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Old 05-10-2019, 07:34 PM
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Road Warriors! Your must-have travel item(s) for business trips?


What makes plane trips (less) unpleasant for you? Any little creature comforts that help turn a hotel room into a home?

Yeah, I am shamelessly soliciting gift ideas from my Doper pals. This is on behalf of a rather Spartan individual who does not shop for himself much. He's just started traveling for business purposes so I'm sure there's something beyond the basic travel toothbrush kit he could use. Any suggestions for fun or unexpected items he may not think of getting?

(Most trips are by plane so everything has to be TSA approved.)
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Old 05-10-2019, 08:45 PM
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Hotel carpets (and bathroom floors) always seem gross to me so I travel with a nice pair of leather carpet slippers. They can be expensive but can be found for reasonable prices (meaning under $100). You'll want ones with the soft leather lining inside as well as out.
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Old 05-10-2019, 08:49 PM
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Get a decent, dedicated shaving kit/toiletries bag.

There's any number of good sources for audiobooks. Maybe an Audible gift card?

It's hard to go wrong with quality luggage. This stuff is beautiful to look at, built like a tank and almost as heavy.
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Last edited by Alpha Twit; 05-10-2019 at 08:52 PM.
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Old 05-10-2019, 08:58 PM
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Noise cancelling headphones, good ones. My stress level is so much lower now and I feel much less beat up getting off of the airplane.
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Old 05-10-2019, 09:04 PM
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Noise cancelling headphones, good ones. My stress level is so much lower now and I feel much less beat up getting off of the airplane.
What kind do you have?
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Old 05-10-2019, 09:18 PM
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Get a decent, dedicated shaving kit/toiletries bag.
I second this.
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Old 05-10-2019, 09:29 PM
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In my shaving kit I carry a corkscrew, and in my luggage I carry a MEC (sort of a Canadian REI) collapsable stainless steel wine glass.

I also bring a pair of x-mini collapsable speakers for my ipod or my laptop. And I have a Yeti coffee mug and a generic, refillable Keurig-compatible coffee pod.

I also bring a VGA cable so that I can connect my laptop to the TV.

I always have checked baggage so I don't give a rat's ass about the space or weight; I like my creature comforts on the road and I'll often bring a bottle or two of wine in my luggage.
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Old 05-10-2019, 10:28 PM
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Noise cancelling headphones or earphones are an absolute must. Don't skimp, pay what it takes to get something like the items on this page. I have taken 5-6 hour flights with a screaming infant right behind me with no problem wearing Bose Quiet Comfort 20 Acoustic Cancelling Headphones (I travel a lot and prize weight and size- it all adds up).

A tablet fills the bill for entertainment- books, movies/show, tunes, games

A good smartphone with a decent sized screen is a necessity for business travel, but can also fill the same niche as a tablet for entertainment.

Travel with snacks sufficient to keep you going for a few hours. Useful on long flights where you are just sick and tired of the airline's offerings, or when you don't have time to buy before you board, or you check in late at night and just need something to keep you from waking up in the middle of the night with hunger pangs (I like small beef jerky packets, breakfast bars, and fruit like raisins, dried apricots, etc.).

Keep prepacked toiletries (meeting TSA requirements) and electronics accessories (if you develop kits like this, it makes packing to go and repacking on travel a 5 minute exercise). Go online and get light, small items specifically for travel. (small bottles and containers, retractable cables, adapters, multi port USB chargers, etc.)

Longer term, and only if your friend does a lot of traveling, he should get a membership in his airline of choice's lounge. If you travel a lot, it's a nice luxury and at least once or twice a year it's a life saver.
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Old 05-10-2019, 10:42 PM
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This is a gift, right? A lot of the things suggested would be good to think about if it were for you, but wouldn't make great gifts. Many are bulkier than I want when I travel, for instance. Others are things I'm picky about.

