Here’s What it Takes to Make Travel Easier

More than 38 million people took to the road or the skies this Memorial Day weekend, kicking off one of the busiest travel periods in years.

In spite of recent increases in the price of gas, what we now pay at the pump is still the lowest in 11 years, a unique gift for drivers everywhere. Airline fares are down as well, making this summer a great time to travel. Whether you drive or fly, it makes sense to pack efficiently and also be prepared for any weather conditions. We have several items to make both a bit easier.88553_1000x100087619_1000x1000

On a plane or in a car, this ultra-light carry-on keeps your essentials organized, secure, and handy. The compact and rain-resistant bag has a rear compartment to hold a tablet. The front space is divided into pouches and zippered pockets to hold essentials such as a guidebook, sunscreen, glasses, and other tourist must-haves. To thwart would-be pickpockets, zipper locks secure two internal compartments, while passport and credit card slots block RFID scanners that could steal your identity electronically.

Be prepared for wet and wild weather with The Wind Defying Packable Umbrella. It resists gusts that turn other umbrellas inside out. Available only from Hammacher Schlemmer, its patented overlapping vent system disperses wind through reinforced slits in the canopy. Available in three sizes, all of which fold down for easy packing, it also makes the ideal unique gift for students heading to college this fall.88497_1000x1000

On brighter days, protect your face and neck from the sun’s rays with this completely packable, crushable hat. The wide brim provides 360 degrees of protection, while the breathable ventilation system built into the crown allows cooling breezes to pass through. The hat can be flattened, rolled up, and compressed to tuck into a pocket, purse, or bag when not needed. A secret inside pocket even provides the perfect place for storing a few bucks…or Euros.88744_1000x1000

Finally, if you’re planning to travel with a wee one in tow, this amazingly compact stroller folds down to fit under an airplane seat or in a car trunk filled with luggage. Recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as “the world’s smallest folding stroller,” it provides a sturdy seat for a child and meets all ASTM safety standards. Consider it as a unique gift for a baby shower, too.

Let’s Hear It for the Ears

Today is National Save Your Hearing Day, a yearly reminder to turn down the volume and be good to our eardrums.

For many of us, it’s too late. All those rock concerts years ago have done us in. Symptoms of mild hearing loss include a ringing or hissing noise in the ears called tinnitus and difficultly hearing conversations in a noisy environment. We have several items that are ideal unique gifts to help anyone with minor hearing difficulties.79741_1000x100084896_1000x1000

This voice-clarifying digital earpiece makes conversations easier to hear. Available only from Hammacher Schlemmer, the device features an advanced microchip that amplifies human speech frequencies above background noise so that spoken words are clearly audible and easier to discern. The rechargeable earpiece has eight adjustable volume levels and four different sized silicone caps to accommodate most ears. 87935_1000x1000

This wireless speaker uses similar technology to enhance television viewing by boosting the sound of dialog. The infrared transmitter attaches to the TV’s audio ports and sends its signal to the speaker. The speaker has its own volume control, plus a headphone jack for private listening.

As hearing loss progresses, it’s common for background “white noise” to interfere with discerning conversations. This window air conditioner is the world’s quietest. It uses reengineered internal mechanisms to deliver powerful cool air while producing a gentle hum equivalent to a rain shower, more than 1/3 quieter than its clanging competitors88273_1000x1000.

Those affected by tinnitus understand how annoying the condition is. This vibrating wand quiets the ringing, rushing, or buzzing sounds for up to 18 hours. Applied to four points on the outer ear and surrounding bones, the wand’s gentle vibration stimulates the auditory nerve, muffles the clatter of tinnitus, and trains the brain to ignore it. Consider this unique gift for anyone you know afflicted by the condition—they will certainly be grateful.

Audiology experts recommend the 60:60 rule…listen with earphones at no more than 60 percent of maximum volume, for no more than 60 minutes a day. At loud concerts and when using lawn mowers and other noisy tools, wear earplugs or noise-canceling headphones. If your hearing has been exposed to a high-decibel environment, give them the unique gift of a 16-hour “noise detox” of silence to give your ears an opportunity to recover.

Take Our Cue…Unique Gifts for Dad’s Barbecue, That Is!

