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the Ultimate Travel Survival List, GRRRL TRAVELER GEAR, ultimate packing list

The Ultimate GRRRL TRAVELER Gear


Basic Travel Backpacking Gear

Eagle Creek Doubleback 22

I’ve used it for a little over a year and I’m absolutely in love with it.  Despite the wheels, its lightweight and the entire bag is sturdy and durable. You can read my review and watch me show you all the features. I wish this bag for everyone. Best of all, it helps me downsize my packing.. even when I’m on the road for months.

North Face Terra 45 Backpack 

I’m a pocket person, who always needs to dig in my bag. So I love that this pack has many external pockets for easy access (side, top, front & bottom pockets) . I also love that it’s got a secret pocket compartment inside to store some of my valuables.

Sea to Summit Silk Liner

Unless it’s a freezing winter, this is really all you need. The silk is lightweight but can also keep you warm & protected from bedbugs. One buy has lasted me over 10 years+.

Waterproof Mattress Protector

Over a hostel bed or train berth, this gives me a peaceful night’s sleep. No bed bugs or dustmites.  Read review

Eagle Creek Packing Cubes

While i’ll always love my Super Saver luggage bags, I have to admit, I’ve fallen for Eagle Creek packing cubes.  They make organizing easy and helps you tighten up your pack.

Melaleuca Sol-U-Mel

Ever since my travel doctor recommended this (and Sawyers Permethrin Insect Repellent you spray on your bag & sheets to bug-proof it) to repel bed bugs and mosquitoes, I always bring a small bottle of undiluted Sol-U-Mel and a spritzer. Melaleuca is actually Tea Tree Oil (a powerful anti-bacterial), but with Sol-U-Mel, you can easily dilute it. It also works as a gentle but cleaner, disinfectant and deodorizer. Read my review.

SteriPEN Freedom Solar Bundle

SteriPEN has been around for a while and has a trusted reputation for water purification. It’s charged by USB, has a flashlight and discharges a 40 second UV light to purify contaminated water.  Note: This is not a filter and will not filter dirt, fecal or mineral sediment. Always take your water from a running source. Read review.


I’ve seen videos where people tested the Lifestraw by drinking their own vomit and pee. That’s rather extreme but I get the point. As a water purification/filtering device, it works.  I still prefer my SteriPEN Freedom, largely because I don’t want to have to drink a cup of water through a large straw. But I take my Lifestraw as a backup.

Freshette (Feminine Urinary Device)

For those who have never used a squat toilet but fear accidentally peeing on themselves, consider a female urinary device as “training wheels”.  There are many types of F.U.D.s but the Freshette was my first. My review here.



Flip and Tumble Bag : Possibly the best reusable, self-eating bags I’ve gotten! The fabric is flexible (not like the cheap ones you get at dollar stores), so it stretches to the range you need it. It’s perfect for toiletries and for getting groceries.  (Read how I use it in hostels)

Stila CC Color Correcting Cream : An all-in-one coverup and light foundations with SPF, I always feel protected.

Keychain Flashlight :  I have a handful of keychain or pen flashlights from convention events and giveaways. They come in handy for many occasions.

Baby wipes: A traveler’s best friend. You’ll find them useful in more than one situation and on various occasions.   I always take a pack with me.

DevaCurl No-Poo Quick Cleanser (1.5 oz).: Dry shampoo is a brilliant invention. While I love washing my hair, there are times, you just can’t. This one smells nice and doesn’t leave a residue.

Now Lemongrass Oil : The citrus scent of lemongrass gives me a zing, it helps purify the air around me and it repels mosquitoes.  It’s also an antiseptic. I always have it in my daypack.

Havianas flip flops : one of my main footwear choices, for hostels, hotels, temple hopping in Asia and just strolling around.  Being from Hawaii, there’s different quality of flip-flops and Havianas are top notch.  (Read why I like it )



Factory Unlocked iPhone 5C

I finally upgraded to an iPhone. What a difference! I can use it with different country SIM cards, and the photo quality is better than my iPod. Additionally, I can use it as a mobile hotspot to surf the internet on my laptop.  I  recommend factory unlocked iPhones and if you’re from the U.S., they won’t work with CDMA networks and servers.  If you want CDMA compatibility, it’s best to buy it in a country that has a CDMA network.  An iPodTouch still works as a cheaper but useful all-around smart device to manage your info and Skype.

Universal Surge Protector Travel Adapter

A Multiplug Adapter

TravelOn Mesh PouchesI carry a lot of equipment, so I need storage systems to organize them.  These multicolored see through mesh pouches are wonderful. I store large cables to earphones and external batteries. I carry the large one in my luggage; the small one, I pack in my day pack.

Generic Unlocked Phone : I bought a cheapie unlocked mobile in Thailand for $30. This was when I had my iPod Touch vs an iPhone.  However, it’s still a good safety backup and a good dummy phone in the case anyone is looking to steal something.

