15 Travel Essentials I Can’t Live Without When Abroad

My Packing List For Long Term Travel

I like live abroad and get an apartment in another country to use it as a “base” to travel from. For Europe Spain has the best prices. For South East Asia you can’t go wrong with Thailand, Bali or Vietnam.

As such, when I travel I really try to keep as much of my stuff in my apartment and to only take 1 or 2 bags MAX when going somewhere else. For example, when I went to South Korea I was traveling from my apartment in Thailand. I took only a backpack with my laptop, and tech essentials and a small duffel bag with clothes:

If I’m moving somewhere, I obviously have a full sized carry on that will contain all my clothes. But that’s only in the instance I’m moving to a new country to live.

I’ve found it best to travel with 1 bag because it forces you to really scrutinize what is needed and what can be left behind. We 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. Perfect example is Vietnam. Hanoi could be 65 degrees outside (18 celsius), so cold you would need a jacket. But then if you decided to visit Saigon in the south it’s like Thailand. ALWAYS hot.

Also, as I work online I always take my laptop, microphone and camera with me.

                                                         Laptop – My brand of choice is always an Asus Laptop

Sorry Mac boys, but i’m not converted (and yes I’ve tried them. My sister is a graphics designer who swears by them). My brand of choice is ASUS. Seriously the best PC brand I’ve experienced. My HP laptop was big and slow. Then I got an MSI laptop which was the worst machine I’ve ever owned.

Within the first 3 months of owning that laptop, the screen started to flicker. After having it replaced, it worked fine for about 8 months past the warranty. Then I had to spend a few hundred dollars to have the screen replaced again.

I hate MSI.

15 inch is best for digital nomads or whatever buzz word you want to use.

My MSI laptop was a big 17 inch machine. When I first went to Thailand this was the laptop I had and I hated carrying it. Not only because it was breaking my back because it was so 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. A 17 inch also uses up a battery quickly so you can’t use at a cafe where you can’t plug it in as it will be dead within 1 hour.

Then we have the opposite. I tried out a 13 inch notebook from a friend. This size is a tech marvel, and can pack a lot of power into a small frame – but 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. Now-a-days you can find laptops with 16 gb or ram or more no problem

Recap:

  • 15 inch – high quality screen
  • 8 gb minimum of ram (the more the better)
  • 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 as a 166 lb man. Lighter is better, I would say 5 lbs max for a man.

H2N Microphone

I got the bundle which you need. It comes with a protective case and all essential wires.


When I started wanting to do voice over work for videos 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?). Don’t say I did not warn you.

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.

Samsung Tablet

I currently have the linked above 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 can also consider having a Kindle as an alternative. But I like having a tablet for reading and using it as a notebook. It’s a nice alternative to carrying a laptop to a cafe.

Cannon 200D + 2 lens kit

I love my Canon 200D (SLR2 in America). Small, light weight and it can use the same lenses that more expensive Canon cameras can use. I got it in combination with the Canon 2 lens kit which includes a 10-18 mm lens and a 50 mm lens for a cheaper price than they would cost if you bought them separately.

For vlogging you’re really going to want that wide angle look so the 10-18 mm is perfect. The 50 mm however is excellent for close up and portrait shots. The camera comes with an 18-55 mm kit lens.

You can use your phone for videos and pictures but the quality just can’t match a proper camera. If you want to get serious about taking pictures and making videos you can’t go wrong with this inexpensive setup.

Again I vlog so a camera is essential for me. Checkout my camera buying guide for YouTubers and course creators.

Targus World Power Adapter

Nothing is 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 covered in any country!

Marshall headphones

There are a lot of great headphones on the market. My personal favorite has been “on the ear” headphones by Marshall. They have a great classic style, not nerdy, not big and goofy looking. Just right if you ask me. They are also easy to travel with because they’re not that big.

They also sound great and do an excellent job of blocking out sound around you, so much so I have no need for my noise cancelling headphones.

Superfuture Classic Sunglasses

These are my sunglasses. You need a solid pair of sunglasses. Particularly in places where UV light is stronger like Thailand. Get sunglasses that obviously fit your face.

I have an oval face with a squarish jaw. So Rayban Wayfarers look retarded on me as they’re made for people with a round head like Gary Vaynerchuk. My brand of choice is RetroSuperFuture. I wear the classic style.

They’re a bit expensive but until you owned a quality pair of sun glasses you won’t understand. These things fit my big head perfectly and are polarized and block out UV rays. They are also built to last. These things won’t break unless you really try to break them by doing something stupid.

Side note, I do have a throw away pair of $20 sunglasses for when I’m going for a run or hiking into nature. But for everyday use, Retro Superfuture classic style sunglasses are what I wear. I also wear the 55 mm, NOT the 58 mm.

Schwab Bank debit card + Passport

You get this debit card by simply opening up a high yield investor checking account. The advantage of this card is that it pays you back any ATM fees you incur world wide.

If you’re making money online, being paid in US dollars and with drawing cash at ATMs while abroad, you’re making a big mistake for not getting this card because it will save you so much money.

If you’re doing bank transfers however, checkout my post on Transferwise or signup with them here.

Transferwise allows you to transfer money from your US bank account to a foreign bank account while getting the current exchange rate of the day which will ALWAYS be better than the exchange rate your bank will give you.

Last, of course you will need your passport when traveling!

Ogio Renegade Backpack


I got this backpack 10 years ago for free from my time at PWC! It’s lasted me that long. This backpack is basically what I put ALL of my tech gear in. My laptop, camera+lenses, microphone, headphones, mouse and random wires. Everything fits comfortably and has a spot.

Diesel Shoes

I know Diesel clothes are kind of over the top. But I love their shoes and they are my go to brand.

I find that Diesel shoes are the most balanced in terms of price, quality and coolness. I always get a pair of black Diesel shoes. They last me a solid 16-24 month believe it or not.

They match all sorts of outfits and are that right balance of style and functionality.

Remington PG180 Personal Groomer

I have not shaved my face in years. Shaving irritates my face and women prefer me with a light beard / shadow. Whatever you want call it.

I picked up this beard trimmer in Thailand and have been very happy with it. Small and effective. Most trimmers are designed for guys with full on beards. They tend to be large and bulky.

Then you have the other extreme, trimmers that get stuck cutting your facial hair because they’re made for guys who can barely grow a beard. This Remington trimmer is just right for me.

Huawei E5770s-320

When traveling abroad this thing is a total life saver. Particularly if you work online and need internet at specific times for client calls or whatever. In this one little package, you get a USB battery to charger for your phone, a wifi repeater to help make a weak signal strong, and the option to buy a sim card in a foreign country and use it as a LTE hotspot.

APPS FOR LIFE ABROAD

Here are the most useful apps I’ve found when traveling:

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!)

Supplements

I’m a simple man when it comes to supplements. I always take magnesium, zinc and grape seed extract. Magnesium and zinc boost your testosterone and help you sleep better. Grape seed extract reduces inflammation and helps you concentrate.

I don’t take the full bottles with me when going on a trip somewhere. I’ll typically take enough to last me the trip before returning to my apartment.

Comb + Nail Clippers

I normally style my hair by pushing it up with gel. Sometimes though i’ll want to dress up so I’ll slick it to the side. That’s where a comb comes in handy. A comb is also useful for trimming my sideburns. I use my Remington trimmer and comb to keep them short and neat.

Last on the list are nail clippers. A small thing, but so annoying when you need to cut your nails.

Travel Packing List Conclusion

Alright, that is it for my packing list for travel and work abroad!  These items I find essential for travel and always have on me for any trip.

What items for travel do you find essential? Let me know in the comments below!

-David

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