Essential Travel Items Team TPG Can't Leave Home Without
Favorite travel items are as essential to frequent travelers on a long journeys as beloved binkies are to babies — life just can't go on without them. Besides our passports, we all have our go-to gadgets and knickknacks we need to stay healthy, hydrated, comfortable, fresh and not to mention, sane. Here are the things the editors and writers of team TPG never leave home without — we hope some of these doodads will help make your next trip even more fun (or survivable) too.
Listen to the Soundtrack of Your Life
Brian Kelly, aka. The Points Guy, can't travel without a pair of his favorite noise-canceling headphones, Bose QC35, because they offer about 20 hours of battery life — more than enough for a flight from San Francisco to Singapore — charge quickly and effectively block out noise from crying babies and obnoxious seat mates. If these run a little on the pricey side for you (they're about $499), our recent post on the best headphones and earbuds for travelers lists a variety of affordable options.
It's All About the Bag
Travel isn't just about being comfortable when you're flying — Editorial Director James Oliver Cury's favorite travel items are convenient even when he's not in the air. His dark and durable Jack Spade bag features multiple exterior pockets for easy access to his phone, passport and wallet, and is handy whether he's flying to Europe or cramming into a subway car during the daily commute — its non-zippered side pocket is also the perfect size for holding a copy of the New York Times.
James also can't live without his clear, hangable Dopp kit. After years of using a leather bag for toiletries, he finally realized having a clear bag is a total game changer, especially since he can now see where everything is! Plus, having it hanging near eye-level on a towel rack makes it all easy-to-reach as well.
Female readers may be similarly interested in TPG Associate Editor Emily McNutt's must-have, her trusty Longchamp bag, which is the perfect size to use as a carry-on and still has enough room for all the usual travel essentials like your laptop, book, camera, portable phone charger and snacks.
When You Want to Stay Connected
Editor-in-Chief Zach Honig and Senior Points and Miles Contributor Jason Steele can't live without their tech items. Zach's preference is an unlocked smartphone that works with any international SIM card, keeping him connected throughout the whole world. He swears by the iPhone 7 Plus for its awesome camera and optical zoom, allowing him to take great travel shots without having to lug around separate equipment.
You won't see Jason desperately searching for an outlet anytime soon thanks to his RP-PB22 RAVPower 13000mAh Deluxe Portable Charger. This uber-powerful power bank comes with massive charging capacity: it can fully juice up an iPhone 6 almost five times, a Galaxy S6 over three times or an iPad Air once.
Fashion That's Functional
Outfitting yourself stylishly yet comfortably while traveling is key. Vice President of Marketing and Communications Cliff Fleiser is partial to his Nike Tech Hero Fleece Pants, especially during long flights, because of their stretch and comfort.
Senior Editor Kaeli Conforti loves wearing a statement item — a colorful scarf — and makes a point of buying new ones during her travels so she can think of the places she's visited whenever she wears them. It's not purely aesthetic either, but practical, since a scarf folds up small, can be used as a pillow or blanket, can double as a picnic or beach blanket in a pinch or be worn as a shawl/pashmina to spruce up an outfit for a night out on the town.
For Catching Some Zs
In-flight comfort can also be had with a solid set of earplugs and an eye mask to block out any noise and light. TPG Contributor Brendan Dorsey swears by custom earplugs made by ACS, a brand often used by people in the military and music industry. Team TPG also likes using adjustable eye masks by Earth Therapeutics, which are durable but made from soft, lightweight fabric that does a good job of blocking out light.
Look Good, Feel Even Better
TPG Points and Miles Editor Sarah Silbert and TPG International Contributor Lori Zaino swear by essential beauty products when traveling. Sarah is all about the in-flight Laneige Water Sleeping Mask, which keeps her skin moisturized as she naps on the plane — its cooling gel formula is ideal for puffy or dehydrated skin. She also loves Lucas Papaw Ointment (made in Australia from papaw fruit) for chapped lips or dry skin.
Lori swears by Nails inc's Vitamin e Cuticle Oil Pen, which slips easily into a pocket or purse. She uses it to moisturize dry knuckles, too, and it relaxes and distracts her during turbulence. After a long flight, she applies Peter Thomas Roth CC Cream Broad Spectrum 30 SPF Complexion Corrector all over her face to keep her looking refreshed and awake. Amazonian superfruit camu camu, one of the main ingredients in the cream, has 30 times the Vitamin C of an orange, and helps tighten and brighten dry, tired-looking skin.
Dry skin plagues gentlemen like Assistant Editor Nick Ellis, too, so he always carries travel-size Kiehl's Facial Fuel to stay ahead of it. Nick also religiously uses a reusable water bottle, which saves him a few bucks here and there while cutting down on waste. As more and more airports are adding water refill stations, this is a great way to avoid having to buy an overpriced bottled water after heading through airport security, while also reducing your trip's carbon footprint. Nick's favorite are S'well bottles, which keep drinks cold for 24 hours or hot for 12. At TPG, we also love space-saving Vapur bottles, which roll up for storage when not in use.
Family Trips Don't Have to be Torture
For those traveling with children, TPG Senior Points and Miles Contributor Nick Ewen wholeheartedly endorses the Vera Bradley Changing Pad Clutch, an incredible diaper bag that can hold a pack of wipes, up to five diapers, a change of clothes and a few small snacks. It's also ideal because it unfolds and unrolls to become a changing pad, and is much lighter than a full-size diaper bag.
Having items that provide comfort at the hotel are also a must, and that's why Nick's wife, Lillian, always travels with fun, sparkly slippers, just in case the hotel they're staying in doesn't offer any.
Downtime is a Beautiful Thing
Sometimes you need to have a little fun on the road, and TPG Director of Marketing and Compliance Kate O'Brien loves bringing along trashy magazines like Us Weekly or Star whenever she travels. These guilty pleasures are great at distracting her from flight delays and turbulence — she also awards extra points for publications that come with a crossword puzzle.
In the name of jamming, Senior Points and Miles Contributor Peter Rothbart usually travels with a guitar pick, always ready for the opportunity pick up a guitar and strum a few tunes. He also carries a small notebook for notes, doodles, games and maps, a deck of cards or a Frisbee and a physical photo of his loved ones — you never know when your smartphone may run out of power.
Finally, in hopes of protecting his beloved belongings from bedbugs and keeping his clothes and personal items fresh and smelling delicious, TPG Special Contributor Eric Rosen never leaves home without a few dryer sheets carefully sandwiched between the folded clothes in his suitcase.
What travel items can't you leave home without? Let us know in the comments, below.