10 Terrific Travel Gifts for Road Warriors
The Best Gifts to Help Business Travelers Relax, Recharge, and Be Productive and Comfortable
As any "road warrior" will tell you, having to live out of a suitcase, deal with airlines, airports, long car trips, and check in and out of hotels on a regular basis is stressful, uncomfortable, and tiring. That's why I've handpicked these terrific items you can give to help make their routine trips for work more productive, comfortable, and stress-free.
Instead of chocolate, flowers, jewelry or champagne, choose a gift that will make your spouse, partner or significant other have an easier time and think of you fondly during their business trips! These presents are also perfect to congratulate someone special on a new job that will involve frequent travel.
By the way, these gifts are awesome for leisure travelers, too. In fact, you may just find something to give yourself.
Luggage and Packing Aids
1. Packing Cubes
Packing efficiently for a business trip - or a vacation, for that matter - is a challenge for most of us. Frequent business travelers often find themselves living out of a suitcase, and packing and unpacking several times during the course of each trip can be a time-consuming chore.
Your gift recipients will be especially grateful to have a set of well designed packing cubes if their suitcases are opened by airport security, since their clothes will stay neatly folded and organized and they won't need to re-fold and re-pack each item in the airport!
Here's how packing cubes can help solve these common business travel challenges:
- Packing cubes help business travelers (and leisure travelers, too!) pack much more efficiently, letting them fit more clothing into each suitcase.
- They make it easy to keep clothing and accessories organized and neat during trips and keep clean clothing separate from dirty clothes that need to be laundered or dry cleaned.
- They help minimize wrinkles in clothing and encourage road warriors to fold their clothes neatly and keep them that way during the trip when not being worn.
- Packing cubes that feature a mesh panel on top allow their owners to see what's inside each cube and locate items quickly and easily.
- For the same reason, packing cubes with mesh top panels also allow airport security and customs agents to examine the contents of luggage without rummaging through loose piles of clothing, laundry, toiletries, etc. (that then need to be re-packed before boarding the plane).
- And packing cubes make packing and unpacking must faster, easier, and more efficient for frequent travelers, especially for trips involving more than one hotel stay.
Experienced road warriors highly recommend buying more than one set of packing cubes in multiple sizes.
Here are my recommendations for travel packing cubes:
TravelWise Set of 5 Packing Cubes
You can fit a LOT of clothing in this , especially if you roll up your clothes (as recommended by travel experts like Rick Steves) to maximize their capacity. These are extremely well made, but also thinner and lighter weight than many other brands of packing cubes, so your luggage will weigh less and you'll have more room in your suitcase. And this five-piece set is a tremendous value! TravelWise Packing Cube System - Durable 5-Piece Weekender Plus Set
Eagle Creek Double Packing Cube
Whether you're traveling to a cold climate and need to pack bulky sweaters or jackets or just want a really large packing cube that can fit 6 pairs of rolled up denim jeans, the Eagle Creek Pack-It Double Cube will fit the bill. Customers absolutely rave about it!
2. Durable, Well Designed, Rolling Carry-On Luggage Bag
Business travelers depend heavily on their carry-on bags. Nearly all road warriors own at least one rollaboard suitcase, but few are happy with the roll-on luggage they own. That's why they will appreciate receiving a gift of a durable, well-designed rollaboard to replace their current carry-on suitcase.
Cheap bags are no bargain when the zipper splits or the wheels get stuck. Invest in a sturdy, well-made bag with the features that matter to frequent flyers for a gift that will be appreciated and work reliably for many years. Look for the following features when choosing a rollaboard suitcase as a gift:
- Durable, ballistic nylon fabric that will hold up well to frequent use
- Sturdy, aircraft-grade aluminum, telescoping handle on the top and a separate side handle to make it easy to lift the bag into an overhead bin / compartment (or onto a hotel room luggage rack); telescoping handle at the top should be long enough to pull the luggage comfortably when extended to its full length; a multi-stage telescoping handle provides adjustable height for comfort
- A zippered outer pocket for easy access to files, magazines, and other flat items without opening the whole suitcase
- Expandable zippered gusset for extra depth, since business travelers often return with more items than they packed initially (note that expanding the bag may prevent it from meeting carry-on regulations or fitting into overhead compartments)
- Sturdy enough to hold up to the rigors of luggage carousels and baggage handlers if you need to check your bag
- Small and compact enough to fit in the overhead compartments of international airlines, trains, and buses while still roomy enough to pack business travel necessities for short trips
- Smooth, 360-degree swivel wheels - preferably 4 recessed wheels - that make it easy to maneuver the suitcase through airports, train or bus stations, streets and hotel corridors
A Durable, Well-Designed, Lightweight Carry-On Bag for International Business Travelers
This intelligently-designed carry-on bag was designed specifically for international business travelers, and its compact outer dimensions - 22" x 14" x 9" including the handle and wheels will fit within the carry-on size restrictions of most international airlines. (It's always wise to check those with the airline before traveling, since those size restrictions vary and are subject to change.) The expansion zipper adds up to 2 inches of extra depth to the bag. And while the resulting 11" outer depth might mean that the bag would need to be checked, it can be a tremendous convenience for those times when a traveler needs to bring home more than he or she brought along originally.
