After eight years of near constant travel for both business and pleasure across five continents, 22 countries, and 77 cities, I’ve tried and tested an assortment of travel gear and tools. While I can’t say that I have what to pack down to a science (I don’t think we can ever say that), I can tell you what works best for my ease, comfort, and travel enjoyment. Here are my recommended travel resources.
Choosing a camera is a very personal choice and depends highly on your travel style and goals. Over the past three years I moved from a point-and-shoot to a mirrorless system to a DLSR. A DLSR was the right move for me for my objectives as a traveler and blogger.
Nikon D3300 DLSR –The Nikon D3300 is considered an entry level DLSR, which is fine by me. I don’t aim to be a professional photographer but still want high quality photos for my blog and freelance career. I missed many shots with my mirrorless camera, a Samsung NX2000, and it had several warranty and quality issues. Also, the weight of the Nikon isn’t much more than my old Samsung. I actually found the weight is distributed making the Nikon easier to shoot with.
Suitcase – I’ve been through a lot of suitcases over the years. No matter what a spend, I haven’t found a brand that is durable for the amount of travel I subject it to. This last time around, I did switch to a hardshell suitcase to help avoid the tearing and staining my cloth suitcases were experiencing. So far, so good.
Day Bag – I use a Pacsafe VentureSafe 300 for my day bag. It’s designed to keep your stuff safe on the road with safety features such as locking zippers, slash proof mesh, steel wires in the straps, and RFID protection for my passport. It’s quite stylish and the right size so I don’t have to check it when touring museums or churches. Many sites make visitors check backpacks which is a huge inconvenience. It’s also very rugged. Mine is several years old and is still going strong.
Purse – Mrs. G. wears a TravelOn Luggage Anti-Theft Cross-Body Bag for her purse. It’s designed to keep your stuff safe with safety features such as locking zippers, slash proof mesh, and steel wires in the straps. It’s also quite fashionable and comes in several fun colors.
Compression Bags – Compression bags allow you to pack more in your suitcase by acting as a vacuum seal to reduce the space your clothes take up. This is a great tool if you prefer to pack with only a carryon or buy a lot of souvenirs.
Collapsible Duffel – If you plan to purchase a lot of souvenirs, a collapsible duffle will carry the overflow from your suitcase. Collapsible duffels tightly pack into your suitcase and can double as a carryon or checked luggage on the way home.
Luggage Scale –Don’t second guess the weight of your suitcases. It will only cost you time redistributing items at the airport or money to pay the fees for overweight luggage. You may even miss a flight like Mrs. G. did on the way home from Lithuania. A Travelon Micro Scale takes up minimal space in your suitcase and is extremely light.
I store all of the following in a Ziplock bag so they’re ready to pack in my carry-on.
Inflatable Travel Pillow – Those rinky dink airplane pillows are a joke and filled with germs. However, travel pillows are bulky and a pain in the ass to carry. I have a Samsonite Inflatable Neck Pillow that is there when I need it and shoved to the bottom of my backpack when I don’t.
Earplugs – Whether is for quiet on a plane, to keep out street noise in a big city hotel room, or to silence you’re snoring partner, earplugs will help you catch quality sleep so you awake energized for tomorrow’s adventure.
Fitbit Pedometer – I’m kind of a nerd and like to track how many steps I take a day when traveling. I realize a Fitbit may cost a bit more than a basic pedometer, but I also use it to track my weight loss goals, daily calorie intake, and sleep patterns. I have a Fitbit One, which has worked well for two years now, but I really want a Fitbit Charge with a heartrate monitor.
Kindle – I don’t pack books or magazines anymore. If I can’t read it on my Kindle, I don’t need to read it. I’ve been able to eliminate several pounds from my luggage without the bulkiness of books, magazines, and newspapers.
Tablet – If you don’t want to bring a laptop, a tablet is a great substitute for a laptop as it is lighter and does all the same things. We use our Samsung Galaxy Tab S to plot our days, find restaurants, make online reservations, and play games on flights and trains. Don’t be fooled by the Apple hype, our Samsung does everything that an Apple can do with a much cheaper price tag.
Laptop – Since making the transition to a fulltime blogger, I’m forced to carry a laptop. It’s easier to write on and edit photos with. I own a Lenovo Yoga 3 and absolutely love it. It’s light and durable. Plus, the 2-in-1 convertible option is quite cool for hands-on photo editing, better viewing of entertainment in hotel rooms, and a surface to play games on with traveling companions.
Portable Charger / External Battery – Never be caught with a dead phone, table, or Kindle battery again! Amazon sells a variety of reasonably priced portable chargers. I use an Omaker Intelligent Portable Battery. It charges my Samsung S3 six times before it needs charged and is the perfect solution for two travelers. It is heavy though. If you’re a solo traveler, I recommend one with less capacity (5000 mAh or less).
Check out our popular post What to Wear in Europe. We offer both a men’s and women’s guide on what to pack for your European adventure.
Travel insurance is essential. You absolutely shouldn’t leave home without it. I’m not saying international travel is dangerous. I’m saying that things can happen just like they do at home, which is why we buy homeowners and auto insurance. Thus, travel insurance just makes sense.
Allianz – I use Allianz. It’s the most affordable I’ve found and provides the best coverage for short-term travel. I know. I’m a recovering insurance agent and have scrutinized other carrier’s offerings.