Thanks for being interested in my travel packing list. In this blog I will give you a little insight into what I carry around on my travels around the world, which suitcase or backpack I use, when I decide to use which one, how much I decide to carry around, etc.
I have written this blog purely for those who are all asking what gear I use when traveling, so this is not a typical list of all travel accessories the standard travel blogs recommend you to take along. Too much bullshit on those travel gear packing lists anyway if you ask me.
Don’t worry I won’t bother you with all the medical supplies, clothes, toiletries and documents you have to take along with you. Let’s keep it real, you know yourself if you want to pack pyjama’s, earplugs, tweezers, paracetamol and all that kind of stuff.
For example in my opinion the most overrated travel products are: hiking shoes, 80L backpack, a mosquito net, a flight bag, books, etc. Please people leave these things at home! I won't call myself the guy that knows everything about traveling, but I have almost 4,000 days of travel experience in my backpack! LOL :)
Must read: How I Afford To Travel!
But Im happy to give you some tips on these kind of things later, but expect an honest answer! Because most of the shit you find on these standard travel packing lists with a ton of travel essentials are overrated! Be smart, use common sense.
Now let’s get to the point, because there is a big chance you got here because you are interested in either my luggage or the electronics I carry around. Therefore I split this travel gear packing guide up in the sections luggage and electronics.
Traveltomtom’s take on luggage
Find the best travel bag for your adventure
First of all wherever you go, whatever you do, do it with a smile! Let all these travel gear packing lists and travel experts advice you but in the end make your own decision. Go for that travel bag that you feel most comfortable with!
You have read my opinion about one of those massive 80L backpacks already, so guess what… in my almost 4,000 days of traveling around the world I have NEVER had a big backpack as main luggage! I mean one of those you carry on your back, the big ones.
I feel like walking around with a backpack is so 2006! Why?
Imagine yourself on a trip to Thailand. You arrive at the airport, grab your luggage and most probably you grab a taxi or take the metro to your hotel. Do you have to walk around with your luggage? No!
You stay somewhere in Bangkok for a couple days, your luggage stays in your room. Then you move to the next travel destination in Thailand. What you will do? Order a taxi to either the train or bus station or the airport again. Do you have to walk with your luggage? No!
Even if you take a boat to one of the islands there is hardly any walking with your luggage involved. Most of the walking you do is just a couple hundred meter and wheels on your travel luggage make your life much easier.
The only advantage of a big backpack is that in case you need to walk up some stairs or walk through a sandy path it comes in handy. But really? You think for those spare moments a backpack is easier than rolling luggage? Think again…
A big 80L backpack is in my opinion one of the most overrated travel products! Wheeled backpacks are 100x more comfortable!
You may think that when you go trekking or hiking you need to carry all your stuff with you, but that is NOT true! I have done many multi day trekking trips in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and even in Australia, Thailand or Philippines.
In these cases you always leave your big bag at your hotel, hostel, friend, tour company or anything like that and only take a small daypack with you with your essential travel gear for that specific trekking.
My first trips around the world (2008) I completed with an Osprey Sojourn 80L Wheeled Travel Backpack. It was an amazing choice! It opened completely, as you could zip the top off completely. At that time it was a revolutionary travel backpack as almost 95% was traveling with the big heavy backpacks that only opened from the top.
It is a super solid backpack but at the same time ultra light and the funny thing is that it has an integrated backpack straps so in case you don’t want to or can’t roll it anymore you can release the straps and carry it on your back.
Guess what? In 2008 on my first trip around the world for 365 days, I used the straps only 1 time!
BTW I still have the Osprey Sojourn 80L Wheeled Travel Backpack and it looks pretty damn good still. I hardly use it nowadays though, but my friends borrow it so now and then.