This 4-wheeled bag features 360° spinner wheels, an aircraft-grade aluminum telescoping handle and Tumi's patented, durable and lightweight FXT ballistic nylon fabric. This bag also has a sleek profile and includes the manufacturer's exclusive Tumi Tracer protection program to help your gift recipient trace the luggage if it ever is lost or stolen.
Music, Audiobooks, Podcasts ... or Blissful Quiet!
3. Noise Cancelling Headphones
Frequent business travelers often need to work during the actual travel portions of their business trips. Whether they need to prepare for their upcoming business meetings or events with reading, writing, creating presentations or email, the background noise on planes, trains, buses, and taxis can be extremely distracting and make focusing on work a challenge. That's why they'll really appreciate receiving high-quality, effective noise cancelling headphones.
Look for the following features when selecting noise canceling headphones for travel gifts:
- Significant noise reduction (not all noise, just unwanted background noise)
- Comfortable ear cushions that combine a comfortable fit with a tight-fitting seal that can block out maximum background noise
- Good sound quality(it's not easy to find noise cancellation headphones that offer both superior noise cancellation and also good sound quality)
- A sturdy carrying case to protect the headphones and carry extra batteries
Reminder: No noise cancelling headphones will provide sound quality a good as regular headphones without noise cancellation features.
Award-Winning Noise Canceling Headphones
Bose QuietComfort 35 II Noise Canceling Headphones
CNET has described Bose QuietComfort 35 noise canceling headphones as "The best overall active noise-canceling wireless headphone to date." With the Series II update that adds a dedicated button for Google Assistant, CNET says "The already excellent Bose QuietComfort 35 II gets a touch better."
In the latest version of these iconic 'phones, Bose widened the headband to improve the fit and sturdiness and introduced a new digital equalizing system that balances the sound regardless of volume. The built-in, rechargeable battery is rated at 20 hours. You can also use the cord that comes with it to use them temporarily as regular, wired headphones (for example, to plug into an airplane's in-flight entertainment system, or if the battery needs to be recharged).
These superb noise cancelling headphones have too many other features to list here, so click on the Amazon product link to see more detailed product information.
IMPORTANT! Noise cancelling headphones are not a substitute for regular headphones
That's because the technology used to cancel out background noises removes certain frequencies and affects the audio fidelity of ALL noise canceling headphones. They are meant to be used specifically in situations or environments where the noise cancellation feature is important, such as blocking out the noise of jet engines while traveling by plane. So even frequent business travelers who already own high-quality headphones will appreciate receiving a pair of good noise canceling headphones.
Do Noise Cancelling Headphones Really Make a Difference for Business Travelers?
Have you ever tried wearing noise-cancelling headphones in a noisy environment?
4. Memory Foam Travel Pillow / Neck Pillow
Business travelers want to arrive at their travel destination rested, refreshed, and ready to meet with clients, prospects, agencies, etc. Anyone who has traveled for long distances on a train, bus, or airplane knows how difficult it can be to find a comfortable position in which to take a nap or just relax without getting a stiff neck. That's why a well-designed memory foam travel pillow is such a great gift, especially for frequent flyers.
Look for the following features when choosing memory foam travel pillows:
- Dense, high-quality memory foam
- Lateral head supports to support the traveler's head and neck comfortably in an upright seated position
- Removable and washable cover to keep the travel pillow clean and hygienic
- Adjustable for maximum comfort and support
- Travel bag for easy carrying and to keep the travel pillow clean
- Ability to compact fairly flat when not in use so it can fit into a carry-on bag, briefcase, or purse.
The Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Travel Pillow / Neck Pillow
The , which has 360-degree head and neck support that lets you rest comfortably while sitting up, is a terrific gift for anyone who spends a lot of time on planes or trains. Cabeau Memory Foam Neck Pillow and Travel Pillow
The patented Cabeau Evolution Pillow is made of high quality memory foam with a cozy removable velour cover that feels great next to the skin and machine washable. The front duplex slide-lock toggle makes this pillow adjustable for maximum comfort and support and holds it exactly the way the owner prefers. It's designed with a flat back so it won't push the owner's head forward, the way most other U-shaped travel neck pillows do, and provides lateral head stabilization supports so the head and neck can remain supported comfortably while he or she naps in a seated upright position.
