One thing we’ve definitely learned over the years is that buying cheap travel gear is like buying cheap insurance. If everything goes well then it’s a sweet bargain. If everything goes to shit then you really wish you invested more into it.
After living out of a backpack for a while people start to ask questions. Questions like “how many pairs of underwear do you own” and “you only own two pairs of shoes… and you’re a woman… but how?” That last one was obviously entirely Maggie-related, but you get the point. People get curious about what’s worked for you and what hasn’t, and we definitely love to share. We’ve put together the list below of our all-time favourite travel gear. Most of which has saved our butts or is the reason we’re able to travel the world full-time.
As freelancers, bloggers, and total nerds – our gear might be more tech-heavy than most. Ultimately, your gear is your baby while you travel. It has to fit your needs (and let’s face it, your colour scheme). So, while browsing through this section, keep in mind that there are definitely cheaper options out there. Our preference over the years, however, has definitely shifted towards spending more on gear that’s durable, top-quality and most importantly lightweight. It’s impossible to recommend a one-size-fits-all travel gear list, but we hope that you enjoy having a browse through the items that help us travel!
It may be one of the more expensive laptops on the market, but trust us when we say it’s incredibly durable; Nick’s is still going strong after 6 years! This is great for freelancers in the graphic design/video editing space who need something a little bit more powerful than a Macbook Air. It is heavier but packs more of a punch.
Being light as a feather, this is one of the laptops of choice for frequent travellers. We were both PC users for years but have since converted and Macs have treated us well on the road. Maggie destroyed three laptops while travelling before switching over to this beauty and we think it’s definitely worth every penny.
We initially bought a GoPro just to take underwater shots of us re-enacting the Little Mermaid and videos of us trying to look like Travis Rice while snow-boarding. This this is so damn portable, we now use it whenever we don’t want to carry around the bigger DSLR, or just for epic selfies!
Nick bought this lens before heading to Africa to use it for wildlife photography and it was so incredibly worth it. The zoom is massive and maintains reasonably good quality when fully extended without getting too grainy. This is more of an entry-level zoom lens, but great value. Just prepare for it to be a bit heavy simply due to its size.
For indoor photography it’s pretty hard to go past the Sigma Super Wide Angle Lens. It’s awesome for taking group shots and making sure no one’s head gets cut off. It’s also also great for landscape shots, and any indoor real estate looking shots. Awesome for travelling and making sure you can get the entire Eiffel Tower in one shot even at close range!
Because we value all of our camera equipment, this backpack was a no-brainer to keep it all safe and sound. It’s spacious enough to fit a DSLR with an attached lens and two extra lenses, plus the Mavic Pro drone (and extra parts) along with our GoPro. It’s even small enough to be used as a carry-on bag (with the Macbook Air in the front sleeve!) Plus it’s waterproof, and it’s the cheapest one we found of it’s kind and quality.
There are so many laptop sleeves and covers around but this one is both splash proof and shock proof. It’s certainly not going to stop your laptop from breaking if you drop it off the roof or into a swimming pool but it’s does make it just that little bit more safe. Plus it’s just fun to stroke its cool material.
The only way to really take sharp photos in low light or with long exposure is with a tripod. This is what we used to capture the Northern Lights in Iceland so it has been a worthy investment! Plus it’s super handy for solo travellers wanting to up their selfie game! Manfrotto have always been known for top quality and this tripod is quite light and portable.
Both Photoshop and Lightroom are tools of the trade for us as freelancers, but equally as important for editing photos that we use on this blog. Thanks to YouTube there are now lots of tutorials to teach you how to use them along with the info we provide on this blog.
Unfortunately, this is a purchase we made a bit too late, as our traditional external hard-drive (with a few years of photos, documents, and far too many TV shows) one day decided to die a sad death. Now we’ve switched to a SSD which is far more reliable. It’s also great for Macbook Air users like Maggie with small internal hard-drives. So far, we’re pretty sure it’s indestructible!
Personally, we don’t mind laptop trackpads. But as two people who spend a lot of time on our computers your back and neck start to hate you after a while. An external mouse (and keyboard) means you can put your laptop at eye level and straighten up your posture – totally key as a freelancer. This beauty is a lot cheaper than the sleek & sexy Apple version but it works well for what we need!