Unlocked USB internet stick: Who would be tethered to a laptop and internet signal other than a travel blogger? When I was backpacking Asia, I picked up a couple of USB internet sticks. The best one was an unlocked one I got in Malaysia. I was able to use internet on my laptop anywhere I could pick up a SIM with a data plan.

External battery chargers : I’ve collected a few over time but I always take them all.  My favorite is the one that came with my SteriPEN Freedom Solar Bundle. It carries a good charge and if you can’t find an outlet, it will charge via sun (albeit it takes a while)  New addition: Xtreme Solar Bank (5000 mah waterproof, dustproof, charges two devices at once)

Insignia USB Card Reader : Transferring my photos to my laptop or external drive always takes time but this is quick. I have two (if I lose one) which I switch back and forth between. It has slots for the main cards you’ll be using– SD or micro SD.



Video and Camera Gear

As a female solo travel blogger/YouTuber, I try my best to stay light. It’s not easy, as much of it needs to fit in my daypack. So my camera and tech gear often needs to be reduced to essentials. I only take the most meaningful equipment for my work and of course, I need occasional backups.  These are some of the gear you’ll find me packing.

My Big Bad GRRRL Camera Gear

Read my review of all the best cameras for travel vlogging/blogging here.

Canon 70D DSLR Camera : This is a touch focus, WiFi enabled DSLR..(Watch my review.) With a flip out screen that’s touch activated, I can pull focus while recording video. Additional accessories:  Canon 70D LP-E6N battery.

Canon G7X Camera : Another one of my vlogging cameras. I love its sharp focus. Additional accessories: two extra Canon G7X NB-13L batteries. I can last a day on the battery if I conserve my shots, but if I’m doing continuous standups, I’m running through my batteries like tic tacs and its overheating. Then I’m transferring to my Sony NEX 5T . An alternate contender to the G7X is the Sony RXIV.

Sony NEX-5T camera with 16-50mm lens : This is one of my vlogging cameras. It has great image quality and decent sound quality. While it has its drawbacks (all cameras do, really), I’m happy with it. However, with cameras upgrading rapidly, I won’t be investing in any of its lenses outside the box kit lens it came with.   Watch my review

GoPro Hero5 Black : Waterproof, touch screen LCD screen back, wide angle lens with 4 modes and films in 4K.

Backup Cameras

Canon EOS Rebel T2i:  I went from a 30D camera to a Rebel. The reason for my downgrade: cheaper, compact, lighter and it shoots awesome HD video.  With all the technology I carry, it’s a luxury to have a compact DSLR that can get the same quality as the bigger cameras.  Watch my review

Samsung MV900F White 16.3-megapixel Digital Camera:  Samsung self-shooting pocket cameras are my weakness.The Samsung MF900 multiview camera was my first vlogging camera. It has a flip out screen that allows me to view myself as I shoot. As far as I know, there aren’t any pocket cameras that do that. It has a bunch of other great features; it’s weakness is low lighting. It has some bugs but overall, it’s easier and more covert than lugging a DSLR around for everything. My first Samsung pocket camera was the Samsung ST500 , the first on the scene with a self-shooting, touchscreen, manual swiping and smile detection.  Read my review


Canon 70-300 Zoom Lens: One of the more affordable zoom lenses I’ve used. Operation is smooth and flexible for video work.  I love the reach of its focus. I can get great closeup shots of people or action at a far distance. Couldn’t be happier with it.

Canon EFS 10-22 Wide Angle lens. : If you’re a travel photographer, you’ll always feel like your lens is never wide enough. This is just enough wide to the point where it’s almost fisheye. My lines stay somewhat straight. Okay, but not always.  Still one of the best investments I’ve made.

Rode Video Mic Pro    : You might be tempted to get a cheaper on-camera mic for your DSLR. Don’t do it.  Audio quality is decent and directional.. If you want perfect sound quality, however, you’d want to invest in a lav mic!  Due to  footage ruined by wind noise, I bought a Micover Wind Screen to fit over my shotgun mic to filter the sound.


Joby Gorillapod

This alien octopi tripod makes a great travel tripod over normal ones its height. You can form it around trees, fences, rocky surfaces, you name it.  This means I can vlog in my hotel room.

DigiPower Selfie Extreme Stick.  

This stick is sturdy and can handle GoPros and pocket cameras.  Not only do I use it as a selfie stick but a monopod. This stick extends to 5 feet and is enough to stabilize a shot. The Joby Gorillapod can be attached as a tripod base. While I wouldn’t trust it to support DSLRs, it works with my mirrorless cameras perfectly… I just hope a strong wind doesn’t come along.

