Regular travellers checking in from far-flung corners of the world absorb the envy and wide-eyed wonder of family and friends who think your jet-set existence is the personification of the high life.
What they don’t see in-between status updates featuring beaches, bars and swanky airport lounges is the grind – flights on the back end of the clock, immigration queues, long taxi rides to the hotel, jetlag-fuelled insomnia and wall-to-wall meetings.
After all that, you feel like you deserve the actual holiday that everyone else thinks you’ve been on all along.
It’s this demanding lifestyle that opens up a plethora of Christmas gift ideas for your near-and-dear ones – both the tools to sustain such an existence, and the experiences to help enjoy some well-earned downtime.
At Executive Traveller, we live in your world and these are the gifts we’d like to find under our tree on December 25.
RIMOWA Essential Sleeve Cabin carry-on suitcase
Elegance meets Germanic efficiency in the RIMOWA Essential Sleeve Cabin. The Cabin is the ideal carry-on size at 55 x 39.5 centimetres, with a 37-litre capacity that’s made for three-day trips. Practical touches include a laptop compartment, height-adjustable dividers, ball-bearing-mounted wheels on cushioned axles and a tough but elegant polycarbonate outer shell. Or opt for the Cabin Plus bag at 56 x 45cm – it’ll swallow four days’ worth of gear and still fit in a carry-on bin. RIMOWA was recognised as ‘The Best Luxury Luggage in the World’ at the recent Luxury Lifestyle Awards.
From $980, from RIMOWA stores (Melbourne – Chadstone; Sydney – Westfield Sydney)
Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless headphones
With 30 hours’ use between charges, the newly released Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless headphones will go the distance on even the gnarliest series of connections with adaptive noise cancellation that adjusts as easily to overcome an echoey departure hall as it does the drone of hours spent above the clouds. Clever construction means they compress into a tight bundle in your carry-on, and a host of features includes selectable sound modes (via a partner app), phone connectivity with an inbuilt noise-cancelling mic for making and receiving calls, and compatibility with virtual assistants such as Amazon Alex, Google Home and Apple Siri.
$549.95 from en-au.sennheiser.com
Caperdonich 18-year-old Peated single malt whisky
Think you’ve tried all the great Scottish single malts? Chivas Brothers begs to differ. It has released the ‘Secret Speyside’ collection of 15 distinctive single malts, bringing together four of the Speyside’s region’s most elusive distilleries. This includes the now-mothballed Caperdonich, from which derives this 18-year-old described as “subtly layered with initial aromas of peat, followed by a taste of apple and brown sugar, gentle ginger and warming orange”. The Secret Speyside Collection is available for the next 12 months as a duty-free exclusive from selected retailers.
Leica C-LUX compact camera
Sure, your phone goes everywhere you go, but even the latest phone cameras have their limitations. When cool things happen on the road, are you going to trust capturing that moment to a phone? At 340 grams and less than five centimetres thick, the Leica C-LUX takes next-to-no space in your work bag, handbag or day pack, yet packs 15 x optical zoom, a 20.1-megapixel sensor, continuous shooting at up to 10 frames per second, and UHD 4K video recording. And you can upload your shots directly to your phone, for instant social posting and glowing compliments on your exceptional photographic skills.
$1550 from leica-store.com.au
Centr health and fitness app
It’s difficult to maintain a consistent approach to fitness and wellbeing when life and work are in perpetual motion. One solution is to take your fitness program on the road with app-based coaching and advice. Centr is the brainchild of Australian actor Chris Hemsworth, whose physique suggests he might know a trick or two about building fitness into a travelling lifestyle. Centr uses an app to connect users to world-class trainers in many different training styles from HIIT and yoga to boxing and MMA, as well as offering guided mindfulness and healthy meal plans.
Subscribe from $19.99 per month from centr.com
United Places Botanic Gardens x Dom Pérignon Suite
Staying in Melbourne anytime soon? Choose the 12-suite, design-led United Places Botanic Gardens in swanky South Yarra and you can book the Dom Pérignon Suite – you’ll be greeted on entry and ushered directly to your room where you can sink into a luxurious sunken bath overlooking Melbourne’s skyline and pop the chilled bottle of Dom Pérignon 2008 that awaits. Other treats include sustainably-sourced white caviar, and a host of other gifts and garments to pamper you.
