2018 Best Holiday Gifts for Travelers

When the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) professionals know you by name, “Known Traveler” takes on a whole new meaning.

Some people are excited to order Uber to drive them to the airport. As a business development executive, this logistic is the equivalent of me punching a time clock to start my day. Some weeks it’s a short hop to St. Louis, and other times it includes multiple stops scattered across North America. To say that I travel a lot is an understatement. Over the past year, I’ve experienced damaged luggage, delayed or cancelled flights, sleepless nights, and could challenge any modern day flight attendant with the number of times that I have packed and unpacked.

When travel is a key competent to your career, your success generally depends on your ability to stay productive, fresh, and positive. With well over a million miles under my belt, to meet customer demands, I’ve become very particular about my business tools — performance and consistency trumps investment.

Thus, when shopping for “the traveler” this holiday season, here are a few ideas, which have become non-negotiable for me:

Luggage: No matter what your decision, your luggage is susceptible to some degree of damage due to normal wear and tear. It would be unreasonable for Serena Williams to expect her new tennis shoes to not get scuffed. You should expect that zippers will break, roller board wheels will become inoperable, straps and telescopic handles will break, and your bag will arrive at the wrong airport at some point. For all of these reasons, I have remained loyal to Tumi. As an example of their great customer service, their warranty covers severe damage caused by the airline, with no questions asked. Additionally, each piece of luggage has a unique barcode, which tracks the bag back to the owner should they become separated for any reason. I highly recommend the Tumi Continental Expandable 4 Wheeled Carry-On for functionality and performance for the frequent traveler.

Noise Canceling Headphones: It’s easy to determine the frequency someone travels by their headphones. Frequent travelers have learned their lesson, and invested in high quality noise canceling headphones. Trust me; my Bose QuietControl 30 wireless headphones is the first thing to come out before the cabin door closes. However, I know plenty of road warriors who use them for music or with nothing at all, simply to drown out background noise and get more rest, or they use them while reading.

Cabin Bag: Airlines are now extremely strict with carry-on rules. It can be tough choosing the right “one personal item” solution, which meets airline standards. I prefer a bag, which is durable and flexible to go from cabin to boardroom, to a last minute “boy’s weekend” in Vegas; without looking out of place. The Weekender, from Gia Rodriguez, serves as the perfect bag to hold my laptop, noise canceling headphones, and other creature comforts for the unexpected. It fits perfectly under the seat in front of me on regional jets, plus it holds enough for a change of clothing for the quick trip.

WiFi Programmable Thermostat: Business travelers can keep an eye on their homes with connected home gifts, such as security cameras and smart locks. Whether you’re feeling a little hot in your home office or you have a delayed flight, the ability to tweak your thermostat settings is just a touch away with a smartphone. The gift of a Sensi WiFi Programmable Thermostat, from Emerson, lets the busy executive set custom temperature schedules so they can save money on home energy while they are away, and achieve the perfect level of home comfort upon their return. While this product is easy to install, it is also available through a professional heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) Contractor — if it’s a “do it for me” sort of person (like me).

Wishing you a safe and uneventful travel experience this holiday season.

Construction & Built Environment Technologist, Husband, Advisor www.earnestmorgan.me