Why would we list the worst gifts for travelers? We’ve seen way too many posts about the “Best Gifts for Travelers” or “Top 10 Presents for Travelers” – so, we decided on something a little different. Please, please don’t buy us (or anyone you love) anything on the following list. Enjoy reading.
Our Worst Gifts for Travelers List
I understand. Sometimes it’s tough to take a nap in an airport or train station with all the noise, lights, and sounds. The makers of the ostrich pillow fix this by giving you a warm, dark place to hide anywhere you are (just like an ostrich). The “revolutionary power-napping device” is essentially a pillow wrapped around your head, albeit with holes for your hands and to allow you to breath. But, none of us really wants to LOOK LIKE an ostrich – have seen an ostrich?
Know a traveler that spends a lot of time in his or her car? Clearly, a car accessory seems a great idea. Basically, this product is a tray that attaches to a car steering wheel, providing a surface for a small laptop or sandwich. It’s obviously meant to used only when the car is parked. But, it doesn’t take me long to imagine driving with it attached. And clearly, I’m not alone. The over 1,200 customer reviews on Amazon are comedic gold, and well worth reading. Some gems:
It’s tough getting comfortable in a coach airplane seat. Sometimes, you’d do just about anything to get a few hours of sleep. For a minute, et’s turn this around. Now, imagine for a minute that you are sitting in the center center seat on a cross-country trip, and the large guy sitting next to you pulls this thing out of his luggage and starts blowing it up. Would this be a welcome sight? No? Why would you want to do this to anyone else?
Micro Luggage (Scooter/Suitcase)
I’ll admit it. There have been multiple occasions, when my flight arrives at the very last gate in a very long terminal, where I’ve fantasized about owning one of these babies. I could just flip down the scooter portion and kick my way along miles of terminal. A grown man riding on a scooter through the airport? Please, save me from myself. Don’t buy it.
Almost anything in the SkyMall Catalog
Anyone searching for reading material on an endless flight has flipped through the SkyMall product catalog of ridiculousness. If the flight is long enough, and you are sufficiently sleep-deprived, you might even begin to imagine that some of the products are actually a good idea. What would your neighbors say if you installed a life-sized Bigfoot in your front yard? Or a zombie crawling out of the garden?
Even if you don’t already own a Snuggie, you can see the genius of a fleece blanket with sleeves. I’ve sat for long hours in airport seats waiting for delayed flights, and admit that the wait would have been far more pleasant if I was snuggled into one of these. But, serious travelers do NOT pack blankets, even with sleeves. Besides taking up too much baggage room, Snuggies are best in the privacy of your own home, not in public. Besides, Snuggies are so 2013.
The Knee Defender
The knee defender is a a couple of plastic clips that attach onto a lowered airplane tray, and lock the seat in front of you so the person in front of you can’t recline. I love this item! I’ve had my share of overzealous recliners in front of me during flights, and have had knees banged and laptop screens nearly crushed when someone slams their chair back into full recline. If I owned the knee defender, I would attach it as soon as possible on every flight. That’s exactly why you shouldn’t buy it for anyone you care about.
The knee defender has been the source of in-air fights, with at least one flight diverted after a “reclining rights” fight broke out between two passengers. While the product isn’t banned by the FAA, it has been banned by multiple airlines, and at the very least creates ill-will in your fellow passengers. Still, I’d use it in a second, and likely get escorted off a flight.
Many people see the word “portable” and translate it as “This would be great for my traveling buddy!” The Rejuvenator Portable Sauna is a great example how this trend can go too far. Sure, I love, on occasion, spending a few minutes in hot sauna if there happens to be one at the gym or the pool. But, I don’t seek them out. Nor, will carry this around (or be seen using it).
The makers of the SheWee refer to the product as “the original female urinating device”. I’m not sure that’s 100% accurate, but I guess that’s marketing for you. It comes in colors such as bright pink, black, and something called “Freedom Purple”, as well as original and “extreme” models. Now, this product has a lot of good reviews as helpful, so we’ll probably get some flack about including it as one of the worst gifts for travelers. As a guy, I feel I’m I’m not really qualified to pass judgement on this device. I did ask Jen, and she’s a resounding NO. Ladies, want to weigh in on this one?
The JakToGo is “wearable luggage” – a lightweight jacket that has a series of compartments that let you store all of the items you couldn’t fit into your carry-on bag. I’m one of the first ones to complain about how out of control the airlines are becoming in charging baggage fees, so you can see the appeal of this.
Why is this on our list of Worst Gifts for Travelers? But, at some point self-respect needs to take precedence over pinching pennies, right? The models on the manufacturing wearing fully-stuffed JakToGo remind me uncomfortably of “Grimace” from the old McDonald’s commercials. Is this a look that anyone wants?
Not interested in the worst gifts for travelers? Check out our recommended products, based on two years of travel-tested experience.
Many of links above are affiliate links, and we get a small percentage of sales (at no cost to you) if you click on the link. So, while we don’t encourage you to buy ANY of these, if you do, go through our link! All images unless otherwise noted are courtesy of Amazon.