Essential Equipment for Travel Bloggers

There’s so much technology you could buy to improve what you do on your travel blog, but whether you need it is debatable. Obviously as a blogger you need some sort of laptop, and a camera… but really, that’s it. You could have all the essential equipment for travel bloggers you’ll need to set up for less than £200.

In reality though, I bet you want a lot more. I love a bit of technology. I was even voted Little Miss Gadget in my Year 11 school yearbook for my love of pagers and my the amount of different phones I’d owned!

I’ve asked three of my favourite travel bloggers what equipment they use, but first we’ll start with the technology that I’m currently hauling around the world with me…

(All the photos are affiliate links)

This is part 11 of 15 of the Travel Blogger High Series: The Online School for Wannabe Travel Bloggers

My essential travel blogger equipment

Laptop

MacBook Air 13-inch

With everything else I need to carry I wanted the lightest laptop possible. I had the normal one before and it made such a difference to the weight of my bag. I’ve been a Mac user for a long time and there’s no way I’d go back to a Windows computer. I went for the larger option because of the design aspect of blogging, and it’s just better for the eyes if you’re looking at it as much as I do.

I definitely should’ve gone for the more expensive one with more space though.

Cameras / phones

iPhone 5

One of the stupidest financial decisions I made before starting to travel full time was to sign up to a two-year contract with Three for an iPhone 5. I was totally sucked in by their Feel at Home scheme. It’s been six months and I’ve spent about £700 with them so far, thanks to their ridiculous charges and clauses. And I’ve barely used the contract as I haven’t been in the UK. I wish I’d just bought a SIM free one, like the one above, for only £300ish and then worked it out as I went along.

18 months to go!

Windows Nokia 1200

I worked with Microsoft as a travel advisor for their products and this Nokia 1020 was one of the phones I received. The camera on it is brilliant for close up shots and for videos. It’s great to travel with two phones as you have a back up if the battery dies (particularly at festivals) and you can have one for your normal phone number and one for a local SIM too.

Canon Power Shot SX240 HS Camera

I carry this Canon point and shoot as well as the camera phones above so I have a zoom. It might seem a little excessive but I think it’s good to have another back up and the zoom on camera phones is usually awful. This camera also has quite a good microphone on it I found when it came to making my video from Saint Lucia

Go Pro 5

I still need to get to grips with the Go Pro but I’m definitely getting closer to understanding it! I like the screen functionality on the latest one – it means you don’t have to point and shoot blindly. I got some cool footage while I was skiing in Japan, and I made a cool little video of my time hanging out with the stingrays in Belize. If you want to report back from your extreme adventures then I’d say a GoPro is absolutely essential. My iPhone kept cutting out at the top of the mountains in Japan as it was too cold – and obviously you couldn’t take it underwater either. My aim is to get good enough at surfing to be able to attach it to my board but there’s no way I could trust myself now, not with my wipeout record!

Accessories

GorillaPod

Joby GorillaPods are great for if you don’t want to carry around a heavy tripod but you still want to be able to take photos of things without actually being behind the camera. You can bend the legs to wrap around anything and they’re really light. I’ve got the one with the extra attachment to hold your phone. You can also use these for a better selfie or to hold the camera steadier. You can attach phones, GoPros, point and shoots and DSLRs to these.

Take a look at a comparison of the best travel tripod for you to try, and buy, here. 

Go Pro mounts

If you’re planning on doing anything active while using your GoPro, which is kind of the point, you’ll need to buy an accessory kit so you can attach it to something. I got a kit for Christmas but the one above looks pretty good, with connectors and attachments for every circumstance. The ones I’ve used most are the wrist strap for skiing and I also had it mounted on my head at one point too. I sent the chest mount home when I sent my winter clothes home as it was just too bulky in my bag, but it depends on what you’re planning on using it for.

Selfie stick

Yep, I went there. I’d advise you to get a selfie stick with a bluetooth attachment like the one above. I didn’t, and had to buy it separately.

