Whether you’re a digital nomad, remote worker, or just looking to stay connected while you travel, it’s important to bring the right tech gear with you. But what stuff actually makes your travel experience better? And what just adds unnecessary pounds (or kilos) to your bag?
We’re Jana and Brett, and we “accidentally” became digital nomads 7 years ago, looooong before recent world events made it cool. I say “accidentally” because having a digital nomad lifestyle wasn’t and still isn’t the goal—we were just looking for ways to spend months (or years) traveling Europe, and apparently making money is necessary to do that. 🙂
After visiting more than 30 European countries, we’ve tried a lot of travel tech gear, brought plenty of things we never used, and spent more money than we’d like to admit on stuff that didn’t work—either because it really didn’t fit our travel needs or because it literally didn’t work.
So today we’re opening our tech backpack and showing you everything we travel with to work remotely, stay connected using wifi and data, record youtube videos, power our devices, and lots more.
But don’t use this as a list of everything we think you should take on your next trip. Instead, we hope you can learn from our experiences, and find even one item that’ll make your next trip a little better.
Ready to see what’s in our tech bag? Here we go!
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The Bag: Our Tech Travel Backpack
What kinda tech bag teardown would this be if we didn’t mention our bag?!
For 3 years now we’ve used the Wandrd Prvke (we use the 21L bag with the optional photography bundle). We used to travel with a tech messenger bag, but man, that was super heavy to lug around on one shoulder. This tech travel backpack is much more comfortable. While the Wandrd backpack itself weighs a lot, the compartments are mighty handy and perfect for organizing lots of travel tech gear. In our opinion, this may be the best travel backpack on the market!
There are lots of features, but we really like the secret pocket in the back which we use to stash our American and Italian passports, credit cards, cash, and our travel money belt.
And we’re huge fans of how the backpack opens. I absolutely hate stuffing things down into one big backpack compartment, so this style allows access to everything without completely emptying your bag.
It’s an incredibly smart design to place the laptop sleeves in a spot where they sit directly against your back. That’s just better for weight distribution—especially since Brett carries both of our computers.
There’s also a side pocket which gives you access without having to actually open the bag, but we tend to use this more to pack and get our gear from one place to the next, and not for days when we’re out filming—though I’m sure it works great for that.
You can also create quite a bit of extra space by expanding the roll-up top, even though it looks kinda funny in our opinion.
But enough about our Wandrd travel bag. Let’s dive into what’s inside.
Digital Nomad Tech Gear
While we’d love bigger laptops or external monitors, it’s just not practical. So these give us just enough screen size and computing power for our work with paying clients as well as projects related to our YouTube channel and this website.
Moft Laptop Stand
One sweet little find has been our Moft computer stands. Jana especially struggles with neck tension, and sitting for hours looking down at a screen can easily take a toll.
These nifty little things allow us to raise our screens 2 or 3 extra inches while hardly taking up extra space or adding additional bulk. Those 2-3 inches might not sound like much, but ask our necks if they’ve made a difference!
Satechi Multi-port adapter
Another item is the Satechi multi-port adapter. It’s frustrating how our Macbooks only have 1 or 2 ports, and we always seem to need to connect more than 1 or 2 devices!
While there are lots of different models, this one allows us to connect everything we need, and even comes in handy when we wanna connect our computer to a TV to stream something on a larger screen.
Samsung T7 Solid State Hard Drive
We edit and store all of the raw footage for our youtube videos on this Samsung T7 external hard drive. This thing is lightning quick, and honestly it’s allowed us to edit better on our basic Macbooks.
We have zero complaints about this durable, steady-state drive. I only wish we had bought one with a larger capacity! And we use the Seagate 2TB as a backup drive in case the T7 fails.
Hard Drive Case
For extra protection, we purchased a hard drive case. It’s actually the one made for the Seagate, and it’s designed to hold the hard drive in the cushioned area and the cord in the mesh pocket.
But always looking to consolidate space, we found that we could fit the Seagate into the mesh spot, while the cushioned side is just big enough to fit the T7 along with its little custom nook. So far so good!
Travel Cord Organizer
And since we mentioned cords, just a quick note about travel cord organization. You probably have pouches of all kinds lying around that would be perfect for stashing those squirmy little things.
We use a pouch from an old lapel mic we bought. And it works well enough we just don’t feel the need to spend money on a dedicated travel cord organizer.
Staying Connected with WiFi & Data
If you’re like us and you work while you travel, you know how essential wifi and cell phone data are! But even if you don’t, it’s so convenient to be able to look up restaurant reviews or navigate the local transportation while you’re out sightseeing.
Solis Hot Spot (with a discount code!)
