I’ve been to some beautiful places around the world in the last month, including the Maldives, Japan, and Singapore.
These were trips where I needed to make sure I was well-prepared so that I could travel well, work efficiently, and capture once-in-a-lifetime memories.
As someone who spends a significant amount of time abroad each year, I’ve learned a lot about domestic and international travel, and I’ve compiled a list of what I consider to be the best premium travel items in a travel kit that I cannot leave the house without.
I’ll start with the luggage and bags I bring with me, and then I’ll show you what I pack inside them.
Carl Friedrik Check-In Luggage
Starting with what is arguably the most important item: the suitcase.
I have the Carl Friedrik Check-In suitcase that I use on most trips.
I’ve gone through a lot of suitcases in the last five years, and this one I’ve been using for a couple of years and still love – it’s a nice balance of durability, spaciousness, and good looks.
There are two sizes to choose from, and I chose the smaller size for portability. I’m glad I did because there’s more than enough room for most trips up to 3-4 weeks in length, and it measures 24 by 17 inches, so it easily zips in and out of airports.
It appears extremely premium, thanks in part to its timeless design and the black Italian leather detailing. But it’s also as functional and secure as it is fashionable: the Hinomoto 360 spinner wheels and double TSA-approved aluminum locks make this suitcase what it should be: an essential travel item that makes travelling safer and more convenient.
Speaking of which, I always include two items in my suitcase: an Apple AirTag and a luggage tag. This is just for peace of mind in case it gets lost, with the added benefit of being able to track its exact location while I wait for it at airport carousels. It’s actually quite useful.
Carl Friedrik Palissy Weekend Bag
The next bag I’m carrying is also from Carl Friedrik, and it’s their Palissy Weekend Bag.
This is usually attached to the shoulder strap and carried with me after I’ve checked in at the airport.
This bag was chosen because it is an incredibly well-made bag made from Vachetta leather by artisans in Florence, Italy.
This is by no means a cheap bag, but it’s ideal if you want a high-quality bag without all the branded nonsense.
It’s also a great one-bag solution for weekend trips.
Backpack & Tech Kits
Then there’s my trusty backpack, which holds my go-to tech and other items I’ll need on the plane. Harber London’s Rucksack is made entirely of recycled plastic bottles and features a very convenient magnetic buckle release design.
The other two main items I carry are a couple of these Tech Kits, which contain my tech essentials such as USB-C cables, laptop chargers, and hard drives – everything I need to keep my tech and work life moving. The Tech Kits are a great way to keep all of my tech accessories and cables in one place.
Woolnut Case & AirPods Max
So, inside the Palissy Weekend Bag are some essentials, particularly for flights.
My new AirPods Max, which has been a game changer for in-flight entertainment and music. The noise cancellation on this is currently unrivaled.
I purchased the 3.5mm Lightning adapter in black so that I can connect these to the plane’s in-flight entertainment system.
Because they are expensive pairs of headphones, a proper travel case is required to protect them. I ditched the AirPods Max’s so-called Smart Case in favor of a leather case.
I have one from Woolnut, and it’s by far the best case I’ve found. It’s made of full-grain leather and has a magnet within the case to activate low-power mode.
I really hope Apple redesigns the Smart Case when the second generation is released.
Life is too short to go without good music, so I usually bring a speaker along with my headphones: this one is the Sonos Move, and it has a big sound for just about anywhere I go.
It sounds just as good in a hotel room as it does in the middle of nowhere on a Maldives island. Good music can make any vacation more enjoyable, and the Sonos Move is one of the best Bluetooth speakers available right now.
When it comes to reading books while travelling, I always prefer a Kindle, which I keep in the Palissy’s zippered compartments.
The ability to transport thousands of books on a single piece of lightweight technology is unrivaled.
It’s also IPX8 waterproof, so I can read by the pool or in the bathtub without having to worry about it getting wet.
DJI Mini Pro 3 + Accessories
So, moving on to the premium tech that I prefer to carry with me rather than check-in – I never want to risk your expensive items being handled carelessly or, worse, being lost in transit.