Portable back up charger

I take so many photos and videos my phone runs out in no time. Step in this little soldier. This portable charger has two days of charge in it and is easy to keep along side your other electrical items. This has been a lifesaver more than once – well maybe not a lifesaver, but a face saver. It comes with loads of different attachments so you can use it for lots of different things.

1TB external hard drive

Number one rule of life: have a back up plan. For me it’s this 1tB Store n Go hard drive. It’s so important to back up all your photos and work regularly. I learned that the hard way when my laptop just stopped working in Romania, and then my phone was stolen. I back up with this hard drive while I’m travelling as it’s nice and small and then I have another beast of a hard drive at home with everything I’ve ever done on it. Apart from the month’s work I lost in Romania, of course.

Four way socket extension

With all this technology you’ll be fighting over the plugs. Keep things simple and carry a three- or four-bar English plug with you. Cheaper than getting a load of adaptors and it keeps your prongs safe when the plugs are in your bag.

And a shed load of charging cables

A grand total of 7 charging cables. All wrapped up neatly with hair ties and stashed together in a waterproof see through bag.


 

PlanetD’s equipment essentials

Travel blogger essentials

  • Laptop
  • Unlocked iPhone
  • Canon DSLR
  • Lenses
  • Portable Hard Drive

“Well, I won’t go for the obvious and say laptop, but that is essential. You need to be mobile. But I would say an unlocked smartphone is number 1. We use the iPhone. It takes amazing photos and we can share on social media in real time. We even take a lot of video with our iPhone and we can get a lot of work done on it when in transit. It’s our most important piece of equipment outside the computer.

A good camera is next. Even though phones are taking over photography, it’s still important to have a good camera. One, if you start working with brands and destinations, you are going to look a lot more professional if you have professional gear. We use Canon DSLRs, but you can go to a mirrorless system that is more affordable and will keep your gear nice and light. The Sony A series or Fuji X series are good choices and make sure you invest in good lenses. Lenses make all the difference. That’s already three if you include lenses, but we want to be informative, so we are going to suggest a portable hard drive. It is essential to back up your photos and it keeps your laptop clear of clutter. We have seen too many people keep all their photos on their memory cards and then lose all their hard work. Make backups on a hard drive and then when you get home, back them up to another hard drive. Use online storage if you can too. We like to have two backups. Yes, it’s important.”

– Deb from theplanetd.com

This is part 11 of 15 of the Travel Blogger High Series: The Online School for Wannabe Travel Bloggers

TimeTravelTurtle’s equipment essentials

Micheal Turtle travel blogger

“This really depends on what your aim is. Once upon a time, I would have said that a DSLR with a good 50mm lens was one of the best things you can have. These days I think you could get away with just a phone and make that part of what you’re known for. Particular equipment is important only in particular situations – so if you’re planning on doing a safari, having a good zoom lens would be very beneficial.

Overall, though, I would recommend good editing software as the number one thing you need. So Snapseed on mobile or Lightroom on a computer are my recommendations. Editing software gives you the opportunity to start creating a certain style that people will associate with you, it lets you match the mood of your pictures to your story, and means you can manipulate the same shots for multiple uses.”

– Micheal from timetravelturtle.com

BackpackerBanter’s equipment essentials

Chris BackpackerBanter

I’d say a GoPro, a selfie stick and an iPhone 6 – they’re the most used pieces of camera equipment and pretty much all my images are shot using them. I carry a Canon 7D SLR and variety of lenses but they rarely get used anymore!”

– Chris from backpackerbanter.com


So, essentially when you’re getting started you need some sort of laptop and a camera. A good phone will do – we’ve all said you don’t need an expensive DSLR. As you go you can start getting more technical with bigger and better equipment. You need to learn how to edit your work, both written and visual to create your own style and you need to back it all up regularly!

Which essential could you not be without?

