Travel Resources // Stuff I Love Traveling is so much easier (and usually cheaper!) when you have the right tools and products from someone you can trust. These are all items that I currently use or personally recommend. ♥ Check out my brand new TRAVEL SHOP for even more options! I find most travel resources are geared towards those investing in long-term travel. Thus, I decided to compile everything I use (as a part-time traveler and blogger myself). Let me know if there’s anything you love that I missed! Please note your own personal travel style before purchasing. I do not currently go on extended backpacking trips, and mostly stay in hotels and the occasional hostel. I travel part-time, and these products are perfect for long weekend trips to 2-week vacations. Electronics: + iPhone 6S 128 GB I honestly cannot live without my iPhone. It’s like an extension of me, and I’d feel lost without it. Having 128 GBs means I’ll never run out of space. When you’re traveling and rely on certain apps for directions, notes, and photo storage, (among a thousand other things), space is crucial. I don’t for a second regret splurging for the 128 Gig, as I know all my music downloads, thousands of photos (literally), and podcasts will be stored safely. Kinda crazy that my phone has more space than my computer. Oh, technology these days. + External Battery for Cell Phone This nifty little lipstick battery pack comes with me wherever I go. It detects your device and chooses the fastest charging method (more than 1 full charge). Super powerful, and super portable. + Multi-Use Car Charger Road trip anyone? A car charger is essential for long road trips, especially when you’re using your phone for navigational purposes. The one I have is great, as it can connect any device by using a USB port and the cable of your liking. Plus, there’s two slots – one for yourself and one for your friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband/etc. + iPad Mini 3 Just please don’t use your iPad as a camera. That just makes me laugh. And don’t let me catch you – I’ll take a picture of you in action and post it all over social media! + Amazon Kindle Paperwhite An e-reader is great for long plane, train, and car rides, and beats carrying around a bunch of books and killing your back. Plus, it’s nice to have choices when you’re on the road. + Back Up Hard Drive This version of the Western Digital ‘My Passport’ has a whopping 1 terabyte – enough to hold more photos, videos, and documents than you could imagine. It’s portable as well, which is a nice option to have if you decide to back up on the road. Photography + Nikon D3100 The body is light and I can carry it around on my shoulder all day without a problem. I’ve tested out a few of my friends’ much heavier bodies, and while mine might be lacking a few features, the heavy weight isn’t worth it to me. If a camera’s too heavy, I’m not going to want to lug it around anyway. Almost all of my photos on this site (besides underwater photos) are taken with this body. Besides boasting an excellent photo quality, the video is great too, with a full HD 1080p video. (Updated version here). I got a pretty sweet package which included the Nikon body, my 18-55mm lens, and 55-200mm lens for under $600. Here’s a very similar deal. + Nikon 18-55mm Lens My go-to everyday lens. It’s ideal for practically everything – wide angle landscapes, portraits, action shots, you name it. Although I’m still shooting on Auto (you caught me, guilty!), the photos are crystal clear and to my liking. When I have a few extra bucks to spare, I think I’ll buy this 16-85mm beauty. + Nikon 55-200mm Zoom Lens I admit that I don’t take this lens out much, but when I do, the shots are close up and personal! An absolute must for wildlife photography and a good way to take clear photos of people without disturbing them and being discreet. If you’re going on safari, I highly recommend you invest in a 55-300mm zoom lens for even closer shots. Currently on my wishlist. + Lowepro Adventura 140 Camera Shoulder Bag A non-showy bag that fits all my photography gear in one place. It’s small enough to carry around (although not for long distances by foot), but large enough for all the necessities. Fits my DSLR body, 2 lenses, go-pro, underwater point and shoot, and spare batteries/memory cards. Not the most stylish, but it gets the job done. + UV Filter A UV filter is necessary when shooting, as it provides basic reduction of ultraviolet light, which results in a bluish cast in images. Not something you want in your pretty panoramic shots. + Nikon COOLPIX AW130 Waterproof Digital Camera This bad boy takes super crisp underwater shots, as long as you get close to your subject and have some underwater photography knowledge. Most of the photos during snorkeling on this site are taken with this camera. Surprisingly, I actually prefer it to the GoPro! + 64 GB Memory Card I tell my friends to never buy a memory card less than 64gb, there’s really no point. High storage is crucial for hi-def videos. + ioGear Memory Card Reader No reason to ever connect your camera to your computer again! This reader has a slot for SD and microSD cards, and it’s less than 5 bucks. + GoPro Hero 4 Silver We recently just got this nifty little toy, and are having fun with it during our adventure and water sports. It’s a must for all you adrenaline junkies. Take it zip-lining, snorkeling, parasailing, etc. My favorite function? That it can take still photos and video at the same time! Also, it’s perfect for selfies with it’s wide-angle lens. Definitely does not replace a more powerful camera for still shots, as the Go Pro is best for underwater video and when you don’t want to break your SLR during extreme adventures. 