Hey friends, Andrew here – hope you’re well.
I’ve had the opportunity to travel to over 35 countries for work and pleasure, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that packing light and well makes all the difference.
I’ll show you what’s in my travel bags, some of my favorite travel clothes and watches, my tech essentials, and the apps on my laptop that allow me to travel and work comfortably no matter where I am in the world.
I recently returned from a business trip to Malaysia, where I stayed in Alila Bangsar’s Suite Room, an absolutely stunning hotel that blends modern, minimalist design with nature.
I set up a productive workstation using the tech I brought, so what better time to share my travel essentials and hacks with you after visiting over 100 cities in 35 countries?
This is a longer article than usual, so let‘s get started.
Bags, Pouches & Organizers
Harber London – Classic Rucksack
I switch my bag around depending on where I’m going. Harber London’s backpack, handmade in Spain, is what I took with me on this trip.
I think it’s very stylish, and the generously padded shoulder straps make it extremely comfortable to wear on the go.
It’s made of part recycled plastics and part full-grain leather; it has a luggage holder and a magnetic closure so I can close it up fast and go. It’s also very useful in airports because it’s easy to get to and close to.
Packing Cubes & Organisers
Inside my bags and luggage are a slew of smaller bags and cubes.
This is the simplest way for me to organize all of my clothes, electronics, cables, and other belongings into easily accessible packing cubes.
Most of these are available on Amazon, but the packing cubes I’m using are from the travel brand July – I’m not a fan of their luggage, but these travel cubes are fantastic.
Grams28 Passport Holder
My passport holder is something I always keep close to me; it’s probably the most important thing, if not the most important thing, I travel with, so it lives in this high-quality, genuine leather passport holder from Grams28.
It holds all my arrival cards, receipts, and other items, and I think it looks cool and classy.
This cable pouch also helps tame the cables in my bags, which is especially useful if you travel with a lot of devices and chargers.
So this pouch allows me to keep all of that in one place and avoid leaving any chargers behind because there’s nothing worse than having a tech device that’s dead weight because it ran out of battery while travelling! I’ve been there several times, and it’s always disappointing.
I just got this one from Amazon, and it works just as well as the overpriced branded tech kits that cost 3-4x more.
Ugreen Nexode 65W USB-C Charger
My cable pouch also contains one of my favorite fast chargers, which I recently began travelling with and using.
This is a Nexode 65W fast charger from UGreen, and it’s much easier to transport than most laptop charging bricks.
It’s half the size of a MacBook charger and has two USB-C and one USB-A input, allowing me to charge my laptop, phone, and an accessory all at once.
Another difference is that it’s a Gallium Nitride charger, which is sometimes referred to as “GaN” in the industry, and it charges much more efficiently than standard silicon-based chargers while also dissipating heat more effectively, making it a worthwhile purchase and not that expensive in the first place.
In order to get the full 65W fast charging speed, this charger must be connected to a single port, so if I’m in a rush and need to charge my MacBook to about 50% from zero, I’ll use this as a dedicated charger to get that half charge in only 30 minutes. When I forgot to charge my device the night before in the hotel and needed to rush out the door, this app came in handy.
When it comes to travelling, size is everything, so I love folding the charger into a small cube and throwing it in my bag – it’s definitely a small but mighty charger that I enjoy using.
Laptop & Apps
MacBook Pro M2
A powerful laptop is essential, and it is at the heart of everything I do when working abroad.
This is the 14″ MacBook Pro M1 Pro with a 1TB hard drive and 16GB memory, and the M1 power is a lifesaver for the creative work I do on my apps.
When travelling, I also find that the 14″ size is ideal – it’s large enough that I don’t need to plug it into a monitor but small enough to pick up and go.
I also have a 13″ MacBook M2 Air at home that is ideal for travel, but I’ve left it at home because I need the extra power from the M2 Pro for my apps on this trip.
I’ll dive into this laptop and show you the lifesaving apps that I use when travelling so that I can do my best work remotely.
monday.com is a platform that organizes my digital work life and facilitates team collaboration when I’m not in the office.
In our main workspace, we create “boards” to track various aspects of the business, such as our office makeover, content calendar, and lead management.
We can see outstanding tasks at a glance, and the entire team can collaborate even if we are spread across the globe.
monday.com is a highly visual work management platform, which is my favorite aspect of it all: it simplifies the chaos of running a business, allowing me to maintain operational efficiency while working abroad.
If you or your team would like to try it out, here’s a link to a completely free trial.
Forest (Chrome App)
The next app, Forest, is useful when there are many distractions while working in a new city and country. It’s also free as a Chrome extension, and this app helps me stay focused by blocking distracting websites, planting a tree that will grow as long as I focus, and the more trees that grow, the more credits I get that go towards planting real trees in real life through the Tree for the Future organization. Excellent app and an excellent incentive.
