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Gift Guide: 10 suitcase-friendly gifts for frequent flyers

Welcome to TechCrunchs 2018 Holiday Gift Guide! Need more gift ideas? Check out our Gift Guide Hub.
Ive been traveling a lot this year more than any year in the past. Its been both a blessing and a curse, so thanks, TechCrunch, for that. Honestly, I should probably be packing for Asia instead of writing this, but Im looking out for you instead.
Rather than writing the standard Travel Guide or Holiday Gift Guide, weve opted to combine them into one. Because if theres one key to making the most out of your time on the road, its efficiency. Technology can play an important role in helping streamline the packing process and generally making the most out of your trip.
Of course, as with everything, too much tech can also be a bad thing. I know Ive found myself packing too many gadgets or jamming a messy rat king of cables in my carry-on, making a mess of things in the process.
What follows is a collection of gadgets, accessories and other products designed to remove some of the biggest pain points from travel and help you make the most of your trip, whether overnight or longer.

Amazon Kindle Oasis


Gift Guide: 10 suitcase-friendly gifts for frequent flyers

Okay, maybe including a Kindle on here is a bit of a cheat, but very few devices have improved my travel life like an e-reader and the Oasis is currently the nicest one you can get. It wasnt all that long ago I used to jam several paperbacks into my carry-on. I do miss the tactility of real books from time to time, but when it comes to traveling, nothing beats the ability to jam thousands of books into a seat-back pocket.
Price: $249-$279

Available from: Amazon

Anker 40W 4-Port USB Wall Charger


Gift Guide: 10 suitcase-friendly gifts for frequent flyers

A lot of modern hotels are getting better about USB ports. I recently found myself staying at one in LA where every single link had a place for me to charge my iPhone. But its still a crapshoot especially when traveling to a strange city and hey, if you can avoid plugging your personal devices into a strange port, all the better.
I started traveling with my own combo mini power strip/USB hub years ago, but Ankers 40W 4-Port USB Wall Charger is a much more compact solution, bringing four USB ports directly to the wall. Best of all, like all of Ankers products, its dirt cheap.
Price: $26

Available from: Amazon

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BUBM Cable Bag


Gift Guide: 10 suitcase-friendly gifts for frequent flyers

Ive tried a LOT of cable organizers in my many years of gadget blogging. Its the only thing that keeps my travel bag from turning into the Indiana Jones snake pit. At the end of the day, all of them ultimately suffer the same compromise: you can either have a lot of compartments for your various tech doodads or you can free up more space in your bag.
Ultimately, I tend to side with the latter. Especially when it comes to carry ons, anything you can do to free up space is a net positive. Lately, Ive been digging this one from BUBM. It looks snazzy and the fold-over design helps free up precious bag real estate.
Price: $12

Available from: Amazon

Calm Subscription


Gift Guide: 10 suitcase-friendly gifts for frequent flyers

This is one is admittedly an odd choice. Sure there are plenty of travel-specific apps out there, but when it comes to helping tamp down the stress associated with travel, the Calm app is a good place to start. This is coming for a very anxious flyer, mind you. Its not a fear of flying that parts fine. Its everything else. From the getting to the airport to the endless lines to the $3 airport water to the occasional middle seat.
Im also, not coincidentally, an anxious meditator. Ive tried a LOT of different apps to pursue mindfulness on my smartphone, and Calm is far and away the one I like the best. The guided meditation sessions are terrific and ditto for the the more freeform ones. Its also a great way to get your bearings after waking up in a hotel room in some unknown city.
A years subscription runs $60, which is a small price to pay for peace of mind.
Price: $60

Available from: Calm

Harman Kardon Traveler Speaker


Gift Guide: 10 suitcase-friendly gifts for frequent flyers

This one admittedly feels like more of a luxury than many of the others, but dont underestimate how much a small Bluetooth speaker can improve hotel time. The vast majority of laptops have pretty terrible built-in speakers and even middling Bluetooth speakers are a major improvement.
Harman Kardons Traveler fits the bill and wont add much size or weight to a carry on. It also has a built-in mic for teleconference a definite bonus for work trips and doubles as a power bank for charging up devices. The 2,500mAh battery isnt much, but on the road, every little bit of juice counts.
Price: $150

Available from: Harman Kardon

HyperDrive USB-C Hub Attach


Gift Guide: 10 suitcase-friendly gifts for frequent flyers

I travel with a LOT of gadgets. Its kind of my job. As such, youre no doubt catching onto the fact that lack of charging ports is a consistent theme in all of this. HyperDrive USB-C Hub Attach is a clever take on TwelveSouths iconic PlugBug that brings USB ports directly to the MacBooks charging brick. Here, however, youve got the decided bonus of a third active USB-C port for data transfer. At $50 for the larger version, its also priced to match TwelveSouths offering.

Price: $50

Available from: HYPER

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Luna Display


Gift Guide: 10 suitcase-friendly gifts for frequent flyers

As I noted in my write up last month, the Luna Display isnt for everyone, but those who need it will find it to be a downright lifesaver. Once this thumbnail-sized $80 device plugs into a MacBook, it connects to a nearby iPad over Wi-Fi, converting the tablet into a second screen.
Ive been using the hell out of it every time Ive found myself working from the road or at home. Ive become entirely dependent on my monitor at work, and now find myself being the guy with both a laptop and tablet out on the table at the coffee shop. Totally worth it for the ability to monitor my RSS feeds while working on a story.
Price: $80

Available from: Luna

RAVPower Wireless Portable Charger


Gift Guide: 10 suitcase-friendly gifts for frequent flyers

Powerbanks are a dime a dozen these days, but RavPower is making some of the cleverest ones out there. Its tough to narrow them all down, but this one lands on my list for its inclusion of a Qi charging pad that lets users wirelessly charge compatible handsets on top of the brick.
Keep in mind, some airlines and airports are limiting the size of batteries that can be stowed in a bag, so if the person youre buying for is a frequent visitor to, say, China, double check the limits though this 10400mAh battery should be fine in most cases.
Price: $50

Available from: Amazon

Timbuk2 Never Check Expandable Backpack


Gift Guide: 10 suitcase-friendly gifts for frequent flyers

I always thought Id outgrow backpacks, but aside from a brief flirtation with the messenger bag in the aughts, Im rarely seen without one. Of course, no two are the same, and if theres a frequent traveler in your life, a solid backpack makes all the difference in the world.
Timbuk2 makes some truly terrific bags, and the Never Check certainly fits the bill. It has a spacious interior for clothes, shoes and anything else needed for an overnight trip, while maintaining a small enough footprint to be stashed in an overhead bin or under the seat in of you.
Price: $200

Available from: Timbuk2

Twelve South AirFly


Gift Guide: 10 suitcase-friendly gifts for frequent flyers

This is one of those travel concerns that doesnt really dawn on you until youre face to face with it. Love your Bluetooth earbuds? Great. But good luck listening to the movie on your flight. Twelve South, in all of its infinite wisdom, has designed a small wireless transmitter that plugs into headphone jacks, so you can use your go to headphones with the seat-back entertainment system. Turns out it also comes in handy for the TVs at the hotel gym.
The biggest downside here is pricing $30 doesnt seem like much, but you can grab a pair of wired headphones for pretty cheap these days.
Price: $30

Available from: Amazon
Gift Guide: 10 suitcase-friendly gifts for frequent flyers


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