The Best Gifts for the Frequent Flier in Your Life
Perfect picks for anyone on your list who spends more time in the air than on the ground.
Shopping for frequent fliers isn’t easy. If you want to get them something they’ll use on the daily, it will have to fit in their carry-on or as a personal item. It will also have to get the green light from the TSA whose growing list of prohibited items is almost as long as the line at security the day before Thanksgiving. Fortunately, frequent fliers aren’t a new phenomenon (they’ve been around since 1979 when Texas International Airlines first introduced a loyalty program), and more brands are starting to cater to them.
Airport shops carry most of these game-changing goods which are also popular among flight attendants and pilots. But they’re probably the worst place to shop unless you enjoy overpaying. Instead, head to Amazon where you’ll find plenty of affordable products designed for people who fly more miles in a month than most people fly in a lifetime. After all, even if a frequent flier enjoys unlimited lounge access, priority boarding, and/or all the perks afforded by flying first class on the likes of Emirates, their travel experience can always be further elevated thanks to the current state of air travel.
From a power bank that can charge up to three devices at once to a travel pillow capable of putting chiropractors out of business, here are 12 gift ideas–starting at a very reasonable $10–that any jetsetter on your list will love.
The award-winning and doctor-recommended Cabeau Evolution S3 is pretty much the gold standard of travel pillows. That’s why more than 2,000 were sold on Amazon last month. Unlike flimsy pillows that get flat over time, this model is made of memory foam that always bounces back. With its adjustable straps, it can easily be attached to the headrest, so it never slides to one side. It also comes with a removable machine-washable cover, has a pocket for earplugs, and packs down to take up half the space of most travel pillows. The convenient carrying case has a quick-release clasp that can be attached to the outside of any bag, freeing up precious interior space.
Regardless of departure city or destination, airplane cabins are infamous for their bone-chilling Arctic blast, 365 days a year. But with this best-selling travel blanket (that boasts a 4.7-star average rating from more than 5,600 ratings and is beloved by flight attendants), there’s no need to bundle up in layers or cling to a seatmate for body heat. It’s made of a premium microplush fabric, so it’s as warm as it is machine washable. And unlike most travel blankets which roll up for storage, the EverSnug comes with a soft, microplush rectangular case. I.e. when packed up, it can double as a travel pillow.
Getting all your daily nutrients in an airport isn’t easy, nor is it cheap. Fortunately, these tasty travel-size drink mixes (i.e. ideal stocking stuffers) are packed with 75 vitamins and minerals. And at less than $5 per serving, they’re far more affordable than that $12 smoothie your favorite frequent flier will have to wait in line for at the food court. Still on the fence about superfood supplements? Just know that Athletic Greens Travel Packs are so popular on Amazon that more than 1,000 boxes were sold last month alone. Travelers who left five-star reviews say they’ve seen dramatic results and even credit these greens with keeping them from catching other passengers’ colds.
Frequent fliers that spend their layovers shopping (it’s that darn duty-free) always appreciate having an extra bag handy in their carry-on. The Venture Pal Packable Backpack is perfect for travel because it packs into one of its pockets and doesn’t take up much space when not in use. It holds up to 40 cubic liters and features several compartments and pockets, including a main compartment big enough to fit a laptop (or a bottle of Jack Daniels) and a waterproof pocket perfect for storing valuables. It has a 4.6-star average rating from nearly 30,000 reviews and is currently available in 13 colors.
Frequent fliers live out of their luggage, so why not get them a set complete with a size for every situation? The Coolife Luggage 3-piece set, which comes with a two-year warranty, is ranked second on Amazon’s list of Best Sellers in Luggage Sets, and it has an impressive 4.6-star average rating from more than 22,200 ratings. Each piece has multidirectional spinner wheels, a TSA-approved lock, and zippered interior pockets. Also, they stack inside each other, so when not in use, they don’t take up much space. Currently, they come in 18 colors. (Unfortunately, you can’t mix and match.)
Travelpro was founded by a commercial pilot determined to create a durable product that could keep up with his busy lifestyle. More than 35 years later the brand’s beloved Travelpro Maxlite 5 Softside Expandable Luggage is perfect for the packer who needs a little more real estate for their return trip. Not only does this carry-on expand by two inches, but it also boasts two padded exterior compartments ideal for those last minute purchases. Worried about rain? Don’t be. The exterior’s Duraguard coating is water and stain-resistant, and the interior’s H20 Guard will keep contents safe and dry.
Sure, flight attendants hand out headsets, but they’re usually uncomfortable, possibly unsanitary, and sometimes only one ear works. Fortunately, with a wireless transmitter like the Twelve South AirFly Pro, passengers can use their own wireless headsets (including noise-canceling headphones) to watch in-flight entertainment on the big screen. The AirFly Pro, which has a 4.4-star average rating from nearly 11,000 ratings, has a battery life of 25+ hours and can pair with up to two headsets at a time. Simply plug it into the audio jack, pair it with your device(s), and binge-watch to your heart’s content.
Between their carry-on, coffee, phone, and boarding pass, frequent fliers have their hands full. That’s why they’ll appreciate trading their traditional trifold wallet for this game-changer with a push button for quick, one-handed card access. Available in 10 colors, this sleek premium leather accessory also features RFID protection. And while it looks ultra compact–it’s Ekster’s slimmest wallet yet–it can still fit up to 12 cards and has a strap to keep cash secure. Do people still travel with cash? Travelers who gate-check bags and tip lounge bartenders do!
Things are getting better, but airport and plane outlets are still about as reliable as airline Wi-Fi. For the traveler who would rather be stuck in a middle seat than stuck with dead devices, consider the latest from Anker, one of the most trusted brands in power banks. Unlike similar models, this new 20,000mAh portable charger features a built-in USB-C cable and a convenient carrying strap. It has the capacity to charge a smartphone up to three or four times on just one charge and can also juice up tablets, Macbooks, and more. In fact, it can charge up to three devices at the same time.
Because airline baggage policies are always changing, it’s a good idea for travelers (especially overpackers) to bring their own scale. No one wants to be in line at the airport only to find out they’ll have to pay a hefty fee if they don’t repack on the spot. This best-selling handheld luggage scale, which has a 4.7-star average rating from more than 44,000 ratings, is as accurate as scales get. It’s battery-powered and can give a bag’s weight in kilograms or pounds (up to 110 pounds). Simply attach it to any suitcase or bag handle, hold it up, and within seconds the weight is displayed on the LCD screen.
Even if you splurge for Economy Plus, it’s easy to arrive at your destination looking a little disheveled—made all the worse when you go to change, only to find the clothes in your bag have already wrinkled. Fortunately, TSA lets travelers fly with this popular portable handheld garment steamer. It weighs just 1.13 pounds and takes up about as much space as a shoe. Simply fill the water tank with water, wait two minutes until it’s hot, and then enjoy 10 minutes of continuous, satisfying steaming. The Pure Enrichment Portable Handheld Garment Steamer has more than 5,500 perfect five-star ratings and comes with a five-year warranty.
These memory foam blackout curtains for your eyes are total game changers. In fact, they work so well that they have a 4.6-star average rating from nearly 87,000 ratings—making them the number one best-selling sleep mask on all of Amazon. The MZOO Sleep Eye Mask comes in seven colors, and it’s 3-D (as opposed to other masks, which lie flat). Its ergonomic design with molded eye cups puts zero pressure on the eyes. The strap is adjustable, so the mask fits heads of all sizes. And since it’s held together with heat-bonded technology, there’s no irritating glue or seams.