The thing about traveling again after so long is you realize what you’re missing – and by that, we mean what’s missing from your suitcase. You must remember what’s worth taking and what’s not, sometimes learning the hard way when your carry-on is about to burst at the seams or you’ve forgotten your favorite sleep mask on the nightstand ahead of an overnight flight.
That’s why Martin Ferguson, vice president, global communications and public affairs, American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT), says he keeps a list of things he takes on a journey. He checks it before leaving anywhere – the hotel, the office, the plane – to make sure he’s packed all his belongings.
“The system is not foolproof, though,” he admitted. “Last week, I thought I’d lost my AirPods on a flight home to Glasgow from London. I dozed off with them plugged in, and when I woke up they were gone. Eight fellow passengers and three crew members helped me search. I turned my bag and pockets upside down and inside out several times. Nothing. It wasn’t until I pulled a snotty tissue from my sleeve to catch a sneeze in the car home did my pods miraculously appear.”
Good thing. He’d be lost on a trip without his AirPods, which he uses for music, audiobooks, and calls.
So what item could you not survive a trip without? Hunting for gift ideas, we asked several colleagues at Amex GBT this question. We think many of the products mentioned below can help you deal with the inconveniences of traveling today, such as flight disruptions and packed planes. They also make great holiday presents, whether you’re treating yourself to a few goodies this season or buying something for the jet-setter in your life.
Supplying the tunes
Linda McNairy, vice president, the Americas, American Express Meetings & Events, said the most prized possession in her luggage is the Sonos Roam portable speaker her son gave her for Mother’s Day.
“It is lightweight, has amazing sound quality, and enhances my travel experience,” she said. “I use it to listen to music in my room, to podcasts while I am getting ready in the morning, and for relaxation/meditation at night. I even bring it into the meeting room for my internal team meetings to have some walk-in/mood-setting music as folks arrive for the day.”
Tonya Hempstead, vice president, diversity and inclusion, says she cannot leave for a trip without her Beats noise-canceling headphones, which she uses for audiobooks and movies. “As long as I have those, I can weather any flight.”
The set’s lightweight yet durable design makes it an ideal choice for traveling, and Apple fans will love the seamless setup and switching it has with iOS devices. When scoping them out online, we found the brand’s best-selling headphones, Beats Studio3, were nearly 60% off the list price.
Gerardo Tejado Donde, senior vice president and general manager, American Express Meetings & Events, also says his noise-canceling headphones are a must for taking calls in noisy, crowded airports. Bringing his own food is also necessary for surviving flight delays, he said.
“You never know if you will be offered something to eat or can buy food on the plane. So, I’m now traveling with a couple of granola bars and some nuts so that if I can’t get anything, I have something to eat.”
For toting your favorite snacks, we recommend checking out Stasher’s colorful lineup of reusable silicone bags. Its “Go” bag features an easy-clip carabiner so a satisfying morsel is always at your fingertips.
Sticking to the routine
For Liza Lewis, senior director of global customer partnerships, it’s important to keep the same nightly routine on the road. “It helps me feel at home wherever I am.”
She loves multi-use products, such as Jacq’s Organics’ Cleansing and Moisturizing Antioxidant Beauty Balm.
“This product is a great cleanser and a superb moisturizer, no matter the climate I find myself in,” she said. “Another must-have is my lip balm by Mambino Organics that I use morning, noon, and nightly. The best part of these products is that they represent brands that are vegan, green, effective, and inclusive (Jacq’s is Black-owned and Mambino is family-owned by an Indian-American couple). It’s my way of getting back to travel responsibly.”
Dan Ratnavale, vice president, national accounts, small- to mid-sized enterprises, likes Malin + Goetz Essentials Kit, a six-piece set with cleanser, two moisturizers, body wash, shampoo, and conditioner.
“This is my staple pack of products that I can carry on. It meets all the TSA requirements and everything is biodegradable and 100% recyclable. I just leave it in my carry-on bag and never have to worry about if I packed everything.”
Dan also loves his Rimowa carry-on, which weighs less than five pounds.
“I did a lot of research to find the lightest and most sturdy suitcase and selected the Rimowa. It’s a bit expensive, but it was the best purchase I made for travel,” he said. “In addition to its style, the wheels make it super fast and it barely needs to be pushed to move.”
Meanwhile, Swapna Nair, managing director and general manager, Benelux, said she could not travel without her Kindle.
“I use my travel time to catch up on reading. This is the only time I get these days when I can completely switch off and focus on a good read,” she said. “I always have a list of must-read books on my to-do list and download them onto my Kindle just before getting on a flight.”
The 2022 base model boasts USB-C charging for the first time and 300 pixels per inch, which means it has the same super sharp screen as the superior Kindle Paperwhite. Pair it with this leather carry-all case from Cinnamon Cocoon, which can stow your device, passport, phone, cards, earphones, and charger, and you’ll be ready to take flight.
Have a particular travel item you cannot leave home without? Share it with us on social media via Twitter or LinkedIn. And for valuable hints and news to help you prepare for your journeys ahead, check out our #TravelReady page.