Even though our blog focus is family travel, we definitely know a thing or two about business travel and the best gifts for business travelers. Glenn travels for work about 75 percent of the time and I make quite a few business trips per year to attend conferences, meetings, and press trips. Whenever the holidays or birthdays roll around, we are always trying to think of good gifts for people who travel for work.
We understand the needs of a business traveler and how what you need can vary when you travel solo versus when you travel as a family. And, with all our combined experience, we have road tested so many products to get a sense for the most useful gifts for business travelers. Together, we have put together a list of gift ideas of business travel essentials — for both men and women!
As holiday season kicks into high gear, now is the time to find the perfect business travel gifts.
Gifts for Business Travelers
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Anyone that spends a lot of time on planes knows that a pair of noise-cancelling headphones can make it easier to block out the noise around you and might just help you forget that you are jammed into a metal tube with a bunch of strangers.
Glenn still uses his Bose noise cancelling, over-the-ear headphones, but I’m in love with my Bose Quiet Comfort noise-cancelling ear buds. They are small enough to take up very little room in my purse, stay comfortably in my ears, and are even comfortable enough to use to cover any hotel room noise instead of toting along a white noise machine.
While Glenn can fall asleep at the drop of a hat, I have a terrible time sleeping on planes. I’ve tried a number of neck pillows over the years and have found that there are a few critical features to look for in a travel pillow.
First off, I’m not one to walk through the airport with a neck pillow across my shoulders. I also don’t have room for it in my bag, nor do I want to lose it as it falls off my bag while running through an airport. Therefore, a good travel pillow will have an easy-to-use hook with a wide enough opening to easily clip onto my purse, carry on, or luggage handle. It also needs to have support even if you don’t have a window to lean on. Lastly, it needs to have a removable cover. Nothing grosses me out more than my neck pillow falling on the floor of an airport or airplane, or, god forbid, the bathroom floor.
The Cabeau Evolution neck pillow ticks these boxes and I find it very comfortable, even for long overnight flights. I love the small carrying case that clips onto my carry-on bag and the adjustable strap to get the support that I like.
Portable Power Bank
A great gift for any business traveler is a portable power bank. The battery life of most phones will rarely make it through a business trip, so it is always important to carry a back up. Especially if you get stuck in an airport or a plane without entertainment or electrical outlets.
Look for one that has more than one phone charge such as the Ventev Powercell 6010+, which is thin and lightweight for travel. I also love that it comes with either a built-in Apple lightening connector or USB C to eliminate the need for an extra cord to fiddle with.
Travel Power Strip
Give the gift that will make your loved one a business meeting hero. Ok, that may be an exaggeration but a travel power strip can definitely help you make friends in an airport. The Belkin power strip swivels to fit any outlet, offers power surge protection, and includes two USB outlets.
It also makes life so much easier in a hotel when you have multiple devices (phone, charge, laptop, watch, etc.) to charge and you can only find one outlet near the bed.
Anyone traveling internationally for business will need an electrical adapter to charge a computer, phone, tablet, or other devices. Note that if they will need to plug in a hair dryer, flat iron or other high voltage accessory, they will need an electrical converter. But for most business travelers, a global adapter will suit just fine.
Look for one that supports the EU, UK, and US/AU in one device with built-in plugs for each. I used to carry one that had a whole bag full of different plugs and without fail I would be missing what I would need.
Also look for one like the Eagle Creek Universal Travel Adapter Pro that has built-in USB chargers, protection against power surges, and can take standard two-prong or three-prong plugs.
Clear Travel Toiletry Bag
Even if you always get TSA PreCheck, you still need to keep your liquids and gels in a one-quart sized clear toiletry bag. Instead of searching out plastic bags, give your traveling loved one a TSA-approved clear travel toiletry bag that is durable, waterproof, and includes a handle to easy hang in hotel bathrooms.
I find that the sturdy rectangular construction means that I can fit a lot more into this bag than a standard quart-size ziplock bag.
Sometimes business trips are short and you don’t need to bother with finding room for a full carry-on suitcase if all you need is a small overnight bag. Earlier this year, I was given the Expanse wheeled tote from Eagle Creek to review and found that was just perfect for an overnight business trip.
I love my TravelPro hard side carry on bag. The four wheels make it so easy to maneuver and it fits a surprising amount of stuff. The two-sided design maximizes space and makes packing easy. I’ve even used this for a recent eight-day trip to Italy, and I’m not usually a light packer.
Travel Laundry Bag
Sometimes those plastic hotel laundry bags just don’t do the trick. They are either too small or don’t do a good job containing the stink of workout clothes. You want to keep the stinky stuff contained with a Sport Laundry Bag.
For anyone trying to fit a lot into a small bag, or keep clothes organized, compression bags and packing cubes are essential. We have had good luck with our Eagle Creek compression bags and packing cubes.
Any frequent flyer who often takes long-haul flights should have at least one pair of compression socks. I recently was given CEP compression socks to try out on a flight to Ireland and even after wearing them all night and day, they were comfortable. They weren’t itchy, too hot, or too restrictive. After reading about the dangers of blood clots with long flights, I felt safer wearing the compression socks to improve circulation.
