Travel Vlogging – Since the world is starting to open up for travelers, travel vloggers are excited to get back on the road and record new adventures to share with the world.
If your aspiration is to be a travel vlogger, telling stories and capturing memories from around the world, you need to have the right travel vlogging equipment to capture your incredible adventures. Since I have stayed home for the past year, self-isolating and focusing on filmmaking, I am excited to take a break from filmmaking and start traveling again.
So, what does a filmmaker know about travel vlogging? Well, actually quite a bit. Filmmaking and travel vlogging are quite comparable when you think about it. With filmmaking and travel vlogging, you need a great camera to capture the moment, you need great sound to keep the audience’s attention, you need great lighting to create atmosphere, and you need the right bag to carry your equipment from one location to the next.
But the difference between the two is that as a travel vlogger, being able to record your content without carrying a mountain of gear on your back can be a challenge. After all, most professional filmmaking equipment is heavy, and on a film set, there is a crew that can move stuff around for you.
Thankfully, there are fantastic vlogging gear options for travel vloggers that anyone can apply to record amazing video content without carrying an entire studio with them.
These are the 7+ travel vlogging items you will need to travel light and capture amazing travel vlogging moments that will grab the attention of your social media audience.
7+ Best Travel Vlogging Equipment For Travel Vloggers | Travel Vlog Essentials
Travel Vlogging Equipment - Intro
Travel vlogging equipment may differ from vlogger to vlogger.
Depending on how many locations you will be visiting, you will need to be able to travel light enough for all forms of transportation you will be taking like trains, ferries, and airplanes with relatively small overhead space and strict weight allowances.
Plus, you will also need vlogging equipment that will enable you to capture the quality photographs and videos you want.
In this article, I want to give you advice from my travel vlogging and filmmaking experience, as well as direction and advice I have learned over the years from other travel vloggers and filmmakers on what kind of travel vlogging equipment to get.
The travel vlogging equipment that you will want to pack for your nomadic adventures will depend on whether you will be traveling time.
Will you be a full-time travel vlogger living in AirBnBs with the occasional hotel stop along the way? If so, you will need vlogging equipment that can be used at any time, anywhere, and travel with you permanently.
If you are thinking about becoming a travel YouTuber and that’s how you live, then you’ll find my advice perfect.
But if you are planning to be a vlogger traveling for short periods, you may be able to add more equipment because you won’t be gone that long.
If so, you may be able to take different or even more gear that would be harder for someone living full-time as a nomadic travel vlogger.
With that said, let’s look at the travel vlogging equipment.
Choosing The Right Travel Vlogging Equipment
With the specific travel vlogging gear recommendations below, I will focus on the features, qualities, and brands a vlogger should look at in finding the right equipment for their vlogging needs.
The advice ahead is evergreen, which means that years from now, this post will still be relevant because of suggestions to look for in travel vlogging equipment compared to actual products today that will be outdated years from now.
Packing Right The First Time - Clothing
When it comes to packing, there are several articles out there that will help you to pack like a pro for any type of travel. But in this section, I want to give you a brief rundown of what type of clothing you should pack for any type of travel.
Many major clothing brands today, like Levis, Gap, Banana Republic, Lululemon, Uniqlo, etc. are starting to offer fashionable “travel-friendly” or “performance” clothing to meet the needs of the everyday traveler.
One of the main benefits of clothing made for travel is that you can wear them multiple times without having to wash them. This means you can pack fewer items so you can travel light.
Many of the fabrics used in travel clothes have anti-odor properties. Merino wool is naturally odor-resistant, but some synthetic materials are manufactured in a way to reduce odor.
If you plan on washing your clothes while you’re traveling it’s nice to have items that can be hand-washed and air-dried quickly (i.e. washing your socks and underwear in the sink). Quick-drying fabrics can also be beneficial if you get caught in the rain.
While it’s hard to completely prevent wrinkles when you’re living out of a suitcase, many materials have anti-wrinkle properties. In general, synthetic materials resist wrinkles better than natural fabrics, but it depends on the fabric.
So when you are thinking about building a travel clothing wardrobe, here are some suggestions on what to pack for traveling light when you need to:
- Socks – Look for Merino wool socks with a bit of synthetic material to help maintain their shape/fit.
- Travel underwear – Look for Quick Drying, Moisture Wicking, Breathable, Odor Blocking, and Comfortable underwear. Brands like ExOfficio, Patagonia, Under Armour, and Lululemon are great go-to brands for travel underwear.
- Travel Pants & Jeans – Look for lightweight fabrics, so it breaths well, resists wrinkles, and it utilizes water-resistant properties. For Women and Men, brands like Lululemon and Prana offer technical fabrics that look stylish and feel great for everyday travel.
