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Open this photo in gallery: CEO Gillian Tans.The Globe and Mail

For many women, Gillian Tans is a model for how to achieve ultimate boss status. The Amsterdam-based chief executive of leads a team of more than 17,000 employees globally and is the highest paid female chief executive officer in the digital travel sector (she placed 11th on Fortune’s Most Powerful Women international list this year).

Tans is on the road for more than half the year, often hopping from city to city to city. “This year, I did a trip where I went from New York to Chicago to Denver to Las Vegas and Miami,” she says. “I travel often and I don’t have a lot of time on the ground, so I want to make sure I’m as efficient as possible.”

To say that Tans has become a packing expert would be an understatement (she never checks luggage, no matter how long she’s gone). Here, she shares a few of the essentials that help her travel light.

Open this photo in gallery:

Photograph by Joseph Saraceno; Styling by Wilson Wong/

Noise reduction headphones

“If I work on the plane, they help me to focus – and when I’m in the airport as well.”

Bose QuietComfort 35 II noise cancelling Bluetooth headphones, $449.99 at Best Buy.

Hair styler

“I always bring a combination hair dryer and curler. When you travel and you’re tired, at least you can look your best.”

Dyson Airwrap Styler Complete, $649.99 at Dyson.


“I always wear sneakers, so I can get through the airport easily. This year we were in Madrid at a conference and late for the airport. I had to run through the airport in heels – you want to avoid that!”

Nike Air VaporMax Flyknit 2, $255 at Nike.


“When I don’t have to work straight away, I like to be comfortable and wear sweatpants.”

Kotn drawstring sweatpants, $85 at Kotn.


“I just started reading Finding Your Why, which I just got at a presentation. I read a lot and mostly electronically.”

Kobo Aura H2O Edition, $199.99 at Indigo.

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