Personally, I’m not a fan of the tech organizers that have a million little straps and pockets. I find that I still don’t have space for my larger computer cord or power block. Plus, getting everything into its place can take dainty fingers and a patience that I don’t possess.
However, I do like keeping all my cords and chargers in one place. It also ensures that I don’t forget anything in the rush out the door. I like these colorful organizers because they are water resistant, roomy, and cute. Plus, you can use them for all kinds of things!
Thule Computer Backpack
We have a closet full of computer bags that we have bought and tested. Some are too heavy, too big, not big enough, etc. This year Glenn landed on one that he loves…the Thule daypack with space for a computer or tablet. This bag has crush-proof compartments to protect your gear, with just enough pockets and spaces to make the perfect computer backpack carry on bag.
Netflix subscription or iTunes gift card
Let’s face it. It can be hard to get work done on a plane in such cramped quarters. After a long week of business meetings, sometimes you just need to unwind. Hook your loved one up with some entertaining downloadable content with a Netflix, Hulu, or iTunes gift card.
Essential Oils for Travelers
This year we did a podcast episode all about the best essential oils for travelers. We travel with a kit containing an immune-supporting oil, peppermint, lavender (great for promoting sleep), lemon, and either tea tree or eucalyptus depending on our destination.
I use Young Living Oils and others recommend DoTerra. Whichever you choose, make sure you get pure oils and not diluted.
American Express Platinum Card
The thing that has made business travel easier for us both this year was investing in the American Express Platinum card. It gives us access to airport lounges, both American Express Centurion Lounges and lounges that are affiliated with Priority Pass, as well as other airport lounges.
The Platinum card also offers a $200 per year credit with the airline of your choice toward seat selection, baggage fees, or on-board purchases. And, it includes a $15 per month Uber cash credit toward Uber rides. All of these benefits more than add up to cover the fee for frequent travelers.
Use my referral link to apply!
Best Gifts for Women Business Travelers
Dermalogica Antioxidant Hydramist
Air travel and hotel stays can really wreck havoc on your skin. I have found the Dermalogica Antioxidant Hydramist to be a great antidote to the negative impacts of travel on my skin.
The Dermalogica Age Starter kit gives the perfect travel size for not just the Hydramist, but also a full skin care regimen to keep hydrated and youthful skin.
Another fun travel skincare gift for women business travelers is a Birchbox subscription. Each month, they will receive small, sample/travel-size beauty products to match their profile.
I just signed up for this service and I already love it. It isn’t a big investment to get to try new products but also have plenty of travel-size products to take on my trips.
eBags Toiletry Bag
I recently purchased the eBags Pack-it Flat toiletry kit and I love it. At first I wasn’t sure if I could fit all of my stuff in there but it holds a surprising amount.
The lay-flat design really fits into suitcases much better than my old, bulky toiletry case. There are plenty of compartments to keep products separated and a convenient hanging hook for hotel use.
See my full review:
I am a big fan of these silicone cosmetic pots for travel. I refill with some of my favorite products and they are small and easy to use, unlike tubes that can be tricky to fill. As long as I don’t overfill them, I haven’t had an issue with leakage.
Anatomie Travel Pants
I am a HUGE fan of the Anatomie travel pants. The fabric is so lightweight I could roll them up and stuff a week’s worth in my purse. It dries incredibly fast and they look fashionable while being extremely comfortable. After first reviewing them a few years ago, I recently bought two more pairs. They are expensive but I’ve seen how well my first pair have held up and know that they are worth it. My favorite is the Kate, but I also love my pair of Skyler pants too. Read my full review here.
On the Vacation Mavens podcast, we always ask our guests what they wear when they travel and countless times, our women guests have said they like to layer with a good cardigan to stay warm on the plane.
I am the same and recently bought one recommended by Leticia from the Tech Savvy Mama when we interviewed her and that is the Scottevest travel cardigan. It has pickpocket proof pockets for holding your phone, boarding pass, passport, etc. It has become one of my go-to travel items!
Delsey Chatelet Soft Air Bag
I have long searched for a carry on bag that looks sharp and professional yet comfortably fits my computer, camera, and other accessories. The Delsey Paris Chatelet soft air bag is perfect. It looks great to bring for conferences and meetings, fits under the seat on the airplane, slips over the rolling luggage handles for easy portability, and fits my laptop, camera, and even my drone if I need it.
If you are terrible at picking out clothes for your loved one, you are not alone. Some of us even have trouble picking out clothes for ourselves. I’m a convert to the wonders of Stitch Fix.
It is a subscription service paired with a personal stylist. Customers can tell their stylist what they want and need, their style and preferences, and even their price range. Then boxes arrive at the frequency you pick, with a wealth of goodies to try on. Send back what you don’t like (free shipping is included), and keep the rest.
A Stitch Fix gift card is a perfect gift for women business travelers. I love how my stylist follows my blog and I can ask her to customize my Fix for specific trips and destinations that I have coming up.
I’ve written a lot about my search for comfortable walking shoes, but one brand that comes up again and again from our podcast guests is Tieks flats. The colorful and stylish flats fold up for simple storage. They are pricey, but I recently bought two pairs and I have become a convert!
If you are looking for more travel gift guide ideas, check out these:
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