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13 must-have items the TPG team can't travel without

Sept. 20, 2022
9 min read
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When it comes to a long flight or an airport delay, having your favorite travel items is key.

The perfect sleep mask, cozy apparel or noise-canceling headphones can go a long way when it comes to getting a good night's sleep while jet lagged or staying comfortable during a long flight.

Whether you're traveling solo, with co-workers, family or friends, there are a number of products that can enhance your travel experience from start to finish.

Each year, TPG team members travel thousands of miles to destinations around the world. These are some of the best items that make travel easier, more relaxing and fun.

BYLT Drop-Cut Signature T-Shirts

BYLT BASICS/FACEBOOK

$28.99 at BYLT

The Points Guy himself, Brian Kelly, is all about comfort when he travels. From his Nike kicks to stretchy travel pants, staying cool and comfortable on a long flight makes all the difference.

His favorite shirts are the BYLT Drop-Cut Signature Tees, thanks to the brand's trademark moisture-wicking fabric, which has a soft, luxurious feel and a loose drape. The T-shirts come in a variety of colors and sizes, too.

For all the women out there who want cozy travel tops and other apparel, BYLT also makes womenswear.

Bose QC45 Wireless Bluetooth Noise Canceling Headphones

AMAZON

$329 on Amazon

Sleep like a baby on a plane (or drown out a crying baby) with this TPG fan favorite, the Bose QC45.

Ben Smithson, TPG senior writer, swears by these, explaining they are the best headphones he's ever owned and he wouldn't dream of traveling without them.

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"The battery lasts ages and they're super easy to connect with great sound quality. The best part is that you can switch on the noise-canceling feature to drown out any noise going on around you," he said.

The plush ear cushions and cushioned headband are comfortable on long-haul flights. Advanced acoustic technology, including adjustable EQ, allows you to fine-tune sound according to your preference.

You can also toggle these headphones between the quiet mode and aware mode, depending on your setting and needs.

Paravel Fold-Up Bag

PARAVEL/FACEBOOK

$70 at Amazon

Having just the right bag that fits all your important travel items can make or break a trip. And sustainable travelers will love the Paravel Fold-Up Bag, made from 22 recycled plastic water bottles. Melanie Lieberman, TPG managing editor of global features, loves that the bag is compact, versatile and eco-friendly.

It also has a number of user-friendly features, like a trolley sleeve to slip over luggage handles and an interior zip pocket — and you can even add a monogram.

The bag's coolest feature, though, is that it folds up into a small pouch the size of an e-book.

iPhone 14 Pro

APPLE

$1,099+ at Best Buy

Featuring iOS 16 and brand new colors, the iPhone 14 Pro is a favorite of TPG senior reporter Zach Griff, who can't get enough of the 48MP camera. The 14 Pro phone uses an A16 bionic chip that boosts power efficiency.

This model has a ceramic shield designed for durability, an always viewable lock screen powered by low-display backlighting, a display 2X brighter in the sun and longer battery life. It's ideal for long flights, adventure travel or busy days of tourism.

Snoozeshade for Pack n' Play

SNOOZESHADE

$89 at Amazon

You'll never have to watch Netflix or sip a glass of wine while hiding in the bathroom of your hotel room again, thanks to Snoozeshade's travel crib cover, which safely blocks out 94% of the light in your hotel room.

When traveling with my then-infant (now toddler), I always slipped this into my luggage and put it over travel cribs in hotel rooms and home rentals. This meant I could keep the lights on while my infant slept peacefully in darkness at the same time.

It's a lifesaver for traveling families. The shade is air-permeable, washable and usable from the newborn stage for as long as your child sleeps in a crib.

Supergoop SPF Best Sellers Starter Kit

PHOTO COURTESY OF SUPERGOOP

$25 at Supergoop

The three-pack comes with Unseen Sunscreen — an invisible, weightless SPF 40 — the Play Everyday lotion, made with sunflower extract complete with SPF 50, and the Glowscreen SPF 40, which can be used as a dewy, brightening, stand-alone sunblock or a makeup primer.

TPG senior vice president of Content, Jamie Page, always has this sunscreen/skincare in her bag, precisely because "all the products are reef-safe and offer solid sun protection."

