So we decided to quit the rat race and travel the world, documenting, photographing and filming our adventures as we go. As beginner wanna be travel bloggers, we realised that to do what we wanted to, we needed to research and invest in some tech and travel gear, so that we can work towards creating better than the average holidaying blog / vlogs.
We spent hours discussing what we wanted to do and then looking up articles and reviews on both Google and YouTube to see what products were out there, what people thought of them and how to actually use them. It has been a huge learning curve !
In this post, we want to give you the result of weeks, if not months of combined research and what we have chosen to take with us and why. We have included links to these products, if you want to look at them in further detail.
We have NOT been sponsored or paid by anyone to review these products – as new bloggers we have not received any sponsorship and the reality is that we had to dig into our savings to buy these items, so the comments below ……. are what we REALLY think!
We are new photographers and usually when we go on holiday we use a small automatic camera or our phone, however a large part of a travel blog is pictures. Likewise Facebook, Twitter and Instagram the pictures need to show our journey. How many times have you said “wow look at that” and then when you take the photo say that it doesn’t quite capture it.
Panasonic DMC-FZ1000 Lumix Bridge Camera
We decided that we didn’t have the photography knowledge and experience for a fully manual DSLR, but wanted more than the point and shoot, so we decided on a Bridge Camera. The FZ-1000 has hundreds of rave reviews and allows us to learn photography whilst taking great pictures. It also films in 4K which will be great for YouTube clips. We already owned a GoPro but that doesn’t allow zooming and being able to control depth of field. We are very happy with this camera
£650 – Click Image to view on Amazon
GoPro Action Camera
GoPro have been producing top quality action cameras for some time now and we already owned a GoPro Hero 4 Silver, which we bought a couple of years ago. Although there are now newer versions we decided to continue to use the Hero 4 as it’s a great action camera which can also film in 4k. A great all round action camera that with a waterproof case, will be used for all our scuba diving and water footage. Due to the compact size and various attachments, it can be used for other action shots, like out of the car window or on the handlebars of a motorbike, it can also be mounted on the camper van to catch those carpool karaoke and dance moves ! £369.99 – Click Image to view on Amazon
DJI Spark Drone
I have watched so many travel videos on YouTube and the drone footage adds an excellent varied and imaginative element to the video. It can really help the viewer engage with your location by showing the whole landscape from above. We knew we wanted a drone, but had no knowledge of them. From reading reviews, watching videos and talking to friends, there is no doubt that DJI is one of the main market leaders and producers of fantastic drones. As a novice I wanted to invest but not spend thousands just in case I crashed it on the first few flights. I also wanted it small enough that it could fit into my rucksack, day bag or hand luggage.
We came across the new model the DJI Spark.
£682.85 – Click Image to view on Amazon
I won’t go into all the different features that this amazing little drone can do, but I am so glad that we decided to invest in this. It is very small, light and is easy to use as a beginner. I strongly suggest you spend that little more and get the Fly More Combo Kit. The combo kit comes with the remote controller, spare blades, bag and spare battery. From watching reviews from people that have had a crash it seems on occasion the tablet or phone has lost connection with the drone, but if you have the remote you can still fly it back.
I am sure we will get some great clips on our travels. If you want to see my first fight on you tube then click image below:
Apple MacBook Air
We have always used Windows based products and so when we started looking for a small laptop / notebook to take with us on our travels there was a lot of confusion. We couldn’t make up our minds. We watched lots of YouTube clips that compared them and they both had advantages and disadvantages. What was important was that it was able to handle video editing, including 4k so that it future proofed a little.
Then came the question of which spec. I wanted a newer processor, so went for an i7 although it seems an i5 would suffice – we ended up going for the cheaper 8GB of RAM. The 16GB of RAM will work faster but as the 8GB will do the job even a bit slower we decided to take the slightly cheaper option. As far as hard drive – you can buy an external hard drive so the space required on the computer can be lower.
Apple Macbook Air 13.3″ 1.7GHz Intel Core i7, 8GB RAM, 512GB Flash Storage
£1450 – Click Image to view on Amazon
Since we had already made the decision to go with Apple – we decided to get an I Pad Mini. This can be used on the plane and for editing video footage on the go. It also acts as the visual screen for the drone that we bought. The main question was do we need the regular or cellular version.
