Searching for the best gear for world travel is my constant mission! I’m always looking to create a more compact and streamlined travel system. And while I’ll always be tweaking that system, this is what I currently travel with.
The Best Gear For World Travel
Obviously, The Best Gear For World Travel is going to be a subjective list. Are you a professional rock climber? Mafia hit man? You’re going to have a very different list of essential travel items. But there are some things we all have in common. We all have our stuff, and you need something to carry your stuff, so let’s start with luggage (Note, your max luggage allowance should consist of a carry-on and smaller personal item – checking bags is a travel sin)
Choosing your luggage is like choosing a life partner, you want someone good-looking but dependable. Someone you can trust, who will stand by you in good times and in bad. Meet my new life partner, the Co-Pilot Luggage Roller by Timbuk2. Damn is she pretty, and functional too. I love the clamshell design, easy access laptop slot, and overall look. Coming in at $225, she’s a little expensive, but what good woman isn’t?
I just returned from 2 months traveling around Europe with her, and she performed pretty well. Not as durable as my ex-wife of 10 years, the Switchback22 by Eagle Creek (which I also highly recommend, and which comes with a lifetime guarantee) but I’m ok with that. I’m currently willing to sacrifice a little durability for the functionality and good looks of the Timbuk2 Co-pilot.
You need a day bag. Even if you can fit everything into your carry-on bag (which highly I suggest you be able to do) there will be a time when you suddenly have to check your bag because of weight or because the overhead bins are full. You’ll want something to carry your valuables in. Enter the Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack.
This bag is a magic. It fits in the palm of your hand when stored in its pouch, but it opens up to a full sized backpack. Perfect for a day hike. Now don’t get crazy with it, you won’t want to carry around heavy things all day. It can hold the weight, it just won’t be very comfortable after a while, as the straps aren’t very padded. But for me, being compact is more important.
How are you going to show off to all your friends if you don’t take great pictures of your trip? Sure, you could get away with just using your phone, but if you’re more serious about photography, here’s my pick for the best travel camera on the planet, the Sony a6300 with 16-50mm kit lenses. The kit lens is so much better than people give it credit for. (the 16-70mm Zeiss is not worth the added size, weight or cost)
This camera is high quality, incredibly light and compact, and not too expensive – exactly what you want in a travel camera (the newer model, the a6500, is $500 more expensive and not worth the extra money) A point-and-shoot camera would be lighter and cheaper, but the sensors are too small. A full frame camera would have a bigger sensor, but the higher end lenses are not worth the added size, weight and cost. You won’t suddenly start taking great pictures because you bought a Sony a7R II, trust me. The Sony a6300 is the best combination of size, weight, quality and price. It is the best travel camera on the market today, and easily earns a spot on the best gear for world travel list. So says me.
Add the 55-210mm zoom if you want the extra reach, and the 50mm 1.8 or 35mm 1.8 prime for really low light or to really blow the background out of focus, otherwise the 16-50mm kit lens will serve you just fine.
I’m an Apple fan. Well, maybe fan is a strong word. I use Apple products. Maybe I secretly enjoy overpaying for outdated technology? More likely because that’s what I’ve always done, and I fear change. Regardless, my basic advice still applies to non-Macs too – go small. Travel with the smallest, lightest, cheapest computer you can tolerate. I would love to travel with just my iPhone and be done with it, but my interests require a more powerful laptop. So for me, the best computer for world travel is… the 2017 13″ Macbook Pro.
The new models are very powerful and incredibly light, weighing only 3 lbs, the same as a Macbook Air. The only downside for me being the newly removed ports and the hefty price tag. And the stupid and pointless touch bar. Nothing is perfect.
Ok, this is my cheat item. Maybe yours is a travel hammock. (which is a great cheat item – if we’re traveling together, I seriously hope your cheat item is a hammock) Maybe you’re into shoes, and can’t imagine traveling with less than 5 pairs. Well whatever it is, it’s ok to have cheat items, as long as they all fit in your carry-on. My cheat item is a drone, and there are 2 great options by DJI, the Mavic Pro and the Spark.
While the more toy-like Spark can give you some great HD footage, the Mavic Pro can shoot at 4K, and has a 3-axis gimbal vs a 2-axis gimbal on the Spark. The Mavic Pro is indeed the more professional, more stable, higher quality drone. It’s also more expensive, $999 vs $699. (don’t even think about getting the Spark without a remote controller for $499 – I tried it, and it’s a horrible flying experience) While the Spark seems like the more compact option at first, the Mavic Pro folds up to a very portable size, which actually makes it just as easy to transport, albeit a little heavier.
I currently travel with the Mavic Pro, and I love it. That being said, there’s no shame in getting the Spark if you don’t need 4k footage. Note for when purchasing, while the “fly more” combo is a good deal for the Spark, it’s not for the Mavic Pro. For the Mavic Pro, just buy the drone and an extra battery. Here’s some footage from my Mavic Pro on Aegina Island in Greece…
So there you have it, my list of the best gear for world travel. What’s on your list? Let me know! Now would be a good time to make sure you have the top three travel items to keep in your pocket!