Holiday gift guide for business travelers

If you like with someone who travels extensively for business, you know how chaotic life can be for them (and you, too). Any gifts that you give them that can simplify their lives and make their time on the road easier will be greatly appreciated. That said, business travelers – and most frequent travelers, for that matter – can be very particular about what they like and what gets left at home. If you’re planning on surprising the business traveler in your life with a gift this holiday season, be sure to read on before you spend a dime. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite travel gear that are sure to become part of your business travelers arsenal against road weariness. And, lest you think that such trinkets are sure to break the bank, rest assured that many of our suggestions are economical enough to be stocking stuffers.Franklin Covey USB Universal Charger

This little device lets you charge up to 10 gadgets with a single USB port. With plugs that fit most mobile phones (including iPhones, Android devices and Blackberries), you never have to worry about leaving one of your cables behind. Not bad for $15.95.

BlueLounge Cable Clips

Prefer to carry around all of those individual cords? At least keep them tidy with these clips. Available in small, medium and large, as well as a variety of colors, they keep your carry-on bag or briefcase from looking like an octopus graveyard. They’re perfect stocking stuffers for under $10.

Nau Shroud of Purrin Blazer

Looking for a big ticket item that’s worth the money, versatile and practical all at the same time? This is it. Nau’s Shroud of Purrin Blazer is formal enough to be part of your business attire, hip enough to be worn casually and made to keep you warm and dry wherever go. The top front pocket is slightly askew (fashionable!), but also has a both a snap and zipper, keeping things like passports, boarding passes and cellphones secure. The interior pocket is great for your wallet. Add to that an exterior that is wind resistant and water repellent along with a fleece-lined interior and you have the only jacket you need to bring on your business trip from spring through fall. That helps justify the $365 price tag. Available now directly from, um, Nau.


Time on the plane, in airports and at the hotel don’t need to be lost time. Nor do you need to spend every waking hour of your business trip working. You deserve a break to read a book, watch a movie or just play Angry Birds. That’s why you pack your iPad or Kindle when you travel, right? Well, those devices need to be protected and you might as well look good while doing it. DODOcases make your iPad or Kindle look like a notebook but, unlike the Moleskin version, it lacks a notepad, thus cutting down on the weight. The DODOcase for the iPad weighs a mere 8 ounces, while the DODOcase for the Kindle checks in at just 5.28 ounces. The DODOcase is $59.95 for the iPad and $49.95 for the Kindle.

Kensington Absolute Power Charger

We’ve been fans of Kensington chargers for a while now, but the Absolute Power might be the best one we’ve seen yet. Capable of charger a laptop and two USB devices, it packs 100 watts of power for all of your charging needs. It also comes with 10 adapters to fit most laptops (sadly, not Apple). It features a USB port and a mini USB port, along with a mini USB to USB adapter, as well. If you use your gadgets all day, backup power is a must. The Absolute Power is well worth the $100.

ioSafe Rugged Portable Hard Drive

This durable hard drive is built for travelers who don’t want to rely on “the cloud” to backup or store their data. This drive will drive will survive almost anything you throw at it. It’s available in 250GB, 500GB, 750GB and 1TB. Prices start at $108 on Amazon.

J.Crew Montague Leather Weekender

In past business travel gift guides, we’ve recommended rolling luggage. We recognize, however, that not everyone likes wheels on their bags (such as our esteemed editor-in-chief). As such, we saw fit to include a handsome, sophisticated and durable alternative to the classic roll-a-board. J.Crew’s Montague model features 82 liters of storage space, sleeves to organize your gear and a detachable shoulder strap. It’s built to last and easy to carry as you pass by everyone in the airport by dashing up the stairs. It’s available now for $475 at J.Crew.

Knomo Dundee Briefcase

A perfect carry-on will hold your computer and some paperwork, features a few pockets for organization and isn’t so big that you’re encourage to overpack. The Knomo Dundee does all of that while also featuring soft leather, magnetic closures on the pockets and including a detachable shoulder strap. It will fit up to a 17″ computer with just over 12L of storage space. The handle easily slips over the arm of your rolling luggage (we get it, some of you prefer wheels). It’s a handy bag for $295.

Daily gear deal – 320GB external hard drive USB/Firewire for $65

My daily deal for today is for this Verbatim 320GB portable external hard drive. The drive features USB and Firewire interfaces.

The 320GB storage space should be enough to hold multiple backups of most of your important files. In addition to this, it can also make a safe place to store any photos and videos you make on your trip.

The best part about these portable drives is that they can be powered using the USB port of your laptop or desktop computer, which means you don’t have to drag an additional power supply along with you.

Another great thing a large external drive can do, is add more storage space for music or video files – especially since many small laptop computers only come with limited space.

You’ll find this Verbatim 320GB portable hard drive on sale at Amazon for $64.99, which includes free shipping.

Click here to order, or to learn more about this product.

$69 portable hard drive enclosure adds keypad password protection

Keeping strangers away from your data has suddenly become a hot topic, but whether the US Government is after your information, or just your everyday thief, it always makes sense to protect your files.

Hong Kong based Brando, has introduced a portable hard drive enclosure with a password keypad. Without knowing the access code, strangers won’t even be able to access the hardware. If you want to take paranoid to a new level, you can use double protection by encrypting the data stored on the drive.

This enclosure does not include a hard disk, so you’ll have to invest some more in a 2.5″ hard drive, which will cost you upwards of $65, plus you’ll have to install it yourself.

In the coming months, I’m sure we will see more of these products pop up. The combination of the US government admitting that they can (and will) seize suspicious equipment and the general fear of the Chinese government during the Olympics is driving paranoia to a new level. Of course, some of that paranoia is justified.

When it comes to securing your data, the only 100% safe method is to leave important files at home, don’t carry anything you wouldn’t want to share with a stranger, and never ever login to any kind of site unless you are 100% sure the connection you are using is secure. Of course, the first sign for any customs official that you might be hiding something, is a hard drive enclosure with a password keypad, so you really can’t ever win.

Turn your Gmail into an online storage drive

Although I use Gmail primarily to stay in touch while I travel, my account has proved enormously useful for plenty of other reasons. Rather than visiting 3-4 different airline and hotel sites, I collect and “star” all my itinerary info within my Gmail for easy reference. And rather than carrying around all those annoying frequent flier cards, I created a single file in Google Documents that lists my member number for every airline. Not to mention the hundreds of other great ways you can take advantage of Google when you travel.

Now I have another reason to keep coming back to my Gmail – an add-on for Firefox users called Gspace. Gspace turns any Gmail account into 2 gigabytes of free online storage with an easy-to-use interface. Think of it as an easy way to store your photos, videos, favorite music and important travel documents on the road. When you log into Gmail, you’ll see the files you’ve uploaded listed as emails in your account. Head over to the Gspace site, download their Firefox application, and you’re ready to go. You access Gspace from the pull-down “Tools” file menu in your Firefox browser. Check the How It Works page if you’re having any problems.

If you don’t have Firefox, you can download it for free – trust me, it’s better than Internet Explorer. Also, if you’re not already a Gmail user, it’s time to sign up. The best part? You can sign up for unlimited Gmail accounts, so there’s technically no limit to what you can store.