Looking for Holiday Travel Gifts? Check out these 8 must haves

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Taking a trip? Check out these 8 must haves

I like my travel tight. Get everything I need in as small a space as I can possibly fit, BUT I also know that I’m a packrat and I’ll probably buy some stuff I don’t need, but I’ll have to have because who knows if I’ll ever get the chance to buy a snowglobe on the Great Wall of China again? You know you feel me. So I’ve put together a collection of things that will keep your phone charged, laptop backed up, possessions safe, AND do it in style and in the most compact way possible. If you’re taking a trip…Check out these 8 must haves that WE USE ALLLLL the time.

Tumi Alpha Bravo Backpack

This is my second Tumi backpack. My first was in college and I busted it to save up for one. I worked at a Neiman Marcus part-time just so I could buy a Tumi backpack and two Hugo Boss suits during the friends and family discount. I quit two weeks later. Is that silly? Who knows and it’s not the point – the point is I’ve never turned back from Tumi backpacks. They’re highly durable, stylish, and this Alpha Bravo has pockets built for the road warrior or the casual weekender.

Miles Tumi Alpha Bravo Backpack

Hartmann 7R Global Carry On Spinner

I’ve used Hartmann luggage for a long time, and I really have my eye on this upgrade. Hartmann has a great warranty and personally I think the 7R looks super handsome.

Ebags packing cubes. I really do use them everytime I travel.


Anker Portable Power Banks

I travel with 2 or 3 of these bad boys. They’ve saved my life…or least my life as a blogger with a phone who’s battery likes to die right before boarding.

I use a GoPro Hero 5 but I really want the new Fusion so I could record in full 360.

These guys are fully water proof and offer true 4k video ( 5.2k with the Fusion).  They aren’t cheap, but I’ve found them to be really fun to film with and the image/video quality is great. The new Fusion is currently on sale for $597.

Macbook Air + Seagate portable hard drive.

  • My Macbook Air is Slim, fast, and it’s Miles’ favorite. The only downside…it doesn’t have a large hard drive…that’s where the Seagate comes in

Miles whips this bad boy out no matter if he’s on the plane…or lounging in Bali at Mandapa!

Eagle Creek “No Matter What “Duffel Bag

I love this thing. I bought it in 2015 for our Safari and it ends up getting packed into my roller. If I buy stuff…Bam! I unpack this bad boy and I have a durable bag to toss it into. Hello Madison Wisconsin 🙂

Things are things I actually use. I’m not paid to endorse any of these items, but the link provided are affiliate links and I’d make a small bonus if you used my links. I appreciate you using them, but these are honestly things that I use and enjoy.

Affiliate link via CardRatings


The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based. 

Welcome Offer

60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months

80k offer in branch currently – I think this should be online soon

Annual Fee


Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

Super solid welcome offer.

If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners

Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.

  • 3x on dining
    •  including eligible delivery services for takeout
  • 3x on select streaming services
  • 3x on online grocery purchases
    • (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
  • $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
    • The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
  • 10% Anniversary Bonus
    • Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
  • Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
  • Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
    • Primary rental car coverage is my favorite

There is currently an 80k offer after $4k spend in 3 months available in branch, and up to 90k after $6k spend in 6 months. I suspect some version of this will be online soon if you don’t want the hassle of going into a branch.

We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.

Historically 60k is a very, very good offer. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back. .

Main Cast: 

Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.

Supporting Cast:

Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on. 

1 Comment

  • Antonio November 15, 2018

    kind of off topic… but where did you get the cool little tri-pod for your gopro?

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