Get With The Spirit

'Tis the season to spoil your employees with something special.
Magazine Contributor
4 min read

This story appears in the December 1999 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine. Subscribe »

Looking for the perfect holiday gifts for your well-traveled employees? We asked Mie-Yun Lee, editorial director for, for some ideas.

"If you really want to make an impact with a gift, you have to tailor it to [the recipient]," says Lee, whose company worked with American Express last year to produce its small-business gift-giving survey. "Items appropriate for [business] travelers don't have to be that expensive." In fact, nearly half the people who responded to last year's survey said they spent less than $50 per gift.

What's hot this season?

  • Pack it up. The latest and greatest in luggage is a combination bag that offers the durability of a hard exterior with the features of a soft interior. The Hardside Collection by Atlantic Luggage starts at $179. It features a scratch- and temperature-resistant cover made of composite materials and an interior garment bag. For details, call (800) 523-5029 or visit
  • Portable aromatherapy. The Aromatherapy Travel Tins gift package ($39.95 from Illuminations) features three scented candles (in angelica, patchouli and lavender) sure to rejuvenate tired road warriors. Call (800) 226-3537 or go to
  • Play it safe. Help keep your staff out of harm's way by giving them a Safe T Map for their next big-city foray. Safe T Maps are color-coded county maps based on FBI and police crime statistics. Each map includes a crime-trend indicator and police station locations and phone numbers. A Safe T Map of Los Angeles County is currently available; other major California cities, plus Chicago, Dallas and Washington, DC, should be available soon. For purchasing information, call (310) 413-4121 or visit

Use the Net to make gift-buying even easier. At, you can comparison-shop before purchasing items at a retail store or on the Web. And online shop RedEnvelope Gifts Online lets users conduct a special gift search to help them select from a variety of customized gift possibilities online. Items ordered before midnight Eastern time can be delivered the next day--even on holidays.

Christopher Elliott is a writer in Annapolis, Maryland. Contact him at

Stroke Of Midnight

Too afraid to fly? Don't be.

If you're planning to spend New Year's Eve on an airplane, you'll be in good company. FAA chief Jane Garvey, for one, will be flying when the calendar switches to "00" in an effort to eliminate Y2K fears.

That's not stopping the experts who insist Y2K is cause for concern. But let's be honest: Even if air traffic comes to a catastrophic standstill, we'll still have to travel. And even if Y2K brings society to its knees--or especially then--those business trips aren't likely to let up anyway.

So bring on the new year. In the end, it probably won't affect corporate travel one way or the other.

Road Notes

  • American Airlines has begun flying two daily nonstop flights from Long Beach, California, to Chicago O'Hare International Airport.
  • Loews Hotels has announced a "2 Million Mile Millennium Sweepstakes" for both new and existing members of its Loews First frequent guest program. Each time a Loews First member stays at a Loews Hotel through the end of this month and pays a qualifying rate, he or she will automatically be entered into the contest. Eight Grand Prizes of 250,000 American Airlines AAdvantage Miles will be awarded.
  • Southwest Airlines frequent fliers can now earn miles and qualify for special corporate discounts when they rent a Dollar Rent A Car (at participating locations only). Southwest frequent fliers who rent a Dollar car in the United States will also qualify for special corporate discounts through the program.

Contact Sources

American Airlines, (800) 433-7300,

Dollar Rent A Car Systems Inc., (800) 800-4000,

Loews Hotels, (800) 23-LOEWS,

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