Pilot Drew Shares His Go-To Travel Gifts and Tips

This TikTok-famous pilot has the best gift ideas for frequent travelers.

5 min read

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Welcome to The Save, where we ask interesting people what they order when they’re in a pinch.

Andrew DaCosta — you might know him as Pilot Drew — is always on the move. Whether it’s a drive from his home in Philadelphia up to New York City where he’s based, or in the cockpit of an A220, he takes his followers along for the ride. Between trips, he chatted with us about the best gifts for frequent travelers, the taste of the holidays, his favorite cheesesteak in Philly, and how he stays healthy on the road.  

What do you order when…

…you need a splurge gift for a traveler? 

Bose QuietComfort. They're great for two reasons: one is they're lightweight and they're reasonably priced — between like $200-300 depending on which model you get. What's really good about them, too, is they have a port on the side where you can connect a cord to the inflight entertainment on the airplane, so you don't have to use those janky headphones they supply you with. 

Also, a good pair of sunglasses and a good power battery bank. You never know when you're gonna need to charge your phone, especially if you're traveling.

…what about a stocking stuffer for a travel lover? 

Tide to Go pens. If you're traveling for business, or you have kids, or you're clumsy like me, Tide to Go pens are a lifesaver. 

…you’re part of a white elephant or secret Santa? 

Something silly and simple like compression socks. In terms of traveling, having compression socks are huge. Or, you can just keep it simple with fancy socks. 

…you want a taste of the holidays? 

My entire family’s from Portugal — my grandma is flying back to the States with my dad this weekend. Every year she makes sonhos de natal — they’re almost like Munchkins. They’re so delicious. My mom also makes really good carne alentejana — it's like pork, roasted potatoes, and clams all like jammed into one big Portuguese dish.

…you’re getting a snack for the cockpit?

Something that's more protein intensive and not as processed, like a salad with grilled chicken. I try to stay away from all the dressings because when you're on the road, it's so hard to eat healthy. When I spent a lot of time in Philly at my previous job, I got Philly pretzels all the time — they’re a guilty pleasure. Philly pretzels are the best. 

…you need to get pumped for an early morning flight?

I have a Nespresso machine, so I'll usually make myself a double espresso first thing in the morning. But I’ve been listening to a lot of Andrew Huberman lately and he mentioned not to consume caffeine within 90 minutes of waking up, so that’s something I’ve been trying to do. 

…you’re packing something healthy for the road? 

Some sort of protein powder and a water bottle that you can go through TSA with and fill up on the other side instead of having to pay $10. 

…you're exhausted after a day of flying and need dinner at your hotel?

If I’m in Texas, I’ll order some Tex-Mex like fajitas, usually a steak and chicken combo. It's a good mix because you get everything you need, but also if you want to indulge a little bit you can. I’m a sucker for good fajitas. 

…you’re at home and want the best cheesesteak?

John’s Roast Pork is number one. They have the best cheesesteaks in the city, no doubt. Cleavers is another fave. 

…you’re packing super light for a quick trip?

At least two pairs of underwear because you never know. I’ll probably be wearing sneakers, or some sort of shoe that’s easy to walk around in, but also looks sort of stylish. And a zip-up. You can easily take it off and use it as a pillow. Everything that I'm wearing kind of serves more than one purpose.

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of Pilot Drew