That ginormous teddy bear and I welcome you to My Travel Tool Kit! Here you will find the essential items that I absolutely cannot travel without. Some of these items are electronics, others are accessories, and others are just for entertainment. Don’t worry, that teddy bear isn’t one of them.
You’ll also find a list of which websites I use to book my flights and accommodation, and things that just make life and travel a whole lot easier. Click on the picture to view the product!
Kelty Redstone 60L Backpack
Hands down this is my favorite backpack. It comes with incredible back support, a ton of zippers to reach different parts of the bag, and a cover for the top of it. You can also adjust the straps for maximal comfort when traveling. There is also a sleeping bag compartment, for those of you who need a place to store your sleeping bag. You can buy this backpack through Dick’s Sporting Goods.
KEEN Women’s Bryce Hiking Shoe
I absolutely love these hiking shoes. I’ve had them for three years now, and they’re still perfectly waterproof and show very little wear and tear. I’ve trudged through deep puddles and pools of water and my feet have stayed dry, which is essential when you’re on long hikes. The excellent arch and foot support will also keep your feet from getting sore, so you can keep walking on. The thick sole lets you comfortably walk over branches, glass, or other small objects. These were a great purchase and I highly recommend them!
GoPro HERO4 SILVER
Lightweight and compact, the GoPro is one of my favorites, and something I never go anywhere without. Its perfect for hiking, swimming, scuba diving (it’s housed in a waterproof case), and pretty much any outdoor activity. The photo and video quality is great, and there are a plethora of attachments and accessories available for almost any situation. I highly recommend getting a wrist strap and a selfie stick, to start.
Apple 13.3″ MacBook Air 256GB
Hands down the best ultra thin laptop you’ll find. At only 2.96 pounds, you’ll barely even notice its in your bag. With an 1.6 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5, and options for four or eight gigabytes of RAM, you’ll have the speed and power for anything you might want to do on the road. I can edit and render videos, download music, and often have many programs open at the same time.
Kindle Paperwhite 6″ High-Res Display
Avid readers won’t want to miss this one. Instead of packing your bags with two or three books that may be heavy or take up too much space, pack your kindle with thousands of books and carry a whole library around. It’s not much bigger than an iPhone 6 and the battery lasts for weeks. Sitting in a dark cave? The new backlight makes it possible to read book wherever, whenever.
Travel Smart by Conair High/Low 1875 Watt Converter and Adapter Set
This set will save you time, space, and money. The set comes with adaptors for any outlet type, so you’ll never have to go out looking for another one, wherever you are. You can conveniently store them in a package that’s the size of your palm. If you’re a serious traveler, don’t forgo this one.
Monica’s Favorite Books
Because we all need a good book to read on the road!
The Pillars of the Earth
This has to be one of my favorite books of all time. It’s set in the middle of the 12th century, and takes place over 40 years. The story follows the character’s lives through their journey of love, war, and self discovery. The characters learn how to build a city from scratch, travel through Western Europe, and learn the true meaning of fate.
This is another incredibly long read, but I promise you, your eyes will be glued to it. Ayn Rand talks a lot about society and who we are as people in this novel, and it is unlike anything I have ever read. Long books are my favorite when traveling.
A Thousand Splendid Suns
I finished this book in just a few days. I couldn’t put it down. The mother-daughter dynamic in this story is absolutely beautiful, and we follow both Miriam and Laila’s lives before and after they meet. I’m seriously considering rereading this book again!
Booking Accommodation and Flights
You all must know by now how much of an advocate I am for Couchsurfing. Meet locals, find a free place to stay, and learn about the culture in a way you otherwise wouldn’t have. Sign up on Couchsurfing.com and start surfin’ the world!
This website has prices, pictures, maps, and reviews for a ton of hostels. The reviews are always very helpful, as people are usually honest if they loved/hated a place. Reading these reviews will save you the headache of arriving somewhere and hating it.
Very similar to Couchsurfing, this is a website where you stay in a locals house/apartment/floor, but you pay them. Again, Airbnb is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the culture of a brand new country. Sign up today!
I almost always use SkyScanner when purchasing flights. This website allows you to look at different days and compare the prices to one another, which is perfect if you’re flexible with dates. If you’re REALLY flexible, you can also adjust your search to put in “Everywhere” as the arrival destination, and see how much it would be to fly to any country in the world (I usually look at this for fun).
This is another website I use when booking flights. Again, you can adjust your search to look at the price of flying on different days of the month. This website shows budget airlines as well as more expensive ones, so it’s easy to compare the different prices and pick a day that best suits when you want to travel.
I love Orbitz because you can cancel your flight within one day of booking by 10 p.m. CT for a full refund. It’s always good to have that “just in case” option when booking flights. Again, this website also shows incredible prices for the budget traveler.
One option for living abroad is doing a homestay, where you live in someone’s home and become a part of their family. This is an incredible opportunity to learn a new language and learn how a family lives in a specific country. You’ll be able to taste local food and learn about a new culture in depth. Book your Homestay program here!
I just finished getting my TEFL certification at TEFL247.com. I took the 140 hour course over a few months time, and learned a ton of information about different approaches to teaching, how to handle situations in the classroom, and how to teach listening, speaking, writing, and reading, among many other things. Having your TEFL certification is a great thing to have, since English teachers are always needed around the world, especially in Southeast Asia. If you’re planning on staying in a country for a while, pick up an English teaching job, meet locals, and make money in a fun and effective way.
Start a Travel Blog There are a ton of incredible resources out there to help you start a travel blog (or any blog, for that matter). For starters, read this post from Adventurous Kate. She explains how to start a travel blog in six easy steps. I bought my domain name from Bluehost, and highly recommend them when starting a blog. They’re affordable and offer great customer service. This video by Tim Ferriss from Four Hour Work Week is a great resource to have when starting a blog. He shares great techniques and gives advice on when to post, the design of your blog, and how to build a community.
Disclosure: Some of these links are affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of these links, I make a small commission to help me run this website at no extra cost to you! I use and love every single one of these products, and can’t recommend them enough! If you have any questions, please let me know!