I’m traveling the world for a year — this is all the tech I’m bringing with me

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Kim Davis/CNN Underscored
Kim Davis/CNN Underscored

If you read my article about what I’m packing for a year abroad, then you know that I’m heading off on an epic adventure to Europe, the US, Asia and beyond this year.

As you can imagine, being away for such a long time requires a lot of research, planning and the right balance of packing. Bring too much and it won’t be easy to get around. Bring too little and you will either need to make do without critical items or waste money buying items you already own.

This is especially true when it comes to electronic devices and accessories.

We are so dependent on technology that we feel like we can’t live without it. It keeps us connected. It entertains us. It allows us to record life’s most precious moments. But it also comes with some real challenges:

  • Electronics are heavy: Electronics can feel like a ton of bricks in your bag. This added weight can lead to additional fees at the airport or even injuries.

  • Electronics are bulky: Electronics can be very bulky and take up valuable space in your luggage. If they are too bulky, they won’t fit in the hotel room safe and therefore, you won’t be able to keep them protected while you’re out exploring.

  • Electronics can be an expensive loss: Most travel insurance policies will only cover part of the value of your expensive electronics. Which means, if you lose, damage or have your items stolen, you might not get refunded anywhere near their actual value.

So, how do you choose which items to take and which items to leave behind when traveling, especially when you’re going on a long trip?

I’ve assembled a list of my favorite electronics and electronic accessories (other than my laptop and smartphones) to help you make the wisest possible choices. Whether your trip is a year, a month or a week long, you won’t want to leave home without these fabulous gadgets!

Anker Nebula Capsule 3 Portable Laser Projector

Kim Davis/CNN Underscored
Kim Davis/CNN Underscored

I never knew how much I needed a TV projector until I got the Anker Capsule 3 Portable Laser Projector. Now, I can’t live without it. It’s completely changed the way I enjoy TV and movies in a hotel room.

It’s only the size of a soda can, yet it can produce crystal-clear images that are larger than life. You can listen to audio through its built-in speaker or hook it up to your Bluetooth speaker or headphones. You can aim the lens at the walls of your hotel for an intimate viewing or direct it to the side of a building for a multistory cinema experience.

Whatever your preference, the Capsule 3 Laser Projector is guaranteed to keep you entertained no matter where you are in the world. Plus, it won’t strain your eyes like traditional screens with backlighting.

$680 at Amazon
$800 at Nebula

Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 Speaker

Kim Davis/CNN Underscored
Kim Davis/CNN Underscored

When your eyes are tired and you’re not in the mood for TV, it’s nice to just relax and switch off from the world with a little music, a nice podcast or an audiobook. However, it’s hard to relax when you’re listening through the tinny sound of a phone speaker or have earphones poking your head. That’s why I’m bringing this fabulous little B&O Beosound A1 Speaker with me.

It’s small, lightweight and waterproof, making it the perfect companion in the hotel room, by the pool, in the car or just singing in the shower! My friends and I like to use it to have little dance parties when we’re on holiday together. This Bluetooth speaker works for every occasion.

$299 at Bang & Olufsen
From $199 at Amazon

Panasonic Lumix ZS200D Digital Camera

Kim Davis/CNN Underscored
Kim Davis/CNN Underscored

If you’re a photography enthusiast like me, you’ll understand when I say a professional DSLR camera is too big to lug around on a long trip, and a phone camera is often too small to capture high-quality images that can be blown up onto posters or books. So, what’s the solution? For me, it’s the Panasonic Lumix TZ200D digital camera.

It's not too big. It’s not too small. It’s just right, making it the Goldilocks answer to my photography problem. It has an amazing zoom lens that lets you capture wild animals and other out-of-reach photo subjects from a safe distance. Plus, its 20-megapixel imaging is similar to a decent DSLR camera, so you’ll be able to capture high-res images that can be used to create books, calendars, mugs and more.

Better yet, it’s small enough to pop into your handbag and take it everywhere you go, so you never have to worry about missing those spontaneous moments. It may look a bit old-fashioned, but handheld cameras are still relevant and will give you the best of all worlds.

$698 at B&H

DJI Osmo Action 4 Camera

Kim Davis/CNN Underscored
Kim Davis/CNN Underscored

Phones do have amazing video capabilities these days, but if you want to be able to capture footage underwater, up mountains and everywhere in between, you’ll want to invest in a proper action camera.

The DJI Action 4 is a must. I was completely shocked by its small size. The entire unit fits in the palm of your hand. There are amazing bolt-ons that you can buy to go with this camera as well, such as a suction cup mount for road trips, a remote watch that lets you start recording from far away and a microphone adapter.

