Travel is unpredictable. No wonder working while traveling is such a challenge.
Whether it’s a week-long business trip or a short daily commute, working from the road is tougher than working from the comfort of one’s home or office. That’s why you need all the convenience you can get. If it comes in the form of a Christmas present, that’s even better!
Buying for someone who falls into the road warrior category? Here are the kind of gifts they are sure to appreciate.
1. Universal Travel Case for Small Electronics
Items like chargers, batteries, USB drives, and memory cards often get lost or damaged during travel. If you need some way to store them safely in one place, a water-resistant travel case like this one from AmazonBasics is a great option.
The travel case is a tad bigger than an A5-sized notebook. It has a lining of soft cotton to keep your electronics and accessories scratch free. There are several compartments to hold devices like a smartphone, camera, and a Global Positioning System (GPS) unit. Own a Kindle or another 7-inch tablet? You can fit that in the case, too.
This makes a decent, inexpensive gift that’s high on utility. You could even supplement it with a couple of Applecores to help keep cords untangled. They are available from Amazon for USD 26 with free shipping.
2. Universal Smartphone Car Mount
It’s tough to keep your eyes on the road when you’re fumbling with your smartphone or GPS device to figure out directions. Why not keep your smartphone mounted on the air vent or windshield with this sturdy car mount from Easy-Tech?
The mount comes with a suction cup mechanism and has padded, adjustable grips to lock your smartphone in place. It works with a wide variety of smartphones, right from the 1.5-inch wide ones to the 4.3-inch wide ones.
If you’re worried that the suction mechanism isn’t strong enough to hold the car mount, don’t be! The manufacturer has updated the design based on feedback from customers. It now has a stronger suction cup and higher grade components to keep the mount stationed securely.
3. Wireless Travel Router
Lack of Internet access can drive you nuts when you have a pile of digital work waiting for you. Ensure that you have a decent Internet connection with this Tripmate wireless travel router from HooToo. It allows you to turn a wired connection into a wireless one, and even doubles up as storage for your mobile devices.
With a one-time setup, the router can also act as a bridge between your devices and the local network, say, the WiFi at the hotel where you’re staying. This comes in handy if the hotel restricts you to one device, when you need several of them to get your work done. In any case, it’s smart to stay prepared to work offline.
4. Backpack with Built-in Charging
A couple of the biggest concerns while traveling with tech is storing devices safely and keeping them charged to go. You won’t have to worry about either of these if you have the Tylt backpack in tow, because it comes with multiple compartments (13!) and charging stations for your devices.
The removable, rechargeable Lithium Ion battery (10,400mAh) has sufficient juice — the equivalent of one full tablet charge — to keep your devices charged through the workday. You can charge up to three devices at a time.
The backpack provides dedicated space for your sunglasses, headphones, drink bottles, and travel documents as well. Its design is airport friendly. And while you still have to unpack your laptop at security, at least you can slide the entire backpack — laptop and all — onto the handle of your rolling luggage using its trolley sleeve. That’ll ease those long walks along airport corridors.
So, are there any frequent fliers in your life who’d appreciate the convenience of this backpack?
If a laptop with decent specs seems like an unaffordable gift, you haven’t met the Chromebook, yet. It’s fast, lightweight, and quick to boot, which makes it the perfect travel device.
Contrary to popular myth, the Chromebook does work offline. Make Skype calls, edit Office documents, access cloud storage — you can do all this from a Chromebook. As for using Photoshop, you should be able to do that shortly, thanks to options like Project Photoshop Streaming.
If you need a little help figuring out available specs and brands, you’re in luck, because we have a guide to help you pick the perfect Chromebook.
Still not convinced that a Chromebook is as capable as it sounds? Let Ryan — our managing editor and first-time Chromebook user — persuade you to give the Chromebook a chance.
6. Portable Solar Charger
The SunLabz portable solar charger makes the perfect gift for that outdoorsy digital worker in your life — the one who’s on a hiking/biking/camping trip, has just returned from one, or is planning one no matter when you happen to call.
The charger is rugged, eco friendly, and built for travel. All you have to do is hook up your device to the charger using the built-in 5V USB connector and keep the solar panel at a 45 degree angle facing the sun.
Whether you want to check emails on your tablet or use the GPS on your smartphone, the solar charger ensures that your devices have enough charge to take care of those tasks.
Thanks to the built-in Voltage Stability Controller, you don’t have to worry about device damage caused by fluctuating current.
7. USB 3.0 Flash Drive
The humble flash drive continues to hold its own in a sea of free cloud storage options, and you can’t go wrong with one from SanDisk. It’s sturdy and durable — just what you need for carrying around in your pocket.
A USB drive makes a good gift for any kind of digital worker, because who doesn’t need more storage space? Go as high as you can with the storage capacity, as long as your budget permits it. Opt for a USB 3.0 model like this SanDisk Ultra Fit 128GB flash drive. Read our USB guide before ordering one.
8. Bluetooth In-Car Speakerphone
If you like to wrap up a few work calls during your commute, this Bluetooth car speakerphone comes in handy. Its Voice Control feature works with Android as well as iOS devices.
The speakerphone comes with a motion sensor that detects your presence in the car or the lack of it and turns off the speaker, accordingly.
You get a decent sound quality, which means you can focus on the road and carry on work conversations with ease. You can also use your smartphone’s GPS, listen to podcasts, play some music — all through voice commands, i.e. hands free.
9. WiFi Security Camera
It’s difficult to focus on work when you’re worried about kids or pets back home. Having a steady way to keep an eye on them when you’re away can help you breathe a little easier. That’s where this plug-and-play home security camera comes in. Direct its full HD 1080p audio/video feed to your computer or mobile device.
The camera supports two-way communication. This means that you can carry on a conversation with your partner or soothe your toddler with a lullaby, as if you haven’t left the room. You could be stuck in a hotel room on the other side of the world for all the difference it makes.
The camera does have the odd drawback or two, but with features like night vision, intelligent zooming, and 360 degree pan/tilt, it’s still one of the advanced options available.
10. Handheld Portable Document Scanner
Keep track of important documents while on the move with this handy little wireless document scanner (900 dpi). Scan everything from forms to contracts to receipts just by rolling the scanner over their surface. The device is compatible with Windows and OS X.
Note that the effective scanning area spans the dimensions of an A4-sized sheet. Of course, you can still scan larger documents by going over them repeatedly till you cover all the areas that need scanning.
The scanner is lightweight and functions on a couple of AA batteries. You’ll be able to save your scans to an SD card, and even convert them to text, thanks to the built-in Optical Character Recognition (OCR ) feature.
It’s Time to Go Gift Shopping
If you know people who travel for work or work while traveling, help them out with a thoughtful gift that makes their work easier.
What are you going to buy for that friend or family member who works on the go? Did any of the items above inspire more gift ideas? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!
Image Credits:sitting on a countryside road by Ollyy via Shutterstock