Awesome Travel Products & Services

The Motherload: Travel Products & Services

Almost every link that I provide in my book and here in this product section is a link to something that I have personally purchased and/or used that I was really happy to have which I go into detail on in the book. These are items that I have found, after hours and hours of researching online and testing for the best stuff at the best prices for the trip. Maybe you’ll like a different color or a different style, but definitely make note of the features of that product or service if you don’t buy the same one so that you get the most for your money in whatever you are buying. Ladies, I mentioned before, some of these items may be geared towards men, but if you visit these links, almost every time you will be able to quickly find a comparable product geared towards women.

***Quick Note: Don’t freak yourself out about all the things I list here. I mention in the book that you can literally leave with the clothes on your back and you’d still be fine, but if you are able to buy and take advantage of some of these products they will come in handy at some point, and may make things easier for you in some shape or form. Many of these products can really come in handy anytime and you might like having them at home too! So without further a due, here’s all the product links from the book. If there is anything missing from this list that you think is a must, please let me know. And remember there is a lot more detail in the book and many other little items mentioned so make sure to review the book for that. Most items are mentioned around tip #27.

It’s possible that you are reading this before my travel book has come out, but it’s coming soon, so stay tuned for that 🙂

Sorry there are no photos to go with these products and services for now, but I wanted to get this up for asap and you’ll see the pics when visiting links. Here you go!

 

SERVICES

 

Bank Account / Atm Card

Charles Schwab High Yield Checking Account (All ATM fees are reimbursed anywhere around the world. This account is free. This account may only be available to people with a US address, but check for similar where you are from)

Credit Card/s

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card gives a 2 Miles for every dollar spent, which are redeemable against any travel purchase. The $59 annual fee is waived the first year and the card comes with a 10,000 Capital One No Hassle Miles signup bonus. There are no foreign transaction fees and it also has no blackout dates and no expiration on your miles.

The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card: No Annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. You can use miles on anything. You get 1.5% cash back on all purchases, plus a $100 signup bonus.

Mail Service

Earth Class Mail (Never deal with junk mail again. I think I’ll use this even when I’m not traveling.)

This company will scan the front of each piece of mail you receive and you can view that in your email, or in your account on their website, and simply let them know via a click of the mouse, which pieces of mail you want them to open and scan for you to see, which pieces to shred, and even which pieces you want them to mail to a different address or store until your return. This company can even deposit checks for you for a fee if you get checks in the mail. I have found it most economical to only use them to discard junk mail and scan the pieces I want to see.

Their customer service is great and I have been using and loving them for the past 2 years. This service has made the mail situation so easy for me as I travel around the world and for $20/month it is totally worth it!

Travel Insurance  

World Nomads (Don’t think about it, just get it. I feel so much better knowing I have this.)

You can purchase short policies for just a week or for up to a year, you can even purchase after you’ve already left or extend your coverage if your trip is longer and it is almost instant coverage, very easy to apply. This is not just for little things like getting sick and having to see a doctor, get prescriptions, etc. , this can cover you if you break a bone, get in an accident and need surgery, or even if you have to be airlifted. The best company I’ve found that covers many countries and that has worked out awesome for me is World Nomads .

They have a standard package and an explorer package. Visit that link and you can easily play with the options and amount of time you want coverage for to see what the cost will be. I always go with the explorer package which has extra coverage and even covers extreme sports, etc.  Their customer service is great and when I did need a reimbursement for something, I submitted the required information and the money came with no problem. You can use whoever you want, but I definitely recommend checking these guys out and getting yourself covered. Make sure to read their terms and conditions depending on where you are from.

Around the World Ticket

AirTreks Visit the link and start building your trip. It’s fun to do and you can see what an around the world ticket would cost depending on where you are going. For me it actually made sense to just book my tickets as I traveled, but I have spoken to some people that have gotten some screaming deals by purchasing an around the world ticket, even if they were just going to a few countries.)

Calling

Skype   (Cheap rates calling different countries when there are no other options)

Google Voice:    (One of the best things about this is paying $20 one time to port your existing phone # which you will be able to keep until your return without having to pay a monthly cell phone bill.)

****Don’t forget to check all the free apps available if you have a smartphone that can allow you to call other people with same apps for free or possibly even allow you to call any number in your home country for free****

 

TRAVEL GEAR

 

Backpacks

Big Backpack This is the pack I recommend to bring on a trip. I’ve been using it for over 2 years and there are so many reasons I’m glad I have this backpack. I’ve got a video I’ll load on YouTube soon to describe many of those reasons. Make sure to note all the features of this backpack if you don’t buy the same one so that you can get a pack that has everything this one does.

