Holiday Gift Guide 2011: Consultants and Traveling Professionals Edition

Being a consultant or traveling professional comes with some unique challenges compared to the standard 9-to-5 job. We’re constantly on the road, talking on the phone, guzzling coffee, chowing down, and trying to find street addresses in neighborhoods we’ve never been in before.

I’ve put together this gift guide to help make life a little easier for the consultant on your shopping list this Holiday season.

1) Colgate Wisp

I can’t recall exactly how many times I’ve traveled out to a client’s location for the afternoon, which usually means that I get to eat my lunch on the road. By the time I’m done eating and I arrive at my client’s office, I oftentimes wish I could brush my teeth. Thanks to Colgate, this is no longer a problem.

With the Colgate Wisp, I can brush my teeth anywhere without all of the hassle of finding a restroom, carrying around toothpaste, and having a place to spit and rinse. These single-use toothbrushes contain toothpaste “beads”, which are available in many flavors, and much more convenient than a tube of toothpaste. Now I can brush my teeth on the go and simply throw away the brush when I’m done. There’s not a consultant on your shopping list that wouldn’t love to have a box of these under the tree.

2) Bluetooth Headset

Unless you have a car with built-in Bluetooth, a Bluetooth headset is an absolute necessity for a traveling consultant. Considering the amount of time consultants spend on the phone while driving, being able to talk hands-free will save countless lives and trips to the dry cleaners.

There are endless varieties of Bluetooth headsets available from many different manufacturers, which can range from below $20 to well over $100. While many cheaper models are likely to perform about as well as some of the more expensive models, keep in mind that in general, you do get what you pay for. The cheapest models likely won’t last as long or work as well as the upper tier, preventing your gift living up to its potential.

3) Garmin nüvi GPS

Cell phones are a great tool without a doubt. However, relying too much on my cell phone can be a real hassle, especially while traveling. Consider using your phone’s GPS function while dialing in to a conference call and eating your lunch, all while keeping your attention on the road ahead. Talk about a headache.

Stand-alone GPS units, such as my personal favorite Garmin nüvi, are an excellent solution to this problem. Since receiving one as a gift a couple of years ago, my phone is completely free to use for phone calls – imagine that! Having a device dedicated to GPS requires less multitasking, making my drive much safer. No consultant should be without one.

4) Laptop Attaché

Having a laptop carrying bag is a necessity for consultants and IT professionals alike. Traveling with a laptop also means traveling with power cords, wireless mice, and the occasional sandwich (among other important accessories), so it is important to have an attaché with plenty of pockets for items besides the laptop itself.

5) The Best Travel Mug

Here it is, the Holy Grail of travel coffee mugs: A heated travel mug complete with USB and car adapter! Not only will it plug into your car to keep your coffee warm during the early morning trip to the client far, far away, but you can also plug it in to your laptop once you get there. Unless you like cold coffee, it doesn’t get any better than this.

I’ve had many coffee mugs in my day, and every day I wish I had one of these. If anyone out there’s feeling extra generous this holiday season, send one my way. I’ll appreciate it, I promise!