Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission for every purchase made via the links listed. However, I am extremely selective about any affiliate program that I sign up to, or products I endorse or advertise. I will only recommend something that I have tried, tested, and truly love. Regarding my travel tech equipment, this is a post about the gadgets that I use on a daily basis. For more information, please contact me via email.
As a photographer and writer, I can't travel gadget-free, as much as sometimes wish I could. I need my camera, and therefore lenses, memory cards, card reader, laptop, chargers, and cables for everything. I need to be able to pack up quickly and be able to work from anywhere. I've tried and tested various gadgets and hardware over the years, with varying degrees of success and practicality, and I wanted to share. a few of my favourite products with you all.
So.. my gadget essentials:
I've tried many laptops over the years. The first that was purchased specifically with the practicality of travel in mine, was a Dell XPS13. I bought it because it was essentially a PC clone of a Macbook Air, and at first, it was great. In reality, however, I found that it overheated constantly, no matter what I did, and after a little research, I found this to be a common problem. Eventually, my Dell had to go, and while I couldn't at the time afford a Macbook Air, and so I settled for a bulkier 13-inch Macbook Pro, which has served me well for several years now. It is a little heavy for travelling with, and so in the future I hope to exchange my Mac for something lighter, but it's fine for the time being.
My cameras. For years I carried my Canon 5D Mkii with me wherever I went. I didn't care that countless new models have since been released and that my camera was, therefore 'out of date'; my Canon served me well for years, and it was really difficult for me to choose to eventually let it go (sounds ridiculous, I know, but that camera was really my baby). Late last year I sold it, replacing it with a mirrorless Sony A7ii. I'll admit, my love for my Sony wasn't as instantaneous as for my Canon, but it was definitely a wise investment to switch out my much heavier, bulkier Canon for a lightweight mirrorless. It just means that I have more room for film cameras, rolls of film and lenses...
Speaking of lenses, I travel with as few as possible. A 50mm lens is a must for me, with any camera, and I have a 50mm 1.8 as my main lens. Currently, I'm still using my Canon 50mm 1.8 lens with an adaptor so that it fits my Sony, which is working perfectly well for me, and I use it often for portraiture and street photography. My second lens is a Sony-fit Zeiss 24-70mm f/4, which is my more versatile lens for documenting my travels, though not quite as sharp as a prime. Personally, if I find that I need anything else, I tend to rent equipment; I'm a huge fan of an 85mm 1.2 lens, but I just can't justify buying one for myself and carrying it around, because I use it so infrequently.
GoPros are excellent little cameras for people on the go. Designed for activity, and with various accessories suitable for every scenario they are perfect for use during sports, including cycling, skydiving, and, with an underwater housing (which often comes inclusive), scuba diving. Or just pop one in your pocket and you can vlog about your day, documenting your travels with surprisingly high-quality video or stills.
You can buy the latest GoPro here, or, if you're working with a smaller budget, I've also tried out this Apeman action camera. While the video quality isn't quite as crisp, it's still an excellent, much cheaper option.
Then, of course, there's all the stuff that comes with my camera; charger, batteries, memory cards, card reader (though this is no longer necessary now that I've switched camera, and therefore I no longer use Compact Flash cards; my Mac has a built-in SD slot, but if you are using Compact Flashcards, I recommend this card reader). Personally, I like to use smaller GB memory cards, in order to spread my images out across dozens of memory cards and have to switch card every half an hour, so that if something happens to one of my memory cards, I haven't lost all of my images.
My Kindle Fire. As a huge bookworm, this is another essential for me, though having worked (and lived in) in a bookshop, I've always felt a little bit guilty for this particular purchase. Supporting independent bookshops is important to me, and when in the UK, I love scouring second-hand bookshops for cheap classics. That said, when travelling, there isn't always an English bookshop in town, and so it's great to be able to travel with a portable library in my handbag. I opted for a Kindle tablet rather than just a single-purpose Kindle in order to allow myself more versatility; I can go away for a weekend or a short trip and leave my laptop at home, while still taking my work with me.
I always carry, a portable battery pack with me, and personally I'm a fan of the Gachi Triple-USB Power bank. I tend to wander off the beaten track, and so, for less than £20 on Amazon, this was definitely a worthwhile investment. I'd definitely recommend a power bank with multiple USB ports so that you can charge all of your gadgets at once. Even though I tend to just use two; for my phone and my Kindle, I'm always meeting people on the road in need of a charger, and it's funny how many people I've befriended while waiting for all of our phones to charge.
Worldwide Plug Adaptor
It's just so much more practical buying one plug that can work in any country rather than collecting various adaptors as I travel around the world. I use the Skross Worldwide USB travel adaptor, which is designed to work in over 175 countries; this was a leaving gift from a friend, and one of the best presents I've ever received; I even tend to use it when back in the UK, because the double-USB means that I can simultaneously charge my phone, Kindle, and Mac all at once.
External hard drives
I've tried dozens of portable hard drives over the years, and I've also tried travelling without a hard drive at all, relying instead on Cloud storage; great if you have a good and regular wifi connection, but as a photographer who is regularly uploading many GBs worth of images every month, sometimes it's easier just to back up to a hard drive. There is only one hard drive that I would trust to take travelling with me: my LaCie Rugged, which seems to be a favourite with many travel/travelling photographers. They already come with their own casing, so that's one less thing for me to think about. LaCie hard drives can hold as much as 5TB worth of files!