For a couple years now Im traveling the world with a big hard shell suitcase and not just anyone. I invested in a big ass Rimowa Topas with Electronic Tag. Yes I know they are really expensive, but since don’t forget I am a full time nomad. I basically live out of my suitcase, right? So spending $1,000 on a suitcase is not much compared to a monthly returning mortgage bill! ;)
What can I say about my Rimowa? I freaking love it! It is so damn solid that I thought it could never break, besides that it is one of the most fashionable hard case luggages and super lightweight.
But guess what happened lately on my winter trip to Alberta, Canada… KLM managed to completely F*CK up my Rimowa. It gets dents all the time, I can’t be bothered about that, but damn they broke it in such a way that I couldn’t close it properly anymore, they somehow bended the handlebar and it lost a wheel. I was in disbelieve and of course very sad!
Well no problem said Rimowa customer service. We pick it from your home address, repair everything and send it back to you… AT NO COSTS! Wow for real? So happy with their costumer service! Life long guarantee, they are seriously amazing and to me one of the best hardside suitcases out there.
Lightweight Aluminum Carry-On suitcase
For some trips, I travel as light as possible, with a carry-on only! Just like the Rimowa, this LEVEL8 Gibraltar Carry-On suitcase is a full aluminum suitcase which means it’s super lightweight and the perfect airline carry-on!
It’s a Red Dot design award-winning luggage that fits in the overhead compartments of most aircraft and is made of Aerospace-grade Aluminum Magnesium Alloy. The Dual TSA-approved locks ensure your belongings are safe while traveling. The Full Alu 20 Inch Carry-On is also very quiet because of the 360 degrees Ultra Quiet Durable Spinner Wheels that even passed the cobblestones of Europe test. And the best part, LEVEL8 offers a lifetime warranty on this fashionable suitcase!
LEVEL8 also has fashionable check-in luggage. Traveltomtom team member Kim loves to use her LEVEL8 Voyageur Checked 28 inch for photography purposes. Because of the wide trolley suitcase, she’s able to pack her long and sturdy Gitzo tripod in that suitcase without having to pack it diagonally.
For many years I had my favorite daypack, which was my blue Pacsafe Venturesafe. But nowadays it have a second daypack that definitely rivals the Pacsafe: Arcido Akra.
This is an anti-theft small backpack with a volume of 45L and I have taken it all around the world since 2017. It has probably been to around 40 countries or so at least. It looks a little dirty my mom always says, but it still is in a perfect state. I love that the zipper goes al around and you can open it up completely. The zippers are from a great quality and just like the bag itself they seems unbreakable.
Lately I added the Arcido Akra to my collection of travel bags and I am also super positive about this one. To be honest it even has more comfort carrying it around. It is only a 35L daypack, but the back of the bag is designed much more for trekking. I found this out when doing the 9-day Langtang trekking in Nepal.
Both bags are water resistant and can endure rain showers, but since the Pacsafe is a little older I trust the Arcido Akra a little more in the rain. But hey… whenever I can I stay inside when it is raining.
Whenever I go hiking I take the Arcido Akra with me and leave the Pacsafe Venturesafe at home.
The Arcido though is not an anti-theft and when I explore cities I feel more comfortable carrying around my Pacsafe Venturesafe as I carry around expensive electronics.
Best travel bag according to Traveltomtom
This comes completely down to what your trip looks like. In my case when I fly intercontinental I mostly take my Rimowa with me, but when I go on a winter holiday to the Alps in Austria I never take my Rimowa, just my Pacsafe and Arcido daypacks. This actually counts for all road trips within Europe, like: Peugeot winter road trip, Balkan road trip, etc.
The best thing is to travel light, but in some cases I just can not. As you will read soon I carry a bunch of electronics and other heavy travel gear with me so I mostly need two daypacks. There is an exception though and that is if I fly low cost airliners in Europe I minimise my stuff to only 1 daypack. Everything is possible.
I do the same whenever I am abroad and Im going somewhere for a shorter return trip. There is always someone that wants to keep an eye on your big luggage like a hotel, friend, Airbnb host, etc. Worst case scenario you store your bag somewhere in a safe, which you can find at most bigger airports around the world.