One of my favorite parts about this backpack, that most packs don’t have, is the ventilation system which keeps your back so much cooler when you are carrying your backpack.

Daypack (I highly recommend also bringing a daypack for day trips and for much easier access to things like snacks, electronics, long sleeve shirt, water, etc when you are in route)

 

Locks

Cable Locks  (Love these. So easy to use and I use them all the time for my bag and to lock my bag in a locker when needed. These are great, super portable, and TSA certified)

Longer Cable Lock   (This is for locking your backpack to a rail on a train or bus if you will be sleeping for a while while in route so that you know your bag will still be there when you wake up.

It could also be used to lock your bag to your bed if you want extra protection. I actually made one from materials at home depot, but buying it is much easier. I have spoken to people that have woken+ up with their bags missing on trains and buses so might be a good idea to have this. There may only be a few times you want to use it, but it only takes once for your bag with everything to be gone 🙂 )

Laptop Lock  (honestly I only used mine 2 or 3 times in 2 years, but may be something you want)

 

Electronics

SmartphoneUnlocked IPhone 4s or the new Unlocked IPhone 5s (If you are only bringing one piece of electronic on your trip make sure it is an unlocked smartphone or at least the Newest IPod Touch. I explain why in detail on Tip #123 in the book. I’m not an “Apple Fanatic” ,although they do make awesome products, and I do not own a Mac, but I bought this phone because it is the best phone available. There may be other comparable phones, but I did not find a better one and remember, I’m pretty crazy when it comes to buying items like this. I research everything about these items; I physically go to stores and test them for the most important features, etc.

If you absolutely don’t want to go with an IPhone, then the Samsung Galaxy 4S International is your next best option, but I explain why I recommend the Iphone on the tip #27 items to bring.

Smartphone Protective Case: Griffin Survivor Case or little less bulky Otterbox or even less bulky Incipio (I go into more detail on these in tip #27 in the book)

Laptop: Acer Aspire Laptop For an inexpensive laptop you can’t beat this for $450. (If you have a MacBook or other expensive laptop that you want to bring with you go for it, but maybe get insurance for it because I have definitely spoken to people that have had theirs stolen or broken. I’ve had this “Very inexpensive for what you get” laptop with me for over 2 years while traveling. That includes being put in my backpack and thrown around on hundreds of planes, trains, and automobiles and it’s still ticking now as I write these words.)

You can go even cheaper with this one at $389 (this one has a Celeron processor though which is not nearly as good as the i5, it also has the older Windows 7 instead of the New Windows 8, and weighs a little more).  Or if you want a little more power and a little lighter at 4.4lbs you could go with this one  which, for under $600, is as good or better than all the $700-800 computers out there.

Laptop Case:   Case Logic (This is a no brainer to protect your laptop as you travel, and you can use it to put between you and the laptop when the laptop is actually on your lap so it does not get hot on your lap)

Ipad: I probably would have purchased this Ipad w/ Retina Display 32gb  instead of a laptop if I did not have to run certain software. This thing is an awesome tool to have while traveling and could make a lot more sense than buying a laptop like the one I mention above.  It is so much lighter, has a better screen, longer battery, etc, etc. If you are buying an Ipad get at least the 32GB.

Case for Ipad: Definitely protect your investment with something like this Otterbox. Or if you want to turn your Ipad into a little laptop computer go with this Logitech Ultra-Thin Keyboard Cover.

Portable External Hard Drive: This U32 Shadow External Hard Drive has been great to have, even at home.  (For me this is a no brainer to have as another great way to back up all my photos, stories, documents, etc. It’s super light, and worth it to have with you.)

Charge Your Stuff On The Go: Having this Anker portable charger is awesome to have for charging all electronics on the go and it is so portable! (I have used a similar one numerous times as I have traveled on planes, trains, buses, etc and many people were envious that I had it when their phone, ipad, or MP3 player was dead and mine was good to go!) If you want a portable charger with even more juice and the ability to charge 2 devices at the same time go with something like this.

Electric Converter / Travel Adapter is a must! You can grab a kit here for $11 and that should cover you around the world. It also allows you to turn 3 prong to 2. Ex: Your laptop plug.

As a general guideline, chargers for most portable electronics like your (laptop, camera, cell phone, tablets, etc) have light-weight switching converters in them that are designed for universal voltage so you should not have to worry about voltage unless you have some super old appliance.