Smokin’ low and slow is the way to go for dear ol’ Dad this Father’s Day. It’s the endless quest for finger-licking, bone-sucking BBQ, good enough to make everyone’s mouth water.88539_1000x1000

We suggest Dad start slow and easy, with a meat marinade or dry rub ideal for smoking. The Only Kettle Grill Smoker Converter turns an ordinary kettle grill into a smoking pit, so Dad can cook his meats to juicy, pink perfection. Available only from Hammacher Schlemmer, the insert rests atop a grill’s charcoal grate and provides a perforated platform for briquettes, woodchips, and water to work together to generate a dense, flavorful smoke.88516_1000x1000

Dad’s carefully planned ballet of rubbed meat and slow smoke can be monitored with timed, digital precision using The Smartphone Alerting Barbecue Thermometer. This device lets dad monitor his brisket while playing a game of softball, taking Mom for a stroll, or engaging in a game of lawn darts. The wireless transmitter sends real-time data to an iPad/iPhone app or Android app, alerting the cook when a pre-selected temperature or optimal cooking range is reached…Dad relaxes and has fun with the family in the meantime.88310_1000x100087471_1000x1000

And for the finest 14-hour smoked brisket that may take Dad into the hours past sunset, The Best Cordless Grill Light lets him baste his rib roast and plate those succulent unique gifts of burnt ends for the family soirée. This light earned The Best rating from the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it generated the brightest, most expansive light and was the only model with a timer.

Perhaps the Dad in your life is not one for manning the grill. No problem…we have plenty of other ideas for the perfect Father’s Day present. Our easy-to-use, online Father’s Day Gift Guide is available to help you choose just the right unique gifts for him.

Unique Gifts for Unique Dads

Have you shopped for Father’s Day yet? Anyone can give Dad another tie, aftershave, or a sleeve of golf balls. You, my friend, need a unique gift for your unique dad. Luckily, we have several ideas…and all of these come in under $100.88338_1000x1000

This clever flashlight transforms into a multitude of configurations to suit a variety of uses. As a handheld flashlight, its powerful LEDs provide glare-free light. Angling the three pivoting LED heads to 90° and spreading the shaft forms a three-legged lantern with three cones of light. It also converts into three separate flashlights, each with a flat, slimline shape for seeing into tight spaces—and each has a magnetic base for working hands-free.12823_1000x1000

Bring to life thoughts of Dad’s favorite location. This 400-piece jigsaw puzzle is created from a U.S. Geological Survey topographic map of Dad’s hometown, his favorite vacation destination, or his beloved alma mater. Pieces in the shapes of letters that spell out “The World’s Greatest Dad” surround a star-shaped center piece. The puzzle is crafted from quality 1.5mm millboard, finished by hand, packed in a drawstring bag, and presented in a gift box that includes an area for a handwritten message.12783_1000x1000

Available only from Hammacher Schlemmer, this engravable pocket watch incorporates a Walking Liberty, Franklin, or Kennedy silver half-dollar coin dated from 1934 to the present. Choose Dad’s birth year, the year he married dear ol’ Mom, or other significant year of your choice. The selected coin’s face is displayed on the case front; the reverse is revealed when the brushed-metal case is opened. The pocket watch has a sweeping second hand and elegant roman numerals. The steel case back may be engraved with up to three characters.

Still not quite certain what you’re looking for? Our easy-to-use, online Father’s Day Gift Guide is available to help you choose just the right unique gifts for him.

See What Develops with Unique Gifts for Photographers

The month of May is National Photography Month, designated to recognize the importance of photos as tangible connections to our memories.

To celebrate the art of the photograph, we have suggestions for a few unique gifts that produce unique photos.87855_1000x1000

This diminutive point-and-shoot camera instantly prints wallet-sized photos. It uses high-speed, self-developing film to produce color 3.5×2″ snaps that print out of the top of the camera seconds after the picture is shot. Smaller than a smartphone, the camera stores unobtrusively in a pocket or purse. The instant prints themselves make for unique gifts for new friends made while traveling or to hand out as keepsakes at a family picnic or reunion.87840_1000x1000

This smartphone selfie stick transforms into a tripod for taking remote selfies. The tripod secures any phone with a 3.5″ to 6″ screen size using a bracket that swivels up to 60°, enabling use as a short or tall tripod. The included Bluetooth remote enables one to snap photos from up to 10′ away to allow for optimal shots of one’s self, friends and family.12231_1000x1000

Social media has revolutionized how we share photos with others…here’s an instant photo booth that can post pictures directly to Facebook, Twitter, or email, as well as provide classic prints. The booth connects via Wi-Fi, an Ethernet cable, or 4G/3G broadband. A touchscreen LCD inside the booth lets the subject choose color or black-and-white images as well as whimsical borders and backgrounds. The built-in thermal printer produces four-frame photo strips in seconds, just like photo booths found at carnivals and shopping malls.

Few ever tire of looking at pictures of their friends and loved ones. The art of photography connects us to others, triggers feelings of nostalgia, and serves as a record of our lives…so a photographic gift will never disappoint!

