My Travel Essentials For Life 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 and the Ukraine have the best prices. For South East Asia you can’t go wrong with Thailand, Bali or Vietnam. Vietnam in particular if you’re American as you can get a 1 year visa! For South America Peru and Chile are simply amazing.

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:

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.

Here is what I have found to be helpful and useful when traveling abroad:

My Camera of Choice – Cannon 200D and their 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 going to want something small like a G7X but for situations where you want a camera where you can switch out lenses, this tiny camera is a dream come true.

It uses Canon’s full range of lenses without needing an expensive speed booster like the M50.

Unlike the newer 250D, the 200D also allows you to record in 24P, which gives your frames a higher quality bit rate and more of a cinematic look when filming. The only other camera I would also consider buying is the M50. But the M50 has worse video quality and worse lenses.

It does have digital stabilization however which is a big advantage or the 200D and conversely the main weakness of the 200D.

Again, I make talking head videos and vlog for fun so this thing is perfect for me and my travels.

Power Adapter – 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 and is a life saver. The only thing I don’t like about it is that it can be a bit bulky but again, if you travel regularly it comes int really handy.

Headphones – 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.

My Shades – Superfuture Classic Sunglasses

A quality pair of sunglasses is essential. I used to use cheap sunglasses and always wondered why anyone would pay more than $20 for a pair of sunglasses, but until you’ve had a quality pair of sunglasses you simply don’t get it.

I find these Super Future sunglasses to not only fit my face and to be quite stylish, they also do a fantastic job of blocking out the sun and keeping my vision protected.

I have an oval face with a squarish jaw. So Rayban Wayfarers look silly 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.

Debit Card – Shwab High Yield Investor Checking

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 – Backpack for travel


I got this backpack 10 years ago for free from my time at PWC. It’s lasted 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 when moving.

If you’ve been looking for a backpack that can compliment a suitcase, get this. The way I travel is that I put all of my tech gear into this thing and then I have a suitcase with all my clothes.

Beard Trimmer – For Men With Beards

Women love a stubble look and for me personally, I hate shaving and prefer the way I look with a bit of stubble. The problem is finding the right razor that can do the trick. This more true when abroad as it’s next to impossible to find these beard trimmers in asia!

So before you head out, make sure to get a trimmer so you can maintain your look. From experience, the best beard trimmer should be battery operated and small.

You want battery operated because you don’t want to have to worry about voltage as this list is designed for those living abroad. My Whal razor for example broke when I plugged it in when I was in Thailand.

You also want something small so you can throw it into a backpack with ease.

Mobile Hotspot – 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.

Swiss Army Knife – A Useful Tool For Anyone

More helpful than you would think

I’m the only one I know who has a Swiss army knife. I’ve been using the same knife for 7+ years now and it’s always so helpful.

I think they are not as popular is because they are branded as a knife. The knife aspect is actually the thing I use the least. Mine has a pair of scissors, a bottle opener, a screw driver, tooth pick holder, can opener and of course a few different knives.

One for stabbing… I mean cutting and another one for sawing.

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.

Grab / Uber – These apps come in very handy when abroad and at an airport. No longer do you need to haggle for a taxi. Instead, just use Grab in Asia or Uber and get going.

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!)

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