This page is dedicated to my favorite travel gear and the best travel essentials I never leave home without.
From backpacks and cameras to lotions and travel blankets with so many choices out there, it can be challenging to find the best brands and most useful items. After years of traveling, testing out gear, and wasting money on so many things I never ended up using, I’ve compiled this list to include items that are well worth the investment.
I love supporting environmentally conscious businesses and family-owned companies passionate about producing high-quality and well-made goods that will last through years of wear and tear.
To help keep this blog running, I included some affiliate links to my favorite products. This means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase goods through the provided affiliate links. I appreciate your support!
Buying the right camera the first time can be tricky. The options can be very overwhelming.
If you are new to photography, first think about what kind of photographer you are or want to be (nature/animals, portrait, landscape, etc.) and look for a camera with functions best suited for your type of photography. Smartphones are a great tool to start with. If you are taking many photos of yourself (like I do), you need to get a reliable tripod and look for a camera with a built-in interval timer or use a brand that can easily connect to a remote shutter device. These features make self-tography so much easier and enjoyable!
Sony A 6100
After upgrading from a GoPro, I bought this mirrorless Sony camera. It took me a few weeks to decide on what camera brand to go with, and the sale price at Best Buy on this camera played a significant role in my decision. Besides the discounted price, It had everything I thought I needed. I loved the movable screen and how lightweight the body is, and the compact size it has while still giving me the option to change the lens. In addition, Sony has a great app to download photos from your camera to phone effortlessly. Sony cameras are also able to connect to a variety of remote shutters. The only thing I wish it had was a built-in interval timer, so if my remote or phone connection malfunctions, I can still take a selfie.
Leica V-Lux 5
I am now a huge fan of this German camera brand. Leica’s are notoriously more expensive than other professional cameras. Still, you will find few people that have regrets when switching to a Leica system, plus they have a great resale value. The V Lux 5 is a mirrorless bridge camera with a fixed 25-400mm zoom lens. It is a great all-around camera for portraits, landscapes, and wildlife and lightweight. It has a built-in interval/timelapse timer that makes taking selfies a breeze. I love the touch screen and the ability to rate your photos right on the camera screen. You can even mass delete photos from the memory card without deleting rated pictures. I love this option so I don’t have to upload so many photos to edit. I have no regrets about my investment! Lecia also has a pretty good smartphone app that will allow you to use your phone as a remote and transfer camera files to your phone for easy social posting as well.
This camera is top of the line with many features such as weatherproofing, a full-frame sensor, and an interchangeable lens. My go-to camera for travel is still the Lecia V-Lux 5 because it is a lot lighter and more compact but this camera will allow me to have more shooting options, higher quality photos for printing, and is more durable. I love the Lecia brand because after testing Canon, Nikon, Fuji, and Sony for over a year I kept coming back to the Lecia being the most user-friendly.
A Go-Pro was the first camera I traveled with, but now I love it for video. It is so tiny and has a ton of optional accessories. I took it everywhere with me, but after a few years, I wanted to step up my photography game, so I invested in a DSLR/Mirrorless camera. Now I use this GoPro during action activities and all underwater adventures. It takes excellent photos in great lighting, but the extra-wide angle will give photos a particular style that you may or may not like.
DJI Mavic Air Drone
I still use the original Mavic Air and love the compact size. However, the batteries do not last as long as I would like, so for that reason, I recommend upgrading to the Mavic Air 2. Its size makes it a great travel drone!
Peak Design Travel Tripod – This is the best tripod I have ever used. It comes in two materials, Carbon Fiber, and Aluminum. The Carbon costs $250 more but it feels so much lighter. I originally bought the Aluminum one not thinking the .63 lbs difference would be worth the extra money until I held them both in person. This is well worth the investment if you are a heavy traveler and this brand honors a lifetime warranty.
Selfie Stick Tripod for Smart Phones – When I am not hiking with a day pack or travel backpack I usually have this compact tripod in my bag. It will only hold a smartphone or GoPro but it comes detached in three areas making it the perfect size for a small bag or purse.
Pixel Wireless Remote shutter– This is a more advanced shutter remote. You can use it on multiple cameras as long as you have the correct input cord. The cords are sold separately so you can use this remote between different camera brands. *I have not found the correct cord for Leica cameras as of now so I mainly use this one with my Sony.
Single-button Bluetooth remote for smartphones- These Bluetooth remotes are what I use when I take photos of myself using my iPhone. They are so easy to use and the battery lasts forever.