I couldn't really think of anything except a dedicated tube of lip balm, which isn't much of a gift. But three things others have mentioned that would be nice are:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpha Twit View Post
There's any number of good sources for audiobooks. Maybe an Audible gift card?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oredigger77 View Post
Noise cancelling headphones, good ones. My stress level is so much lower now and I feel much less beat up getting off of the airplane.
Quote:
Originally Posted by peccavi View Post
Noise cancelling headphones or earphones are an absolute must. Don't skimp, pay what it takes to get something like the items on this page. I have taken 5-6 hour flights with a screaming infant right behind me with no problem wearing Bose Quiet Comfort 20 Acoustic Cancelling Headphones (I travel a lot and prize weight and size- it all adds up).
Personally, I chose to go small & light, rather than getting the best quality. And I'm very happy with that choice -- my little headphones are easy to pack in my handbag, and allow me to hear the dialog on airplane movies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by peccavi View Post
Longer term, and only if your friend does a lot of traveling, he should get a membership in his airline of choice's lounge. If you travel a lot, it's a nice luxury and at least once or twice a year it's a life saver.
This is a great idea! Your friend only has to pack a credit-card-sized membership ID, and it provides food, wifi, and a quiet place to site, as well as some other benefits.

Last edited by puzzlegal; 05-10-2019 at 10:42 PM.
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Old 05-10-2019, 10:43 PM
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If he doesn't have a USB power bank (battery) already, that is essential for business travel, to keep the smartphone alive through a long travel day. A basic Anker PowerCore 1300 or similar should work fine. Although I recently got this one which is pretty awesome - it has built-in cables that mount flush when not in use, and it plugs directly into an AC power outlet to charge. It has USB-C, Micro-USB and Lightning cables all built in, which should cover any smartphone on the market.

Often the hotel room is too quiet and/or there are distracting noises around. You can't always count on a ventilator fan or AC fan to drown out the noise. So I always travel with a Lectrofan Micro white noise machine.

For anyone who travels with a lot of gadgets, the Mogics Donut power strip is awesome. It's a very compact and lightweight power strip / extension cord, with USB power outlets too.

I used to carry a corkscrew because I sometimes buy a bottle of wine during a trip, and sometimes it's hard to find twist-top bottles. But it often got me extra scrutiny by the TSA so I don't do that anymore.

Of course the best investment you an make to make business travel easier is to enroll in TSA Precheck. But I don't think you can give that as a gift. (It does cost money - $85 - but I don't think you can apply on someone else's behalf.)

Last edited by scr4; 05-10-2019 at 10:43 PM.
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Old 05-10-2019, 10:50 PM
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Personally, I chose to go small & light, rather than getting the best quality. And I'm very happy with that choice -- my little headphones are easy to pack in my handbag, and allow me to hear the dialog on airplane movies.
The QuietComfort 20 that peccavi mentioned is very compact and lightweight. I have the same one and use it on most trips. I also have the QuietComfort 35 which half the business travelers seem to use, but I find it to be too bulky for travel.

Last edited by scr4; 05-10-2019 at 10:50 PM.
  #12  
Old 05-11-2019, 12:12 AM
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Slippers, absolutely.
A toiletry kit that is fully kitted out with whatever he uses at home. When I travelled, I had duplicates of everything and my travel kit was never unpacked. (Shampoo, soap, makeup, contact lenses, deodorant, etc)
A small first aid/pharmacy kit: tummy meds, advil, kleenex, bandaids, sudafed
Bottle opener/corkscrew
Coffee and creamer (or tea) of the preferred kind
Stain remover stick
Small soap packets for emergency washing in the sink
Snacks - hotel food is unreliable or your schedule won't match up. Include some protein bars and such for emergencies.
A nice kit for organizing all of the cables and such that you travel with for all your devices

ETA: Precheck is essential. Also noise cancelling headphones.