- Shirts – For Long sleeve and short sleeve shirts, look for shirts made from high-performance fabrics that still look stylish. Find travel shirts that offer a blend of wool and synthetic fiber to stay wrinkle-free and comfortable for hot days and cold.
- Mid-Layers – A mid-layer can be anything from a sweater, vest, down jacket, hoodie, or just about anything that can be worn with an outer layer when it’s cold, or can act as an outer layer for milder temperatures. Again, brands like Patagonia, Lululemon, and Prana offer great mid-layer options made with wool blends that will help you pack light but still stay stylish during your trip.
- Outerwear – The problem with outerwear is that it encompasses a huge range of garments that perform a huge range of functions. It can be anything from a simple waterproof jacket for summer showers, to large winter coats capable of withstanding a harsh Scandinavian winter. You can find plenty of decent-looking Outerwear options by Marmot, Patagonia, and The North Face to fit your travel clothing needs.
- Shoes – This will be a personal preference for you in picking the right travel shoe for your everyday travel vlogging needs. But I do suggest packing sneakers that don’t make you look like a Tourist from brands like ECCO, New Balance, and Adidas, which offer stylish and comfortable sneakers for everyday use.
Keep in mind when packing for your next adventure, if you decided on using a carry-on for all of your travel needs, pay attention to the airline, train, or even bus guidelines for the size and weight so you can pack efficiently every time you travel.
I am a big fan of packing cubes, to help organize travel clothing better in carry-on suitcases and backpacks. Also, a travel scale to prevent overpacking and avoid excess baggage charges at the airport.
Related Article: 5+ Simple Fashion Tips For Women & Men | Better Travel Fashion
Packing Right The First Time - Luggage
For a travel vlogger, one-bag travel is a must for those on the go. That’s why you should look at using a carry-on-sized backpack for all your packing needs.
There are many reasons I recommend carry-on travel:
- Saves Money: Many budget airlines charge anywhere from $20-$40 for a checked bag — which can add up if you’re taking a lot of flights.
- Saves Time and Frustration: You never had to worry about losing your bag when you carry on your backpack. This has happened to me in the past with checking in a DJI Drone with me for a flight to South America. It was lost during one of my flight legs from Seattle to LAX to Lima, Peru and with the language barrier in Peru, I never saw my Drone again. Plus, by using a carry-on you don’t have to wait for your bag at baggage claim so you can get on with your travels.
- Ease of Travel: Living out of a carry-on backpack means you’re forced to travel light. Sure, you’ll have to give up some modern conveniences (like lots of shoes and clothes) but it’s very freeing once you get used to it. Plus, being able to easily navigate busy streets, stairs, narrow alleyways, train stations, airports, and everything else you’ll encounter while traveling is amazing when you travel light.
- Comfortable Travel: Lugging around a super heavy suitcase or backpack is physically demanding and can be painful (or at least uncomfortable).
While there is no standardized carry-on size, because each airline has its own luggage size rules, but as a general rule of thumb, the upper limit for carry-on backpacks is 45 liters. For carry-on luggage, like a wheeled suitcase, the upper limit is around 22 x 16 x 8 in.
This could change, as airlines love squeezing every bit of money you have in your pocket, so pay attention before traveling the size restrictions of the airline you are flying with.
What to look for in a Travel Backpack
For carry-on travel backpacks, here is a list of features that you should pay attention to in picking a carry-on backpack. It’s rare for a backpack to fulfill everything on this list, so you’ll have to pick which features are most important to your travel style and needs.
- Front Opening: We recommend travel backpacks that open like a suitcase — as opposed to only opening at the top like a traditional hiking backpack. This makes packing/unpacking much easier.
- Style: Every backpack has its own style. Some tend to be more “urban” (i.e. sleek and modern) but others have more of a hiking/camping vibe — but these days a lot of bags straddle both “styles”. Urban-styled bags tend to look better but hiking-styled bags tend to be more comfortable.
- Size: We covered sizes previously in this article but we recommend bags in the 35L-45L range. Minimalist travels or shorter trips can use a smaller bag.
- Organization: Some backpacks have one giant compartment but others have a bunch of smaller internal and external pockets for organizing your stuff. We like having a few small external pockets to help store things like phones, tickets, small books, etc.
- Laptop Compartment: Many people travel with a laptop so a dedicated laptop compartment comes in handy. However, we travel with an iPad since it’s so much easier and lighter to carry.
- Weight: Travel backpacks range from a little over 2lbs to well over 6lbs — that’s a big difference. We prefer wearing as light a bag as possible the bigger bags (and bags with more robust shoulder harness/hip belts) will weigh more.
