Holiday Gift Guide | For The Traveler

holiday-gift-guide-2016_travelerGiven I have gotten up at the crack of dawn every single Monday to get on a plane for work, it seemed only fitting to pull together a holiday gift guide of all of my travel essentials. From luggage to power supplies, neck support and the key to drowning out those crying babies on early morning flights I’ve got you covered with my top six gifts for the frequent traveler.

Whether you like to travel for for fun or are a road warrior like me, there are lots of tricks to making traveling as easy as possible. My top priorities when traveling are time saving and convenience. I fly every single week, on at least two flights a week and check into a hotel wherever I land. In 2016 alone, I’ve already racked up over 150 nights in hotels and flown over 80 flights … and that doesn’t count my upcoming December travel. If you’re going to gift yourself anything this year, give yourself the gift of sanity and sign up for TSA precheck. Honestly, I don’t know how people can travel even twice a year without it. It’s $85 for 5 years and gets you through an expedited screening line, which can save you hours of waiting in the regular security line … and if you’re a regular traveler like me, that can add up to days. If you’re more of an international traveler, spring for the Global Entry, which will get you pre-check and through an expedited customs line.

Now, if you’re looking for tangible gifts this holiday season for you or your favorite traveler, I’ve got six of my favorite travel essentials to share with you. And hopefully by the time you’re reading this there are some sweet Cyber Monday deals going on. Some of these items might seem on the pricier end, but trust me, I spend more time in a plane than in my car, so luggage is a must-have investment item. Plus, many of the higher ticket items come with long, if not lifetime, warrantees.

1. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones – I used to be a $20 junky headphone kind of girl until I started flying regularly to Orlando on a 6am flight and relied on those 2 and a half hours of sleep before work. These are great not only for zoning out on the flight, but they have a microphone and have become essential to taking conference calls while running for flights. I’m probably too reliant on these headphones now because I have them in from the second I walk into the airport until I get into the office or my apartment. I prefer these in-ear headphones instead of the large over-ear version, mostly for space … and because I don’t want to mess up my hair. If the $249 price-tag is too much for you, try the $99 version for starters. They aren’t full noise cancelling, but they are great quality for both listening and taking phone calls.

2. Nap Neck Pillow – Yes I’m a bad ass boss lady and yes I bring a neck pillow with me. Because IDGAF what I look like on my flights if it means I don’t deplane with a headache or crick in my neck from falling asleep in a weird position. I’m not going to meet my future husband on a flight, and if I do and he happens to judge me for using a neck pillow well then I’m sure it wouldn’t work out between us anyway. Traveling comes with all kinds of fun body pain as you get older, so anything you can do to reduce that, just do it. I like this Nap neck pillow best because the cover unzips and comes off, and I throw it in the washing machine every few uses because airplanes and airports are filled with germs and I’m sure my pillow picks up a lot of that.

3. Briggs and Riley Domestic Carry On – Alright, now I know this nearly $500 price tag might seem a bit bananas, but trust me on this one – worth it. You can definitely get good quality carry-on suitcases from Marshalls or Macy’s, but the best of the best are going to come with the higher price tag. I had a Tumi spinner suitcase for a few years but invested in this Briggs + Riley two-wheeled carry on earlier this year because I like that it has plenty of room for me to fold clothes to pack as well as a built-in suiter so I can hang my dresses and blazers, and neatly fold them and just hang them up when I get to my hotel. The handle being on the outside of the bag also means more room on the inside to pack. That was a game changer for me since I was often sitting on my old suitcase trying to yank the handle up all the way. This also fits perfectly sideways in overheads on smaller planes (even the tiny regional jets!) and wheels out on the larger air buses.

4. Clarisonic Facial Sonic Cleansing Brush – Now, I must admit, I’ve only had my Clarisonic brush for a week … but it’s now my biggest regret in life (slight exaggeration) that I did not get one of these sooner. It is AMAZING. It’s no secret that frequent air travel dries your skin out. Combined with over-chlorinated Florida hotel water, and I could be looking like I’m 80 pretty soon if I keep this up. Since college I’ve relied on facials every two months to keep my skin hydrated and clear, but at a recent facial at a new spa the facialist recommended this brush and it’s unreal how you can notice a difference immediately. I use it at night to wash my face and it takes only a minute (literally) and your skin feels noticeably smoother and fresh to death. They even have a version for men since dudes get dry skin too.

5. Anker Power Bank – You will never see me sitting under a water fountain at an airport charging my phone. Not only because that is disgusting, but because there is no need for that anymore. Power banks are a cheap and convenient way to make sure you’re never without power for your devices. I’m still surprised that not all airlines have power outlets at every seat (or Wifi on every flight for that matter) but that seems to be a reality we’ll have to deal with for a while. I’ve become obsessed with all things made by Anker  – and have my parents hooked on their charging cables. I swear these things are lightning fast. This Anker Power Bank can charge an iPhone 6 seven times. SEVEN TIMES. So now you can get your snapchat filter on all flight long without worrying about not being able to call an Uber when you land.

6. Tumi Voyager Tote – Ah this bag. It’s the only reason I can get through TSA every week within the two-item limit. This bag holds my two laptops, umbrella, notebook, two chargers, and my cross-body bag easily. My mom bought it for me for my birthday this year when Tumi was doing a 20% off sale and it’s been the best work bag I’ve ever had. I used to be more brand name focused when it came to work bags, with either a Tory Burch or Marc Jacobs bag, but those are fashion over function. This Tumi Voyager Tote is both fashion and function. It zips on top, which is a must-have for sticking the bag underneath the seat in front of you and not worrying about things falling out. The nylon fabric is perfect for keeping clean despite being thrown in overheads, under seats and in cab trunks. It has a space in the back of the bag where you can easily loop it over your carry-on handles so you can roam through the airport without fear of the tote falling off your bag.

These items have become essential to my life as a road warrior. So the next time you’re in the airport, keep your eye out for a bad ass boss lady ninja dressed head to toe in black with Bose headphones in, a Tumi tote and a fully charged cellphone. Happy shopping!