Last edited by Sunny Daze; 05-11-2019 at 12:13 AM.
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Old 05-11-2019, 12:17 AM
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Noise-cancelling headphones, and something distracting to listen to with them. Podcasts or Audiobooks.

For me, I'll purposely get to an exciting point in a mystery/thriller, then save the action for the plane.Also prevents a lot of chit-chat before the flight takes off.
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Old 05-11-2019, 12:43 AM
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Face mask, for sleeping in overly light conditions. A small umbrella that can be left in the suitcase.
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Old 05-11-2019, 07:36 AM
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The QuietComfort 20 that peccavi mentioned is very compact and lightweight. I have the same one and use it on most trips. I also have the QuietComfort 35 which half the business travelers seem to use, but I find it to be too bulky for travel.
Ooh, those are small!

I don't like stuff in my ears, so I have a small folding over-the-head set, which isn't made any more. And they are noticably less effective than the big fluffy ones that entirely encase your ears. But I deliberately traded sound quality for size.
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Old 05-11-2019, 09:07 AM
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Noise cancelling headphones, good ones. My stress level is so much lower now and I feel much less beat up getting off of the airplane.
I love my Bose QuietComfort 35s. On a recent flight my gf asked to try them on and I had to demand their return. She has since purchased a pair.
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Old 05-11-2019, 09:13 AM
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What kind do you have?
I've got the Bose QC35s others mentioned. I'd rather have total quite then light weight.
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Old 05-11-2019, 09:49 AM
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Recently I bought this travel pillow and used it on a cross-country red-eye flight. I think I slept better using that than I did when trying to sleep without any sort of travel pillow. It's basically like a scarf with a plastic shield that holds up your head. I thought it would look silly and it probably does but it seemed to work. This was also the first flight since I got Global Entry, which includes TSA Pre-check and that made the security checkpoint nonsense much quicker and easier.
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Old 05-11-2019, 10:28 PM
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Travel pillow is a must for me.

I bring little bags of disposable ground coffee with it's own filter. Much better than the hotel in room

most rooms have a water heater. I always have some instant noodles or a pouch of indian curry that can be heated up on my schedule. I hate having to wait for room service or go to the restaurant when I just want something quick I can do myself in a couple of minutes.
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Old 05-11-2019, 10:49 PM
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Thirding, fourthing, whatever a travel kit. It stays stocked in my suitcase at all times.

I have LG Tone Platinum HBS-930 Bluetooth Stereo Headset because I can't bring myself to spring for the Bose QC35s that others have mentioned even though I know they would be completely worth it.

Melatonin liquid sleep aid that doesn't leave you cotton tongued or fuzzy headed the next day.

And, also as others have said, TSA Precheck is absolutely worth it in larger airports. Every time I go through one of the international airports and see 100+ people in the regular line and 5 in the TSA-Pre line my day just got much better.

Last edited by Projammer; 05-11-2019 at 10:50 PM.
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Old 05-12-2019, 08:46 AM
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most rooms have a water heater. I always have some instant noodles or a pouch of indian curry that can be heated up on my schedule. I hate having to wait for room service or go to the restaurant when I just want something quick I can do myself in a couple of minutes.
Along the same lines, I carry a little camping spork like this one in my travel bag. Because sometimes I bring back leftovers from dinner or buy a little something to eat. And hotel rooms often don't provide any utensils.

When I travel with my wife, she usually brings single-serve packets of oatmeal for her breakfast, which she makes with hot water from the coffee maker (or microwave if there is one). And borrows my spork.

Last edited by scr4; 05-12-2019 at 08:47 AM.
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Old 05-12-2019, 09:41 AM
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Adding my vote for TSA pre-check. $85 lasts for five years and you skip a whole lot of misery at airports.

If he wants to reduce the likelihood that he'll catch a bug on the plane, which would suck if he's business traveling, some sanitizing surface wipes are good to bring. Once you're seated, wipe down all the surfaces that you touch: the tray and its little lock, the armrests, the window slide, the seat belt lock.
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Old 05-12-2019, 10:37 AM
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.

