Recently someone asked me what possessions I travel with.
I travel with very few items and the items I do travel with all have a purpose.
All of these possessions can easily fit in one piece of carry-on luggage and one backpack (with room to spare).
Here they are…
Macbook – The Macbook is the one thing I NEVER leave anywhere. I make my living on my MacBook and to me it is the holy grail of everything I have. As a professional blog artist, without the Macbook I’ve got nothing.
Over the years I’ve traveled with many different Macbooks. I first started my travels with a 17′ MacBook pro. This thing was so heavy it nearly broke my back carrying it, but what a great computer it was. I then switched to a MacBook 13′ and this was also a great computer. I then purchased a Macbook air 11′ just for fun but didn’t use it too much. Then I bought a newer Macbook that was a piece of shit. I hated it and when it broke I didn’t care (it fell from my motorbike probably 25 times). I still had my old Macbook air 11′ available and basically still new.
Now I carry this Macbook air 11″ that was purchased in 2015 in Vietnam. Amazingly I’m able to record podcasts and edit video on this little machine! The newer Macbooks are terrible so when it comes time to buy a new one I will be buying a used machine from 2015 or prior. What about windows? You could not pay me to use a windows machine!
Tom Binh Synapse 25 Backpack – Tom Bihn sent me this backpack for free in early 2014 and I’ve been carrying it ever since. I’ve even looked for new backpacks multiple times, I have never, ever found a better one than the Tom Binh.
iPhone – I’ve found the iPhone to be invaluable when traveling because I can use the map app in real time and never get lost. It is great when I don’t speak the local language and the local population doesn’t speak english. I also use the Kindle app to read books on the airplane and the podcast app to listen to podcasts. I also use the camera very frequently. And of course I use messaging apps, especially Line. Regarding which iPhone I use, I don’t give a damn what model it is. In fact, my iPhone screen is cracked from dropping it 10,000 times and I have no intention of replacing it until it absolutely stops working.
Portable Phone Charger – The external charger was a life-saver while I was traveling by Jeep through Kyrgyzstan and needed the Map application to get me around, no one in the country spoke English. The map app was running the entire time I was driving and drained the battery. Without the external charger my phone would have died and I would have nee stranded in the mountains with no idea where to go. Without modern maps and my external charger I would have never been able to travel by Jeep in this crazy mountain country.
Siang Pure Oil – I don’t go anywhere without this oil. It can be used for many things but I use it for one thing – bug bites! Mosquitoes always try to eat me up so I use this oil on my mosquito bites to “cool them down” and get them to stop itching. I buy this oil in Thailand but you can also get it online.
Natural Bug Spray – I keep a natural bug spray that I purchase in Thailand just in case some bed somewhere has too many buggies for my liking. NOTE: My bug spray exceeds the limit allowed by airports and has to be checked in luggage. If I bring only carry-on luggage then I do not bring my bug spray.
Notebook and Pen – I keep a regular old notebook in which I can write notes and write my daily to-do list. I prefer writing down my daily to-do rather than keeping it all in the computer.
Shure SM7B Microphone – This is my podcast mic and I’ve traveled with it since I’ve purchased it, even when I wasn’t recording anything. I like to always keep it with me for when inspiration strikes. of course now I release a new Podcast every so it’s an absolute must that I bring my mic with me everywhere. This is a big, heavy duty mic but I’m not prepared to trade quality for size and use a small mic.
MS-12 Mini Mic Stand – To hold up the mic I use a nice, little desktop mic stand that works well and weighs basically nothing. This thing is awesome for recording audio while traveling!
Apollo Twin Audio Interface – The Apollo Twin is what allows me to power my mic and get sound from it and actually record podcasts. The Apollo Twin is basically way too expense to be a traveling audio interface and if I were starting a new podcast today I’d buy the Audient iD4 interface. However, I do already have the Apollo Twin and it works fantastic so I keep it and use it!
Headphones – You need headphones to record a podcast and they come in handy if you want to listen to something or watch something in a quiet coffee shop somewhere in the world. I personally carry some headphones I bought in Bangkok many years ago. They’re falling apart but they still work well so I keep them! If I were buying new headphones today I would buy the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones.
Travel Gadget Bag – I keep all of my audio gear in this little bag and it works great! It easily fits into a piece of carry-on luggage and I’ve got plenty of room to spare.
Baby Wipes – I don’t go anywhere without baby wipes. I don’t know how you dirty savages wipe your butt with dry paper and pretend it’s clean. It’s disgusting and not clean. I bring baby wipes EVERYWHERE. They are always in my day backpack. I keep a large size baby wipes in my suitcase and a small size pack in my backpack. Also, many places in the world don’t stock toilet paper in their restrooms. It’s best to always be prepared.
DSLR Camera – I used to travel absolutely everywhere with my Nikon D90 DSLR camera. Somewhere along the way I switched to only using my iPhone for pictures which was a big mistake. The phone quality is vastly inferior to a good DSLR camera. I got rid of my Nikon D90 but I’m looking at buying a new DSLR and bringing it with me everywhere. A good picture cannot be underestimated, especially in the blog business where you are always writing new articles that benefit from great photos. I have been traveling with the Canon VIXIA HF G40 Camcorder but I’ve used it exactly zero times. A DSLR is what you want to travel with. What camera do you think I should buy?
Bar Soap – I don’t mess with liquid soap. I buy bar soap and keep it in a plastic bag. I’ve been using the same dozen bars of soap I bought in Thailand but Nubian African black soap is a great soap!
Toiletries Bag – In this bag I keep my deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush etc as well as my supplements.
Dental Floss Picks – I NEVER go anywhere without my dental floss. I floss at least one time per day and I usually floss after every single meal. I hate regular dental floss so I always use the dental floss/toothpick combos and they work fantastic!
Mini Umbrella – It only took me a few years of living in the rain in Thailand to learn this valuable lesson – always keep a small umbrella in your backpack! I bring an umbrella with me everywhere (it’s always in my backpack) no matter what the forecast says. I’ve been caught in the rain too many times to skip the umbrella. I’ve heard many people say “you aren’t a man if you carry an umbrella.” I see these same kind of morons soaking wet all the time. When in Thailand I also always carry a small plastic raincoat.
Clothes – Obviously you have to being clothes with you when you travel! I bring clothing based on the climate. If I’m going to a hot country I bring shorts and t-shirts. If I’m going to a cold country I’ll bring a coat, hoodie, sweaters, long pants, etc. If I’m going to a country with good hiking I bring hiking boots. I always bring house slippers with me as I’ve been in Asia far too long to walk around the inside of a house without slippers or sandals.
Passport + Cash + ATM Cards – Don’t want to be anywhere without money and without a way to get money. Also, you obviously need to travel with a passport.
Kingston DataTraveler Flash Card – These external memory drives come in super handy when you’re traveling! I use them to keep photos, important documents etc. I also use them to print out ticket and itineraries (you don’t carry a printer when you travel). I’ve been carrying this exact flash drive since 2011 and it has never let me down.
3D Sleep Mask – I cannot sleep without a sleep mask. And I cannot live without this sleep mask in particular. I’ve tried many sleep masks over the years and this one is by far the best sleep mask I’ve ever used as it covers my entire eyes when I sleep and absolutely works to make everything black.
Fingernail Clippers – I swear there is something about travel that makes your fingernails grow faster. Every time I’m at the airport my fingernails are way too long and need to be cut. Thankfully I always bring fingernail clippers with me when I travel.
Originally published at boldanddetermined blog, and republished in 2020.