Arguably our best purchase over the past two years has been this Skyroam Solis wifi hotspot. With it, you can travel to more than 135 countries and have wifi access within minutes, as long as there’s a cell signal.
You can connect up to 10 devices at a time, and maybe our favorite part is the different ways to buy and use data. There are day passes, monthly subscriptions, and even the option to buy prepaid data that doesn’t expire.
This hotspot device has saved us a few times when the internet went out at our airbnb. But we also love being able to take our computers somewhere beautiful and still get our work done.
For real, we think it is so essential that we snagged a 15% discount for you HERE.
As a maximizer, it’s very important to Brett that we don’t waste any of our precious hotspot data. But with our computers setup to run frequent backups and phones that perform lots of data-sucking tasks in the background, he feared hopping online to check some emails and watching his gigabytes drain away.
So although this next item doesn’t technically go in our bag since it’s a piece of software, we think TripMode is essential to pair with your wifi hotspot.
TripMode allows you to block wifi access to any apps or programs unless you give them permission. So no more accidentally updating software in the background while you think you’re just surfing the web!
Holafly eSIM (5% discount!)
You may not travel with a computer, but I bet 99,999 out of every 100,000 of you take your phone. And while it makes for a very high-tech alarm clock, our guess is you’d probably like to have cell data while you travel, too.
We’ve used a lot of different phone data options, which were usually low-cost, pre-paid plans for emergency cell access, or buying a SIM card from a local carrier. These can work well, especially if your data usage is low.
But we know that lots of you want your phone to work exactly like it does at home. And you’d rather not have to waste any of your precious vacation time visiting a phone store to pick up a SIM card.
Well this summer we found an awesome option. It’s an eSIM from Holafly, which means you don’t have to deal with those pesky, tiny little cards. You just:
1 | Purchase the eSIM online.
2 | Scan a barcode with your phone.
3 | Activate your plan when you’re ready.
And just like that, you’re setup with unlimited data for your trip!
There are plans for loads of countries and regions around the world available for anywhere from 5 and 90 days. This is going to be a great solution for those of you who use lots of data and want it readily available while you travel.
Like the hotspot, we rarely travel without data anymore. To help you out on your next international vacation, we also have a Holafly discount code for you. Shop HERE with this code for 5% off: APLINSINTHEALPS
Now let’s talk about power. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but not all plugs are created equal. There are lots of plug adapters on the market, but after trying a few, we love this Foval International travel adapter.
Foval International Travel Adapter
It has two regular plug outlets plus 4 USB ports, and we’ve never had problems even when we’ve filled ‘em all up for long periods of time.
One feature you might not like about the Foval International Travel Adapter is the fan. It’s not exactly quiet, but it does a great job keeping the device cool, which probably allows it to last longer. Listen for yourself on our YouTube video!
Truthfully, the fan is totally fine in our opinion. If anything, it’s even a nice sound machine for sleeping at night!
But the best feature in our opinion is the combination of adapters. It’s actually an EU plug by default, which means you can use it there with no adapter. And the adapters make it useable in the U.S., the U.K., Australia, and Italy—which is one that’s left out of almost all the products we’ve seen.
Swiss Plug Adapter
And while we’re on the subject of plug adapters, we always travel with a Type-J Swiss plug adapter. Like many things, the Swiss even insist on their plugs being neutral! And while some EU plugs with smaller prongs will fit in Swiss outlets, many plugs with the larger prongs will not, so just be prepared.
European USB plug
But a smaller EU plug actually works in Italy and Switzerland and throughout the EU. So I now use it to charge my phone in the bedroom so we have an alarm, and we keep all our other devices in another room.
Ankar Portable Charger
Finally, where would we be without our Anker Portable Charger? Well, probably in an electronics store buying one, because man, this thing is an essential.
We chose this one for the balance of charging capacity and size, but honestly, you can find one to suit whatever needs you have. We think Anker products are a great value for the money, and this baby is perfect for charging our phones, hotspot, camera gear, and other small devices.
Speaking of camera gear…
Cameras & YouTube Gear
Traveling and producing YouTube videos definitely means that we bring more gear than we did in our pre YouTube days. But we’ve been pretty ruthless about keeping things as small and uncomplicated as possible.
There’s a constant tension for us: we want our videos to be high quality so that you have a good experience as a viewer, without spending a ton of money or carrying loads of heavy gear.
So here’s our current approach…likely to change in the future 🙂
We film all of our B-Roll on an iPhone 12. This means that every clip where you don’t see and hear us talking is produced with nothing but this device.
We haven’t done any special color grading and we’ve been really pleased with the footage. The stabilization features are pretty darn good, and for the most part we feel like the videos we capture with our iPhones make us look like better videographers than we really are.
