This is the camera we use, and I love it. It is a step up from the Canon Rebel (which is more beginner level and more affordable) but not as advanced as some of the professional full-frame cameras. Canon markets it for the semi-pro or photography enthusiast level. And if you’re into that sort of thing, the camera also takes HD movies and has a big LCD screen.
This is a wide-angle lens, which makes it amazing for landscape, architecture, and interior photos where it can capture more of the scene. Though not as versatile as others, I think it is a must for travel photography and my personal favorite lens to use.
This lens is known as the “nifty fifty” for many reasons: it’s cheap, light, versatile, works well in low light situations, and is great for portraits and street photography. At a price of only $99 for the f/1.8 (the f/1.4 is a few hundred more), you can’t go wrong. Plus it’s so tiny and light that it’s easy to carry while traveling, and can cover many of the situations the wide angle can’t.
This is the only program I use for photo editing and resizing, and I absolutely adore it. However, it is crazy expensive so I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are pretty dedicated to doing the same. Adobe offers trial versions that might be worth trying before committing to the purchase. If you’re interested in something simpler (I was initially overwhelmed by Photoshop), I worked with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for a long time and it had many great features as well. Bonus is that it is much more affordable!
By Scott Kelby. If you are planning on or have already invested in Photoshop, and are still learning about photo editing, I highly recommend this book (or really, any of Kelby’s books). He makes editing simple, walks you through different scenarios step by step, and writes it with a touch of humor and simplicity. He also writes a Lightroom series.
By Scott Kelby. Unlike the book above that focuses on editing, this book gives step-by-step tips for good photo taking itself. Again, he writes it like he’s talking to a best friend and each page focuses on a different tip. It keeps things simple, letting you look into the details yourself afterwards. I have slowly purchased all four books, although even the first couple are enough to get you going and feel more comfortable with using your DSLR camera.
Accomodation & Bookings
When beginning to look for flights, google is now the best search engine out there. It offers a variety of options to customize your trip and get exactly what you are looking for, but also lets you explore for hidden deals. Try using their price grid and the calendar feature to find the best dates to fly to your given destination, their suggestions are generally quite helpful. If you are looking for somewhere to go but don’t quite know where yet then use the map option and just plug in your dates to see prices for multiple different cities all at one then decide from there! The options are limitless. Once you find the flight you want on google then begin to scour the web for a sweet deal.
Points, Points, Points
There are thousands of articles out there on the web debating which travel card is the best one. They all have different features and the best one for you will depend on what you value most. For us we wanted a variety of travel features (rental car insurance, trip cancellation, medical coverage, etc.) with no annual fee and the maximum return per dollar spent. Annual fees can often be waived if you are a loyal customer of the bank or if you complain a bit. The card we have also has a website that offers special deals and price matching. When booking through the card we receive extra points, and the points we do earn are converted directly to dollars.
Airbnb is growing in popularity these days, and allows you to stay in a renter’s personal home or bedroom. The best part of Airbnb is that you can often stay in a central location and have access to a local’s tips on what to see in their city. And, we find this is a great option for group travel as you can book an entire apartment for a reasonable cost. Keep in mind that there is no standardization for renters, so you must rely on guest reviews to know what you’re going to get!
To be honest with you, we’re not big into carrying a lot of gear. We like to keep things simple and bring only what we need. Thus, our list of gear is simplified to only a few things we use regularly.
We backpack now and then, and when we do, I have been so happy with my Osprey backpack (in fact, I think Shane is jealous of it). It comes with an attached daypack that you can remove to use during light travel or that you can clip onto your front straps when you’re walking around with all the gear. It packs like a suitcase and is super durable. Osprey offers a lifetime guarantee, so they’ll fix or replace any tears or damages to your bag if it happens.
So like I said, there are few things we really make sure to travel with. But if we are ever staying in hostels, campsites, or anywhere questionable, this is the one item I won’t leave home without. It’s essentially your own lightweight sleeping bag, so you can always feel like you’re in your own sheets. It rolls up into a tiny ball so it adds nothing to your travel load, plus it’s silky so you don’t overheat when traveling in warm climates.
These towels are lightweight and small, but absorb four times their weight in water. Then with a quick wringing, they are almost completely dry! We bring them on almost all of our trips – either to use them at hostels or camping where regular towels are not provided, or to use them after a dip outdoors. The fact that they dry so quickly is what makes them so awesome.
Really any toiletry pack will do, but what we look for in a pack is one that zips everything into one and then unfolds with a hook to hang onto a towel rack/hook. It’s perfect for tiny hotel bathrooms or shared hostel bathrooms where there is no room to sprawl out your toiletries.