11 Thoughtful Gifts for Commuters

iStock.com/LeoPatrizi
iStock.com/LeoPatrizi

Whether they get to work by bike, car, train, or foot, most commuters could use something to make their twice-daily trips a little easier. This holiday season, consider giving a gift that may actually make the commuter in your life look forward to heading to the office.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. Sykes Wood Fenders


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The fenders from Sykes do more than protect bikes and bikers from rain, mud, and dust. Each piece is crafted from stain-free, dye-free wood, which means it will add rustic style to any ride. Sykes fenders come in a variety of woods, including walnut, white oak, blond bamboo, mahogany, and cherry. Epoxy lamination and multiple coatings of marine varnish help them last through years of travel.

Find It: Sykes Wood Fenders for $175 and up

2. Hub Mini

Portable phone charger.
Amazon

Stranded in a car or train with a dead smartphone is a commuter’s worst nightmare. The Hub Mini ensures that a smartphone will outlast any traffic jam. The external battery pack comes with a lightning cable built in, eliminating the need for commuters to carry their phone charger with them at all times. It also includes an integrated micro-USB cable and a USB-A port, so it’s possible to plug three devices into the charger at once.

Find It: Amazon for $50 and at these other retailers:

3. Tapplock; $100


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Give the commuter in your life the gift of peace of mind this holiday season. The Tapplock keeps bikes secure throughout the work day with stainless steel shackles, a double-layered lock design, and anti-shim and anti-pry technologies. It opens after scanning the owner's fingerprint, and thanks to its adaptive algorithm, it works faster and more accurately with each use. The Tapplock is waterproof and weatherproof, making it great for locking up bikes, but it works anywhere a padlock does.

Find It: Tapplock for $100

4. Wall-mounted Bike Rack and Shelf; $140 and up

Bike mounted on wall.
Etsy

Etsy shop Quartertwenty has made the space-saving wall-mounted bike rack even more practical. This rack doubles as a shelf, and it can be used whether or not the bike is on display. Just select the materials you like best (maple ply, walnut, and white oak are some of the options) and Quartertwenty will ship the rack for you to install in your home.

Find It: Etsy for $140 and up

5. Plugfones

Ear buds that look like ear plugs.
Amazon

Noise-blocking headphones don’t have to be bulky. The Plugfones take design inspiration from the earplugs people where to concerts and sporting events, muffling environmental noise by up to 26 decibels while allowing wearers to listen to their preferred audio discreetly. They’re great for public transit commuters looking to tune out the world (or the loud sounds of public transit) on the way to the office.

Find It: Amazon for $20 and at these other retailers:

6. TravelPro BackpacK

Backpack with pockets.
TravelPro

If commuters ever need to take their work home with them, the Travelpro backpack gives them the option. The bag has special compartments for laptops, tablets, pens, headphones, and chargers. And if wearers are traveling with sensitive materials like a passport or credit card, they can store those items in the ID TheftBlock pocket where they’ll be protected from identity theft scanners.

Find It: TravelPro for $240 and at these other retailers:

7. Moko Travel Mug

Collapsible travel mug.
Amazon

Travel mugs are great—until you’re stuck lugging around an empty one all day. The Moko travel mug solves this problem for commuters. It’s collapsable, making it easier to carry or slip into a bag when it’s not being used. Unfold the cup and it can hold up 12 ounces of liquid while keeping the contents warm.

Find It: Amazon for $9 and at these other retailers:

8. Audible Membership

Women listening to phone on train.
iStock.com/Pekic

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. Each plan comes with one book credit per month plus access to monthly Audible originals.

Find It: Audible for $15 and up

9. Storm Glass

Glass with crystals in it.
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 device 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 or not they should grab a jacket before heading to work.

Find It: Amazon for $42 and at these other retailers:

10. Kensington Chelsea Boot

Beige rain boot.
Cougar

There’s no reason to sacrifice comfort for style when hoofing it to the office. These slip-on boots from Cougar are comfier than most professional footwear, with memory-molded insoles and knit lining. They’re also waterproof, so they’ll keep feet feeling snug and dry even on the rainiest days.

