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 best travel gifts for businesswomen 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. This is an update to the post I wrote on this topic in 2021.

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 when considering their suitability as a gift.

Luggage

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. If you’re walking the last couple of hundred metres from the subway somewhere you want to not be exhausting yourself with your luggage
  • 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), especially on small planes within Europe

Laptop Bag

I’m pretty hard on my laptop bags as I tend to use them on hand luggage only trips or stuff them with my camera bag as well as my work electronics when travelling to exciting destinations.

I have one of these in rotation, and for anything where I have more gear to carry, I use a Swissgear bag – which is a monster.

My key priorities are that it should be comfortable to carry and take all of the stuff I cart with me when travelling, but for occasions where I don’t have so much and I want it to look a bit more elegant, then I use the Tumi.

Criteria I look for:

  • padded shoulders
  • plenty of pockets and compartments
  • good protection for my laptop but at the same time easy access for security controls

Another great option is a Carter bag – less expensive than the Tumi, more elegant than the Swissgear. Put your name down on the waiting list to be notified when new stock comes in!

Global Food Hamper

Whether you’re looking for gourmet chocolates, exotic teas, or artisanal snacks, global food hampers can be a fantastic choice. After all, there are not many people who don’t enjoy eating something special, especially if they have a close connection with a market which they are working with.

To find the perfect one, consider specific preferences or dietary restrictions. Online marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy, or specialty food retailers such as Fortnum & Mason offer a variety of options. Look for reviews to ensure the quality and authenticity of the products included. Additionally, you might explore local businesses that specialise in international foods—they often create unique and personalised hampers.

This one looks like it could be good:

They ship worldwide too.

Another alternative would be something like a gourmet selection of teas – something I personally like to take on business trips with me.

Tea Set

Whilst we on the topic of tea, and how luxurious it feels if you’re away on a trip and can enjoy a beautiful cup of your preferred tea, what about gifting a travel tea set? This is one of the best travel gifts for businesswomen who spend a lot of time away from home (obviously only if they are tea drinkers!).

I came across this company a few weeks back and they don’t only offer beautiful tea sets including several specifically designed for travel, but also offer a wide range of premium tea leaves.

Smart Water Bottle

If you told me “normally” that I should have a smart water bottle to remind me when to drink, I’d probably tell you not to be so daft as I’m pretty aware of the amount of water I’m consuming. I could see a case though when travelling when it could be useful – flying across time zones I find it easy to lose track of how much water I’ve really drunk (although if I need to ask myself the question, chances are the answer is “not enough”)

This is the one item where I’d say, hmmm water bottle definitely, but do I really need a smart one? So this is very much personal preference. I think it’s a cool idea and if the person you are gifting too normally relies heavily on their water bottle to track water intake during the day then this could definitely be one of the best travel gifts for businesswomen.

Travel Laundry Bag

You might be laughing at this and thinking “Kathryn, the last thing that belongs on a list of holiday gift ideas for female international business travellers is a laundry bag” but think again… On the face of it you can just use one of those hotel plastic dry cleaning bags that most rooms are equipped with. But on the other hand, they are designed for single use (& none of us want to be using more plastic than necessary) and are not convenient to carry.

You might still be thinking it’s a bit of a boring present, but just think that there are still many countries in the world where for example smoking is still allowed in restaurants and bars. Having a moisture and smell proof laundry bag won’t just stop clean clothes smelling like your gym kit, but also from smelling like that night at the karaoke bar with clients.

Silk pillow cover

If the laundry bag didn’t convince you of it’s gift qualities, maybe this will!

Silk screams luxury, but it’s also great for not messing up your hair (apparently! With my spikes, that’s not an issue but if you’re buying for someone with longer locks then it’s something to consider) and being good with sensitive skin. So if you know somebody who struggles with allergies to hotel washing chemicals – which let’s face it are often pretty harsh – this could be a good option.

White looks classy but has the disadvantage that it’s firstly easy for you to forget because it doesn’t hit your eye when you do that all important final quick scan of the room before checking out, but also because it would be easy for the cleaning staff to mistake it for one of theirs.

ESim

In the past I used to carry a mobile WiFi device, however this year I discovered the convenience of using an eSim. It has the huge advantage of not being another device to lug around with you (& keep charged) and there are some pretty good deals out there.

For me, I found that using one of Airalo’s regional SIMs for Asia has the additional advantage of allowing me to save the cost of a VPN when I’m in China because I’m effectively roaming.

For example 10GB of data valid for 30 days in the UK costs $22.50 – much cheaper than roaming. Or unlimited Thailand data for 15 days for $19.95.

Prerequisite is a phone that’s max around 5 years old and unlocked (for other network providers’ SIM cards).

If you use code KATHRY3765 at checkout, you can get $3 off your first purchase. So head over to Airalo.com to check out their offers!

Cutlery to Go

Having your own set of travel utensils on a business trip sounds like such a weird thing to carry perhaps, but firstly saves on single use plastic and secondly makes life a bit nicer. We’ve all had that experience of takeaway cutlery that hardly cuts through the food or where you get splinters in your lips from the cheap chopsticks

Carrying a lightweight yet sturdy set with you on a business trip can also save you from endless single use straws or not being able to properly stir the sugar into your coffee.

Phone Camera Lens Kit

If you are looking to buy a gift for someone who wants to record more moments on their business trips, but not carry the weight of a larger camera, this kind of multi-lens kit could be just the thing.

I’ve often hit the limits of my phone camera on business trips in the past, but carrying one of my other cameras has felt like too much additional weight. So whilst you do have to make sure the lens is compatible with the phone in question, this is definitely one of my favourite picks of gifts for international women entrepreneurs.

Hope you find something suitable on this roundup of best travel gifts for businesswomen

I’ve tried to stay away from the usual suggestions of travel cubes and travel pillows, whilst keeping things both practical whilst also adding potentially a bit of luxury. Whilst I’ve not included them again here, Tile Pro trackers represent some of the best value out there and are something that won’t break the bank.

What would be your gift suggestions for women business travellers?

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Kathryn

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