel Contests Worth Mentioning
- A Word About the TSA's No-No List
- A Reader's Advice About Airport Security
Holiday Gifts for Your Favorite Traveler: Protection
Today might be Christmas Day, but as I wrote in the first and second parts of my holiday travel gift guide, it's not too late to find an ideal present for the number-one traveler in your life – especially if you plan to take advantage of post-Christmas sales. In fact, though the winter holiday season is almost over, you might even discover a few ideas here that would work for another special occasion.
That's why I've spent the last few months road-testing sample products, perusing review copies of various books, and assembling my top picks for a five-part holiday travel gift guide that's suitable for any season. As with Jetpac's list of 50 travel gadget gifts, Jamie Jensen's list of 10 top gifts for road-trippers, and Rand McNally's RV holiday gift guide, my own gift guide features a wide array of inspirational and practical ideas, such as the books that I reviewed in the first part and the language software that I mentioned in the second.
So, without further ado, here's the third category – gifts that will protect travelers from the sun while on their next trip:
UV Skinz (prices vary) – As I've mentioned on this blog before, I'm rather sensitive to extreme heat, so I'm always looking for ways to stay cool and protect myself from the sun. Obviously, I'm not the only traveler hoping to avoid potentially dangerous sun damage. A sunburn, after all, is a sure way to ruin any great vacation – and no unprotected day on the beach is worth facing premature aging or, worse, skin cancer.
If your favorite traveler is headed to a tropical destination or any other place where exposure is a possibility, you can protect him or her with the fun, fashionable, relatively affordable sunwear offered by UV Skinz, a company whose mission is to provide “peace of mind in the sun.” The UV Skinz collection features hats, shirts, and shorts for infants, children, men, and women alike, and besides the fact that all the UV Skinz apparel is easy to mix and match, its coolest attribute is the fabric itself, which has UPF 50+ protection, meaning that it blocks out 98 percent of the sun's harmful UVA and UVB rays. Durable and seamless, UV Skinz are also resistant to the corrosive effects of chlorine and saltwater, which means that travelers can swim in them! Cool, comfortable, and flexible, this long-lasting, lightweight, breathable apparel is also ideal for hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking, golf, and a slew of other outdoor activities.
Founded by a woman who unexpectedly lost her 32-year-old husband to melanoma, UV Skinz aims to help families, travelers, and recreationists have fun in the great outdoors while living “sun-safe.” It's no wonder, then, that celebrities like Marcia Cross and Matthew McConaughey rely on UV Skinz for their own children. Such SPF clothing, after all, can be especially helpful for kids (and, for that matter, adults) with skin allergies or sensitivities to harsh chemicals – and better yet, the UV Skinz sunwear requires no reapplying of sunscreen.
While UV Skinz presents a rather extensive collection of sunwear, some of my favorite ladies' items include the Captiva hat ($37.95), the Kathy wrap ($25.90), and the swim bra ($14.90), although I personally own the long-sleeved, full-zip Cheryl swimshirt ($43.95, pictured above), which features cleverly placed thumb holes on the sleeves to keep a traveler's arms covered during water aerobics and other outdoor activities. Of course, UV Skinz also offers items like baby board shorts ($20.95), reversible bucket hats for children ($16.95), a long-sleeved Darren shirt for men ($42.95), and various sunscreen products and other accessories, such as a RayShade stroller cover ($20).
Sun Bum sunscreens (prices vary) – Of course, SPF apparel isn't the only thing that can protect your favorite traveler from the sun's ill effects. Even with an SPF hat and a long-sleeved top from UV Skinz, I'd feel naked without some sunscreen on hand. Unfortunately, though, it's tough nowadays to travel by plane with most sunscreen bottles, given the way that they're sized. After all, anything bigger than a 3-ounce bottle (whether it's filled with shampoo or cherry butter, as my mom once discovered) will be confiscated by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Luckily, though, there's a new, surf-centric company based in Cocoa Beach, Florida – Sun Bum – which offers sunscreen options that are perfectly sized for any carry-on.
In addition to a traditional line-up of moisturizing sunscreen lotions, continuous spray sunscreens, and after-sun products, Sun Bum offers a special PRO line of mineral-based sunscreens in TSA-friendly bottles. All are water-resistant, hypoallergenic, paraben-free, PABA-free, and gluten-free with 80-minute protection. Free of oils that can clog pores and cause breakouts, the PRO sunscreens have been formulated to offer maximum protection without bleeding into eyes, leaving hands slippery, or coming off in the water, wind, or blazing sun. Two of my favorite options, which I've personally tried, are the 3-ounce SPF 50+ PRO Premium Endurance sunscreen ($17.99) and the .45-ounce SPF 30+ Premium Endurance face stick ($14.99). Other carry-on options include the .45-ounce SPF 30+ face stick ($9.99) and the 1-ounce SPF 50+ clear zinc oxide ($9.99).
Among Sun Bum's non-PRO items, I also like the coconut-flavored, SPF 30 sunscreen lip balm ($3.99), which can certainly fit inside a carry-on, and the 8-ounce Cool Down after-sun lotion ($11.99), a soothing, moisturizing aloe lotion with vitamin E and cocoa butter. Of course, that's just a small portion of what Sun Bum has to offer. Beyond sun protection, your favorite traveler might even appreciate the T-shirts, trucker hats, beach towels, paddleball sets, frisbees, footballs, and other surf-friendly gifts – most of which are emblazoned with the company's funny gorilla icon.
End-of-the-Year Guide Giveaway
In celebration of the holidays, I'm presenting an end-of-the-year guide giveaway, featuring a prize package that includes signed copies of all four of my Moon travel guides (Moon New Orleans, Moon Michigan, Moon Florida Keys, and Moon Baja RV Camping), a self-guided audio ghost tour of the French Quarter (produced by Audio Ambler, a subsidiary of my travel company, Wandering Soles), and one of 12 different eBooks or hardcover versions published by Patagonia Books. To enter the contest, simply answer the following question: “What's the best holiday gift you've ever received?” Let me know, too, which Patagonia title you'd most like to read. You can do this by leaving a comment below this post or emailing me at laura [at] wanderingsoles [dot] com by 11:59 p.m. PST on December 31, 2012. The winner will be chosen at random from all entries received – and announced on this blog in early January.
In the meantime, stay tuned for the next installment of my holiday travel gift guide – and naturally, I hope you're having a wonderful holiday season – wherever you happen to be!
As always, I’m open to ideas for future posts. If you have any suggestions, burning questions, or destinations that you’d like me to explore in greater detail, please comment below, contact me via laura [at] wanderingsoles [dot] com, or connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.
Disclosure: While I occasionally accept free or discounted travel assistance when it coincides with my editorial goals, my opinion is never for sale, which means that everything written in my American Nomad blog and Moon travel guides is my unbiased reflection of the things that I see, do, and experience while traveling across the United States.
Photo / Text © 2012 Laura Martone