Camera Essentials When Traveling + Filming Tips

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When we got back from our group trip to Maui, I was so eager to start sharing some of my favorite pics on Instagram - but I just RECENTLY finished and shared our epic travel video!  Simply put, being there for 12 days, there was tons of footage to sift through when we just ran around the island with the cameras rolling nonstop hah!  We got LOTS of questions on the equipment we brought to capture Hawaii's epic scenery & film our Maui Travel Video so that's what led me to write this post.

 First of all, thank you everyone for the compliments on the Maui video!  Things like, "this looks like a commercial" are so uplifting.  Thank you!  Secondly,  I've been telling EVERYONE it's a bucket list essential to go to Maui! Simply breathtaking!  Now, to throw out some advice on camera essentials while traveling with just carry-ons.


Camera gear is NOT cheap, and we didn't acquire all that we have on one shopping spree.  It can also get bulky & heavy!  Be super selective on items that can serve multiple scenarios on your trip and keep it minimal.  I can't stress this enough!  The less you bring, the less you have to worry about getting damaged while lugging your life around.  Also, don't forget that your iPhone has amazing camera capabilities as well, like high frame rates for slow motion, color correcting, and some built in stabilization.

I see it like this: with minimal camera gear, I've learned that this pushes your creativity even more!  

Okay - lets get into the essentials...

1. MIRRORLESS CAMERA | mine:  Sony a6000 & his: a6500

Sony is leading the industry with some of the best mirrorless cameras, and the a6000 is still serving me strong since it came out a few years ago.  Nothing beats the mirrorless cameras because the camera body is so much smaller in comparison to most traditional DSLRs, but even if you have a larger DSLR don't sweat it.  Just be mindful with the follow selections of a lens to go with it.  Smaller means lighter & less space taken up in your carry-on.  We all know those are a hot commodity when planning and packing for trips!

2. ONE CAMERA LENS | mine:  F/1.8 35mm Prime & his:  F4 18-105mm

This is the lens that gives me a blurry background and offers that cinematic footage!  Being an f/1.8,  it works great from super low-light conditions in the middle of remote areas to broad daylight on a Florida beach!  It's not the lens if you want to be filming "selfie style/vlogging" as with an arms-length away it'll likely crop out part of your face.  While Chris' can do more wide angle shots + zoomed shots, the trade off is that his lens won't work in low light situations as well due to the higher F-stop.  So you'll see, its up to your personal preference and shooting style!

3. WATERPROOF ACTION CAMERA | our choice:  GoPro Hero 6

I think that 90% of our footage while in Maui was from the GoPro, and for a good reason:  hiking, cliffdiving, underwater shots while surfing and free diving. This is a durable little guy! This model is already waterproof so that saves us the need for buying the waterproof housing like in past models!  Huge plus!  It films in up to 210 frames per second, so you'll need a fast micro SD with lots of storage (like this one) to ensure you don't run out of space.

4. PORTABLE TRIPOD | my choice: Joby Gorillapod

This is one of my favorite travel essential accessories, and truly - I'm the only one that used it, not so much Chris hah!  Its sturdy enough to hold my mirrorless camera and not tip over, while having super strong tripod legs that bend so you can wrap it around bars, handrails, and so on!  I also hold all 3 of the legs together like a selfie-stick when wanting to talk to the camera.  The Gorillapod legs have strong magnets too - so perfect for wrapping onto handle bars or a random streetlight pole!

5. DRONE | his choice: DJI Phantom 4 Pro

Chris loves flying his drone!  While he has a professional model, it still isn't very portable and there are much more portable options - especially if you don't need to be producing higher HD 4k footage.  If this is your first drone, we highly recommend the super portable options of the DJI Spark or the DJI Mavic.  Both are under $1000.


We also bring our MacBooks  + external hard drives for taking the evenings while winding down to then dump and sort our footage from the day.


Once you get to know your equipment you can more or less dial in your settings to quickly jump back and forth.  This takes some preplanning because you don't want to be in the middle of the action and miss a shot - more importantly, distracted looking at your camera on the side of a dangerous cliff.  Always practice safety!  (friendly reminder plug hah!)

When running around, try your best at holding the camera still - and also stopping to do a few pans & tilts ensures you got some usable footage.  I can't even tell ya how much footage we have that doesn't see the light of day!  Another trick, take your GoPro for example and press the back of it on your chin while walking.  It's not perfect, but it works!  Your anatomy is built so that your head is a natural stabilizer.


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If you found this information helpful toward preparing to create your own travel video, please let us know in the comments!  We love your feedback!  

What are some of your essentials when traveling?  What would you add or take away from this list, and where in life do you like to practice minimalism?


xox, Rachel