CowboyStudio Photography 6 x 9ft White Muslin Backdrop

Sometimes, I shoot my standups with a white backdrop. If you don’t feel like redesigning your room for a YouTube studio, the next best shortcut is to get a white or greenscreen backdrop. It’s very similar to what studio photographers use and presents a clean back for your shoots.



Laptop & Editing Software

Apple MacBook Air 11.6-Inch LaptopThis laptop I take with me on all my travels. Light-weight, small, thin; it’s exactly what I need to conduct things on the fly.  I had the Apple MacBook Air MD760LL/B 13.3-Inch Laptop before, until I dropped tea on my keyboard.  While the screen size was more preferable to me,  I still downsized.

Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 for Mac :I don’t love Adobe Premiere Pro but it does the work I need it to. I also like that it doesn’t hold up my real-time view with render time, when I import different video formats.  Still, I wish it had intuitive design like Final Cut Pro.

Final Cut Pro 10: was once my champion editing software. Due to inconsistencies in upgrade versions and the fact its rumored that Apple is inching away from supporting it,  I switched to Adobe Premiere.   I still miss it. 

Seagate Backup Plus for Mac 1TB

I always take a hard drive to back up my video and photos. For travel, I need portability and light-weight products. Seagate is a highly recommended brand for stability.  The size and weight are just a little more than an iPhone.


 Macbook Air Laptop GRRRL brandingapple macbook air laptop  seagate backup plus 2 TB 2seagate backup plus 2 TB 2



Travel Brands I like

The Clever Travel Companion Pickpocket Proof Tank top & underwear.

A great alternative to a money belt. Best of all, you can wear it for more than just travel!

Bangees Wrist Wallets.

I’ve used these wrist wallets since 2008 and I can’t give it a higher recommendations. While everyone has their solution to storing valuables, this is one of my all-time favorites.  I especially use this when entering market places where I want my money close and accessible but unnoticed. Read 21 Ways to Outsmart Pickpockets & Thieves .


Check out  other travel products I’ve used and would recommend.

clever travel companion underwear review Banjees Wrist Wallets 3


WordPress  I have sites on both, Blogger and WordPress and if you’re ever planning to go towards a self-hosted site, then hands-down I recommend WordPress. More efficient navigation and professional themes to choose from.

Hostgator  is the server I use to host my sites.   I’m not quite convinced I like them yet.  The monthly costs are cheap and a lot of bloggers use them. GoDaddy is a host I’ve been with for over 5 years though. If it weren’t for a bug in my theme, I would still be with them.

RTW Labs  Who’s my tech guy?  I generally handle my site design and small maintenance issues but when the problems get too much for me to handle, I call in Chris Richardson. He’s helped me with my website troubleshooting and tech issues on more than one occasion.  He’s thorough and will get the job done.

Travel Blog Success  Ever since I’ve joined this group, it’s helped me learn about the travel blogging business, monetizing and put me on the right path to success. You get alifetime membership of great information, ongoing networking assistance  and access into a secret Facebook forum, where bloggers post money-making questions and business advice. I wish I joined earlier!


Travel Resource Essentials



Kayak is my favorite site to search for cheap flights. Other bloggers may suggest others, but Kayak is always my first go to for the simple fact. I’m an infamous last-minute trip planner and Kayak’s Explore section is brilliant for helping me visualize the best season or month to travel based on price.

Air Asia

If you’re shopping for Asia/Southeast Asia destinations, thenAir Asia is hands down, the best low cost carrier to fly.  I’ve found prices from Kuala Lumpur to Sarawak/Borneo for $24, from Bangkok to Kolkata for $200.


Skiplagged is a brilliant site that will find me the best prices on flights if I’m looking at a one-way destinations.  It will find the cheapest flight, based on full trip destinations (with a layover at the destination I’m looking for). I would just get off at your destination and drop the rest.    For instance, my destination might be Tokyo, but it could book me on a trip to Seoul, with a layover in Tokyo. Get off at Tokyo and drop the rest of the trip. That’s how Skiplagged works. Of course, you can’t claim frequent flyer miles off it, but the savings guarantee you a good price.


Where Kayak fails is in budget carrier searches,  SkyScanner  is good for it. It pulls in  budget carrier airlines and small city destination layovers, so you have more options that might suite your budget.



Agoda offers the best rates for Asia and can pull options for any type of travel style.  For Asia, I wouldn’t choose anyone else.

Telecommunications & Internet


Skype is perfect for calling home. Although these days when I’m on the move, I like to buy a country SIM and FaceTime friends and family from my iPhone 5C.


VPN  – Private Network

VPNs protect your laptop or smartphone’s identity and surfing when you’re using a public WiFi. For countries like China, it’s essential if you’re attempting to use Facebook, Instagram or Netflix.  VYPR VPN was easy to use and the most consistent VPN for me in regards to mobile devices. Betternet and Master VPN are free and great as backups.  However, I had difficulty using any of them on my laptop on my hotel wifi.


