An interesting contradiction exists in the business world today: Stories abound about how businesses are allowing less and less travel. Between the high cost of gas, the increase in terrorism, the prevalence of the internet, and the plethora of VOIP conference call systems, the amount of business travel has decreased. Yet, airplanes have higher passenger load factors than ever. Airports are crowded and almost everybody seems to be traveling somewhere.
With the winter gift-giving season upon us, here are our suggestions for the best gifts for your frequent flyer. This list is based solely upon our own preferences from having traveled on planes almost monthly for the past two years.
- Noise-cancelling headphones: You don’t realize how much white noise planes create until you put on one of these. While not the most comfortable for sleeping, they do help block out that annoying snorer sitting two rows back. More importantly, they make it much easier and more comfortable to hear the movies.
- Computer backpack with outside water bottle pockets: A roller-board computer bag is nice until you have to pull it and a suitcase. Then it gets cumbersome and you lose the use of your hands. Backpacks are the way to go! You keep both hands free and evenly distribute the weight across your back, so you don’t end up with shoulder or back pains. Make sure the backpack has an easily accessible pocket for water bottles. Storing an opened bottle with your electronics or important papers is a disaster waiting to happen. Using a stiff side pocket that is not designed for bottles only works for a few minutes, then the bottle falls out.
- Convertible hiking pants: Traveling from a cold climate to a hot one? Traveling to and from a hot climate but are always cold on airplanes? These pants are the perfect solution. Originally made for hiking, they are the best airplane travel solution around. Wear them as pants on the plane until you arrive at the hot destination. Then, zip off the bottoms and you have shorts. Three bonus features: (1)They are usually looser and more comfortable than jeans. (2) With their khaki color, they look slightly dressier than jeans. (3) The nylon pants also double pretty well as snow-pants, for when you find yourself in an unexpected blizzard!
- Portable phone re-charger: People who travel a lot often do not have two free hours to sit by an electrical outlet waiting for a cell phone to recharge. These handy devices fit into your pocket or bag, connect to the phone via USB cable, and charge while on-the-go. Most resupply the phone’s energy in about 2 hours. An added bonus is the price: Most cost under $20, and some cost less than $10!
Converter app for Iphone: Ok. This is a freebie, but it’s such a good app that we include it here. This app converts just about anything: metric to avoirdupois, centigrade to Fahrenheit, currencies, and much more. So simple, yet so handy for overseas travel.