VickyFlipFlopTravels

I Want to Be a Full Time Travel Blogger, But...
What’s a Travel Blogger Got to Do to Get a Press Trip Around Here?
tagged in travel tech

23 Comments

  1. by Roma on March 16, 2015  10:47 am Reply

    Good post Vic. It's good you've gotten some other bloggers perspectives too, because as you say, not everyone blogs the same way.
    Good post. :)

    • by Vicky on March 17, 2015  3:10 am Reply

      Thanks Roma!

  2. by Rob on March 16, 2015  10:57 am Reply

    Phew Vicky that's a lot of camera gear to carry around, I appreciate the need to have a backup but aren't you getting a bit carried away there haha!

    I think the beauty of travel blogging is the simplicity of kit you can start with, in fact that can be part of your niche as mentioned.

    For me it's an iPhone 5, Chromebook, pen and paper. Granted I'm mainly in the UK at moment so never far away from WiFi and lecky but for you globetrotters it's a bit different.

    The danger IMHO is if you have too much kit you'll feel obliged to use it which is a distraction.

    Anyway loving the series, great stuff!

    • by Vicky on March 17, 2015  3:09 am Reply

      Yeah, probably! And I think I'm backing up the wrong things. I've got a month left and I'm so paranoid about my external hard drive – I'm thinking I need to back up the back up, or maybe I'm being totally paranoid there. And yes, you're definitely right about having too much of a distraction. I was snorkelling recently in the Philippines and I was much happier when I didn't have my GoPro with me. Dangerously distracting those things!

  3. by Dave Brett on March 16, 2015  11:35 am Reply

    Just started to use a Lavalier clip on microphone for better sound recording. Can plug into any iPhone and be used for better video sound. Røde has a great model. Perfect for recording training courses, narrated slide show presentations, audiobooks, podcasts, interviews, and packs down to nothing compared to bulky microphones but retains studio recording sound as it cuts out back ground noise. Perfect for compact travel blogging.

    • by Vicky on March 17, 2015  3:07 am Reply

      Oo sounds interesting. Looks like they're a pretty good price from my quick Google search too. I'll look into that when I'm back home. Thanks for the tip!

  4. by Rachel on March 16, 2015  1:36 pm Reply

    So far I've resisted the GoPro, I probably don't do much that's exciting enough for one ;)
    I have the smaller Macbook air and I absolutely love it, there's no way I'd carry a heavier laptop ever again! Although, I wish it had a SD card reader like the bigger one so I wouldn't have to carry a separate reader. This wasn't a problem when I had my big Canon DSLR as there was never going to be a Compact Flash reader slot but now I've switched (oh my goodness, I'm so excited) to a Fuji mirror less it would be handy.
    I'm always looking to trim down size and weight on all my gear, the camera, portable hard drive and laptop combo is enough tech for me. I have a tiny, old, unlocked Sony smart phone that does pretty much all I need it to do.
    If I'm travelling with my fella then we regularly back up to two drives and each carry one of each others hard drive. If I'm solo travelling then I just take one drive and hope for the best! I always say that I'll upload any 'money' shots to Google drive or Drop Box but I never do!

    • by Vicky on March 17, 2015  2:23 am Reply

      Ha, I found it really difficult to use at first but now I have a Go Pro with a screen and I really like it. Did you see my post from the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore? They're all taken from the Go Pro and there's no way I would've been able to fit the width of the shots in on the iPhone so I'm pretty happy I had it with me.

      https://vickyflipfloptravels.com/gardens-by-the-bay-singapore/

      It's good you travel lighter. Maybe I've been a bit ridiculous this trip, especially as I haven't even used some of it! It's all the accessories for the GoPro that take up a lot of space, and I've actually lost the wrist strap which was the most important one. Sounds like from these comments I need to trim down in the future!

  5. by Jean | Holy Smithereens on March 16, 2015  1:51 pm Reply

    Very useful post Vicky! Must haves for me include GoPro, a separate underwater camera, a sony rx100, mobile phone and laptop!

