We get a lot of emails about travel planning and the resources we use to plan and document our travels, and also how we run a successful travel blog — and we love hearing from you!
We’ve been traveling for the better part of our lives and together now for over 30 years. That, together with Lori’s background in tourism and destination marketing, gives us a good bit of experience and intuition on traveling.
If you’re wondering about travel planning and research, booking your travel, websites and resources, companies and products we recommend, even how to start a website or blog, we’re happy to help.
This travel resources page can help you plan your trip, save money, start a blog, and more. All the companies listed here are resources we personally use, have used, and would highly recommend.
Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. We may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Best Travel Gear
There are certain things that every traveler swears by and won’t leave home without. When you find something that works best you stick with it right? Travel can be hectic and we love keeping it simple. If a product can do double-duty, even better. You learn what works best and what tools and accessories are worth it to pack along. Here are a few tools and travel accessories among our favorite travel gear that are worth packing.
Amazon - Where else can you shop from the comfort of your home, hotel, campsite, RV, or vacation rental worldwide? And you can’t beat 2-day shipping with an Amazon Prime account. PRO-TIP: Amazon Prime and prime services like music and video streaming are available in other countries.
Travel Booking Tools
It’s not always easy to save money on travel. Flights and hotels can be expensive! However, if you’re really savvy and know where to look, you can always find travel discounts and deals.
Airbnb.com - Sign up here for Airbnb to get up to $50 off your stay and $15 toward an Airbnb Experience of $50 or more.
Airbnb is perfect for slow travelers who want a more local feel to their overnight stay. You’ll find a variety of apartments, homes, glamping, and unique spaces, and now their Experiences can also help you find local tours, food and wine experiences, and insider tips too!
Booking.com - Save with Booking.com, Planet Earth’s #1 Accommodation Site. No booking fees ever.
ItaliaRail - From 1-day trips to flexible multi-day rail passes, ItaliaRail makes it easy and affordable to buy Italian rail tickets online.
GetYourGuide.com – Get great tour discounts from Get Your Guide! Find and book tours and activities ahead of your trip and have more time for fun.
Airfare and Transportation
Skyscanner and Kayak - these search engines list available flights from the lowest price to the quickest flight. We always start our search with these two.
Hopper - Hopper analyzes billions of airline prices daily to predict how they will change and advise you whether to wait or book now.
Expedia - Expedia is a good place to book cheap flights. And, you’ll get a $50 travel coupon and price difference refund if you find a lower price.
Uber - We’ve used Uber in the US and Europe with good success. Easy and less expensive than a taxi.
There are so many travel apps available that can help with all aspects of travel, but these are absolute musts for me. You can find all of these apps in the App store on iTunes or the Android Play Store.
FlightAware – This app delivers up-to-date flight information in just about any format you want. You can view flights at any airport as a list or on a map, you can watch flights coming and going on the map, search for any flight by airline, airport, flight number or route.
TripAdvisor – The app provides reviews for everything, just like the website, so I can find a good restaurant on the go, or even download city guides with tons of useful offline information about my destination..
Google Translate – If the tour guide in a tiny village in Italy who speaks only Italian can give an enjoyable tour to only English speakers using this handy tool, you know it’s gotta be good. Plus, you can now use it in offline mode as well. It translates up to 90 languages using voice, image, typing or handwriting. A cure for any language barrier.
PRO-TIP: It doesn’t work so well in noisy places like Italian restaurants that have a lot of background noise — though trying to use it may turn out to be a good ice breaker!
Photography — What’s In My Bag?
Can I just tell you how long it took for me to find the right camera bag? As a female travel photographer, I don’t just need a camera bag. Are you kidding me?
I need a place for batteries, power packs, mini-tripods, GoPros, lenses, towelettes, hair ties, bandanas, mascara, sunglasses, an iPad, an extra windshirt or rain jacket, ball cap, and let’s not forget feminine supplies.
It’s pricey. But this Kata bag is a camera bag and travel backpack in one. It’s my only carry-on bag so I never have to check any equipment along with my luggage and run the risk of it getting lost.
PLUS it has a packable rain cover which has saved my equipment more than once in downpours. I love it!
Canon cameras and lenses
Canon 6D Mark II dSLR Camera body - I’ll never part with it!
100 mm f/2.8 Macro USM Fixed lens - If you love macro photography (great for pro food photography too) this lens is so much fun!