Super Portable MP3 Player: If you don’t want to buy an unlocked phone or an iPod touch and just want something for music, or even if you have one of those and would like something much smaller that you can easily carry and whip out anywhere without worrying about people looking at your precious electronics, I also got this super small portable mp3 player and it was great to have!   I used this at home too when I went on bike rides, jogging on the beach, or in my car hooked up to the stereo.

Headphones: These Panasonic headphones are probably the best super cheap option available. If you want to drop some money on headphones and get some really good ones check out these Yamaha headphones (awesome sound, but no mic) or these ME headphones (yes, they have a mic) (More details on tip #27)

Flashlight: This Fenix Flashlight is pretty impressive or you can find another version of it cheaper or more expensive from that link.  I had one and it was great, but lost it and since then I’ve just been using the flashlight on my IPhone.

Awesome Little Speaker: And finally the Jam XT Speaker is impressive and great to have, even at home to bring to the beach or a park or anywhere. This little speaker has definitely surprised many people when I turn it on. It’s $50 and pumps out just as good of a sound as the $150 JBL Charge speaker that has good ratings. (If you will be moving around a lot this may be too much to bring, but if you will be in each location for 1-2 weeks or more, this thing is great, it’s also awesome to have at home. You can connect via a separate cable or using Bluetooth.)

Cameras

Best Pocket Camera Available: New Sony RX100M II (This camera takes amazing photos day and night and is super portable. It better be for $750).  Or you can go with the original Sony RX 100 which is also amazing for $150 cheaper.

Great Cheaper Pocket Camera: The Nikon P310 is an awesome camera for the price. I’ve taken some really great shots in the day and night with the older P300 Model. And I was happier with it than I was with a Canon S100 which is a good camera.

***Note About Cameras*** I personally chose to go with a really good pocket camera instead of a SLR because it is much easier to travel with and whip out to get a quick picture. You will also have it with you many more times than you would a bigger SLR so you will capture a lot more pictures. If you have to choose between buying a camera or a new smartphone, go with a smartphone in a heartbeat and you can use it to take great photos.  I have had just my Unlocked IPhone 4S with me for the last 10 months of my travels, and I have taken some amazing pictures with it. The brand new IPhone 5s is even more impressive.

Best SLR Camera Option: If you decide you want to get an amazing, portable SLR Camera w/ Lens for the best price possible to get the best pictures and video then don’t waste any time looking, just get this Canon T3i Camera w/ 18mm-135mm lens  and you will be extremely happy with the pictures and video you get. (You won’t have to mess around with changing lenses either because that 18-135mm will cover you for everything. The 18-200mm is too big and heavy so stick with the 18-135mm.) Having this camera gives you the option to upgrade by getting other lenses later, or now if you want to. If you want the best photos and videos and don’t mind carrying an SLR instead of a pocket camera, then get this camera and lens combo for sure!

Filters: If you are going to spend the money and get that awesome Canon camera set-up mentioned just above then definitely protect your lens with this B & W UV Filter.  Once you click that link if you scroll down the Amazon page a little bit, you can read all the reasons to have this filter. This filter will protect your lens from many elements and also help you to get better shots by reducing glare, blur, and just adding clarity to your pictures. There are a number of reasons why I am directing you to this exact filter. I highly recommend you buy this exact filter and do not go with a cheaper option that you will regret. Just look at the ratings when you get to this link and you’ll understand why I’m sending you to this filter.

Another filter you may want in your bag of tricks is this B & W Polarizer Filter. You can get some great shots using this filter! Again, if you go to this link you can scroll down a little to read and understand exactly what this filter will do for you.  You should definitely, no questions asked, have a filter for your lens. If you can only buy just one filter then buy the B & W UV Filter that I mention above.

Waterproof Camera: Do not expect a waterproof case to protect your smartphone. If you will be participating in watersports or any adventure sports like diving, snorkeling, surfing, snowboarding, climbing, jumping off a waterfall, etc and you want a great camera that can get banged up or wet and will get you some awesome shots and video, then go with this Silver Hero3+ GoPro. (I go into more detail on tip #27)

SD Memory Cards:    I would say bring at least 3 so you have backups in case you run out of space when you are shooting in a great location or if you lose one or 2 cards. If you can, bring one or two 32GB, a 16GB, and then maybe a small 4GB just in case of emergency. Also keep in mind cheapest is not best, look at the class of SD Card you are buying (it will be listed), they range from 2 to 10 (10 is best) and that has to do with the speed your card will record the picture when you take a photo which can make a huge difference if you are trying to take a number of pictures consecutively and it also has to do with how fast the pictures will transfer to a computer. I’ve used SanDisk, Lexar, and FujiFilm cards in the past and never had an issue with any of them. I also have used Class 2 cards and class 10 and yes there is definitely a difference, but if you are really tight on money just get what you can.