    • by Vicky on March 17, 2015  2:20 am Reply

      A separate camera as well as a Go Pro? How come? I'm intrigued...

  6. by Alexandria on March 16, 2015  5:33 pm Reply

    I will back you on the importance of a go pro but I don't know if i can get behind a selfie stick. I feel like they're out to get me! i've been hit several times by them. Overzealous people waiting in line for a museum or gelato and they're trying to get the perfect angle.. and BAM that's my head they just ran into!

    • by Vicky on March 17, 2015  2:19 am Reply

      Hahah! That's hilarious. That hasn't happened to me, yet. I remember seeing signs when I was in Japan that they were banned at temples. You were allowed cameras but not selfie sticks. I think if you can't beat them, join them!

  7. by Beverley on March 16, 2015  8:55 pm Reply

    I think I travel pretty light? I usually just take my point and shoot camera because when I'm travelling on my own I like to use something I can just slip into my pocket. Then I have my iPhone, a mini-tripod for when I take still videos on my camera, my laptop, obviously, a portable charger, and a plug extension. I used to use an external hard drive but now I back everything up on the cloud :)

    Oh and I REALLY want a selfie stick!!

    • by Vicky on March 17, 2015  2:18 am Reply

      I think it all adds up though? I really need to look into the Cloud. Is it bad that even after losing everything last year I still don't actually know how the Cloud works? Help me.

      And you should buy one! Mine was so cheap and it's actually really useful – not for taking pics of me necessarily, but for getting closer to creatures and marine life when I want to film them without bothering them.

  8. by Damon & Jo on March 17, 2015  5:33 pm Reply

    The day we invested in multiple camera batteries was the day our entire blog/vlog production completely changed. We were less stressed about dead batteries or finding places to charge them, and were finally able to focus on our content. We also found that investing in the Macbook Air as you mentioned is super necessary to avoid back and shoulder pains from hauling around our laptops all the time!

    Thanks for the other tips on travel equipment!

    • by Vicky on March 26, 2015  2:48 pm Reply

      Ooo yeah that's a good idea! I love my Power Monkey – apart from all the other essentials I'd definitely recommend that too. As you say it's so much better when you don't have to worry about running out of battery.

  9. by Graham Franklin on March 20, 2015  6:51 pm Reply

    I use an 15in Acer laptop with a fast i5 cpu, 750gb hdd and 6gb ram, still using Windows 8 rather than a Mac. 1tb portable hard drive, 128gb flash drive, unlocked sim free Galaxy S5, with a spare battery, 32gb sdhc and Nikon CoolPix S9600 camera.

    I think I will invest in a travel friendly camera tripod, nothing worse than a shaky photo!

    • by Vicky on March 26, 2015  2:36 pm Reply

      Wow, sounds like you have quite a bit of equipment with you too! Yeah, I really need to use my tripod more – always just seems like so much hassle!

  10. by Emily Ray on March 23, 2015  9:54 am Reply

    I've just bought a GoPro and I can't imagine how I coped without it before - so easy to take around for the odd photo/video. Because I'm not away for that long each time, I usually leave my bulky laptop at home and take along my iPad mini and keyboard (also doubles up as a good little TV on the flight).

    • by Vicky on March 26, 2015  2:28 pm Reply

      Yeah it's definitely a good idea to just take the essentials if you're away for less than a week, sometimes even two. I find it means I can concentrate on the here and now rather than worrying about emails or keeping the equipment safe. I'm getting well into my GoPro now :)

  11. by GSE Solutions on January 7, 2019  2:28 pm Reply

    Thank you for sharing this blog post. It's good to read about new equipment. I always wondered how to take professional looking pictures without a tripod and now I do. The Gorilla Pod is a must have!

    • by VickyFlipFlop on January 11, 2019  9:41 am Reply

      No worries! Just makes you want to buy more though doesn't it?

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