- Zippers: Quality zippers are a must since it’s the weakest part of the backpack. YKK-brand zippers are the gold standard. Bonus points for waterproof zippers.
- Price: Good quality travel backpack starts around $120 and can be as expensive as $300+. That said, being more expensive doesn’t always mean the bag is better.
- Comfort: An uncomfortable bag is a real killer on your back — especially if you’re wearing it for long periods. The comfort usually comes down to two factors — the harness system (shoulder straps and hip belt) and the weight of the stuff in your bag. If you pack light, then you can get away with a less advanced harness system but heavy packers will want a high-quality harness.
- Fit and Gender-Specific: Most backpacks are unisex and only come in one size. However, there are a few bags that come in sizes (i.e. small, large, etc.) to fit different body sizes. Some come in women-specific models. We don’t think these are deal-breakers but it’s a nice bonus.
- Extra Features: You’ll see that different bags have features that you might find useful — like water bottle pockets, waterproof zippers, super durable fabric, rain resistance/waterproof cover, etc.
To capture your travel vlogging memories, you will need a camera. A camera is the most important piece of any travel vloggers gear. But when it comes to a camera, there are hundreds of different types of cameras you can take with you for content creation.
It is beyond the reach of this article to list them all and it depends on the types of images and videos you’re capturing. Will you be shooting stills and photos? Will you be shooting videos in low and bright light conditions? Will you be travel vlogging your safari adventures and shooting with a long lens so you don’t get too close to that charing rhino? Are you filming underwater? Do you want drone footage? I could go on and on.
Of all the questions above, the most important factor in choosing the right vlogging camera to do the job right is finding the right camera that can film in low-light conditions. Depending on the type of travel you are on, you may be unable to travel with a full lighting kit, so having a camera that performs well in those types of conditions is a must.
Another factor to look for in a travel vlogging camera is one with a wide dynamic range that can take good photos and video in both shade and really bright areas without losing detail.
I use the Sony A7 series for my run and gun short features when I need to get in and out before the police arrive to shut my film production down. I also use the Panasonic Lumix series camera, because it has a tough weather-resistant body and offers image stabilization with compatible lenses.
You can also pack small and portable with a GoPro, that with the latest models offers super-smooth Hypersmooth video stabilization, TimeWarp for handheld time-lapses, and shoots high-quality video footage that will dazzle even your toughest critics.
There is also your smartphone that can produce fantastic photos and videos with the right downloaded apps like FilmicPro, where you can add additional functionality for controlling the image for your smartphone videos.
Plus, adding external lenses from brands like Moment, Ulanzi, and Olloclip to make your photos and videos even better. I also recommend a program like LumaFusion that provides powerful non-linear editing power right on your phone or iPad.
And if you’re wondering if you can use a smartphone to shoot a “serious” video, check out my article on how to shoot cinematic videos with your smartphone.
Related Article: Sony ZV-E10 Comparison To The Best Vlogging Cameras Today
Many vloggers use wide-angle lenses because they can be used in tight spaces such as a bedroom or kitchen to show as much of the scene as possible. A 24mm lens is good for that purpose, but an ultra-wide lens is even better.
When choosing lenses as a travel YouTuber, if you have space, I recommend getting a good long, medium, and wide lens. My go-to focal lengths are 70-200, 50, and 11-16, respectively. (not adjusted for crop factor, if applicable).
Tripod and Rig Gear
If you are a photographer or videographer, you will understand the true value of a really good set of “sticks” and a solid tripod head for your camera.
A tripod that offers smooth camera movement, leveling of your camera, and stability. Keep in mind that these types of tripods are often expensive and quite cumbersome to travel with if you’re living a nomadic lifestyle as a travel vlogger.
But there are excellent travel tripods available that offer pro-level stability, load capacity, and deployed height, yet pack down to the diameter of a water bottle. Brands like Peak Design and Manfrotto that offer these type of tripods for the travel vlogger.
A gimbal is another great alternative to keeping your camera steady to capture the best pictures and videos possible.
But if you are worried about adding more equipment to your vlogging gear, there are camera stabilizers that are not only compact but even have legs that allow you to stand them up like a tripod.
DJI’s Ronin products for Mirrorless and DSLR camera gimbal stabilization is the perfect fit for any travel vlogger looking to avoid blurry pictures and shaky camera footage while shooting on the go.
Related Article: Gimbals / Stabilizers: Best Smartphone Filmmaking Accessory
For your audience to hear you in your travel vlogs, you can’t rely the a built-in microphone on your camera. This is a problem I see so often in travel vloggers that when they travel they usually record on the fly, and sometimes in windy scenarios that destroy the audio of their videos.