When visiting beautiful locations, taking photos on the ground is one thing, but getting an aerial perspective is an entirely different world of beauty.
That’s where a drone comes in, and my favorite is DJI’s new Mini Pro 3. Take a look at these photos from the Maldives!
Obtaining Drone Permits around the world can be difficult these days, but it’s well worth it for dreamy 4K HDR shots like these, and flying drones is still as much fun as ever.
It’s also under the 249-gram limit, so it’s regulation-compliant, which means we’ll need less if not no, paperwork to get started flying.
It doesn’t come with a case, which is essential for travel, so I got a drone case from Amazon for only $40 it has all the compartments you need for the Mini 3 Pro and a bunch of accessories like my spare batteries, RC controller, and spare wings.
Peak Design Medium Camera Cube
All of the cameras I bring are stored in Peak Design’s Camera Cube, which is medium in size.
Because of its foldable dividers and waterproof canvas shell, this Cube behaves like a bag, allowing for very easy packing and protection of your valuable cameras.
Harber London Rucksack
I keep my most important items in my backpack, such as my laptop, passport, and general EDC.
I keep my laptop in the bag’s convenient laptop sleeve compartment because I spend a lot of time abroad on business.
I bring my portable 14″ MacBook Pro with me, and the M2 Max processor is powerful enough to handle any task I throw at it while travelling, including video editing and everything else I do as long as I have a stable internet connection.
To ensure a stable and secure internet connection while traveling, I use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). ClearVPN 2 is the VPN app I’ve been using on this trip, and I highly recommend it.
It’s user-friendly, with a beautiful interface and a one-click protection feature that encrypts web traffic using AES-256 encryption and a custom protocol. ClearVPN 2 also has a strict no-log policy, meaning that my activity isn’t tracked by the hotel or internet provider. It has won cybersecurity awards and is a trustworthy VPN.
The security shortcut feature is completely free to use, but if you’re interested in trying the full features of their premium plan, ClearVPN is offering my viewers the first month for only one dollar through this link. It’s perfect if you’re planning to travel soon!
Moving on to the other essentials in my backpack, I keep an inexpensive universal travel adapter that I purchased from Amazon, which provides power adapters compatible with over 200 countries in a single unit. It’s far more convenient than having a slew of different power adapters.
I also keep an empty bottle in my carry-on bag so that I can fill it up at the airport after checking in to stay hydrated because long-haul flights dehydrate us, and we’re never given enough water.
This is a filtered bottle with a sipping straw design and an integrated filter, great for filtering out gunk from less reliable sources of water, and I usually hook it to my bag with the carabiner if I’m on a trek.
Moving on, inside the backpack is also my passport holder and, of course, my passport.
This holder is from Bellroy; it’s their updated Travel Folio, and it has RFID-protected slots for just about everything you could possibly need for travel, including a spot for a travel SIM and ejector pin, which has proven to be extremely useful. There’s also hidden flat bill storage for various currencies, as well as a cute little micro pen, which came with the passport holder!
A holder is not a must-have, but it is nice to have if you are a traveller who wants to be organized and well-packed.
International Drivers License
I also carry my international driver’s license, which is required when renting cars or motorcycles. It also serves as an international photo ID in a number of countries if you lose your passport.
However, it is necessary for unforgettable experiences such as driving a Ford Mustang around Hawaii or a Nissan GTR up Mount Fuji.
Wallet + Cards
I’ve started carrying my cash and cards in Bellroy’s Note Sleeve wallet, which has RFID-protected compartments for different currencies and even a convenient pull tab for easy access to cards.
I still mostly travel with cash, but I highly recommend getting one of these Amex Platinum Cards or Citi Prestige Cards, which give you access to airport lounges and the potential to earn flight upgrades to Business or First Class, as well as free flights entirely!
So, returning to the very useful Camera Cube, let’s go over my essential camera gear.
