Travel Gear I Always Have With Me
Travel Gear I Always Have With Me
Planning ahead and having the the right gear while balancing need, practicality, and weight has really made traveling a lot less stressful and more efficient. I carefully do my research and rarely purchase anything on a whim. If something meets my requirements, chances are it will stay that way for a while. I know because I end up replacing my gear with many of the same items when they’ve reached the end of their lives. Technology on the other hand is changing all the time and I’m a tech nerd. Give me all the gear.
Recommended Travel Electronics
Apple AirPods 2nd generation USB-C Wireless MagSafe Charging. The noise cancellation on the original AirPods Pro were pretty good and have served me well, but I tried the 2nd generation and it’s a game changer. You really can’t hear anything unless you turn on transparency mode. It makes flying so much more comfortable. Last year, I slept in a mountain refuge with 23 other people before our dawn summit of Toubkal in Morocco’s Atlas mountain. The symphony of snorers was something that I didn’t have to experience and has made the upgrade from the original AirPods to the Pros completely worth it. This latest version also comes with the USB-C charging option, which I would recommend you get over the Lightning adapter since Apple is going that direction. Future proof yourself.
Apple AirTags (4 Pack). Years ago, I tried out the Tile trackers. It was useless because it required the presence of other Tiles in order to geolocate itself. Not so useful if I’m in the middle of nowhere. AirTags build on this mesh networking technology, but it also uses their Find My technology that makes locating very precise. They just work and I toss them in all my bags when I’m traveling.
Realistically, you’re probably not going to go after a thief even if you know their location, but you never know. For me, it’s nice to know that my checked bags have made it on the plane or to my destination. It’s also nice when I’m taking buses to know that my bag in the under compartment is still there in between stops. It also alerts you if you’ve left things behind and this has actually saved me from losing one of my camera bags once.
SanDisk 2TB Extreme Portable SSD – USB-C 1050MB/s. If you’re a photographer, you should already know about these. Rather than carrying around clunky hard drives with rubber padding to protect it, these tiny solid state drives are so much more durable and portable. That usually comes at a cost, but the price point is great for even a 2TB drive, and that’s more than most people will ever need on a trip. I now carry 2-3 of these on a trip and I’m covered with being able to back up all my new photos and videos as well as to bring along my my portfolio and other files that I need to work on the road. If you have any need for a hard drive, don’t bother with anything else. These are great. The speed is better than any hard disk drive that are slower and are more pronounce to being damaged.
VEEKTOMX Mini Power Bank 10000 mAh – USB-C. Until recently, I owned two main power banks. This powerful 20000 mAh power bank that will last for days and charge my devices super fast. And this super portable one specifically for my iPhone. If I have to be light, I’ll take the smaller one. For everything else, I use the 20000 mAh brick. But it’s heavy. I was recently in need of an in-between solution and I’m very glad I got the mini VEEKTOMX. I’ve never heard of the brand, but the power bank is small, it’s has PD 3.0 and QC 3.0, and it has a maximum output of 22.5W, so it’s fast. It’s like 1/4th the size and weight of my large power bank, so it’s much easier to carry around everywhere.
MINIX 66W Turbo USB-C/USB-A Charger. I hate those chunky universal travel adapters. Plugging in is a game of sometimes too loose, sometimes too tight. And if you plug in something too heavy, the whole thing will just fall out of a loose socket in the middle of Borneo. I used to bring so many charging adapters and converters when I travel. Nowadays, I can mostly get away with carry just this ONE tiny charging adapter and a couple of cables for all my cameras, batteries, MacBook, AirPods, phone, iPad, Kindle etc. This thing is smaller than my MacBook charger adapter, and charges even faster with its 65W output. I carry one USB-C to USB-C cable, one USB-C to Lightning cable and one Micro USB cable and I can pretty charge everything with this one thing. It also comes with the foldable plug that adapts with a UK and Euro/Asia standard plug, so I’m good for 90% of my travels.
iPad Air (5th Gen) with M1 Chip 10.9 in. I used to think it was a waste of space, weight, and money to carry around an iPad when I was already traveling with my MacBook Air, until I went ahead and bought one anyway. The newer generations are so thin and slick and an absolute joy to use. It’s my entertainment for all my flights and train/bus rides without having to pull out the laptop and find a table for it. The 10.9” is perfect for most people and the M1 chip is so fast you won’t have to replace it for years. I use it to edit photos on the go and as a second monitor primarily, but as an entertainment device, the screen and speakers are better than my MacBook Air’s. Lastly, since it’s a mobile device, you can download all the content from Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, etc onto the device, which you can’t do with a laptop.
USB-C 20W Charging Block and Lightning Cable. Normally $20. Now $16. Most people don’t think about the little adapter they plug into the wall to charge their devices and as a result, they might be getting the fastest charge. For most devices charging with USB-C, you should at least have a 20W and up charger block.
Practical Travel Gear
Collapsible Water Bottle. This is one of the two travel water bottles I own. Aesthetically, it’s pretty, but more importantly, it’s practical. The whole thing rolls up and there’s a loop to secure it when it’s empty. I keep this empty in my side pocket when I’m going through airport security, and then fill up on the other side. This one I like because it’s pretty and it feels more durable, but it’s a bit on the smaller side at 20 oz or about .59 L.
Ultralight Collapsible Water Bottle 1 Liter. This is my main go to water bottle at home and on the road. I’ve bought so many of these, not because they broke, but because I keep giving them away to friends. I love that they come in different sizes and colors, although the 1 Liter/34 oz blackout is my favorite combination. Get the two pack.
Neutrogena Solid Sunscreen. I can’t believe I didn’t know about solid sunscreen before. Sunscreen is pretty cheap in the US, but I find it so expensive everywhere else, especially in beach destinations. If you are traveling with a checked bag, bring all the sunscreen you want, but when I travel with just a carry-on, it’s annoying that I have to create several small bottles of travel sized sunscreen that are under 100 ml each. With these solid sticks, I don’t have to worry about that restriction anymore. I carry one of the Neutrogena one more for face and a Banana Boat one that I use everything else.
Travel Laundry Soap Sheets. I never carried around laundry detergent with me and I hated having to scrounge for it on the road, pay more for individual boxes of soap, or get more than I needed. These things are so small and lightweight and they work great. There are also hand soap leaves that I can keep in my day pack when I’m traveling by bus or train since I may not always find soap.
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter. If I’m going somewhere really remote or into the wilderness, I always toss in a LifeStraw along with my iodine tabs. It’s a great emergency device to filter dirty water.
Ultralight Compression Packing Bags. Forget your old travel bags or comprMy Session bags where you can squeeze out the air to save space. The former is easy to use for organizing but doesn’t save much space, and the latter is not practical if you are packing and unpacking more than once during your trip. I now use these travel bags that have a second compression zip. Once you pack in your clothes, there’s an outer zip that runs along the whole thing to compress it down even further to save space. $24 is a good to for this set of 6 and this is the brand I use, which is like 5x cheaper than brands like Nomatic.
Let me know if I’m missing something and best of luck with planning your next adventure. If you need some travel ideas, have a look at my 388 item long bucket list.
Updated on October 23, 2023