Even though I use a notepad and pen to take notes, it’s sometimes easier to do it digitally when I’m travelling, especially if I’m working in a plane during turbulence, which is where this app comes in.
Todoist is a simple, clean-looking app for me to jot down my day or any random notes and thoughts I have in the hotel or on the plane, and I can access them on all of my devices. It appeals to me more than the standard Apple Notes app.
I can’t live without Bitwarden, a password management app that keeps all of my different passwords safe in a secure vault and allows me to access them from anywhere in the world. I’ve set up a collaborative password vault so everyone on the team can log in from a single location.
And, of course, I recommend Grammarly to everyone; seriously, don’t type without this free add-on.
It’s an AI-powered typing assistant that has helped me improve my terrible grammar when I send emails or do any type of writing on my laptop, which is surprisingly quite a lot.
According to Grammarly, I type more than 99% of the time and am 99% more accurate, which is hard to believe, but I’ll take it – thanks, Grammarly.
Here are the tech accessories I bring to set up a workstation in a hotel room or a cafe while travelling.
Razer Orochi V2
When I travel, I use Razer’s Orochi V2 mouse because it’s lightweight (2.2 ounces or 60 grams) and works with both Windows and Mac.
This one has a bunch of macro keys on the left and underneath the scroll wheel, and you can use it in Bluetooth or with a 2.4 GHz dongle for even faster responsiveness. I don’t even need to charge it because it runs on a single AA battery and lasts for months.
Here are the external drives I use, which many of you seem to be interested in because I do a lot of video editing and work with large creative files.
These are TEAMGROUP’s M200 SSDs, and I have two of them, one in 2TB and another in 4TB, that I always bring with me when I travel, even if it’s just to the office back at home.
I like these because they are tough, made of graphene, and lightweight at only 3 ounces (83 grams). They can also transfer data at blistering speeds of up to 2GBps.
Plus, they’re so small that I can edit in an airport lounge or on a plane, and I can just throw them in a bag and take them with me.
Apple AirPods Pro 2
When it comes to music, I travel with two headphones and a speaker, which is probably excessive.
Since its release, the AirPods Pro 2 have blown me away; it’s ideal for use in airports, commuting, and hailing an Uber.
The noise cancellation is insanely good for its size, it’s surprising, and the case is just a match made in heaven when it comes to travel.
So the only reason I bother carrying my Bose QC35s is to use them on the plane.
They connect to the double headphone jacks in planes, which AirPods do not, and the over-ear noise cancellation from these QC35s goes a step further, cancelling out the nonstop drone of a plane so I can enjoy the in-flight entertainment in peace.
When I want to give my ears a break from the headphones, I’ll play music on a high-quality speaker in my hotel room while I’m working or lazing around the pool or beach – this is when I’ll bring out the Sonos Roam. It’s a great portable, a rugged speaker that still sounds great.
Moving on to one of my favorite items to bring with me when I travel: cameras!
Even though I try, I don’t travel light with cameras because photography is a passion and hobby of mine, and I’m very fortunate that my hobby is a part of my work, so I travel with more cameras than the average person.
Peak Design Camera Bag
The majority of them are stored in this Peak Design camera cube.
It’s another travel cube that organizes my various cameras and lenses with these dividers and protects them in a weatherproof nylon canvas shell and foam lining, so I don’t have to worry about the expensive gear.
The Sony A74 is the workhorse of my entire travel gear.
When it comes to hybrid full-frame photography and videography, it’s an absolute beast; it shoots 33-megapixel photos and records up to 4K, 60 frames per second in 10-bit 4:2:2, which is insanely good in a single camera and ideal for travelling with.
I’m using it with the classic Tamron 28-75 f2.8 zoom lens, which is more than adequate for travel.
I also carry a dedicated camera for photos, the Fuji X100V, and if you’re a subscriber, you’ll know that I absolutely adore this camera – it’s still the best camera I’ve ever used.
It’s so good because it’s stylish, well-built, and portable. The fixed lens is amazing, and, of course, Fuji’s color science and film simulations are to die for.
The only time I’d consider replacing this camera is if I ever get a Leica, but they’re a lot more expensive than the Fuji X100V, so it’s difficult to justify, even if I had the money.
For the action shots, I use a 360-degree pocket camera that has replaced my GoPro.
It records 360-degree video at 6K resolution, which is insane, and it’s tough enough to fling around in all kinds of environments while travelling.
I love that I can go out and record with this small thing and then crop in on any part of the frame I want in a post, so I don’t have to worry about framing the shot in my head and can just enjoy whatever it is I’m doing when travelling.
iPhone 14 Pro
Then there’s the iPhone 14 Pro, always in my pocket.
You’d think that with all of this camera gear, I wouldn’t need a phone, but I still find myself reaching for this amazing phone.
When you enable ProRAW mode, you can shoot in 48 Megapixels, which is insane considering it has more megapixels than the Sony A74, but it eats up my phone’s memory FAST.
