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Should I… Pack All These Electronics?

girl phone camera

Packing all your electronics can weigh down your backpack. Do you really need a video camera, digital camera, extra lenses, cell phone, underwater camera, camera bag, external hard drive, iPod, e-reader and laptop? While some people prefer to bring all their tech gear, there are a few ways to avoid bringing them all like substituting some products for others.

Instead of a Digital Camera

Heather told us about camera options for travelers like smartphones with high megapixel images. The iPhone in particular takes great images, even higher in quality than my point-and-shoot. By downloading apps like Instagram or Hipstamatic, you can edit your photos, add filters and share them immediately with your friends and family.

Websites like Photojojo sell macro, panorama, telephoto and fisheye lenses that attach to your phone for less than $100. They take the same quality photos that you could find from a high powered lens. The Jelly Camera Phone Filters suction onto the iPhone lens and create funky effects. It also clips right onto your keychain when you’re not using it. You can substitute an underwater camera by purchasing an underwater case that ranges in price from $20-60.

>> Check out iPhone lenses on Amazon

Instead of a Video Camera

iPhones also have high quality video and you can download apps like Splice to edit and upload straight to YouTube. The Flip Camera and GoPro offer both still and video settings and have waterproof versions. The best feature is that both types of cameras are lightweight and small in size.

>> Check out the Flip Video Camera on Amazon

Instead of a Laptop

Laptops take up a lot of space when you’re traveling and require much more upkeep and accessories, not to mention coverage on your travel insurance. A netbook or tablet could suit the same needs without as much weight. Netbooks have the same features and can handle word processors and other important programs, but you would probably need an external hard drive if you have lots of files. Tablets aren’t ideal for typing, but can handle basic emails to your friends and family. There are also accessories to make it function like a computer, like Bluetooth keyboards and card and USB readers.

Instead of an E-Reader

Apps on your iPhone or tablet can hold many e-books with a slightly smaller screen than your e-reader. iBooks, Kindle, Kobo, Google Books are just a few. Kobo and Google Books both offer free books, including most of the classics. Or you can always go the old fashioned route with real books.

>> Check out Kindle deals on Amazon

Instead of a Cell Phone

Using your cell phone overseas gets expensive, as does bringing an unlocked cell phone and buying local SIM cards as you go. Another way to get around the expenses is to use your iPhone on airplane settings or to use your iPod touch loaded with apps like Skype and WhatsApp. Skype allows you to make calls over the internet, as well as to get your calls forwarded. WhatsApp is like text messaging but the only cost is the initial $1.99 download.

What does your tech gear packing list entail? How do you save space?

Written by Caroline

Caroline Eubanks is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, but has also called Charleston, South Carolina and Sydney, Australia home. After college graduation and a series of useless part-time jobs, she went to Australia for a working holiday. In that time, she worked as a bartender, bungee jumped, scuba dived, pet kangaroos, held koalas and drank hundreds of cups of tea. You can find Caroline at Caroline in the City.

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Gear We Use


Packing Cubes – Organize your luggage with the lightweight, durable and compressible Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes.

Backpacks + Daypacks

Pacsafe – Since they come with extra theft-resisting features, Pacsafe bags make you a more confident traveler. We especially love this bag.

Sea to Summit – Of all the Sea to Summit products, our most recommended is the fits-in-your-palm, super packable Ultra-Sil Daypack.

Personal Care

Nalgene Toiletry Bottles – These leak-free toiletry bottles and tubs come in all sizes – even super tiny, helping minimalists pack it all without bulk.

Turkish Towels – They’re thinner than most travel towels, and they actually cover your body! We can’t get enough of Turkish towels for travel.


Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.

Anatomie – Anatomie travel pants come with luxury prices, but they offer many benefits for travelers. See our review of the famous Skyler pants.

Travel Resources

Booking Airfare

Dollar Flight Club – Get flight deal alerts for your preferred departure airport. There is both a free and premium version (recommended for more sweet deals). Members save on average $500 USD per flight!

Skyscanner – Skyscanner is our preferred site for searching flights. They offer unbiased search results and are free from hidden fees. You can also book your hotels and rental cars.


Airbnb – Airbnb is the best place to book out apartments around the world. Sign up using this link to get $37 USD off your first stay booking + $14 USD towards an experience booking! – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Hostelworld – For hostels, Hostelworld remains our number one source for booking stays. Choose from straight up hostels, budget hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

Reader Interactions


  1. Cecilia says

    I’m torn as to whether to bring a laptop to Paris with me this december. I am staying in a secure apartment and it’s a new macbook pro so it’s very lightweight. I want to have it to back up photos every night in case anything happens to a camera (I’m paranoid after losing all my photos of my trip to the USA). I also want it to watch movies and series on our 22 hour (each way) plane trip in case in flight entertainment isn’t free, isn’t working or isn’t any good. BUT it is an expensive accessory to bring across the world, and I have a smartphone for mapping from wifi and googling. Do you have any suggestions????

    • Brooke says

      Hi Cecilia! Do you have an older laptop that you can bring on your trip instead? It is likely that nothing bad will happen if you prepare (always keep it in your carry-on, use a protective sleeve, never leave it sitting on a cafe table by itself). Can you get insurance for the item? Some travel insurance plans might cover your laptop while traveling. I always travel with my macbook but then again I’m usually ALWAYS working.


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