The set is ideal for travel because each item meets the 100ml or less carry-on liquid requirement. Not sold on these particular products? The brand offers a wide selection of travel-sized products — eye cream, lip shine, various types of sunscreen and more.

The Capsule by Cadence

CADENCE

$14 at Cadence

Becca Manheimer, TPG senior director of marketing and communication, was tired of buying travel-sized items. She wanted to take smaller portions of her regular products along with her in a sustainable way when traveling.

She discovered Cadence: refillable capsule containers made from recycled plastic. Each Capsule is magnetic and customizable, allowing you to select the right color and size, and even personalize the label with icons or text to denote your product.

Shoppers can build their own system of Capsules that hold together magnetically for easy access in your suitcase or toiletries case.

ProMaster All-in-One Worldwide AC travel adapter

PROMASTER

$19.95 at Amazon

Keeping your tech items charged when traveling doesn't have to be complicated. Just pick up this Promaster travel adapter, which can be used in more than 150 countries.

Ryan Smith, TPG credit cards writer, considers this the best travel adapter he's ever used. You can plug in two different U.S. plugs and then flip up the correct prongs to plug into an outlet in whatever country you happen to be in.

Slip pillowcase

SLIP/FACEBOOK

$89 at Slip

Sometimes travel is exhausting — especially on the skin. Rachel Malone-Olson, TPG vice president of marketing, finds that plane air and hotel bedding, amenities and towels can be drying and won't travel without her Slip Pillowcase.

"It's my last defense at maintaining some semblance of moisture and hydration," she said.

The dermatologist-recommended pillowcases purport to increase skin hydration and radiance that help keep fine lines, dryness and wrinkles at bay. It's available in basic white, or consider a bold hue from a rainbow of available colors.

Branché Belle de Nuit eyemask

BRANCHÉ BELLE DE NUIT

$46 at Amazon

Sleep on airplanes is often elusive, but Maren Gimnes, TPG UK social media manager, can sleep on any flight as long as she has her Branché eyemask.

The mask's regenerative silk protects the delicate eye area while completely blacking out light so you can sleep anywhere while traveling. The hypoallergenic silk also helps rejuvenate the skin around the eye to prevent wrinkles and under-eye circles.

Cotopaxi Allpa Travel Pack

COTOPAXI/FACEBOOK

$200+ at Cotopaxi

A comfortable and durable backpack is key for travelers. Bill Fink, TPG senior writer, is a fan of Cotopaxi's Travel Packs for his off-road travels. He finds that the different compartments make it easy to find stuff fast. He also likes that the packs feature a sturdy, padded laptop sleeve.

These colorful packs are a fun alternative to the typical black luggage and bags. The interior mesh compartments almost feel like a backpack plus packing cubes all-in-one. Also, the four reinforced grab handles make it easy to carry in different ways if you just don't feel like slinging it over your back.

Moment phone lens, case and case mount

MOMENT/FACEBOOK

Lens, $99+, Case, $39.99+ and Mount, $4.99+ at Moment

We already discussed how the new iPhone 14 Pro's camera has really stepped things up a notch. If you want to take things even further into the world of travel photography, consider iPhone photography accessories from Moment.

TPG senior photo editor, Wyatt Smith, swears by his Moment phone lens, as it allows him to get more diversity within his photos. Although you may have to upgrade the case and mount as you change phones, the lens should last you forever, offering additional sharpness, clarity and range to your travel shots.

Addalock Portable Door Lock

ADDALOCK/AMAZON

$17.95 at Amazon

Safety is super important, especially for anyone traveling solo. TPG content operations editor, Madison Blancaflor, always travels with this portable door lock.

"It offers an extra layer of protection and peace of mind at night, especially when I’m staying at an Airbnb where I have no idea who all has access keys to the rental," she said.

This particular safety tool is easy to slip into your suitcase and simple to adhere to a door, whether you're staying at a fancy hotel, a budget rental or anywhere in between.

FEATURE BY BILL HARKINS/THE POINTS GUY

Featured image by BILL HARKINS/THE POINTS GUY
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
BEST FOR DINING AND GROCERY REWARDS
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.

    Earn 60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There’s a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It’s been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you’re hitting the skies soon, you’ll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there’s no reason that the foodie shouldn’t add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x).
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel.
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months.

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories.
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits.
  • Few travel perks and protections.