Whilst it may seem like every woman and her dog are publishing gift idea articles at this time of year, I know how difficult it can be to buy something which is both practical and appreciated so I decided to go ahead with some ideas of my own. These holiday gift ideas for female international business travellers are therefore perhaps a different mix, but they include items that I carry & use on every business trip.

Having spent many years travelling the world alone for work, I can tell you that business trips are often not as much fun as they may look from the outside. Sure, you get to go to really cool places & (sometimes) stay in some fantastic hotels, but on the other hand you seldom have time for sightseeing and you’re often away from your loved ones. It can be exhausting and hard so anything that makes life easier or more pleasant is to be welcomed.

The kind of things that I’ve looked at here then are practicalities so that you don’t have to worry about work “issues” whilst away, ways to stay more comfortable on long flights, and some ideas for feeling “at home” away from home or as reminders of trips.

Some of the items listed here are affiliate links. That means that should you buy from that link then I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to yourself. However, the question as to whether I can wholeheartedly recommend a product was in the foreground of my considerations so my motivation for including the items was based on their suitability as a gift.


Having the right bags can make or break a trip. You want your belongings to be protected in transit and your choice of bag should always be robust enough to survive the cavalier treatment meted out by airport ground staff, should you need to check it in.

Since 2000 I’ve always used Samsonite luggage. My main motivation for sticking with the brand is that the cases are incredibly robust without being over the top expensive. I mean, I love the idea of a Rimowa but I always figure that the additional cost isn’t really justifiable. I actually have 2 for different kinds of trips: a small one for carry on size (55cm/20″) & a medium/large one (69cm/27.2″) for trips of up to 3 1/2 weeks. I am a packing ninja though, so you might want to consider a larger size for those longer trips!

Some features to look for:

  • TSA Locks
  • 4 wheels (Samsonite spinner wheels are guaranteed for 20km, but can be replaced. 20km sounds like a lot, but as a frequent traveller, believe me it’s nothing. I’m sure that my wheels have all done waaaay more than that though & are still going strong)
  • elongated handle which is sturdy – you can rack up an unbelievable number of kilometres over the years & you don’t want a wobbly handle like some cheaper bags have.
  • colours other than black – makes it way easier to recognise at the baggage belt (remember that if a flight is very full you may have to check even your 55cm (20″) carry on).

Laptop Bag/Handbag

Now if I didn’t have 3 other laptop bags on rotation, a black one of these would definitely be on my Christmas list. Chic, luxe and made for modern life. The Carter re-imagines what is possible for a woman’s every day carry. Forget boring black laptop bags, awkward backpacks and never-quite-big-enough handbags; The Carter does it all.

This is a luxe vegan leather laptop bag, made from recycled plastics. It features two compartments, a unique organiser panel and detachable straps, making it the perfect gift for ambitious women who want to look as good as they feel!

The bag has room to house all of your daily essentials and safely stow your laptop and charger.

The detachable straps and concealed back pocket make The Carter bag a perfect companion for commuting. It enables you to carry your bag on your back and easily reach your bank and travel cards without fumbling around.

Made sustainably and ethically using recycled materials, designed by working women for working women! Charlotte Carter has really poured her heart into this project.

There are 2 variants available: Black with a Blue lining and Tan with a Pink lining & they are large enough to take up to a 17″ laptop.

The bags are priced at £199 & UK delivery is free (overseas shipping is also an option – please contact the company for details as the situation is pretty fluid at the moment).

You can also find notebooks there (anyone with a stationary collection?) and cosy recycled blanket scarves. I may well be investing in these as Christmas gifts for a couple of people! Those scarves would certainly be a fantastic way to snuggle on a long flight.

Tracker for Things

tile mate to help locate your important belongings

I’m sure you’ve misplaced important stuff like your keys or wallet at some time right? If that happens to you away from home, you’re quickly in a state of near panic (remind me to tell you some time about leaving my nice handbag with wallet & passport in it in a hotel bar in China & not realising until the next morning ? – & yes, I got it back, but I had a bad couple of hours.) Well, that wouldn’t have been an issue if I’d had this little tracker in there.

Just open the app on your phone and it will quickly find your belongings for you! This is especially a life-saver in business travel situations when you are in-between airports and hotels all the time.

Mobile Wifi

It makes such a difference if you have a reliable source of WiFi when travelling internationally. What I like most about this personal hotspot from GlocalMe is that you don’t need a local SIM card to be able to use it, but you do have the option to put a SIM card in there if you have one. It switches dynamically between networks to get the best connection and speed, which can be a real boon if you’re trying to send mails with large attachments whilst between office and airport or hotel. What’s more, they cover more than 140 countries and regions making it about as flexible as you can get.

Mobile wifi

You can connect 10 gadgets at once and it really does fit in your pocket, unlike some of the competitor products on the market. The data plans are pretty flexible: you can use the accompanying app to buy the data that you need. There’s no contract to commit to, and you can pay by the day, month, region or gigabyte.

Power Bank (External Charger)

Anker power bank

Just as essential these days as mobile WiFi, if not more so. None of us can afford to have our phones run out of juice when we need to show a Covid vaccination code, or use them to pay for the meal we just invited guests to!

Whilst it’s tempting to get a really powerful one, there are restrictions in some countries eg China as to what you are allowed to take on board. So there’s no point gifting what you think is the best power bank going, only for it to be confiscated at some provincial Chinese airport. Most important for international travel is that the power should be clearly printed on the device in both Wh & mAh.