$1500 from unitedplaces.com.au
Ekster Fortuna Parliament wallet
An unlosable and unskimable wallet? Now that’s a travel accessory we can get behind. The Ekster is exceptionally smart – in both senses of the word. Clever, because you can add a tracker card to your purchase enabling you to pair the wallet to a phone app and track its whereabouts anywhere in the world, or make the wallet sound a locating beep if it’s within 60 metres of your location. The Ekster is also RFID-proof, keeping your credit cards in a metal sleeve that prevents skimming and also fans them at the touch of a button for easy card selection. Oh, and smart to behold, too, constructed from premium stitched leather that looks and smells the part.
Wallet $US119 ($AUD175) and tracker card $US49 ($AUD72) from ekster.com
Samsonite Highline II Bailhandle Briefcase
Samsonite is universally recognised as the first and last word in clever, tough business travel accessories and the Highline II Bailhandle Briefcase exceeds the brief, if you’ll pardon the pun. High quality, hard-wearing leather in black, rose beige or dark navy encompasses an impressive 16.5-litre capacity. The convenient front pocket provides quick access to small items and a removable shoulder strap adds long-haul utility. A limited two-year global warranty has your back against defects.
$499 from samsonite.com.au
Tudor Heritage Black Bay
Tudor’s historically inspired Black Bay model is one of the brand’s most popular models. With details like the finely woven fabric strap, ‘snowflake’ hour hand, deep blue diver’s bezel (there’s also several other colour options available) and a 41mm case, it’s undoubtedly attractive to have and to hold. But there’s more to the Black Bay than meets the eye. The in-house mechanical movement is top-notch: chronometre-certified and offering 70 hours of power reserve. It’s easy to see why the Black Bay is amongst the best in its class.
$4300 (on fabric or leather band) from tudorwatch.com
Flighty app subscription
Flight delays are an unfortunate fact of business travel but information is key when it comes to how you respond. Having Flighty on your iPhone gives you unparalleled insight – your plane is tracked from 25 hours prior to your departure, and any regulatory or airline-based issues are push-notified in real time along with delay forecasts, so you’ll be the first in line at the service desk to rebook on another flight.
$7.99 per month or $78.99 annual from apps.apple.com
Here’s Looking At You, Kid - Christmas Gin
Christmassy gins infused with plum pudding or fruitcake spices are so Northern Hemisphere – what’s needed for a true Antipodean festive celebration is a gin riffing off that great Aussie-Kiwi dessert staple, the pavlova. The boffins (and film fans, we assume) at Melbourne’s Here’s Looking At You, Kid distillery have mixed up strawberry gum, river mint, lilly pilly, finger lime and passion berry for a sweet, summery Christmas tipple quite unlike any your guests will have ever experienced before.
$90 from hereslookingatyoukid.com.au
Maui Jim Heliconia sunglasses
Sunglasses are usually the most fragile item in your travel kit – they’re on, then they’re off, shoved in a bag and forgotten about until they’re needed again. In spite of the punishing treatment, you need good quality optics and fashion-forward frames. The Maui Jim range, born and bred on always-sunny Hawaii, offers more than 150 frame-and-lens combos to choose from, such as the Heliconia model in Koa Tortoise, that are built to be tough yet exceptionally comfortable, with scratch resistant, water- and oil-proof lenses incorporating latest optical technologies.
$419 from mauijim.com
Montblanc Sartorial Jet Pouch
A hard-wearing, capacious toiletry bag is a modern travel must-have and this pouch from German luxury goods maker Montblanc does the hard yards in style. Made from a scratch-resistant nylon with a satin finish and trimmed with black Saffiano-print calf leather, it’s hand-assembled by skilled artisans for the look and feel of quality every time you brush your teeth.
$230 from montblanc.com
Marpac Dohm DS white noise machine
A good night’s sleep is crucial on the road, but myriad noise sources can result in anything but. Pack the tiny but powerful Marpac white noise machine to create a soundwave that overpowers the external noise source and provides a calming frequency to encourage deep, restful slumber.
