Although COVID-19 put the brakes on business travel in 2020, borders are beginning to reopen, restrictions are slowly being lifted and there is a new vaccine in the mix. All positive signs for a resurgence in business travel come 2021 – any many are excited to get back on the road.
Have you got a frequent flier in your life? With Christmas just around the corner, we’ve put together the perfect collection of gifts:
We’ve may have missed the excitement of travel, but long-haul flights (unless you’re lucky enough to ‘turn left’) have never been comfortable. Look for gifts that will ease the discomfort of a long flight – or bring a few home comforts to their journey.
First up, a decent mask. Travellers will be wearing a mask for the entire journey (departure hall, flight and arrivals, right up until they exit the airport building – and beyond) so try and find the perfect solution.
Despite assurances that aircraft are fitted with high-level HEPA filters that eliminate all viruses, including coronavirus, many travellers will insist on a N95 respirator mask. If your traveller is a little more relaxed, look for a mask that is breathable, anti-wrinkle and odour-resistant.
A silk mask is an interesting option as it ticks all the boxes in terms of breathability, inherent antiviral, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, and comfort. Just make sure you find a mask with the recommended number of layers. Silk does not irritate the skin or increase local humidity around the face beneath it, making it suitable for prolonged wear.
Silk is also a great gift in terms of eye masks and pillow slips – perfect for those who like a personal pillowcase while travelling. Even better? A silk pillowcase can improve skin and hair hydration and prevent fine lines, wrinkles and facial creases!
Nifty gifts: Noise-cancelling headphones; travel pillows; travel blankets; a soft scarf or pashmina; eco-friendly water bottles with built-in filtration (a great eco-friendly option for drinking clean, safe water anywhere in the world); and travel-size toiletries or cosmetics (especially hand sanitiser, moisturiser and lip balm). If money is no object, consider a portable espresso machine. The Wacaco Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker, which is available in South Africa, lets the javaphile (coffee lover) in your life make the perfect cup of coffee wherever they are.
Travellers are constantly looking for clever ways to mitigate the stress and irritation of travel. Top of the list is light, good-quality luggage. Look out for something durable, easy to use (four-wheel ‘spinners’ are a great example) and that has been carefully designed with the modern traveller in mind. Ditto for laptop bags and travel wallets.
Nifty gifts: A good carry-on bag (cabin-size approved); travel wallets (perfect for storing cash, passports, boarding passes, pens and other valuables); light packing cubes (handy organisers which save space and make packing and unpacking a breeze) and ‘hanging’ toiletry bags (useful in poky hotel bathrooms).
For most business travellers, being connected is a top priority. Oz Desai, GM Corporate Traveller, a travel management company (TMC) which forms part of the Flight Centre Travel Group, says that good TMCs work hard to ensure that business travellers are happy, relaxed and productive. This includes sourcing the most direct flights, booking flexible tickets, vetting hotels and even securing airport lounge access.
“Time spent in transit is possibly the most frustrating aspect of business travel,” says Desai. “Most business travellers are either looking to catch up on work, or get a decent rest while en route. They’ll appreciate the mod cons of an airport lounge – and any gadget which keeps them online and connected. That is why Corporate Traveller has developed SAM, a smart travel assistant that you can access on the go. From pre-trip information such as letting you know the weather in your destination to help you pack, to alerting you of a change of departure gate and organising a taxi on arrival, the traveller in your life will find Sam really helpful.”
Nifty gifts: Portable chargers/power banks; universal travel plugs; spare chargers and cables; a Chromecast (a clever little device that allows you to stream content, e.g. a Netflix series or SuperSport match, directly from your mobile device to the hotel TV); and portable luggage scales (great for those on buying trips or shopping sprees).
With baggage tampering and theft spiking during the holiday season, South African travellers understand only too well the need to keep your possessions safe and secure. There is nothing worse than arriving at your destination to discover that your bag has been rifled through and possessions are missing (with branded perfume one of the most commonly pilfered items). Although not particularly exciting or ‘sexy’, luggage locks make practical and useful gifts.
Nifty gifts: Luggage locks; fun and recognisable baggage tags; and suitcase belts/travel straps (bright, identifiable colours with sturdy locks).
Downtime on a business trip? Absolutely says Desai. “Bleisure travel, put simply, is the concept of adding a few leisure days onto a business trip – a practice which is becoming increasingly popular.” Not only is it great for morale, but Desai believes that arriving a few days early for a business trip will leave travellers a little more rested, inspired and able to work more productively and efficiently.
How can you encourage the corporate traveller in your life to slow down and enjoy the journey? Consider gifting them with vouchers for excursions and experiences in their next destination.
Nifty gifts: Great books like Atlas Obscura (An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders), 1001 Places to See Before You Die (Places to Go, Things to Do in Southern Africa) and The Bucket List: 1000 Adventures Big & Small will reignite wanderlust in 2021!