What is the best travel gear?
Don’t forget that creating content is what I do for a living so the next lists of electronics, cameras and travel accessories can seem a bit overwhelming. For someone going on a holiday you don’t need to carry along a big DSLR, GoPro’s a drone and stuff. But if you like to create awesome memories these are some handy travel gear items.
I will first go through all the electronics and items I bring along on my trips and then explain also a little bit about how I create my Instagram stories for example.
Without a doubt my most valuable travel item is my iPhone 13 Pro Max. Simply because I use it all day long to plan trips, to navigate, to take photos and videos, to book hotels, to answer emails and many more things.
Yes I am an Apple fan, simply because it ALWAYS works! But in general a smartphone will be your best friend on almost any kind of travel adventure around the world.
DSLR - Professional camera
First off I am NOT a professional photographer so I can’t give you expert advice on that. Nor do I carry around the best camera. I have a Canon 80D, that is a ‘lightweight’ body with a million options but I don’t even know 50% of them. Unfortunately the 80D is not a full frame camera like the Canon 5D. At least the 80D is half the price of a 5D! ;)
I shoot all my pictures in Manual, but I am by no means a professional photographer. I definitely need a couple photography courses to really know understand what I am actually doing. Therefore I have not thought about upgrading to a full frame camera like the Canon 5D or anything similar yet.
Although my recent trip to Southern Africa and going a lot on safaris, made me rethink that I need a 5D as soon as possible! Check out some of my wildlife photography in the following articles: Chobe River Safaris & boat safaris at Namushasha.
One of my best travel items is definitely my Canon 18-35mm F/2.8. It was a big investment, but ever since I got this lens I am so happy with it. This is one if the best lenses out there in the wide angle category. Unfortunately I can’t use it to its full capacity, because my 80D body is not a full frame camera. Still… Im super happy with it!
Recently I added my first zoom lens to my camera gear collection and I am over the moon with it. As I was going on a big overland trip in Africa I figured shooting wildlife with a wide angle lens is a waste and I bought my first zoom lens. To start with I got the Canon 70-200mm F/4.0 and after using it for a couple days while on safari in Etosha National Park on my Namibia Group Trip I was hooked.
Also I was a little disappointed that I did not purchased a higher category lens to be honest. The model I got was the simplest version of the big zoom lenses of Canon.
GoPro Hero 7
I love the GoPro Hero 8 and I have created so many photos and videos with it. It make so much more spontaneous pictures than a DSLR. With a GoPro + pole I don’t feel like I need to pose, I can just be more natural on camera.
The GoPro Hero 7 also shoots in RAW, which for me is a huge advantage, something the GoPro Max does not do unfortunately. Therefore I still keep both GoPro’s and take them both on my adventures around the world.
GoPro Max 360 cam
Lately Im getting loads of questions about my Instagram stories and some videos that I created. Most of them are recorded with the new GoPro Max, a 360 camera. It captures a 360 video on 5.6K but you can’t use it immediately you will need a laptop or smartphone to edit the video and export it in the format you want.
It creates epic videos and photos but it also is a lot of work! Shitty thing is that the GoPro Max does NOT shoot pictures in RAW. A tip is to shoot all videos in 5.6K and then capture a frame from the video as a picture.
Don't use the GoPro Max 360 camera under water, it is a disaster and the footage is useless. I like the GoPro Max for action stuff and mostly for videos. The photo quality of the GoPro Max 360 camera is shit and I am actually pretty disappointed with it.
How to make the pole disappear? At the bottom of the article I will explain a little more about creating my Instagram stories.
Both GoPro’s I attach to my pole which I am traveling with now for more than 7 years and it still works completely fine. Therefore I can totally recommend you the SP Gadgets GoPole.
Not so long ago I bought my first drone and what can I say! OMG… why didn’t I do this much earlier. Having a drone is first of all so much fun, but the content you can create with it is absolutely spectacular.