A camera must be able to pick up the sound of your voice, even if you’re in the middle of a storm—hopefully, you won’t get into this kind of situation. Having good audio by using your camera’s built-in mics is impossible.
It might be able to pick up your voice in most normal situations, but any hint of wind and your audio will be hindered. You can solve this issue with an external microphone.
If your camera doesn’t have an external microphone port then you need an external recorder, and that can be your smartphone. Just make sure that whatever microphone you use has a windscreen attached to cut down any wind sound. Great microphone brands like Rode, Shure, and Movo offer on-camera microphones and lav microphones that connect to Mirrorless cameras and smartphones for the best sound possible.
You can get a decent lavaliere microphone that connects to your smartphone, and then in post-production, all you have to do is sync your sound from your smartphone to your video using an editing suite like Adobe Premiere pro.
Remember when I mentioned finding a vlogging camera that shoots well in low light conditions, well even the best camera may not help you if you need that little bit of extra lighting to create an atmosphere for a picture or video.
Every good YouTuber knows you need good lighting. But, if you are traveling a lot, a 3-point lighting kit, will not be coming with you along your travel vlogging journeys. If you are worried about lighting conditions while traveling, adding travel-friendly lighting setups to your vlogging kit can help capture beautiful images without breaking your back.
Brands like LumeCube, offer mini LED panels that fit in your pocket with an easy-to-use display screen to offer you a creative light for your camera. Can run up to 14 hrs on an internal battery, or plugin and use for your video camera as long as you want for longer projects.
These types of lighting setups are cheap enough and small enough where you can invest in three and get that 3-point lighting set up that you need.
Related Article: 5+ Best Portable LED Lights For Smartphone Filmmaking
Travel Camera Gear Case
If you can put all of your camera equipment along with your clothing, great as that is one less bag to worry about.
But, if you have a multiple lenses kit along with a laptop that you want to bring with you while travel vlogging, it’s best to check a suitcase packed with your clothing, and bring along a backpack/rolling combo backpack for your camera gear as use that as your carryon.
You never want to check in your camera equipment because you never know how baggage handlers will treat your valuable equipment. Plus, you never know if your check-in your camera gear that it will arrive in the same place as you when you land.
One brand where you can never go wrong with a backpack/rolling combo backpack is Pelican. They make a backpack/rolling combo backpack in their Sport Camera Backpack collection that allows room for your camera, lenses, and computer.
Additional Travel Vlogging Accessories
Editing your videos should not be a stressful job for your travel channel. In this way, choosing a laptop with multifunctionality and that provides good editing programs is fundamental to the beginning of your work.
Youtubers prefer MacBooks for their daily vlogs. It has a friendly interface, great battery life, quick performance lighting, and great software for editing. The MacBook Pro fills all of these skills.
Even though the MacBook Air is lighter and thinner, you still get outstanding performance with it. If you do not plan on doing any heavy editing of 4K videos, then this should cope with general editing, surfing the web, photoshop, and so on.
Many vloggers often forget how important memory storage is for vloggers. For travel vloggers then, it’s critical! You will be recording content for hours. The number of recorded images can often exceed the limit of your camera memory and storing sporadically on a hard drive is the best option.
Carrying a hard drive may not always seem so important when you are packing your backpack. However, there are more compact hard drives like the Lacie Rugged that are worth getting into your luggage.
Another option is to make a number of SD Cards. They may have less memory than hard drives of 1T or more, however, they are extremely compact and can handle the large files being saved at any given time.
If you want to start vlogging your journeys, make sure you have the right equipment before leaving for the airport. If you want to make sure you will be able to capture everything without any troubles, make sure you have the following list of things:
- Packing the right travel clothing to be comfortable and look stylish wherever you go.
- Having the right carry-on luggage to avoid checking in baggage at the airport and paying unwanted fees.
- A small, portable camera with optical image stabilization. Preferably a compact or a mirrorless.
- A travel tripod or gimbal to stabilize your video footage, and light enough to be carried for an entire day.
- An external microphone, preferably a lav mic. If your camera doesn’t have an external mic port, use your smartphone or get an external recorder to connect your mic to it. Plus, A windshield for your microphone. Windy situations are really common when traveling. Microphone windshields are the best way to deal with them.
- Portable LED Lighting kit for better lighting on the fly.
- Lenses for either your mirrorless camera or smartphone for capturing incredible photos and videos.
- Travel camera case to protect your valuable camera equipment like camera, lenses, and laptop.
- Additional camera accessories like portable charges, memory cards, wall outlet adaptors for the various countries.
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Did I miss something? Is there anything you carry with you for your travel vlogs that I didn’t mention here? Let me know!
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