Find It: Cougar for $70

11. Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag

Air purifying bag in car cup holder.
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 an effective tool for car commuters, but it can cover up to 90 square feet in a home as well.

Find It: Amazon for $10 and at these other retailers:

8 Fun Bookmarks to Keep Your Place

iStock
iStock

Why settle for a torn piece of paper or receipt when you can have something way more exciting? These bookmarks are for readers who want to add some extra whimsy to their reading routine.

1. Sprouts; $12.50

These ingenious silicone markers don’t work like normal bookmarks. Shaped like adorable sprouts, they fit inside your book and mark the exact line you’re at on the page. Because they’re made with a flexible material, you can close the book easily with the sprout inside and it will spring back to shape when you open the book again. The sprouts come in sets of six. For a little luck, check out the four-leaf clover iteration.

Find it: Amazon

2. Butterflies; $10


If you've ever wanted to have a real Disney princess moment, consider buying these bookmarks, which will make it look like butterflies have perched on your books. The set comes with 10 pieces in a variety of designs.

Find it: Amazon

3. Crocodile; $13

These clever placeholders create the illusion that a crocodile is lurking on top of your book. When you lift up this intimidating bookmark, it shows the reptile’s sharp teeth, warning others not to dare lose your place. (If mammals are more your style, there is also a hippo option.)

Find it: Amazon

4. Lamp; $13

Let this lamp-shaped bookmark illuminate where you left off. The lamp shape sits on top of the book while the yellow light-beam fits snuggly between the pages. It comes in three colors: white, red, and gray.

Find it: Amazon

5. Literary Feet; $24

Remember that scene in The Wizard of Oz when the house fell on the Wicked Witch of the East and only her feet stuck out? You can recreate that iconic movie scene with a bookmark. Even better, the design isn’t restricted to just the witch: You can get all kinds of famous book character feet to stick out of your book. Just some of the literary legs available include Alice from Alice in Wonderland, a direwolf from A Song of Ice and Fire, and a magician from Harry Potter. There are also some non-book selections, like animals, ballerinas, and Yoda.

Find it: Amazon

6. Food; $30

Let some of your favorite food keep your place. The plush bookmarks feature a slice of pizza, ice cream, coffee, and an ice cream sandwich.

Find it: Amazon

7. Magnetic pals; $5

You’ll be even more motivated to read if you have a small buddy smiling at you from the side of your book. You can attach them to any place on the side of the page, so you know exactly where you are in the story.

Find it: Amazon

8. Pointers; $7

These bookmarks also mark the exact place in the book, but without the help of magnets. Instead, they come with stretchy loops that wrap around the entire book. A hand pointing can pinpoint the exact word, in case you’re the type that stops reading mid-sentence. They come in packs of three.

Find it: Amazon

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy.

Get Cozy With Bob Ross Slipper Socks

Always Fits
Always Fits

Setting aside the evening to binge-watch The Joy of Painting videos is a foolproof way to have a relaxing time. In case Bob Ross's inspiring mantras and soothing landscape paintings aren't comforting enough, now you can boost the coziness factor with a fluffy pair of slipper socks branded with the beloved artist's likeness.

These socks from Always Fits capture the warm and fuzzy feeling of watching Bob Ross craft his masterpieces. The inside is lined with wooly sherpa material, and the outside is made from a velour blend. Non-skid grips protect the bottoms, so you can pause your binge session to get a fresh canvas or refill your tea mug without slipping across the floor. The socks are patterned with cartoon versions of Bob Ross—complete with his paintbrush, easel, and signature perm—against a background of happy little trees.

The comfy footwear is available in two sizes: small/medium (women's shoe sizes 5 to 8) and medium/large (sizes 8 to 10). One set is available for $18 online, with discounts applied to bulk orders of five or more.

If you're looking for more ways to get in the Bob Ross spirit, you don't have to stop with slipper socks. Mugs, T-shirts, and coloring books inspired by the artist are all available to purchase.

Bob Ross slipper socks.
Always Fits

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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