Give useful gifts for the business traveler

Give useful gifts for the business traveler

Packing for business travel is an involved operation. Travelers must do it efficiently if they're to get from the office to the airport to whatever meetings await them. Yet, they'll also need to carry a heap of bulky office clothes that need to look fresh and pressed straight from the bag. Finally, if they're to do any work in transit or give presentations at their destinations, they're going to need laptops, chargers and any other electronic equipment to get the job done.

This holiday season, some of the best business gifts may be those that make traveling just a little easier. Even if the gifts don't get expressly used for corporate operations, employees, customers and clients can still use them on their journeys home. Given the fact that 94.5 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more for the holiday season – half a million more people than last year, according to AAA – there are plenty of people who may benefit from travel-oriented corporate gifts.

The benefit of storage
While it may be possible to have too much luggage, travelers can never have too many bags to carry it all. There are plenty of high-tech and innovative bags out on the market this year that can make traveling easier, according to USA Today. Rolling bags down the concourse has never been easier with a suitcase mounted on self-aligning wheels, so travelers never get tripped up. Other new items boast hard-sided polycarbonate shells and theft-resistant pockets.

All of these bags may be great, but sometimes travelers just need a lightweight carry-on bag that doesn't inspire tragedy if lost or damaged. Businesses can give the gift of simple packing with logo tote bags and backpacks. If business travelers don't have use for them, they can always pass the totes to their partners or the backpacks to their children. The versatility of luggage means it probably won't get wasted. 

Working on the go
Portable laptops and smartphones have made it possible to do work almost anywhere at any time. One of the few places where that has not been the case is on airplanes. Passengers have long had to turn off their cell phones, e-readers and laptops during takeoff and landing. Once flights reached cruising altitude, users could still only turn on their devices if they were on airplane mode.

This past fall has seen a lot of changes to these rules. The Federal Aviation Administration announced at the end of October that it will begin to allow the use of portable electronic devices – still in airplane mode – during all phases of flight, with airlines expanding and implementing their own rules over time. Just recently, the Federal Communications Commission voted to consider allowing in-flight calling on cell phones, according to media reports. Finally, it may be sooner rather than later that people will be able to use their data service on U.S. flights, which European flights already allow.

Business travelers who hope to take advantage of the relaxed regulations may appreciate gifts for taking their electronics on the go. Laptop bags will keep computers safe and scratch-free in transit. Until cloud-based computing is allowed in-flight, promotional flash drives are a handy item in case a last-minute presentation still needs to be uploaded for use at a convention. Personalized cell phone cases make for cool embellishments that also serve a useful function. 

Go low-tech
Some travelers may not have warmed up to the new digital world of airplanes. If that's the case, then personalized pens  and notepads can help them plan out their schedules and to-do lists for their business trips. Gift-givers, however, should make sure the notepads fit easily on tray tables.

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