14 Thoughtful Gifts for Commuters

From portable chargers to lunch boxes, these products make commuting less of a slog.
Transporting food and beverage is a big part of commuter life.
Transporting food and beverage is a big part of commuter life. / (Bento box) TAKENAKA/Amazon; (Mug) Ember/Amazon; (Background) Justin Dodd/Mental Floss
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Whether they get to work by bike, car, train, or foot, most folks could use something to make their twice-daily trips a little easier. This holiday season, you may want to surprise them with some of the best gifts for commuters, which could actually make that special person in your life look forward to heading to the office.

1. Anker PowerCore Slim 10,000 Portable Charger; From $22

One of the best gifts for commuters is this Anker PowerCore Slim Portable Charger, pictured here.
Anker PowerCore Slim Portable Charger / Anker / Amazon

Getting stranded in a car or train with a dead smartphone is a commuter’s worst nightmare. This portable charger from Anker ensures that phones and other electronic devices will outlast any traffic jam. At just half a pound, the battery pack is super sleek and lightweight so your giftee can easily slip it into a purse or backpack for all-day use. Designed to work with iPhones, Android devices, and even MacBooks and iPads, it can—via trickle-charging mode—also deliver optimal charging to devices on low-power mode, including earphones and portable speakers. In short, it’s a must-have for commuters.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Hatch Restore Sound Machine and Sunrise Alarm Clock; $130

One of the best gifts for commuters is pictured, a Hatch Restore Sound Machine and Sunrise Alarm Clock used by a woman in bed
Hatch Restore Sound Machine and Sunrise Alarm Clock / Hatch / Amazon

One of the worst parts of Monday morning? Just waking up for it. With this sunrise alarm clock from Hatch (which also functions as a smart light, sound machine, and digital clock), the commuter in your life may have an easier time rolling out of bed and getting a jumpstart on their day. Using the brand’s companion app, they can control the lighting and sounds coming from the device, so they can set a relaxing mood as they read under the covers and eventually drift off to sleep. Your giftee can even enjoy a free trial Hatch Sleep membership, which will give them access to a library of content, including guided meditations and more.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag; $12

One of the best gifts for commuters is pictured, a Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag.
Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag / Amazon

Not all car air fresheners smell like pine trees. Instead of filling a car’s interior with an artificial scent, this bamboo and charcoal bag absorbs odors in the air, leaving it smelling naturally fresh. The air purifier is a practical gift for car commuters in other ways, as it can last for up to two years so long as it’s regularly reactivated (which is easy to do—your giftee just needs to place it outside in the sun once a month for an hour).

Buy it: Amazon

4. Kryptonite New York Bicycle U-Lock; $111

One of the best gifts for commuters is pictured, a Kryptonite New York Bicycle U-Lock.
Kryptonite New York Bicycle U-Lock / Kryptonite / Amazon

Give the commuter in your life the gift of peace of mind this holiday season. This u-lock for bikes features a 16-millimeter hardened steel shackle and special crossbar design which, according to the brand, provides extra protection against bolt cutters and other tools that could be used to manually remove the lock. But one of the biggest reasons to consider this is that the brand will, for up to a year, replace bikes (up to $4000) if one is stolen due to the lock being compromised. All your giftee has to do is register their bike and lock on the brand’s website within 30 days of receiving this item.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Fitbit Charge 5 Fitness Tracker; From $140

One of the best gifts for commuters is pictured, a Fitbit Charge 5 Fitness Tracker.
Fitbit Charge 5 Fitness Tracker / Fitbit / Amazon

For folks who walk to work or regularly travel to the office by bus or train, a fitness tracker can be a thoughtful way for them to glean new insights into their overall health—and count their steps along the way. The Fitbit Charge 5 is totally up for the task: It’ll give your gift recipient access to 24/7 heart rate monitoring, exercise statistics, stress tracking, and even summarized sleep data, all right at their fingertips. It also offers ample battery life (up to seven days off a single charge) and has a built-in GPS and an “always on” display option, so your favorite commuter can easily view the data, even in the middle of an intense workout (or trek home from the office).

Buy it: Amazon

6. Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation); $190

One of the best gifts for commuters is featured, a pair of Apple AirPods Pro Wireless Earbuds with MagSafe Charging Case.
Apple AirPods Pro Wireless Earbuds with MagSafe Charging Case / Apple / Amazon

Noise-blocking earbuds don’t have to be bulky—or uncomfortable, for that matter. With a pair of Apple’s beloved AirPods Pros, the public transit user in your life can enjoy their favorite podcast, music, or audiobook with significantly less outside noise trickling in, as this set offers superior active noise cancellation compared to earlier models. Using the adaptive transparency mode, they can opt to still hear the outside world a bit, which could come in handy in case they’ve zoned out by the time their stop arrives.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Travelpro Tourlite Laptop Backpack; $115