Thoughtful extras that make this memory foam travel pillow include a perfect gift include a convenient media pouch to hold a phone or MP3 player and, as a bonus, a set of memory foam ear plugs. And yet another feature that makes this memory foam travel pillow so special is that the included water repellent storage bag compacts the pillow down to 1/4 its size!
5. Compact and Soft Travel Blanket and Pillow
Travelers have little control over the ambient temperature in an airplane cabin, train compartment, or bus, so frequent business travelers definitely will appreciate a gift of a nice-sized, soft, hygienic, personal travel blanket and pillow of their own to tuck into one of their carry-on bags.
Airlines used to distribute travel pillows and blankets routinely to the passengers on their planes, but these days getting a blanket from a flight attendant is a hit-or-miss proposition except in the first class cabin or on overnight "red-eye" flights. Even if a tired or cold passenger is lucky enough to be able to acquire the loan of a blanket or pillow on the plane, it is unlikely to have been washed or otherwise sanitized after it was used by a previous passenger - ugh! And, of course, passengers traveling on buses and trains can forget about such creature comforts except on sleeper cars.
That's why a gift of a lightweight, compact, soft, comfortable and hygienic personal travel blanket and pillow makes such an appreciated gift for both business and leisure travel.
Look for the following features when choosing the best travel blanket:
- High-quality fabric that is soft and comfortable and also durable so it will maintain its good looks and functionality despite frequent use and laundering
- Machine washable and able to be dried in a dryer for easy care, especially during trips
- Lightweight so it's easy to carry around
- Large enough to cover the person from neck to toes
- Folds compactly into its own travel bag so it's easy to tuck into piece of carry-on luggage.
This Lug Nap Sac Blanket and Pillow is Recommended on Oprah's Gift Finder Gift Guide!
This wonderful, high-quality fleece travel blanket is a best-seller for good reason. It also has been recommended in Oprah Winfrey's exclusive Gift Finder on Oprah.com.
Soft, Cozy, Hygienic
The is made of super soft, high-quality fleece that is machine washable and can be tossed into a dryer, so it can be clean and dry in practically no time. The blanket measures a generous 35" wide x 46" long. The travel pillow, which stores flat, is easy to inflate and slip into matching 10.75" x 7.75" x 3" zippered fleece pillowcase that also doubles as a carrying pouch for the entire set. Lug Nap Sac Travel Blanket and Pillow Set
This well-designed travel blanket also includes a convenient pocket for storing eyeglasses, a phone or an mp3 player.
This is a luxurious present that's also practical and affordable. My husband and I gave this to my brother-in-law years ago and he loved it!
6. Backlit Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader or Kindle Fire HDX Tablet
Ask business travelers (and leisure travelers, too) the one piece of electronics they always carry with them on trips - in addition to their laptop, mobile phone and possibly MP3 player - and they're likely to answer either "my iPad" or "my Kindle."
If your favorite traveler's e-book reader doesn't have the new Kindle Paperwhite backlit technology or if he or she doesn't own a great tablet yet, the Kindle Paperwhite e-reader or Kindle Fire HDX tablet would make the perfect gift. I purchased a Kindle Paperwhite e-reader just before my most recent trip abroad and loved being able to unwind with a wide selection of books that I could carry around in my purse!
I highly recommend that when you order whichever Kindle Fire HDX tablet or Kindle Paperwhite E-reader model you decide on, you choose the "Without Special Offers" option for an extra $15-$20 (depending on the model). This small additional cost will allow your gift recipients to use their devices without constantly being interrupted by "special offer" advertisements. It's an extra $15-$20 well spent, and a thoughtful touch if you will be giving a Kindle as a gift.
Kindle Paperwhite with WiFi and Optional Free AT&T 3G Wi-Fi Access
A tablet is great for what it's designed to do. What it's NOT great for is reading. A tablet's reflective screen causes glare, and because it isn't backlit the light shines into your eyes. It's fine for reading a few articles, but reading more than a few pages of a book on a tablet causes eye strain, which usually causes headaches.
That's why the Kindle Paperwhite 3G is the perfect companion to a tablet for both leisure and business travel. It's designed and optimized specifically for reading. With its front-lit, non-reflective screen, there's no glare even in bright sunlight and the light shines toward the reading surface instead of in your eyes. The brightness is also adjustable depending on the brightness of your environment. So you can read comfortably for hours without eyestrain. And as a business traveler myself, I can tell you that after a long day of meetings, there's nothing like relaxing with a good book to clear your head before turning in for the night.
