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Gear Recommendations

*I am not paid by/sponsored for these, this is just 100% my own experience based advice to you!

Bags:

Travelpro Luggage – The only regular looking suitcase I’ve ever had (I’ve tried a lot of rolling duffles, backpacking backpacks, etc) that has made me blissfully happy. It’s showing NO signs of wear even after a few trips that would have rendered past bags of mine useless. My Jeep and Jansport rolling duffle bags couldn’t hold up to 1/2 of what this bag has been through – and it looks brand new still. Incredible.

Kata 3 & 1 Photo Backpack – the best bag I have found to suit my own needs as a photographer. I love the quick access option, especially when I’m standing in a stream in Africa and I can’t put my bag down to open it!

Boblbee Megalopolis – I love this bag so much for it’s ability to start a conversation – “Is that a jetpack?” – and it’s apparently perfect if you own a motorcycle (I don’t) and it’s the most futuristic looking bag on the market. Problem is it’s just not designed for photographers so I had trouble using it to house my gear. If you pack your photo gear in a separate bag or something else though this would be a great option just for your laptop and everything else. They sell photo bags now though so I’d check those out although I haven’t tried them out!

 

Budget Travel Resources

  • Couchsurfing.org – hands down the cheapest way to travel. If you use common sense, it’s perfectly safe and you meet incredible life-long friends.
  • TravelHacking.com – If you want to beat the airline miles game, this is how. Only works if you have a good credit score (720+)
  • Relay Rides – Rent your car out while you are away and make money while you travel! I’ve used it and I love it.
  • Airbnb – Can’t speak highly enough about this service if you’d prefer not to Couchsurf or use hostels (or just want a change of scenery) I once stayed at a beautiful English manor house for a month in north London w/ AirBnb and absolutely loved the experience.
  • Momondo – My favorite place to find cheap airfare
  • StudentUniverse – where I’ve found some of the cheapest flights I’ve ever booked. Must be under 27 or a student though.

 

Desktop Wallpapers

Lake Geneva, Switzerland

Jacmel, Haiti

Tropical Caribbean Beach

Charities & Aid/Relief Travel

My favorite way to travel is for the purpose of helping the less fortunate. Philanthropic tourism can be a horrible thing when done wrong, but a wonderful thing if done right. It’s hard to know who to trust. I’ll be expanding this section only after personal experience with the orgs that I’ll put here – so you know that they can be trusted. I’m a tough critic.

Conduit Mission – I’ve been on three trips with these guys (two to a remote African village and one to Haiti following the earthquake) and they are the real deal. They lead small, effective teams and deliver big results by working to empower the community they reach to be self-sufficient rather than giving handouts. Through them I witnessed the opening of a clean water well, an orphanage, a school, a medical clinic and a feeding program in an area that had never known anything but poverty. If you’re looking for a good aid/relief trip to go on – they’re your people.

Restore Haiti – Amazing work being done in Haiti maintaining schools, feeding programs and sponsoring children.