🙂 + GoPole Reach Extension Pole An absolute necessity if you want to get closer to your subjects with your GoPro. Since this adventure camera sports no zoom, I love using the gopole while snorkeling to get extra close to the underwater life. Those little fishies and sea turtles don’t always swim to me! Photo Editing/Storage + Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6 This bad boy is perfect for anyone who wants to dip their toes into professional photography editing, yet doesn’t want to learn the craziness of Photoshop. Super intuitive and easy to use — even I made my photos sparkle after a few minutes of playing around. If you’re used to working with the Snapseed app, getting the hang of Lightroom will be a piece of cake. Almost all of my photos on this blog (once I finally started using it) are edited using Lightroom, and I can see a drastic difference in my photography as a whole. Make your colors pop, your whites whiter (teeth included), and your skin refreshed! Plus loads more. Much more powerful than any of those free online photo editors. I PROMISE! + Back Up Hard Drive This version of the Western Digital ‘My Passport’ has a whopping 1 terabyte – enough to hold more photos, videos, and documents than you could imagine. It’s portable as well, which is a nice option to have if you decide to back up on the road. + DropBox Ever worried about losing your photos? Worry no more. Simply put, DropBox has been my life savor in numerous occasions. Your photos are with you wherever you go (as long as you have wifi), even when you’re not carrying around your back up hard drive. Whenever I return home from a trip, I upload all of my photos to dropbox (in addition to my normal back-up routine). Get a bonus 500 MB of FREE space when you sign up using my link. + Snapseed This is by far my favorite photo editing app, and as long as you have a good eye and steady hand, almost anything is possible. And even better, it’s totally free. Before posting on any social media, I always make sure to brighten and enhance my photos with this app. I haven’t played around with the filters as of yet, but I’m totally digging the ‘tools’ offered. + VSCOcam Another photo app I use on so many of my photos on Instagram. Want to up your instagram game? Download VSCOcam. Some filters are available for purchase, but I found most styles are covered by the free ones. + TouchRetouch Ever take an awesome photo but can’t get that pesky unwanted spot out? That’s where TouchRetouch comes in. Remove anything in less than a minute. At only $1.99, it’s totally worth it. + Canva I discovered Canva about a year or so ago, and it has been a godsend when it comes to creating fully customizable images with text overlays. Super easy to use, no coding necessary! Simply drag and drop, with thousands of free graphics, images, and layouts. The opportunities are endless. Travel Safety + Travel Insurance Confession time: I was always that girl who never really understood the value of travel insurance. Honestly, I thought it was a complete waste of money. After checking out the highly recommended World Nomads, I finally came to the realization that it really is worth the (small) extra cost, and it’s just plain stupid to travel without it. World Nomads is not just for medical insurance, but also helps when luggage is lost, you need to cancel a trip, or when your gear is stolen or damaged when traveling. Even better, you can purchase at home or overseas (while already traveling) & make claims online from anywhere in the world They say if you cant afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. Now I won’t travel without it. Get a FREE quote. Trip Planning Flights: When I’m booking fights, I usually use a 3rd party site to check for the best deals. However, always be sure to check low-cost airlines, as they are not always included in these. A good list can be found here. Southwest and Frontier Air are good options in the USA. More tips on getting the best price on airfare here. A few sites I always check before purchasing my ticket: + Skyscanner + Google Flights + Momondo + Kayak Explore *It’s wise to always directly check through the airline as well, before hitting purchase, to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible. Accommodation: + Expedia: So great for package deals, as you can literally saves 100’s by purchasing flight and hotel together. Plus, with their new(ish) rewards program, you can store your points for even greater savings down the line. + Hotel Tonight: My go-to for last minute deals. Think road-tripping and spontaneous weekend trips. We once paid $23 for a (really nice) hotel in Reno, Nevada. You can now check and book up to seven days in advance. Top tip: download the app in advance in case you’re stuck without wifi for a bit. Use my promo code JKLEINER for a free $25 towards your first booking. + AirBnB: Sick of staying at hotels and want to feel more like a local in a new city/area?! With AirBnB, you can rent out private rooms, entire apartments, and even full houses! We’ve had some fantastic experiences and wonderful hosts, and saved a ton of money! My number 1 tip: heavily research where you are staying – read all the reviews and make sure the property