I purchased a new Kindle Paperwhite to take with me on an international trip and it was one of the best travel gifts I ever bought for myself. It's small and lightweight - lighter and more comfortable to hold than a paperback - and you can read one-handed. And a single charge can last up to eight weeks, depending on usage. This model features better contrast, a new Page Flip feature, a processor that's 25% faster. I loaded mine up with books before our trip and was able to read comfortably even in bright sunlight on the beach during the extra days we stayed in Jamaica as a vacation. I kept it in my purse and was able to choose from a wide selection of books whenever and wherever I wanted to. Even my father-in-law, who loves reading but hates technology, has fallen in love with the Kindle Paperwhite that my mother-in-law gave him last Christmas. And my twenty-something nephew loves his just as much.
Compare Kindle e-reader models to choose the best model for your gift recipient's needs.
Kindle Fire HDX Tablets Feature a Stunning 8.9" or 7" Screen, Powerful Performance, HD Video, Front and Read Cameras and Many Other Value-Packed Features
The Kindle Fire HDX with a gorgeous 8.9" screen has features that will knock your socks off! It has a gorgeous screen display with 100% color accuracy, is ultra-light (just 13.2 oz.) and boasts a super-fast 2.2GHz quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM and Adreno 330 GPU. Take high-res photos and 1080p HD video with the 8MP rear-facing camera with LED flash. There's also a front-facing 720p HD camera for Skype video calls.
There is also a smaller model with a 7" screen that costs somewhat less than the 8.9" tablet.
A terrific feature that's exclusive to the Kindle Fire HDX is the Mayday button that lets you connect to an Amazon expert to get help whenever you need it, 24/7/365, for free!
There are far too many additional features for me to mention, so click to view the Amazon product page for a detailed explanation of everything you get with this awesome tablet.
Tip: You can customize your Kindle Fire HDX tablet with 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of storage and choose whether you want it with or without special offers (i.e., ads) at checkout.
Compare Kindle Fire tablets on Amazon to help you decide which model would best suit your gift recipient's needs.
Safety and Security
7. RFID-Blocking Passport Case
All newly issued U.S. passports and many credit cards include an RFID chip (Radio Frequency Identification Data) that stores personal data about the owner as a security measure. Criminals often use RFID readers to steal important personal information from RFID chips embedded in passports and credit cards to access the owner' accounts, so it's essential for travelers — especially business travelers who carry corporate as well as personal credit cards — to protect themselves by carrying their passports and credit cards in wallets and passport cases that block RFID readers effectively.
Anyone who travels out of the country, whether for business or leisure, should be using an effective RFID-blocking passport case for protection.
Give the Gift of Security with a PacSafe RFID-Blocking Passport Case
The is a great, inexpensive gift or stocking stuffer for any business or leisure traveler. It is effective at blocking RFID readers to keep your gift recipient's personal information secure and protect it against thieves. New and seasoned travelers alike will appreciate its durable, lightweight fabric and 6.75" x 4.25" dimensions,large enough to carry several passports or a passport, a couple of credit cards and some currency. PacSafe RFIDsafe 50 Passport Protector
8. Cocoon GRID-IT Organizer
How many times have you seen a traveler rummaging around in a carry-on bag, briefcase or handbag looking for his or her cell phone, MP3 player or other small mobile device, camera, cables, earbuds, pen, pencil, lip balm, breath mints, bandages, USB Flash drive, etc.?
Train or airline passengers need to keep their essential carry-on items accessible and well-organized, and Cocoon GRID-IT Organizers are the most versatile and totally customizable system for organizing all the stuff we carry with us that tends to be difficult to keep organized.
Cocoon Grid-It! organizers are available in several different shapes and sizes and are incredibly useful for organizing and carrying electronics, cables, pens, pencils, etc., which is why they are so popular among business travelers and anyone else who is constantly on-the-go and wants to keep his or her portable essentials organized. They're available in a choice of four colors - black, gray, red, and blue.
The Cocoon Grid-It! organizer is the #1 item on Lifehacker's Top 10 Gadgets You Should Have in Your Go Bag, and Oprah Winfrey recommends the Cocoon GRID-IT CPG10 organizer in her Gift Finder on Oprah.com. So you can be sure that the road warriors on your list will love receiving one!
