My Favorite Tech to Travel With 2014

I spend the majority of my life traveling. One of the reasons I originally pared down my tech and photography equipment from several cases to one bag, and mostly just an iPhone is that I wanted to travel lighter. I still want that. Yet I also travel with more than just a smartphone again.

My goal is to find a happy balance between more tech than I will ever actually need, and just enough that I always have the right tool I need to tell the stories that really move me. For this space in time, this is my favorite tech to travel with:

For dynamic mobile video and high res photos that still require no more than a smartphone, I carry the *Nokia Icon and the Nokia Lumia 1020. The Icon is uniquely made for video with a mic system that isolates the noise you want and dulls the noise you don’t. The image quality is fantastic. The 1020 shoots at a whopping 41 megapixels and can capture in RAW. Both use Zeiss Pure View technology making them probaly the best lenses in a smartphone currently on the market. Together, they’re really giving my trusty iPhone a run for its money. (Now if only the software and app situation could get up to par! Microsoft is working on that, I’ve recently learned at their headquarters. More on that in another post.)

I do still carry an iPhone. Two in fact! I have a 64GB iPhone 5S through Verizon that has all the apps I could ever need for editing, social sharing and any kind of post-production I could ever need to do while on the go. I also carry a fully unlocked 4S 64GB that I use with local SIM cards so I can always be in touch, as well as continue to share socially no matter what country I am in.

For the iPhone 5S, I pack an Olloclip lens that allows me to shoot wide angle, macro and fisheye images without turning to a full size camera. It’s a very simple attachment that easily slides on and off my iPhone and comes with its own carrying pouch and lens caps so no scratches happen no matter what bag I throw it in.

For shorter trips where I don’t have to worry so much about how light or not light I am packing, I’ve started to carry my *Bose SoundLink Mini with me. (I already wrote about it once, here.) I hate to be without music when I am in a hotel working away from home but I also don’t like to have headphones in my ears all the time because I have a worse time than most with the comfort level of in-ear headphones. Also, while a lot of hotels do have some kind of docking device, they are made for old iPhones and I don’t have music loaded onto my 4S. (DREAM situation: me owning the Bose Noise Canceling over ear Headphones.)

I also carry a Joby Gorillapod because it packs well and works in any situation from the typical tripod setup to wrapping around balconies, trees, tables, chairs etc. It’s a must when I want to do long exposure or night photography. The one I have supports the weight of a camera with a full zoom lens as well as my smartphones.

For attaching my smartphones to the Gorillapod, I now carry Joby’s GripTight Mount.

The two cameras that I alternate out, depending on what my trip entails and what the needs of my clients are, are the Samsung **NX30 and Samsung **NXmini. Both are mirrorless, compact cameras that still have interchangeable lenses allowing me the maximum flexibility in what I can shoot. Both also allow me to send straight to my smartphones so that I can instantly share those images from the road. (Verizon stores feature the Samsung Galaxy camera which runs on an Android system, allowing you to shoot photos and share them via apps like Instagram within seconds.)

I also have the Sony Qx100 to use with my iPhone and iPad, though I carry it less than I did now that I have the Samsung cameras. The easy of use and image quality are what make me keep it and contribute to why I love it so much still, even with the other tech I now have.

I’m still searching for the perfect tablet to carry with me because my at-home computer is a desktop at this time. I have tried the Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet and various iPad models. At this time, I am carrying the iPad Mini 16GB with WiFi only. (I’m drooling over the new Surface 3 that I saw in Seattle at Microsoft headquarters because it is a tablet and laptop in one.)

For recharing all of these devices when I cannot find an outlet I have the Mophie Powerstation, a Nokia DC-16 and an *external battery from Verizon that charges at a 1V and 1.5V capacity with the ability to do more than one device at a time.

To make sure that my iPhone is never stolen again, I utilize the Kenu Highline. I had 3 iPhones stolen before I finally discovered Kenu and now I don’t go anywhere without that connected to my iPhone. (Use “kirstenalana” as a discount when you purchase, I don’t receive any kickback from that, I just asked them for it because I believe in the product so much and I want to help my readers.)

All together, that seems like a LOT. However, compared to my post-wedding photography career/early travel photography days….this is 1/4 of what I used to carry. And the situation is ever evolving. This list will probably change again next month but will definitely change by this time next year. My favorite thing about technology is that there is always something new to try and experiment with.


*I received these items as part of my inclusion in the #VZWbuzz blogging program for Verizon Wireless but I do not receive financial compensation for posting here or elsewhere. As always, all opinions are my own.

**I also received the cameras above from Samsung as part of their #Imagelogger program but I do not receive financial compensation from them and all opinions about their products are my own as well.