Plant the Seeds for a Great Garden

Do plants wither just from your glance? Do cactuses die from neglect under your care? You might be afflicted with a chronic brown thumb. We have some suggestions to help turn that brown thumb green…soon you, too, can enjoy the unique gifts of nature’s bounty and be the envy of the neighborhood.87084_1000x1000

Start with this easy-growing vertical garden. It displays five planters in only four sq. ft. of outdoor space and is set on casters for easy relocation. Ideal for balconies, patios and decks, the garden’s vertical post supports two large and three small pots for growing herbs, vegetables and flowers. The pots are at staggered heights to maximize sun exposure and each planter has drain holes to prevent overwatering…the common gardening mistake that sends many plants to an untimely end.88489_1000x1000

Like many brown-thumb gardeners, you may have no problem growing lush patches of dandelions, crabgrass and creeping thistle. This lawn and garden steamer helps control common weeds with ordinary tap water rather than harmful chemicals or backbreaking labor. A squeeze of the steamer’s trigger unleashes a weed-wilting blast of super-heated steam. With just a 5-10 second treatment, unwanted vegetation immediately discolors and shrivels, then dies in 24-48 hours. This steamer makes the ideal unique gift for any organic gardener, too.84647_1000x1000

Proper, deep watering in the heat of summer will keep both your garden and your lawn looking good. The Hammacher Schlemmer Institute tested leading lawn sprinklers and this model earned The Best rating because it watered the largest area and was the easiest to use. It was the easiest to connect, thanks to a specially designed adapter that attaches to a hose and simply plugs into the sprinkler without twisting. A built-in timer can automatically turn the sprinkler off after five minutes to two hours of watering.

You can also promote your green-thumb status by following the basic rules of gardening: pay attention to how much light specific plant varieties need. If the tag says “full sun”, don’t put that plant under a tree. Water deeply to promote root growth, but with less frequency. And use a good organic, time-release fertilizer to ensure your plants get the vitamins and minerals they need. Be good to them and they’ll reward you with the unique gifts of steady growth all summer long.

Unique Toys for Imaginative Play

Kids are born copy-cats. When children play at imitating adults, it’s more than just cute…it’s an important step in cognitive development, helping a child learn traditions, customs, and socialization.

That’s why unique gifts for children are so often designed around adult professions or hobbies. Hammacher Schlemmer has a selection of toys to entertain kids for hours, while exposing them to creative, imaginative play.86458_1000x1000

The littlest grease monkeys will be thrilled by this little car engine. It lets aspiring mechanics pop the hood, change the oil, and tinker with the engine. With a removable cowling, spark plugs, wing nuts and other lifelike car components, children can practice testing the brakes, changing the air filter, and using the dipstick to check the oil levels. The car has a working horn and headlights, and the set comes with a screwdriver, wrench, and other tools sized to fit little hands. 86931_1000x1000

What better unique gift for a child during BBQ season than this kid-sized replica of the classic Weber kettle grill. Young grill masters fire up creativity when they add plastic briquettes and light them with the included “lighter” that makes authentic clicking sounds. The charcoals emit a red glow of burning embers and make sounds that simulate crackling charcoal. Children can grill the included porterhouse steak, jumbo prawn, salmon steak, and vegetables, just like mom and dad.12500_1000x1000

This toy farmers’ market stand comes stocked with fruits and vegetables to teach young growers and shoppers about local sourcing and healthy eating. Appropriately sized for little customers and vendors, the shaded market stall is made from colorfully painted wood and includes nine removable plastic bins and a selection of “fresh” produce. The cheerful striped awning reverses to convert to a lemonade stand.

Of all unique gifts for a child, the best thing you can give them is the gift of your time. Be there for the children in your life, side-by-side, letting them learn from the most mundane “adult” activities you do every day.

Gentlemen, Start Your Burners!

It’s time to fire up the grill! Properly done, grilling is a healthy way of cooking. Fats drip off meat, plus the high heat of this method helps grilled meats and veggies alike retain more vitamins. That’s a unique gift we’ll accept any time!