The Cocoon GRID-IT Organizer Is Great For Everyone, All the Time
As you can see in the photo, it's a perfect, portable way to keep travel gadgets, small electronics and other essentials organized and easily accessible during a trip. They're also great for organizing laptop bags and travel-size toiletries and cosmetics, among many other things, so consider giving a set of two or three GRID-ITs. In fact, you may want to pick up one for yourself, too, to keep in your handbag, briefcase or backpack or on your desk.
In addition to the interior grid of woven elastic straps backed with rubber dots to grip whatever you put into it securely, the GRID-IT also has a convenient outer pocket for additional storage. Who wouldn't love one?
9. Portable Luggage Scale
International airline carriers have different luggage size and weight restrictions, and the airlines have started being much more strict about enforcing those limits. Why? Those very hefty surcharges for overweight baggage — usually $100 or more per bag over the 50-lb. weight limit for US carriers — have become a significant new source of revenue for them! That's why a portable luggage scale makes such a perfect travel gift for frequent fliers.
Business travelers usually are rushing to make sure they don't miss their flights, so when they're already at the airport is not the time for them to discover that one of their bags weighs a pound or two more than the airline carrier's maximum weight limit (50 lbs. in the US). And using a bathroom scale to weigh luggage is cumbersome and unreliable. And since most travelers end up bringing home a bit more in their luggage than they brought with them originally, it's important for them to be able to weigh their luggage prior to their return trip (for which the baggage weight restrictions may be different than the ones for their outbound flight).
For those reasons, having a portable luggage scale that can be used to weigh one's packed luggage before each flight on the trip can save a LOT of time, aggravation, and especially money!
Look for these features when choosing a portable luggage scale to give as a gift (or to keep for yourself):
- Small and compact
- Can display baggage weight in pounds or kilograms
- Easy to use correctly
- Easy-to-read screen
The EatSmart Precision Voyager Digital Luggage Scale with Proprietary SmartGrip Two-Handed Design Makes a Terrific, Inexpensive Travel Gift
The easy-to-use, accurate is perfect for bags weighing up to 110 lb / 50 kg. The SmartGrip two-handed design allows you to use both hands if you wish so it's easier to lift and weigh even heavy luggage. And if you've ever tried weighing a heavy suitcase on a portable scale you'll know just how important this great feature is! Voyager portable luggage scale from EatSmart
This precision portable luggage scale is a cinch to use. Just clip the strap to the handle of your suitcase, lift the bag off the floor, wait briefly until you hear the beep and then view the bag's weight in increments of 0.1 lbs. or 0.1 kg on the large, easy-to-read backlit LCD digital display. Remove the weighed bag and simply push the ON/OFF button on this auto-calibrated digital luggage scale to reset the weight to 0 so it's ready to weigh your next bag. This handy scale is extremely compact so you can just tuck it into a corner of your suitcase, briefcase or carry-on bag and it won't add appreciably to the weight of your luggage or carry-on bags. It runs on a long-life lithium battery, which is included, and comes with EatSmart's 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Tip: Consider picking up a few and saving them for holiday gifts; they make terrific stocking stuffers.
A Must-Have for International Travel
10. International Voltage Converter / Travel Plug Adapter Combo
International travel requires a voltage converter/transformer and a power adapter to ensure that any electronics or appliances will have the correct type of plug and current/voltage for the power sockets in the country or countries to be visited.
There are many different types of sockets (and plugs to fit them) and also many different voltage and frequency differences between countries and regions. Someone who does a lot of international business travel will need either a) the correct plug adapter for the destination country plus a voltage converter or transformer, or b) a combination international all-in-one voltage converter and travel plug adapter that can work with an input voltage range suitable for the regions to which they travel frequently.
World Travelers From the U.S. Will Love the BESTEK International 220V to 110V Voltage Converter With Travel Plug Adapters
I've spent considerable time researching international power converters, and the the compact BESTEK voltage converter/travel plug adapter combo with four USB ports has been recommended in several different review articles on multiples sites, including Nerdy Tech's roundup of The Best International Travel Voltage Converters 2017-2018. It can convert any country's 100V-240V input current down to 100V-120V output current that works with U.S. 110-volt appliances. It also comes with three international plug adapters that work with power outlets in more than 150 countries! It supports most cell phones, tablets and laptops (although It is not compatible with certain types of high-powered appliances such as hairdryers, irons, curling irons and electric coffee makers). Safety features include intelligent over-current, high-temperature, short-circuit and surge protection, as well as the isolation of the 4 USB charging ports from the AC outlets. For grab-and-go convenience, everything comes in a neat, compact pouch that keeps the converter, detachable power cable and plug adapters together.
Which of the following gifts do you think frequent business travelers would appreciate most?
© 2012 Margaret Schindel