Travel/Work Gear For Life Abroad

This page outlines my gear I use for work and travel.

*my last trip to China

I’ve traveled to numerous countries and my goal is always the same, to limit my gear to 1 bag, 2 bags MAX. If I’m moving somewhere, I simply have all my clothes in one bag and my technology in a backpack. If I’m already established somewhere abroad and am just traveling, I always take just 1 bag and leave the rest of my stuff in whatever apartment I’m staying in.

It’s best to travel with 1 bag because it forces you to really scrutinize what is needed and what can be left behind. People also tend to bring too much. Now granted, sometimes 1 bag is simply not reasonable, especially if you’re going to be traveling to various places with extreme temperature differences (think Vietnam, cold north – super hot south), but for most you can get away with 1 bag.

I also always take my laptop and work while I travel. Below are programs and products that I have found useful. Just a reminder, you don’t need any of this stuff it’s just what I have used and have found helpful.

TECH

15 Inch Notebook with a built in graphics card (visit here)

My brand of choice is ASUS. I despise MSI (worst laptop I’ve ever owned). I’ve never owned a Mac but my sister is a graphics designer and swears by any Apple product (fyi). I get asked for recommendations on what laptop you should get. While this is always changing, here is my experience from owning various laptops, traveling and living abroad.

I’ve had big 17 inch laptops and I’ve had smaller 13 inch laptops. 15 inch is the best size in my opinion. A 17 inch is a big machine, when I first went to Thailand I had this sort of laptop and I hated carrying it. Not only because it was big and heavy, it was also unruly on a table at a cafe. The point of a laptop is mobility, a 17 inch machine has the power, but you won’t want to take it anywhere with you.

Then we have the opposite. While a 13 inch is a tech marvel, and can pack a lot of power into a small frame – I find the lack of screen space too annoying for the work I do (writing, course creation, video editing) to be useful.

This is why I always go with a 15 inch. It’s the right balance of power and weight. Make sure you get something with a dedicated graphics card and 8 gb of ram (minimum) if you’re going to be video editing.

Recap:

  • 15 inch – high quality screen
  • 8 gb minimum of ram (the more the bester)
  • Dedicated graphics card

Simply get the best machine you can afford with these things. In terms of weight, well that depends. My current laptop is 4 lbs. Fine for me, a 168 lb man. Lighter is better, I would say 5 lbs max.

Check out laptops/notebooks here

H2N Microphone (check it out here)

When I started doing tutorials, I needed a good mic. I started off by looking at what podcasters were suggesting. Idiots. They all suggested getting the Blue Yetti. This microphone is HUGE. It really lives up to it’s name 🙂

You will NOT be traveling anywhere with such a beast of a microphone (see what I did there?).

I instead randomly came across an H2N microphone in a music store and fell in love with the quality, size and form factor. This thing is tiny, provides high quality audio and has a ton of different options and is a perfect companion to take with you while traveling.

10 inch tablet with a stylus (see items here)

I currently have 10 inch Samsung tablet with a built in stylus. I use my tablet as a notebook and a reading device. I suggest you get a 10 inch tablet because a 10 inch can play videos back at 1080p while an 8 inch tablet you’re stuck at 720p. It’s also important having a stylus because you can use your tablet as a sort of journal.

You journal? Yep, journaling is simply jotting down ideas, drawing diagrams and giving clarity to your thoughts. You can do this with a stylus as it gives a feel of being a notebook. I also use it as a reading device and it’s wonderful. It’s basically a high tech notebook.

Cannon G7x (check it out here)

I love this camera for vlogging or any sort of talking head video. While you can get a more expensive setup, I find the G7x to be the perfect balance of size and quality; particularly if you’re just starting out. It’s what I currently use for my videos and it’s great. Can fit in my pocket, has a flip up screen, acceptable audio. Before this I had a camcorder I bought way back in 2010. Terrible decision as a camcorder is big, bulky and has poor audio. The G7X is the perfect vlogging camera.

Targus World Power Adapter (see here)

Nothing more annoying than not being able to plug in and charge your gear, make sure you have a portable charger that can fit different outlets. I picked up the world adapter from Targus. It basically has you cover in any country!

Marshall headphones check them out here

I’ve owned over the ear noise cancelling headphones and I’ve owned Sensenhauser headphones too. So my favorite has been “on the ear” headphones by Marshall. They have a great classic style, not nerdy or hip hopy like a lot of brands. They also sound great and do an excellent job of blocking out sound, so much so I have no need for my noise cancelling headphones.

Credit Cards / Debit Cards

For credit cards and debit cards what is important, particularly if you’re going to live abroad is finding a card the reduces transaction fees as much as possible. He is what I suggest:

Schwab Bank debit card

You get this debit card by simply opening up a high yeild investor checking account. The advantage of this card is it pays you back any ATM fees you incur world wide. I used to have TD bank. Terrible bank! Fees to check my balance abroad, fees to withdraw money. You’ll want a Schwab bank debit card.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

Any credit card is fine to be honest, but what is cool about the Sapphire Reserve card is the 3x points on dinner, travel, trains and hotels. This allows you to really rack up points for airfare quickly. It also reimburses you $300 for travel. Effectivly cutting the annual fee from $450 to $150. If you’re going to be actively using a credit card while traveling get this card. The $150 annual fee is fine considering all the perks. But again, only if you’re the type to use a credit card.

 

SOFTWARE

Snag It

My software of choice for screen capturing. This program is simple, affordable and does it’s job well. No need to get some expensive software. Snag It is fine if you’re looking to record your screen and use your high quality mic to record audio at the same time without all the bells and whistles.