Of course the best investment you an make to make business travel easier is to enroll in TSA Precheck. But I don't think you can give that as a gift. (It does cost money - $85 - but I don't think you can apply on someone else's behalf.)
My secretary signed me up (but she knows all my vital statistics).

Also, Clear. Just signed up last week and Iím already a big fan. It works at many airports and sports events.
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Old 05-12-2019, 11:37 AM
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...Of course the best investment you an make to make business travel easier is to enroll in TSA Precheck. But I don't think you can give that as a gift. (It does cost money - $85 - but I don't think you can apply on someone else's behalf.)
If any of the travel is international, Global Entry speeds you through US customs and confers TSA Precheck, for $15 more than applying for just Precheck.

I haven't tried Clear, primarily because PreCheck averages ~5-10 minutes, depending on how busy it is and I'm not sure the marginal improvement is worth the price.
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Old 05-12-2019, 12:20 PM
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If any of the travel is international, Global Entry speeds you through US customs and confers TSA Precheck, for $15 more than applying for just Precheck.

I haven't tried Clear, primarily because PreCheck averages ~5-10 minutes, depending on how busy it is and I'm not sure the marginal improvement is worth the price.
Nexus is $35 less than TSA-pre and includes it as well as global entry benefits. Iím not entirely sure I understand the pricing. I assume that have another reason to want people to sign up that way.
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Old 05-12-2019, 01:46 PM
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A stainless steel boomerang (and a kid who knows how to use it).
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Old 05-12-2019, 02:57 PM
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Nexus is $35 less than TSA-pre and includes it as well as global entry benefits. Iím not entirely sure I understand the pricing. I assume that have another reason to want people to sign up that way.
Nexus is a great deal, but you have to get it in Canada, or at a couple of inconvenient places on the border. I was going to get Nexus, but it took so long for my background check to clear that both my Canadian trips had already happened, so I ponied up for Global Entry, which I could get at my local airport.
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Old 05-12-2019, 04:21 PM
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Nexus is a great deal, but you have to get it in Canada, or at a couple of inconvenient places on the border. I was going to get Nexus, but it took so long for my background check to clear that both my Canadian trips had already happened, so I ponied up for Global Entry, which I could get at my local airport.
That's true. We had to travel to Blaine from Seattle for interviews for the whole family. Ended up turning it into a long weekend vacation to Victoria, so it wasn't that bad.
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Old 05-12-2019, 04:34 PM
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Getting back to the OP, "a rather Spartan individual who does not shop for himself much" will be a challenge to shop for. I'm sort of like that myself, so I think the risk is high you'll buy something for them that is never used. Some people just don't need that much stuff.

Most of the advice for specific things in this thread seem sound but quite personal. Personally I travel for business quite a bit and largely don't feel like I need anything out of the ordinary. I stuff my usual toiletries in a zip lock bag, pack my standard commuter earbuds (I have young kids myself, so other kids screaming on airplanes just sounds like the sweet sound of no responsibility to me ), and don't care about walking barefoot on hotel carpets. So a travel specific headset or kit I only pull out for airplane travel would be more trouble than its worth for me. I like taking minimal stuff. In fact if its just a quick couple of days hop down to SF I can just stuff some clean underclothes and shirt and toiletries in my usual work backpack and call it packed.

That's not to say that some of the stuff mentioned in this thread wouldn't be appreciated. I just don't think you'll know what that is until the specific individual has done a few trips and identified a specific pain point that specifically infuriates them ...
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Old 05-12-2019, 07:54 PM
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If any of the travel is international, Global Entry speeds you through US customs and confers TSA Precheck, for $15 more than applying for just Precheck.