(And by “us” we mean Brett because he’s our primary videographer!)
It’s really freeing to walk around knowing that everything we need to capture a quality video at a moment’s notice is already in our pocket, and I think we’d honestly need a whole lot of really good reasons to upgrade to an actual camera.
DJI Osmo Pocket
Anytime you see and hear us talking on video, we’re recording it with this DJI Osmo Pocket. This is an interesting camera to us, because every time we use it we’re about ready to upgrade to something else while at the same time reminding ourselves that it fits our travel style so well.
The Osmo Pocket was at one point the world’s smallest 3-axis gimbal, which means you can capture really smooth footage that’s constantly level with the horizon.
I mean look at the size of this thing! That’s a huge plus, but to get it to function the way we really need, we’ve had to add some accessories, which has of course increased the size and weight.
We would probably need an entire review to summarize the things we do and don’t like about this camera, but overall we still prefer the small Osmo Pocket to a giant DSLR rig.
Now, what accessories do we have?
DJI Extension Rod
Well, we always have it connected to the DJI extension rod. This gives us a selfie stick of sorts, but one that can also control the camera since it’s made for the Osmo Pocket.
We also really like that there’s a built-in cold shoe where we can mount a microphone. And while you can connect your phone to use it as a larger viewing screen and for access to additional features, we never use this with our phone because you can’t do that AND use a microphone at the same time. BIG MISS DJI!!
Speaking of microphones, we use the Rode VideoMicro to capture audio, and we love it! It’s improved the quality of our audio way beyond the $50 bucks we spent, in our opinion.
It’s a directional mic, which means it does a good job of capturing sound from whatever it’s pointing directly at, while blocking out sounds coming from other directions reasonably well. It’s way better at this than the iPhone microphone.
Jana: Fun fact! Brett actually has a bachelor’s degree in Music Production, so he kinda knows a thing or two about audio and microphones.
DJI Audio Adapter
To connect the VideoMicro to our Osmo Pocket, we actually had to purchase an audio connecter from DJI, which seems kinda silly, but it wouldn’t work otherwise.
Hot Shoe Mount
We also use something called a hot shoe, for two reasons. It allows us to connect the mic a little further away from the camera so it doesn’t accidentally show up in our videos, and it allows us to simultaneously connect multiple accessories, like an LED light.
The Osmo Pocket comes with a case, which we use when we’re traveling and everything’s packed in our tech bag. But when we’re out filming, we like to keep the extension rod and mic connected, and the case won’t work in that…case.
So we bought a little gimbal protector for extra security.
One thing the Osmo isn’t great at is capturing accurately colored footage in changing light conditions. That’s a trade-off you make for having such a tiny camera.
So something that’s helped is a pack of ND filters. Especially on a bright sunny day, these filters help us adjust the camera settings to come up with a better picture than we’d get without them.
And they definitely make a difference, even though their tiny size makes them tough to handle!
We also have a set with a wide angle lens and some additional filters.
DJI Charging Case
Finally, to wrap up this discussion of our Osmo Pocket, we’ve been carrying the DJI Charging Case. You simply insert the camera, close it up, and the re-charging begins. Then when you wanna take it back out, you push a button and watch the cool opening effect.
The case also doubles as a charging device for other small electronics, and can store a few micro SD cards as well.
But overall, we’re not so sure this provides us much of a benefit that couldn’t be gained from an ordinary USB charger.
So the best thing about the Osmo Pocket is its size. But the worst thing is all the stuff we’ve added to make it work the way we want it to! I think you get the picture.
We also recently added this GoPro HERO10 Black to film a via ferrata experience we’ll publish in the Spring. It’s awesome, and we’re honestly looking for excuses to use it more.
So far we’ve just used this little tripod, but I’m sure we’ll add some more GoPro accessories over the next few months.
Brett’s not too happy to now have three different devices we’re using for filming video, but that’s where it stands as of now.
Other Tech Gear & Accessories
As for other photo and video accessories, we also travel with…
- A JOBY GorillaPod tripod…
- A generic selfie stick…
- A lenspen to keep our lenses clean and smudge-free…
- A handful of micro-SD cards…
- Ear buds…
- A little case to store and keep our SD cards and phone SIM cards organized…
- An LED light for recording video indoors at night or on cloudy days…
- And of course, lots and lots of cords…
What else goes in our tech travel backpack?
And finally, in this tech bag we fit all of our clothes and toiletries. Just kidding.
Actually, Jana made an entire video about what she packs in her suitcase, so if you’d like to see what she packs for traveling Europe months at a time, be sure to check out that next.
See you in Switzerland, or somewhere else around the world!