Movie Studio 14 Platinum

Adobe Premier Pro costs a monthly fee. It’s amazing software and the best on the market BUT it’s overkill for most people, myself included. You should work your way up to Adobe Premier in my opinion, learning how to actually edit videos with ever increasing complexity. I started with free software and my skill has gotten to the point where I can get a lot out of a program like Movie Studio which is what I use now. Movie Studio Platinum 14.

Now, I know on many review sites this program as a 3 star rating while other programs have 5 stars. But I really like it. It has a ton of built in effects, transitions, filters and titles. All of which actually look professional and not corny like other video editing programs. If you’re looking for a good quality editor that will allow you to grow your video editing skills, check out Movie Studio.

A good idea is to download a bunch of video editors as all of them offer a free trial. This is what I did, and I still prefer Movie Studio over Cyberlink Power Director or Corel Video Studio. The only drawback is that the rendering times are a bit slow. Not a huge deal, I just render a video and go do something else.

Audacity (visit here)

Free program to record and edit audio. Simple! Plenty of free tutorials on YouTube to show you how to get the most out of it.

Scrivener

Best program to create downloadable ebooks and PDF’s with + it’s cheap! This program allows you to organize any document into sections and chapters. Allowing you to open 1 section and work on it and save it. Of course there is a learning curve, but hey it’s not that complicated and it allows you to start creating books.

Market Samurai (visit here)

Market Samurai helps me do research for potential content I want to create for websites. I have a website on supplements, teaching abroad, and this site – edgeofdavid.com. Market Samurai simply helps you with content analysis and competitive research so I know what content I can create that can actually rank and get traffic.

BuzzBundle (visit here)

This is software that helps you with outreach on various social media platforms. Apart from creating content on topics that have low to moderate competition, outreach is the way you grow your traffic.

There are two types, the first is email outreach. That’s where you build a relationship with other website owners and eventually leverage some of those relationships into link opportunities either as a guest blog post, a guest video on a popular YouTube channel

The second type is on social media. That is where BuzzBundle comes in. It currates all your mentions on blogs, forums and various social media platforms. It also allows you to find where conversations are happening about the kind of content you’re creating. Allowing you to jump in and provide value and grow your audience.

TRAVEL CLOTHES

Clothes are a personal choice. I’m also a guy, so I can’t really comment on stuff for girls. I like stuff that looks great and works great in various situations. I care about style, so I don’t really recommend Patagonia stuff for example unless you’re going out into the woods 🙂 There are tons of different options and it really depends on what you’re doing. If you’re hiking, exploring a city and so forth. He is my simple list of what I have found important.

Sunglasses – RetroSuperFuture check them out here

You need a good pair of sunglasses! Easily the most important item in the travel list. Get sunglasses that obviously fit your face. I have an long face and long nose. So Rayban Wayfarers look retarded on me as they’re made for people with a roundish face. My brand of choice is RetroSuperFuture. I wear the classic style.

Backpack

Synapse25 is the best premium backpack around. Again, I care about style and have no desire to cary around one of those HUGE backpacker backpacks with me. I really don’t understand people. Huge backpack, then another smaller backpack in the front like you’re carrying a baby. Get 1 backpack that can carry your tech and another bag to hold all your clothes. Minimize. You don’t need that much stuff.

Shoes – Diesel check them out here

Now again, it depends what you’re doing. I find that Diesel shoes are the most balanced in terms of price, quality and coolness. Get a black pair, I currently wear Diesel Gunner’s. They match any sort of pants. Black, blue, grey. They are great to wear to a club or walking around and work well in formal situations where you need to dress up a bit.

Sandals – K Swiss

Cheap and stylish. What more do you need?

Jeans – Levi 510’s check them out here

I always own a blue, black and grey pair. This color combination allows for plenty of different outfits. They are straight leg and form fitting, NOT FOR FAT ASSES. Lose weight and look sexy. I wear 30-32. It’s not the 1990’s anymore guys where big and baggy is in. That sort of style is a dead give-a-way that you’re American because most American tourists look sloppy.

Time to look a little more classy and these pants do just that. Diesel shoes + black Levi 510’s with a nice dress shirt is a great combo when you need to dress up a bit for a night out.

Outlier Slim Dungarees – check them out here

World class pants that cost some $200! Well, they are the best pants in the world. Stylish, comfortable and professional looking. If you’re in the need for dress pants, I suggest these. They are the right balance of casual and professional and can double as a nice pair of pants for any sort of outing.

Beard Trimmer check them out here

I use disposable razors to shave my neck. You can buy them where ever you are. For my beard, I like to keep it at a sexy, 5 o’clock shadow because I’m not a child. Who wants to sport a soft punchable face? I’m also a bit harry and find shaving everyday annoying an irritable for my skin.

APPS FOR LIFE ABROAD

Google Translate – Obviously you’ll need to translate stuff when abroad. Google translate is still the best.

Google Flights – My go to source for finding flights. I like Kayak too, but I always start with Google Flights.

Cheapoair.com – Another place for finding flights. Tuesdays and Thursdays are the best days to fly out.

Uber – Very helpful when abroad. Often times local taxis won’t turn on the meter if you’re a white guy or a foreigner in general. Uber is a great way to get a cab when the local cabs won’t take you.

Google.com/ncr – You can use this so you’re always using Google.com. Helpful because Google customizes searches based on your location. This can be super annoying if you’re in Thailand for example and it’s giving you Thai search results because Google is forcing you to use Google.com.th. You can get around this

Phisphon VPN – This is for China. The internet is blocked. To access websites from the broader internet while in China use this. Always be on the look out for something better too as the VPN industry is constantly changing in China.

Tor Browser – A browser that not only allows you to access the dark web, it allows you to get around any local censorship (does not work in China though!)

Alright, that is it for my gear list for travel and work abroad. Thank you for reading!