TPG Staff Picks: Our Must-Have Travel Essentials
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
If you ask anyone here at The Points Guy, the secret behind having a stress-free mileage run is all in what you pack. In addition to our passports, there are a handful of go-to accessories and gadgets needed to get us through long travel days. With the help of these on-the-go must-haves, we’ve come close to perfecting the art of traveling in comfort and style. Regardless of the time zone or destination, here are a few of the essential items TPG staffers pack for their vacations and business trips alike.
“I cannot live (or travel) without my Google Fi phone.” — Brian Kelly, The Points Guy
“My favorite travel essential is a paperback book — and I mean actual paper, not a tablet. I treat flight time as a chance to finally catch up on all the reading I haven’t been able to do on the ground, and entering the fictional world of a novel is a lot easier and more rewarding when you aren’t, literally, on the earth.” — Alberto Riva, Managing Editor
“I’m a photography nerd so whenever I go on a big trip I always make sure I take my Canon 6D. Although it’s a bit of a behemoth, it takes incredible pictures that still blow the iPhone out of the water. If you want to up your Instagram game, this is a great tool to do so.” — Brendan Dorsey, Assistant Editor
“I can’t travel without my Bose noise canceling headphones. They’re a little old and outdated at this point, but I couldn’t imagine sitting on a flight without them. Plus, they make music sound so much better.” — Jeff Preis, Editorial Intern
“I need my Macbook with me at all times. It’s super small, lightweight and easy to fit in any bag — no matter how packed full it is. I never know when I’ll need to use it for work, planning my travels or as a power supply to give my phone some extra battery life.” — Emily McNutt, Associate Editor
“I’m an organized person so I have to keep everything in one place. That said, my travel gadget organizer bag is a definite essential when flying anywhere. My organizer includes my headphones, charger and toothbrush. You never know when you’ll have a long layover.” — Alexa Noel, Editorial Intern
“I won’t travel anywhere without my Beats wireless headphones. They’re like having a concert in your ears. I refuse to get on a plane without being able to listen to John Mayer or Mumford and Sons on demand.” — Samantha Rosen, Social Media Editor
“When I learned that I could have a transparent dopp kit, that was a game-changer. No longer would I have to rummage through a black leather bag and sift through tubes and pill boxes to find what I needed when traveling. The version I own also hangs on a towel rack, so it doesn’t take up valuable space on the bathroom sink counter.” — James Cury, VP, Editorial
“I love my Away Carry-On in blush. First of all, I can spot it a million miles away on a baggage carousel amongst all the black suitcases, and somehow it manages to fit clothes for a weekend or a two-week vacation (if I pack very neatly). And the built-in phone charger is a bonus when your flight is delayed for five hours.” — Isabelle Raphael, Photo Editor
“I don’t fly anywhere without my new Apple AirPods. These headphones sound so much better than the earbuds you get in the box with your phone. Plus, I’ve found that they stay in my ears, even after a fitful half-sleep.” — Nick Ellis, Assistant Editor
“Along with my headphones, my favorite travel essential is my portable charger. My aging iPhone 6’s battery is totally and utterly unreliable, and I rely on my phone for my ticket as well as music and camera for inflight photos. I always am sure to charge up and travel with my TPG portable charger.” — Wallace Cotton, Community Manager
“Any flight I’ve had without a neck pillow hasn’t been a good one, so my top travel essential is my Cloudz pillow. They’re pretty cheap (which is good if you leave them behind in hotels like I tend to do) and often available for last-minute purchase at Hudson News. Unlike inflatable ones and those that can contort, this neck pillow is filled with microbeads for maximum comfort and zero weird looks.” — Cindy Augustine, Lifestyle Editor
“I always fly with a 10-foot electrical cord because a) the outlets in hotel rooms are never close enough to the part of the room I actually end up working in, b) it provides another level of protection from frying my laptop and other electronics when I’m in a country with dodgy power, c) I use it to wrap around fragile items I bring back as gifts for friends, and d) sometimes you just have to strangle an obnoxious busboy but have forgotten to pack a garotte.” —Michael Park, Freelance Editor
“After flying, my skin usually feels extra dry and overall I have that stale plane feeling. Nothing feels better than getting to your hotel, taking a shower and putting on a face mask. It instantly brings me back to life and makes me feel refreshed. I love the sheet masks from Sephora (with no mess like a gooey face mask) and they come in different sizes (lips, eyes, full face) and scents like green tea, rose and pomegranate.” — Kate O’ Brien, Director of Marketing & Compliance
“Since June of this year, I have been living on the road. There’s one item that I use daily (even as I write this): the BESTEK Travel Converter/Adapter. In addition to converting power from practically any country, it also serves as a seven-plug extension cord with surge protection. While not sexy, this is certainly a travel essential for me.” — JT Genter, Points and Miles Writer
“I love catching up on movies and TV shows in flight, but I’ll inevitably spend some time daydreaming or doing the puzzles in the seatback magazine as well. I obviously need a soundtrack for that, which is why I’m thankful to be part of a Spotify Premium Family plan. For $14.99 per month, up to six family members get access to their own Premium accounts, with all saved music and playlists kept intact for each user.” — Sarah Silbert, Points and Miles Editor
“Say what you will, but the one thing I can’t travel without is a good bathtub wherever I’m staying. Taking a bath in a big, beautiful tub with all the fixins (boutique toiletries, robe, slippers, cold drink) — especially one with a view — is worth any airport headache encountered on the way. It is one of the most relaxing ways to spend an evening no matter which continent you’re on.” — Jane Frye, Nights & Weekends Editor
“Call me old fashioned, but I don’t travel anywhere without a good book — and not one you download. I like to have a real book on me while I’m on the go. There’s a satisfaction I get by turning each page as I get lost in a story.” — Carissa Chesanek, Weekend Writer
Featured image by Shutterstock
What is your must-have travel essential?
WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.