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I get asked a lot about what type of gear I use when traveling. Over the years, through many countries, and often trial and error, I’ve found my groove with knowing what works best. This list shows what I’ve currently got in my travel arsenal.
The nitty gritty. “What luggage do you use?” This is the question I’m most asked by readers, along with, “How do you maintain such natural beauty?” My best advice is, yes, invest a few extra bills in your luggage, especially if you regularly check your bags. Do you need to drop thousands, heck no! With the exception of the Lo & Songs OG bag, all of these cost less than $150 and have paid out that investment time and time again, as you’ll see.
This is my newest purchase and what a deal on Amazon! It has so many compartments and well placed pockets that it carried all my gadgets for our most recent trip to Asia. I will be using this again and again. And I carry a lot – see below.
Haven’t heard of Lo & Sons? Well, let me introduce you to your new bag best friend. It has been my go-to laptop carry-all, carry-on bag for years. In fact, I used to use it for work too, when I had to commute into the office everyday. Plus, they have the best customer service. While I was in Korea, the clasp that held my strap, snapped off. I contacted them after I got home and explained what happened. They asked me to take a picture, apologized profusely and then sent me a brand new bag! Holla!
Ladies and gents, this is it. I’ve had the Travelpro Maxlite 4 International Carry-On Spinner Suitcase for nearly 3 years and it has been to 13 countries and on countless domestic flights. It is international dimensions, which is important when trying to avoid checked baggage fees. It is one inch smaller than domestic dimensions, so it will fit in smaller regional international overhead bins. Plus, that means I can’t take as much and therefore it will pass the weight test. A lot people don’t know that there are such strict rules, but let me tell ya’, they will test you – check out the story in the Bangkok section here. The Travelpro Maxlite 4 International Carry-On Spinner Suitcase has held up beautifully and I’m hoping to get more years out of it. PSST–IT’S ON SALE NOW ON AMAZON! Boo-yah.
I love, love, love this Knomo laptop briefcase. It’s slim and stylish and makes me look more put together than my leggings would indicate. Now that I’m working remotely a lot, this doubles as my laptop case and purse, with pockets for everything. Out of all my bags, this one hands down, gets the most compliments.
Gadgets galore. Since I was a kid, I’ve always traveled with a camera. Back when they did that weird thing where you couldn’t see the picture after you took it and had to wait 2 days to have that odd thing called film printed. Can you imagine?! With a camera, comes all the gear, plus items I’ve found super helpful in keeping me connected and charged. All of these items, especially the Sony Alpha a6000 are sure bets when it comes to travel gear.
The hubster bought this for us years ago and it has been awesome. One charge will keep us connected for nearly a week before we need to charge it again. We’ve had good luck with the Anker brand and ours has 2 USB ports, so both of us can charge our phones at the same time, while on the go.
I made the leap to a mirrorless camera right before my trip to Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. It was honestly one of the best decisions I could have made in terms of travel gear. Mirrorless cameras are so much lighter compared to their DSLR big brothers. Plus, if you’re into photography and don’t use the automatic option much, mirrorless cameras let you actually see your shot all set up, with the settings you’ve chosen before you hit capture. The Sony Alpha a6000 is incredible in low light; it’s great for amateurs like me. I’ve taken so many fantastic pictures with the Sony Alpha A6000 that I’ve even enlarged a few and framed them to hang on our walls.
I bought this puppy from a friend and it has captured some of the best (and funniest) videos of our adventures. I either clip it on my backpack or bike, throw it on a selfie-stick and walk around or just leave it propped up on a table to capture the sunrise. If I were to do it differently now, I would buy the GoPros that have the display on the back (featured here), which is something all GoPros have now. While I pretty darn good with a camera, sometimes the shot isn’t set up exactly the way I’d prefer, and the display would help with that. A GoPro is essential if you want to capture some of the best footage of your travels.
For organized, type-A people like myself, these have proven to be lifesavers. The gear ties act as twist ties for all my electronic cords. It keeps all of them tidy and easy to unravel; which is key when you don’t have a Phd is in quantum physics to figure out how to slyly take apart your headphones without getting in a tizzy. Or so I’ve heard…
I’ve probably had 4 outlet adaptors in all my travels and this is easily the best. It’s compact, has 2 USB ports and can adjust to any world outlet, all using one device. You may still need to use a converter for your devices in conjunction with this adaptor, but most of mine are Apple products which typically convert the voltage automatically.
You know when you get to a hotel room and there are approximately 2 outlets in the entire room (neither of which are close to the bed)? That’s when this sucker comes in handy. The Belkin Surge Protector and Charger Power Strip has 3 outlets and 2 USB ports, which easily gives me the ability to charge everything all at once. Plus, the plug head rotates so you can squeeze it into any weird location.
Tired of paying for packages or roaming charges with your phone carrier when traveling abroad? Let me introduce you to this little gadget I love so much called, the Skyroam. We have AT&T, which offers a $10/day international pass with unlimited data or a $40 Passport for 30 days with 256 MB data. Both are nice, with one caveat; you aren’t covered in some countries or you’re traveling for more than a few days and will easily burn through 256 MB. The SkyRoam works in over 100 countries for unlimited data and you can connect up to 5 devices. The best part? It’s only freakin’ $9 for 24 hours. It was integral for us while roaming the packed streets of Hanoi, Vietnam or climbing temples in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The investment has already paid for itself and will do so more in future travels. Get $20 off when you use this link.
These are the things I never would have thought of as travel essentials, but now that I’ve used them, I will never, ever travel without them. You hear that? These are the game changers, ladies and gents. Be sure to add some to you travel arsenal.
The key to taking only a carry-on for two week trips? PACKING CUBES! These have been integral to my packing prowess, where I can whip out the Tetris skills with the best of them. There are other packing cubes on the market, but these have been my standby for years. You can squeeze so much into these suckers, you’ll be amazed at how much space is saved with eBags Packing Cubes. They come in a variety of sizes – I suggest getting a the variety pack and seeing which size you like best and then buying one pack of that particular size.
Honestly? This is probably the best toiletry bag I’ve ever owned. No joke. Once all packed up, it slips right on into the top of my carry on and can slide in the front pocket. This slim guy packs a punch too, you will be surprised at how much can fit in it! I have it for probably 5 years and it hasn’t shown any sign of wear and tear. If there’s one thing you should buy on this list, this is it.
Tired of fiddling with your license, passport, boarding pass, Global Entry card and whole traveling life? Get a passport holder! This makes me appear to be a travel ninja – handing my passport or license to gate agents and TSA, all while maintaining my travel docs right in the same holder. It may seem simple, but this is something I never, ever travel without, even domestically, because we never know what may happen while out of town with the current administration and state of affairs. Am I right?
Remember how I mentioned I can pack for two weeks in one carry-on? I don’t carry two weeks with of underwears (yes, plural) with me and aside from wearing them inside out or paying astronomical hotel laundry fees, there aren’t many options. Cue Lucky Fiji Power Sheets. Instead of packing liquid or powder detergent packs, these detergent sheets lay flat and you only need to take a couple. They easily dissolve in the washer and your undies now smell like roses, as they always should. I recommend these over any other brand or the liquid and powder variety.
All of these items I’ve personally used and would recommend again and again. Do you have any of these? What’s in your travel arsenal?