I haven't tried Clear, primarily because PreCheck averages ~5-10 minutes, depending on how busy it is and I'm not sure the marginal improvement is worth the price.
I signed up for Global Entry a few months ago even though I have no immediate plans to fly overseas, because it's only fifteen bucks more than Precheck (and that's a total of a hundred bucks for five years). I wasn't familiar with Clear, so I just Googled that and it's so not worth it for the few times I fly and that it's $179 per year.
  #31  
Old 05-13-2019, 11:01 AM
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Good quality carry-on luggage and laptop backpack (recommend Briggs & Riley) You do not want to check bags especially when traveling for work, a lost bag is HELL
TSA Precheck, via Global Entry or stand-alone
Silicone travel bottles less than 4 oz. each to meet TSA liquids requirements
Charging block with multiple USB outlets for cords
Good quality wireless earbuds
  #32  
Old 05-13-2019, 11:19 AM
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Things I always travel with...

A small wireless/bluetooth speaker for chatting to my spotify account in the hotel room.

A subscription to Audible for when I want to read a book but am also driving (or sitting on a plane with my eyes closed).

A corkscrew (sans knife attachment so it passes security in my hand luggage).
  #33  
Old 05-13-2019, 12:29 PM
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I have different kits for different trips, I don't bring all but pick and chose what I would like. Some of them include, or have included:

- Fire TV stick, HDMI cord, iPhone to HDMi adapter, extension cord(s), USB outlet adapters.

- Cooler

- Travel dish set, one of those backpacks for picnics. Plates, cups, utensils, and some added/replaced items including cleaning supplies for them.

- A plug in pot. Nothing fancy, under $20 at Walmart, can cook anything with it, and cook it well.

(with the above 3 items I have a total kitchen)

- Kureg coffee machine - I upgraded my home one and now have the option for a travel one, - it's the smallest one they make.

- Immersion heater

- Pipe wrench and shower head. This used to be mandatory back in the 1990's with hotels on the low flow shower head bandwagon, but show water pressure/flow has improved and i no longer bring this.

- Floppy pillow
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Old 05-13-2019, 12:37 PM
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Regarding luggage, my carry-on bag is a soft-sided four-wheeled Samsonite suitcase, with telescoping handle. The OP's friend who is just starting to travel regularly should think about whether he/she would prefer four-wheeled luggage, two-wheeled luggage (normally this sort has to be pulled at an angle) or unwheeled luggage, such as duffel bags. Some carry-on luggage comes with backpack straps. And some luggage is hard-sided (sometimes with a zipper between the two sides of the clamshell) and others are soft-sided. All of this is a matter of personal preference and your preferences may change as you travel more. I recommend a trip to a department store luggage department (Macy's, I think still has staffed luggage departments) or even a dedicated travel and luggage store, if you can find one. It may be cheaper to buy luggage on-line but I think for someone starting out, the personal attention of a good salesperson may be helpful.

Edited to add, because tastes change, I don't really recommend buying the expensive sort of luggage right away. The cheap stuff lasts long enough. The fancy stuff does come with terrific warranties, but that may not help if you need to send in the stuff for repair, or your tastes change.

Last edited by Dewey Finn; 05-13-2019 at 12:39 PM.
  #35  
Old 05-13-2019, 12:41 PM
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If he doesn't have a USB power bank (battery) already, that is essential for business travel, to keep the smartphone alive through a long travel day.
I think this is the best suggestion. For one thing, even if he already has one, two is even nicer--you can always leave one charging and carry the other. And they do get lost, so a back-up is nice.

Also, and maybe it's just me, but backup cables. They just go bad after a while, and it's nice to have a set. Do you know what type of phone he has?