I bought the DJI Mavic Air 2 and added the Fly More Combo Set to it as it comes with 2 extra batteries, a bag, extra propellers and a couple extra chargers. If you are contemplating about buying one, just do it! It will bring you happiness for sure.
Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
As you know Im quite sporty and love to stay fit. For that reason I use the Suunto Spartan Sports Wrist HR to keep track of my activities like hiking, running, swimming, cycling, etc. Whenever I go on an adventure I activate my watch to track it. I will then post it on my Strava account.
Always make sure you have enough memory cards with you. There is nothing more annoying than the message: memory full! Also back up your memory cards. I have about 5 mini SD cards from several brands with a 128GB storage capacity.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
My favorite travel item! I go crazy without my noise cancelling headphones. Definitely a winner in planes, busses, long taxi rides! Im not saying it totally blocks the sound of that annoying kid a couple rows behind you, but it reduces so much of the noise around you and it will drive you crazy once you don't have them anymore. Disadvantage is that they are pretty bulky! I can totally recommend the Sony Noise Cancellation Headphones, they are solid and after all these trips they still work. Traveltomtom's favorite travel gadget!
Recently Traveltomtom team member Ashley tried out the Rolfstone earbuds and the Rolfstone noise cancelling headphones and was pretty satisfied. Much cheaper, but of course little less quality. Check out her reviews in the links.
Tripod with flexible arms
I also have one of these, but Im not convinced really, at least not for using it with a DSLR. I guess my Canon Lens is too heavy and therefore my Gorilla tripod often can’t hold it in the right position. To be fair I hardly use it anymore.
Without a powerbank I won’t leave on any adventures. I use it not only to charge my phone, but I actually mostly charge my GoPro’s with it. It comes in handy at all times.
International e-sim card
Without data on my phone I feel so lost, but luckily we now have e-sim cards. Although I mostly still buy a local prepaid sim card in every country, these e-sim cards make things so much easier. No more swapping sim cards, etc. I use my international e-sim card for short trips or the first day in a country when I don't have a local prepaid sim card yet. Check out my guide for the best international sim cards for traveling in 2022.
Obviously I need a laptop for editting, working on my blog, etc. My Macbook Pro travels with me everywhere. I bought it in 2008 after my last Macbook crashed… it was 7 years old though.
External Hard Drive
My Macbook has a memory capacity of only 256GB I think and is by far not enough for all the videos and photos I create. Therefore I always have one of my 4TB La Cie Rugged external Hard Drives with me. I have a couple others at my parents place with backups of everything.
So many questions always about my aviator sunglasses. Here is the link to my fave sunglasses. On average I buy at least one pair per year of these polarized sunglasses: RayBan Chromance Polarized Sunglasses.
How I record my Instagram stories?
Different topic but very popular question among you guys is how I create my Instagram stories. It is not a secret, Im happy to help you create the same way.
Not all stories are recorded the same way because I use 3 different devices. It totally comes down to the event, location or situation. Last year I used to record almost all my Instagram story videos with my GoPro Hero 7, but I would flip the GoPro and hold it in portrait mode. That way I was recording 9:16 videos that are the exact same format as Instagram stories.
That is why you could often see my whole body, obviously I was holding my pole in such an angle that you couldn’t see it.
Since the beginning of this year Im using my iPhone more and more, simply because it goes faster and is less work. The wide angle camera on the new iPhone really is a game changer and I am extremely happy with it.
The GoPro Max I don’t like to use that much for Instagram stories, because it simply is too much work to edit everything and send it back to my phone. It does create unique and epic content though, so it is a though decision sometime when I am on a fabulous off the beaten path adventure.
I hope all my tips in this travel gear packing guide were helpful and you got a little inside in what I pack for my adventures and gear I use. May you have any specific question please leave me a comment.
Some links in this travel accessories article are affiliate links, which means by clicking on them I make a tiny small amount of commission in case you decide to buy something from that specific website. This at absolutely no extra costs to you of course!