One of the best gifts for commuters is featured, a TravelPro Tourlite Laptop Backpack.
TravelPro Tourlite Laptop Backpack / TravelPro / Amazon

If commuters ever need to take their work home with them, this Travelpro backpack gives them the option. The bag has special compartments for laptops, water bottles, power cords, and chargers. Made from moisture- and stain-resistant polyester, the bag also boasts adjustable straps and back padding, which should make it comfy for long-term wear.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Audible Membership; From $6 per month

One of the best gifts for commuters is pictured, with books on purple background, advertising Audible membership.
Audible is perfect for the book lover who seems to have everything. / Audible/Amazon

Rush hour goes a lot faster when you’re listening to a good audiobook. If you know a book lover who drives or takes public transit to work, make their commute more enjoyable by giving them an Audible membership. You can pay for a one-month, three-month, six-month, or 12-month membership, with prices starting at $15. Each plan comes with one book credit per month plus access to monthly Audible originals. You can also opt to subscribe to a Premium Plus membership under this special holiday offer, which is good through December 31, 2023; with this deal, you’ll only pay $6 per month for the first four months of the service.

Buy it: Amazon

9. GGPower Storm Glass; $20

One of the best gifts for commuters is pictured, a GGG Power Storm Glass.
GG Power Storm Glass / GG Power Store / Amazon

There are many apps out there that will give you the weather forecast, but not many do so with the same flare as Storm Glass. Using 19th-century technology, this desktop item reacts to changes in air pressure and temperature to signal the day’s weather. Based on how many crystals form at the bottom of the glass, owners can decide whether they should grab a jacket before heading to work.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Ember Temperature Control Travel Mug 2; $200

One of the best gifts for commuters is featured, an Ember Temperature Control Travel Mug 2 held by woman in puffer jacket.
Ember Temperature Control Travel Mug 2 / Ember / Amazon

For some, grabbing coffee on the way into the office can help ease the stress of commuting. However, this habit can get expensive over time. If your intended giftee is trying to save on coffee bills and stick to java they’ve brewed at home, consider gifting them a travel mug this year. But with this one from Ember, it won’t just be any old travel mug, as this 12-ounce, stainless steel option allows them to actually control the temperature of their beverage (between 120°F to 145°F) via the brand’s app. This mug can also keep drinks piping hot for up to three hours off a single charge, and has an auto-sleep mode, so it’ll turn itself off whenever it’s empty (or after two hours of inactivity).

Buy it: Amazon

11. BAGSMART Electronic Organizer; $27

One of the best gifts for commuters is pictured, a BAGSMART Electronic Organizer.
BAGSMART Electronic Organizer / BAGSMART / Amazon

Fumbling through a tote or backpack to find the right cable or gadget can be frustrating, especially on a crowded bus or train. For the commuter in your life, this zippered organizer could be the perfect travel companion, especially if their current backpack or tote doesn’t have any special compartments for keeping cords, chargers, and electronic devices protected inside. This pick features two layers, five mesh pouches with elastic loops, a larger mesh pocket with a zipper for tablets, plus pouches for SD cards and an outer pocket that can hold their train and/or bus pass.

Buy it: Amazon

12. OCOOPA Rechargeable Hand Warmers; From $27

One of the best gifts for commuters is featured, a set of OCOOPA Rechargeable Hand Warmers.
OCOOPA Rechargeable Hand Warmers / OCOOPA / Amazon

Commuters waiting on their morning bus into the office might end up stuck outside for longer periods of time than they’d like, and in the wintertime, this can be especially tough because of the colder weather. These rechargeable hand warmers are battery-powered and offer three heat settings, with temperatures ranging from 95°F to 131°F, so their hands will stay toasty, even if they're outside for a while.

Buy it: Amazon

13. TAKENAKA Bento Bite Dual Lunch Box; From $32

TAKENAKA Bento Bite Dual Lunch Box
TAKENAKA Bento Bite Dual Lunch Box / TAKENAKA / Amazon

Any commuter who packs a lunch over eating out needs a trustworthy transport receptacle, and TAKENAKA’s Bite Dual is one of Wirecutter’s top picks for multi-part lunches. It comprises two stackable containers, one of which is “deep enough to fit a whole plum or small peach,” per Wirecutter, and has a removable partition so you can separate elements of your meal. Though it’s not leakproof, it is sturdy enough to stay intact if you drop it.

Buy it: Amazon

14. Repel Portable Umbrella; From $30

woman holding repel umbrella in the rain
Repel Portable Umbrella / Repel / Amazon

No matter what kind of commute someone has—be it by car, train, bus, or bike—stormy weather can make it miserable. But a reliable umbrella can help: Repel’s original portable model weighs less than a pound, measures less than a foot when retracted, and boasts fiberglass ribs and a vented double canopy to prevent strong winds from turning it inside out.

Buy it: Amazon

A version of this article originally ran in 2018 and has been updated for 2023.