When travelling, it’s great for taking photos of simple things like the food I’m eating and other random shots when I don’t have my other cameras with me.
Watches & Fashion
Tudor Blackbay 58
The Tudor Blackbay 58 watch is the piece that sparked my interest in watch collecting.
At a refined 39mm case size, it features a beautiful coin-edge rotating bezel, the oversized crown that the BlackBay line is known for, snowflake hands, and a warm gilt and black dial that oozes vintage charm.
Tudor’s impressive in-house MT5402 COSC-certified movement has 70 hours of power reserve and is waterproof to 660 feet or 200 meters.
I don’t baby this luxury watch; I trek, swim, dive, and run with it, and it still looks great.
Wearing a nice watch when travelling is an easy way to elevate a simple outfit, whether at a nice dinner, in business class or just sightseeing.
I don’t actually bring my Apple Watch with me, but my Oura Ring handles all of my health metric trackings when I’m away, so I can still enjoy wearing my Blackbay 58.
Everyone, male and female, should own and travel with a mechanical watch, and you can get a nice one for the same price as an Apple Watch, like a Hamilton Khaki Field, and they’ll last a long time.
Now, these Birkenstock Unisex Arizona Sandal are something I would recommend to anyone. They’re the coziest shoes and sandals I’ve ever worn.
They’re cork sandals made in Germany, and the footbed molds to your feet over time to give you a one-to-one tailored fit.
Someone recently purchased Steve Jobs’ old pair of Birkenstocks for an absurd $220,000. Fortunately, you don’t have to pay a house deposit for a pair; they’re only $100 from the store for regular people like you and me.
I’ve taken these to so many different countries, and they’re still in good condition.
They’re light and durable, and I think they look great, especially in warmer weather and with an oversized T-shirt.
UNIQLO Airism Oversized T-Shirt
I’ve recently become completely obsessed with UNIQLO’s Oversized Airism T-shirts.
If you know anything about them, you’ll know they have a cult following because they’re inexpensive at only $20 each, thick yet breathable and smooth, and the cut is fashionable.
I like to switch between these and custom-fitted t-shirts for variety or when I’m in a really hot climate, like where I am right now in Malaysia.
But, honestly, I love these so much that I have them in various colors and just throw them in my luggage, and I’m good to go.
Let’s move on to the essential travel toiletries – I find it more difficult to stay well-groomed when I’m on the go, but here are some of the things I bring with me that help a lot. Please avoid hotel toiletries, which are almost always heavily scented and bad for your skin and hair, so here’s what I use instead.
Shaver & Cream
For starters, my facial hair grows ridiculously fast, even though I’m Asian, so I have to shave every day, which is difficult when I travel.
I discovered that a classic wet shave with this German-made double-edge razor from Muhle, paired with ASTRA platinum double-edge razors, is the best combination for me. It’s not cheap, but it’s very portable and high-quality, and I don’t have to deal with cords or batteries.
When travelling, I use PRORASO’s Green Tea and Oatmeal shaving foam instead of bringing a badger and shaving bowl. It also has a wonderful aroma.
Speaking of smelling good, I have this custom cologne from Maison 21G that I purchased in Singapore.
I took a personality test, and after selecting a few ingredients, they created a personalized bottle of cologne for me.
This one has sandalwood, sage, oud, and other scents that I’ve forgotten about, but I love that it’s completely unique to me and not something anyone else can get from a department store.
When I travel, I try to keep my skincare routine as simple as possible, but it’s just as important as ever, especially when you’re exposing your skin to so many different climates that it’s not used to.
I use a day cream with sunscreen, a toner, and a night cream, so it’s a simple three-step process, and I store them all in these travel bottles I got from Amazon, which I’ll link in the description.
And then, guys, make sure you take care of your teeth by investing in the right travel toothbrush; you’ll be glad you did.
Electronic toothbrushes are the way to go; they usually come with a travel case and allow me to travel for two weeks on a single charge.
I use the Philips Sonicare 5100, which I purchased from Amazon for around $100.
They clean teeth and gums far more effectively than a standard toothbrush, and the built-in timer aids in meeting the 2-minute brushing recommendation.
Citi Prestige Card
The next requirement is a good travel credit card, and this is a BIG one that I believe more people should look into.
The main card I now use is Citi’s Prestige Card, which has numerous travel benefits.
With this card, I can access over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide, a free fourth night at a hotel, free travel insurance, luxury transfer service, mobile phone cover, and a concierge service. It’s quite bizarre.
There is an annual fee of nearly $1,000, but the benefits more than make up for it, and every dollar spent earns points that can be used to upgrade to business or even first class, which is what I did for this trip thanks to my personal and company credit cards.
The two biggest takeaways are to travel as light as you can – it just makes your time abroad so much easier and then buy and pack premium quality items.