10+ Perfect Gifts for the Business Traveler in Your Life

Updated on July 18, 2018
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James is a Legal Sales Professional who has traveled the country for the past 12 years representing his employer in firms and law schools.

Every business traveler has tricks for dealing with the challenges presented by airports, rental cars, hotels, and organization, but there are a lot of products on the market designed to make it easier.

Here are some ideas for gifts for the business traveler in your life, organized by price range from lowest to highest.

Less Than $25

  • Charging Cables & Accessories - Juggling several cables to charge all of your different devices is a pain. Personally, I love these universal cables that let me charge everything I carry. I bring two of these with me on every trip. One in my briefcase or messenger bag and one in my suitcase. When I get to the hotel, I put one at the desk and one at the nightstand and I'm rarely in need of anything more.
  • Magnetic Car Vent Phone Mount - Getting around in a new city can be a nightmare. You can either pay for GPS with your rental car, or use your favorite phone-based navigation app. But trying to navigate with a phone that's sitting on your thigh can be a challenge at best and unsafe at worst. These amazing little devices install in seconds and are stupid-cheap. They turn almost any car vent into a phone holder. I have this one from MPOW and I love it so much that I buy them and give them out as gifts. It's a true game-changer.
  • Packing Cubes - Keeping your suitcase organized makes packing and unpacking quicker and easier. It also reduces the likelihood of forgetting something. Packing cubes are a great way to keep everything under control. These are made by more companies than I can name and they all seem to be of similar quality. Get a pack that has an assortment. This one, for example. I have one for fitness clothes, one that holds two business casual outfits, one for my running shoes (to keep the mud off of other things), one for ties and belts, and one for underwear and t-shirts. When I'm packing, I pack these first and I haven't forgotten anything in months.

$26-50

  • Dual Currency Wallet - These aren't just for international travelers. One of the most frustrating parts of business travel is keeping track of receipts, and a second currency slot is a convenient place to stash them. Be sure to get one with RFID protection and yes, leather really is better. Fossil makes a really nice one for men that comes in 25 styles. It's the one I have and it only gets nicer with age. There are nice ones for women too, but they tend to be a bit pricier, so shop around.
  • Grid-It Personal Organizer - Most travel bags are a mess. The average messenger bag has the side profile of a pear - narrow and empty at the top and a jumble of disorganized detritus filling up the bottom. It looks sloppy and makes it difficult to find anything. Enter Grid-It. A grid-it organizer allows you use all the vertical space in your bag so you can find things easily. This thing changed my life. I now have three of them and I've made disciples of several colleagues and clients over the past few years.

$51-100

  • Portable Phone/Device Charger - Most airports have charging ports available for free these days, but even the nicest airports only have a handful at any given gate, and there are tens of thousands of people wanting to use them. Having your own easily accessible power source is a huge advantage. I like the Jackery Giant+ because it has enough juice to charge my phone multiple times and can handle higher demand devices like iPads as well. These are not allowed in checked luggage, but you can keep them in your carry-on. I plug my phone in once I board the plane and I have a full charge when I land. Handy!
  • Anti-Pickpocket Backpack or Bag - Several companies now make luggage designed to protect travelers from pickpockets and thieves. Pacsafe is my favorite of these. They are well-made, affordable, and very well thought-out, protecting your stuff from many types of theft.
  • High-end Toiletries - Even though much of the travel day is spent sitting, it can be extremely exhausting. Once you arrive, you spend your days eating strange food away from friends and family and your nights in a strange bed. A touch of luxury can be a real morale booster. Many high-end toiletry and cosmetics companies make travel sets for both men and women. For men, I like Jack Black because they make quality products with great ingredients. And, because he'll ask: No, there is no connection to the actor Jack Black.

$101 and Up

  • A Great Carry-On - There are some truly innovative new luggage lines on the market now, and large suitcases are great. But the pro-game is all about the carry-on. Good business travelers quickly realize the benefits of not checking a bag. But you have to do it comfortably. Personally, I'm a little jealous anytime I see one of these carry-ons from Away, and bonus: it can be ordered with a built-in portable charger. It's also got a built in TSA lock and a laundry bag. Of all the things on this list, this is the one I don't have and I want one so badly I can taste it.
  • A Kindle - Why shell out $18 at the airport gift shop for the latest thriller and then sit uncomfortably with a terrible overhead light on the plane trying to read, when you can bring thousands of books on a device that's comfortable to hold and has an integrated light and adjustable font size for tired eyes. I'm a Kindle convert and I'll never look back. I have the Kindle Paperwhite, and it's great. But for serious readers, I think the Kindle Voyage is the best value for the money. It's comfortable, well designed, and packed with great features, and probably a bit more future-proof than the Paperwhite at this point. To really up the game, pick up a leather case for it. It helps it feel like you're holding a real book. Best of all, you often don't even need to buy the books. Most public libraries lend e-books to patrons now free of charge.

Other Ideas

  • Paying for TSA Precheck - aka TSA Pre, allows your traveler to avoid many long security lines, and avoid much of the hassle of the average TSA checkpoint. It would be a wonderful gift for anyone who doesn't yet have it. Unfortunately, this is not a gift you can hand them in a complete form. They have to apply online and go through an interview. But you can offer to pay for it!
  • Some Nice, Comfortable, Slip-off Shoes - I personally wouldn't buy anyone shoes. Styles and sizes vary too widely. But if you really know your special traveler, some easily removed shoes that are also comfortable for long walks or jogs to distant commuter gates would be a great idea as well.
  • A Membership to a Gym with Locations Nationwide - Hotel fitness centers are terrible, as a rule. At best, they'll have two treadmills, a bike, and a set of dumbbells. Some of the larger gym chains have locations in most major cities. If your traveler is fitness conscious, and you're willing to put out the cash, a membership to a nationwide gym would be a wonderful gift.

Which gift on the list are you most likely to buy for your business traveler?

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© 2018 James Oakes

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