Even if you’re not a photography enthusiast like me, investing in a good camera not only retains its value but also allows you to relive your happiest memories in a visually stunning way, which is priceless.
Here are some of the high-end cameras and lenses I travel with that you might be interested in.
Fuji X-T30 II with Zoom Lens
Many of you know how much I adore the Fuji X100V, but Fuji also makes this little wonder of a camera: the Fuji X-T30.
It’s essentially a miniature version of the more expensive X-T3, but add a zoom lens, and you’ve got a perfect travel companion for incredible close-up shots from a distance.
Capturing incredible moments in the distance is so satisfying when travelling, whether it’s the landscape or animals you can’t get too close to.
Additionally, it is now available for less than $900, making it an excellent premium travel camera on a budget.
I also bring my Sony A74 as my primary camera; it’s a full-frame hybrid camera, which means it’s as small as most point-and-shoot cameras but has a larger image sensor for higher-quality shots – both photos and 4K video.
It’s an incredibly versatile camera with everything I need for work and photography, including a 33MP sensor and 4K 60 videography at 10-bit 4:2:2.
My go-to lens is the Sony 24-70 G Master Mark 2 for a variety of shots, and my 20mm G lens for wide-angle shots is ideal for street or landscape photography. It’s quite pricey, but it’s known as the “one go-to lens” for a reason.
If I need to capture sound or even create a voiceover for a project in another country, I also use the Rode VideoMic NTG.
For action shots or even underwater shots, I use the Insta360 X3, which has essentially replaced my GoPro.
It’s waterproof up to 50m, and its ability to stitch together 4K 360-degree footage is unrivaled. If you’re going to an action-packed destination, this is a must-have in your backpack.
Gobe Cleaning Kit
For all the cameras and tech I bring with me, I keep the Gobe Cleaning Kit on hand, complete with microfiber cloths, a brush, a blower, and a plant-based cleaning solution. I use it to quickly clean the screens of my devices, which frequently become dirty while travelling, as well as to clean all of the cameras and lenses I bring with me.
Clothing & Fashion Pieces
Let us not forget about clothing, which is often the cause of overpacking.
Depending on where I’m going, I like to dress simply but elegantly.
For warmer climates like the ones I’ve been visiting, one clothing material has stood out: linen. It is a breathable, low-maintenance, and highly absorbent material.
I pack a few linen collared shirts, the majority of which are by Charles Tyrwhitt.
For evening wear, I adore mandarin collar shirts, which are essentially shirts without collars – they’re not for everyone, but I adore them!
These shirts look great with linen pants, especially when tapered and cropped to sit above the ankle for a more casual yet sophisticated look.
For shorts and other pants, I’ve never gone wrong with Lululemon’s ABC and Commission pants – ABC stands for Anti Ball Crushing, and I can say their naming convention is accurate. They’re in high demand and usually sold out, so I recommend grabbing a few if they’re ever on sale.
If you’ve seen my previous Travel Bag Essentials, you’ll know I’m a big fan of UNIQLO’s Airism Oversized tee, and I pack a few of these for casual tee days. They’re the most comfortable yet reasonably priced T-shirts I’ve found, and I like how they don’t look like your average T-shirt.
I bring a reliable pair of sunglasses to block out glare – these are Ray-Ban Clubmasters with polarized lenses for a clearer view – with me as an accessory.
Back home or abroad, my go-to sneakers are almost always Nike’s classic Airforce; I love the silhouette, and it goes well with shorts or just about any pants.
To top it all off, I have a wristwatch, the Cartier’s Tank Must, which my partner and I purchased as a matching pair. A wristwatch adds a nice finishing touch to almost any outfit and instantly elevates it, especially if it’s a timeless piece like Cartier’s Tank or Santos.
And if you want to see my hygiene travel kit and the rest of my EDC to round out your own travel kit, you’ll definitely want to watch this video right here.
With careful planning and the right gear, you can make sure that your next trip is comfortable, efficient, and filled with amazing memories that will last a lifetime. On to the next adventure!