$119.95 from thesleepstore.com.au
Emperor Champagne gift hamper
Sometimes a bottle of bubbles isn’t a personal-enough gift in own right, even a decently high-quality one such as Louis Roderer’s Premier NV. That’s when a gourmet Champagne gift hamper from Emperor Champagne adds a bit of extra sparkle to your sparkling, with a Hey Tiger mini chocolate bar, a Random Harvest spicy mango chutney, garlic nibbles and antipasto olives from Ogilvie & Co. The net result is that special someone feels a little bit more pampered, and you get to help them polish off the delicious spoils. Win-win.
$105 from emperorchampagne.com.au
Nue Bar hair care travel kit
A self-care stocking-stuffer for the frequent flyer who already has all the gadgets. Nue Bar uses ethically sourced ingredients to produce shampoo and conditioner products that won’t fall foul of carry-on liquid restrictions. Their shampoo and conditioner soap bars each deliver about 10 to 15 washes and include ingredients such as coconut oil and cacao butter, with a scent of pink grapefruit and orange. Available for normal, dry, oily or sensitive hair.
$16 from nuebar.com
TechnoGym Active Sitting Wellness Ball
Life on the road can be physically demanding, so it helps to approach business travel from a state of good health. Office jockeys can spend up to 14 hours a day seated in a variety of postures, and wellness balls are well-known and highly regarded for their ability to turn good posture into second nature, and convert core muscles into a highly-tuned machine that’ll hold you – literally – in good stead through all the travails of long-haul travel.
$320 from technogym.com
Tumi Seneca Slim Brief
Tumi is an American-based maker of an astonishing array of high-quality travel bags and cases, and this travel briefcase is but one example of a wide choice of similar styles that can stand alone as an elegant daily briefcase or complete your travel ensemble with a handy sleeve to slide over the handle of any rolling case. The Seneca Slim Brief in supple pebbled chocolate leather includes accommodations for both a laptop and tablet, plus documents and myriad small items. Includes a lockable outer zip pocket, weighs just 1.3kg, and if it breaks they will repair it, no questions asked.
$623 from tumi.com.au
Clé de Cartier women’s watch
Eye-catching at any range, this elegant Clé de Cartier women’s watch comes in petite 31mm and 35mm editions, which are among two of approximately 40 variations in the range, each more bejewelled and bedazzling than the last. In addition to its reputation as a high fashion brand, the Paris-based House of Cartier has been making wristwatches for more than 100 years that have travelled the world many more times than you, so they’re ready for your next adventure.
$6550 (31mm) or $6950 (35mm) from au.cartier.com
BridgeClimb Pinnacle: Quay X Bennelong
Three Sydney icons have joined forces to build one memorable day for your next trip to the Harbour City. The iconic BridgeClimb – joining a guided group to scale the world-famous span of the Sydney Harbour Bridge – now can be twinned with a three-course menu at Bennelong restaurant, or six to 10 dishes at Quay, either one curated by three-hatted master chef Peter Gilmore. Participants will also receive a photo of their Bridge adventure, and exclusive booking access for their meal.
Packages from $500 per person from bridgeclimb.com
Chloé Atelier de Fleur Rosa Damascena
Chloé Atelier de Fleur is a collection of nine exclusive fragrances designed to be layered in combinations of two or three as a personal floral signature. Rosa Damascena is described as “a crisp and spontaneous rose that gives an impression of botanical purity and a lightly spiced floral signature”. The Chloé Atelier de Fleur collection is available as a travel retail exclusive in Australia, only from selected duty free retailers from December 20.
Aesop ‘Departure’ travel kit
Australian-founded Aesop is a by-word for quality skincare, and their thoughtfully-devised travel kits hit all the bases for the frequent traveller. Among five such kits is their ‘Departure’ ensemble, containing hand wash, hand balm, a facial hydrating masque, facial hydrosol, lip cream, mouthwash and toothpaste – add your own toothbrush and you have almost everything you need to emerge from a marathon flight plan in better shape than when you started.
$65 from aesop.com