Accessories for Camera:

Definitely get a little gorilla tripod (if you do bring a bigger SLR camera make sure to get the gorilla pod that is right for that size camera),  you might also want an x shot extender which is cool for getting shots of yourself solo or with others or if you are in a location where you need camera 3-4ft above like in a crowd or possibly other places too (you can also use it as a weapon, but I never had to do that 🙂 ), and definitely bring a few SD cards mentioned above(These are great for storing your pictures and documents on. They are so small and easy to carry. Make sure you bring at least one 32GB, then you could also have a 16GB, and a backup little 4GB), I almost forgot, make sure you have a good way of protecting your baby with a case no matter which camera you buy.

 

Clothes and Shoes

Sandals:  OluKai Sandals are the best sandals I’ve ever worn and I’ve worn many, many sandals. They are also the most money I have ever spent on a pair of sandals, but they are worth every penny, especially if you are traveling and walking miles and miles which you will do over the course of your trip. I had a strap break on one of my sandals after about 6 months of rigorous traveling and I contacted their customer service and they actually mailed me a replacement pair free of charge…to Guatemala!

Cargo Pants: They don’t make the same exact North Face pants I have and love, but these North Face Horizon Cargo pants are very similar. These pants are so light, they never smell, they go with everything and you can wear them out at night in big cities or trekking in the mountains. It’s definitely worth getting these or something similar.

 

***Make sure to review book for all other details and tips regarding clothes to bring***

 

Toiletries

Insect Repellent: Repel is great! I’m not a fan of putting chemicals on my body, but I prefer to do that once in a while when needed over contracting Malaria or Dengue Fever. I researched this and found a great repellent that is much healthier for you and contains no DEET. It’s called Repel and I brought 4 little bottles of this stuff with me on my last trip.

Hand Sanitizer: I’d recommend having hand sanitizer for sure. There will be times you will want it. Especially if you go to India… Purell hand sanitizer is good and just smells clean.

Earplugs: Whether you think you will wear these or not, I highly recommend you get these because chances are you will want them at some point. You need all the rest you can get when traveling and sometimes that can be challenging in some locations. Mack’s is a good brand for earplugs. That link has some that you can grab that come with a travel case too. You will want to bring multiple pairs because these things get dirty and tend to get lost fast.

Eye Shades:  At first I was thinking “Dude, I don’t want to wear these things in public.” I got over that real quick when I saw how much better I slept when I needed to rest. Having these eye shades can really come in handy on long plane, train, or bus rides. Or anywhere you really want to sleep when there is too much light. You could also just use your hat if you have one or something else to put over your face, but these are probably more comfortable and I can guarantee there will be times that you will want to block out light to get some much needed rest.

Propolis: Getting sick on the road is not cool.  In this book in the Stay healthy section I go into detail on a this amazing stuff called Propolis; it’s all natural and works like magic if you are feeling run down or already are sick and want to get better.

Razor: I use something like this Norelco to trim beard, hair, etc. If you need a great close shave get this Panasonic. Ladies, you might be able to find comparable products by clicking those links.

 

Other Items

Sea to Summit silk sleeping bag liner and Super lightweight towel are great to have while traveling. (There is more detail about this under Tip #27, but the sleeping back liner is great when you don’t want to touch those sheets or if you want to stay a little warmer. It can also be used to drape down from top bunk if you are in a hostel so that you have privacy in bed and to block out like. That lightweight towel is great because obviously it is super lightweight, but also because it dries really fast and that is important so that all your clothes don’t end up stinking in your bag)

Inflatable Travel Pillow – This pillow in the link gets great reviews, but I actually had one that was a darker color. I’d recommend having one of these because I definitely used mine. Get one that has a fleece cover for comfort and make sure it’s inflatable so you can easily take air out and put it anywhere, it will be much lighter to carry and will save space too.

 

***Make sure to review book for all other details and tips on items to bring with you***

 

Learn a Language Fast:  In the book I mention the one two punch that will have you speaking in another language like the locals do.

  1. Get the Pimsleur Audio Course which has been used by the FBI and featured in places like The New York Times, PBS, etc. Use it 30min a day and you will be shocked at the results. (When you click the link watch that 10 minute video and you will know the best way to learn a language and why)
  2. Download the FREE app called Duolingo onto your smartphone or I believe you can use it from a computer, as well. If you are really tight on funds