Our luggage of choice really depends on the destination. Although we have both owned suitcases and regular backpacks, this backpack with wheels is a great hybrid. 70L is the perfect size for travelling relatively light but still having enough space and your spine will thank you for it. The detachable day pack is a big bonus. If only it came in turquoise it would be perfect for Maggie!
As former tour managers, we both pride ourselves on being freakishly organised. Travel wallets like this one make our lives so much easier and if your passport, money and documents all have a permanent place it’s hard to lose them. Make sure to guard this with your life, or get the not-so-attractive money belt as an alternative.
This is definitely a ‘practicality over prettyness’ sort of situation. The colour may be a bit suspicious but your airport-floor-sleeping self will thank you for having this guy in your pack. A good sleeping bag is an important investment if you’re planning doing any camping or even just for use in hostels or overnight train rides. Coleman does a good job – but make sure to check the warmth rating to make sure it’s the right for what you need.
For any adventure holiday involving a bit of the great outdoors it’s a good idea to have a lightweight, simple first aid kit. If you’re lucky you never use it but it could come in handy, especially when hiking or after big nights out. At the very minimum, carry band-aids, gauze and medical tape around.
Swiss Army Knives are funny things, until you own one you never realise just how useful they actually are. We travel with the ‘Huntsman II’ but there are far too many different types. You can go as little & lightweight or as big & heavy as you want. The bottle opener and scissors are always handy. Just make sure to chuck this guy into your checked luggage when flying. Airport security love stealing these from you.
When we first started travelling we had a separate adapter for each region we travelled through. Luckily, we now have this little number which is universal and even has 2 USB charging points. Very handy, plus it’s a great way to make friends in hostels with travellers in need of charging up their devices. Basically it can be your little blue wingman/woman… wing-person?
One for the camping and hiking enthusiasts out there. This could be one of the smartest inventions ever – a straw that filters water. Great for the outdoors but also if travelling to a place where clean drinking water is hard to come by. Fun fact – Maggie once pooped herself in front of her passengers on tour due to having drunk tap water in Barcelona… she definitely wishes she had this back then.
A very standard but necessary inclusion on this list. As you can see we travel with some valuable gear so combination locks are a must. These are good because of the flexible steel cable and being TSA-approved means that you’re not going to have your luggage cut in half to be inspected (this has happened to us before and it sucks!) Many hostels will now provide you with a free locker to store your valuables but will charge for the use of their lock, so this is a must while you travel.
Hangover cure! Hydralyte has saved our heads and our asses on many occasions. It’s actually how we managed to function as tour guides the day after drinking till 4am with our passengers. If you’re planning on drinking and also being a functioning human the day after you’ll need this stuff. It’s not voodoo magic or anything, but if you can trick your drunk self into taking it before bed you’ll love yourself for doing it the morning after. Also good if you’re prone to vomitting, or if you’re going somewhere with extremely hot or humid weather.
This is pretty revolutionary, a laundry bag that you can actually do your washing in. It’s an Aussie invention and doesn’t come cheap, but having clean clothes is worth any price if you ask us! If you’re going travelling somewhere that laundromats are hard to come by this could save your bacon! It’s just super cool so we wanted to include it but of course a regular mesh laundry bag will also do just fine if you’ll be doing loads at hostels/hotels along the way.
There’s nothing worse than having to throw away liquids at the airport because they’re over the limit. This handy little bottle set has saved us some dramas and also saves buying the expensive little travel-sized liquids at airports. Plus you can just refill them whenever you stay at hotels with the wall squeezy things. I’m sure that’s not the technical term but you know what I mean – free shampoo!
As people who have stayed in dorms of up to 60 people before (yes, during Oktoberfest) these are lifesavers. Mack’s are quite comfortable and save your ears from being attacked by snoring drunk people all night. Seriously, if you pack absolutely nothing else in your bag… just fill it with freaking earplugs because they’ll prevent you from strangling your outrageous snorer bunk buddy with a pillow at 3am.
When travelling through Africa (or anywhere with really hot weather) this stuff is gold. Mosquitoes are the assholes of the insect world. But they’re just doing their job, so instead of staying up all night screaming “Why are you doing this to me!?” Instead get Repel and let the buggers, bugger off.