Health & Insurance

World Nomads Travel Insurance   

If you’re backpacking around the world or planning to take a trip for a lengthy time, they offer some of the most affordable rates. It’s a choice many travelers look towards. Read more about travel insurance.

American Express Card

Although American Express cards aren’t widely taken, they’re still nice to have.  I have an AmEx card I use to purchase all my flights, car rentals and whatever I can charge on it.   I get free travel insurance on my flights, lost baggage and car rentals. AmEx gives me a basic coverage for my travel needs. They also have a free concierge and  hotline for travel emergencies.


The Man in Seat 61

This is the best and most comprehensive guide to transportation. I especially use this for train travel and the guides show you into the trains in different countries, prices, timetables and routes.

More links to recommended Travel Resources and Travel Bloggers.



Job & Travel Guides

Interested in travel, blogging or making money by living abroad?  These e-books are highly recommended.

get paid to travel, work on a cruise ship   How to Work on a Cruise Ship  Did you know you can work on a cruise ship, make lots of money and see the world? Derek has been living a life of travel for years. He’ll give you tips, information and show you how he’s been successful at making money by working on cruise ships.


 Help X Help X is a work-stay program and allows travelers to stop in locations and work for farms, farmstays, homestays, B&Bs, hostels, and sailing boats in exchange for free accommodations.
travel hacking                                                                Become a Travel Hacker by Chris Guillebeau helps you break the code of how to gain frequent flyer miles, without even leaving the ground.
Travel books by chris guillebeau
 Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau


Travel Survival eGuides

Travel Survival Guides: 48 Hours Tokyo on $35/day

travel survival guides, discover ubud, bali highlight, bali attractions, what to do in bali, what to do in ubud

Discover Ubud & Bali Highlights

Bangkok travel guide, bangkok travel secrets

Bangkok Travel Secrets ebook


The companies listed, I recommend because I think they’re awesome and they’ve helped me a lot in my travels. If you support this site in some way and want to book your trip, these links will help you do that.  Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you. I make a commission if you make a purchase and it helps supports the work on this site.  




  1. Interesting you have Chris Guillebeau’s book about travel hacking…I go to a conference he puts on in Portland, Oregon. This will be my second year. It is called the World Domination Summit, or WDS for short, and is an awesome conference filled with amazing speakers and people that do blogs, write books, artists, etc. It is happening in two weeks and I can’t wait to get together with my little crew of writers and bloggers I met last year! I loved all your travel resources and gear advice you offered us, Christine, and as always it is spot on! I am going to bookmark this page as it will be very helpful to me for some things I haven’t been carrying around with me, and the other things that I don’t want to forget! Great job as always in helping us fellow travelers!

    • Jay awesome! Enjoy it. I forgot about WDS. I’ll have to make to more conferences. Meeting like minded people is key to refining your business and passion. What speakers are you hoping to see? Also, what are some Fave gear you’d recommend?

    • Ps you just reminded me I have to update Chris ‘ book Pursuit of Happiness.

    • I had a busy weekend, Christine, I wanted to think about some of my fave things I travel with, and then get back to you on this! I do use for choosing my hostels. And I have just changed to Schwab as my bank of choice for traveling as they reimburse all foreign fees for any ATM transactions. I am told they have one of the best exchange rates, too, when doing an ATM transaction. Oh one other thing I had been doing my last couple trips is just going directly to EVA Airlines website for my airfare from the US (specifically Seattle) to Asia, but I did just discover the app Hopper for airfare prices. It looks pretty promising, but I am going to have to check out Kayak. I saw they had an app, too!

    • I figure you already use HostelWorld, though, but they do seem to have a lot of good customer reviews on there, and every hostel I have stayed based on the recommendations has been good.

  2. Great list with a nice breakdown and everything and the reason you use it!

  3. Anne says:

    This is a great write up post of helpful things for travelers like us! Thanks for sharing.

  4. imaginethat says:

    I think you are so awesome. Please do keep up with your blog and youtube. I am desperate to travel and will as soon as I can afford it but I’ll be taking my little boy so it will be a little while yet. Your articles and videos make me so much more determined to go. Thanks a mill….

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      @Imaginethat: Comments like yours really inspire me on! Really and truly.=D Affording travel never feels easy. But with the right destination and frame of mind, you can find ways to flip financial limitation into creative resourcefulness and an even more exciting adventure than you might have planned on a normal budget. A lot of people think they need to need to have a lot of money to start anything- a YouTube channel, a dream, a trip. The truth is, you just need to start, somewhere, anywhere and with what you have. ;D Baby steps!

  5. Skydreamer says:

    You are super, incredibly amazing!!! You inspire me to travel 🙂 Thankyou

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      Thanks @Skydreamer! You inspire me back with your compliment! =)

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