24-105mm f/4 L IS USM lens - the walk-around lens I use every day.
50mm f/1.8 STM Lens - It may look like a plastic kid’s toy, but it’s one of my favorite lenses (good for food photos too with nice bokeh).
Moment iPhone lenses
When I started using my iPhone more for work, my husband got me my first Moment lens for Christmas. It lets you turn your phone into a better camera. There are several size lenses with a simple-to-use bayonet-mount. Just insert it, twist, and it’s good to go.
I use my Moment 18mm wide-lens for wide landscape shots when I’m kayaking, hiking, or in other situations where I’d rather not take a dSLR.
The Moment 58mm Tele Lens is also really fun for getting super close up!
If you’re a fan of action shots or video, at one point or another, you should get a GoPro. Whether you want to shoot the action of downhill snowboarding, hiking through epic landscapes, or you’re underwater snorkeling with whale sharks or swimming with manatees, get a GoPro. Please ;-)
GoPro is still the trusted name when it comes to not having your photography or videography interfere with the action.
I shot this one below and a bunch other cool shots with a GoPro with a leak-proof underwater housing. The manatees were a little perplexed at the camera and the bright yellow float, but I got some great shots!
Wanna seriously upgrade the GoPro you already have? Have you tried the GoPro Dome Port?
Gimbels and Stabilizers
DJI OM 4 - Handheld 3-Axis Smartphone Gimbal Stabilizer - Want an easy-to-use smartphone stabilizer so you can take really smooth video pans by just popping your phone on to the magnetic clamp? Yep — magnetic! This gimbal has 3-axis not just 2, and it’s super easy to use.
Tripods and Monopods
Manfrotto 290 Xtra Aluminum 3-Section Tripod Kit with Fluid Video Head
Must-Have Photo Accessories
Anker charging blocks - When I’m traveling, I take thousands of images a day, switching between dSLR and iPhone, and I carry these charging blocks with me everywhere to keep my phone charged.
It’s one of the smallest and lightest-weight power bank, ultra-compact battery pack, high-speed charging technology phone charger for iPhone and Android. 10000mAh for around $20!
SanDisk Memory cards
Western Digital portable external hard drive - Don’t learn the hard way when your hard-drive crashes. Always back up, and back up your back-ups!
Whether you want to start a travel blog, photo blog, fashion blog, mommy blog, lifestyle blog, or some other type of blog. Here are some of our favorite resources to get you started.
Want to start a new website or blog, but don’t want to go the WordPress route like so many people do? Neither did I. So I went with Squarespace and built Travlinmad there, and I can’t say enough about it.
Squarespace offers professional website templates for nearly any kind of business without needing to learn code at all. But if you do wish to customize to your brand, the platform makes it easy.
We use GoDaddy for the various domains we have. They handle all the domain registration, privacy protection, and auto renewals, and we’d recommend using them.
I used Smugmug to create my very first photography website in 2008. At the time, they also offered an online journal which acted like a blog where we could post updates on our travels. This was before everyone had cellphones and internet cafes were still the way to get online and check-in with family and friends no matter where we were.
Today, Smugmug is a great place to create a photo website and store your photos storage.
Our blog posts are way more engaging since we’ve added videos, and they’re easy to make with Animoto. I just upload a few videos and stills, select music, make some adjustments and Viola!
If you run a blog, there are countless ways to engage, share, and grow your business on social media, no matter what you blog about — food, travel, kids, baking, being a new Mom, wine — or maybe being a new Mom with wine! ;-)
Facebook is an awesome social resource for growing your blog. Create a Facebook group community and connect with highly-engaged members. Or start a Facebook business page to share your content with fans and followers.
Want to learn how to start a blog from scratch? Or find other solo female travelers to travel with around the world? Yes, there are Facebook groups for that too!
Pinterest is our favorite way to engage with and promote our blog and drives a ton of web traffic our way from travelers looking for slow travel ideas and destinations. If you still have doubts about this and think Pinterest is just for crafters or recipes, think again.
Sure, Pinterest is great for curating “scrapboards” and Pinspiration. But as a small business owner, step on the other side of the fence and imagine the millions of pinners who could be sharing your ideas and repinning your brand to their boards!
Hope this is helpful!
As always, I’m always happy to help with any questions about travel or gear. Drop me a line!