There are days when I look at my 80Ltr backpag with accompanying side bag and want to throw out everything, pack a small rucksack and leave the rest behind. I’ve always coveted a ‘fall in to a lake’ travel ideal, where I could be pushed in to a lake carrying everything I owned and it would be fine. Wet, but fine.
Working while travelling isn’t quite the same, but by only travelling with key pieces of tech we can run our small business on the road and stay in touch with clients all while enjoying some magical places around the world.
This is not a packing guide for a backpacker. If we were solely on the road to travel I wouldn’t have more than my phone. Below is an imperfect list of the tech we travel with to be able to work effectively. If you’re interested in how we operate or if you are planning on travelling for a while this list is for you.
Please leave your work/travel packing tips below. I’m downsizing my bag and I’m going to need help!
UE Boom Speaker
This is the favourite item in my bag we’re travelling with.
Music at a decent volume with great sound is a life saver for us. We use our speaker daily. It’s heavy and we should have the smaller Mini Boom, but the sound is fantastic for drowning out another weekend of loud local Reggaeton.
Magnetic charger on the Laptop
The MacBook we’re travelling with is big and heavy by today’s standards but it is powerful enough for photo and video editing as well as being our portable office during our trip. It’s a miracle it’s still working, so I’m happy that we bought something that’s been able to take more than a few knocks. If we ever buy a new computer it will be a much smaller Air.
The best thing by a MILE with this computer is the magnetic charging cable. I know this is not new, however I have seen several laptops fly off bunk beds as people trip on cables and a couple of smashed screens, so having the cable unstick itself and not pull the whole laptop with it is extremely helpful.
Having a cellphone is guaranteed when you travel now, however after our first 5 months on the road I desperately needed something else to read with. Phone screens don’t work for long periods travelling without access to power. Having a Kindle and access to unlimited books has been amazing, especially as less and less hostels have book exchanges now. Days of filling my bag 1/2 with books is gone, and it’s a change totally for the better.
I realise $12 per month is strange to spend on music when we’re living a nomadic lifestyle, but months of my limited MP3 selection would have driven us nuts by now. Saving playlists offline is fantastic when you spend most of your time away from wifi without any hope of streaming directly.
Harking back to my ‘push in a lake’ dream was my need to get everything I own digitised so I can’t lose it. Our 1TB Dropbox plan is packed with our photos and documents which is great every time I lose the copy of my passport. My only gripe is how slow it seems to be at uploading photos, I’m currently playing with GDrive and any other suggestions are welcome!
Solar Powered Lamp
While not work related, this blow up light has been incredible for sudden powerless evenings. We usually just leave it out and it gets enough light for a few hours or so in the evenings.
2 Plug x 4 USB charging station
It doesn’t weigh much, but this bulky thing is totally nuts. It highlights the sheer number of things we have to charge, and my laziness at monitoring and swapping when things are finished. Ridiculous travel purchase, but so helpful when you don’t move for a few weeks. The built in surge protector may also have unknowingly saved our tech from South American electrics.
Portable Hard Drive – full of movies and a backup of all of our photos. Has been fantastic for swapping with other travellers, but is due for replacement before being smacked around takes its toll.
GoPro – we are useless at using this to its full potential. The sheer amount of footage is enough to scare off the inner editor in us both. We take a few screenshots when we go diving but it doesn’t work well in low light or as a camera replacement, the phone is far better for that…. which brings me on to…
After breaking two compact cameras on this trip we’re loathe to buy a new one. Walking around with a bulky camera also isn’t a great idea in some of the places we go. Smartphones have great cameras for the day to day things and nearly everyone owns them so they don’t stand out so much in public.
And that’s it. One day I might be able to fall in a lake, but for now, I’ll have to put my bag down first.
What Do You Take?
Got a special travel accessory? What would you never leave home without? For me it’s bulk rather than weight that gets to me, so I’m downsizing everything I travel with. I always like suggestions!