As a general rule, airlines will let you have 2 power banks – neither should have a rating of more than 100Wh (or approx. 20000mAh), however often in China anything over 10000mAh will be confiscated. One of my colleagues was once quite superior about his charger compared to my “little one”. Till we came to security in Shanghai & I had the last laugh ???? Power banks must be carried in hand luggage wherever you’re flying.

World Adaptor Plug

Global plug adaptor

These are available in all kinds of variants ranging from simple eg. UK–> Central European through to complex (pretty much anywhere to anywhere). If whoever you are gifting makes multi-country trips then it makes sense to have one of the more complex ones.

I don’t know how often I’ve been in hotel rooms especially in Asia with 2 or 3 DIFFERENT sockets so it really does pay to be ready for anything.

Water Bottle

One thing that really makes the difference for me between feeling meh after a long flight and being ready to hit the office running is being properly hydrated. Consequently I always like to have my own water bottle with me on trips. I love these bottles from Seapigs in the UK:

  • it keeps hot drinks warm for 12 hours and cold drinks cool for 24.
  • I love a DRY bag & the anti-spill technology in the locking mechanism of the bottle lid means your drinks won’t spill, plus no slippy condensation on the outside
  • The bottles have a premium, food-grade 304 (18/8) stainless steel inner, a metal made up with 60% of recycled metals and recognised for its strength & durability. BPA-free, phthalate-free & toxin-free
  • what’s more, the ace people over at SeaPigs plant a tree for every bottle sold!

As a blog reader, you can get a 20% discount until the end of 2021 using the code KREAD at checkout, so what are you waiting for?

Eye Mask

silk sleep mask

Lots of people swear by those neck pillows that you can buy in every second shop at the airport. I’ve never really got on with them, so my recommendation in these holiday gift ideas for female international business travellers is for a really nice silk eye mask.

Blocking out the light is both a great way to improve your sleep quality whilst on a plane, but can also help when sleeping in a strange hotel room. It adds a touch of luxury to a situation that often feels inherently grubby & uncomfortable.

Of course, noise blocking headphones can also be a great help for many people. I’ve never got on with them though and so I didn’t include any on this list.

Silicon Travel Bottles

silicon travel bottles

I’ve been using these for travel for around 7 or 8 years now and I love them! However as I periodically (fairly regularly) leave one behind somewhere (those 3am wake up calls…) my younger sister is organised enough to repurchase a set for me every couple of years ?..

What makes them so fab? Well, firstly they are refillable and of a size that you can use them for carry on liquids, so you don’t have to buy the travel sized versions of everything & waste all that packaging. Secondly, they seal really well and are pretty robust. They mostly come with a twist ring in the lid so you can identify the contents eg shampoo, shower, suncream. It’s great for if you think it might be an idea to take some suncream on a trip just in case, but you know you’ll only need it a couple of times.



One of the most difficult things about travelling a lot for business is making time for exercise. Some places you might not want to leave the hotel and wander around the area (or at least not at the times of day when you would have time to exercise) & not all hotels have fitness facilities open 24/7.

So I like to carry a set of therabands that I can use for a quick workout in my room. They don’t need much space in my luggage, nor are they heavy.

My tip: remember to always put a towel down on the floor before doing exercise (or the day cover from your bed with the top side down on the carpet). Hotel carpets can be really yucky….

Wall Art

Whilst those of us who travel may not have much time for actual sightseeing, we’re usually interested in the countries that we visit, especially if we go to specific places regularly. A nicely framed photo or piece of wall art can be a thoughtful gift for a frequent traveller (who probably doesn’t want to cart such things home from a distant destination, especially if they are loaded up with business samples of various kinds).

Audible Gift Subscription

Audible is Amazon’s membership subscription for audio books & you are able to gift this for varying periods of time.

Audio books can be a great way to learn whilst exercising or to enjoy a novel whilst up in the sky without having to look at a screen or carry heavy books. So if you are looking for a gift for someone who enjoys to listen to their content rather than read, this can be a great option with a variable price point.

Books set in International Settings

Obviously, this is really a matter of personal taste (& there are any number of personal development and specialist topic books out there), but it can be worth thinking about novels, biographies or travel tales set in certain locations. I’ll put some ideas below just to get you started that cover a range of topics and areas.

Those represent a variety of geographies and styles from biography, travel observations and action thrillers.

What are your suggested Holiday Gift Ideas for Female International Business Travellers?

This isn’t the kind of post that I usually write, but at this time of year it’s one of the most frequent questions I’m asked. This year people are starting to travel again more for business and so I felt that this post may be appropriate for any of you who struggle to buy for the ladies on your gift list. I’m sure that many of the gifts would be suitable for anyone who travels a lot for work, but I’ve chosen to focus on holiday gift ideas for female international business travellers as that’s the experience I have!

Clicking on any of the blue buttons or the Amazon links will take you to the relevant sites so that you can browse.

I’d love to have any feedback on this, especially if you have any additional suggestions?

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  1. […] which is really to your taste, it might mean that you have a favourite bathrobe, pyjamas or eye mask, or that you take your favourite tea, coffee or snacks with you when […]

  2. How about a travelling Shakti Mat?

    1. Do you have a specific one you’d recommend? It’s not something I’ve ever tried

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