To explain the cellular version cost £100+ pounds more but it allows you to take the SIM card from your phone and put it into the IPad. As we are planning to travel a lot, this means we can use the internet from the phone when there is not strandard wifi available. If you have unlimited internet then this would be recognised as phone usage rather than tethering which generally has smaller data limits. We ended up buying the Apple Cellular iPad Mini Tablet.
£529.27 – Click Image to view on Amazon
Zhiyun Z1- Evolution 3-Axis Handheld Stabiliser Brushless Gimbal
During our research on making great videos – there was a lot of talk about Gimbals. A word that I personally, had never heard of. A gimbal is basically a device that helps stabilise video footage. We decided to get one that could be used with the GoPro as it was a cheaper option than buying one for the main camera – this would have been £500+ and we need to be weary not to buy too much to start off with.
There are lots of different Gimbals that can be used for the GoPro – after careful consideration we chose the Zhiyun Evolution and we were not disappointed. Quentin a friend that was staying with us at the time bought one by Feiyutech which was more expensive and I could not see any additional benefit.
The gimal gives must smoother footage and will stop future viewers feeling sea sick when they watch our videos. It also has the added feature of a hole at the end so the gimbal can be attached to a tripod or extension pole. It uses batteries which allows you to carry spares – whereas some of the others brands, you have to plug the actual gimbal in – this can be very limiting.
£191 – Click Image to view on Amazon
External Hard Drive
Keeping your data safe is really important for anyone who is taking pictures and videos, whether you are a blogger or not. Imagine capturing months of footage, only to for it all be lost. We made the decision that we wanted the best external hard drive that would withstand being knocked in the rucksack or dropped. The hard drive range from LaCie do just that. There are various specs – we chose the – LaCie Rugged 2 TB Thunderbolt + USB 3.0, Portable, 2.5 inch External Hard Drive. Drop resistant to up to 2m it will cope with me dropping it (I’m 6ft 3 or 1m 88cm).
£161.66 – Click Image to view on Amazon
They come in various memory sizes and obviously the smaller ones are cheaper. Check to make sure they have the correct connections. The MacBook comes with a thunderbolt socket and this hard drive has a neat cable attached to it so you don’t have to worry about loosing it – it also comes with a separate cable to allow you to link with a normal Windows PC.
When you set it up you can choose either to have 100% for use on Apple, 100% on Windows or a combination. I would suggest a combination as it allows you to easily share files between your MacBook and Windows PC. Quite handy!
When you invest in great technology the last thing you want to do is scratch the lens or damage a product by dropping it – so make sure you spend a little extra to protect your gear. Here are some of the items that we bought
Filter for the Lumix FZ-1000
Filters help perfect your images and there are a huge amount available. As a beginner, I wanted a basic filter that will not only protect the lens, but will also reduce glare and reflections. We choose the Gobe UV 62mm Japan Optics 16-Layer Multi-Resistant Coated Ultra Violet Filter. It screws onto the front of the lens and I leave it on, so if I knock it – I will scratch the filter not the camera lens. We went for a better quality filter as we decided there is no point investing in a good camera to then put a cheap piece of glass over it . £18.40 – Click Image to view on Amazon
Go Pro Protection
We decided to buy a couple of covers for the GoPro as sometimes it will use in its protective / waterproof housing and sometimes it will be used on its own.
We bought a lens cap that just pushes straight onto the front of the camera for when its out of the protective housing
£6.99 – Click Image to view on Amazon
The other cover we bought was for the waterproof housing to protect it when it’s not in use
£12.87 – Click Image to view on Amazon
MacBook Air Protective Case
There are lots of different cases on the market – we decided on the UAG (Urban Armor Gear) MacBook Pro Military Drop Tested Laptop Case. It had great reviews and when we received it, it certainly felt strong and should protect our MacBook in the event that we have a mishap. I (Chris) am known to be quite clumsy so in the future I am sure you will hear me saying “thank God I bought a good case”.
£54.99 – Click Image to view on Amazon
IPad Mini Protective Case
As we were so happy with the protective cover we bought for the MacBook, we decided to stick to the same brand. – Urban Armor Gear. Again a very solid practicable attractive case.
£34.99 – Click Image to view on Amazon
Floating Hand Grip for GoPro
This hand grip is perfect for using your GoPro when doing water activities. The waterproof housing fits on top and if dropped in the water it will float! It also comes with the wrist strap.