$299 at DJI
$299 at Amazon

DJI Osmo Mobile 6 Smartphone Gimbal

Kim Davis/CNN Underscored
Kim Davis/CNN Underscored

If you want to create amazing videos that look highly professional, then the key is a good stabilizer, otherwise known as a gimbal. This tool is the only way to create that smooth, seamless, flowing visual and the Osmo Mobile 6 by DJI is the one I trust to get the job done. This little handle helps keep your phone steady, even when your hands are shaking. You simply lock your camera in the clamp, turn on the unit and away you go.

You can zoom, record and rotate the camera all with a simple and easy press of a button. Even if you don’t know the first thing about filming techniques or video production, the Mobile 6 will make it easy to take your videos to a whole new level. It also comes with a tripod so that you can take great videos even when you’re flying solo.

$149 at Amazon
$149 at DJI

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H95 Wireless Headphones


Whether you’re sitting on a loud plane, working in a noisy café or just trying to keep the volume down in your hotel room after hours, you’re going to want to invest in a decent pair of over-ear headphones. In general, I’m not a fan of noise-canceling headphones. Most muffle and distort the sound. Plus, the noise-canceling feature, which pumps out a neutral sound to cover up the background noise, usually gives me a migraine.

That said, I love these Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H95 headphones, which allow you to switch the noise-cancellation feature on and off, so it’s perfect for everyone, no matter what your preference. Not to mention they cancel out plane noise better than any other brand I’ve tried.

I’ve spent years working in TV and radio, and I play multiple instruments, so my ears are hypersensitive to sound. I can honestly say that I’ve never found better headphones than B&O. They ensure you hear layers in the music that you can’t hear at all in other products. It’s as if you’re standing in the room with the musicians. If you want to listen to music and movies the way they were meant to be heard, there is no one better than B&O.

$754 at Amazon

reMarkable 2 10.3-Inch Digital Notepad

Henry T. Casey/CNN Underscored
Henry T. Casey/CNN Underscored

A lot of excitement, drama and chaos is inevitable on this trip, which is why I want to keep a journal to document every moment. But how can I write my private thoughts down without the hotel staff reading through my diary with a bucket of popcorn while I’m gone? That’s where the reMarkable 2 Digital Notepad comes in.

This nifty little tablet can keep all my secrets safe, sound and backed up on the cloud, so I never have to worry about the content getting read, lost or damaged. What’s even more fun is that I can handwrite all my notes and then the reMarkable will transpose my thoughts into typeface. It’s the perfect cross between traditional writing and modern-day technology.

From $279 at reMarkable

Charmast Small Portable Charger

Kim Davis/CNN Underscored
Kim Davis/CNN Underscored

As a single woman who often travels alone, there are few things scarier than having your phone run out of battery. I’m experienced enough to know how to survive without it, but being unable to make emergency phone calls, navigate home and translate language can leave you in unnecessary jeopardy.

That’s why I always bring a Charmast charger with me. This tiny battery bank is only the size of a lipstick tube, so it fits easily in my handbag. It also fits easily onto the bottom of your phone, acting as one complete unit. Thanks to the Charmast’s chargers, I can FaceTime friends and family to share in my experiences without worrying about my battery running out of power.

$15 at Amazon

LaCie Rugged 5TB Hard Drive

Kim Davis/CNN Underscored
Kim Davis/CNN Underscored

With this much content, I’m going to need backup … external hard drive backup. There’s no way my computer is going to have the capacity to hold thousands of photos, videos and more. That’s why I keep it all stored and backed up on these portable LaCie Rugged Hard Drives.

Unlike most hard drives, the Rugged series is designed to move around, so I don’t need to worry about losing data because it’s had a little shake. The plastic padding around the border protects it from bumps and falls. I personally like to have two hard drives: one to hold the main content and the other to be the backup.

Once upon a time, these devices were very expensive, but now you can get a super-sized 5TB unit for under $200, which will be more than enough to back up not only your photo and video memories but everything on your computer.

$180 at Amazon

Nordace Siena Pro 15 Backpack

Kim Davis/CNN Underscored
Kim Davis/CNN Underscored

Now that I have all my electronics worked out, it’s time to pack them up and transport them. I would never store such valuable and fragile items in my checked luggage because they inevitably would go missing or get damaged. So, I’m packing my electronics in the Nordace Siena Pro travel backpack.

You might think all backpacks are created equal, but I can assure you, they are not. Most are just big, empty voids where items bang up against one another and get jumbled around and broken. But the Nordace Siena Pro Backpack is different. It is heavily padded and has loads of pockets everywhere so everything remains protected.

$120 at Nordace

Bellroy Tech Kit

Kim Davis/CNN Underscored
Kim Davis/CNN Underscored

With this many electronic gadgets, there will likely be many tangled wires and probably a lot of cursing. How do those wires get so knotted? It’s a mystery. Luckily, Bellroy makes this great little tech kit that helps me keep every wire, charger and plug in its place. I can access everything easily and quickly with this smart little organizer. So save yourself the stress of the tangle game and make sure you add this little pouch to your tech list.

$59 at Bellroy

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