owner is readily available to contact. Always check the cancellation policy. Save $35 off your first stay here! Activity Planning: When researching things to do in a particular area, I like to look on Trip Advisor and personal travel blogs, like mine. In order to do this, I usually google destination + “blog”, and pick them out one by one in the search results. You tend to get additional tips and insights you normally wouldn’t have on other large-party sites. Depending on the destination, I’ll peruse Lonely Planet for even more must-do’s. I’m also a BIG FAN of Get Your Guide and Viator when it comes to perusing activities and signing up for tours. I’ve been using both of these sites for years, and can honestly say 99% of the time the tours are downright AWESOME and a good bang for your buck. I like to plan in advance (sometimes too far in advance), and being able to book specific activities (with the ability to cancel if need be) is something I love about Get Your Guide and Viator. International Travel: Traveling internationally?! You’ll need to think about a few more things! Passports: Can’t leave the country without a valid passport, am I right?! Many countries require at least 6 remaining months on passports before you leave in order to even buy airline tickets and enter the country. If you need to order a new passport, you can check out this passport guide for help, and if you’re traveling within 6-8 weeks (amount of time it usually takes to process passports), you’ll need to get an expedited passport which you’ll receive in approximately 3 weeks for an extra $60. Well worth the money if you find yourself in a pinch and desperately need that passport ASAP. Vaccinations: It’s always wise to schedule a travel appointment with your doctor so you can decide what’s best when it comes to vaccinations and precautionary medications with trained medical staff. In addition, I always check the CDC website for recommendations on the such. Beach Reads I always need a few books to put on my Kindle before a long flight (more tips on how to survive that long flight here), and such, I’ve dedicated an entire post to chick flicks you (and I) need to read. A few of my favorites thus far: Where’d You Go Bernadette?, The Vacationers, and The Girl on the Train (an absolute MUST-READ). Travel Documentation + Shutterfly: I always make a photo book when I return home from my travels, documenting each trip I go on. This program makes it super easy to do, and in turn, my books come out fantastic. I have a few in the making, and I need to start playing catch up. But they’re my absolute favorite company for this. + May Designs Notebooks: Super sassy and so much fun! These little notebooks are perfect for anything and everything, especially making book wish lists and for trip planning. I honestly wish I could have one in every design. They even have planners (my favorite). Blogging + MacBook Air: I love this tiny computer. It’s perfect taking on the go, and just the right size for all my copyrighting/photo editing/writing copy needs. Much more powerful than any iPad. 11.6″ model here | 13″ model here + WordPress.org: The most powerful tool for blogging. And different than wordpress.com. If you’re thinking of starting a blog, do me a favor and start with wordpress.org from the very beginning. I made that mistake once, and ended up spending hours upon hours converting my site. Not much fun. + Performance Foundry: What I currently use for hosting my domain. Once I reached 100k page views a month, I made the switch, and haven’t looked back! With an hour of FREE tech support each and every month, and basically no downtime (I can trust them to keep my site from going down due to a viral post), they are worth 5x what I pay. + Bluehost: What I used to use for hosting my domain (www.apassionandapassport.com). Sign up now for only $3.95 a month, this price really can’t be beat. + Theme Forest from Envato Marketplace: The ultimate site for premium customizable and fully responsive themes. So many offer question and answer sessions, an updated features log, and so much more. Look here first if you’re thinking of switching up your theme. I bought my theme and interactive world map plug-in from this site. Also on Envato Marketplace: premium plug-ins, graphics, code, and audio. + BoardBooster: Looking to step up your Pinterest game? This tool has so many amazing features which make pinning to multiple boards all day every day an absolute breeze – without even being at your computer! Check it out – and even better, plans start at only $5 a month. [I’ve used it for quite some time, and it DRASTICALLY increased my page views.] + Affiliate Marketing Course: Ever dreamed of making money while you sleep? It’s definitely possible! Many bloggers and online influencers skip over affiliate marketing. They either think it’s too hard, that it’s a waste of time, that they will turn followers away, or that their followers just won’t be interested. Michelle (the creator of this course) earns over $50,000 a month through affiliate marketing, and she shares all of her best tips in this course. It’s seriously been a game changer for me, and I’m just getting starting implementing all of the information I learned. Disclaimer: Some of the above links are affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, I will earn a small percentage which will help offset the costs of my travels and this site! Thanks for your support! 🙂 It’s greatly appreciated, as always!