Worst Gifts for Travelers – Please Don’t Buy Us These

(Last Updated On: February 2, 2016)

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

The Ostrich PillowWorst gift for travellers

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?

Wheelmate Steering Wheel Attachable Work SurfaceSteering wheel desk

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:

Review1 Review2

SkyRest Travel Pillowskyrest pillow

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)

Worst Gifts for Travelers - Micro LuggageI’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

skymallAnyone 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?

Snuggie – The Blanket with Sleeves!

worst presents for travellersEven 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.

Rejuvenator Portable Sauna

worst traveler giftMany 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 originaWorst Traveler Presentsl 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?


Worst travel gifts
Image Courtesy of http://www.jaktogo.com/

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?grimace

Not interested in the worst gifts for travelers? Check out our recommended products, based on two years of travel-tested experience.

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42 thoughts on “Worst Gifts for Travelers – Please Don’t Buy Us These”

  1. Hilarious! And oh so true! Please let’s just stop with the irrelevant gift giving, period! Most of us have everything we could possibly need at this point.

  2. These are hilarious – what a great article. I would so love the wedge shaped aeroplane pillow so that I can sleep forwards instead of dribbling over the poor passenger next to me

  3. Oh my gosh too funny!! I know of that SheWee though (but we called it called something else) and women pilots used it when they flew in little airplanes by themselves across the country. That kinda makes sense when there’s no place to go up there.

  4. WOW!! I can’t believe some of these even exist .. ostrich pillow??!!! WOW!! Lol. And I’m sorry but I’m also coming in with a resounding no on the SheWee … I’m sure it probably is very helpful, but … shudder!

  5. The Ostrich Pillow and the other pillow are just obnoxious and the Knee Defender will get you killed at 35,000 feet. The rest of these are just awful. I work for the airlines and I have to agree that the bag fees are ridiculous. However, if you saw, even half, the things passengers try to bring on board you’d understand why they had to start charging. Either way, this list is awesome!!

  6. I knew a woman who had a She Wee, and she swore by it whenever she had to use a squatty potty. Personally I can’t see the appeal, but hey, somebody is buying this stuff! That ostrich pillow cracks me up 🙂

  7. Most of these are about the silliest products I’ve ever seen.

    While I don’t have a She Wee, I do have a Whiz Freedom, which has actually saved my life (or at least my dignity) more times than I can count. It’s particularly useful if you’re bicycle touring in Asia, where toilets are few and far between and people are all over the damn place. It’s a little less embarrassing going by the side of the road if you can do it with your pants on and standing up.


  8. Finally a list of unwanted gift ideas! It’s starting to be very overwhelming with all the Christmas gift tips.
    Some of these are really crazy, I cannot imagine that anybody actually uses them 🙂

  9. Loved this post. I shudder at the idea of the SheWee. We take a lot of road trips and there’s ALWAYS a toilet to be found! (Who thinks of these ideas and what kind of childhood did they have to come up with this?!?! Maybe it was invented by a man who’s father handed him an old milk jug to pee in when he was a kid?!)

    Your post made me think of the ‘travel wrap’ my MIL bought me one year. It was easily 8lbs and pure acrylic. I donated it to Goodwill before I left the country. LOL!


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