No wonder 80 percent of American homes own a grill or smoker. And while summer is the most popular time for a barbeque, about 60 percent of backyard chefs report using their grills year ‘round. So if you’re looking for unique gifts for a homeowner, a grill accessory is practically a sure bet.83709_1000x1000

To maintain grilling as a healthy method of cooking, the grates should be kept clean of carbon deposits. This grill-cleaning robot automatically cleans your grates, removing burned-on bits of food and grease in just a few passes. The device can be set to operate for 10, 20 or 30 minutes, so you can get an extra-deep cleaning for the first barbeque of the season, or following a steak-heavy Father’s Day meat fest.88516_1000x1000

Freeing the grillmaster to relax or fraternize, this innovative thermometer wirelessly sends alerts to a smartphone or a tablet. Unlike typical thermometers that require personal inspection, this model’s wireless transmitter sends real-time data to an iPhone/iPad or Android app from 160′ away, alerting you when a pre-selected temperature is reached. Its water-resistant transmitter receives data from the probes and transmits directly to the smart device. It works brilliantly in an indoor oven, too.87471_1000x1000

Those who grill all year long likely do their share of cooking after sunset…and here’s the ideal unique gift for those folks. This cordless grill light earned The Best rating from the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it generated the brightest, most expansive light and was the only model with a timer. The Best model has 18 LEDs that produce crisp light six times brighter than lesser models. Its beam illuminates the cooking surface and a grill’s side table simultaneously. This light can be mounted to any vertical, horizontal or angled surface.

Memorial Day—one of the most popular days for grilling—will be here in less than three weeks. If you’ve not yet dusted off your favorite kettle cooker, flat top grill or smoker, now’s the time. Fill the propane tank or stock up on charcoal and get ready for the wonderful aromas and delicious flavors of outdoor cooking.

Gear Up for Road Trips with an Auto Safety Check

Summer—and we promise it will get here eventually—means more driving, for longer distances.

Before the season comes into full swing, we recommend investing in some unique gifts for your car to help ensure your and your family’s safety on the road.87213A_1000x1000

Before embarking on a long drive, be sure to check the air pressure in your car’s tires. This digital tire gauge earned The Best rating from the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it produced the most accurate readings when compared to a professional mechanic’s tool. It was also the only model tested with an integrated flashlight and backlit display screen…and was the only unit to survive a drop to a concrete floor.74978_1000x1000

On the highway, blind spots can be a real hazard. This patented rear view mirror provides a 180-degree view for a distortion-free reflection of rear traffic across an entire five-lane highway so you can more easily monitor adjacent vehicles when changing lanes or merging. The mirror simply clamps over most standard rear view mirrors without requiring tools or adhesives. It’s the ideal unique gift for anyone with a stiff or arthritic neck, too.87083_1000x1000

You may have heard traffic reporters refer to “sunshine delays” during morning and evening hours. The low-on-the-horizon sun is more than just an annoyance…it can be a real danger when it impedes your ability to see the road and traffic in front of you. This tinted see-through visor effectively blocks blinding glare without obstructing your view and simply clips in seconds to your vehicle’s visor. Just flip it down instantly when needed. It can even be used in conjunction with sun glasses for the unique gift of a glare-free, more comfortable drive.

Spend a few moments walking around your car for a visual inspection to ensure windows are clean and clear, tires are in good shape, and front and rear lights are free of cracks and burned-out bulbs. You’ll up the odds of arriving at your destination safely and on time.

May the Fourth Be with You

Tomorrow, avid Star Wars fans around the world will celebrate Star Wars Day and their rallying cry with a hearty “May the Force be with you” to one and all.

This date-driven play on words began May 4, 1979, when Margaret Thatcher took office as Prime Minister of the U.K. The London Evening News placed a congratulatory ad saying, “May the Fourth Be with You, Maggie.” It took off from there and in 2015, even the International Space Station celebrated far, far away with a showing of Star Wars for the astronauts.87707F_1000x1000

Why not celebrate Star Wars Day 2016 here on Earth with one of these unique gifts for yourself or for your favorite fan of the franchise.88225_1000x1000

These Star Wars Steins impart intergalactic intrepidity to your imbibing. Made from high-quality ceramic with pewter lids, each 32-oz. stein is crafted in the likeness of R2-D2, Darth Vader, Chewbacca or Boba Fett. Each stein is available individually, so a collector can choose a favorite as a unique gift or get the whole set.

You’ll have the best breakfast contraption in the whole galaxy with this Darth Vader Pancake Maker. Ensuring every iteration of the Sith Lord’s iconic visage is forged with the efficiency of an Imperial clone processing factory, its 10-setting thermostat and weighted lid yield tender golden “chewies” or crispy brown morsels, depending on your desired level of doneness.87114_1000x1000

A sure hit with kids and adults alike, this R2-D2 Bubble Generator automatically spews hundreds of bubble clusters in different directions. Faithful in detail to the original ‘droid, it speaks in the synthesized lexicon of boops and beeps and projects extraterrestrial blue light from its radar eye. It can be set to spray bubbles continuously or at random intervals, much in the spirit of the feisty original character.

We have over two dozen unique gifts that will delight any Star Wars fan on May the Fourth or any day. Check out our entire collection today!