How much do you want to spend?
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Old 05-13-2019, 01:02 PM
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Last summer, flying back from Atlanta, I was seated in the nursery apparently. No fewer than five children young enough to be held the entire trip were seated within three seats of me. One of which was distinctly unhappy. I could see them screaming, but I just watched my movie on my kindle with these:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0753GRNQZ...Fast%20Pairing)

My brother had to fly for business meetings where he had to take a dress shirt and tie. He has the same ironing skills at 50 that he had at 8.
https://www.amazon.com/PackTidy-Comm...gateway&sr=8-5
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Old 05-13-2019, 07:01 PM
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Noise cancelling headphones, good ones. My stress level is so much lower now and I feel much less beat up getting off of the airplane.
+1. I'd been wanting a pair for quite a while, and used a recent plane trip as an excuse to get them. I also use them when I commute by Metro - can't hear an audiobook or whatever otherwise. I got Bose QuietComfort; Sony has a similar pair at the same price point.

If he reads, and does not have an ereader, a Kindle or Nook is a good option. It's an additional device to keep track of - but it does books so much better than a phone.

A small nightlight to keep in his toiletries kit. Makes late-night bathroom trips a lot easier: he can see to find his way in an unfamiliar bathroom, without blinding himself by turning on the overhead light.
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Old 05-13-2019, 07:08 PM
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A small nightlight to keep in his toiletries kit. Makes late-night bathroom trips a lot easier: he can see to find his way in an unfamiliar bathroom, without blinding himself by turning on the overhead light.
Actually, I recommend everyone carry a small but powerful flashlight in their toiletries (it is amazing how bright a light you can get in something the size of your little finger). In an emergency, while in theory there is supposed to be emergency lighting, quite often you end up in pitch black situations. While a smartphone is a reasonable make-do, nothing beats an actual flashlight.
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Old 05-13-2019, 11:00 PM
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I haven't carried a flashlight for anything less than a quarter-mile in the dark woods since I realized my Treo produced enough light to walk by. And most phones have a "flashlight" function now, that even works for that hike in the dark, over rocks and roots. (ask me how I know.) A quarter mile will drain the battery some, but for walking around a hotel room, it's surely not worth carrying a flashlight!
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Old 05-14-2019, 01:10 AM
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One thing I gave my kids which I haven't seen mentioned is a portable electric toothbrush. Under $10 at CVS. They were lugging their electric toothbrushes and charger around with them on long trips, and really liked not having to do that.

I always take slippers. The only problem with TSA precheck is that I'd hope his company would pay for it as a business expense.
Also a Kindle, since I can load lots of books for a trip, and load more if I run out. Bujt I get very nervous at the prospect of not having anything to read.
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:56 AM
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Often the hotel room is too quiet and/or there are distracting noises around. You can't always count on a ventilator fan or AC fan to drown out the noise. So I always travel with a Lectrofan Micro white noise machine.
I sleep much much better in hotels now that I have a (free) white noise app on my phone. There are a ton to choose from, on Android at least.

I realize that doesn't help with a gift idea (and in fact kind of eliminates one), but it is my best business trip advice.
  #42  
Old 05-24-2019, 06:30 PM
Mama Zappa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peccavi View Post
Actually, I recommend everyone carry a small but powerful flashlight in their toiletries (it is amazing how bright a light you can get in something the size of your little finger). In an emergency, while in theory there is supposed to be emergency lighting, quite often you end up in pitch black situations. While a smartphone is a reasonable make-do, nothing beats an actual flashlight.
No argument from me (I have one in my purse.... which I would probably have to locate using my phone, LOL).

We actually got to try out the nightlight trick this past weekend - our first travel since I bought the thing.

And the hotel had the vanity / sink in the room, with the toilet / shower in a room by itself, with no plugs .
  #43  
Old Today, 12:19 PM
Lare is online now
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For an alternative to the excellent but pricey Bose and Sony noise cancellers, I would like to recommend the TaoTronics line. I picked up a pair of in-ear buds on sale and was pleasantly surprised at how well they worked and how good they sounded. They may not be as good as Bose, but worked well enough, and at a significant price delta, to be in my travel kit.


No link because the ones I have are no longer made, but search the company name on Amazon.

Last edited by Lare; Today at 12:21 PM.
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