£7.99 – Click Image to view on Amazon
Red Filter for Diving
When filming underwater the colours change as you go deeper so to stop your diving footage becoming a green blurry scene you need to use a filter on the GoPro. DON’T BY A CHEAP ONE. I made this mistake a couple of years ago when I bought a cheap one on Ebay. Infact they were so cheap I bought 3 of them incase I lost them. So being the generous person that I am – I gave one to a fellow scuba diver who had a GoPro but didn’t have filter. Both of our videos came out red – it seriously looked like we were diving in a blood bath and the days filming was ruined!
I now buy known brands and Polar Pro is one of the leading brands – they make a selection of different filters and you know they are going to work. We bought a switchblade last year for our holiday and it worked great. It has a red filter as well as a rounded lens which magnifies the subject making great footage of smaller marine life. I would suggest tying or cabling the filter to the housing just in case it fall off during diving.
£63.64 – Click Image to view on Amazon
GoPro Selfie Pole
You can’t be without a selfie pole to enable you to film yourselves. It gives some great shots whatever you are doing – I have used mine for diving both filming yourself and it allows you to film marine life with out getting too close and causing the creature distress. Its best to get an extendable waterproof one so it can be used in above and below water.
£8.49 – Click Image to view on Amazon
Extendable Camera Monopod.
We had lots of discussions to decide whether we need this, or if we are actually going to use it a lot. Time will tell but I think this is a great bit of kit. It extends to 1.2m and is very light weight. At the end is a standard tripod fitting, so you can put both your main camera or Go Pro (need the tripod attachment). It can be used like the selfie pole but with much greater length, with the possibility of attaching the gimbal on the end. Many options to use this, for some usual shots.
£9.95 – Click Image to view on Amazon
DJI Spark Spare Batteries
Although the drone comes with 2 batteries, we wanted to buy some spare batteries just in case we are off the beaten track and either don’t have access to charge them or with only 15 minutes flying time per battery, and need that additional flight time. They are not cheap but are a good long term investment (as long as I don’t end up crashing into the sea!)
£49.99 – Click Image to view on Amazon
Fireproof Lipo Battery Safety Storage Bags
We have all heard horror stories of lithium batteries catching fire and as these batteries are larger, we thought it would be a good idea to buy some protective fireproof bags, just in case. You also don’t know how strict some airlines might be, so this makes them definitely safer for travelling.
£4.49 (stores 2 batteries) – Click Image to view on Amazon
Lightening Cable for Remote / IPad
The most reported fault that causes problems with the DJI Spark is loss of wifi connection, mainly for those that just use their phones to fly, rather then the remote control. As we bought the combo pack we have the remote control but it communicates to the IPad via its own wifi. We decided to buy a cable that goes from the remote into the IPad so that in the event that the wifi signal was lost both elements would still work. Not essential but a good bit of added security. You can get a variety of cables for different phones and tablets.
£6.89 – Click Image to view on Amazon
Landing Gear & Mini Launch pad For DJI Spark
This is another added safety device. When taking off you want to avoid dirt and grass etc, and so this landing gear raises the drone a couple of cm, which can make all the difference. There are lots of different styles available. – we likes this one, as you can still attach the propeller safety guards which you can’t with other models.
£6.00 – Click Image to view on Amazon
£15.89 – Click Image to view on Amazon
There will be times when you either need to do a hand launch or need a clean surface e.g. on sand. This hand held mini launch pad does just this and also helps protect you fingers.
Tablet Holder Bracket for DJI Spark.
Depending on which device you use as a display screen, if may not fit into the brackets on the bottom of the remote controller. If you use you phone it will fit but the IPad mini does not fit. (I have heard, that some batches of remote do fit and some don’t so check before buying)
This bracket is great as it allows you to attach the IPad and gives clearance underneath for your hands to use the joy sticks. It also comes with a neck strap in case you drop it!
£8.99 – Click Image to view on Amazon
Spare Batteries for the Lumix FZ-1000 Camera
We choose not to go with original batteries as review said a number of brands gave the same performance at a lower price.
£15.49 – Click Image to view on Amazon
GoPro Rechargable Battery for HERO4
We decided to go for original spare batteries for the GoPro.
£19.99 – Click Image to view on Amazon
So we have invested in what we believe is essential tech to help us provide you with the best blogs, blogs photos and videos.