Smart Phone Accessories
I recently discovered this brand and this really easy-to-use tripod phone holder + case. They work together with magnet technology to make taking photos easier than the traditional tripod phone holders. I feel much more comfortable that my phone won’t fall with this secure setup.
DJI OM 4 Smart Phone Gimbal Stabilizer
I bought this smartphone stabilizer to help stabilize iPhone video while walking through a city or running through a field. Once you have it set up it works really well and comes with a detachable selfie stick/tripod. It is compact and folds down into a small packable size.
Tumi Voyageur Cleary Weekender
I love this bag and always take it on short weekend trips. There are a ton of pockets, and I love the separate bottom compartment that can also open up to the top portion from inside. It holds a lot!
Samsonite Hard Luggage
I use samsonite brand hard luggage. I used to get the cheap hard luggage cases from TJ Maxx but the zippers or handless would always break after a few years. The actual one I have is not in stock but I linked a similar version.
Bag Smart Camera Backpack
This was my first camera backpack. It has removable dividers and a lab-top sleeve. I love the look of it and it holds a good amount. I usually carry about 20 lbs of stuff in the backpack. I have used it on day hikes but I feel it is a bit too big for daily use and best for a weekend or a short trip when I bring my camera and drone gear.
Peak Design Travel Bag
I recently bought the 35L-45L Peak Design Travel backpack to take on longer trips. It is big, almost the size of my hard case carry on but I needed more space for longer trips when I try to only take carryon luggage
Patagonia 25 LT
I use this Patagonia Day Pack when I am going on a short hike and I carry my camera in my Peak Design camera clip attached to the backpack strap or crossbody.
Fashionable Day Packs
Fjallraven Kanken 16L Backpack
I love these backpacks when I am not carrying a lot of gear. I love the variety of colors and how large they open so it is easy to see everything in the pack. Plus they come in a variety of fun colors and look great in photos 🙂
This is another favorite brand of mine. I love fanny packs for the hands-free feature. Having important documents and phones right where you need them is so convenient especially when heading through airports.
I probably use this belt bag the most. I love the inside pockets and the outside back zip pocket. This has more space than the Herschel but it is a little bulkier. It also comes in some fun colors. I use this when I have more to carry.
Rebecca Minkoff Backpack
I love this stylish backpack when I am sightseeing and not in my hiking clothes. It comes in some fun colors, packs down super thin, and has a lot of great space. It is roomie enough for a DSLR camera, water bottle, and wallet. I have the red nylon version but it also comes in a leather option.
Listlening & Reading
Bose Headphones– I didn’t get the hype until I tried them. They really make air travel so much more comfortable. Now I never hop on a plane without them!
Kindle Paperwhite E*Reader– Although I love flipping pages of a real book, I’m not one to check luggage to bring multiple books with me. This e*reader is so convenient and takes up hardly any space.
Allez Outdoor Everything CBD Cream is a product I just discovered and am truly impressed with. I have a sore lower back and after using this cream I felt instant relief! I bought a few more for gifts since I loved it so much and everyone I gifted it too has said the same thing -“wow it really works!” It is not cheap but well worth the investment!
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream -I heard so many great things about this cream before I tried it. It is meant to be used anywhere on the body to help lock in moisture and rejuvenate any rough patches or dry areas you have. It has a consistency of petroleum jelly but doesn’t feel sticky. If you are heading to a dry climate or doing a lot of outdoor activities I recommend putting a tub of this in your luggage.
Spray Hand Sanitizer– I switched from gel to spray and I love it. Sometimes the gel leaks and for whatever reason, my hands feel clammy after using the gel. The spray is lightweight and works on multiple surfaces.
Body Wipes– When I have a long flight, I always make sure to pack some of these. They are all-natural, biodegradable, and a great way to refresh during a flight
Hydro Flask Reusable Waterbottle -It is always important to stay hydrated so I love bringing my own water bottle with me everywhere I go. I usually use the 24 oz Hydro Flask bottle on longer trips to save space but the 32 oz is a staple in my car on all of my road trips.
I also have the 64 oz Rambler from Yeti. I don’t hike with it but it is great for long car rides and camping. I love how these ramblers keep drinks at a comfortable temperature all day long.
For a more detailed list of my must-have carry-on essentials, read this post.
If you are gearing up for a long-haul flight, this post includes many items that will help make your flight more enjoyable.